I can think of very few instances where it is ok for a complete stranger to touch my kid. Excuse me if that’s not very touchy-feely of me, but I’m ok with that. If they are in distress, or in need of comfort or help … those are some specific instances where I think it’s ok if you don’t know me or my kids.
This weekend, I was in Whole Foods with the kids and a friend of mine. Madeline was walking next to me, past nap time and she was tired. She was sucking her two fingers and holding a newly acquired stuffed animal. Namely a purple hippo. A woman, a complete stranger, was walking down the aisle, going the opposite direction of us, and reached out and knocked Madeline’s fingers out of her mouth.
“Stop that. Your mom is going to have to pay for braces when you get older.”
Are you kidding me? I looked at her and said, “Don’t touch her. We’re fine, thank you,” and steered the kids down the rest of the aisle. I mean, seriously, are you kidding me?!
Yes, she sucks her fingers. It’s a source of comfort for her when she’s tired. Her go-to, if you will. I sucked my fingers, the exact same ones, when I was her age too. Had bumps on my fingers, as she does now, for years after. I was fine. Could she need braces when she gets older? Sure. It’s entirely possible. Was it this woman’s business? Absolutely, positively, unequivocally not.
Does it sound like I’m a bit angry about it? Probably. And rightly so. I was ticked, though I wasn’t going to get into any confrontation about it. I was right there when it happened. She probably meant well. I completely understand that.
Barring all that, she was out of line to say anything about the topic, let alone touch Madeline or knock her hand out of her mouth. So consider this my Public Service Announcement. Unless a kid is in obvious distress or perhaps needs comfort (and even that might be a stretch), it is completely not cool to touch them. Period. End of story.
This is just wrong. So Very Wrong. On so many different levels.