There are a couple of people that, whenever they talk about their kids or pets, I mentally check out.
I think we all know people like this – God help me, I feel really bad about this, but I can’t help it.
Somehow oblivious people tend to mistake that pleasantly amused look on my face as giving a rat’s ass about their dog’s birthday party, therapy new collar or funny new shape his poop has taken.
PLEASE don’t mistake this as an “I hate kids and puppies and rainbows rant” because that’s not it. This is directed towards a VERY SPECIFIC GROUP OF PEOPLE that inflict the mundane habits of their family life on the unwilling. I LOVE dogs and cats and children, I really do. Correction: I LOVE the dogs and cats and children of my friends and family members and various people I care about.
When one of my close friends had her first baby I went by her house on a regular basis to watch her son and keep her pets company so she could take a shower or nap. I encouraged her to call me if she needed a babysitter, and have extended that same offer to many of my friends.
I dog-sit regularly for a friend’s dog whenever he’s out of town.
When my best friend’s son has a new accomplishment, I get just as excited as she does – even if that accomplishment is learning the chorus to Rihanna’s “S and M” song.
Another friend has a dog that gets so excited when I come to visit that he pees on my foot, every time, without fail. I fricking love that dog, and try to steal him when her and her husband arent looking. He cracks me up. If he didn’t pee on me, I’d assume something was wrong.
My boyfriend makes a point of dragging me away from cute little kids clothes in the target, or from cooing over little kids dressed up like princesses and pirates when we go to Disney – I think it’s because he can hear my uterus pulsating or ticking or whatever. He also changes the channel whenever the commercials about abused animals come on because I reach for the phone, ready to adopt one of those poor blind kittens… and maybe a legless puppy… and that sad starving child in Indonesia.
What I’m saying is, I have quite a few friends that have kids and pets, and I LOVE those little rugrats – I really do! What I don’t like is when people turn any conversation, every conversation, to somehow be about their kid or dog.
Me: ” Hey what do you think of the whole Occupy Wall Street thing?”
Ignorant Exuburant Parent: “Speaking of streets, Fido just loves taking long walks down the street but sometimes he gets sad. I wonder if he needs a pet therapist. At his doggy birthday party last week he just didn’t seem as perky as he normally does…
Me: “Um… what?”
Random Conversationalist: “Have you seen that new R-rated movie that came out last week?”
Ignorant Exuberant Parent: “Oh yeah! We went to the 9:30 show and took our little (8-month old) daughter Sally with us! She loved that movie! She laughed and cried all the way through it! I think other people really enjoyed seeing a little kid having so much fun… they kept staring at us…
Ok, maybe I am being slightly dramatic.
I worry though, when I just zone out on conversations about people’s kids that I don’t care about, if I’ll ever be that person. Or worse, does this mean I’ll be a bad parent? I like little kids, but I think my level of caring and interest in their achievements and bowel movements is based on how much I care about their parents and how close friends we are. I feel more invested and excited when a good friend tells me she’s pregnant than when a random co-worker/ associate starts talking about her morning sickness and baby constipation in the breakroom.
I get it, you’re excited about your offspring and want to share that joy with everybody – but maybe gauge their reactions before diving into a story about mucus plugs and diaper genies? I work with a LOT of women, and it’s pretty common that 3-4 are pregnant at a time, so this is something I face every day… it’s a good reminder to take my birth control pill every day, FAITHFULLY.
In one of the many pervers turns that my life takes, this subject (interest in other people’s babies, NOT birth control!) came up during a conversation with my mom last weekend. She took that as an opportunity to share with me some funny baby stories about me and both or my two sisters.
Now, anyone that knows me also knows that I see this as a form of karma coming back like a boomerang to the face. How do you tell your own mother that you don’t care about her own baby stories? Especially when YOU’RE THE BABY???