In 1912 after the sinking of the Titanic there were reports and suspicions of male survivors having dressed as women so they could get in the lifeboats first. I believe all were proved unfounded but it’s been an idea I’ve been considering recently, desperate to join the lifeboat that is my sanity, which is obviously rapidly departing.
All stay at home parents crave some adult conversation in their day to avoid becoming bumbling idiots. As you encourage your baby to learn a new language, it seems your own somewhat digresses into an incomprehensible gobbledygook and everything you say sounds like Vic Reeves singing a song in the Club Style.
[Never saw the comedy panel show Shooting Stars? The remainder of this post is not going to make any sense. But that’s sort of the point.]
Desperate to discover this fabled adult conversation, I’ve joined various baby groups, hung out in coffee shops and sat in the local library children’s section. When required, I join in as best I can via the medium of dance or even the gift of air guitar. But there’s a catch. I’m a man. Usually the only man. And a dad with a baby… thought I’d better clarify that.
Now I’m a sociable person, I talk to other parents at these groups but at the end of each, ettiequte seems to dictate that goodbyes are said and we go our separate ways. The women go for coffee, cocktails and cake and I go home, yet another failed attempt to integrate. UVAVU.
After a month of casual conversation about babies with various mums, I still hadn’t cracked it. I’d cooed at their babies lovingly, attempting to entice the Dove from Above down, holding the keys to real, grown up talk. I’d told them how great their parenting skills obviously were, complimented them on anything I could think of but still I was not invited into the clique.
I was a broken man. My daughter, I assumed, must be missing out on socialising with other children and would suffer developmentally. Was it time to disguise myself as a woman to fit in?
I didn’t know how much time I had left, but when the time was up, I heard this sound: “You moved in to my mother-in-laws house”.
It turns out that to be invited back into the adult world needed only one thing. It wasn’t something I could control and unfortunately, it wasn’t cross dressing either. It was something that united a battling Batman & Superman in perhaps the worst film ever made. A name and 6° of separation.
I was sat in Rhyme Time and asked the mother next to me what her daughter’s name was, something that I often do to strike up conversation. It was Millie.
(The Dove descended a little)
“Mine too”, I stated.
(A little lower)
“Do you live on Soandso St?” she asked, knowing my exact address.
“That’s weird, yes” I replied, stunned.
“You moved in to my mother-in-law’s house, we’re going for coffee, would you like to come?”
The Dove had arrived, I entered the clique. ERANU.
Since that day, the mums and I go for coffee after baby groups, we talk about non-baby stuff like food, films, hobbies and house refurbishment, but of course, we’ve all shared our birth stories too (a future blog post perhaps). My anxieties about not finding friendly people are gone and to be honest Millie wasn’t missing out, these things are definitely more for the parents.
So I’m accepted. Or am I?
This week I heard talk of a mystery What’s App group that my new friends are all a part of, used to organise meet-ups outside of baby group times. My new challenge perhaps? I’ll have to bring homemade bread and egg muffins in next time. Or maybe just lie about my mum’s name and see what happens.
Now, let’s hear that blog read properly.