There are all sorts of new social dynamics you get to experience once you have kids: You get ogled like a supermodel as you walk down the street with a newborn strapped to your chest; you learn what it’s like to be unwelcome when you and your kid sit down next to a childless traveler on an airplane; you get unsolicited parenting advice shouted at you out the windows of moving cars; you find yourself in conversation, over and over again, with complete strangers based solely on the fact that you both have kids.
But my favorite experience of all took place this morning. We drove downtown to get Jay a haircut and afterwards walked over to Bruegger’s Bagels for breakfast, which we’d forsaken in our rush to get out the door that morning so that Jay could be first in line at the barbershop.
We ordered our bagels and sat at a corner table. Next to us there was a young couple, early twenties, not married. She had on a “Michigan Law” sweatshirt. He had bed-head, a fresh face, and wore a thin, expensive-looking sweater.
She kept looking over at Wally and then turning back to her companion and saying something to the effect of “Isn’t he so cute.” The guy smiled faintly and mustered something like “Oh yeah” in reply. The dynamic repeated itself over the next fifteen minutes. Wally kept being cute. She kept looking at Wally. He kept being way less interested in the cute kid than his girlfriend was.
This type of situation occurs all the time and I always love it. I get a mischievous zing out of displaying my adorable toddler in a way that produces minor tension in someone else’s relationship. And between me and the other guy involved, it feels almost like taunting: Haha, buddy! This is going to be your life too reaaaaaaaal soon!