Complaining about people who are trying to be nice is probably not nice itself … but I’m going to anyway.
Pumpkin is almost 3 years old. She’s smart, sassy, loving and very perceptive. A few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon, the whole family went to the grocery store. Just before leaving the house she insisted on putting on her Abby Cadabby costume. So Mr. G pushed Abby Cadabby in the shopping cart, while Peanut took a ride in my sling. A woman approached me and gushed over the baby and how beautiful she is and paid absolutely no attention to Pumpkin, two feet away, wearing a bright pink wig and waving a magic wand. “I’m Abby Cadabby!” she said to the woman, who remained oblivious.
This is not the first time, nor the last, that we’ve been out in public and Peanut gets doted on by strangers who somehow don’t think to say anything to her sister. The one who understands what they are saying. The one who is already adjusting to the whole world no longer revolving around her. On this particular day, she took it in stride. Once, though, when I was still on maternity leave, one too many people in line at Starbucks talked to me about the baby and Pumpkin had a complete meltdown when we left.
This past weekend, while furniture shopping, it happened again, while the girls were sitting side by side. The woman went on and on about Peanut, like there weren’t two of them sitting right there. “You must take lots of pictures of her,” she said, finally. “I do,” I said. “Of both of them.” But I’m not sure she took the hint.
I’m sure there’ve been times in my life where I’ve said something that unintentionally hurt someone, even something meant as a compliment. But I hope that this has taught me to consider my audience, and choose my words more carefully.