So, New York City. What the backwards universe? How is a city in the same country that I have lived in my whole life so utterly different from everywhere I have ever lived in my whole life? Translation: I am a WESTERN girl. The furthest east I have ever lived is Chicago, and that barely counts because I lived in the land of John Hughes movies, the North Shore. With that in mind, I present you with one of the first things I figured out about this city:
People in Manhattan do not have four children. It is just not DONE. If you happen to accidentally get pregnant with a third kid, you immediately head for them country hills. Just last week, at a new family welcome breakfast at my kids' school, I met a dad who said he had three kids. He saw my twins and just assumed I had one other at the school because he said, "I mean, having three is majorly pushing it! You have any more than that and you may as well be one of those crazy families living on the prairie in... (at this part, I actually held my breath and willed him to not say Utah.)...the midwest!" Oh ha! Those Midwesterners! Phew. I neglected to mention my four kids, shoved a croissant in my mouth, and politely moved along my merry way. Any time our whole family ventures out of our apartment to walk the streets, we get stares, gasps, pointing, exclamations, and tsk tsks. Since when did I wake up and become Britney Spears? It's super weird. Our very first night in the city, our family went to a pizzeria. After we sat down, I happened to catch a bit of the conversation at the neighboring table:
"On the one I saw, there were like 19 wives."
"Well, but I think traditionally, three is the norm."
Coincidence? I think not.
Just yesterday, I had a good laugh because Ethan had his first "playdate." I met the boy's nanny at the classroom and she walked home with us. We all went inside our building, then our apartment, and then she took off her shoes and not knowing the NY playdate rules, I just kind of went along with it. Ben was home and I gave him this look like, "Oh boy, this should be interesting!" and these images crossed my mind of the boys, the nanny, and I having lightsaber duels and building Legos together. Were we supposed to play with them? She already knew about Mila so when she saw one of the twins, she said, "Oh wow, you have 3?" When I told her that there was a copy of that one just around the corner, she gave me that open-mouthed look I've gotten used to seeing. She got out the little boy's organic power bar snack and then asked me if it was ok if she could leave. I said, "Oh yes, of course! We will be fine!" Then she said, "Are you sure? There are a lot of kids here--can you handle all of them?" Me, trying not to laugh, "No, I think we're good, thanks! What time do you want to pick him up?" Her answer was the best: "Well, in about 30 minutes because we don't want to overwhelm you." Bwahahahahahahahaha! These people are awesome! So I sent her on her way and gave the kids popsicles and let them have their two seconds of playtime as I smiled to myself and remembered Utah days gone by of ten children roaming my house. I did ask the little boy a few questions and found out he was an only child. I hope he gets to come over lots more!
All that being said, I don't think it's impossible to live in the city with four kids. I think there are like 2 other families in the ward doing it! And what about Heidi Klum? My kids are making the transition well, and they don't seem to notice all the unsolicited attention they're getting, so there you have it.
(Can someone please give me Heidi Klum's phone number?)