Thank You for Not Touching My Baby

I had forgotten that older ladies love to handle babies. They would do it with Eli when I went places with him and it is no different with Liza. An older lady will see Liza in her car seat and gush about what a sweet baby she is (this I appreciate) and then they follow it up with a touch on her foot, arm, hand, or forehead (this I do not appreciate).

I and my baby do not want your germs. I try very hard to not be a germaphobe. I know that my kids will catch colds. But please work with me here to keep the touching to a minimum since she is still only four months old.

I was out shopping with Liza on Thursday and Friday and no less than 10 women had to touch her. I know that she’s cute but she isn’t the fountain of youth and she isn’t a genie to grant you wishes if you rub her belly.

Liza has had the worst cold this weekend that either of my children have ever had and I blame you, sweet old lady in the the grocery store.

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19 Comments

  1. on September 23, 2007 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    oh it was an epidemic in san antonio. one of my hispanic friends said that they feel they are passing on ablesing by touching the child. i flt they were passing on more than that as you do. strangers even went as far to actaully touch your belly when you were pregnant. you know my disposition a few folks were pulling back blody stubbs when they tried that.

  2. seth vidal
    on September 23, 2007 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    See, that’s funny b/c that’s my exact feeling toward kids – esp toddlers and older. I’d be very happy if all parents kept them reigned in and kept them from:
    1. touching me or anything I possess
    2. touching things that I will likely be touching
    3. being ANYWHERE near a salad bar, a hot bar or any kind of exposed food, whatsoever.

    Children are one of the major reasons I don’t eat much of anything at weddings.

    I think it would be a fair trade off: I’ll be happy to refrain from touching any child at all, if parents everywhere would harness them so they cannot touch me or other random things in public places 🙂

    But the last time I spoke this aloud people looked at me like I was suggesting giving their kids a dose of phenobarbitol.

    I guess, in short, I agree with you. The less touching b/t kids and other people, all the better. 🙂

  3. Lucian Smith
    on September 24, 2007 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    When in Houston, we were told that the Hispanic tradition/myth/whatever is that it’s bad luck to see a baby and *not* touch it. They will sometimes try to be discreet about it when you are not Hispanic yourself, but the baby not being Hispanic does not exclude them from the curse.

  4. on September 24, 2007 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Jeanetta & Lucian, I had heard about the tradition but had forgotten it. I think it’s sweet in theory but annoying in practice.

    Seth, I try very hard to be conscious of people who aren’t in love with kids and how my kids affect them. Well to be fair, I try that with everyone but I do especially like to give folks who are not crazy about kids their own space.

    And I do try my best to keep my kids restrained around food because I know that it has the potential to be a big ol’ germ fest.

    With that being said, my kids have to learn to interact with the world (and treat others appropriately) and to be able to do that they have to be allowed some of the same privileges adults enjoy. Which of course means they have to be allowed in public and as long as they are behaving appropriately, allowed to roam.

    My brother and sister-in-law keep their son, Sam, on a leash in some public venues for safety reasons and you wouldn’t believe some of the snide comments they’ve heard about that because they ARE keeping him restrained. In my experience, you are somewhat rare in your desire to have ALL children restrained.

    Before I had kids, I had a tendency to not cut women with poorly behaving children a whole lot of slack but now that I know the daily uphill battle that is being fought I feel a bit differently. Just know that most parents are doing their very best to keep our children restrained and out of people’s way while at the same time trying to teach them how to behave properly.

  5. duchess
    on September 24, 2007 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    My son had women kissing his little shoes when we were in the Caribbean/Mexico last summer. It was … a little unsettling.

    He also attracted attention from men and women alike – old and young – when he was a baby, which drove me a little batty. Because most of the time he was in a sling or a carrier, I generally tried to sidestep, shift my weight, when someone tried to touch him. It’s easier when I am the one moving, you know? This being New York, after the first attempt, most people didn’t try to follow-up on touching if they missed the first time. But I always felt weird about people wanting to touch, too. (And I avoided the touching belly thing by wearing baggy clothes so very few people even *knew* I was pregnant, because I really hated that)

    Now that he is older, he still gets a lot of people trying to touch him – usually his head – but now that he knows how to wave, I prompt him to wave, and that turns the hovering hand into a wave, and crisis averted. But there really should be a sign, “Please do not handle the baby” or something.

  6. Missy Krebs
    on September 24, 2007 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Everyone started out as a child, germs and all.

    I’m raising three people who will pay into the social security trust fund in 20 years. I think other people should be grateful.

  7. seth vidal
    on September 24, 2007 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    See, that’s the kind of response that ticks me off.

    1. more children == more resources used and massive enivronmental damage – especially for kids born in the developed world.

