My baby forces me to be awkward with strangers

Baby facepalm
That’s exactly how I feel in most social situations, Popple.

I don’t like talking to strangers.

I can do it if I absolutely have to – if I’m lost and need directions, or if I need help getting the buggy through a narrow doorway – but in general, I go out of my way not to. I avoid eye contact with sales people in shops, dreading the cheery, “Is there anything I can help you with?” question. At my first job out of university, I ate lunch in my car so I wouldn’t have to chat with my colleagues in the break room. I’m THAT awkward.

The Popple, on the other hand, loves strangers. She often walks up to them and touches them, and you can’t avoid having a conversation with someone who your baby has just grabbed.

“We don’t go around touching people,” I say to her, laughing awkwardly. People always say it’s fine. Of course they do. What else can they say? She’s a super-cute baby, after all.

The Popple just stands there, her hand on the stranger’s leg, staring up at them with her big brown eyes. I urge her to move along but she’s transfixed, so I have to keep talking to the stranger. I babble on about how she’s really interested in people (obviously), while the stranger makes polite comments about her adorableness. I start to get very red and sweaty. The Popple is oblivious. She might try to steal something of theirs – a water bottle maybe, or something sticking out of their handbag. I apologise profusely. The stranger is nice about it. I pick up the Popple and try to distract her with something that’s not a person.

It’s not as uncomfortable when she does this to children, because they don’t have any social filter either. The Popple is really curious about older kids, and often walks up to groups of them playing at the library or playground. I never know what to say to them either, but kids really know how to get a conversation going.

“I can jump,” a little boy said to us when the Popple approached him in a cafe last week.

“Can you?” I said.

He jumped for me. “She can’t because she’s a baby,” he said, pointing to the Popple.

“No, she can’t,” I said.

“I have a fire truck at home,” he said.

“You do?” I said.

He pointed to a dog laying on the floor at the table nearby. “That’s my dog. She doesn’t bite.”

The Popple reached up and poked him in the chest. He patted her head. They stood there together, being weird in that way that only kids can be.

38 Comment

  1. Oh this had me laughing! It gets worse when they become toddlers…my son has NO filter. I am constantly having to engage with other children and other people because my son has started something he can’t (or doesn’t care to) finish! I’m always apologising and trying to stop him waving and shouting hello to people…my husband says I need to let him express himself. I think he’s right but…AWKWARD! Love the pic too x

    1. I can only imagine what she’ll be like once she can speak. 🙂 Adrian took that picture of me and the Popple on a particularly trying day when she was really young.

  2. Haha oh bless you!! Babies and children are certainly ice breakers. I’m the type to make idle conversation with people in queues so you would not enjoy bumping into me, I think! #JustAnotherLinky

    1. Most people are really nice when they talk to me about the Popple – I’m just really, really socially awkward. Sigh.

  3. I loved this. I know what you mean, I am very socially awkward and it can be so tricky when you have a child that loves interacting with adults and is really confident. This is Oldest. She will always strike conversations with anyone. Although I am just glad that she is confident! 🙂 #marvmondays

    1. Absolutely – I hate the weird conversations, but it’s great to have a confident daughter!

  4. Brilliant! I struggle with the whole social thing around people I don’t know. My eldest is super confident like her daddy and is always getting me into situation where I have to talk to strangers x

    1. It’s so good to hear that I’m not alone in this – our children are doing their best to turn us into social butterflies!

  5. What I hate is when strangers approach Little B and touch him without asking! It always seems to happen on the bus, and always seems to be older men. I don’t like that at all, however well intentioned! #marvmondays

    1. Ugh! It happens to the Popple but with old ladies, and I never say anything because I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but it makes me cringe.

  6. We could learn so much from kids, couldn’t we? I’m also completely awkward and will go out of my way not to talk to strangers (maybe it’s really ingrained in me that much haha), but Archie is also outgoing and sends up talking and interacting with everyone literally shouting HELLO!! in their face so it’s hard for us to avoid conversations! Thanks for linking to #MarvMondays! Kaye xo

    1. I would LOVE to be a people person – if only I had my daughter’s confidence!

  7. I love awkward interactions with strangers! They are my favourite! Does that make me weird? Probably. And now I’m answering my own question, which is a bit strange too.
    This was an enjoyable read 🙂
    x Alice
    #marvmondays

    1. Hey, I wish I liked awkward interactions with strangers like you do – it would make things MUCH easier. 🙂

  8. Haha agree with this – why does everyone want to talk to you when you have a baby?! My daughter is 4 now and it’s even worse – I have to make small talk with mums on the school run!!

