Someone recently drew my attention to this series of posts on the surprising aspects of parenting in various countries around the world. I was so fascinated I read all the posts on the tiny screen of my phone, snatching every moment I could when Cy was sleeping or nursing. Maybe one day, I’ll share the surprising things about parenting in Thailand, but if you’re itching for a sneak peek now, I’ll just mention a few things:
* On breastfeeding in public: I almost never see Thai women nursing in public (the only one I did see was in a designated breastfeeding room in the mall). I suspect this has partly to do with modesty, but mostly to do with the high prevalence of formula feeding here. While I might not see moms nursing, I do see them whipping out bottles all the time to feed their young ones. That being said, I don’t think anyone has ever looked twice at me for nursing in public.
On the other hand…
* On babywearing: We do get funny looks all the time for wearing our baby in a sling. I think this is because only very traditional, poor, rice farmer type women wear their babies in slings. Everybody else has fancy strollers and expensive carriers, so I think people get weirded out seeing well-off foreigners going “old school, rice farmer” style. Toby, of course, gets way more attention because men generally are not the ones carrying babies.
Though I must admit, he does cut quite a figure:
* On babies in public: While in the States, babies in public are often thought of as a nuisance (like to the other patrons in a fancy restaurant, for example), in Thailand, babies are just absolutely adored. Thai people LOVE babies. I had heard about this before, about how waitstaff in restaurants often will gladly take a baby and play with him while the parents eat their meal. But I didn’t know the extent of this deep love for wee ones. Everywhere we go, it’s like we’re suddenly local celebrities. Neighbors who never talked to us before are suddenly chatting us up like old friends. We can’t walk ten feet in a mall without people cooing over our child and quizzing us about his age, weight, and whether I breastfeed. And restaurant managers rush to help in whatever way (“Do you want a child seat?” “Would you prefer this table instead? Your baby might get too hot over there.” “Is the fan okay? Do you have a blanket so he’s not too cold?”) I always worry about bringing Cy to nice places, for fear he might fuss, so it’s nice to feel so welcomed.
In the meantime, Cy is turning three months old on Tuesday. We spend a lot of time playing in his activity gym. He doesn’t seem to care about holding or playing with the toys yet, but he is fascinated by the sounds they make and watching them bounce. He likes to lie on his mat and kick out with his legs until his left foot hits one of the bars on the gym, which then makes a toy bell ring out. He hits it so regularly and precisely, we’re starting to think he’s doing it on purpose, that maybe he has figured out that he can make the bell sound if he kicks the bar. I don’t know yet if he gets cause and effect, but it happens so regularly that it doesn’t seem to be entirely due to chance.
And he can do that for long stretches of time, sometimes up to fifteen or twenty minutes. I’ve noticed he tends to do what I call “getting stuck in a loop.” He sometimes gets so fascinated by something, he’ll just stare and stare and stare for ages, until you finally distract him. He does that in his little play gym, and he often does it as I put him to sleep in his bouncy chair. He’ll stare at the window or at me, and seem to get locked into that until I move and get him back to the business of falling asleep. It makes us wonder if he might turn out to be an intense little one when he gets a bit older; that he’ll be extraordinarily focused and earnest when he’s trying to figure something out.
Anyway, Christmas is in the air in our house. We haven’t put up any decorations…and I suspect this year might be the first one in which I don’t put any up (thankfully my parents will step in and dress up their new home). But we’re singing all our favorite carols to Cy, and Silent Night has turned out to be the new favorite lullaby to get him to sleep. The excitement this year for me isn’t gifts. It’s that it’s Cy’s first Christmas. I can’t wait to see his face when he sees his first Christmas tree.
Thing I Love About Cy Today: The way he furiously works his mouth and tongue when he’s deep in concentration.
Communal Global has switched to Wednesdays! So I’m sharing my Momma Chats with everyone at Communal Global. Feel free to join in, and link us up to what’s happening in your pocket of the world!