Thursday, January 06, 2011

The power of a baby

I was at the supermarket the other day when I was approached by a middle aged Chinese couple. Actually they were following me for a while before I noticed. At first I wasn't sure what they were doing. I thought that they were looking at something nearby but once I moved they inched closer. Then I realized they were fascinated with something I had. I thought it was the hand scanner I was using. It was not the scanner. It was the baby. I should have put it together faster. Now that I think back remembering how they moved around to get a better view It all makes sense. Who wants to look at some dumb old groceries?

It was so sweet to see how these visitors were taken with Adelynn. Once they caught my attention and knew I was friendly they came closer to look and admire. They rocked her and chatted to her cooing, doing all the sorts of things people love to do with babies. They spoke little English but I could tell what they were asking. They wanted to know her age and name. I had to laugh a little at their complete excitement. You would think that Adelynn was their own grandchild the way they were giving her attention! Finally their exasperated daughter found them and was a little embarrassed. The daughter apologized for her parents' behavior. I can understand why she was embarrassed. Compared to Americans people from other cultures are a little more daring about approaching you. That would explain why her parents followed me around for so long. After 10 years in DC and countless encounters with people from just about every country I've come to understand this social differential. Not many people are as open as me about this behavior. The difference is I like people. I like meeting people and I like to talk about my baby. I was glad the daughter arrived because I really wanted to know what her parents were saying. She said her parents were here for the first time visiting from China. She told me they were so glad to see an American baby. We chatted a little more with her translating back and forth until they had to go on their way. 

As they left I waved and smiled. It was so sweet and so nice to meet those nice people. I also had to laugh. I think it so funny that people coming to the United States for the first time and of all places the Washington, D.C. area were most interested in seeing an American baby. A baby! Forget the monuments, museums, and buildings. It was a baby that was on the top of their must see list. I suspect that when that couple goes home they will have more to say about Adelynn than any of those D.C. sights. It just goes to show you that those things, those big grand things, will never be as significant to us as a baby's smile. A baby here is as cute as a baby any where else and will always hold a magical spell over us.

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