Since then, I haven't really hung out with kids too much; I don't have kids of my own, my friends don't have kids, I'm an only child so there are no nieces or nephews...basically what I'm saying is that the last time I spent any substantial amount of time with children, it was recess and they were chasing me through the schoolyard with sharpened sticks or something. I don't know how to relate to kids as an adult.
A while back, a friend and I were in a restaurant waiting for a table. A couple with a little girl was also waiting, and my friend started making small talk with this little girl: "Hi there! I like your dress. Are you having lunch with your mom and dad? What are you going to eat?" And I was amazed by this because I never know what the hell to say to kids. I mean, at times in my life I've felt called upon to acknowledge the existence of a child (when someone brings their spawn to work to meet everyone, for instance), and I draw a total blank. I'm like, "Um, hey. What's up?" and so far no toddler has ever given me a satisfying answer.
I do have the capacity for gentle, playful banter, though. I know this because I've caught myself talking that way to random dogs that I pass on the street. I always pretty much ignore the owner and focus entirely on the dog: "Hi there! Look how pretty you are. Did you go to the park with your daddy? Did you have fun? Were you a good doggie?" I know that dogs probably don't understand my questions and definitely won't answer them, but I try to engage them in conversation anyway.
Perhaps the solution to my awkwardness with kids is to pretend that they're dogs (commence with the leg-humping jokes...NOW!).
Yesterday morning I was walking past a school bus that was stopped at a red light and a girl inside tappity-tapped on the window to get my attention. When I looked up, she waved at me. It didn't seem malicious, so I smiled at her. She smiled back, and I kept walking. It was nice.
That's the other thing: even though I feel awkward as hell around children, they usually seem fascinated by me. Probably because I look like a cartoon.
|Children respond to me for some reason.|