Okay, so here's the scene.
It's July. There is a massively pregnant momma with two in the neighborhood kiddie pool. She's soaking her feet while watching the two littles play. A few people ask her when she's due or comment on how nicely her kids are playing. End scene.
Fast forward about three weeks. It's mid-August.
Now, the same children are playing in the kiddie pool. The same giant-bellied mom sits on the same edge soaking her feet and watching her children play. The absolute only thing that's different this time is that she now carries a tiny and very new baby in her arms, partially concealed behind the blanket she's using to shield said tiny baby from the sun. This time, people are remarking on the tiny baby, asking her questions about sleep, breastfeeding and adjusting. Amid the questions, she fields no less than three inquiries from wide-eyed bystanders wondering, "are ALL these yours????"
You mean the two that nobody has ever before - no, not even once - counted as "ALL THESE!" and the tiny baby I'm carrying? Why yes... all these are mine.
It's true that I've always wanted a big family. I knew that eventually we'd get the looks and comments that are surely inevitable when you see a tribe of small children. I get it, I really do. I mean, even I can appreciate that at some point it just seems like too much. But I had no idea that we would hit that point at... three.
During my pregnancy, I wasn't on the receiving end of any comments that suggested to me this was coming. Sure, the occasional person commented on me having my hands full, but that happened even when I was pregnant with Logan. Besides... it's true. Having a toddler and a new baby is a lot under any circumstances! I was conscious of the fact that, since I already have a girl and a boy, I was spared the comments about trying for a specific gender. But the fairly constant stream of commentary and insight that people have been kind enough to share has been a huge surprise to me, and required some adjustment, since adding Olivia.
On another note, it would seem that there's a general assumption about having three; that is, the only reason to have three is if you were trying for the other gender. I've run into this one a number of times when I'm out with Olivia and people find out that she's the third (it happened a TON in Hawaii, for example. Since it never happened to me when I was pregnant, I've paid attention because it surprised me). Automatically, 100% of people assume that I have two boys at home. It is really interesting; people don't ask what the other two are, they say "So do you have two boys at home?" It has been the same script in literally every instance.
Mostly, none of this bothers me. I find that most people are eager to lend support. I've been on the receiving end of a lot of kindness in the form of people who are willing to hold doors and show patience to the fact that doing anything with one adult and multiple little people naturally requires a little extra time, energy and volume.
But not everybody is so kind. There is definitely a bias that exists when my troupe of small ones comes through, and sometimes it really puts me over the edge.
For example, we recently stopped into an ice cream parlor that had three small tables and a row of high tops with spinning stools.
After purchasing our ice cream, I directed the kids to go and sit down. The parlor was empty but for an older couple who had pushed all three tables together to make one large table. As we're walking toward them, me with the baby in carrier and two kids' coats on one arm and three ice creams in the other, my two small children in my wake, the lady informed me that she was saving these seats for her family and we couldn't sit there.
Are you serious? Is this real life?
I know. She can claim the law of dibs, and she'd even be in the right. Seats at a table are equal opportunity -- I get it. But, really? I literally can't sit my kids at the high tops because they're too small, and there's not enough of me to watch them spinning precariously from four feet up and tend the baby, and that's before you factor in the ice cream. Not to mention, her party didn't even arrive until we were taking our last bites, and when they did? Ugh. It was a pack of adults accompanied by one who was roughly Leah's age. We ended up standing, which was not fun, especially because it took every ounce of my self control not to shoot her and her still empty table really dirty looks. (I've already decided that in the future, you don't get to play that game with me. Ummmm, sorry.)
I do understand that I've "gotten myself into this situation" or whatever charming colloquialism you'd like to apply, but really. It doesn't take a genius to know that the right thing to do is help a tired-looking outnumbered momma out. Having an awareness of when the needs of others are greater than your own is so obviously the right thing to do, regardless of the circumstance you're in, that it is really frustrating to me when it's not the law of the land.
So that's where we're at. I adore having three, but I was absolutely not prepared for the input I'd receive from the rest of the world, or how frequently I would have to deal with it. Like I said, mostly none of it phases me - and I certainly don't mean to complain here on my little corner of the internet. But it is both interesting to observe and an adjustment for me, one I wasn't prepared to have to adjust to.
At the end of the day, though, I wouldn't trade it for the world.