by: Emma Aguirre

Today, a little old lady grabbed my daughter’s face inappropriately. It was as shocking as it sounds. I was in Target with my daughter strapped into the Baby Bjorn looking at Father’s Day cards (I’m trying to be organized here!) when I noticed this lady staring at my baby. She got closer and started speaking to her. My daughter was just hanging out, sucking her thumb, her usual position. All of a sudden the lady reaches out and grabs her cheek. First of all, it was a total invasion of my personal space…babies are pretty close to the mom’s body in the Baby Bjorn. Second of all, I have no idea where her germy hands have been. Third, it’s just rude. But it didn’t end there. She then grabbed my daughter’s hands and began rubbing her own cheeks with them. Ew. Ew. Ew. At this point, I threw down the card I was looking at and I began to turn, but she kept holding on. I was stuck, politely laughing and smiling while cringing on the inside. I was getting a little hot and bothered.

It didn’t stop there either. She then said something to the effect of ‘mean mommy’ and looked at me and then pointed at my daughter’s face. English was not her first language and I did have a hard time understanding her, so I think that’s what she said. My daughter has a few mosquito bites on her face right now, which look worse than they are – I took her to the pediatrician just to be sure – and a scratch on her nose from her nails. She then said something about cutting her nails and examined them closely. I was so shocked my head starting spinning.

No one outside of my family touched my pregnant belly. I found it slightly awkward even then, so for a stranger to touch my baby and then point out her flaws was something new and very disturbing to me. From the tip of my toes, I felt the rage engulf my body. Yet my feet were planted on the ground and a goofy grin was plastered on my face. I don’t know why I didn’t say something. I could even hear the gasps from passersby. It was too far, too much and I wish I had called her out on it. How dare she? As an elderly person, she should know better.

More importantly, I should know better. I shouldn’t have let that woman cross the line. I’m not a confrontational person, and I value politeness more than most at times. But there’s a lesson in here somewhere. It was the first time I can recall being faced with a situation involving my daughter that I feel I let her down. I let myself down. It will be the last.