The Curse of Beautiful Children

I have adorable children. 

Sorry, it’s just the truth. They are Pretty. Darn. Cute.

This is a blessing and a curse, because everybody’s first reaction when they see a beautiful baby is to touch it. I was actually guilty of this myself this past weekend at my sister’s wedding, I met my dear cousin’s baby son for the first time, and his fiancee as well, incidentally, and my first reaction was to pet the baby’s soft arms and kiss his little forehead. Bless her heart, the mother seemed to realize this was a family thing and didn’t seem a bit offended, even though this person her fiance had just introduced to her was basically spreading germs on her baby. In my defense, he is a beautiful baby. But because of this marginally acceptable faux pas, I’m forced to look a little more forgivingly on people who walk up and pet or pat my children.
(She later took me up on an offer to hold him while she danced with her fiance, so I guess she forgave me, too.)

At a farmer’s market my mom and I took the kids to, I was reminded how little I appreciate people touching my children. The lady at the soap booth kissed my daughter’s hand, the guy at the windmill table pulled half-dollars out of both kids’ ears and gave them to them, and the lady at the flower booth watched my daughter dance to the street musician’s music and gave her a flower.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the quickest way to ingratiate yourself with me is to be kind to my children. And I smiled and thanked each person for the kindness, but inside I was cringing and snapping, “I don’t know where your hands have been, keep them off my kids!”
I know in some cultures it’s rude or bad luck to admire a child and not touch them, and I get that. I also understand how hard it can be to keep yourself from touching an adorable baby. But let me ask, would you come up and touch a full-grown person that you found beautiful? Ummm, no. You would not. Because that would be creepy. And possibly get charges filed against you. So let’s afford little people the same courtesy we afford big people, and keep our hands to ourselves. That’s what we teach them, isn’t it? 

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