I’m so excited to be sharing a post today from Lauren at Three Makes A Family. Lauren is mom to cutie-pie Rylan sharing her journey about becoming a mom. Be sure to check out her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
I like to think that I have been fairly relaxed and easy going with my son. I realize that he is growing up in a world filled with all kinds of fun things to experience, which means he will come in contact with GERMS (a dreaded word for parents)… When he was a newborn I was a bit fanatic about hand sanitizing, and cleaning. He was just so tiny and pure that I didn’t want him to come in contact with anything that he didn’t have to. But as he got older I tended to shift towards the thinking of “what doesn’t kill them only makes them stronger”. Overall, I am more inclined to think that exposing them to a certain amount of things will only build their immune systems, so I don’t fret the small stuff.
That being said, I still don’t feel completely comfortable with strangers coming up and touching my baby (who just turned 7 months). I know he is completely adorable and you just want to run your fingers through the jungle of curls atop his little head. But, I still don’t know you and I don’t know what you have all over your hands; hands that are touching his face, and holding his hands (that he will then stick in his mouth mind you).
It brings up a bit of a conundrum. What do you say?! How do you politely tell a perfect stranger to not touch your child without coming off rude and offensive? I don’t like to cause confrontation with anyone, and am very friendly to people, so I find it hard to speak-up sometimes. I found myself in one such situation not once, but twice the other day…
We live very close to a grocery store, and since it has been such nice weather outside, little man and I have been walking up to get a few things to cook for dinner each day. I started to take him in his new red plastic push car; he loves riding in it and I love that I can put some groceries in the back of it. Previously, I always carried him in his Ergo carrier. Because he was so close to me no one had really tried to touch him because he was in my personal space (and his face is pretty close to boob territory), so I never really had to worry about it a whole lot. But because it is getting so hot out, wearing him to the store and back means that we overheat each other too much so it is no longer the best option.
So, while I pushed him in his cute red car into the grocery store, one of the employees comes over to us to say hi as she was coming in for her shift. This lady is always so sweet and friendly and just swoons over little man every time we come in. I usually love to see her, however, just two days before she had been very sick and had no voice while checking us out at the register. I made a mental note to avoid her line for a while. But here she was, welcoming us to the store, saying how cute little man was today, and she started to lean down towards my baby… Before I knew it she was practically close enough to plant a kiss on him and was shaking his little hand. Aahhhh! My mom alarm was going off! This woman was super sick not two days ago and now she was touching my baby.
What do you do? I had no idea what to say. It all happened so quickly that I am not sure I could have stopped it even if I did know what to say. I know you can’t protect your kids from everything, sure, but from things you KNOW are contagious, you better believe that I don’t want him near that.
After she had already passed on any cooties, I had to reassure myself that there was nothing I could do about something that had already happened. I had to wipe his hands best I could and move on to grocery shopping. We had wandered over to the fresh produce room to get some fruit, and to cool off from the heat, when I found myself in another situation. Two ladies were blocking the aisle. I politely announced myself and asked if I could squeeze by. They just stood there looking at little man and started oohing and aweing at him. Then one of them leaned down and took his hat off to touch his hair, and then she reached down for his hand and started playing with him. The same hand I (hopefully) sanitized that was just grabbed by the other woman. My mom alarm was going off for the second time in less than three minutes.
Again, I was speechless. Words were not coming out of my mouth. Words any words, please let me say something… How was I going to tell her what I was thinking in my head without being offensive? I kept trying to make it seem polite but before I could get anything out she had moved on to picking out her apples. Again, the moment had passed while I just stood there with a polite smile.
What I wanted to say both times was, “Oh, wait (with an outstretched arm), please don’t touch my baby. I am not sure where your hands have been. I don’t know who you are for you to be reaching out for my precious little baby.” But my politeness filter had stopped me. I know that they are just admiring a cute baby and trying to be friendly, but at the same time, there is something unnerving to a mother about a stranger reaching for your child. I feel like people are respectful of newborns and keep their distance, but as they get a little older people want to touch them. So, I ask, what do you say to people? Is there a polite way to thwart a well-meaning touch from a stranger who only thinks your baby is adorable? Do you even care if strangers touch (or dare I say even try to hold) your little one?