We were in a slow moving elevator in Penn Station and Malka was crying — she was both tired and hungry and above all wanted to be held by one of us. There was another person in the elevator with us — a woman we had never seen before. She asked if she could touch our baby, which immediately seemed like an odd thing to ask.
My wife Elizabeth did not hesitate to shut it down immediately. “No,” she said, not as if more needed to be added — but apparently it did because the person then asked again but in a different way.
“I can get a baby to relax and stop crying just with a simple touch,” she said, not sounding any less odd or creepy.
“I know what she needs right now,” Elizabeth replied, “and it’s not something she can have in an elevator right this minute. Thank you, though.”
Let me just put it right out there for you. If I don’t know who you are, there is no way that I am ever going to be okay with you as a total stranger touching my baby. I realize that total strangers running off with babies out of the blue doesn’t get reported on the news too often, but it’s not something I am going to take a chance on happening either.
Telling me that you have some kind of power and can relax a child just by touching them is not going to make me feel any better about it, either. If you want to relax a child, feel free to do so on your own children or those of your family members — not a baby you see in a stroller crying her little baby eyes out because she’s crabby and tired and wants to be held.
This was a very unusual occurrence that never happened when Chaim was a baby and has thankfully not happened in the last few months since it happened, for which am quite grateful. Take it from me as a parent — if you see a baby in public and you don’t know the parents at all, the answer will and should be no — you cannot touch!