Sunday, December 20, 2009


We did not take Miles to see Santa this year. Because of Swine Flu. Yes, I know it's his first Christmas and you only get one first Christmas and my parents took me to see Santa for my first Christmas so Miles should have gone and cried on his lap like all the other babies. But there is so much Swine Flu! And he's fewer than six months old. Just the thought of him getting this terrible disease, or any disease, makes me shiver.

I went through so much with Miles just getting him to enjoy being outside the womb. I am feeling way too vulnerable (paranoid?) to take him out of the house, let alone stand with him in line and hand him to a germy old man.

So, with this fear in mind, I headed to the grocery store on Friday. Not for bread (which I bake now) or milk to weather the blizzard, but for moist towelettes, barbecue sauce and avocados. The point is that Miles and I were in Giant Eagle in a strip mall one week before Christmas on the day of a big snowfall. It was mobbed.

The crowds didn't bother me too much at first. I had Miles in the Ergo and was planning to speedily weave in and out of the lanes. I always think of my college rugby coach in such situations and practice evasive running. Only this time, I had a super cute baby wearing a polar bear fleece outfit. I'll tell you what--every single person in Giant Eagle tried to stiff arm me, tell me my baby was adorable, and then touch his face.

I was looking at the different choices in the condiments aisle when I felt a tap on my shoulder (GERMS!). "You have the cutest baby!"

"Well, thank you!" And I continued to look at the sauce, not realizing the stranger was not done yet. Oh, no! This woman wanted to touch my baby's face and coo at him. It's ok to coo at my baby. But touch his face? I did a little spin move to escape. Little did I know, this old lady was but one of a zillion incidents where I had to evade a would-be face touch.

This happened again and again and again. Every stranger in that joint was all up on his skin. I'm not trying to keep him in a plastic bubble, but can you not touch my too-young-for-a-vaccination baby with your swine flu fingers in the grocery store, strangers?

I know he is irresistibly cute. For heaven's sake, he just learned to blow raspberries and has been sticking out his tongue and smiling:

Can you imagine how cute he was doing that dressed like a polar bear, facing out in the Ergo carrier? It's intense.

But, no matter how cute, he is still a vulnerable little dude. I don't know why people think it's ok to touch strangers' babies. I would never reach my hand out and touch a stranger's baby! On the face! Each time someone tried to touch Miles, I saw the whole thing in slow motion: the withered, leprosy skin sagging from a ragged, boney finger. Festering disease and boogers under the fingernails. Lice, possibly Ebola incubating on the finger's surface. A mess, I tell you. I'm sure of it. And the Swine Flu!!!

By the time I left the store, I was dizzy from so many spins and twirls and sidesteps (plant, shift the weight, stiff arm out!) to get away from these touchy strangers. Now, ordinarily, I am a person who eats food off the floor. Once, in a shameful, hungry moment when I was working in the dining commons in my college dorm, I even ate an (apparently) untouched piece of sausage.

But this is a baby! In a polar bear outfit. Totally different story.

Call me paranoid, crazy mother, standoffish asshole, whatever. But I am hereby instituting a rule:
If you are a stranger to me, you are not allowed to touch Miles. At all.

1 comment:

mom-mom said...

I am so glad I know you!