All children do it. They say things in public - innocent things - that might be embarrassing or offensive to others.
Once while shopping at Walmart, I was studying something in the frozen food section when another mom and child passed and Gianna loudly said, "What's wrong with her face?" Panicked that I had not paid attention and prevented the situation, I lifted my head to see a precious toddler with about 1/2 of her face covered with a red mark. Before I could respond, I heard the other mom say, "That's called a birthmark." We passed them again a couple of aisles later and I thanked the mother for taking the time to explain to my daughter.
After a few experiences like this, I told Gianna that she is allowed to ask me any questions about other people, but if it has to do with what they look like, that she needed to whisper it in my ear. I told her I promised to answer those questions, but if we ask them loudly we might embarrass somebody. I have to say - I couldn't believe how well she followed this instruction. She has been really quite amazing how she has controlled her impulses and been caring for the feelings of others.
And then came church on Sunday. Oh my word. The more I think of it, the more absolutely unavoidable it was, but it really made me want to dig a hold and hide for a few weeks.
It was time for the Sign of Peace. We shook hands and greeted the people in front of us and next to us and then we turn around to the pew behind us. As soon as we did - I knew we were in trouble. There was no opportunity for appropriate, whispered questions. There was no time for me to prep her. Something was bound to happen....and it did.
"Are you a man or a lady?" Gianna asked loudly.
There was a lovely lady behind us who had a significant amount of facial hair just above her upper lip. As I felt my blood leave my body rushing to my face I thought, "Dear God in heaven, please quiet this child." The lady could not have been sweeter. She said, "I'm a lady. That's okay, honey." I'm sure that last comment was meant for me.
As I tried to physically move her to the next person and avoid any more embarrassment, I felt resistence and I knew this wasn't over.
"Then why do you have a mustache?" which she said even more loudly in the church that had become significantly quieter. The blood that had filled my cheeks seconds early, had now drained from my face completely. Everyone around us heard and there was absolutely no recovery.
Once again, the lady couldn't have been nicer. (I'm sure it wasn't the first time she addressed this.)
"Because God gave it to me, honey."
How wonderful is that. I wisked her around before Gianna could say anything more. Ugh.
A few seconds later I whispered in Gianna's ear a reminder that we could hurt people's feelings when we talk about how they look. I knew I should have let it go. I was wrong to bring it up then. Her eyes immediately filled with tears and she began to cry. Really, Maria? Was that necessary? Ugh.
I guess we both need to work on what we say in public.