um…yeah… hands down my least favourite part of our recent beach holiday. Why? Well, before you think I was channeling my inner Grinch (and acting out on account of ‘Routine? What routine?’ sleep deprivation or some weird grump-inducing side effect of sunstroke*) let me explain.
It’s all about tone, you see. There’s the well-meaning, Fashion Police loving “Aaah, did you see her sunglasses?” (said to friend/family/fellow Pick n Pay queue’er) then there’s the “Ugh, [insert eye roll] did you see her sunglasses?” variety.
The former elicits a genuine smile, a gracious, compliment-accepting nod and perhaps even a gentle explanation – in the interest of education – if I’ve heard “Aaah, did you see her sunglasses?” less than ten times that day.
The latter elicits what I can only describe as a multiple choice menu, the outcome of which depends on mood/mealtime/menstrual cycle**:
a) Nothing. Crickets. Just a couple of deep breaths… and…we’re good.
b) “Um, excuse me, couldn’t help but overhear you just now. Actually, they’re not sunglasses. They’re prescription. Transition lenses. Eyesight issues. But they do look like sunglasses.”
c) “I know! Aren’t they amazing. See how the frames match her pram? Totally intentional.”***
d) “Ugh, I know. What kind of ‘Vaalie’ makes her 1-year old wear sunglasses? Well… the kind that’s going to have to sit in a hospital waiting room in a couple of months’ time while a surgeon cuts into her daughter’s eye ball. That kind of ‘Vaalie’. [brief pause] Would you mind passing me a packet of those raw almonds, bottom shelf, next to the humble pie. Thanks.” ****
Sho, I’m getting a tad worked up just writing this post. I know I may sound a little Mean Girls but it’s difficult to explain just how draining/frustrating/annoying/exhausting/mind-boggling it is to have total strangers take one look at your kid and feel like they have a right/obligation to comment/critique/chime in. Sometimes it’s blatant and confrontational, sometimes it’s fueled by curiosity and peppered with compliments, sometimes it’s unintentionally offensive and sometimes it’s just plain offensive.
I’m not saying don’t ask. I’m just saying don’t go all Judge Judy.
An ‘Excuse me, are those sunglasses?’ is absolutely fine. An ‘Excuse me, how did you know she needed glasses?’ is encouraged. And, a ‘Your daughter really rocks those.’ is really, really welcome.
So, let your children ask me why my baby is wearing glasses. Let your friend/family/fellow Pick n Pay queue’er take a good look. Just do me (and my Little) the courtesy of assuming that the #littlelenses are a necessity not an accessory. And please, please refrain from correcting the orientation of the ‘specs’ – they’re not on upside down. Promise.
*induced by excessive sandcastle building. See also ‘grazed knees’ and massacred Gelish mani.
** apologies to any men folk who may be reading this. The alliteration (and too-true’ness) was too good to resist.
*** Another question I get asked a lot: “So, did you get the sunglasses as part of the Stokke pram ‘kit’?” Um, yeah. And the matching elastic bra strap thingee that gets all dreadlocked in her locks at the back… just had to have it.
**** Okay, so I’ve never actually said that. But I’ve thought it. Lots.