On the Hazards of Going Out in Public With a Baby

Turns out I still don't really care about strangers' kids.

Wait, no, that came out wrong.

Turns out I'm still not particularly interested in strangers' kids.  Which is a bit ironic, because now that I've got one of my own, strangers sure are interested in talking to me about their kids.  And because I have this knee-jerk reaction to engage with warmth and enthusiasm, I often end up hearing a lot more than I actually care about.  ::sigh::  Stupid, stupid social skills.

I shouldn't be surprised, really, since a) my mother has told me for years that having kids didn't change her interest in not-her-kids and b) it's pretty much exactly what happened when we got a pit bull (anyone who says dogs aren't like kids is full of it, and also probably has never had a dog).  Still, I was taken off guard when not one, not two, not even three, but four individuals at the grocery store wanted to interact with me on a "We both have children in our lives" level.  One of them didn't even have their (grand)child with them- they just felt compelled to share a text from their daughter with me.  Not a photo- just a text.  Which... okay?  That interaction was particularly strange because I hadn't engaged with them via eye-contact or smile or anything (which is what happened with the others): they just sort of popped up in between another parent and myself.  Like, literally inserted themselves between us.

I also don't really know what to do when strangers* effuse over how adorable Neeps is.  Obviously when someone says, "Your baby is so cute!" you say, "Thank you!" (and if you're me you add, "We think so!") but I... don't really know what's appropriate when they keep talking about how beautiful he is.  Which, yes, doesn't sound like a real problem ("He's almost... too good looking.") except sometimes I feel like they're fishing for me to be equally rapturous over their baby, in a sort of compliment quid pro quo thing, which... no.  Just accept the fact that my baby is better than yours, and move on with as much grace and dignity as you can muster.

*It's totally different when friends and loved ones do it, because they are all lovely, genuine people who are also highly intelligent and discerning and attractive and awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment