Can I just squeeze your baby for a sec?

OK, this is for all the moms of dimply toddlers and sweet babies at the supermarket. When I stop to admire your child, please be delighted that someone besides you and your mother think the child is adorable. Stop looking at me like I am threatening.
I have double-checked the mirror and I don’t see threatening. I see a very friendly, matronly lady who just loves little ones, doesn’t have grandchildren yet, and wants to admire yours briefly.
When we finally decided to produce some offspring, I somehow shed my old personality like a cocoon and happily turned into a lover of children. That was a very good thing and something of a small miracle. The minute those hormones started whipping through my body, I became the poster child for the “Madonna Syndrome.” Babies make me mellow. They make me all squishy inside. They bring out the best in me, so cut me some slack, won’t you? Stop looking at me like I’m going to snatch that child out of its carrier and race for the parking lot. That is never going to happen. I have selective memory, but nothing wipes out the recall of what babies can do to a night’s sleep. Which, now that I think of it, is might be why you have that odd look on your face, Mom. Still, I remember being tickled when some stranger realized they were gazing on the most beautiful, perfect children on earth and chose to share that thought with me. Frankly, I was always a little surprised when they didn’t.
In any case, I loved every phase of pregnancy, both times, varicose veins, swollen fingers and all. It was astounding, exhilarating and just about my favorite thing ever. I felt beautiful, special and like I was the first woman on earth to ever do this magical thing. Intellectually, I knew better, but I didn’t fight it because everyone seems to agree at the time, which I suggest every pregnant woman take full advantage of.
It is hilarious how really homely most newborns are, looking a lot like a prizefighter just out of the ring. But all it takes is the sight of those tiny, starfish hands with dimples on each finger or a rosebud mouth in a puffy, squished-up little face, to make me go all verklempt.
When anyone shows off their baby to me, I’m thrown into a complete state of conflicting desires. I want to hold that baby close, snarfle its soft, sweet neck, smooch its fingers and toes and give it a big, juicy raspberry on the tummy. But I don’t, because any real mother remembers how covered with germs we are and would never do that to a small person still working on antibodies. So instead, I find myself fighting all my natural urges and touch, perhaps, only the back of its fuzzy little head or squishy little leg, or sometimes I just have to back up, feeling like Typhoid Mary. It’s torture, but I still love it.
So if you are ever looking for someone to think your baby is as cute as you think it is, I’m the future grandma to see. I’ll keep my disinfecting hand wipes close by, I promise.

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