I’m not a social person by nature. Some that know me would think that comment ridiculous. But I get nervous in social situations. I’ll agree to a party or get together and actually feel excitement for it. Then as the time approaches, I get really nervous, consider backing out, think of the excuses I’ll use to get out of it. A few years ago, I backed out of most occasions for which I had said “yes”. These days, I
suck it up overcome my anxiety and go – to most – and end up really enjoying myself.
Sometimes when I see people that I know in public, if I don’t know them really well, I hide. I put my head down, turn the corner, pretend like I’m really intent on going somewhere quickly – I pretty much run away. These aren’t bad people, I just have a weird anxiety. And I especially do not enjoy random, lengthy encounters with strangers.
Maybe it is the small talk I fear so much. I couldn’t tell you why I feel this way. I’m sure years of therapy would reveal the reasons, but I function well in life (despite this post) so I really do not see the benefit of paying for those answers.
My social “awkwardness” has leaked into public outings with my son. I’ve gotten used to the stranger small talk about my son’s age, how cute he is (because he is INSANELY cute), blah, blah, blah. If only it ended there.
We have entered the toddler socializing with stranger toddler stage. Interpretation: Today we are on the playground, stranger mother and myself exchange names and ages (i.e. small talk), Buggy hands your daughter leaves, then hits her with a stick, I feel like crap, and you probably hate me and my kid.
I don’t let my son run wild. I use good discipline techniques (if you can even call it that for someone that doesn’t understand consequences). I teach sharing, gentle touches, manners, etc. However I also understand that developmentally, most of these concepts are not within his realm of understanding or following. He sees something he wants, he’s going to grab it. He has one speed of movement, fast and hard. Most touching is rough – he doesn’t know his own strength and he doesn’t understand causing pain. I don’t like when he hits or grabs or is rough, but I get the developmental stuff that goes along with it. I can’t help it – it’s who he is for the moment! He’s only one FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (where’s a paper bag, I’m hyperventilating)
Well, if I know all of this, why am I bothered with interactions like this you ask? Does the mother of the child my son just grabbed or stole from understand this? Does she think I’m a horrible mother? Does she think I didn’t handle it well? Does she even care? Ack!!!
So now I not only have my own weird social anxieties to deal with, I have created ones around my son. I think I need to scope out nearby holes to crawl into before we hang out at the park. When strangers and their kids approach, we will crawl inside to avoid awkward stranger toddler moments. Or my kid hits your kid with a stick, you leave, and we have the park to ourselves. Whatever works, I’m having a panic attack over here.