5.16.2012

can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all

I think I more or less have gotten the hang of this parenting thing -- in general, I mean -- except for when it comes to people touching your child. While the obvious is that he's my child so keep your grubby hands off, I can never actually get that (or a kinder, more subtle alternative) out. Especially when it comes to the elderly.

Case in point: at Target, I was trying to put the shopping cart cover into the shopping cart when the contents of my diaper bag spilled upside down all over the floor. I tried to juggle a squirmy Ethan while trying to bend and pick up what I could, noticing all of the people who sympathetically smiled as they walked on by. Eventually, a nice elderly man came over and offered to help. I thanked him profusely as he put the shopping cart cover onto the cart for us and made silly faces at Ethan. And then he shook Ethan's hands, tousled his hair and was on his way. I immediately broke out the sanitizing wipes and gave Ethan's hands a rubdown. I felt ungrateful and kind of guilty in that moment, but still a little frustrated at how easily people seem to gravitate towards touching a random baby. Or is it just me who gets all squirmy and germophobic when this happens? Is it really not even that big of a deal?

A few months back at a restaurant, we were waiting for a table to be ready when some man walks past us. He reached down and shook Ethan's hands before walking into the restaurant with his wife. My mother nearly jumped out of her skin. Or there are the countless times at Ethan's pediatrician's office, which is inside of a large medical building, when people will ride the elevator with us and squeeze his feet, pinch his cheeks, lift his chin to see what color his eyes are. Don't even get me started on people pushing their way inside his mouth to see how many teeth he has. I feel like I'm always a goalie trying to keep people out and off of my child especially when he's sick and especially with his immune system troubles. I've seen signs people will attach to their strollers warning passerby to look with their eyes and not with their hands at the baby riding inside and sometimes I feel I need to pin one to the front of Ethan's shirt. And the back. And anywhere where maybe, just maybe, people will see it and be reminded that it's probably not the best idea to start touching a random baby they've met for the first time in a medical office elevator or down the aisles at Target.

Now let me step off my soapbox, put aside my imagined comfort with confrontation and say that it just takes one elderly man in the deli line to say how much Ethan reminds him of his grandson a million miles away in another state somewhere, one he has only met once, one whose pictures arriving in his mailbox is the highlight of his week (and do I want to see them?), one who is named after him, one who he hopes he can hold one more time before he's no longer here anymore. All it takes is one elderly man with a pocket full of 4x6 photographs and a sad story about his baby grandson in Arizona to make me feel like maybe a little hair tousling and a handshake is okay and, more than that, makes me think that maybe I actually should chase him down the aisle and ask him if he wants to spend the day with us.

8 comments:

  1. Totally with you on the excessive touching, especially anyone trying to look in their mouth...Ew! But the story of the older man missing his grandson....aww, that's a heart breaker!

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  2. that last paragraph gave me goosebumps and made me teary <3

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  3. Well, I can sure see why everyone wants to reach out and touch those cheeks. That baby is CUTE! But that being said, I used to love keeping my kids in a Baby Bjorn for the longest time for this exact reason. Because I could better protect from the grubby hands. Hi there found you through the link up. Happy to be your newest follower.

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  4. I very much agree with you! I am a happy follower and I voted for you on Mommy blogs! I love the look of your blog!

    I would love a visit back at http://mommy2allgirls.blogspot.com

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  5. Oh, Lindsay--as a grandmother who has to love from a 2500 mile distance, thank you for seeing the other side. Babies are joys that too soon fade, and when we, in the last part of our lives, can touch even a bit of that again, we are blessed.

    Visiting from Bass Giraffe.

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  6. Hi Lindsay,
    I touch a lot,guilty! But I see from another perspective.
    Found you on Thursday hop. Followed on GFC.
    Blessings!

    www.ugochi-jolomi.com

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  7. New follow from the blog hop :) Can't wait to catch up on your posts! Hope you'll take a look at my blog and follow back <3

    xo, Jersey Girl

    hairsprayandhighheels.blogspot.com

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    نقل عفش بالدمام
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    شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر

    ReplyDelete

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