Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is It That Hard To Keep Your Hands to Yourself?

When I was pregnant, I assumed that my belly would be a magnet for strangers who wouldn't be able to resist touching it. I had heard, and read, countless stories from women who said how annoying it was to have their body touched by strangers who felt that it was okay to give their stomach a little "feel". But for me, it never happened. Not even once. Probably because I was bunkered up in my house day in and day out becoming one with my porceil bowl from sun up to sun down. No lie. I was horribly sick throughout my entire pregnancy...all the way up until little Ilah made her debut into the world. And then bam...all was internally well. Pass the pizza!

But once Ilah was on the outside, it was a totally different story. People gravitate toward her everywhere we go {who can resist that adorable face and those chunky thighs?!}.

It's one thing to verbally dote over a baby and even start up a little conversation with mommy {I actually love interacting and striking up conversations with people} - but I feel that people cross the line when they get touchy feely. I can even handle when people get a little close to Ilah's face to tell her how cut she is....but when they begin touching her, it's just too much for me. And I don't get why a stranger would think that's ok. But instead of saying anything I sort of stand there in pause mode, while internally saying, "hands off my baby!".

Why does it bother me? Well, let's take for instance....

The lady who was a smoker {as detected by the stench coming off of her, and as evidenced by how utterly gross her nails were}. I don't even care that she only had about half of her teeth in her mouth - and that the remaining one's were silver or gold. She comes up to my baby, who is sitting in my lap, and immediately takes a hold of Ilah's hand and starts to play with it. Naturally, Ilah holds onto her finger - and naturally the lady finds it cute how Ilah is gripping her finger - and so she lingers for more playing time with my daughter. I'm breathing in and out, trying not to bug out, and while I'm uncomfortable with it all, I feel that I shouldn't even have to say something to this lady. She should know better. But some people find it totally fine to touch, and play with, another person baby - despite how absolutely gross their hands and fingers appear. And I just don't get it. Yes, I had baby wipes on me to wipe Ilah's hands but that's a struggle to do when, with one hand, you need to get into your diaper bag to get them out while your baby immediately wants to do nothing but put her fingers into her mouth.

Then there was the stock guy at the grocery store. I stopped to ask him where I could find something that was on my grocery list. He didn't know, but jumped up to play with Ilah. It's not like I can just make a u-turn with my cart and bolt from him. I made my exit warmly but I just didn't understand how someone who has their bare hands on meats and dairy, and is ripping open dirty boxes of foods to store on the shelves, doesn't think that it's probably not best to touch a little baby.

Speaking of the grocery store. This is the most common place that people get up close and personal with little Ilah. It nearly always happens when I take her to the grocery store with me. One time an entire family gathered around my cart and before I knew it, Ilah's arms, legs, hands, face, and hair were all being touched by these strangers. I happened to be with my husband that time and I nudged him in the side while I was grabbing something out of the freezer section. But just like me, he didn't know what to say - or if he should say anything at all - so once again, we let it slide.

And then there was a waitress who got sooo close to Ilah's face that Ilah quickly reached out with her little hand and put her fingers right up the lady's nose. It happened sooo fast! The waitress {who is a mother herself} thought it was cute! No! It was gross! Why would you put your face thisclose to my baby's face? I was soooo peeved when that happened.

Should I put a sign around Ilah that says, "Look - But Please Do Not Touch"? I'm kidding.

It's ok if you call me spastic. I'm fully aware that I am {which is why I'm currently reading the book "The Paranoid's Parent's Guide" - more on this in another post to come}. But taking Ilah's wee little age into consideration, her immune system is still building and I'm very aware of germs and how they can create sickness. And yes, I know that inevitably sickness is unavoidable and will come {in due time} but I can take preventative measures - and just wish that others also had this same mindset. Taking all this into consideration, it's my personal opinion that I don't think it's appropriate for complete strangers to get touchy feely with my child - or any child. Admiring is one thing but when you feel that you can just come into our "personal space" it doesn't sit well with me. At all.

Have any of you ever experienced this when you've been out with your little one's? If it bothered you, how did you handle it? Even if you don't yet have kids, how do you think you would deal with the situation of strangers touching your baby?


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