Interpersonal Skills, Clean Hair, and Other Things I’ve Lost

posted in Parenting Challenges, What Goes on in my Head on by with 3 Replies

I have a terrible feeling that I am now one of those people who can’t become friends with anyone who doesn’t have kids.  More specifically, little kids.  (I’m talking about making new friends here.  I’m hoping that my kid-free friends who have known me for a while are still hanging in there.)  I don’t mean that I wouldn’t like you if you don’t have kids.  In fact, I’ll probably think you’re really cool and smart and articulate and be super jealous of you and what I perceive to be your fabulously fancy-free life.

But you’ll just be like, “Wait, are you drooling?” and you probably won’t like me.

I’m pretty snarky now, and my personal hygiene is often questionable.  Also, you might even call me a little slow.  (I prefer to call it distracted, but you know, tomato, to-mah-to.)  Since people with little kids would, I presume, mostly also be snarky, unshowered, and a little slow/distracted, I’m thinking that we could be friends because they wouldn’t even notice that there was anything wrong with me. 

Like me, they would start a normal conversation at, say, the playground, that would go something like this:

“So, what have you guys been up to lately?”

And would end up like this:

“CONNOR!  Connor, put down that [insert dangerous thing that kids shouldn’t play with here] RIGHT NOW!  Oh Jesus.  He’s going to hurt someone.  I’ll be right back.”

And that’s it.

Even if the parent comes back, which is not a guarantee, the conversation we were having is now completely forgotten.  We have to just start over.

Did you ever see that Joss Whedon show Dollhouse?

I’m like the “dolls” on that show, conversationally.  My mind can be wiped clean by a toddler screaming “ALL DONE!  WASH UP NOW MOMMY!” and I’m forced to come up with a brand new train of thought as soon as she’s washed up and out of her highchair.

Sometimes when I’m trying to have a conversation with someone, I don’t even notice that they’ve said something.  Or I realize that they have, but I think they said something completely different from what they actually said.  So my response is either nonsensical or nonexistent.  In my defense, it’s really hard to focus when on one side of me, Captain Chaos is whacking me repeatedly on the arm with a toy cup saying “Cuppa coffee!  Cuppa coffee!  Cuppa coffee!” until I acknowledge that yes, I do understand what she’s saying.  Yes.  That’s a cup of coffee.  And then I have to pretend to drink it.  Slurp, freaking slurp.  On my other side, The Enforcer is reciting, in an increasingly loud and high-pitched voice, Go Dog, Go.  By the end, she is screeching: “ALMOST THERE!  STOP THAT TREE!  CLIMB LADDER TO………….DOOOOOOOOOOG PAAAAAAAAAAAAAARTY!”

Whatever social adeptness I had before kids has gone the way of disposable income, restful weekend mornings, and the ability/desire to wear cute shoes more than once a year.  I’m still desperately clinging to the notion that I will get these things back someday though.  They are not gone forever, right?  RIGHT??

I imagine that they’re lurking in a purgatory of sorts, just waiting to come back in increments once the kids start school or something.  The problem is that there’s a pretty good chance that by then, the slow/snarky/whiffy me will have completely taken over my identity and there will be no going back.

Maybe I should just start wearing mom jeans and let my hair all go gray and save myself some time and energy.  The twins already say “Mommy” when they point to this globby-shaped, parka-wearing frump of a hippo in one of their myriad hippo-themed books, so they’d never even bat an eye.  (What is it with kids’ books and hippos, anyway?  I don’t think hippos in real life are very kid-friendly animals.  According to the animal sounds iPad app that the girls love, hippos make awful, aggressive, grumbly noises.)

This is her.  The hippo that I swear to god looks nothing like me.

This is her. The hippo that I swear to god looks nothing like me.

Okay so fuck mom jeans and gray hair.  I really don’t want to look like that hippo.  I don’t even wear glasses, let alone glasses-over-a-homemade-winter-hat.  I’m going to go put on some mascara now.  And maybe even my good yoga pants.