I Have Three Kids

So the other day, walking to pick up Davy from preschool, I had this exchange with a nice clipboard-carrying young person:

Nice Clipboard-Carrying Young Person: “Excuse me ma’am, do you have a moment to talk about…”


Nice Clipboard-Carrying Young Person (with evident confusion): “Oh! Um, have a good day.”

Now, what I meant to convey was: “No, I’m sorry, I do not have a moment to talk about solar energy, the humpback whales, or Local Bond Measure 42Q, because I have three children, only one of which you see me pushing in this baby stroller right this second. I also have a four year old who is waiting for me to come pick him up from preschool, so I can’t be late. And in addition to that, I have a seven-and-a-half-year-old who managed to convince me just twelve minutes ago that he is now old enough to stay home by himself while I dash out to pick up the preschooler, but now I’m second-guessing that decision and imagining all the terrible things that can happen to a seven-and-a-half-year-old left alone for twelve minutes—which will of course actually be half an hour by the time I get back home with the preschooler and the baby in tow. So you see, I’m fretting and I’m stressed and I’m rushing, all because I have an extra two children that you don’t see here.”

But what came out was: “I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

And the beautiful thing is that the apparent non-sequitur actually somehow conveyed everything I really needed to communicate in that moment, which probably boils down to “I am dangerously unstable and you should not attempt any further interactions with me.” So now I’m thinking about all the other situations in which I HAVE THREE KIDS would constitute a quick and irrefutable way to end the conversation.

“Hi, I’m calling on behalf of a market research company–”

“Have you heard the good news about our Lord and–”

“Excuse me, lady, but you’re standing on my–”

“Ma’am, you really can’t go wandering down the freeway wearing your bathrobe and swigging from a bottle of gin.”

See? It’s pretty much foolproof!

2 Responses to “I Have Three Kids”

  • Robert Cochran Says:

    Priceless! Been there (sort of)… Love, Dad

    • Shannon Phillips Says:

      Yes, you had FIVE kids! And you, yourself, were one of six…my mom was one of four…families used to be bigger, I know. I actually think about it a lot! The only way I can imagine it working is if you stagger the kids out quite a bit (like you did) or have extended family in the area to help out (like most humans have, through most of history).

      Having done it, I truly don’t believe that humans were actually *meant* to raise kids in isolated nuclear family units. The way it’s meant to work, there’d be aunts and uncles and grandparents around, and it wouldn’t be nearly so hard all the time. Sam and I just somehow failed at this particular element of Being Human…even though we actually knew it was going to be important and tried to make it work out differently. (Part of the reason is that our families were already scattered like dandelion seeds all over the map. Maybe it’s capitalism? Or maybe it’s wanderlust in the genes. Whatever, though, it’s not ideal for raising kids.)

Leave a Reply