“Aren’t you precious. I love your shoes/shirt/bow/earrings/smile.”

Thank you?

Everyone always loves to give Valentina compliments. Who wouldn’t? She’s cute and fun and has a great personality already at 11 months. But unfortunetly, she can’t say “thank you” to your compliments. What an awkward situation.

I like to write a lot about what you can do as a dad with a new baby but I’m at a loss on this one. What do I say? I could say “thank you” for Valentina but that could be completely misunderstood. On most days, I’m lucky if I have even gotten a chance to brush my teeth before noon. As I stand there, in my stained shirt and tired smile, I’m absolutely sure that you would not pay me the same compliment. For me to say “thank you” would be accepting your compliment to Valentina as my own – and I clearly have nothing to love.

So what are my options? I could say, “yeah, I know.” That sounds conceited and rude. Like I’m thinking, “well yeah, what else do you think would come from my lions? I only make 10s!”

What about, “yup, she’s a cutie”? That sounds purposefully downplayed. Like I know that she is cute but I’m going to try to politely ignore everything you are saying.

What about… silence? Can I just ignore everything you are saying and pretend that I either don’t hear or allow your compliment to land on Valentina and hope she makes some random motion or noise? If Valentina does nothing but stare at you, then that will make two of us, oblivious to the polite gesture you have made.

I really don’t know how to manage this. For the past 11 months, I have tried a combination of all three with varying levels of success and awkwardness. If there is a right way or your way, please leave it in the comments.