I have already written about the abundance of baby experts and their need to educate expecting parents on their pending doom. We had multiple interactions with these educators while my wife was pregnant. A waitress once approached us and said “Oh, you’re expecting a baby? I’m sorry.” She went on to explain that her 6-year child old was a terror, and vaguely implied that she regretted creating the monster. Lovely.
Since the birth of our little one, we have realized that strangers do not stop harassing mothers once the pregnancy is over. Babies are even more inviting than growing bellies. People love to see the baby, touch the baby, and tell us parents how to see and touch the baby correctly.
While my wife was shopping this week, a woman approached the baby. She came up to the carrier, pushed back the cover, and proceeded to poke at the baby’s feet. My wife politely asked the stranger not to touch the child, and cited as her reason the fact that the little guy was sleeping. She could have used “I know nothing about you other than your love for poking other people’s children” as a suitable reason, but she went with the friendlier option. The lady laughed, and pointed out that the baby was already starting to wake up. That’s what we get for using the friendlier option.
A man once came up to me and informed me that my baby was hungry. After I informed him that the baby was just fed, he brainstormed for other reasons why my baby might be fussy. I was surprised that “he is a baby” did not come up during his brainstorm exercise, and I just smiled as he doled out some random advice based on his 13 second interaction with my baby. Extremely helpful.
I must point out that we love it when people interact with the baby and offer us friendly comments. I welcome positive interaction, including questions about the baby’s age, size, or name. I enjoy watching as people smile at the baby in hopes of eliciting a grin in return. I even stop and let people talk to the baby while at the supermarket. And those people are strangers. If friends want to go even further and give me baby advice, I will absorb that junk like a sponge. I just get thrown off when strangers touch my baby without asking, or mention that my baby shouldn’t be crying.
This phenomenon makes me want to create an alarm that attaches to my baby carrier. It would be harmless, but it could do the trick. Nothing makes strangers develop boundaries quite like an alarm. If anyone decides to develop this, feel free to give me a little credit.