I need to learn how to stand up for myself and especially for my daughter. I was having breakfast with a friend of mine celebrating her new job offer at a local bakery and brought P along. I had her in her stroller because she was sleepy and she does much better if she is sitting eye level with the people at the table. She hasn’t been feeling well so she just sat there with a sour face looking around trying to soak in the brightly colored interior. We were sitting next to the register so everyone that wasn’t already eating smiled and talked to P.
She would sometimes smile but most of the time she would just stare. Usually women are the ones you expect to be excited over such a new baby but surprisingly it was older men who wanted to talk to her. Several volunteers for the local festival that was getting setup outside were cooing at her and saying hello but one man stood out. He wasn’t there with the volunteers and was actually in line with what I assume was his wife and two older children. He made a point to talk to her several times, ask her name, ask if I was her mother, ask how old she was and then he pushed the limits… he touched her hand.
I should have said something earlier. I should have said that he was making me uncomfortable but I didn’t want to be rude. I was afraid of being rude to a complete stranger who was asking too much about my child and then touched her. I didn’t say anything… I just sat there. My friend mentioned to me that she was surprised that I was as nice as I was because I don’t enjoy talking to strangers. The guy set off all of my alarms and I didn’t do or say anything to stop it. He could have been a guy that missed having small children and was happy to see such a small baby but he could have also been a total creep. This full-grown man reached into her stroller and shook her little hand and I have no idea what he had touched before that. He could be sick and touching her making her even sicker than she already is, she could have a compromised immune system and you are now touching her without a care in the world.
I contemplated writing a post about not touching my child but I was more disappointed in myself. I read things constantly about people watching your child and that is how they abduct them and I didn’t try to prevent it. I watched over my shoulder all the way to the car but I could have put it out there from the beginning when he kept asking questions that I wasn’t comfortable. I’m the only protection she has when it is just the two of us and I need to be brave for her. I need to not care about making someone else uncomfortable when they are making me uncomfortable and I need to stand up and say no even when it might be rude.
She needs to see me stand up for myself and for her even this early. She needs to know that I’m here to protect her and she has the right to protect herself. The man could have been someone who just loved babies but he could have been a lot scarier and it’s my job to make that call for P. It’s sad that this is the world we live in but in our area the number of kidnappings and attempted kidnappings is increasing. Every day I see someone post on mom Facebook groups about people being watched in Target or in the parking lot at the grocery store because they were following moms around.
Moving forward I’m going to try to be the brave mom I need to be to protect P from anything that could potentially harm her. It’s my job to be rude if I need to and to protect myself from feeling uncomfortable, not anyone else.