I have to go grocery shopping today, which of course means the babies will be in tow. Just the thought of it has me exhausted already, though not for the reasons you might think. Sure, there’s the inevitable enormous diaper bag filled to the brim, the two car seats that have to be hauled in and out of the minivan, the stroller that has to be reassembled and then collapsed when we’re finished, and the fact that the whole trip has to be planned around a feeding schedule, lest thar be screamin’. But that’s not even the exhausting part: it’s the commenters. The storytellers. The “Ohmigosh! I just noticed that a complete stranger is pushing a stroller full of babies, so I MUST go insert myself and ask a zillion questions and make her day long and complicated!” people who just. plain. wear me out.
I realized, when I discovered I was having a second set of twins, what I was going to be in for. The first time around was bad enough, but I assumed I’d been inured–maybe even inoculated–to the irritation of it, and that I knew how to extricate myself from these situations quickly and politely, after years of comments and questions. What I wasn’t prepared for was just how much more pushy people have become in seven years. I’m continually amazed at the caliber of personal questions people are willing to ask of complete strangers. I kid you not, I get these on a daily basis, everywhere I go. For your entertainment, here’s a list of just a few:
- Wow, two! So, are you nursing them?
- Did you have…uh…you know…any…fertility treatments?
- Twins, huh? Were they born early?
- So, how much weight did you gain?
- What did you name them?
- Do you have OTHER kids? (Which, of course, opens up a whole new can of worms.)
- I have a sister/aunt/brother-in-law/second cousin who has a twin! …But she died.
- Twins! Did you plan that? (Um. Whut?)
And, my personal favorite,
- Are they identical?
Kids. They’re a boy and a girl. Pretty soon, I’m just going to start answering, “Yep. Everything but their genitalia.”
What I can’t figure out is why people have such a driving need to know this information that they’ll walk up to a complete stranger and, you know, ASK. Can you imagine walking up to Suzy Shopper who has a 5 and 7 year old in tow and asking the same questions? Not in a million years. Why would you care? And I fail to see why anyone cares just because they’re twins. Some of these questions really kill me. Like, why do you need to know my babies’ names? Or how much they weigh now? How is that important to your everyday life? “Frank! Can you believe it? I talked to a lady at the grocery store who has twins, and they weigh almost 10 pounds!” I can just see Frank’s eyes glazing over. Wow, Edna. That’s important.
Anyway. I expect our grocery trip, which should take an hour, to take at least two. I’m donning my flak jacket now. Wish me luck!