Yesterday, I ranted about the annoying, unsolicited comments parents often receive from strangers. My unpaid editorial intern/husband thought the piece was grumpier than usual, but the overwhelming response suggests I’m not the only crank who’s been asked “Is Daddy babysitting?” one too many times. Readers also had some brilliant additions to the list that are too good not to share:
1. “Are they natural?” Parents of twins will surely relate to one of my sorority sisters’ experiences of being asked about the, uh, provenance of her infant twins. Okay, people: 1) That definitely falls under the category of “personal information”, and 2) What the heck does “natural” mean? No added flavors or preservatives? Not a cyborg?
2. General derision directed at gingers. Two of my cousins have redheaded babes and have been treated to comments like “Do you think it will stay that way?” and “Are you hoping she won’t be a ginger like her father?” Bigotry against redheaded people exists in some kind of safe zone I don’t entirely understand. Since when did Eric Cartman’s ethics become mainstream?
3. “You’re crazy to have a 3rd/4th/5th!” I have countless friends who welcomed #3 in the past year as well as a few sorority sisters with broods of four, all of whom have been on the receiving end of this gem. You can think it; you can say it privately at home to your spouse; but telling a parent with lots of kids that they’re crazy for having lots of kids doesn’t help anyone.
4. “Are you trying?” As all parents of only children will attest, this question gets asked on the regular starting at your kid’s first birthday party. You know what, Great Aunt Helen, nosy next-door neighbor and over-sharing mom from playgroup: I’m NOT going to share whether I’m currently having unprotected sex with my husband.
5. “You finally got your boy/girl!” When parents of two boys or two girls go for a third, sure, they might be hoping that next child is of a different gender, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to process a return with the stork if it’s not. A friend who recently welcomed a daughter after two sons especially enjoys when strangers make this comment IN FRONT of her boys. Nothing makes an already-displaced older child feel more secure than being reminded of how his hairbow-wearing baby sister is what really completed mommy’s happiness.
6. “Was she planned?” Who hasn’t been asked this question, which is really just code for “Are you a disorganized super-slut who can’t keep her cycle straight and her paws off her husband?” Extra rudeness points for asking this within earshot of the suspected oops baby. (See also: “Don’t you know what causes this?”)