What to Say When You're Not Expecting
0 comment Monday, July 14, 2014 |
Ever been mistaken for pregnant, asked when you were due? It's happened to me more than a time or two. I thought no insult could be worse. But now? I long for the days I looked young and fertile. I try on clothes and ask hopefully, "does this make me look pregnant?" Because what I get these days is, "Oh. He's a handful! How old is your grandson?"
The first time I was speechless, had no clue what to say, except F you and the horse you rode in on. There I was "registering" Mr. M at Adventure Kids and Chaos (name has been changed to protect my liability). I was in a fog after scrutinizing the "you hold us harmless if we kill your child" clause. Here's how it went down.
Teenage girl employee: Oh, wait, there's one more form for you to sign -- you're not the parent, right?
Me: silent. (she's talking to someone else now; I turn to leave)
Teenage girl employee (loudly now for all to hear): MAM! Uh, Mam! You can't leave yet.
Me (WTF?): What? I am his MOTHER.
Teenage girl employee: Oh, I just thought . . . because a lot of grandparents bring their kids here in the summer-
Me (interrupting): Well don't. No more thoughts please.
But now that this happens on a fairly regular basis (three times in the last month), I'm prepared. "No, you moron asshole. He's my older brother." Though there was one well-meaning young kid in the insulting bunch. I took him under my wing and said, "listen up, son. I'm going to give you some life-altering advice. Never ask a woman if she's pregnant. And never ever ask a woman if she's the grandmother. Got it?"
Okay then. So what about the questions you're not expecting from your kid? Questions like
* what are tampons for? ("why'd you stop buying them" is coming soon)
* why is your skin wrinkly?
* where does copper come from?
* but what's wrong with high fructose corn syrup?
* how many words are there in the English language?
Most of the time I can pivot deftly. "Let me give that some thought." And then for the most frequent query, "will you please buy this for me please?" I have a standard answer: "We'll put that on the list." It's amazingly effective. No idea why, but it works.
And then there's what to say when your child is choking (always an unexpected event). Happened to me at Whole Foods when Mr. M was 3 1/2 years old. I'd given him a life saver. Perfectly safe, I thought. Has a hole in the middle so he can get air. As I'm bent over a basket of baguettes, it happens. The big CHOKE. Not wanting to panic little M, I said calmly but in a LOUD monotone: "My child is choking. My child is choking. Please help me," as I hoisted him out of the cart and Heimliched the shit out of his chest. When the life saver came flying out I pulverized it and cursed it to bloody hell. The whole episode lasted only a minute, mercifully, but it was a slow-motion minute.
As for the nearby organic shoppers supposedly globally aware? Forget it. No mercy there. It was like a sniper had opened fire in the bakery. People fled the scene. (So that RBS commercial where the handsome man in the restaurant saves the dying choker while everyone else goes about calmly eating their lunch? Not so unrealistic). But then you never really know a person until you've travelled, gone broke, gotten sick, or choked.

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