    1. Small talk is the WORST. Not looking forward to that!

  9. Love this! I think life would be much more simple if we could all just interact like toddlers? Maybe the next time you find yourself in that awkward situation, you could just pat the stranger on the head and say “this is my baby, she doesn’t bite. I have blue pants on today.” Then grin and walk away. It would make the whole stranger interaction thing far more exciting haha.

    Thanks for the giglgle!
    #MarvMondays

    1. Hahaha – LOVE that suggestion!

  10. Back again from #passthesauce – love the name of this new linky!x

    1. Me too – I’m a big fan of sauces of all kinds. 🙂

  11. budgetfoodmummy says: Reply

    I am not a people person but for some reason my daughter is!
    It gets worse once they can talk, she will go up to a group of teenagers drinking in the park (we live in a lovely town I know!) and start chatting to them!!
    I’m trying to teach her about talk to strangers because she keeps hugging them #passthesauce

    1. Oh no – I can just imagine the Popple hugging strangers and the embarrassing conversations that would lead to!

  12. Oh this is brilliant – loving the no filter behaviour – my no filter button carried on and I think people wish I was perhaps a little more unsure in some company – so it’s not a bad thing that you are the way you are – trust me! Great post lovely #passthesauce

    1. Ha! Sometimes it’s good not to have a filter – keeps things interesting!

  13. agentspitback says: Reply

    LOL…Many a times I have been caught in these “awkward” situations as well but the kids usually break the ice by saying or doing something silly. I personally think my children, in particular my youngest who is such a sociable creature, has helped me come out of my shell a bit morel. It’s always easy to start a conversation about children. I had to laugh at the “stealing bits” though. Thanks for linking with #PasstheSauce.

    1. The Popple is too young to understand that not everything belongs to her, so if she sees something she wants, she takes it. Water bottles are always a big hit for some reason. Babies, eh?

  14. Ha ha! I’m fairly confident and will talk to strangers but I do find these situations quite awkward so i can sympathise with you! 🙂 #PassTheSauce

    1. I wish I had your confidence! The people who I end up talking to are always friendly – my awkwardness just gets in the way.

  15. Mine is four and still does this. It doesn’t matter where we are, she feels the need to talk to every single person there

    1. I have a feeling the Popple is only going to get more friendly with strangers as she gets older and learns to talk – it should be…interesting.

  16. Ha ha this is brilliant and you’re right it can be so awkward! In a way its good that kids just force us to chat about any old rubbish! xx #PasstheSauce

    1. It’s true – they can really allow you to have a conversation with pretty much anyone!

  17. I love the weird child conversation. That boy definitely had a good opening line. I can’t wait until Piglet starts making bizarre conversation with all and sundry. Apparently I was a dab hand at starting conversations with strangers as a child, so Piglet will probably be the same. #PasstheSauce

  18. twotinyhands says: Reply

    Hahaha! The lovely popple! I think having conversations with kids is a good thing over adults! Normally more honest! I can’t relate now but I’m sure it’ll get more awkward when the popple actually starts talking to the grown ups too! Good luck x

  19. Lol! My daughter is the same she so social and confident, literally talks to everyone. I don’t mind it I really have to hold back from laughing sometimes because like you say kids are weird and that makes them hilarious #marvmondays

  20. Haha poor you! There’s nothing wrong with being awkward, embrace the awkward and have a natter with a stranger it’ll change your day 🙂 babies and dogs are a surefire way to get people chatting to you… Random conversation is fine as long as it doesn’t feel forced 🙂 xxx

  21. […] The Popple loves everything about the library – all the books she can ‘read’ (by turning the pages as fast as she can, usually with the book held upside down), the free pamphlets she can rifle through, the librarians who tell her how cute she is, the other children there who she can stare at awkwardly. […]

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