So why is it that strange waiters at California Pizza Kitchen with fuzz & crumbs stuck in their dreadlocks feel it's okay to touch my kid? Or any stranger for that matter (by touch, I mean in the totally benign way, mainly the hands & face). Well?
You know the type: bold, touchy & chatty, albeit a well intended stranger. They just somehow think it's okay to come over and put their germy, sweaty hands on my kid. These must be the same people who thought it was just fine to give my belly a rub down when I was pregnant. Random people in elevators, the check out line at the store or the bank. Personal space is obviously not a widely embraced concept.
I actually had a college professor do that to me once. So, what did I think (or not think) to do? I of course, I reached out and rubbed his. It was ripe, not quite as ripe as mine, but still well nourished, and I simply asked, " how far along are you?". Amazingly, I didn't fail the course after that & no one in the class dared touch my belly for the rest of the semester.
Anyway, back to those baby touchers. Babies are usually undoubtedly cuddly and have a very strong gravitational pull for whomever gets locked in the spell binding gaze. It's hard to resist them. I tewtelly get it. And yes, I know these touchy feely feelers mean well. Really, I do. That's why I'm probably a jerk for thinking this, & that's also why I find it so hard to ask them to stop. It's one of those weird social situations where you might sadly hurt someones feelings. Someone so genuinely nice. Nice people are difficult to come by these days, lets face it, so I don't want to be that person who puts up yet another social barrier. Plus, I don't like to offend. I'm VERY anti-offend. I'm a big ol' wimp. On some, SOME days someone could basically walk up to me and slap me up side the head and I'd respond, "sorry, I really didn't mean to get in the way of your hand.". I'd just rather avoid confrontation at all cost. But that's only on SOME days when my hormone levels are pretty level. You don't know when those are so I wouldn't try it. Please don't try it.
Personally, I have never thought it to be socially acceptable to go over and hug some random stranger's kids. I'll hug my friends kids, but that's different. I trust them and hopefully the feeling is mutual. So lets get down to the root of this social phobia. I think the big problem I have is I don't know these people, nor do I know where they've been with those hands. bleh. These people touch his hands, people possibly crawling with the flu, e.coli, norovirus, meningitis or some other sick, and then he puts his hands right into his mouth. Almost at lightning speed. I've actually (discretely) grabbed my purel out of my bag as soon as a touchy person started to approach so I was armed and ready to disinfect.
There was this one time when we were getting off a plane and this overly infatuated flight attendant came over and offered Jake her finger to suck on. Her FINGER. Oh. My. Gawd. I thought, this woman has lost her bloody mind. But then, something happened that will probably keep her from doing that ever again. He bit her. Hard. With his brand new, razor sharp teeth. I tried to pull him off, but that just made him bite down harder like a little pit bull or a shark. He finally released and she got her somewhat mangled finger back. I just smiled & said, "sorry about that, kids. heh.." and disappeared quickly.
Okay, so yes, we're all now undoubtedly clear that I'm a certifiable germaphobe. I am, after all, a huge fan of the cleanshopper, the clean diner and purel. So I'm not even going to try to deny my neuroses. But my kid does like to gum everything within his mouth's reach so I think however neurotic I may be, it's totally justifiable. I've seen Jake actually grab my shoe off the floor and just slurp away. Thankfully, I've been told this is also just a phase. I'm thinking this whole thing where strangers feel okay about touching your kid is too. Because soon, Jake will be bigger and will be just as creeped out as I am, and creeped out kids usually make their feelings quite clear. For now, I'll keep trying to figure out polite ways to ask them to not touch my kid. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. touch him & die a slow, horrible death.
2. (in a low whisper) he's might still be contagious, they never identified that rash of his. It's still oozing, poor thing.
3. he might bite a little.