Scandalizing the neighborhood
Childrearing, I am finding, is deeply cultural. What is taken completely for granted as the “right” way in one culture seems ridiculous to another. I find it absolutely fascinating.
In the last 24 hours I’ve run in to two that I thought were amusing.
1: My little guy, who now is over a year old, was wandering around in the small cafeteria here on campus (we call it the bohio, which roughly translates as “shack”) while I was chatting with Yanina, one of the cooks. He crashed, which is a pretty common occurrence for him at this point, and bonked his head. It wasn’t a grievous wound, but there was a smudge of dirt where he made contact and he worked for a moment or two to convince me survival was questionable.
Yanina was quite concerned, and she first looked for ice. There wasn’t any. Then she said, “Why my kids fell, my mother always put honey on their heads.” She whipped out the honey bottle and smeared a dab on his forehead. He hadn’t been crying for about a minute by that point, but what’s the harm? I’ve never heard of that, but I figured it would just make him a little sweeter. I did make sure to clean him up well before I laid him down for his nap, because the army of ants my honey-smeared baby would attract would make my day considerably grosser!
2. It was raining yesterday, as usual. Little Man and I were waiting in the bohio for the rest of the team to arrive for lunch. He started putting his hand in the run off from the roof. Then it was his arm. Then he worked up his courage and stuck his head under it. The next thing I knew, he was grinning and giggling and standing under it. He was thrilled.
Yanina was not so thrilled. She kept asking me, “Won’t it hurt him? Won’t he be cold?” She is a mother of 4 grown kids, so she clearly has her own opinions on how this should go, but I think she sees me as some kind of fascinating alien raising someone who is made up of a somewhat difference substance than her own kids or grandkid. She eventually succumbed to Little One’s giggles and decided that he probably wouldn’t perish.
Do not fear, world at large. I retrieved a towel and some dry clothes from our house and got the kid cleaned up before lunch, but it was worth it. He thought he was invincible, and Yanina thinks I’m crazy. All in all, a good day.