To follow up on my earlier post about being highly visible and the praise that constantly gushes over our daughter, let me say again that I do take these comments as compliments (we have yet to receive a negative remark--though I know we will someday). We are and will continue to be as proud as imaginable of our daughter not just for her beauty but for all the other qualities emerging in her as well. I do appreciate the nice things people say.
I'm just not always sure what to say in return.
When someone says, "She's such a beautiful baby!" or "That's the most adorable baby I've ever seen!" what am I supposed to say?
I usually go with a simple "Thank you," although sometimes it feels like taking credit for something we had nothing to do with. We neither made nor chose her.
I've occasionally said something joking like "Yes, no thanks to us," but I don't really want to emphasize that as she grows up.
Sometimes I say, "Yes, we certainly think so." This is true, but does admitting my bias imply I don't think it's true? I mean, sometimes I think people are laying it on a little thick, but I don't mind them agreeing with my assessment that she's the most beautiful baby ever.
Sometimes I think I can see my baby's ego causing her entire head to swell up to the 99th percentile and a belief that beauty matters most rising up to devour the seeds of her preteen self-esteem, so I deflect with a comment about something she's doing rather than how she looks. I want her to hear, and know, and trust, as she grows older, that her beauty is enhanced and made complete by her brains, her heart, her purpose, her character.
She's beautiful, yes. But it's nothing compared to the beauty inside.
That's my answer. If only you, and she, could see how true it is.
Note: This may seem silly at her age and when the comments are compliments, but consider the hair comments which are surely in our future: http://www.antiracistparent.com/2007/09/21/good-hair-and-bad-hair-the-silent-messages-our-children-receive/#more-295
"A Girl Like Me" at http://www.mediathatmattersfest.org/6/index.php?id=2#