- "Your baby is so cute!"
- "You don't look very tired!"
Anyway, it's easy to respond to "Your baby is so cute". I just say something along the lines of "Yay, thank you" and eat up the praise. I am not so sure though of how to respond to "You don't look very tired".
My first instinct is to say "Thank you". I may have mentioned before that interpreting most things that people say to you as compliments will, at the very least, keep your self-esteem ticking over and may even temporarily deflect obloquy.
"You're the worst med student I've ever seen."
But then I wonder, why is this person commenting on my appearance in this way? They aren't saying, "You look fresh and perky!", but "You don't look very tired". There's an undercurrent of accusation there. Clearly I should look more tired than I do.
Are they asking me for skincare tips? "I wear caffeinated stockings over my head at night to lift the bags under my eyes."
Are they accusing me of not pulling my weight at home? "I sit on the couch and eat bonbons while my Smaller Half does all the running around".
Are they suspicious that I don't have a baby at all, and am just fabricating an elaborate story to cover my inability to turn off late-night home shopping on the teev?
What happens is that when I am confronted with "You don't look very tired" I feel the need to claim to be more tired than I really am in order to have some kind of parental legitimacy. "Oh man", I say, "I obviously look better than I feel. Rough night last night. I didn't get to sleep until 5.57 and my alarm went off at 6. She's been crying non-stop for weeks now and the only way to settle her down is to jog on the spot with a sack of rice over each shoulder whilst singing La Marseillaise. In Magyar."
Once I've told a bit of a sob story, people look at me with more respect. Clearly I am fulfilling some of expectation of theirs. Except people with kids of their own.
"That's nothing", they say, "When my kids were little..."