I think generally I am not a very good accepter of compliments (I am one of those people who always wants to wave off a nice comment or explain why it’s untrue or unjustified or else respond with an inappropriate level of enthusiasm) (feel free to test this theory in the comments by telling me everything you love about me) (just kidding) (or am I?) but I am especially awkward when people compliment my children. It happens a lot when you are out and about with a baby, and even after three years of this I don’t know how to respond when someone says that my baby is cute. It feels like there should be some middle ground between, “Oh, this old thing? He’s okay, I guess!” and “I KNOW RIGHT? FUTURE BABY MODEL RIGHT HERE!” but I have yet to find it. I think the main issue is it feels sort of like saying “thank you” is tantamount to taking CREDIT for the cuteness, and while I was involved in the creation of these children (I spent a gruelling 18 months turning tortilla chips and lemonade into babies) it’s not like I gave them cute little button noses on PURPOSE. I am trying to teach Ellie how to say “thank you” when someone tells her she’s cute to take some of the pressure off me to figure out what to say. The cuteness of these children, it is a curse.
Two weeks ago when I was at the dentist I mentioned to my hygienist that I was pretty sure I had a cavity in a specific tooth. She looked and said she couldn’t see anything. The dentist came in and reviewed my x-rays and poked around a bit and said he couldn’t see anything either. Later in the appointment when my hygienist got to that tooth and started scraping around and I practically levitated out of the chair, she admitted that perhaps there actually WAS a cavity in that tooth, and then said, “You must be very aware of your teeth!” Which doesn’t sound exactly like a compliment, but she said it admiringly, so maybe it was? I was relieved my mouth was full of dental tools at that point, rendering a response impossible, because I probably would have said brightly, “Why yes I AM very aware of my teeth, thank you for noticing!” and then collapsed into a black hole of embarrassment.