“First child?” We get asked that a lot. I wonder what it is about us that gives it away. Do we look so green as parents?
“Yes“, we said in unison.
“Don’t have anymore. One is enough“, she offered unsolicited advice. I looked around at her children. They seemed alright. Well behaved enough. What was the issue?
“How old is it?“, she asked me. Petite and covered up like it was winter, this mumma of three had been watching my daughter play as she minded her own children. It took me a few seconds to realize that she was asking me how old my daughter was!
It? A child running about the playground in a skirt and singlet. Surely she could tell that the ‘it’ was a girl?
“She is 20 months old“, we said in an unintended chorus.
“It?“, I mouthed to my husband, who was standing right beside me.
“Maybe she couldn’t figure out whether she was a boy or girl“, he offered helpfully.
“Really? The skirt and her pony tail didn’t give it away?”
She had a boy of about 5 and twin girls a couple of years younger. It couldn’t have been that hard to figure out.
“20, you say? Oh my God, my son was even younger!“, she sounded excited. At this point, I had no clue why she was excited and I was beginning to wonder if she was okay up there.
“Niku, you were a month younger!“, she called out to her son. Did he know what she was talking about?
“My son was 19 months old. He was younger than she is now when I brought home the twins“, she beamed.
Normally, at this point, I would say something like “Ooh, that must have been hard” or “Wow, that would’ve been a handful” but this time I didn’t. After reading about the super-sensitive mummas around the globe, I have learnt that I need to be careful what I say. There is nothing I could say that would definitely be seen as correct. Some mums out there would get frustrated if you tell them that they probably ‘have a handful’ or ask them if ‘it was hard’ or even tell them it would be hard & offer support.
So, I simply said “Wow!”
It could mean “Wow! What a super-mom you are” or it could be “Wow, that must’ve been a handful or rough or whatever” or even “Wow, how rude“. Left open to interpretation, she could finish my sentence with whatever works for her. No mummy bashing. Keep calm and be nice.