Flubbing fatherhoods small talk
Im an awkward dad. I realized this last week as I walked with my five-month-old daughter, cradled in a Baby Bjorn, through the Martis Valley.You see Im new to this whole fatherhood thing, and as I pass other parents with their children, we engage in the awkward and obligatory baby talk.Ive already misidentified the gender of children, guessed ages wrong, and all-around mangled the whole parental chit chat.How old is your son? I asked one night to the parents of a young girl a couple months ago in one Truckee restaurant.You mean our daughter? the bewildered parents replied, as both my wife and the couple stared at me in disgust.In the Martis Valley, I simply did not have the words to say. After asking ages, I didnt know whether to launch into questions about mashed peas, infant formula and diapers.So, do you get the Huggies Supreme? I could have asked. Those are sweet.Instead, after an unwieldy silence, I smiled and kept walking after meeting new parents, the awkwardness still hanging in the air.I think I may need some coaching. I may need to start using words like adorable, cute and precious that I have avoided for so long.Ive been looking for the Baby Talk Dictionary that will provide me a fall-back phrase when I am confronted with a new parent and my mind goes blank.Babies rock, just doesnt seem to be doing it for me.Until then, Ive learned a few unbreakable rules on other baby matters. And since there seems to be a whole herd of new parents in Truckee and North Tahoe, I thought Id share them in case there are any parents out there as clueless as I am. Dont guess ages. Ask ages. Dont assume gender. When a child has no hair and is dressed in green, beware. Dont compare motor skills or other capabilities. Oh, your child isnt walking yet? My child was reading James Joyce and skiing at 9 months wont make you any friends.So there you have it, Baby 101 from possibly the most unqualified person to give baby advice ever.Maybe, on one of my walks, Ill meet up with a parent as inept in baby talk as I am.And well have an exchange that will go like this.Sweet baby, man.Yep. Youre kids pretty rockin too.Gonna be a little shredder.Right on.David Bunker is Sierra Suns assistant editor in Tahoe City. Reach him at email@example.com.