The delights of parenthood are manifold, but one is being told your kid is cute. Other people, I understand, don't necessarily like talking to strangers in the grocery store. I'm gregarious. I like random interactions with my fellow man. And when the interactions are baby-based effusive praise, I'm all over it like a cheap suit.
"Look at those cheeks," they'll say, or, "Oh my goodness, how cute," or "Hello, handsome!" (He is infrequently mistaken for a girl, despite my generally dressing him in gender-neutral rather than explicitly boyish clothes. He has a dark purple cabled sweater, though, which increases his odds of mistaken gender by about 31%.) Sometimes they stop to ask his age and talk to him a little. Unless he's in an unusually gleeful mood, he responds with a level stare until they stick around long enough to pass whatever test he's clearly running, because after a minute or two, he opens up his can of HUGE ADORABLE BABY SMILE. Then I have to peel them off or they'd follow us home.
A couple of the deli guys and one of the check-out girls at the smaller of our two grocerias know him by name now, as does the nice lady at the yarn store and one of the tellers at the bank inside the other grocery. I remember this phenomenon; it was the same when Lola was a puppy and we lived in Powelton Village and walked her around the neighborhood a lot. Babies -- even (or maybe especially) baby dogs -- are the best possible calling cards to introduce you to a community.
It's one of the things I'm cherishing about his babyhood because I know full well it won't last. Before I know it, he'll be three and catastrophically emptying shelves at the grocery and having a tantrum at the yarn store and asking the bank teller if her penis came in yet.