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Saturday, February 23, 2008

I swear I haven't discussed this with him!

In my quest for more Elmo, I came across a YouTube video of Elmo and Alicia Keys, which reminded me of a conversation I overheard between the X-Man and a friend of his, when they were about four years old. They were watching Alicia Keys sing with Elmo.

"That's one of those ladies who doesn't wear a bra," said the X-Man's friend with great authority, who I swear is from a very nice family.

"Well, you don't have to wear a bra, just if you're going to exercise or you have a baby in your tummy," was the X-Man's equally sure response.

I have no idea where he got that idea. For the record, I wear a bra all the time, thanks to three children and years of breastfeeding. And, although I can't claim that we're as nice as that other family, we're not too trashy, either. At least not around the kids.

"Well, she does have a baby in her tummy."

"No, she doesn't."

"Yes," argued the X-Man's friend, making a motion in front of his own tummy to show how round he thought the lovely and slender Ms. Keys' belly was, "She does!"

They argued back and forth and I felt very glad that Alicia didn't have to hear it. As most men, and some truly clueless ladies, have learned firsthand, no one likes being told they look pregnant. I never ask if some one's pregnant, unless I can see the baby crowning. Even then, I'd probably say something like,

"Oh, my goodness! Are you pregnant? I had NO IDEA!"

I would make a very annoying labor and delivery nurse, wouldn't I?

Most women with children have been asked the question when the answer was a definite "no." It's always awkward, probably more so for the asker. When our first child was born, he stayed in the hospital for a month, because he was born two months early. Given that I gained eighty pounds in the mere seven months I was pregnant and he weighed a measly three and a half pounds (Do the math. It's fairly horrifying.), I didn't quite look not pregnant for a while. That, combined with the fact that I was supposed to still be pregnant and didn't have a newborn to carry around, led to some awkward moments. I would see someone I knew coming towards me, ready to ask me how much longer I had to go. I'd try to interrupt them before they could ask and save them the embarrassment, but some people are determined to talk first. Serves them right*.

"You don't have much longer to go now, do you? Ha ha ha!"

Since I was so enormous and not due for two more months, I guess they felt safe. I was usually able to breeze past the moment without too much suffering by whipping out a stack of pictures of our cute little tree frog in his incubator. It sure was a relief when he made it to the magic four pound mark and got to come home. No more awkward moments! Hooray! And there are some advantages to having a baby that small. He looked like a newborn for about three months, so I was able to walk around like a whale without attracting too much attention**.

As for people who are determined to make a meal out of their feet, I have no pity. I have a friend who, by her own admission, stands a little sway-backed. She has three children and a perfectly nice figure. Like many of us, she's still rebelling against generations of older women telling her to, "Stand up straight!" She does not look pregnant. In my experience, once you've had one baby, if you're not wearing a skin-tight tube top and in possession of a perfect six pack (ab-type, not imported beer-type), the rumors start to fly about your impending birth. My friend was at the gym one day and some big toothed, grinning lady bounces up to her, squealing,

"Ooooh! Congratulations! Another one on the way!"

My friend, having experienced this before, stood up a little straighter and smiled politely.

"No, not me. Ha ha ha!"

The spandex-clad clod would not be deterred. Looking at her with one of those aw-I'll-keep-your-secret faces, she lowered her voice maybe one decibel.

"Yes, you are! How exciting!"

"No, I'm really not," said my too kind friend, "You must be thinking of my sister in law. She's pregnant."

I think this was a very kind thing to do. She gave that annoying twit the perfect out. But some people just won't take it, even when it's handed to them on fine china with a sterling dessert spoon and a perfectly starched linen napkin.

"You are too!"

With that, the most clueless woman ever made the same motion with her hand that my son's friend made to indicate a growing belly and pointed to my friend's belly. As if she was walking around in the dark, completely oblivious to her own condition. I can only imagine this woman thought she was doing her a favor. Wow. Some people...

I think there's only one response to the inappropriate, "Ahhh! Are you expecting?!", and I hereby give you all permission to use it:

"Why, yes! I'm expecting to see you hit the floor just as soon as I punch you in the head as hard as I can!"

Say it with a smile and give them about three seconds to run away, because that's only fair.

Namasté, y'all!

* My suggestion for those folks is, "Get a blog." It's all about you. I love it!

** Oh, the joys of being twenty five years old. I lost all eighty pounds in two or three months, mostly through breastfeeding and walking to the ice cream store four or five times a week with the baby in a sling. Three years later, at twenty eight, I smugly gained the same eighty pounds with baby number two and, to my surprise and dismay, had to actually exercise afterwards to keep from looking like Jabba the Hutt.

1 comment:

Don Mills Diva said...

I can't believe your friend didn't smack that woman!