Every so often life blesses you with a pithy comeback, perfectly timed. I enjoy those moments.
The boys and I stopped by Subway to grab a sandwich for dinner.
Subway Sandwich Artist: Are they natural?
At that very moment, Destroy reached up in an attempt to swap out a bag of Baked Lays with the much more enticing selection of Cheetos. Suddenly the entire metal rack displaying a wide variety of salty snacks was impressively ripped from its retail hinges. Chips went flying – several bags cleared the threshold of the restaurant. Carbohydrates for everyone!
Me: Nope. Small Wonder Cyborgs.
(In defense of my son, that rack was totally already loose.)
Later that evening, a friend disrupted my quick-quip revelry with the question, “Why is that a bad question?”
“Are they natural?”
It’s a question all mothers of multiples get. It means, “Did you have IVF?”
Now, to clarify, the eye rolling comes as a result of probing strangers. For close friends and family I have no problem sharing our story. (Clearly, as their entire lives are being blogged on this very site.)
Is it a bad question?
It’s certainly an awkward question. (Again, I maintain friends and family are all too aware of “assistance” needed and progress made. Still, “natural”? Really?) It’s also a very common question. Yup, seriously.
At the root of the inquiry, this complete stranger is curious about the origins of conception.
Guess what – it’s still the birds and the bees. (Except some of those birds may have taken performance-enhancing drugs.) Sex was likely involved. And I can assure you that regardless of method for conception, gestation, delivery, or cryogenic living facilities – not a single one of our bundles of joy are synthetic. (That only happens in Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence, a truly terrible movie.)
I am in no way ashamed of how my children came into being. They were desperately wanted. And yes, the million dollar miracle muppets are the result of fertility treatments (not IVF in our particular case – gonadotropins via a hell of a lot of shots to the stomach).
Whether a naturally conceived surprises, shots that result in several babies, “test tube” babies, donor egg, surrogate, or adopted, there is nothing abnormal, unusual or different about these children. Their start may not have been the most typical – but they are all made of organic material.
And trust me, if the preschooler manages to get within arms reach of anything after engaging in a full body Cheetos experience – only the orange cheese-like coating is unnatural.
In closing, they’re real – and they’re fantastic. And no, they’re not identical. I promise. So maybe just comment on how cute they are.
3 Responses to Are They Natural?
AI was possibly the worst movie ever made. Even worse than Highlander II.
Also, I am reminded of the times my friends, who have adopted children who do not resemble them, are asked “Are they yours?”
WTH… “No, we just picked them up from the street, dressed them in matching outfits, let them throw Cheetos all over the minivan, and thought we would establish college funds for them at random.”
Amen. And let’s not forget having purchased the minivan in the first place!
I know of parents whose adopted children are of another race who carry copies of documents proving they are the parents. Cops have questioned them.
I can’t say I have had any really negative experiences with strangers, but when my kids were younger, I did get questions. I could tell people in line at the store, etc. were “sizing us up”, trying to categorize my family. Because the kids look nothing alike, but they looked so very close in age. Usually after a moment or two, the person would ask, “Are they…. twins?” in a way that said they knew they were not twins, but there was no other explanation he or she could come up with. But at this point, I had a choice. Do I go into the long story? Does this complete stranger really need to know the details of how we formed our family, especially when I don’t know what kind of a thing is going to come out of his or her mouth next in front of my children? If I don’t explain the situation will my kids think I am trying to hide it? So sometimes I told the truth, and mostly people come back with a story about someone else they know who that happened to. So far nothing negative about adoption, thank goodness. Sometimes, I just say, no they are just really close in age.
Now that they look like they could be more than a year apart, I don’t get the questions as much. But I am know fielding the questions as they make friends at school with other parents.
The line is there though. To me, “Are they natural?” is a ridiculous question and way too personal. Worded as “Did you do IVF?” it sounds rude and intrusive, but it is the same question.