Before leaving for this holiday, my mom warned me that people might want to touch Eryn when we’re out shopping. I laughed it off as grandparental overprotectiveness.

Now that Eryn sounds like a 60 year old smoker when she’s not barking like a seal, I wish I had heeded mom’s warning.

Everyone touches her.

Today it was a runny nosed teen while I was praying at the mosque. It’s Friday, yawm al-Jumm’ah, the “Muslim sabbath” — and Hubby, Eryn and I went to the mosque for the sermon and congregational prayer. The snot dripping teen smiled and cooed to Eryn throughout.

After the service, I offered an extra prayer while Eryn played at my feet. When I went into sujood, prostration, she pulled herself up next to my back, laughed and started banging away. I loved the impromptu massage and how she’s getting more comfortable with mommy praying at the mosque.  I’d like her to be one of those kids who calmly hang out with mom or dad, instead of running around like mad, playing tag in the open space.  And during this peaceful moment, when my baby and I were joyfully communing with the Divine, the diseased teen took it upon herself to remove my child, take her to a corner of the mosque and proceed to hug and kiss her all over.

Thanks. I appreciate the helpful gesture to allow me to pray in peace, but please take your germs off my baby. Eryn was also not pleased — so I had to ignore my prayer and worry about my screaming baby. Thanks.

During transit to Nairobi, maids on their way home to Ethiopia cooed, kissed, and touched her.  And then in Nairobi itself, complete strangers would reach out and touch her face, hands and arms or try to hold her.

It’s just a different culture. No one ever, not even at the Ontario Early Years Centre, or in the park or the mall, have ever tried to touch Eryn without a) knowing me first, or b) asking my permission.

It’s cute that she’s so lovable, and this experience has really helped her get over some of her stranger anxiety (if not initially exasperating it at the beginning) … But dammit, now my baby is sick.

Who wants to take a 13 hour flight with a sick baby?