I don't know about you, but when I go out to public places, especially the grocery store with my son it seems as if people like to gravitate towards us. Lately, it seems as if it happens in slow motion like a scene out of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or the Zombie Apocalypse. The only difference is that the zombies are not after me, no they are after MY baby! They want to touch him, pet him, stroke him, kiss him, play with him. It's as if they crave the innocent life force deep within my child's soul.
I have tried several tricks: wearing him in a carrier, keeping him in the carseat with a blanket over him, etc. Nothing works. I researched a few ways to discourage the touching though:
"She's irresistible, isn't she? I know it's hard to not touch, but I would rather you say 'Hi' without handling her."
"My baby's a little shy. Would you mind backing off a bit?"
"Feel free to look, but I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't touch."
"UH-OH! You should really go see a doctor, he's SUPER contagious right now. But only from direct contact. Since people aren't supposed to touch other people's babies, no one should be at risk."
Start "petting", stroking, or touching their socks, arms, mouth, head etc and then when they look shocked: "OH! Should I have asked first?" and use sanitizer on your hands.
I have heard stories from my friends of people reaching in thru a car window at the gas station to touch the baby, reaching thru a playpen gate to touch not only the baby but his toys and swing. Yes, we are very proud of our little ones and we appreciate the compliments that they are adorable, cute, beautiful, and handsome. We know! We made them and we did a darn good job! However, our babies are still new to this world and are not always ready for the bombardment of germs and other micro critters that live on people. Even if someone touches the baby's foot, that foot is later going to go right into their mouth, making the germs' job ten times easier at invading the new environment. Sometimes I can even hear the little germs yell with glee as they slide on inside to take up a new residence. Now for those of you who think well germs are no big deal, what about the fact that this is a random person walking up to your child and touching them? When was the last time you walked up to a random person and started stroking their head? I haven't done that ever and I would be probably screaming for help if someone did that to me in the grocery store.
The primary culprits tend to be the elder population. I understand it probably makes them feel younger and gives them hope. After all that is what babies symbolize to many: HOPE! Hope for the future, hope for the innocence to last, hope for dreams to come true, etc. I think as we get older we learn so much more about the world and how it works and we long for the days of our youth when we were innocent. Our biggest worry then was if we didn't get a popsicle after dinner or if we didn't get a story before bedtime. We didn't know of evil in the world, that didn't exist, except in stories where the good guy always won! I try to remind myself that these people are getting a little more joy in their day because they got to see my son's radiant smile, but please don't touch or at least ask so I can politely tell you that I appreciate your interest but no. Who knows maybe when I am older, I will see an infant in the store and want to touch him or her, but I won't because it is not polite, but I will make silly faces in the hopes of getting the baby to smile back at me so I can recapture a simpler time ;)
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