Ready for due date, an end to the wisecracks

I'm grumpy. I admit it. To be honest, you would be too.

I am 36 weeks pregnant with twins and the constant need for complete strangers to comment at my expense is annoying me.

When a co-worker suggested I write a column about the things people say, I ignored it. But after a recent trip to the mall where no fewer than 10 people peered wide-eyed at my stomach and commented - not quietly I might add - about how pregnant I really was, I reconsidered. So, for the sake of pregnant women all over the world, I'm telling my story.

I know that a large majority of people are actually just trying to convey their sympathy with the "Bless-her-heart, she-must-be-miserable" looks. So, to those people, I say thank you. To the ones who seem to lose the ability to quietly process comments before they are made, I would like to offer these suggestions:

Don't assume; it could get you in trouble

Although I'm impressed with the public's keen eye into a woman's pregnant body, I would suggest not asking someone if they are having twins, as I have been asked at least 20 times by complete strangers in the last three months. Of course, in my case they are correct, but I always feel a slight twinge of pain for the woman asked this who might NOT be. Really, it's just too risky.

Any comment on my sheer size? Not allowed

If you are a hostess at a restaurant, allow the pregnant woman to tell you where she wants to sit. Don't look at her stomach and ask, like one recently did to me, "Can you fit in a booth or would you rather have a table?"

For the record, I CAN fit in the booth.

Perhaps it is a restaurant thing because at dinner one night, after being seated, our waitress said, "Hi, the hostess asked me if I was the one waiting on the girl who was about to pop."

I was about to explode - and not by giving birth.

Timing and tone are everything

These two comments I would just put in the odd category.

Once at a stoplight, a man in a pickup truck next to me signaled for me to roll down my window. "How many you got in there? You eat good and take care of that baby." I didn't respond. I mean, at a stoplight?

On another occasion, I walked into a store and a sales clerk, obviously without any mental filter, looked at me and without a smile just says, "You look like you swallowed a basketball. It's really weird." Again, what do you say to that?

Believe me, if I was in labor, I wouldn't be here

So any woman out there who has given birth, or any man who has been around a woman in her ninth month, knows that there is nothing she wants more than to be done with the whole thing. Clever comments or remarks about how close she is, are not funny to anyone - especially me. Here are some of my favorites:

Man at the park (pointing in the opposite direction): "You are going the wrong way. The hospital is that way."

OK, this one kind of did make me laugh.

Woman who, as I was walking into a restaurant, was backing her car out of a parking space and needed to roll down her window to ask, "How close are you? I mean, is this a lunch before you go to the hospital?"

Yeah, that's it. I'm having contractions every 10 minutes but thought I'd stop off for a bagel.

Or the woman who walked into the mechanic, took one look at me and said, loudly, "Oh Lord, she's about to have that baby right here on the floor."

Please don't talk about me two feet away and think I can't hear you.

I'm truly grateful for my situation and feel very blessed to be a mom. But in a few weeks, I won't miss the attention, even if the majority of it is well-intentioned.

So, if you see me around town, and apparently I am hard to miss, you can ask about the weather or about the economy. You don't need to ask the questions I've already answered a million times, because here are the answers: I am due July 8, twin girls, not identical, and, no, twins do not run in my family.

Nicole Puckett is the graphics editor of the Gwinnett Daily Post.