Besides needing to stop trying to shoplift produce and to stop talking about multiple anuses, I have another reason to learn Italian. I have a very beautiful child. This isn’t just biased mom speak here, although I certainly am that. I know that he is beautiful because the Italians keep telling me.
Typical scenario: picture me huffing away pushing the double stroller. Usually elderly Italian walks up and coos at the kids. Sometimes they just flip me a “Complimenti” and walk on. Other times they want more of a chat. I just smile and nod while my brain is going a hundred miles per hour to try to keep up. I once told the little old lady “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian.” She nodded and just kept talking. In Italian. I usually try to throw in a few “Henry, say ciao” or similar to hopefully signify that I do not speak the Italian and I am not purposely trying to anger everyone here over the age of 60.
People give Henry things. Our first time in a restaurant, the waiter rolls up with a ball of dough on a plate and sets it in front of Henry. And then sat back just to watch what happened. (Henry licked it and then set it down.) We walked past a flower stall and the man pulled out a rose for Henry. He got a free sucker at the panini place. The kid is racking up freebies.
Henry currently draws more attention, but Mac also has a devoted following. He had a pretty resounding cheek squishing at the pizza place and then the lady stalked him down the street for additional squishing when we paused to chat with a neighbor. I can’t really blame her.
A surprising number of people have asked if they are twins. Mac is big, but not that big . . .
So here is my blanket apology to all the Italians I am not properly responding to as you compliment my children. Learn Italian. I’m on it. In the meantime, I am flattered, and I hope my smile and heartfelt “grazie” do the trick.