I regularly have quirky little parenting conversations with other mothers I know. I thought I might just do a little series on Wednesday’s called “Daily Adventures in Parenthood” to discuss topics related to parenting. This first post is all about daily interactions with children and strangers.
Lately I’ve been running into these little situations where people want to not simply talk to my overly chatty 23 month old, but they want to shake his hand or touch his hair. To be honest, I go back and forth about how I feel about it. I would never show my hand and let someone know it bothered me, but honestly sometimes it does. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.
The Hand Shakers…
Today I went down to Hobby Lobby trying to find some thrifty loop holes to Christmas gifts I’m looking to buy, when along comes a nice lady and her 4-year-old in the cart. While I’m making my return, my child is sitting in the seat facing the family behind us. (One lesson learned, push the cart up so my kid is facing me and not strangers when in line.) I then look to see the lady behind me shaking his hand. Then she allows her son who is sitting in the lower part of the cart to shake his hand. To be honest that wouldn’t bother me that much if the kid hadn’t been hacking up a lung only moments earlier. Was the mom oblivious? I don’t know.
The Food Sharers…
At the beginning of the summer I was sitting in the waiting room of my car dealer waiting for my car to be fixed. While I waited a very nice gentleman came in who appeared to be well dressed and professional. He opened a pack of crackers and my son proceeded to say, “cracker” and the man looked at me an asked if he could share a cracker with my son. It was sort of a weird situation to find myself in. Here I was sitting in a waiting room with a guy who just wanted to be nice and I was totally unsure of what to do so I went with it. That’s what my laid back parenting side said. After he ate the cracker I wondered if I should have told this stranger “no” and made things weird.
Then there was Halloween. We had a friend invite us to her neighborhood and home for a party and trick or treating expedition. While out in the neighborhood a few senior citizen ladies were sitting at the end of their driveway handing out candy. That seemed innocent enough and almost humorous as the older of the two kept calling a son (who was dressed as Yoda from Star Wars) a cute little bunny. They let him pick his candy and then when he reached in for more, I quickly stopped him and tried to get him to say thank you so we could move on. As I’m intercepting the candy grab, the lady takes the Snickers from him and proceeds to unwrap it and feed it to him. She asks if it’s okay as he chops down on his second giant bite. I was actually okay with this situation but I know many mom’s who wouldn’t be. In this case I just remember all the weird things my grandmother would do if she had the chance and all I could do was laugh. This sweet woman was totally innocent. She is from a generation where 95% of kids didn’t have nut allergies, gluten allergies or milk allergies.
So I guess that’s where my dilemma lies. The idea of complete strangers touching my child’s face or hair kind of bugs me. I’ve watched too many people leave public restrooms without even running their hands under water. In most of my situations, by the time I realized what was happening, it was too late to move my kid along or change my orientation. At the same time this could all be stemming from my own need for personal space. Like I’m trying to put my kid in my own personal space bubble. I’ll admit when I’m in stores I ask people how old their kids are, I talk to kids, I play pick a boo with kids and smile at them. But I draw the line at reaching over and making physical contact including shaking hands or giving a high-five. This is unless I know them and I’m greeting them. I don’t want to be an overprotective mom. I feel like I’m pretty laid back about things. I have to admit, if I don’t know you, I’d rather you just smile, laugh at or talk to my kid rather than go all ET, “phone home” finger touching.
Has anyone else experienced this weird phenomenon or feeling? How do you genuinely feel about? Please share your own awkward scenarios in the comments below.
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