Day 20: Strangers and the Baby

When you are a guy walking around a big city in Asia, and you and the baby are white, I’ve noticed a few consistent elements to the day.  First is that people will stare at you – especially if they are old (assuming it’s because gender stereotypes are still strong here).  Second, a lot of people like to take a look at the little guy.  If he’s in his stroller, they’ll peek around and stare in, looking at him and then smiling.  If I’m carrying him in the Baby Björn, people are even more interested.

My wife told me that some expats have made a point to cover their babies so the people here don’t “bother them”.  I understand if they are in the stroller, making sure they are unbothered – if sleeping of otherwise needing their personal space, but so far I have not done this more than the sun umbrella (which blocks things pretty well anyway).  But when he is in the Baby Björn, it’s a different story.  When he’s up there, he’s at everyone’s level.  People see him, smile at him, talk to him, and want to touch him.  To all of this I am very open and welcoming – I ask him to reply and to say hello, goodbye (including waving), and to generally talk to people (to which he normally does something cute and endearing).  To those who want to touch him, I keep hold of his hands (which he is constantly chewing on), and they might just do a quick tickle of his arm.

All of this means he interacts with many people everyday – at the supermarket, in shops, on the metro, etc. – something both my wife and I think will be good for his social development, which will benefit him long-term.  If we are in a big city full of people, it would be silly in our opinion to isolate him from that opportunity to get comfortable around other people.  Plus, he enjoys it – flirting with the ladies – smiling, giggling, talking to them.  For him it’s not bad to be a “man on the town”, it’s just too bad he has his old man attached to his back in the process. 😉

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