As a parent of multiples, most of us eventually grow accustomed to the “You’ve got your hands full!”-type comments. I have my stock answers to those, most of which [I hope] are pretty gracious, recognizing that folks don’t generally mean to be as annoying as they sometimes are.
What really bugs me, though, are comments that I’m sure all parents get…regardless of how many children are trailing them through the grocery store…comments centered on how our children look. I am working so hard to model the importance of a happy, kind, and caring heart and the joy of curiosity. Your braided pigtails and the adorable ruffle shirt you have on are no comparison to who you are as a person.
Even being sensitive to this topic, I know it’s hard. When I see the most adorable chubby-cheeked kiddo, the first thought that comes to my mind usually is, “What a CUTIE PIE you have there!”
Since having children, I’ve tried to reform myself. My stock comment is usually along the lines of “What curious eyes you have! I bet you love to learn!” Or I might pick up on a clue about something the child is wearing. “I see you have a kitty cat on your shirt. Do you have a kitty at home? What’s your kitty’s name? We have a kitty, too!”
I know I can’t count on that kind of engaging conversation from the general public. It’s up to me to respond to the “What pretty little girls you are!” comments with “And they’re super smart, too!” or “They’re beautiful on the inside, too!”
That, I’ve learned to handle.
What I think is toughest to deal with is when someone makes a comment about one of our girls in comparison to the other.
Our girls are “very” fraternal, as I like to say…one has blue eyes and fair skin, and the other has brown eyes and a more olive complexion. B’s eyes are pretty piercing, and they get a lot of attention. It’s happened more than once that we’ve heard, “WOW! What amazing blue eyes you have! They are so beautiful!” And then the person turns to A, seemingly as an afterthought, and says something like, “Oh, and you have pretty brown eyes.”
Then I feel like I’m in the precarious position of trying to support that both my girls are beautiful, before I can even try to divert the conversation away from the physical.
I love taking my girls grocery shopping, as I think it can be a great educational exercise. In addition to the meal planning, list making, coupon cutting, and produce weighing, I like that the girls get to practice their manners with a cross-section of people we encounter.
Maybe I should look at it as having twins just makes for more learning opportunities as we navigate what sometimes feels like a landmine of comments.
Do you have any stock responses to comments about your children? How do you handle when people try to compare them to each other?
MandyE is a SAHM to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls. She blogs about their adventures and reflections on parenthood at Twin Trials and Triumphs.