Dear Stranger, Hands Off!
Dear Person Touching My Baby,
I know what you’re thinking, and I completely agree with you: She is adorable. It’s just that you are, well, you know, not. In fact, you’re covered in germs and all sorts of other things. God knows where your hands have been -- you did wash them last time you pooped, right? I feel like there has to be some middle ground here. Maybe we could work something out. Like, perhaps you could give compliments without the squeezing and the touching.
See, the thing is, my baby is a human. I know it’s mind boggling, but try to stay with me here. My baby has personal boundaries and feelings just like other humans. So, when you come up and randomly start grabbing her, stroking her, pinching her, and/or cooing in her face, she gets kind of, well, terrified. As do I. Because we don’t know you. And, also because Herpes.
Yes, you, Stranger, probably have Herpes. And not only do you have Herpes, but you have a special kind of Herpes that is passed on through pinching and cooing. One minute you’re stroking my baby’s soft, chubby little arm, and the next minute she’s breaking out in sores because Herpes! Herpes mixed with Pertussis and Strep because that’s what you do, Stranger: You give my baby diseases. You lavish her with attention and microscopic foreign invaders.
I just feel like maybe we could work out some sort of deal where you admire my baby but don’t do anything to her. Think of it like this: You are a child in Things Remembered, or some other store filled with fragile objects. You are the child here, and my baby? My baby is the really beautiful glass pony figurine on the top shelf. So shiny and soft. You really, really want to touch it, so you reach. You’re reaching for it, reaching…
But then your mom comes and swats your hand away. You know why? I’ll tell you why: Because you’re going to break things. You’re going to knock the whole damn shelf over and everything is going to be smashed into smithereens. And, also? Herpes.
So, just think about this a little bit, okay? Chew on it.
In the meantime, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to admire my baby. She is a glorious piece of work, if I do say so myself, and it’s always so sweet when she smiles at you and you actually take the time out of your day to smile back. It makes her feel acknowledged, and I appreciate that. I just also think it’s possible to acknowledge human strangers -- even when they’re infants -- without stroking their faces and arms because I’m pretty sure if I did that to you, you’d have me arrested. Or, at the very least, forcibly removed from Target.
Best wishes and good luck with your Herpes,
Ashley E. Austrew
Enforcer of Sonia’s personal space
Photo Credit: sterlic.