It is a question that people should ask themselves before they go ahead and do something to or with a baby (or anybody for that matter).
Imagine this, you are enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon with family and friends at a riverside rowing club. You are sitting back, chatting away and people watching. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, someone sitting across the table from you leans over and flicks wine from their glass into your face. Then they laugh and do it another two or three times for good measure. How would you like it somebody did that to you? I mean, it's not really something you do to someone is it?
I was absolutely shocked when a family friend, who I have only met a handful of times and have no real dealings with, thought that it was appropriate to do that to BabyB-B on Sunday as she was sitting back in a highchair, chatting away, people watching and enjoying the scenery on the riverside deck. At the time I was too stunned to do anything other than ask, dumbfoundedly, "Are you right?". Needless to say it put me in quite a mood for the rest of the afternoon as all I wanted to do was go home and get BabyB-B out of a situation where she was clearly not respected. Three days later I am still reeling about it. Fortunately, said family friend lives overseas and I won't be seeing her for a good few months.
Some people may think I'm overreacting and I should just get over it. The problem is that this is not the first time that I've had to put up with people saying or doing things to BabyB-B with absolutely no regard as to how it would make her feel.
There are the times when, in the company of certain people, BabyB-B is clearly tired. She is yawning, gazing off into the distance and rubbing her eyes. At this point I will generally observe, "Oh, you're tired, darling". For some reason neither the signs BabyB-B is exhibiting, nor my observations, are enough to convince our companions that she is, in fact, tired. Instead of respecting her feelings, they smile, inches from her face, and boom in a ridiculously sing-songy manner, "You're not tired, are you? No, you're not tired". They then proceed to pull faces and bellow some more at her. I want to scream, "How you you like it if someone carried on like that with you when you were sitting there yawning and feeling tired?!", but I don't.
Then there are the times we encounter children, excited to see the baby. They too put their faces inches away from BabyB-B's face and talk to her. In their excitement they are really yelling. BabyB-B is turning her head away, trying to shut them out, but the children keep on. I understand they are excited. I want to ask them, in a far more gentle manner than that outlined above, "How would you like it if someone came so close to your face and spoke really loudly to you?". I don't, but I also wonder why their parents don't.
Sometimes I am feeding BabyB-B. She is sucking contentedly. I am gently stroking her hair. For whatever reason some people think this is an appropriate time to engage her in conversation. Often they feel the need to get up close to see just what she is doing. This really does puzzle me. How would you like it if somebody got up in your face while you were eating? Never mind how I feel with your head disturbingly close to my breast.
Whenever I do anything with BabyB-B I try to ask myself how I would like it if somebody did it to me. If I wouldn't like it I'm not going to do it to my baby. Now I just have to work out a way to get others to ask themselves how they would feel before I crack and scream it at them!!