I remember feeling slightly offended anytime I would gawk at […]
I remember feeling slightly offended anytime I would gawk at how cute or sweet a baby was, only to have their parent(s) seem dismissive of my comment or give a passive, “Thanks.” I thought, “How weird! When I have a baby, I will always appreciate the compliments!” Appreciate I did—until I had my first bout of stranger danger.
For me, the fear is real of someone wanting to snatch my daughter up and take her away. I have a seriously heightened sense of caution I wasn’t anticipating. I think much of this can be attributed to the changes in our world today. It’s silly to assume anything is totally safe, and I don’t exist in the frame of mind to give people the benefit of the doubt with my baby. As much as I can appreciate the recognition, I am surprised at just how much attention she gets! I’m sure every mom has felt the same way at some point—but I feel as if she’s a baby celebrity, and everyone wants a piece of her.
Two incidents happened recently that upped the ante on my stranger danger radar. Matt and I were eating at a sushi restaurant we frequented regularly. I can only assume our friendly exchanges with the host and wait staff gave way to our newly hired waitress asking me to hand Bellamy over to her. I had just finished ordering my lunch when she looks at her and holds her hands out without a second thought. I know I got pretty wide-eyed and eventually said, “Sorry, but I don’t know you’re not going to run right out that door. Plus, she will start crying!” I tried to sound well rehearsed, but I was seriously shocked! About two weeks later we were at an art exhibit. I took Bellamy to the restroom with me to change her diaper. I was washing one hand at a time while holding her with the other when a woman came up to me and said, “Need a hand? I would love to get my hands on her!” Ugh! Red siren going off! Step away!
I know, I know—people are probably well in their intentions, but honestly, I don’t care. As soon as the hair on my neck stands straight up, I am not backing down in an effort to be polite or friendly. I promise I let the people I know in life love on my daughter, but everyone else will simply have to understand how frightening it is to know your tiny, sweet baby is TOTALLY dependent on you. I am her protector and her advocate. I am responsible for her safety, and that is a seriously strong force to reckon with. Also, Bellamy really does freak the heck out when she is passed around too much. If I am not physically touching her, she only has so long before the meltdown occurs. This may sound like torture, but I am thankful for her awareness considering my phobia of people I do not know.
After both incidents, I didn’t even want people stopping us to look at her or touch her. Thankfully the baby product industry gets this about moms and our desire to keep baby safe and sound. I often resort to wearing her in an effort to shield her from too much attention. It’s much easier to wrap her up in a carrier while also sending the message, “You cannot touch or hold this kid.” She is getting bigger by the day and is harder to wear, but it’s worth it for the sense of control it provides.
It’s so interesting being on this side of things, looking back on the many, many times I probably invaded someone’s baby space and understanding the parents’ reactions. Although a little offended at first, I now know that mom or dad was just looking out for their baby and being diligent with the responsibility of keeping him/her safe! The claws are always out, so you will just have to forgive me if I do the same to you! It’s not personal, it’s just stranger danger.