Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why I Try, I Don't Know

Other mom's kid: "Mom, do you have any gum?"

Other mom: "No."

Me: "I think I have some." (unzipping purse)

Other mom: "No! That's okay! She's talking about the gum with xylitol--"

Other mom's kid: "...that's, like, really good for your teeth and stuff--"

Other mom: "...which is the only kind we let them chew."

Me: "Oh, sorry. I brought only the very bad, poisonous gum* that turns your teeth black and makes you vote Republican."

Except I didn't say that. I just sort of smiled and nodded while I zipped up my purse and held it on my lap like a dork. I think this is the third time I've accidentally assumed this family was maybe the tiniest bit like mine and been proven wrong. Previous encounters include giving the kids a snack and hearing their parents loudly and repeatedly forbid them to eat it, and asking whether one of them took medicine for a particular ailment and being told (once again loudly) absolutely not. And you know, it's not that I don't appreciate that other families do certain things differently. I get that. I think what startles me is the ever-so-slightly preachy or protesting tone that colors the unsolicited explanations of their choices.

I'm off to chew my formaldehyde-flavored gum now. I found it under a chair and have been looking forward to it all day.

* The gum in my purse was sugarless. However, it was not magic. Ah, I jest, I jest. ;-)