Monday, February 28, 2011

Western Babies in Thailand

Thai’s love western babies. So picture this – you go to dinner with your 4 month old baby and while sitting there eating dinner there is a large family of Thai’s several tables away the entire time pointing and smiling and laughing at your baby. Then after about 20 minutes of this, a Thai lady gets up and walks over to your table and picks your baby up and walks off with him without saying a word. She takes him over to her table and they all continue to play with him. How do you feel about this? Well if most of you live in the US, you would probably freak – especially if this happened back in the US. For those of us here in Bangkok, it is the norm.

The above is exactly what happened with us one night at dinner here in Bangkok. Every time we go out with Nick, we are stopped every few feet because the Thai’s will get in front of the stroller and stop us so they can play with him. Their favorite game to play is Ja-A (peek-a-boo). They also LOVE to touch his feet. They often ask us “gii duan” which means how many months old. As many of you know – Nick is one BIG boy now. He is turning 5 months this week, weighs 19lbs 1ounce and is wearing 12-18 month clothing. As soon as we tell the Thai’s he is 5 months old they all nearly die laughing and then respond oh big boy you very big boy. You know it is bad when they take him away from you at dinner and return a minute later to give him back because - baby too big baby heavy, cannot take.

Nick has quite the fan club here. The guards at our building all love him – especially a guard we have nicknamed “Smiley” because he has the biggest smile of anyone we have ever met – it seriously takes up his entire face. Smiley enjoys him so much I sometimes put Nick in the stroller just to walk him out there to see Smiley. Then he also has his friends at the Villa Market (grocery store). Honestly at times I have left him in the stroller up front at the check out area with them while I grocery shop. How many of you would do that at your local Safeway or Giant stores? Then there are two guards that work at the BTS (above ground metro) station by our house that come running the minute they see the stroller pop up on their platform. One guard is on the other side of the tracks and he stands across the way waving to Nick, smiling and making faces at him. It’s pretty nice because we get special treatment – they have us hang out with them and they make sure we get onto a car that is not too crowded for a stroller. We usually take the train to the stop next to Joe’s compound where he works. At that train stop the guards and cleaning ladies all come running to see Nick. Also at this stop there is a coffee stand run by a young Thai girl who of course loves Nick – we refer to her as Nick’s “girlfriend.”

Speaking of girlfriends, one night Joe and I took Nick on the BTS to go out to dinner with some of his coworkers so it was rush hour and the train was packed. Well, I was holding Nick while Joe carried the stroller, which we had folded up. As we are standing there, Nick reaches his arm out and starts caressing this girl’s shoulder! He looked as though he was in heaven. Just before getting off the train, he grabbed her hand and kissed it. I think it made her day…month…maybe even her year. Nick is certainly lovin’ all the attention he is getting here – it comes from men, women, he she’s, young and old. The fascination here is only with western babies though – we have not seen this reaction towards Asian babies. We keep telling Nick – don’t get too used to this – it will definitely not be same same when we return to the US!