End of term. No time to actually do all my grading while also reading senior research papers before their due dates. Interesting.
In the midst of end-of-term madness I attended a friend's small child's birthday party. A party understandably intended as a small-person socialization hour, so I went to talk to my friends and peers who are parents to those small people.
The non-parent is quite obvious at this kind of event, and it's not because I'm not comfortable around kids - I like kids, I babysat quite a bit as a teenager, and I am happy to play with kids. But I don't do well with kid conversation, and I usually end up saying something that I immediately recognize as a likely insult to the parent, even though it wasn't intended that way.
I may, for example, stupidly voice my surprise that a kid still fits into his/her baby car seat, which is clearly taken as a commentary on the lack of growth of said child as soon as the words escape my mouth. At which point I hastily try to find something more complimentary to say, like admiring the baby's abundant hair (there's not that much to work with here!) Or I ask one of those "I'm obviously not familiar with kids at all" types of questions - if I ask you about teething, I am trying to distract you from my first disastrous observation and remind you of my ignorance.
To the parents out there, please give us non-parents a break - we have no idea what will piss you off, and we aren't trying to be assholes. We're just clueless and socially awkward around parents.
14 hours ago