Chalk it up to human hardwiring, but the littlest among us are the most attractive, and to see a baby is to want to touch a baby. (Particularly my baby, who is just as cute as they come.)
That’s fine. But let’s say you’re, oh, I don’t know, riding the bus, and an adorable little baby is tempting you to tickle its adorable little baby nose. Please – don’t.
That’s what a stranger did to Babydude yesterday, and it was all I could do to stop from yelling at her right there. Clearly she wasn’t entirely compus mentis, so I stayed quiet and got off two stops early to avoid any more unwanted touching. But she’s not the first unknown who’s caressed my baby, and I doubt she’ll be the last.
It’s easy to think that because infants are so frequently helpless, they’re also unaware, but that’s not true. I observe my son all day, and recognize which of his expressions indicate pleasure, and which discomfort. Clearly he was surprised to have an alien finger thrust in his face, and he liked the tickle about as much as any grownup would enjoy being fondled by a stranger on the bus.
Yes, he’s delectable, but that doesn’t mean he’s asking for it. Like all babies, he’s an autonomous human being, and deserves respect.
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