Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Put us in the Zoo

There's a great book by Robert Lopshire called "Put me in the Zoo" about a polka-dot animal that wants to live at the zoo. Kids love the book but sometimes it's not so great to feel as though your family is actually living the book.

You see I'm used to my cutie pie girls garnering a lot of attention when we go out. It's pretty much the way things have rolled around here since Isabelle came home almost four years ago. It was fine at first when we were basking in the glow of finally having a baby of our own and Isabelle was an infant and oblivious to it all but now it seems as though the spotlight has doubled in size with the addition of Madeleine (the new "Miss Oblivious"). I'm not talking about the attention we receive from friends and family or people I work with, I'm talking about the attention from random strangers who feel as though because our family doesn't "match" they have a right to ask a zillion questions and intrude on our family as we go about mundane family things such as running into the grocery store to grab a carton of milk.

"I'm sorry ma'am, I've got two hungry and tired little girls I need to get home, I don't have time to answer your question about 'how much my children cost'."

Or, "gee, sir, who's driving us to the airport to leave for Disneyland, now is not a good time to discuss why my child's 'mother didn't want her'."

Clearly this has been going on for a long time so why is my ire up now? Here is my latest example of people just not getting it:

Scene: Local restaurant
Objective: Quiet dinner out with the fam
Annoyance: Seated next to a party of 20 STRANGERS (just so we're clear - never seen them before in my life!)

As we're trying to sit down in our nice cozy booth we're spotted by the boldest member of the group who says, "Oooooh, look over there!" All heads turn in our direction and for the next ten minutes here are some of the comments slung our way: "Did you see that one?" "No! I'm looking at that one!" "Look at her hair!" "Can you turn her around so we can see her?" "Why don't you put her on the other side of the table so we can watch." And on and on and on. Meanwhile Isabelle, who is already very shy, is showing signs of being very uncomfortable even though I had quickly pushed her to the interior of the booth and struck up a conversation with her to keep her occupied while Jason dealt with the dog and pony show.

I'm sure these were very nice women and their comments weren't mean or even too intrusive (although the "that one" comments irked me a bit). Most of the time I don't mind answering questions or educating people about adoption - but sometimes we'd like to eat our dinner in peace! I think next time we go out we'll wear dark sunglasses and fedoras - we'll definitely be incognito then.


Molly said...

yikes! that is a whole new level of rudeness! Dark sunglasses and Fedoras are clearly the way to go from here on out! :-)

Jenny said...

That pic is adorable. It's too bad people lack common sense when it comes to talking about the kids when they are right there. Biruktawit's been asking me why everyone smiles at her in restaurants.. No one's really said anything, but she notices that people notice her. It's hard to know how to deal with people some times.

Have you ever seen the I Love Lucy episode, when Lucy's in Hollywood at the Brown Derby, and is staring at the one movie star, and he decides to star back, and he makes her so nervous she has to leave? Sometime's I feel like staring back at the people staring at us.. But then I wouldn't feel right doing that. :)

Jennifer M said...

Oh Aubrey, I do love your writings! You have such an elegant way of taking the sting out of what you have to say. Your end suggestion left me laughing- and of course trying to picture the new scenario! The girls are adorable in Fedoras.

As for the seriousness of the topic, it's almost as if we are celebrities. I'll mutter to Jim to give him a heads up, "Here comes the paparazzi."

jody said...

that is the EXACT conversation my hubby and i just had at lunch, like can we just eat our meal without beinga freak show for all of you??? and when we, with our 4 kids, go out with my sister and her 6 kids, well then it becomes just ridiculous as people ask if they are all ours or are we a preschool, how do we afford to feed them all, did we plan on having that many kids/don't we know how that works (sometimes i want to wiggle my eybrows and say 'why do you think we have so many, hehe' when they say that one, just to make them as uncomfortable as they make us-heeheehee), where do we put them all, and "boy do you have your hands full" to which i ALWAYS respond "better full than empty!!" b/c hi, my child is not always a handful, they are just a child, a person who is really actually nice to be with, NOT a nuisance as you so nicely just implied. yuck-so annoying!! and it was 10x worse when we had the helmet-SOOOO glad to be rid of that!!! hang in there, at least you know there are others here in the zoo with you!!! :)

Adrienne said...

Oh yeah! :) I get where you are coming from... We have had some choice comments... which were ok (well, not really!!)when Elena was tiny and oblivious..... 'Did her parents die or did they just not want her?'.. that was from my elder daughter's 'performing arts' teacher.! Or not long after at a little neighbour's 2nd birthday the grandmother said... 'Whose is that fat child there?!!!! My Elena of course! so shortly afterwards I had to nip home for my 8 yr old and brought down a photo of Elena in Kaz 9 months previously where she weighed 14 lbs at a year...the grandmother asked me to tell her about the other people in the photo.. 3 Moms adopting 3 little girls from Taraz.. Explained who each was and that one Mom was due the following week.. to which she replied.'that might happen you now'(OK, so far!) 'Maybe' I answered and then she said in a puzzled questioning way as if she was trying to work out the logistics of it in her head...'But... you wouldn't give her (looking over at Elena)back then would you?????!!!
What do you say?

And there's more... Fast forward a few years and this womans daughter on hearing a friend of mine who had 6 yr old twin girls was going to adopt called to quiz me on was it true and I said 'Possibly'... she also was having a hard time working it out as in.... 'But she can have her OWN children!!! followed by 'why would anyone adopt if they could have children of their own?????? Keep in mind she was talking to a mother of a family built by birth and by adoption....

Kickety Mare, kickety foal!!!!!

I stayed quite calm while incredulous but now that my children are older I just do not know how I would react... I would be horrified for them to hear such comments..

Sorry Aubrey... this was way too longwinded (feel like doing a blog post on it myself!!) but... I just find it incredible somethimes to think that people would really speak like that before engaging their brains!!

Your two girls are sooo cute in that photo:)

Take Care
Adrienne... who is so thankful to have her second daughter by adoption .....

Springs Landing said...

The pictures of the girls are them the Blue Sisters.

Mama of 5 said...

Sorry! And....I feel your pain. People need to think things in their head and not say them out loud...sheesh. I'm tired of getting asked about my "daycare"! :)