Mortification Number 467

House hunting is a very strange thing.  You get to peek into the lives of strangers, and you never quite know what you’re going to find.  You’d be surprised just how often I open a closet door to find naked Barbie dolls, headless mannequins, and dirty underwear tossed in there.  The opportunities for embarrassment abound.  However, if you love awkward situations, then I highly recommend it.

Last Friday we went house hunting.  Again.  We pull up to a nicely maintained colonial only to find the owner leaving.  She stops to introduce herself, and I ask how long she’s lived in the neighborhood.  We chat for about one minute before my oldest son comes bounding over, and loudly interrupts.  “Hi, I’m Michael!  I’m eight years old!”

She smiles.  Right away, it’s obvious she loves kids.  “Hi Michael.  I’m Susan.”

“How old are you?”

“Michael, you’re interrupting, and we don’t ask people how old they are.”

“It’s okay.  I’m a teacher, and I’m used to kids asking lots of questions.  I’m 53.”

“Wow, you’re really old!”  We’ve had this discussion numerous times, including the previous weekend, when he asked his grandfather if he was a million…  I stare at the ground in shame as my son continues to talk.  “Are you going to have a baby?”

She is clearly NOT pregnant.

On the way home, we have a long talk about all the questions we’re not allowed to ask EVER, and my son gets really frustrated.  He smacks himself in the head several times.  “But how am I supposed to know whether or not a baby is coming if I’m not allowed to ask?”

And that right there, is the million dollar question.  Unless the baby is falling out, how does one ever know?

Do you remember your parents teaching you about manners… or having this exact moment with your own kids?

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22 Responses to Mortification Number 467

  1. heyinfinity says:

    I love this. AND part of me wants to scream, “NO MICHAEL. YOU ASK HER THOSE QUESTIONS.” Why can’t we ask how old a person is, anyway? Why is that even considered rude? Is that any worse than asking their favorite color, or their height? Now, the baby question, on the other hand… 🙂

  2. sagescenery says:

    I love it when you take them into a public bathroom with you, and they ask personal questions because you’re both in this little cubicle together, and they think no one else can hear!! Ha!!

    When a Mom walks out with her child…all embarrassed…I say, “Don’t worry, I’ve been there…done that!”

    My son will be 22 next month…so we try not to embarrass each other!

  3. JSolomon says:

    “Unless the baby is falling out, how does one ever know?”
    That’s what “I didn’t know I was pregnant” is for! I love your boy already – inquisitive and not afraid to speak his mind. I mean, hey, I’m ALL for teaching kids manners and all that, but I love the innocence about kids asking those kinds of questions (when they’re not asking just to be mean.).

    On an tangentially related note…it sounds like this woman you met is very sweet and understanding. To answer your question, my parents didn’t teach me any manners because they don’t have any themselves, so I grew up sort of boundary-challenged. I learned by a lot of hard knocks what not to do…the harshest one being an acquaintaince, not even a friend, to whom I apparently asked one of those kinds of questions, and reacted by griping about it on her facebook. She didn’t mention me by name, but it was obvious she was referring to me. I wish she had addressed it directly with me.

    • I know! I found his answer so funny… even though we were mortified. She was really nice about it. I also think she might have realized that our son is a little different.

      I always wish people could either bring up the subject with me or drop it. Unless it’s a professional (who’s ethically obligated to stay quiet), involving outside parties usually does more harm than good.

  4. Kids say the darnedest things. I never know what to do with the pregnancy question either—I’ve worked with women who were very obviously showing but hadn’t “officially” announced their pregnancy, so I don’t mention it until they do. Especially because someone once asked me when I was due, and I’ve never been pregnant. So I’m hypersensitive about that one.

    • The only time I ever asked, the woman was NOT pregnant. She was three weeks postpartum, a very skinny girl with a belly. Yikes. I’ve never asked anyone since. She was really gracious, but I felt horrible.

      Nowa, so many women are pregnant with multiples… They show earlier, but aren’t necessarily ready to tell their coworkers… It definitely makes for a LOT more confusion.

  5. The Hobbler says:

    That is the million dollar question. I think a lot of kids natural curiosity is good, but as you get older, it gets much less appropriate. I like it when people ask questions about why I’m in a wheelchair and stuff like that, but it’s hard to know if someone is sensitive about something, or if they welcome the opportunity. My daughter asked her grandma if she was pregnant, and my mom still brings it up sometimes. She isn’t mad or anything, but it left a mark for sure. Being pregnant is probably a topic to steer clear of unless someone is holding baby clothes up to their belly…

  6. speaker7 says:

    This is my future. My 2-year-old son already tells strangers to “Be careful” when they’re doing things like walking across the street or riding a bike. I’m going to tell him that babies are found in cabbage patches and leave it at that.

    • As long as he’s an only child that’s definitely the way to go. When he’s old enough for sex ed, than he’ll be old enough for the whole truth. Probably. (I may just lock my own daughter in an ivory tower when she gets to that age.)

  7. Some not very smart MOM asked if I was pregnant 6 MONTHS AFTER I had my third child. I knew, at that moment, it was time to hit the gym. =)

    Were you to open my third child’s closet, you could very well find headless barbie dolls, a naked mannequin, and dirty underwear. For real. Right now. =p

    • My rule was to NEVER ask unless the person was holding the What to Expect Book, shopping for maternity clothing, or actually giving birth… Then one day at the gym I saw this really skinny girl with a belly, and I thought for sure she was pregnant. She was three weeks postpartum. (I’ve never asked anyone since.) Meanwhile, I should know better since I look 2 months pregnant after a big meal!

      Everyone seems to have naked headless dolls in their closets, even people whose “kids” are now 25!!

  8. El Guapo says:

    Keep Michael around.
    He can ask all the questions the rest of us are too guarded to ask!

  9. Oh, that’s awesome… fortunately James hasn’t come up with any jems yet… but I know he will LOL

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