I was in the grocery store with just Ellie. She was on my back in my carrier, and hamming it up for the lady behind us in the checkout. The lady commented.
“She’s so happy! None of mine were shy either.”
I agreed. Ellie was super happy. She always is when I wear her.
The lady went one. “I had four kids. They didn’t have a chance to be shy!”
I bit my tongue. No one knows. They all think I’m normal. They all think I have one pretty little daughter. They may all think I am carrying her sibling because of the 7-kids-postpartum baby belly I also have… but they think I’m normal. Say nothing, girl. Don’t do it. They just think Ellie and I really like milk, since I’m buying six gallons. Those eight heads of cauliflower? It was on sale for fifty nine cents each. It’ll freeze. It won’t make it to frozen around here, but they don’t know that.
I couldn’t stop myself. “She doesn’t have much of a chance, either, I suppose. She’s my seventh.”
The lady stared. I looked away and pretended I was normal and the groceries needed reorganizing on the conveyor belt. What was taking the checker so long? She muttered. I don’t want to know.
“Well… you don’t look like you’ve had seven kids,” she finally responded.
I cringed. What does that really mean? I’m not that fat? I don’t have quite enough wrinkles? My gray hairs haven’t completely taken over?
Next time, self, just shut your mouth. Don’t say it. Just pretend you’re the happy go lucky, “I have one baby, isn’t she cute?” kind of mom.
It’s simpler that way.