Not long ago, a colleague at another university asked me for advice about being the parent of an infant. He is about to become the parent of an infant. I am the parent of a teenager who was an infant about a thousand years ago. My first reaction was "I have no idea. You are asking the wrong person for advice."
Then I realized that my reaction was kind of strange given that I often write about "academic infants" and children. When my daughter was a baby, I was an assistant professor, so why, if both stages of my life were equally distant in the past, was I be more reluctant to give advice about babies than about assistant professors?
Perhaps I shouldn't even attempt to give advice about either. Or perhaps I should start dispensing baby advice. Or perhaps the fact that I spend my days surrounding by assistant professors and even more youthful academics, whereas I don't spend much time with babies anymore, makes one more of a remote experience than the other.
When my daughter was little, big kids, especially teenagers, were rather terrifying. Now that we are in the teen zone, it's the teenagers who are rather fascinating and the little kids, especially babies, who are strange and terrifying.
Middle schoolers are very complicated creatures, but they definitely have their charms -- kind of like associate professors.
6 months ago