When a crazed stranger with dead-cat hair stuck her finger in my 8-day-old child's mouth at the grocery store, I didn't have the foresight to have her arrested or at least scream a little. It was 2008. As usual in these situations, I froze and debated about it later, about how I should have cracked her face open like a fresh watermelon. Those were the early days of my parenting when my first instinct was to trust others and doubt myself. Mouth-rape my baby with your flu season fingers? Righty-o! Throw my five-month-old in the air like pizza dough while standing on hard flooring because you are my husband's boss and I'm weak? No prob!
However things have changed, folks. I'm now pro-active about keeping strangers away from my newborn. I make passive-aggressive flow charts I post on the Internet and I bought one of those carrier covers that acts like a sneeze guard at a buffet.
Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk, it's just that it happens to be a medical fact that if a baby gets a fever before the age of 12 weeks, they have to be admitted to the hospital. I didn't spend 31 hours in labor to make a return. I can either be polite to strangers and let them paw my baby or I can be polite to the baby and keep her from getting a spinal tap.
So far, it's working. Except inside my house. Where two grimy preschoolers have the plague and congested coughs that sound like the rattle of death. Do you know how hard it is to keep girl children off a newborn? It's like keeping the Queen Mary free of barnacles. Walking through the house for me is a 50-yard dash, head down, barreling through with a baby football under my arm. She makes it to the laundry room! She scores! No, I may not leave her in the swing unattended. I'd come back to an inch-thick layer of phlem over her palm-sized face. If I were an animal, that would be my cue to start over on a new baby and to leave this nest as breakfast for passersby.
I know it's hard not to touch the baby. It's human instinct to squish her little cheeks and scoop her up for a cuddle, if you can. It's basically voodoo magic they wield over the species. Without their powers of cuteness hypnotizing bigger people to put food in their mouths and clean their butts, babies would just be irritating, forgettable creatures and we'd die out as a population. I get it. You can't control your hands reaching for my baby any more than you can slow your own heart rate when seeing Bradley Cooper or keep your ear holes from singling when that Lorde song comes on, but you're going to have to try.
Please. People. All I want for Christmas is for everyone to stop touching the damn baby. JUST STOP. If anyone has one of those boy-in-the-bubble machines or an electric fence I can set up around the bouncy seat in the living room, I'm all ears, bro.
Be GONE from the baby!
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