Liana had her 15 month appointment at the pediatrician’s office on Wednesday. It was the first time that she got down and played with the toys in the waiting area. I was watching her and thinking, “She looks like a little kid. Where did my baby go? She can’t possibly be growing up this fast.” But she is, and I’m not entirely prepared for it. How can I possibly teach my daughter everything she needs to know to take care of herself? Can I always be there to protect her in potentially dangerous situations? I’ve been asking myself these questions after our experience with a stranger a few days ago. (Read the back story here)
Maybe it was an irrational fear that someone wanted to steal or harm my child, but that was the first time I felt afraid while alone with Liana, and I kept wishing Ashton was with us. Maybe the man meant no harm at all and was just a bit socially awkward and I completely misread his behavior as being rude, creepy, and stalker-ish. Regardless of his intent, I do think he was overstepping some personal boundaries. I am perfectly fine with strangers smiling, waving, or saying ‘hi’ to Liana, but tickling and poking—especially when she is clearly uncomfortable—is not okay with me. Thinking back, I am keep questioning my own behavior. Should I have been more direct by stating that I would not like him touching my child? Should I have voiced that he was making me/us uncomfortable? I’ve read several parenting articles and skimmed through a book or two, but nothing prepared me for this type of situation. Where’s the mommy manual when I need it?
Now I am honestly curious about what other mothers would do in a similar situation. How do you respond when a stranger touches your baby (or child of any age)? Have you ever been in a similarly uncomfortable situation?