Ask Amy

Look at baby with eyes, not with hands

Dear Amy: Why do strangers want to touch other people’s babies? In these days of swine flu outbreaks and the deaths it causes, we are admonished to wash our hands and stay healthy.

Then why — all you people in the grocery store and church — do you think it’s OK to come up and touch my newborn baby without asking me, and without washing your hands first?

Her immune system isn’t developed yet, and she is susceptible to these germs floating around.

If my baby gets sick, has to be hospitalized or dies, you won’t know. Your life will not be affected, but ours will be.

Well-meaning baby lovers, keep your hands to yourself, or at least check in with the mom first before rubbing your hands all over her baby!

— Concerned Mom

Dear Mom: Strangers want to touch babies because they are small, round and lovely.

That having been said, it’s just plain rude to go around touching someone without consent.

I’m going to assume that these health questions and anxieties have made you exceptionally cranky. Your job as a mother is to demonstrate to your baby and the outside world that you are in charge of this little life.

I can only hope that you figure out how to be in charge without acting like everybody else is an idiot. If you have questions about how much exposure your newborn can handle safely, please speak with your pediatrician.

Dear Amy: I am disgusted by your answer to “Anthony” for his questions about declining social invitations because it interferes with his special-needs dog.

First of all, calling his diabetic dog “high maintenance” is very unsettling to me. Would you call a diabetic child high maintenance?

A dog is a living creature and doesn’t deserve to be thought of as less because it can’t talk and walk upright.

Second, you make it sound as if this person is deliberately avoiding social functions. I agree 100% with this person that if a host can’t understand that someone has a responsibility to a pet and that it must have its medicine at a certain time, that person is not a good host or friend.

Would you like to lie in diabetic shock for a few hours just because your caregiver was at a function he chose to not leave?

Maybe a pet-sitter would work in some cases, but not in all. This is not a trustworthy world we live in. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable with people coming into my house while I’m not there, no matter whether they are licensed and bonded.

All in all, Amy, I am very disappointed in the response you gave.

— Anna

Dear Anna: Many readers expressed disappointment that I urged Anthony to find someone able to care for his diabetic dog so that he could occasionally attend events to which he was invited.

My concern was that Anthony had already declared that he would not be accepting invitations; nor had he attempted to find an occasional caregiver for his dog. My goal was to urge him to remember that his relationships with people are important, too.

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