Katy v. The Stare

child in pirate costume

There’s something that I don’t experience a whole lot of in my day-to-day with Charlie and that’s The Pity Stare. I’m not saying I’ve never seen it, but I hear about it a lot more than I actually experience it.

So I got to thinking about why that is–why I don’t get too much of The Pity Stare.

And then it hit me: I don’t give them the chance.

You see, for years I worked in tough schools–schools with kids who had too many problems and not enough resources. I taught kids that my husband found intimidating. I dealt with gang fights and irate parents. One thing I learned pretty quickly was that a smile is a great way to approach any situation. If you approach nervous or scared, you start off on the wrong foot–you send the wrong message.Little boy in pirate costume

So at this point, smiling is basically a reflex–if we make eye contact, you’re going to get a big ole toothy grin.  And that’s how I handle it when we’re out in the wheelchair–people glance our way and they get the uber-smile, whether they want it or not. I’d say that 99% of the time, people smile right back. Maybe once, a person just sort of looked at me. But that’s it. Mostly, I get smiles in return.

So that’s how I’ve conquered The Pity Stare. Anyone who attempts it will be smiled into oblivion. You’ve been warned.

Kid in a pirate costume

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  1. Great solution! I’m sure ppl find it hard to feel bad for you/Charlie when you/re giving them evidence that you’re completely happy and everything’s A-ok! Again, Charlie is lucky to have such a smart and perceptive mommy!

  2. You have such an upbeat attitude and friendliness can disarm anyone and the stares don’t happen all that much. People are so busy and they see how much you love and adore Charlie, they are taken with both of you!


  3. I just wanted to say “hello”. I’ve been reading for awhile, I found you through “No Time for Flashcards”. I kept reading because I love the way you write. Thanks for sharing. I really love the pictures of Charlie in his pirate costume.

  4. Another example of you can’t control other people only what you do. Charlie is adorable.

  5. I think you’re right that a smile is a great way to approach any situation. The photos are great! Ahoy, Charlie!

  6. Great pictures, and a truly awesome attitude. I just want to reach through and give Charlie a big hug – he looks so cuddly!

  7. Aye! Matey!

    What a great pirate!

  8. Look at that pirate’s booty! oh and that smile… contagious. :)

  9. Oh my goodness, Charlie is the CUTEST pirate ever!!!

  10. How completely adorable and how completely true.

    I just had a “duh” moment. You contribute to No Time for Flash Cards! I’ve seen your posts and just didn’t make the connection until now. You need to add a 125×125 photo to you bio for slow people like me:)

    Take care and keep giving that toothy grin!

  11. “smiled into oblivion”
    Love It!
    and that last Charlie pic? I’m swooning!

  12. I think the thing I have heard the most is, “Oh Bless Your Heart”

    When I hear this I just think, if someone wants to think I’m so amazing and strong because I have an awesome son that I love to death than sure go right ahead :)

    I love the smile thing, I think that may be what I do too that’s why I don’t get it much either!

    • I would have no idea how to respond to that one! Yes, I think that some people over-estimate my general awesomeness. I mean, you love your children–nothing particularly amazing about it.

  13. I love it!! Awesome post :) :)

  14. You somehow have the ability to write the exact thing I need to hear/know at the perfect time. I am so thrilled to have stumbled on your blog at the moment in my life when I needed it the most. Thank you for every word.

  15. Great advice :)

  16. Smiling. Not a bad game plan, for anybody really.

  17. What a great plan. I do get the pity stare once in a while, but more shocking to me is the GAWK. So many people have just stared at us with eyes wide and mouths open. I know Emily is cute, but I didn’t realize that she could cause people to go into a trance with just one look. That is some power! I have started to either smile or just say hi and it seems to break the spell sometimes.

    Love the pics of Charlie. What an adorable pirate. Love the smile in the last pic, even if he does look like he is up to no good. : )

  18. First, love the pictures! Also I agree never approach with fear or they will see it on you. I’m all about this myself as well; except with dogs, which always seem to see my fear

    • Dogs are a tough one. I used to run like a chicken. Now, I talk to them in a really high pitched voice–seems to help.

  19. whoa. pretty much exactly what I said in my little interview today.

    yup. exactly.

    *big toothy grin*

  20. I do that exact same thing when people stare at my daughter in her wheelchair. IF they make eye contact with me, I give them as big a smile as I can muster. Sometimes, if the staring is incessant, I say “hi” to first get their attention. Instead of smiling back, though, they usually seem embarrassed and look quickly away… I wish they would smile back. Maybe I need to work on developing/improving my own “uber-smile.”