Friday, March 30, 2012

Post Office Redux...

Sometimes I wish I had a sign that said, "Yes, I do have my hands full, thank you, could you please get the door?".

We went back to the post office today. I took the babies and The Boy, a bag of red lentils and the wool socks I knitted for my sister Laura, and some pictures The Boy had painted for our friend who is in the hospital. We needed to send everything out today. The lentils and socks go to Nome, Alaska. The pictures go to Tidewater, Virginia. I had both addresses with me. I had no boxes or envelopes for them, but I figured we would take care of that part when we got there.

It was that time of the morning when errands can go well. The babies had napped, were fed, changed and happy, and were cooing in their car seats. The Boy was cheerful, having had a rare treat of a juice box in the car with some graham crackers. He cooperatively hung onto the handle of the Belle's car seat (which made it much heavier on my right arm, but at least it was easy to keep track of him). I stashed the pictures, the lentils and the socks with accompanying note in my bag, threw it over my left shoulder and carried the Bug's car seat with my left arm.

We stumbled slowly up the ramp to the front door of the post office, the car seats alternately knocking into the railing or into my shins. When we got to the entrance, I tried setting down the Belle's seat to open the door with my right arm, but The Boy started to bounce away toward the steps. Grabbing his wrist with my left thumb and index finger and holding on tight, I picked up the car seat again in my right hand and backed into the door, opening it with my shoulder. The second door was harder, as it was opening toward us already with someone coming out, and she didn't hold it for me. I tried to catch it with my foot, but The Boy was already on his way through, still clinging to the car seat and kind of dragging the rest of us behind him.

We squeezed through the door without serious injury. I plopped everyone in front of the Priority Mail display to try to figure out what size boxes and envelopes we needed. I let out the breath I'd been holding since the door incident. We had made it inside.

That's when I realized that everyone was staring at us.

The Postmaster knows us. She was smiling indulgently, asking if we needed help. She came around the counter to get my lentils and socks to weigh them and offer her advice on how to package them. Sending things to Nome isn't cheap, and she always tries to help me out. I think she'd do this even if I didn't have so many little children with me. That's just the kind of lady she is...a helpful, small town Postmistress.

And everyone else?

Here's what they said today. (You can't make this stuff up. We get most of the comments on this list every time we go somewhere. The full list is much longer, but that's another post for another day.)

"You sure got your hands full."
"Are those twins?"
"Are they identical?"
"My cousin had twins, but one died."
"They don't look like twins to me."
"I bet you're tired."
"Are they boys or girls?"
"Are they paternal?"
"Is that one a boy? Are you sure?"
"Wow, you have your hands full."
"My sister-in-law adopted twins. They cried all the time. Do yours cry all the time?"
"I think that one is the serious one."
"How old are they? They're really small for twins."
"They're cute."
"That's a handful."
"Oh, my goodness. You have more babies? I didn't know you were going to have any more babies."
"Two girls? And you already got your boy. Well, you're done."
"They're really big for twins."
"Hey, look. She has twins."

I smiled, bit my tongue, and tried to finish mailing our packages.

We left the post office 23 minutes after we got there. There was no line. It just takes that long to do almost anything, especially when people have so much to contribute. I'm often surprised by how much easier it has gotten to do this errand. The first time I did it by myself, it took the better part of the day. Today, I managed to do it much more efficiently!

I should get a sticker or something for improvement.

Unfortunately, no one helped us with the doors on the way out, either.

To be clear, I don't go anywhere expecting anyone to help me unless I bring someone along specifically for that purpose. I don't take all three littles anyplace by myself unless I think I can handle it. I don't have extra arms, but I'm learning to compensate, and I can do a lot with the two I have.

However, if you are going to make a big issue over how full my hands are, it seems like the least you could do would be to offer to get the door.