My friend (Mom) is in the grocery store with her tiny, beautiful, perfect baby girl. Baby Girl is happily hanging out in a baby carrier, checking out the tomatoes along with mom. A woman unknown to Mom and Baby Girl approaches them in a tizzy. Mom assumes she's overtaken by Baby Girl's adorableness (you would be, I swear she's just the cutest baby ever) and must comment. Not so. Woman proceeds to berate Mom for letting Baby Girl be in the grocery store without warmer clothing. Mom isn't too ruffled, she's become familiar with aggressive advice from strangers, but it's still pretty annoying. Then Woman grabs Baby Girl's shirt sleeves and tugs them down and around Baby Girl's fingers. Strange, rude Woman is apparently trying to shield Baby Girl's hands from the brutal cold of the produce section.
This may be two too many stories about rude people in the last couple weeks, but I had to share because there is a bigger story here. Rude people will be rude people. This is true no matter how much I complain about it (here, here and here). New and old moms alike can learn to deal with nosy questions and inappropriate comments. Everyone can (and must) learn to deal with social ineptness in general, because it's inescapable. But, touching a baby without permission or touching someone else without permission (i.e. a pregnant belly) is unacceptable.
If some stranger put her paws on my non-pregnant belly I'd call her an asshole and judo chop her jugular. I shouldn't have to explain this point, but I will: people are entitled to privacy of their person. This is a social rule and I'm pretty sure a legal one too. Meaning, touching a stranger's baby bump without permission is wicked rude and illegal (or should be). The same goes for touching a baby without permission. Just because babies are non-verbal and therefore unable to enforce their own privacy rights, doesn't mean you may take their silence as a "Sure, make my sleeves into makeshift mittens." Unless you ask and mom gives you the green light, keep your mittens to yourself. Period.
Speaking of mittens - I love these (by Birda, $38)