I’ve always sorted of patted myself on the back and thought it was due to my spectacular parenting (haha) that my children didn’t point out the personal, physical characteristics of strangers in public. Like, if I don’t comment on someone’s weight or age, then my children certainly won’t notice. And if they don’t notice, they certainly won’t comment on it. Right?
That’s so not true.
It turns out, G and Little Missy just were not observant. But boyeee, Baby Chickadee is. Which is really nice when I come down the stairs in a new shirt and she stares at me for a second before saying, “Is dat a new shirt, Mommy? I wike it!” It is NOT really nice when she points to the lady behind you at Dillon’s and says,”She is old,” and does not take heed when you try to divert her attention to the candy but instead takes your chin in her teeny hands, turns your face to look at the kind woman minding her own business and says, “See? She is old! Like a grammy.”
And I am really flummoxed about what to do. Sometimes I continue the dying attempt of diversion, sometimes I nod and say, “Yes, we are all ages, aren’t we!?” with a smile on my face. And the awkwardness lives to see a new day.
Thursday I took the kids to Chick-Fil-A as a treat for an orthodontics consultation. Not that THEY minded the orthodontist--still no braces, a quick break from school--and so therefore didn’t really need a treat, but that fried chicken beckons to me from Augusta, so how could I deny the call when I was a mere three miles away?
As we sat and enjoyed the batter S. Truett Cathy perfected, Baby Chickadee’s face lit up before she pointed at a lady walking behind me. “Mommy! There’s a baby in her tummy!” Judging from G’s face I knew that there was no baby in that woman’s tummy. So I nodded and said, “That’s wonderful!,” hoping it would put to rest any more excited comments.
It did not.
The woman walked behind me again and Baby Chickadee realized the woman had TWO babies: “one in her tummy and one in the highchair!” (Nope, still wrong, little girl.) G, my sweet son who is sometimes painfully oblivious to social niceties and sometimes all too aware, was this day too aware. His eyes got wide and he shoved his hands in front of his sister’s mouth in an attempt to protect all of us from more embarrassment. Even at the young age of nine, that kid knows you never comment on whether or not a woman is pregnant. And you especially don’t yell it in a restaurant.
Page 2 of 2 - Diversion worked that time. I nodded--acknowledging her statement--then asked if her chicken nuggets were delicious. She nodded and forgot about the woman minding her own business with only one child in attendance.
Pretty soon I’ll start lighting fireworks that I will keep in my pockets for just occasions just like this. It will be diversion at its finest.
Erin Fox is a busy wife and mother of three. She is a weekly columnist for the Times- Gazette.