Thursday, November 15, 2007

Doctor Visit

The other morning, I took The Boy for his final follow-up after breaking his elbow. I brought with me my three youngest as that was the way our schedule worked out that morning. As you might imagine, The Boy and I and our three small attendants attracted some unwarranted attention in the doctor's office.

When the doctor came in to greet us, he commented on how many of *us* there were:

"I see you brought the whole crew this morning," he chuckled.

"Not quite," I replied cautiously, "I have two more who are in school."

"Oh my," his raised eyebrows expressed, "I only have two hands and could barely handle three children."

Thinking back to Dr. Ray's talk, I remembered "the response" his wife used when questioned about the size of their family, but not wanting to offend the doctor gave a watered down version of it, "Well, our kids are generally well-behaved, so it's not that bad."

As the visit finished, he turned to me and said, "You know something, they actually are well-behaved." And walked out into the hallway, leaving the door open thus inviting in a nearby nurse, who also felt compelled to comment on our family:

"You must be a brave mommy to take all your kids to the doctor's office,"she mused.

Taking a deep breath, I said (again), "Not really. These aren't all my kids."

Relieved she said, "Oh, they're not all yours."

Thinking that we were almost out the door, thus ending this conversation, I calmly said, "No, they're all mind, but I have two more in school." The look on her face said it all, but if it hadn't the very obvious "point and count-out-loud" method she began using to calculate the number of children in our family was about all I could take before 9:00am.

"Just how many kids do you have?" she screeched, "Is it six?" I nodded. "SIX!?!" she uttered in disbelief, as though I just affirmed the existence of Martian life. She turned to The Boy and said sarcastically, "Is she on medication?"

Thoughts began running through my head. Did she just ask me if I was on medication? No, did she just ask my 12 year old SON if his MOTHER was on medication? Yes, I believe she did. Dr. Ray's wife's response wasn't as offensive as I thought. What was it again? Oh yes. Now I remember...

"Six well-disciplined children are much easier to handle than one un-disciplined one," I spat out and we left. I was furious. I certainly didn't walk through the office condemning the reproductive choices of anyone with less children than me; why, then, was it socially acceptable to question my choice and even engage my pre-teen son in mocking the decisions of his "medicated", and therefore obviously crazy, mother?

Anyone have any answers? If I can remember to take all my sanity pills, I'll be back later to read your thoughts...


Michelle said...

Jane, I wish I had an answer to your question about why people feel free to make negative, derrogatory and hurtful comments about large families. One thing I tell my children--if strangers start pumping my children for information and if they're uncomfortable my children recite this line, "Please feel free to ask my parents." It angers me to no end when people *go after* my kids asking how many of us there are, if they all love each other, if they're related biologically, did they come with accessories (I kid you not), etc.

Are you going to contact the office manager and file a complaint?

We just changed dentists for that very reason. Our new dentist is Catholic and has a large family. When we came in, he THANKED us for coming and praised the children for their good behavior.

Life in Fitzville said...

I have sooo been there, done that. Sorry you had to deal with such ignorance. Every so often a quick comeback pops out of my mouth. One woman rolled her eyes and said "Better you than me!" And I quickly replied "yes, my kids would agree!"

Thankfully my doctor and dentist offices know our kids really well and love them. I have had other patients make comments and had a nurse jump in and say how well behaved my crew is.

You just wonder what people are thinking sometimes. Maybe being incredibly blunt would work in a situation like that... "Excuse me, did you just ask my son if I am on medication??? Because that was incredibly inappropriate."

Julie said...

Well, it was a bad situation, but it made a really entertaining blog post -- just looking on the bright side. I wish I had an answer for you. With only 4 adoptive boys, we get these kinds of comments, too. I'd say half of the comments we receive are positive and half are negative. If we were to adopt one more, then we'd gradually get more negative comments.

That being said, I know Brett and I are in awe of you and Pat. I'm sure others are as well. And maybe, just maybe, after you left the doctor's office, the lady turned around and said, "That woman must be a saint! How does she do it?!"

Anonymous said...

I am in shock at the rudeness she was to you!
But, I just LOVE your response.
THank you for posting this. it reminds me that i need a refresher on comebacks! so i am as ready as you were
but alas, there is only 5 on my end (well for now...)

Becky said...

Whatever Fool! That's my comment to the nurse and her wacko comment! To all the great family like your that have lots of kiddos...keep adding to your families! The world needs wonderful people raised by wonderful parents. We get these comments too and we are only going on 4 kids! Yikes, I can only imagine how much worse it will get.

Anonymous said...

Clearly "Fitzy's" comment idea was beautiful, but of course I loved Becky's " whatever fool" comment as well! It was completely out of line for her to ask the boy such a rude question about his mother. She has messed with the you know who's...

patjrsmom said...

Okay, I just had a great idea. Next doctor's appointment I have---I'll take you all with me (feel free to bring your kids)!

You are all so thoughtful and so sweet--and so incredibly funny and clever. I'm noting all of your responses on a notecard for future use.

Becky, I'll never be able to look at your picture again without seeing you saying, "Whatever fool!" LOL!

You guys are the best!


Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

I am about 2 months away from my first baby, so I have never had to experience this. But I have lots of big Catholic families as friends and I hear these sorts of stories all the time. Soooo truly sad.

Her comment to your son would have sent me into the stratusphere though. I definitely think your reply was MORE than called for. I am not sure I would have been AS charitable.

God Bless you for raising a beautiful large family. May Our Lady's Mantle always protect you!


Lily said...

I also have six, and my 'favorite' questions are, "Do you know where they come from?" and "Don't you watch TV at your house?" My answers are no and no. LOL. Why don't you tell me what I'm missing.

Of course, I also get the "Are they all YOURS?" and "You and your husband are the parents of ALL the children?" I guess they think I'm a woman of loose morals or that my husband and I are on multiple marriages. It always stuns these people to hear that we've been married nearly 20 years, did nothing to prevent multiple pregnancies, and we aren't on medication or insane.

Oh, hi Jamie! 0/ I found this blog through your comment on hers, and I see she's a regular here!

God bless you.