Monday, October 20, 2014

The Anti-Social Parent


I had this awkward moment today as I drove Ash home from the Denver Children's Museum (which, much like the local mall, unfortunately couldn't seem to keep grown children out of the play area for toddlers and babies). It was like that moment after a first date where you relive the experience and think of all the places you should have said something or asked a question or laughed or commented or reacted and you, of course, didn't. 

Except this was the kind of replay I was having in regards to an interaction with another parent there with his child. You see, he immediately engaged Ash and I in conversation.

"Oh wow, he's standing, look at that." (Because Ash looks small, people are usually shocked to see him standing and walking so easily apparently.)

"Yeah, he's 10 months!"

"Very cool."

Then there was that awkward silence where I totally should have said something about his kid or lamented being stay-at-home parents or engaged in my sob story about my husband being overseas or we could have laughed about being grownups crawling around on soft play at a children's museum instead of sleeping off a hangover. The only further conversation we even had was about how I usually take Ash to the local mall, but thought I'd mix it up with our free day pass, and he responded, "Yeah, I just have to get this kid out of the house" or something along those lines.

But I didn't. I didn't say anything about his child. Or him. Even when I disappeared with Ash and he picked his child back up and came over to us to play after watching as we plodded around the play area. Seriously, it was like I was purposely rejecting this poor man and his very cute child.

I felt like a parental/social failure. I seriously have zero social skills when it comes to parenting sometimes. After leaving I couldn't help but think that, here's this stay-at-home dad who is clearly bored as beans and looking for conversation/interaction and I totally just kicked him in the proverbial balls and said "I'm not interested in engaging."

Why is there a whole different set of social skills when it comes to parental interactions over drooling, growling toddlers?

Or am I just generally socially inept ... she wonders ... trailing off ...