I remember when Dan and I started dating (back in high school), the first time we kissed felt like a very big deal. I was convinced that the entire school was staring at us. In reality, I'm pretty sure that nobody cared but, for me, welcoming somebody in my personal space was a bit uncomfortable yet totally fascinating.
I obviously still have a personal space but I do like the physical proximity that I can have with my family, my friends and even people that I barely know. I also think that I project my thin personal space on Alice.
Now that I'm living in parenthood land, I realized that many moms (and dads) get very offended when strangers or even family members touch their babies. Of course, I would never let Alice get near somebody that has influenza written on its forehead. I'm just talking about an innocent koochi koo on the foot or a kiss on the forehead.
A few months ago, Alice and I went shopping with a friend and her baby. Alice was in her carrier smiling to all the passerby. One of them happened to be a homeless man begging for money. When he came near us to see Alice and delicately touched the tip of her head, it never occurred to me that our personal space was invaded. However, my friend told me that she would have never let that happened.
This is a bit of an extreme example but this could also apply to grand-parents or the receptionist at work or the waiter at your local brunch restaurant. Recently, I received an email from a lovely reader (sadly, I can't read her blog since it is in Dutch) who wanted my opinion on the subject. Well, I think that it all depends on the parents' values and how comfortable the baby appears to be in that situation.
For example, I love to kiss Alice on her sweet baby lips. Yes, sometimes I find myself "French kissed" and full of baby drool but I think that it is hilarious. At the opposite, Dan told me that he was uncomfortable doing that to his daughter but he didn't mind me doing it to Alice. I totally respect his decision.
And if I was uncomfortable having somebody "invading" Alice's private space, I would simply (and politely) let the person know to back off a bit. Would it be awkward? Hell yes, but you got to do what you got to do as a mother. After all, it is your kid!
Do you have any "too close for comfort" baby stories?
note: Beautiful art work from Theater Clouds (on maternity leave).
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little gray pixel: I'm also telling myself to chill out but it is a bit challenging for me ;) Our babies will be just fine...Alexa will eventually crawl and Alice will eventually sit!
kim u: Just like you, I'm not a fan of osteopaths for no actual reasons. This is strange when you think about it!
taryn: You also have a non-sitter. Interesting! Thank you for your comment.
ali: I don't even know what is a cranial osteopath. Well, I figured it out by the name but it was a new thing for me. My friend also went (to a regular osteopath) and her daughter's head completely changed shape in one treatment. This is wild!
sid.: But it is so difficult not to stress :(
gillian: Oh, Alice LOVES to explore. Yesterday, she discovered the dog's water bowl...gross! I'm so happy to know that your girl can now turn her head easily. This is pretty cool.
daniela: Thank you! Rolling is the beginning of the end ;) Alice also seems perfectly content and relaxed about her situation.
lina: How come everybody seems to know about cranial osteopathy? Was I living under a rock?
haramaki love: Oh, you are Bess's friend, right? I must look like such an ignorant person. I didn't know about cranial osteopathy and, after your comment, occupational therapy!!! Thank you for all the information. This is super interesting.
emily: I'm VERY surprise by how active Alice is...especially when I look at other babies her age She is freaking hyper but it is awesome (and she is pretty much always happy).
anonymous: Oh cool! You are pregnant! Congratulations. And a little boy...this is so exciting. I hope that things will go as you planned. Take care :)
sara: J'ai plusieurs amis français qui trippent ostéopathes mais détestent les chiros. Je crois aussi qu'ils ne font pas exactement les mêmes choses qu'au Québec (mais bon)! Oh, j'aimerais bien avoir les coordonnées de ton ostéo. Ben oui, WTF, ils sont dans une clinique sur Décarie je crois. C'est bizarre non?
gimbo: You are right. For example, I'm really don't believe in homeopathy but when you see your baby suffer during the teething phase, you might just give it a try. I didn't try that yet but almost all my friends did with mixed results. And this is true... Alice can do just like all the other babies at swimming and yoga class, I don't think that there is a big problem with her.
bloom right here: Oh, another thing that I didn't know about: cranio-sacral therapy (thank you for the link). And yes, all those changes are part of the fun.
abby: I would also think that the less intervention the better...but grand-ma (my mother) doesn't agree with that at all!!!
sarahvine: Wow, thank you for all that information. It is so interesting to know how other kids are doing. Oh, you are doing such a great job, you should absolutely get a medal :)
sal: Thank you so much! Have a lovely week.
oscarlucinda: You should totally get the pattern. It is so much fun to make. I already made another one (I must take a picture). Yoga rocks :)