Tuesday, December 15, 2009


by Tom McConville   (NWM Staff Writer)

A guy who sits in the office behind me brought his 3-year old son into the office on Friday.  Which was cool, because it gave me another test sampling of a pseudo-sociological test I’ve been taking for some time now.

Simply put, I’ve been trying to find out how easy it is to spot people who have kids versus people who don’t. Further, I think it is also possible to judge – just from observation – people who want to have kids versus people who want nothing to do with them.

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I will tell you I’m a parent. 3 times over. And I love them more than anything else on this earth. But I don’t expect anyone else – besides my wife – to feel the same way about them. So I’m going into this test objectively. I don’t like bringing my kids to the places I’ve worked because I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable in a place that has enough tension and headaches already.

But in those rare times I’ve been forced to bring one or more of my rugrats into my place of work, I’ve noticed that people have pretty much the same kind of reaction. Here now are the types of reactions I’ve discovered.

THE BUDDY. Sadly, I fall into this category. Whenever someone else brings their child in the office, I often go over and start talking with the kid as if he and I are old pals. There’s a lot of “Hey buddy, who’s you’re favorite Backyardagain?” and “Oh wow, you look just like Kai Lan”. Now, that can work in two. The first way is that the kid realizes you’re up to speed on all things Nick Jr. and so he or she will give you a wide berth. The second way is that the kid shuts down completely, because a) you are a total stranger b) you’re questions may seem a bit creepy if you’re not careful. Yeah, it’s a slippery slope.

THE FAWNER. Almost 100% of the time it’s a woman. Usually it is a mom, a woman with intense baby fever, or a twenty-something who’s “great with kids”. Now, the moms in this group can often just transform into Buddy speak, talking about different games, shows or things a kid these days knows. The baby fevers and twenty-somethings aren’t up to speed on those things, so they fall back on the standard, “oh you’re just soooooo  cute” and “I want to squeeze you” type of comments. Again, kids will either like the attention or give these women a look similar to the ones a young attractive guy will give when the lights go on at a cougar bar.

THE IGNORER. Again, no judgments on this one. But I’ve noticed many, many people simply refuse to acknowledge a kid’s presence within the office environment. Fact is, kids disturb the social order of a workplace, and for plenty of people, this disturbance is something that shouldn’t be tolerated. A large part of me is actually jealous of the Ignorers, because they are actually being honest in regards to their feelings.

I’m sure there are many other types. So if you have any you’d like to share, have at it.


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