Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Secret Life of Parents

Walking around the world with a small child I find complete strangers thrusting themselves into my life. I am an inductee into the invisible parenthood, a welcome sighting for the lovers of babies. For better or worse, I am never alone. Everyone wants to talk to the baby, ask the obligatory how old/what's his name questions. Some want to hold the baby or touch the baby or share stories about their babies. As someone who was pretty much terrified of anyone under the age of 9 less than a year ago and is generally a private person - strangers' intense interest in Baby Y is complimentary, endearing, exhausting and completely unexpected.

Predictably, 75% of the attention comes from women, but men too, as it turns out, love babies. Sometimes it's the toughest looking man on the train who is the most affectionate towards Baby Y or the slouchy disinterested teenager. It's a fun surprise.

And additionally, not that I was ever a particularly menacing character, but as a mother with child I am now the safest of the safe. I visited a friend in New York the other weekend who lives in University housing. I was trying to buzz her from the front door but the guard whisked me in, telling me to go on upstairs, ignoring my attempts to show her an ID or sign in. I told my friend that her building didn't seem very secure but she pointed out that women with babies don't tend to be big security risks. Oh right. Forgot about that.

... Random thoughts on a Sunday.

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