If I don’t know your name, you do NOT have permission to kiss my baby’s toes

I was holding my baby in the church hallway chatting with a friend when an elderly woman approached us. I saw her coming but couldn’t quite figure out what she was doing until it was too late and her face was level with my stomach. The old lady was giving my baby’s toes big slobbery kisses! How do I know they were slobbery? Well, while this woman (whom I had never met before) was kissing the baby’s feet she accidentally missed and kissed my elbow…and it was wet.

My initial reaction was to hold my baby tight so that the old woman couldn’t reach any other part of her. I put my hand over her head and gave a weak smile as the old woman transferred to my friend’s baby who, unfortunately, wasn’t as well protected. The woman kissed her baby on the face, and then returned to snack on my little one’s toes some more. We tried to laugh it off, “Oh… hi… aren’t babies cute? Uh…I’m Amber, have we met?” But as the old lady left for relief society I couldn’t hide my discomfort as I commented, “Well, that was a new experience”.

Unfortunately though, it’s becoming an old one. What is it with old women wanting to touch my baby? I know she’s cute, trust me I do, as far as I’m concerned she’s the cutest baby in the world, but these women act like she is theirs, like they have the right to just grab her and start holding her or kissing her. When I was visiting my great Aunt at the Assisted Living Center I seriously had several old ladies trailing me and asking to hold the baby – at least they asked instead of trying to just take her. Luckily the baby was asleep and I was able to use that as an excuse, but I’m afraid I can’t use it every time.

Maybe I’m over reacting, after all it takes a village to raise a child, but my husband is a nurse and he has told me statistics on how many elderly people are incontinent or don’t wash their hands. I don’t know. Anyone want to weigh in on this one? What did you do when people started touching your baby? Am I over-reacting or not reacting enough? How can I politely refuse when a stranger asks to hold my child? It’s funny, I was uncomfortable but didn’t really react when people touched my pregnant belly, but when they touch my daughter I turn into mama bear! Watch out… Amber may be… a grizzly!