Babies are like dogs
The other day I was out trying to get Anakin to have a short nap in the pram. A lady and what I assume was her daughter came cycling by on their tandem bike. Still cycling on she asks; “How old’s your baby?” “9 months.” “We have a new baby too. She’s 3 months.” I smile, but don’t say anything else assuming that the conversation is over as she’s getting further away. The lady and her kid is now almost at the end of the street. She turns her head and shouts “Is this your first bub?” “Yes, it is.” I’m amazed that the conversation is still going. “Enjoy it!” I barely have time to say “Thank you, I sure am!” before they’ve turned the corner.
Since having a baby I’m being stopped by random people all the time. A baby, like a dog, is apparently quite the conversation starter. I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid, but I see people stop to chat with dog owners and give dogs a pet all the time. What I don’t understand is this; why do strange people think it’s ok to touch your baby? I’ve been stopped numerous times by older ladies who have taken it upon themselves to do a bit of cheek pinching or head rubbing. I’ve even had them pull the hood back when Anakin was just about to go to sleep and wake him up. And every time it’s happened before I’ve had time to react because I just don’t expect people to go fiddling my kid without my permission. Not that I really know what I would say. I don’t mind people stopping for a chat or whatever, but could you please keep your hands off my spawn?
I’m fairly certain my mother once told me to beware of touching strange dogs because they may bite you. It sounds like something a mother would say. A baby is less likely to bite (well, I guess that depends on the kid and where you put your fingers), but the same rule should still apply. So what’s the deal?
Before Anakin was born the same thing would happen, but it would be people groping my belly. And let me tell you, it used to shit me to tears. I despised anyone touching it unless they asked first, with the exception of maybe two or three very close friends. And what I hated even more was when people repeatedly did it after being told to ask first, touch later, and then would say “Oh, sorry, I forgot to ask. You don’t like that, do you?” No shit, Sherlock! Grow some manners! And that was by people I already knew.
At my partners football awards night I was introduced to the date of a friend of mine. After shaking my hand she immediately went for the belly. Anyone who knew how hormone crazy I was when I was pregnant would probably say she was lucky not to get her head handed to her on a plate. But as much as the groping pissed me off, I for some strange reason had the hardest time telling people to please respect the privacy of my body and my unborn child. Perhaps because the rudeness of it is beyond me. I would never do that to anyone. A good friend of mine had this spin on it when he heard of my dislike of being groped; “Well, it’s not like it’s your tits.” No, it’s not. As much as I appreciated the joke, I was pretty amazed throughout my pregnancy of most people’s lack of respect for personal space.
So this is why I’ve been thinking that babies (and pregnant bellies) are like dogs. They should be left alone unless stated otherwise or you may very well find yourself bitten.