Y'all may not recognize it on sight, so let me share photographic evidence of my Incredulous Face:
This is the face that says, "Are you for real? Ya idiot."
Yes, you guessed it: I ran into another person who LOVES TWINS, ZOMG I LOVE TWINS. (Note: If you're newish around here, I would like to kindly point you in the direction of this post, The Do's and Don'ts of Encountering Twins. Sure, it's a couple years old, but the sentiments are eternal, and apparently I need to print it out and carry several copies in my purse with me at all times for handy educational purposes, because seriously, the stupid people are still out in full force. I got really great feedback on this particular post, so I know I'm not just being cranky. And if you keep that post open while reading this one, you can laugh along with the rest of us as we realize just how many rules were broken by the person in this latest post, all in one exchange.)
This time we were in Lowe's, not Jo-Ann, and I'm really saddened to admit to that fact, because I love Lowe's with the fiery passion of a thousand red-hot suns, and I like to tell myself that only competent people are to be found there. I was wrong.
The kids and I were standing at the paint counter, getting another batch of sunroom paint mixed up, and things were suddenly, and without warning, unraveling out of my control. I don't know what happened, but some evil got into each of my children at exactly the same moment, and I was having to work quickly and quietly to head off full disaster. J was sitting in the seat of our cart, using his body to repeatedly bump said cart into the paint counter; B had decided that now was the perfect time for a full-on breakdance competition; and King Peter the Boy was considering throwing a fit because I wouldn't let her grab every paint chip within her reach.
I was having to use every ounce of mother magic I possessed to calm the situation down. I got the boys under control, and I was holding the girl by the wrist (she was doing the Arch Your Back and Pull With All Your Might While Squealing move--not quite a total tantrum, but dangerously close) and quietly and firmly correcting her when I heard it:
"Are they twins?"
Without breaking my grip or my eye contact (eye contact is very important with King Peter), I noted the speaker out of my peripheral vision: it was a Lowe's employee, a female cashier, who was standing at the front of her cash register directly across from us, arms crossed, eyes staring. She didn't have any customers, so she was free to interrupt busy mothers who were clearly consumed with disciplining their unruly toddlers.
I didn't have the time or opportunity (or inclination) to answer her question, so I ignored her and continued to devote my full attention to C. Another few seconds passed, and then again:
"Excuse me, are they twins?" [louder this time]
People. You're picturing this, right? I'm in charge of 3 small children. I'm also very pregnant. One of my children is obviously trying to throw a fit, and I am physically restraining her, leaning into her face, and talking softly with her in order to prevent bad behavior. And this woman thinks now is the perfect time to interrupt me and ask an inane question. Twice.
I quite literally had to turn my head from C, hold up an index finger, and say, "Just a moment."
As I turned my attention back to my daughter, I felt certain this new friendship would end here. Surely this woman would wise up, suddenly understand my situation, and bustle back to her station, embarrassed by her lack of perception and her interruption. But no. Of course not. She simply stood there, arms still crossed, face still eager, eyes still staring.
C got herself together, and all was well. I straightened up, noticed the still-staring cashier, and answered her.
Me: "Yes, they are twins."
Her: "Oh, wow! I love twins!"
Me: [fixed, insincere smile]
Her: "That is just so great. How old are they?"
Me: "The boys are 4. She is 2 1/2." [Note: I always include C when answering people's questions, even if they obviously don't care. After all, I have three children, all standing here together, listening to you.]
Her: "Oh, wow! You have your hands full!"
Me: "Yes. But they are all great kids. We have fun."
Her: "Oh, look at that--the boys have red hair! They have red hair." [Note: I have italicized the repetition because she actually said this in a tone that implied that maybe she was informing me of something new and amazing. I'm serious. She said it forcefully, all the while staring me in the face, as if imparting some great revelation. As if I didn't know they have red hair.]
Me: "Yes. They do."
Her: "Oooo, I love red hair! That is so precious! They are so cute."
Me: "Um. Thank you. I think so, too."
Her: "And they look so much alike! [said in tone of surprise] Are they identical?"
Me: "We're not really sure."
Her: "You're not sure? How come you're not sure? Because they sure look identical to me." [This statement was accompanied by a knowing nod. She must have a degree in I Know All About Twins of which I am not aware.]
Me: "Yes, I know they look a lot alike. But it's not that simple. We'd have to do a DNA test at this point to be sure."
Her: "Oh. Wow."
There is silence for a few moments while the paint lady finishes with my paint and the kids happily trade paint chips with each other, and I turn my attention away from the cashier, praying that a) I will keep my temper, and b) that she will get a customer. Right. This. Moment.
But of course anytime I pray to keep my patience, I am faced with new opportunities to display said patience (thanks a lot, Jesus), and this woman feels like she needs to remain fixed in place, staring us down with an inane smile affixed to her face. One other thing I should note is that for the majority of our exchange another idle cashier was standing close by, half-way watching our conversation, and my friendly lady cashier felt it was her duty to relay my answers to her coworker. So anytime I answered, my faithful friend would turn and repeat, word-for-word, what I had just said to the woman standing three feet away.
Truly, it was awful.
Our paint was finally done, and I took it gratefully, hustling my children so we could make a break for the other end of the store. But before we could leave, the cashier needed to impart some final thoughts.
Her: "Your kids make me think of my brothers and me when we were little."
Me: "Oh. Were your brothers twins?" [Maybe this would explain her strange fascination.]
Her: "No, but they were older than me."