I used to consider myself the queen of the witty comeback. I've had a lot of training, as growing up the motto was "be witty or die". Sarcasm, insults, and tireless ribbing are the way my family communicates and I could whip out one liners with the best of them.
Recently though, I have been left a bit speechless. It seems wherever we go, someone has something to say. "You're mental" was the first comment I had about he age gap. Theo was 10 days old and I was at a park with all three. I get a lot of "I don't know how you do it" "Are they all yours?" and "Are you a childminder?" and then of course the near-constant "You have your hands full."
In fact, people fall over themselves telling me how full my hands are. Walking up to me in parks, pulling me aside at birthday parties, stopping me in the shops. As if I didn't notice the 4 year old disagreeing with EVERYTHING (apparently this is what 4 year olds do), the one year old running as fast as her fat little legs can go in the opposite direction and the newborn sleeping soundly on my chest, my to do list clutched in my hand like a child's letter to Santa - hoping for a gaggle of elves to get it all done on my behalf.
I have tried telling people the truth- its not that bad. We are busy, but we are fine. In fact, my house is cleaner, my laundry pile smaller, my heart happier than we have been for awhile. Heck, I even get more sleep now than I used to. But people don't believe me...they can't imagine anything but a car crash.
So I keep trying out my one-liners, but so far they've fallen flat. When people ask if I am a childminder, my standard response of "No, but I play one on TV" seems to be a purely American cultural refernce. My friend's suggested response to "Are they all yours" is "Yes and their 16 brothers and sisters are at home," but people just look vaguely bewildered.
And so, like any good stand up comedian, I will keep working on it and secretly hope someone in the neighbourhood has triplets, because really, we are fine.