    2. social security is done. It’s not going to work no matter the reproductive rates people decide to take up. We’re massively in debt and the dollar is quickly becoming useless versus the euro as a foreign exchange currency. Social security is of no concern if our currency has no relative value.

  8. on September 24, 2007 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Seth, I can’t get whole-heartedly behind your #1. Taken to its logical conclusion, you get the Benderite “we are all doomed and humanity should be wiped out now” view.

  9. seth vidal
    on September 24, 2007 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Stephen,
    I’m not for that. I’m entirely for voluntary population controls. There are no shortage of people, we won’t run out. And given a choice I would much rather we voluntarily decrease our population count to a more sustainable size than let resource wars and ecological disasters do it for us.

    -sv

  10. on September 24, 2007 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Ah, gotcha. That I can understand, though as a breeder I obviously don’t subscribe to the viewpoint myself. But I also differ from Missy above, since I don’t think you should be grateful I’m having kids.

  11. seth vidal
    on September 24, 2007 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    If breeders could keep from uttering the “You’ll change your mind someday” cliche that seems to be loved by parents all over the world then I think I’d be a lot less bitter about it. 🙂

  12. on September 24, 2007 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Seth,

    Overpopulation is a myth. Do play with the Google Gapminder, and for a lot more information you can always do a Google search for “overpopulation myth”. See particularly this article and this one.

  13. seth vidal
    on September 24, 2007 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Vika,
    I won’t get into it here but it’s not just about population, It’s about carrying capacity. We’re in massive overshoot.

    There are better places for this conversation. So I won’t respond to anything beyond this.

    -sv

  14. on September 24, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    *shrug* Seth, you seem to have expressed three problems, one of which I share with you.

    One is, you don’t want arrogant humans informing you that not wanting children is a “phase.” UGH, I’m with you there.

    Then, you don’t want children in or near your stuff. Fine, and your prerogative, but it’s a different problem from the one above. Confusing the two is liable to get people upset.

    Three is, you think voluntary population decrease is a good idea, and here lie pretty significant social problems that, if you ignore them, will get us (the world) into a massive hole economically and politically. Again, this is a different problem from the two above, and — you’re probably right, for another forum. But it’s distinct from any personal feelings an individual may have about children as humans.

  15. Lucian Smith
    on September 24, 2007 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    To bring the discussion back to babies, another aspect to the whole thing is that the most recent studies seem to indicate that we’re designed to encounter a lot of germs for the first two years of life, and that avoiding them can mess things up. The most recent study I’ve heard about showed a link between decreased exposure to dirt as an infant, and a increased incidence of childhood diabetes.

  16. duchess
    on September 25, 2007 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You know, Lucian reminded me of an article in a pediatrician journal I read a while back (my aunt is a pediatrician and a lot of her mail comes to us) – about how one of the reasons there are so many incidences of asthma and allergies in kids now as opposed to 20 years ago is because kids are not being exposed to *enough* germs. The reasoning was that humans lived in fairly germy-environments in the past, and our bodies have built-in mechanisms for fighting the germs off. Now we live in fairly clean environments (not talking about the hyper-clean), but our bodies are still equipped with the fighting mechanism, and because it’s looking for things to fight, it ends up attacking stuff that’s not dangerous, causing allergies. (Oversimplification and lots of paraphrasing, but you know what I mean)
    I hadn’t thought about it in this way before, but maybe I shouldn’t be flinching my son out of the way of hands. Dunno. Some of those people who want to touch him are downright CREEPY.

  17. Missy Krebs
    on September 25, 2007 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    If you don’t want children, it’s great that you recognize that and don’t have any. But they shouldn’t be viewed as some societal burden. They are society. They have every right that every other human being has. And that includes the right to eat at restaurants as long as their parents are paying for it.

    And I do think we should be glad that there are some people out there raising kids who will educate them and raise them to be productive people. I’m grateful Misty and Stephen had two children who they will raise to respect other people and have valuable skills to share with the rest of the world.

  18. Chris
    on September 25, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Seth,

    To paraphrase Dickens in “A Christmas Carol”, If they are wont to die let them do so and thus decrease the surplus population.

    I’m curious if you consider yourself part of the surplus population “problem”?

    As for kids messing with public food, I totally agree — I cannot stand people who let their children attack a buffet by themselves because I have seen them pick up corn on the cob and then put it back in the buffet tray. However, I have also encountered some adults of questionable hygiene practices in places such as weddings and I wonder if you find people of all ages to be an issue or if you really do limit it to children.

  19. on September 25, 2007 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Duchess,
    I read that same study in National Geographic, last year (I think, don’t remember exactly) and it said that allergies are a first world illness because of our clean houses and filtered air. Their biggest point was that we need to get our kids outside as much as possible.

    Everybody else (especially Seth),
    Thanks for a great discussion. Once again, I never know what will generate a lot of discussion and it tickles me when everyone is talking here. Thanks!