Salaam alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh everyone,
I hope that you're all well and in a good state of health and iman!
Okay, yes, I know it's been forever since I've posted...I'm sorry. I kinda felt like taking a break from blogging for a bit because there have been a few other things in my life that have been making me feel stressed (namely, my job search), but maybe a bit more about that in another, proper update post. For now though, I just want to recount something that I found very strange that happened yesterday while I was on the bus with my MIL going to the wilaya to get my carte sejours (which, by the way, I finally got a REAL card, and not just a piece of paper that has to be stamped every month...no more going back there for me until next year insh'Allah walhamdolillah! :D). Anyways, here's the story:
I was on the bus yesterday with my MIL, going to the wilaya (police headquarters). The bus was quite full, so all the seats were taken; my MIL and I ended up having to stand up. After a stop or two, there was a woman who got on with a young baby boy. Here the women "wear" their children, rather than using strollers, because it's cheaper and more convenient (I also think it's adorable!). They usually attatch their children on their backs with a scarf and then put a larger sheet over the scarf for modesty, and to further secure the child. It looks a little something like this (but imagine an extra sheet draped over the baby and tucked into the scarf):
Anyways, like my MIL and I, this woman had to stand up on the bus because there were no available seats. So, she stood a couple of rows in front of us. All of a sudden this middle-aged guy who was sitting in the seat next to her decided to reach out and pinch the baby's cheek, and then proceeded to give him a little kiss on the cheek. Now, being from the US, I found this very strange...WTF is this random man doing touching this baby without even asking the mother if it was okay or not (the mother didn't notice, I don't think, because her back was turned to him, which put her son close to the random baby kissing man...and if she did notice it, she either ignored it or just didn't care). Yes, the little boy was absolutely adorable mash'Allah...but that doesn't mean you go around pinching the cheeks and kissing every cute little baby you see (you'd be kissing and pinching a lot of cheeks lol)...and in my mind just because there's a cute baby, it doesn't automatically give every single person out there the right to touch/kiss that baby without first asking the mother if it's okay...and even then...kissing the baby? I dunno, it just strikes me as being weird. I don't kiss baby's cheeks unless they're related to my husband, and even then, only close relatives, and I always ASK if it's okay before I do. I usually play peekaboo or make faces/silly noises to make them smile/laugh (it works really well on my husband's cousin's daughter who's 6ish months :P), or if they're older, like a toddler, I'll play "airplane" with them/toss them in the air and catch them. Anyways, personally, I would feel really uncomfortable having random people on the bus touching and giving kisses to my child.
I recounted this story to my husband, and for some reason he didn't find it that weird...which made me certain that it's a cultural thing. But he did add that it wasn't exactly the best thing for the poor baby to have random people kissing him all the time because it might make him sick. I was like...but this guy wasn't even related to the woman and he's giving her child kisses, don't you find that weird? And my husband replied, "not really, people kiss and pinch the cheeks of cute babies all the time, whether or not they're part of the family, it's pretty normal here."
What do y'all think about this? How do you/people in your culture interract with babies and children? If you're a parent, yould it make you feel uncomfortable to have a random person on the bus kiss your child's cheek?