Dad and I are always trying to get the kids to be polite when they meet grownups: to shake hands, speak clearly, look the person in the eye, etc. But when their big chance comes, of course they mumble, hide, and generally don't do any of the things we told them to.
I was thinking about this and it struck me how unnatural most of these conventional politenesses are to children. In fact, what made me think of it was how shy I feel when meeting new people, especially those who are particularly distinguished (whether by the world or in my mind). When I meet someone of a higher office or greater accomplishment, I have to fight to make eye contact because I know my place in the presence of comparative greatness: lower, down there where my eyes feel like they belong. Our culture's faux-democratic rituals of acquaintance are counterintuitive and uncomfortable for us lowly types.
So now what do I tell the babies?