Airplanes are the obvious example here, but I've been surprised to stumble across a few other "no child" zones in our adventures around town. Today's car dealer visit to get the Trophy Wife Wagon serviced was our latest such travail. Though the employees themselves went out of their way to accommodate me & Master P, my fellow patrons waiting in the recently renovated, hoity-toity waiting area were giving us the NCZ no eye contact like nobody's business. I was already stressed, knowing I had a long 2 hours at least of containing the toddler ahead of me, and the tension radiating off the others as they saw us just intensified it.
I was perplexed - though our surroundings were luxe, we'd hardly burst in on someone's private spa appointment or other understandably NCZ area, and Master P was on his best toddler behavior (read: wiggly but not screechy) - but we soldiered on nevertheless. We tried to make ourselves at home in the self-designated kids' corner, but . . . but . . .
. . . while one of us would have adored waiting while fiddling with a new Macbook Pro, the other, though clearly Gifted, Talented, and bound for PrincetoDartmOxford, had plans that didn't involve $2000 computers. Actually, they did, but probably not the ones the kind dealership had in mind.
I managed to redirect Master P's attention from the expensive technology, only to have him fix upon the eye-contact-avoiding fellow patrons and decide to socialize - and by "socialize" I mean "toddle up to someone and stare at them until they look back, then flash them a grin until they reciprocate." I tried to rein him in, but Mr. Personality persisted in working the room until I swear I saw the chilly mood shift a bit. There was eye contact, there were reciprocal smiles; even if those just wishing we would go away already had to force them, I could see them relax a tad. Once he zeroed in on the grandparents, we'd turned the room.
Let me clarify - I am not one of Those Parents who thinks that children should be welcome everywhere, nor do I believe that it's mandatory for all to find my child delightful. OK, that last bit is a bald-faced lie, but the first part is true - I get it. Certain No Child Zones exist for good reason, and I do my best to schedule around that or keep Master P on his best behavior possible (emphasis: possible) when I can't. Besides, we parents want time to ourselves and the ability to run errands without, say, peeling our tots off the floor model sports car too.
Today, however, watching him work that room we couldn't avoid, I couldn't help but be a bit proud - and inspired for whenever I next have to work a room myself. Surely there are worse social tactics to try than walking up to someone and smiling . . .
|Granted this was taken in our Child Zone yard & not at the dealership, but you get the grin-ny idea here.|
. . . though I may leave the staring to the toddler set. That seems more likely to land me stalking charges than friends, but it's otherwise a solid small talk scheme.
I end with thanks to the dealer for treating us so well, teddy bear & all, and the eventually kind patrons for - eventually - making eye contact. We're all just trying our best, aren't we? If you'll not treat us like we have the plague, we'll do our best not to strew Goldfish dust over your mid-sized SUV. Pinky swear.