Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

We must be Amish

"You have a lot of tids," says the 3 year old who doesn't yet pronounce the "k" sound. We were babysitting for him and his little brother. His comment made me laugh. What was going through his mind when he saw a constantly appearing stream of kids while he was happily playing in the basement?

I wonder if he thinks we have a larger (I still refuse to say "large") family because we're of a lower income than his family, or because my husband and I have low IQs, or because we don't have access to birth control? Or maybe it's because we're agrarian or Amish? I wonder because just this week my 11th grade son's English teacher told the class that those are the reasons parents have large families. This lecture came in response to an essay the class read on poverty and the faster rate of population growth in developing countries in comparison to the rest of the world. She then went on to state the above reasons for large families.

I don't know where she got her information but I do think it would be an interesting read. I also think it would be interesting to find out why she looked at my son when she got to the last category. He says he smiled nicely and simply said, "We're not Amish." My son, who was probably wearing shorts and most definitely wearing a T-shirt, and sitting in a public high school? Amish? Really? We live not that far from Amish populations. I really think she should be able to tell the difference.

Not that being Amish is all that bad. I am intrigued by the simple life. I certainly wouldn't have to do so much driving, horses or otherwise, if we were Amish. Because I'm fairly certain the Amish do not play community or high school sports, they do not take dance lessons or violin lessons, nor do they act in regional theatre. Well, have you ever seen a horse and buggy pull up to the local Little League game and drop off a kid or two (or three)? And I used to think I wanted to live on a farm. And I like animals.

I guess it was a simple process of elimination for her. And of the other options, I think I can see how she thought we were Amish. But really, didn't her research say anything about some parents just liking children? Is it possible that there are those of us who have decided that rather than the latest cell phones and technological equipment, we prefer to fill our houses with new faces? And maybe, just maybe, that rather than a large, empty house with a few people at each end, we prefer a small house with people you trip over every time you turn around? And maybe there are those who feel called to care for orphans?

After Andrew informed her that we aren't Amish, she said, "Well, then, what about Mennonite?" Well, maybe she's better at this guessing game than I thought. And partly right. Mennonite-ism does account for Child #1 - Child #4, but unfortunately does not explain the rest of the team.

You know, I suddenly have this great urge to schedule a parent-teacher conference, pull out that plain cape dress that was my great-grandmother's, and show up at the high school wearing it. Andrew says I'd better not.

Maybe I'll just ask for the references for her statistics. But I'll have to call from the neighbor's house. We're Amish, remember. We don't have a phone.


  1. I pray that you will have wisdom and discernment in deciding what to do about this incident. This made me "spit in your face MAD" to read. It seems unbelievable(in a way) that she was so clueless and offensive. It says much about the relationship you have with your son that he was comfortable telling you all about it. I hope writing about it helped, too.

  2. I could feel your frustration but also your humor toward the end. My parents come from bigger families (9 kids in one) and it was such a blessing growing up having many cousins, aunts/uncles, and FAMILY.

    Some people judge. Some people say stupid things. If you aren't dating, they wonder if you are getting yourself out there. If you are dating they want you to get married. If you are married, they want you to have kids. If you have kids, they want you to have more kids. And if you have many kids, they wonder why so many. Some people are insatiable.

    I am an unmarried woman, no children, who is closer to 40 than 30. I get the opposite end of the spectrum with the, "You poor thing" kind of pity looks. Just this week, I want to shout sometimes, "Hey, I'm happy. This is my life. I'm good with it."

    Okay... went on a rant there. Sorry. :)

    I am so appreciative for all of your writing this past month. I've really enjoyed getting to know you and your family. I hope you keep writing!

    1. And thank you for stopping by, I really appreciate all of your kind words. And thanks for sharing here. Yes, this is all very true. I once found an engagement card that on the front said, "Congratulations, you're engaged! Now people will stop asking when you plan to get engaged." On the inside it said, "So when are you going to have children?" It was so true! Maybe some time you do need to tell people that you are happy, that this is your life, and that you're good with it. If for no other reason than to get their reaction. :) As I like to say, "This is my story. It doesn't have to look like yours." Or maybe you should have a meltdown, be overly dramatic, and cry on their shoulder. That'd be funny. It's been fun to complete the challenge with you.

  3. Having a big family means big fun! Amish or not, I'm jealous! Thanks for your comment on my third grade slicer blog. My students are my great big family and they adored the comments we got! And we're not Amish either!