Monday, May 16, 2011

parent socialization

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And, often, miss the days when you (the parent) had anything else you wanted to talk about other than said child. We got to be friends because you were interesting, before...