When one has four babies at once, there are certain challenges. Some people were not afraid to point them out to us. When I was still pregnant, a friend of my parents, whom I barely knew, asked, “Are you going to breastfeed?” I said I was. Across the dinner table, he pointed to my breasts, flopping his hand back and forth several times at my chest. Incredulously he asked, “How’re you gonna do that when you only have two of those?”
A friend of Jason’s dad, who was about 100 years old and hard of hearing (Claude had actually been a friend of Jason’s grandfather) when we told him I was twelve weeks pregnant and expecting four babies, said too loudly before the entire Legion club having their daily coffee, “Ah, well, ah, were you on those fertility pills?” I didn’t like to discuss it with people—it seemed intrusive—but he was 100 and nearly yelling in front of a room full of other old farmers, and I just wanted it to be over, so I answered quickly and quietly, “Yes.” With his rheumy cataracts he looked me up and down, and then Jason up and down, then finally proclaimed, “Well, ah, then, ah, you better stop taking them!” It was reported later by Jason’s cousin that Claude told all the family in reference to Jason’s ability to procreate, “That Jay, he’s quite a man!” (Guess he didn’t really understand the infertility part.)
When the 85-year-old landlord of our tiny 800-foot apartment saw us carrying babies into the apartment one day, he stopped and asked about them. (This was before he started complaining that it was never in the lease that we could keep four babies in there.) We told him they were our quadruplets. He got the hugest grin and looked at Jason with a gleaming eye. He chuckled and elbowed Jason like he was the bees-knees. “Well, aren’t you the manly man! Wow, aren’t you the one that’s got the raging testosterone!”
When the “Quad Squad” (friends of my parents from their church, mostly) came over to help with the kids in their first months, one woman walked into the compact apartment, took one look around, and said, “Whew, this is small. When are you moving?” We weren’t. It’s what we could afford and I thought actually quite nice. Another woman came in not long after and said just about the same thing, but within an hour of her departure that day, her daughter, a realtor, called, saying she’d been referred to us by her mother because we were in the market for a new house and she wanted to start showing us places.
It was all well intended, I’m sure. We didn’t sweat it too much. We’d laugh along when people said dumb things, or we’d strategize to minimize exposure, like separating the kids into two carts at Sam’s and going in different directions so no one could know we were together and start talking to us. We were pretty relaxed parents. Went with the flow. (Some of my Quad Squad people probably didn’t think that because I made them stay away if they were sick, scrub in like a surgeon if they stayed, and leave their shoes by the door.)
By the picture you can tell what kind of mom I really was. I just stuck them up on the wall with Velcro and then I’d go sit and watch TV all day. No biggie. Easy peasy. See how contained they are? Everyone should try it.
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