I said "another Ivy League educated lawyer. Could have picked someone with a slightly different background."

Mrs. Hold said "that is what we want at the Supreme Court. Big brained smarty pants people."

I smiled and with a twinkle in my eye asked "like anyone you know?" (FISHING FOR COMPLIMENT)

She frowned and said "yes, I am surrounded by them here. I am stuck with three of them. How did that happen?" (EXPRESSING DISDAIN FOR YOUR FISHING FOR AN EGO-STROKING)

I leaned toward her still smiling. "Yes, I am sure it is terrible being surrounded by me and the kids." (EWWW...)

That's not being sweet. That's something else entirely. Sweet would be saying, in response to her "How did that happen?" would be saying something like, "Because you bring out the best in all of us." What you said only reinforced her apparent belief that it IS terrible being with you. Why not reinforce something else, Hold?

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
(Oscar Wilde)