Monday, January 21, 2008

My MLK Day Survey

On this MLK Day, I have some questions for all you parents out there. I need your input, so please comment here or email me. The question of the day is . . .
When you are (or were) out and about with your baby (or one-year-old and beyond), do people touch your baby? And more specifically, do they touch your baby's head?

And on a related note, how about stroking your baby's skin, such as on the arm, and admiring its softness?

Finally, for, uh, statistical purposes . . . what is your baby's race and what is yours?

I am thinking here not of people you are close to, who would be holding and playing with your baby, but acquaintances and even strangers who would approach while you're holding or standing/sitting with your child.

Hit me with your experiences and then I'll hit you with my thoughts. Thanks.

Meanwhile, unity is the great need of the hour.

Uh huh, pretty soon I am going to need one of these.


Jenny said...

YES! YES! YES! Josh is constantly getting his hair touched, and it drives me absolutely batty, especially when I've spent time to make sure it looks good, then they go mess it up by feeling it!

Not so much on the skin, but every. single. time. we're out, I get at least 1 comment about how big his eyes are. It annoys me, but I can't exactly put my finger on why.

And for your statistical purposes...I'm pasty white. Josh is Ethiopian.

karen said...

Yep. All three of my kids have been patted on the head, and i'm always being told they have beautiful blue eyes. I can't say that i've had people touch their skin a lot (except family members, obviously).

My kids and i are all white.

Tiki R said...

Mike and I would have the girls in their car seats on the floor while we were waiting to be seated somewhere or in the grocery store in shopping carts or just walking and WHAM! next thing ya know, there's some stranger talking to and touching your child(ren). It was really shocking at first but the truth is, it still happens. Just this very night, we were out to eat with some friends (we're always at the same place every Monday with this couple) and a woman walks up to Lauren and just starts playing with her hair and telling her how well behaved she is, how cute, how sweet, etc.
This kinda thing happens ALL THE TIME! Sometimes I just want to scream but I always nod and smile and thank them for their nice words or comments.
Such blue eyes! Such big eyes! So much beautiful hair! Are they models? So cute! Just precious! They're TWINS?! OMG!!!! Yeah, we've heard it all...over...and over...and over.
As you know, we all fall into the Caucasian Category. However, Lauren has darker brown hair and Tara is blond which makes for a whole other set of comments! Oh bother...
So, that's my 2 cents. Hope that it helps with your "research". :)

Anonymous said...

Touching a child's head or shoulder is used all the time in education. A gentle pat to grab attention or as affirmation. But, if you don't know the kid, no matter the age, it is kinda wierd.
I am white. My students, like the United Nations

Anonymous said...

The skin? No. The hair? Oh yeah. One of my sons has a big, huge afro and it seems everyone--black and white, young and old alike wants to get their hands on that hair. Especially the girls in his class, much to his disdain (if only it would bug him just a bit more and he'd want to cut it short :-) And...most of the people who constantly "pat" my baby's hair are the little East African and African-American girls at my kids (very diverse) school. And plenty of their moms too. So I don't find it racist, just kindof funny.
CC mom of 4 CC/AA kids

RMMcDowell said...

We do! I remember when Ellie was first born that total strangers asked me if they could hold her! I was aghast. We get more touches on her head now that she's older, but people do occasionally go so far as to almost play with her hair and her soft curls. Before she was her squirrely 2-1/2-year-old self, we got many, many touches from strangers on her hand, leg, or cheek (and always comments about how soft she is/was). Those used to bother me so much, because I don't like people touching me, let alone touching my defenseless daughter.

I also get a ton of random comments from creepy (and, admittedly, not so--though you watch them the most!) strangers about how cute she is or how sweet she is, and ALWAYS about how huge her eyes are or how blue they are.

You know we're both white--Ellie is quite "porcelain," like I was when I was younger, and her eyes are that dark blue and her lips a bright red, so I always figure that's why people want to touch that skin. It doesn't make it better to me.

Kendra said...

Yeah, people used to touch Rebekah all the time. Some still do, but she's got quite a vocabulary now & (thankfully!) lets them know when they get too close. It was more her skin than her hair, which so fine and wispy it wasn't very notable when she was younger.

We still hear a lot of comments on her "beautiful blue eyes"... I know people love baby's soft skin, but you wish strangers would realize that they are out of line! The occasional elderly person or elementary schoolkid isn't so bad for some reason, but random middle-aged strangers creep me out when they invade her space without permission.

I'm very pasty, Rebekah is usually more tan than me but obviously white.

Czarnecki Family said...

Hi, you don't know me but we're adopting from Ethiopia so I've been stalking blogs :) I'm white, as are my kids and husband, but my daughter (18 months) has curly hair and she gets it touched CONSTANTLY. It can be weird if I don't know the person, but no weirder than the strange woman who kissed my pregnant belly! It is interesting that it didn't happen with my son, which is why I mentioned that her hair is curly . . . maybe that's the reason.

Anonymous said...

No,people don't usually touch my babies. Sometimes, but not often. They do comment on Mikey's hair sometimes and you can kind of tell they want to touch it. But actual touching has been about equal for all three of my babies. Perhaps people know that I am a mama bear.

For "statistical" (ha, or more like the real reason you asked... I understand that!) purposes: We're Anglo, our first two kids are Anglo (bio) and our third is Korean.