I can't believe how many people paw at our baby, if they had their way she would be kissed more times than the Blarney Stone. Clare and I have had to develop polite ways to dissuade people, but I'm going to swing for someone soon.
One of my pet hates is when someone points something out to me on my computer. All they need do is tell me where to look or to just point, but more often than not they touch the screen with their grubby finger and leave a dirty great print on my screen. Why do they have to actually touch the screen?
Then you get people who use my computer to take a quick look on the Internet (without asking usually), instead of opening a new browser they load their page over what I was looking at. I've even had some people install software on my machine, and it's taken me ages to get it back to normal. Now everyone who knows me, knows that no one is allowed near my computer.
Then there is my Sunday newspapers. I've had people pick through, take out sections, crumple sections, tear out articles, take it to the toilet, and have the cheek to tell me all about articles they have read in my newspaper before I've had chance to read it. This no longer happens, I get a virgin newspaper on Sunday and no one is allowed to touch it.
I never expected I'd have the same problem with our baby. Whenever I've seen a friends baby I've looked and not touched. The last thing I would dream of is picking the baby up without asking and planting a great big kiss on it's mouth! Sometimes the Parent asks if you would like to hold them, or feed them. I always decline, but if they pass the baby to me I'm happy to hold them for a little while. The little mite can rest assured I'm not going to stick my finger in their mouth or kiss them, it will just be a little hold. I may throw in a little bounce if I'm feeling crazy.
Well I've watched people kiss our baby without asking, I've seen dirty finger nailed people touch her face. She's been picked up without permission, lifted into the air (she vomited), people have stuck their faces right up to hers and breathed stale cigarettes on her (can be very dangerous to breathe on a baby after smoking). What's the point in sterilising her bottles, only to have someone breath all over her, and touch and kiss her mouth?
My first reaction when this happens is pure shock that anyone would physically touch a very young baby without asking the Parents permission. Then I get a strong instinct to give the perpetrator a sound beating. I have thus far resisted the temptation, and Clare and I use teamwork and hidden signals like a military operation to reclaim our baby.
One time she was resting in her swing, she had a little cry because she wanted feeding early. We are used to this, it's only a minute or so before she drops off to sleep until her actual feed time. Well we had a guest over who promptly picked her up out of her swing and started lifting her up, and kissing her face. Before I could intervene she had vomited, our guest picked up a dirty tea towel off the floor (which we had used to clean up a spilled coffee) and wiped her face with it.
Another time we were out with her, and she was in the pram. She was getting pawed at and fussed over again and she looked uncomfortable. She was sick again, so I picked her up out of the pram and Clare passed me a baby wipe. This person was still stroking her face and fussing over her when she was in my arms being cleaned up. I turned my body round to block but they kept walking round me, I couldn't have made it more obvious that I wanted them off her. I had to pass her to Clare, and this individual still followed her and was stroking her face.
This really made my blood boil, I weighed up the option of giving them a slap. I mean if I started kissing someone's wife, then began stroking her face I'd expect more than a slap! Assuming they weren't swingers that is.
I'd be intrigued to know if any of you have had a similar experiences, or do we just know some deeply strange people? Or am I strange, and most Parents love having their babies kissed and passed around?
I'm going to make a few enemies if it happens again, polite gestures don't work. Unsubtle body blocking doesn't work, so I'm just going to have to do what I did with my computer and Sunday newspapers when I ran out of patience. I'll just say 'I don't like people touching our baby' and take her back. I mean it's no more rude than the person who takes it upon themselves to touch her without our permission.
I don't know if it will come to that though, because we can now predict when it's going to happen and take preventative measures. Clare usually manages to get to Amélie first and keeps her safe from the broody bunch. On the other side most of our family and friends are polite enough to keep their hands and lips to themselves, and they always ask if it's okay to hold her, especially mothers with young children of their own.
Remember, if you have had a similar experience, or have ways of dealing with it I'd love to hear from you.