I've got this accessory now that goes with me everywhere. It's a conversation-starter at the very least and catalyst for fast stranger friendship at its best. As a social person who has a secret love of interacting with strangers, it's really the best. Only one person I've interacted with in the last three months has had zero reaction to the baby. Not even a glance, a passing mention or anything. It was bizarre, and actually the prompt for this post, because it was so out of line with my other experience. I didn't need him to react, but fact is, everyone else on the planet does.
The three most common reactions are:
1. "Awwww" or the non-verbal face that matches it
The most common, for obvious reasons. Not everyone has the luxury of interacting with me and my tiny human. Most often I am walking in public and, like a sea parting, strangers make a little melty face and just sigh at the show-stopper that is a brand new tiny baby.
2. Lots of questions and opinions
The least common, mostly because I don't usually engage, unless I'm really in the mood to be chatty. It's amazing, though, how quickly people can get from zero to advice giving. Or story recounting. I've had some spectacularly heartwarming conversations with people in the park and at the grocery store (it's not like I go so many places). And I'm pretty good at the smile and 'that's great' canned response for anything out of left field.
3. "My baby is ___"
My favorite, sometimes coupled with one of the other responses, but frequent and special enough to warrant its own line item. 'My baby is 1' 'My baby is 10' 'My baby just turned 55.' Maybe it's because all babies really do look alike. There's probably also some hormonal/genetic thing that responds to tiny babies. But I love it. To me it is the most genuine connection. We may have zero in common in our regular lives, but we both have had this shared experience of the first few months - of snuggles, of unknowns and guessing, of this deep, life-changing love that feels fresh and unmottled by bad behavior and negative relationships. And someday when Jamie is big or annoying or mad at me I will look at someone with a brand new one and remember.