Saturday Mom Musings: Small Talk

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

We went to a 1-year birthday today and enjoyed some delicious vegan treats.  Hummus sandwiches, pasta salad, loads of fruit, taco dip, and even Tofutti cuties.  Best part?  We weren’t the only vegans there!  That is always exciting!

Money Matters:

Today we were busy with music class and a birthday party.  No money spent!

Mom Musings:

I talk a lot.  I think it is in my genes; I come from a family of (loud) talkers.  When I’m spending time with friends and family I have no problem carrying on several hours worth of conversation.  Yet, in spite of this, I really suck at small talk.  I never know what to say once we get past the weather.  This deficit of mine has become readily apparent this year because:

a) I have less adult interaction, and therefore less practice

b) It turns out I extra-suck at parent small talk.

I’m not saying I don’t like talking to other parents.  I actually do.  I’ve met some great people through the playground, our neighborhood and music class; people that I would consider friends.  I have no problem carrying on a conversation with them.  However, when I’m just speaking to another parent informally, at the park or on the sidewalk, I run out of things small-talk appropriate things to say really quickly.  Here is what think our small-talk conversations look like, from my end.

Stage 1: The Weather.

“It’s so nice!” / “It’s so cold!” ‘ “It’s so hot”
“I can’t wait for snow/no more snow/spring/summer/no rain/rain/fall”

Stage 2: Sooooo . . . 

Once I enter stage 2, I have a few topic options:

What kids are doing
OR
Work
OR
Current Events

I’ve gotten in trouble with current events when I don’t know that person’s political leanings.  I can usually figure out questions about work if I know a little about what the person does, but if not, I tend to sound like a moron.  So, we usually arrive at Stage 3 (which we always get to anyway, even I do manage to get some discussion about the other two topics in).

Stage 3: Your kid story, then my tangentially related kid story.

Now we swap kid stories.  What is your kid doing, what is my kid doing.  And here is where we get to my main problem.  Since I’m a talker my stories about my kids (or anything really) usually have a bit of a rambling narrative.  I might see an opening to share how LP started calling my sister “Ti-ti” instead of “Auntie.”  Sure, I could just say that.  But that narrative is lacking context and backstory.  So, first I have to explain how LP loves cream cheese, which my sister often brought to our house, but he also called cream cheese “ti-ti.”  Also, I must note that we, of course, eat vegan cream cheese, being vegan at all.  That cream cheese is pretty good, and it is kind of cool to me that LP has just grown up eating it and doesn’t compare it to dairy-based cream cheese.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, so my sister usually brings cream cheese to our house, because she lives in New York . . .

You get the picture.

Even when the other person goes first with their kid story, I never know how to make my return kid story short and succinct.  So most of my kid stories end up with my conversation partner having to go refocus on their kid, or even just staring off into space.  My stories are just not made for small talk.  In the land of tweets, my stories are Anna Karenina, complete with bizzaro political tangent for a side character that you could probably not read and still get the gist.

What I really need is an index card with my top ten short-and-sweet kid stories that I can share at a moments notice.  Your kid was walking early?  BAM – here comes witty anecdote #3 about LP at nine months!  Your kid doesn’t want to eat vegetables? BAM – I’m ready with abbreviated narrative #7, in which LP will only eat stir-fried tofu.

Maybe I’ll work on that cue card in my spare time.  Wait.  Spare time?  Shoot.  Maybe I’ll just play with LP on the slide so I don’t have to talk to anyone.  That sounds more fun anyway.

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