one of my favorite things

The city we live in is one of the greenest capitals in the world. Seriously! There are really nice parks all over the city. Our colony (neighborhood) has about 3 nice parks in it, and then there is a really big park about half a mile from our home. Ever since we realized how much baby loves going on walks, we've been going out there several times a week.

I think I may miss these parks the most. And I'm pretty sure I'll be saying that about a lot of things.

People love to come up to baby and pinch her cheeks. And they always ask, "How old is he?" (And no, Mom, it's not because I don't always remember to put bows on her head; they even ask when she's wearing them. :)

South Asians seem to spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors, which can seem odd, since it gets stinking hot. I wonder if it goes back to the days before air conditioners, when even though it gets 115 degrees outside, it's worth it to sit in the park and wait for a wayward breeze. Or maybe it's the community these people share with each other, where even a city of 17 million can still feel like a village in many ways. Jaya and her mother have walked in one of our colony parks every evening for at least a decade. Jaya and her mother both look at least 10 years younger than they really are - is it good genes or the physical activity?

The park our family has been walking in lately has really nice paths to jog or stroll along. Some kids ride bikes on them, which as long as they are careful, isn't too bad. Now, the other day, some impatient man decided to skip the crazy traffic on the roads and instead rode his scooter through the park. I wasn't too happy about that. But luckily that's the only time that has happened.

There are signs throughout the park that make me laugh. I guess the designers had the idea to create exercise stations. So there is a place for everything from push ups to neck exercises. We haven't quite figured out what the number of meters means (if that's what the M even stands for). Any guesses?

Getting a work out. Sorry for our camera's poor quality! I wish I had gotten the little boy yesterday whose mother made him do the "uneven walk". I don't even know what that exercises, but he was whining , "Why must we exercise, mummy?" It was pretty cute. I think I'd question that one, as well!


president's gardens

Today we went to the equivalent of the White House here in the capital. There are some really pretty gardens at the President's house that are only open to the public in February and March, so we went today. I tried to find something interesting about the gardens online, but I couldn't. It does have 250 different types of roses (including the Okla Homa Rose...not Oklahoma, mind you). It was designed in the mughal and English garden design by a Britisher, and from my quick 2 minute research, I think that was in 1929. But that's all I know. :)

I do know it's really pretty though! The circular garden was the prettiest. Husband remarked that it is a glimpse of perfection, and that we can't even imagine how beautiful the place prepared for us will be.

They don't allow cameras in, so I had to settle for googled images. It looks basically exactly like this, except with swarms of people. When we walked up to the entrance, there were two separate metal detector and security lines for us to go through - ladies and 'gents'. This is very common, since the culture is so modest. It would be inappropriate for a man to lightly frisk a woman. Side note: with all our recent airport trips, we've carried baby in her sling through the security checks. Each time I've gone through, the women have told me to leave my bag on the conveyor belt, to which I've shown a peek of baby. Every single time, the woman has exclaimed, "OH! So sweet!" and has nudged all her coworkers to look at the baby, and they've all exclaimed as well. It's pretty fun to surprise them.

I had baby and her bag, and a man on a microphone and loudspeaker called out to me, "Madam, you must leave your bag!" We walked over to him to show him it was just baby's bottle and diapers. We were right next to him, but he continued to address us, eye to eye, on the microphone. "You can take the baby bottle and nappies, but you must leave the bag." We thought that was pretty funny.

I think baby was more of a spectacle than the flowers, and I'm not just saying that because I'm her mother. South Asians love babies, especially blue eyed light-skinned ones. It was like every where we went, we could hear such remarks as, "Look at the baby!" "Oh it's a baby!" "She looks like a doll!" etc. It's fun to have a celebrity baby. :)

In the gardens, there were some flowers that we have in our front "yard". So I thought I'd post them so it would be semi-authentic pictures from today's family outing.


please note

I added a link to all my blogging friends on the right. If you'd rather not be linked to me, out of security, anonymity, or embarrassment :), just comment. I'll delete the link and your comment. :)


different parenting philosophies

Even within a similar culture, there are countless opinions on raising children. So it should have come to no surprise to me that a culture half a world away would have different ideas from my own on how a baby should be treated.

