BETHESDA, MD–New parents David and Diane Huber, both 28, remain locked in a desperate search for other parents with whom they can talk exclusively about children, child-rearing, and their beautiful eight-month-old son Tyler, sources said Monday.
Despite a few tentative signs of progress–including the discovery of a new-parent Internet bulletin board, a brief conversation with a new father in their pediatrician's waiting room, and a possible get-together with Marc and Allison Wofford, new parents they met through their pastor's aunt–the Hubers' quest has been slow going.
"I really liked Rob and Kim, didn't you?" Diane asked David, referring to a couple the Hubers cornered near the swingsets at a Bethesda-area park upon spotting them with a stroller. Absent-mindedly musing as she folded tiny pieces of cloth, Diane added, "We really should get together with them sometime. It seems like we have a lot in common." Diane knows nothing about the couple that is not baby-related.
"We should all go out to dinner," David replied. "Although, maybe it would be easier just to have them over to the house for dinner, because I'm still not all that comfortable with the whole babysitter thing."
David and Diane then concluded that it would be great if the other couple, whose last name they failed to obtain, brought over their baby, too.
Friends and neighbors see no end in sight for the Hubers' quest, which has produced few viable candidates for new-parent socializing due to the lack of other new parents in their extended social circle.
"David used to go bowling every Sunday night with the league at Bumper's Bar and Grill," said onetime friend Carl Henkins. "We always got along real well because we both like boats. Plus, I'm a big Philadelphia Eagles fan, and David went to college in Philly. But now, the few times he comes down to bowl, it's always, 'When Tyler was born, he weighed almost as much as this bowling ball,' or, 'Speaking of shoe rental, you should see the booties we bought Tyler last week' or some other such nonsense."
"I mean, come on, I've got a five-year-old girl myself," Henkins said. "But that doesn't mean I can't keep my bowling life and my family life separate."
The primary cause of the Hubers' inability to relate to their former friends, David said, lies in their friends' unwillingness to talk exclusively about parenting.
"Ever since the baby arrived, my old buddies have been acting really weird around me," said David, warming a bottle of formula. "Like, just the other day, I met Jason [Niering] for a game of racquetball, which I hardly ever have time for anymore. When I got there, I started telling him how Tyler had been lying on his back that morning, grabbing his ankles and swinging his legs up over his head, and how it was noteworthy because neither Diane nor I had ever seen him do that particular move before."
After pausing for approximately four minutes to remove a messy diaper, clean Tyler's soiled backside, find a Wet-Nap, apply lotion, put on a fresh diaper, and return to warming the now-cold bottle, Huber continued: "So, anyway, I'm not more than four or five minutes into the story when all of a sudden, Jason says, 'What does this have to do with anything? Will you serve, already?' Totally out of the blue. I mean, what provoked that outburst?"
Henkins and Niering are not the only friends from whom Huber has "grown apart."
"Me and Tony [Lake] used to hang out all the time because we were both into cars," Huber said. "Now it's just not the same. Every time we get together, it seems like all he ever talks about is cars."
Diane has noticed an increased distance from her old friends, as well. Over the past several months, she has frequently remarked that none of them seem to share her interests anymore. The lack of conversation with others her own age, Diane said, has made her feel lonely at times.
"What with all the work I have to do taking care of Tyler, I'd sure like to spend some time with other adults every now and again," Diane recently told her mother, in between anecdotes about Tyler, during a long-distance phone call. "I'm a well-rounded person, and I have lots of interests: like where the best public schools in the area are, when is the right time to introduce pets into the home, what is the best way to set up a college fund, the whole issue of immunizations–you name it."
As pathetic and self-deluding as it may seem, the Hubers' plight, experts say, is actually quite common.
"It is not unusual for the parents of a new baby to feel terrible isolation, as the demands of parenting force them to spend less and less time with friends," said noted family therapist Dr. Eli Wasserbaum. "Yet it is possible to cope with these changes. All the Hubers need is to find someone–pretty much anyone with a pulse, really–they can spend a little time with away from the baby, yet with whom they can talk about nothing but the baby for hours on end, without making the other person feel like tearing his or her hair out and screaming. That's all."