But when it comes to children, I can't really fault them for asking. After all, it's an intriguing world out there, filled with birthmarks and moles and lost appendages and all kinds of things for kids to stare at. I can fault their parents if they don't handle the situation correctly, or don't handle it at all, choosing instead to go mute or fumble through their diaper bag for an object of vital importance instead of talking to their children. Those parents get my Look of Death, not the kids. Unless the kid is old enough to know better, at which point The Look is unleashed upon all.
In this story, the little boy in question was probably old enough to know better at 7 or 8 years old, but his mother was sufficiently contrite and horrified so that the Look of Death was withheld pending further judgment. No little boys were harmed in the making of this dialogue.
Characters: Me, Em, Little Boy (LB), LB's Mom
Setting: Lake Pinneo in Quechee, yesterday
ME: It's a birthmark.
LB: No, it's not. Birthmarks are brown.
ME: Yes, most birthmarks are brown, but some are red, like hers.
LB: Well, I don't care what it is. She looks like an alien.
LB'S MOM (gasping in horrified embarrassment): LB! You can't say things like that about how people look! It's not polite! (smiling awkwardly and apologetically)
ME: Don't worry, it's alright. Kids don't have filters.
LB'S MOM: LB, you can't say things like that about people.
LB: Why? It's true. She looks like an alien. (screaming) ALIEN BABY!!!!
Awkward moment while LB's MOM tries to punish him and I turn away like it's no big deal.