What are you an expert at, mums and dads? It seems I’m an expert at sticking little arms back on Lego figures, and catching baby vomit in a burp cloth before it lands on anyone (including the baby’s own shirt), and Google searches for really obscure and specific stuff. I am not sure these are skills I should list on my CV, but my mother sure does love to call me when she can’t find something on the internet.
I am also an expert at appropriately using apostrophes, being on time to events, and overpacking the nappy bag no matter where we’re going or how long we intend to be there. I am an expert at Being Prepared. I like being prepared, because you never know what kinds of curve balls life is going to throw at you. I have three kids, so I get thrown a lot of curve balls.
But perhaps the thing I am most expert at is telling you what other movies and TV shows particular actors have been in. My husband and I play this game called “Hey, It’s That Guy”. We’ll be watching a TV show and see an actor, think he looks vaguely familiar, and I’ll start scrolling through my brain until I remember where else we’ve seen him. And then I’ll tell my husband, “Hey, that guy was in such-and-such a movie.” And my husband will say, “No, I don’t think it was him.” So I’ll google such-and-such a movie and Hey, It’s That Guy.
But for all of my search-engine proficiency and ability to recognise celebrities under prosthetic noses and with terrible accents, I am absolutely useless at remembering people’s names. Useless. For years I couldn’t remember which of an acquaintance’s sons was which – I would hear her call to one of them and think, “I must remember that Josh is the younger one with the freckles” – but then next time I’d see her kids, I’d blank.
It’s worse in big gatherings, like birthday parties where I’m supposed to know the names of the other parents. All the kids know whose parents belong to which kid, but all I know is that I’ve seen that mum before, at school pickup, and I have a vague idea that her kid is in my kid’s class, but I don’t know which kid. I’m also sure I have her number in my phone from a previous birthday party where we agreed to exchange numbers and set up a play date, but then I didn’t text her because I couldn’t remember what her name was or who her kid was… And oh, no, she’s coming over to say hello and WHAT THE HECK IS HER NAME?
This is why I like to send my husband along to parties in my stead. So he can gather everyone’s names and report back to me, and patiently connect the dots as I ask questions (“No, Samara’s mum is the one who drives the blue car, and Brenna’s dad was the one who gave you that weird look because his name is John, not Jack.”)
So if you run into me somewhere, please just remind me of your name, straight off. Meanwhile, I’ll try to develop a version of Hey, It’s That Guy which works in real life…