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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fatherhood: Prepare To Have Strange Conversations

Remember that scene in Harry Potter when Hagrid first takes Harry to Daiagon Alley? Harry was bombarded with unusual sights and sounds. People would come up to him and ask him questions that didn’t seem to make sense. It was a new world for young Harry.  Well, sometimes I feel like having a child is like that. Like somehow just holding a baby in public unlocks a mysterious society you never knew existed. One where people come up to you and say things that make you wonder if they’re from a different place. 

Case in point:

Stranger (with a toddler): “How old is your son?”
Me: “Four months, how about yours?”
Stranger: “Almost 23 months.”
Me: *blinks* “Almost 23 months?”
Stranger: “Yep, they grow up so quick.”
Me: “Yeah yeah, real quick. Can we get back to the fact that you just said ‘23 months’ instead of ‘almost two’ like a normal person would say?”
Stranger: “But he’s not almost two, he’s almost 23 months.”
Me: “Uh huh.” Points to door. “Get out.”

The next time someone says that to me I think I’ll say, “My son is four months old, and before you ask, I’m 384 months old.” Okay, I know it’s “normal” to use months until a child is two, but it does not feel “normal” at all. In the first year, sure, use months, but after that … c’mon, really?  

I can hear your voices echoing out from cyberspace: “Steve, you’re a newbie at this whole parenting thing. It’s not weird at all. You’re the one who’s weird for thinking it weird.”

Fine – what about this:

Friend: “Your son is so cute, and so alert for four months, does he make strange yet?”
Me: “Make strange what?”
Friend: “Haha, funny. Seriously though, does he?”
Me: *furrowed brow* “Does he make strange?”
Friend: “Yeah.”
Me: “The only thing my son makes are dirty diapers. Is English your second language?”
Friend: “What?”
Me: “What?”

Make strange? Imagine my surprise when Google schooled me in the fact that it’s a real thing. Who makes up these terms? Was, “Is he afraid of strangers yet?” too long a sentence that they had to change it to, “Does he make strange yet?” 
To you parents out there: Did you have any of these moments when you had your children? Are there others I need to be prepared for?


Lindsey R. Loucks said...

This is too funny! I've always wondered about the month thing, too. I'm not a parent though, so I thought that's why I didn't understand the secret society code language. Now I know that parents are just weird! :)

Cynthia said...

okay I have to admit. I'm a mother of two boys 9 and 10 and the month thing always bothered me. But I this strange thing? Never heard of it before, something tells me I'm glad. LOL

S.P. Bowers said...

I've NEVER heard "makes strange". The thing that freaked me out the most was when complete strangers would come barreling towards me yelling "I wanna see a baby!" And then they would completely strip of every layer of blanket on him to get a good look. They would probably have taken off his clothes too if I hadn't given them the evil eye.

Carrie Butler said...

I've never heard of "make strange," either. Then again, I have an excuse: I don't have kids yet. :P

Great post, Steve!

JeffO said...

'Make strange' sounds like one of those secret society code-words. If you use it properly, they'll let you into the cool kids' clubhouse.

I've never heard that one. I agree with S.P. above. Babies are like dogs in the way people react to them - you get some who rush over and practically rip them out of your hands because they love them so much (uh, babies; like the way some people will just start petting your dog), and you get others who are clearly and obviously uncomfortable, almost afraid, of them.

Fatherhood certainly gives you fodder for stories, doesn't it?

Steven Whibley said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Now I don't feel so bad for not knowing what "Making strange" was. I can't help but wonder if all the Google replies were put there just to mess with me.

I haven't experienced the infamous "stranger trying to gain access to my baby by all means possible" situation yet, but I know my wife has.

Perhaps I look mean.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I raised 6 kids (birthed 5 of them) and I've never heard that before. Make strange? I'm with you on that one.

"Is English your second language?”


Katie Snow Pendergrass said...

And those are the types of weird questions that scare me, lol. I'm pregnant now and that's one of the things I'm dreading. Totally agree with you on both the months thing and the strange thing. At least now, if someone asks me that, I'll know what the crap they're talking about. Thanks for that, ;P.


Steven Whibley said...

Thanks, guys!

Katie - thanks for stopping by and congratulations on being pregnant! That's wonderful news.

J.C. Mogensen said...

Speaking of bizarre terms, can we all agree on a single word for "pacifier." My sister has twins and I only recently realized that binky, buppa, nooky, nuppy, nummer and plug all meant the same thing. "Plug" was what we called it because that's exactly what it does.

Steven Whibley said...

J.C. - HA! Buppa, nooky, nuppy, nummer ... I've never heard of any of those, but they're hilariously bizarre. Just to add one to your list, I call a "pacifier" a soother.

Avery Olive said...


Okay, so I agree with you, seriously, my son is almost five. And, AND he was almost one, almost two, almost three, and almost four, and various stages of his life.
I always, ALWAYS thought it was stupid to do the whole month thing... I got bored of it really quick.

And, the make strange... I too remember not knowing what the hell that was, and then shook my head and rolled my eyes when it was explained to me. Seriously, you can't just say, does your child get scared of strangers or perhaps people he doesn't see very offten.

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