11 January 2008

Another awkward conversation

So an acquaintance was kind enough to invite me and a couple other moms over for a playdate and lunch. Between bites of macaroni, a (Sulvan) mom, upon discovering that Baby 3 is also Boy 3, asked The Question: "So, are you going to make another try for a girl or just call it quits?"

Now, I still don't have a good answer for this question. Maybe it's because I'm still relatively new at this CSPP thing. Maybe it's because I don't get out and talk to normal people much.

Partly, I think I get hung up on the implication that my second or third boy is somehow less wanted simply because we already have one or two of that sex. That's actually kind of offensive. Who said we were "trying" for a girl? Though that's what everyone seems to assume. Just today, I heard again the consolotary, "well, that's ok too" when someone heard that another boy is expected. (I doubt the people who say such things have really grasped that implication, so I try not to let it irk me. Doesn't do to be too sensitive in this business.) Our two born boys are so very different--they are unique persons, not just blue blankets instead of pink. And though we don't know the third boy too well yet, we're already ridiculously attached to him just as he is. (Of course, I would be delighted to have a daughter someday--don't get me wrong!)

The possible answers that immediately sprang to mind had to be discarded just as immediately.

"Well, we've concluded that artificial birth control is immoral--hormonal birth control may even be abortificient--and so we tossed the pills" just might possibly come across as a wee bit pompous and rude, to say nothing of not being particularly winsome or conducive to future conversation. (And besides the fact that offending the hostess's friend is never nice, hey, I'd love to be invited back there sometime--they've got goats!!)

"Well, we might just see what happens" is equivocal, cowardly, unhelpful.

So while struggling to keep the toddler's food in the vicinity of his plate, I managed to come up with something fumbling to the effect of "well, we used to think we'd just have 2 or 3 kids, but now we haven't really set a number, we've all been blessed with good health and we're kind of excited to see what God's plans are for our family." Ugh. Terribly convincing, huh?
Especially since I tried to throw in some sort of disclaimer about how I'm not doing this because it's my idea of a great time, like those obviously more contented women R. described earlier. I'm sure I sounded perfectly insane.

So the one who asked kind of stared at me like I was from another planet (which being non-Sulvan, of course I am) and then declared her preference not to have any more kids, at least not for awhile, and the gracious hostess (neat Christian with 3 kids so far; don't know if there are plans for more), nodded with some degree of sympathy for me, and then a preschooler (not mine, thank goodness), spit a large wad of food across the room, effectively ending my turn in the hot seat.

So how does one answer this question? Or, for those of you who have multiple girls, or some of each sex, how do you field the "so you're all done" assumption? Help me out here; I'm floundering.


elephantschild said...

It's funny, we get this too, even though we have just one child.

"Doesn't your husband want a boy?"

Errr, actually not. I think he was rather relieved to discover we were having a girl!

BTW, I think your answer was fine. Not preachy at the lady, but still honest.

Another good answer, and one that my SIL gives (she's a mom to 3 boys) is "Hey, I'm good at BOY. Another BOY would be FINE."

OR, how about: "Well, I think of my minions as asexual until they're tall enough to pee standing up, so their birth-gender doesn't really matter too much. BWAHAHAHA!"

Ok, I'll be quiet now.

Gauntlets said...

We have that boy/girl mix at the moment and thus win general approval from THAT sort of person, and we haven't been here long enough for people to realize that we're nuts. I think they all assume we're done, what with all the "enjoy your time with them while they're small . . .they grow up sooo fast *sigh*" commentary I get, so we'll have to wait and see what sort of horns I grow come next baby.

When the topic of HOW MANY does come up (and it does occasionally when I'm fraternizing with good Baptist homeschoolers) I usually smile, shrug, and say, "You know? I've never been very good with numbers. I'm not really sure how many I have now so why start counting?!"

Blink, blink goes the asker before she ushers her two.five (God bless them) off to the soccer field.

Rebekah said...

I got cornered recently too and babbled something stupid and unsatisfactory. Then I thought to myself, RM wouldn't have screwed that up.

I never know what to say. The basic concept I try to work in is, "If God offers me a gift, I'm not going to tell him no." But just as much as people short-sightedly assume that a third blue blanket is not what you're after, they are willing to say no to God's more troublesome gifts, and don't think anything of it. So I kind of like the semi-humorous/insane approach described above because it might stick in people's heads and prompt them to pursue the matter more seriously later.

I also like taking the missionary angle: we're doing our part to increase church membership, bring more young people into the church, make more Christians/Lutherans, etc. Just another thing so simple, obvious, and TRUE that people blow it off completely . . . .

Goats! :D Don't tell me you still want one!

Reb. Mary said...

EC, no kidding about that peeing-standing-up-thing. I know you've got a daughter; but do you have any word from your SIL about when boys learn to AIM!?

I think we're on to something here--humor is important, a combination of self-deprecating (so that as we communicate the reason we're doing this, people realize we don't think of ourselves as somehow better than they are) and even zany, which just might be enough to make them think on it later.

Then too, there's the "what's-the-alternative" approach we've discussed before. I recently overheard another typical conversation of head-shaking over a family with 8 kids, and I wanted to break in and say--so, big familiies spend their money and time nurturing eternal souls for Christ instead of dabbling in all manner of mindless entertainment of the self--so, what's so bad about that again? That probably wouldn't have been the best thing to say, exactly--we'll have to work up some thought-provoking, semi-humorous/insane variation on that theme. People just don't *think* about what they're saying/doing. Lemmings!

Goats: yes, I still do long for a nice little goat or two. The boys just love 'em. But our grounds aren't quite rural enough, I don't think--and I'd want to do dairy, not meat, which means way more work than I'm interested in right now. Maybe someday...

Gauntlets said...

RM: Goats eyes slant the wrong way. It's CREEPY! But I hear you on the dairy production. I've got this fear of blue milk? And I'd like to know what's in that stuff I'm sloshing eagerly toward the babies?