Recently I took a trip that involved a three-hour ferry crossing. While my husband and older son Finn were on the deck entertaining themselves, Rowan and I snuggled up and with the rocking motion of the boat, he promptly fell asleep.
But the mom across the aisle from me was not so lucky -- she was travelling solo with a toddler and an infant and both of them were crying (loudly) for her attention.
I watched her and wished there was something I could do to help, but with my son sound asleep on my lap, I couldn't move. Just then a woman, a stranger, from two rows in front of her walked over and offered to take the baby. I watched curiously, waiting to see what she would do.
The mother not only agreed, but enthusiastically handed over her baby to the woman who offered help. I admit, I found this a little odd. While we were completely confined to the boat and not in a wide open space, the woman was sitting in front of the mother, and for the most part, out of the mother's line of sight. But I understand what it's like to be frazzled and travelling with more than one child, so I assumed the mom needed a break and reminded myself to mind my own baby -- and my own business.
But then something else happened: The mother got up and started walking around the cabin with her toddler, leaving the baby unattended with the stranger for periods of time. The baby seemed content and wasn't crying, but I just don't know if I could have walked away from the woman, a stranger, who was holding my baby.
In the end, no harm was done. (I know this because I watched the stranger enough for the both of us the entire time.) The baby fell asleep in the stranger's arms and she held her for the remainder of the trip. When we docked the mother and baby were reunited and everyone went on their merry way. So was it a good idea? I still don't know.
Have you been in a situation like this? What did you do? If you were travelling solo would you let a stranger hold your baby?
Image via katrenshaw/Flickr