The main thing I've noticed deals with crying. Most of the South Asians I've talked with won't let their child cry. If a child cries, he must be picked up or fed immediately. Last week, I went to visit D*, a lady I met in our prenatal classes. Her baby boy was born 5 weeks after our girl. She says he wakes up every 2 hours all night long, and she has to pick him up and walk him around the house until he falls back asleep. Curious, I asked her if she ever let him 'cry it out.' She looked almost horrified and said no. She told me that even when she goes to the bathroom, she tells her house helper to come get her if he starts to cry! It's no wonder she told me she's considering not having any more kids. I think I'd go insane if I couldn't even go to the bathroom. Later on at D's, baby girl needed her diaper changed. As I changed it, she fussed. D and her husband came rushing to see what was wrong with baby girl and asked repeatedly what I was going to do to stop her crying! It made me very nervous.

Even more drastic, we heard a slightly disturbing story about some friends of ours who are raising a child in the mountain town we used to live in. Their baby was crying in the middle of the night, and it seems the parents had decided to let her cry it out. Apparently, the neighboring family didn't approve of this method, for they showed up at their door, asking why the baby was crying. If I heard the story correctly, it was the whole family who came a-knockin'!

The traditional South Asian family lives in a multiple family home, with several generations under one roof. D and her husband live on their own, and I think part of the consequences with that is she feels pretty clueless about raising her baby. I don't mean to imply that she's a bad mother or that I have it all together, because neither is true. D just peppered me with questions about baby development, from when they start solids to poopy diapers to sitting up. She even asked me if my 3 month old baby was saying "mommy" yet. I hated to disappoint her hopes that her baby boy would be telling her what he wanted in a few weeks. My guess is that elders help out tremendously with South Asian mothers, and poor D doesn't have anyone to consult.

Some other funny questions we've been asked by adults:

People are very curious about the baby sling. I can't tell you how many have seen her snuggled up, sound asleep, and asked, "Is she comfortable like that?" They seem to think babies should be flat and straight at all times, forgetting that for 9 months, the baby curled up comfortably in tight quarters.

When we took her to the office at 6 weeks old, a grown man asked in all seriousness, "Are her eyes opening yet?" As in like puppies.

"Where is her hair?" Many, many people find it very odd that she doesn't have a full head of hair.

"Does she speak Hindi?" I guess only time will tell. :)


what's so great about thailand?

In the last 2.5 years, we've been to Thailand 5 times, usually to the same city up in the hills. You would think it would get old, but it never does! We look forward to it every time, and I'm a little sad our last trip to Thailand is over for this term.

To me, it's like America but with Asian prices and services. Granted, my view of "nice" is a little skewed now. But I think anyone would find it nice! So just what is it that is so great about Thailand?

The markets! You can find house decorations, like table runners and lamps. Also clothes, shoes, jewelry, food, and so much more, all for super cheap prices if you bargain correctly.

The markets also have places to get foot rubs! I think that's my favorite part. You can sit, and watch the action, while paying $2 to get a 30 minute foot rub. We found a place on our last trip that did an hour foot, shoulder, and neck massage for $5. You can't beat that!

Fun foods, like banana roti! And also the fruits I posted about last summer, and other great places to eat.

The Thais seem to enjoy beauty, specifically in making the city aesthetically pleasing. There are flowers and plants all over the city, and there is even a blossom tree-lined moat through part of it. The weather is beautiful, too.

The beach! To be honest, we've only been to one of their beaches, and it's not their nicest or most family-friendly. But it's still a beach, and they bring around fried shrimp, chicken, ice cream, and funny enough, corn on the cob for you to eat while lounging. And even some ladies come by offering foot rubs!