Why is it people feel the need to touch babies that don’t belong to them? Yes, babies are cute, but I really don’t feel the urge to go over and grab children that are not directly related to me.
Case in point:
We were out shopping this evening and it rolled on to supper time, so we took the kids to a Chinese buffet restaurant we hadn’t tried yet. It was fairly busy, and our daughter, Lily, got the high chair and sat with her back to the aisle. That was also the only place for our waitress to stand as we were along the wall.
Pretty soon, every time the waitress came by she’d have to touch the baby. She’d pinch Lily’s cheeks, shake her hand, something like that. Lily eats these little Cheerio-like snacks, and she had a little pile of them in front of her. The waitress pushed them away for a second, didn’t get the giggle she was hoping for (and fortunately not a scream, either), and pushed them back. The last time around she put her hands on Lily’s shoulders and danced her around a bit.
We’re fairly used to this sort of thing as this is the third time around; people did it to each of our boys. Only after that last, rather prolonged contact, the waitress scooped up our dirty plates. It dawned on me she picked up everyone’s plates.
Then I made the mistake of looking around the room and seeing the wide range of people this woman served, from clean-cut, upper-middle-class suburbanite to wrong-side-of-the-tracks scuzzbag. She put her hands on all of their dirty plates, complete with half-chewed food and used utensils, then came back around and put her hands on our daughter’s face and hands.
Wonderful. It’s not so bad for the boys because they’re sitting at a table that has (presumably) been wiped clean and are getting clean utensils and a fresh plate. The waitress touches their drink cups, but that’s about it, and they’re both generally beyond shoving their hands in their mouths.
Meanwhile, you touch a baby’s hand and it’s only a matter of time before that same hand ends up in their mouth. If you’re the type that has to go touching strangers’ babies, use your brain first. In fact, it would probably be a good idea to ask permission first.
From now on, strangers who touch my children will get touched back.
And it will not feel good.