Friday, October 16, 2009

It's All Fun and Games...

People tease me.
And I don't mind.
It's when people make fun of me--then I mind.

Let me explain.

I grew up in a family/household that teased. We said silly things, told jokes, pulled funny little (harmless) tricks. Like if we got up from the table to get something, my dad would sometimes switch plates with us and wait for us to notice--that kind of thing.
We laughed often.
We were taught to laugh at ourselves when we said or did something a little foolish.

I say this to tell you that it's not like I've never been teased before.

But there is a difference between teasing and making fun of someone. Making fun of someone, to me, is the same as mocking them. Just so we're clear on how I define "teasing" and "making fun."

Teasing doesn't make someone feel bad.
Making fun of someone does.

For instance, I might tease our Andrew, who LOVES hamburger noodle hotdish in this way.
Andrew: "Mom, what's for supper?"
Mom: "Hamburger noodle hotdish. I know that's a real bummer for you...such a disappointment, since it's not really your favorite meal..."
Andrew: "Mooommmm...It IS my favorite!!!"

See, I'm just teasing; not making fun of the fact that he really likes hotdish.

Why am I posting this stuff?
I'll tell you.

Some people tease me about how many kids we have.
Many more people make fun of me--mock me--for how many kids we have. They say really hurtful things, often in front of my kids.

They make fun of our family size, as if we are uncontrollable breeders or something, with questions like,
Don't you know what causes that??
You do know how to put a stop to that, don't you?

These are the kind of things that are aimed at insulting my intelligence. Said to make it appear as if the other person is so much smarter, more enlightened than I.

What do we as parents teach our kids all the time?
That when we say something in an attempt to build ourselves up and put someone else down--that's wrong.

Please don't misunderstand me. I enjoy teasing--both to give it and receive it.
I don't enjoy making fun of someone or being made fun of.

Here are some things that people say, and how we respond (occasionally even out loud.)

Wow--glad they're yours and not mine!
Me, too.
or if the question is addressed to Dennis, he'll say
Me, too, 'cause their mom is my wife.

How do you remember all their names?
Do you not know more than seven people?
Remembering their names is no problem--putting the correct name with the right kid, therein lies the challenge.

Don't you know what causes that??
Dennis prefers to answer this one with: Yep. And I like it.

You sure have your hands full, don't you?
Better than having them empty.

Wow, I can hardly the stand the two I have!
I have no response for this, other than it makes me very, very sad. Especially because it is often said in front of their own kids.

I know that most people are not trying to be hurtful. I just want people to stop and think about what they are saying and how it will sound.

Couldn't more people just look at children--no matter how many there are--and say, "Wow...what a blessing."


  1. Well said. Sadly, many people do not view children as a blessing.

  2. Melissa, I have been the brunt of these rude comments as well and we only have 4. What's worse is that they started when I was pregnant with #3 AND my in-laws have even said some of these things to me. I love your responses. People always think they have a right to comment on our fertility or lack there of. When we had been married for a while and had lost Joshua and 2 other miscarriages people would ask us if we were going to try again. Derek's favorite response was "yes, last night." That usually shut them up. I just try to ignore it or come up with something cute and clever like you have done. Thank goodness you know who's opinion matters and it isn't theirs!


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