Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New York City Lesson #1

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?)


Unknown said...

30 minutes. Hahahahahaha!

Carina said...

I'm just reminded of this article I read a few years ago about Laura, that Project Runway contestant who lives in Manhattan and has 5 kids--ON PURPOSE. What?

The article was all "Lots of Kids: New Status Symbol!"

Jubilant Johnsons said...

Welcome to the east coast Hailey! Glad to have some more family out this way. Excited to read about your adventures in the big city.

Kristen said...

you get to catch a lot of convos (that's a word you can steal from me ;) j/k) from other tables very easily in manhattan as you can play footsie you're so close. it kinda bugged me about eating out there.

Also, no joking about Heidi klum, you may become besties with a famous actress if you hang out at central park...a girl in my ward that lived in manhattan 4 yrs said her friend in her ward there became awesome friends with Jennifer Garner b/c she was with her daughter at c.p. and they got to talking b/c their girls started playing together, and exchanged phone numbers and then next thing they know, Jen and Ben are inviting them over for dinner and having play dates and stuff. Weird, huh?

Maybe you weren't saying this, and I was just projecting my own feelings on what you wrote, but it is very different living in a "foreign land" and I am a "Western" girl too meaning, not so much of the Asian Persuasion. We're only here for a short while and we're going to eat it up and take advantage of all it has to offer which is a lot. Plus I hear it just takes 6 months to get used to and then everything becomes second nature and you don't realize it anymore. Just like after awhile I didn't notice that I was the only white person at Sam's in Maryland. I'm sure you won't even notice the stares after awhile.

hmm, shoulda just sent that all in an email. haha sorry for the novel and unsolicited advice.

Grasshopper said...

east coast girls rock, so welcome to the club. can we come visit and add to the chaos? i've missed reading your hilarious words, so i'm clad you're back in the blogosphere. and you're now within driving distance... woohoo!

Lisa said...

Well, I'm a MIDWESTERN girl living in the WEST, so you can imagine how offended I am about what that dad said. . . Also, you can imagine why I've given up trying to be awesome. I have no hope: Raised in the midwest, live in Utah, 5 kids. . . PRETTY AWESOME! And it's all ON PURPOSE! You should never let me on the streets of New York Towne. I can't hold my tongue! (I love that you're there "fighting the fight" for all of us. . .you know what I mean!)

Beeswax said...

Well, I'm glad you're back online. Can't wait to hear about all your adventures.

erin said...

Woo hoo! Welcome back to blogville. I like to see what you're up to :)

Jenni said...

You're back! I've been dying to hear about all your "Awesome" adventures. I hear bits and pieces from SHerry. I just need to call you one of these days. DId you keep your same number? MIss you!!

Annette said...

Hi Hailey! I can't wait to hear about your adventures in the city. I'm sure they will be entertaining! I'll never forget being told "I can't believe those are all yours!" (three) in San Diego. I'll bet that's even more fun in NYC.

Kelly said...

New to your blog. I live in the East with 5 kids (not quite Manhattan but still...) I know exactly where you are coming from. I used to be bothered by it but now I kind of like shocking people. And soon they start to think you are some kind of wonder woman with super magical powers. I like having the conversation about how having more kids means built in play-dates and now (for me) baby sitters. It's a different style of parenting but one that makes more sense than the only child family. A child that needs my attention 100% of the time is no fun at all. That is what they have you know which is why they can't imagine that times 4.

bionictrout said...

I kind of like the attention on the streets. I honestly think of it as a status symbol more than anything. Kind of like parking a Maserati at church. No on around here would ever have this many kids unless they were filthy rich! Combine that with the fact that I walk around in the middle of the day like I have no job: you got yourself a stew, baby.

Also, my favorite line from Ethan's play-date-mate, after strolling into our living room, casually looking around, and then turning to me: "Huh. Nice place you got her." (Me: Thanks.)