Cold Hearted Heat

At the beginning of this week I wrote here about the different attitude toward children here in North America and in Thailand.

Apparently people actually read this page (something that always comes as a shock to me), and Catherine has caught some heat from her friends and colleagues along the lines of “hey, we like Oliver…”

Please note that my comments weren’t meant to be a “hey, you don’t love my son enough!” plea. Oliver gets plenty of attention, love, regards, waves, etc. in his regular everyday life here in Charlottetown, from our friends, family, colleagues, and sometimes even from the people that you meet while you’re walkin’ down the street.

So you can stop complaining.

In other cold hearted news, an anonymous friend — let’s call her Libertà — called me today with a story: she was in the bank, at a wicket beside a woman with small child. The woman was struggling to balance dealing with the teller and dealing with the child. By way of trying to be helpful, Libertà tried to engage the child in conversation, which prompted the woman to pick up the child and move him to the other side of her.

Libertà commented on this to the teller after woman and child had left, remarking that in other cultures she might have picked up the child so the mother could bank in peace. The teller recoiled in shock, and said she would never do that lest she be accused of molesting the child.

Which explains a lot about a lot of things.

Another friend emailed to say that our experiences in Thailand echo those that he and his wife experienced in Mexico with their son. This was reinforced tonight for us when we ate at Mexico Lindo for this first time, and found the Mexican chef doting on Oliver in a way we’d only ever seen at the wonderful Lobster Claw out in Brackley Beach.

Libertà, by the way, remains undaunted, and will return to the playing field with as much determination as ever to do right by the kids of town. More power to her.


Oliver's picture
Oliver on March 8, 2002 - 06:25 Permalink

I guess we’ll have to make the motto:
“It takes a village, but mind your own business.”

Sandy Nicholson's picture
Sandy Nicholson on March 8, 2002 - 14:11 Permalink

Having a daughter that has until recently recoiled when even a relative tried to pick her up, I would find it difficult to pass her over to a stranger. I do, however, encourage her to engage in conversations with people when we are out and about and I do love it when people are child friendly. There are definitely places and people that are not so welcoming.
I am interested to know your thoughts on Mexico Lindo. I had been contemplating asking you to review it for your faithful readers. Would you mind sharing your thoughts? Thanks.

hannah's picture
hannah on March 8, 2002 - 16:05 Permalink

My sister had her first child last year (Sweet William is also the first grandchild). We talked a bit about this kind of thing, and she was quite clear on the rules of engagement: family can pick him up whenever they want. Friends and acquaintances within a controlled environment (ie at a party) can pass him around like a party favour. But, she won’t let someone take him when she is out in public — even if it someone she knows.
I lived in the UK during the Jamie Bulger case, and I think that incident had a huge impact on the protectiveness of mothers with their young children. At least, it did there. Add to that the real worry that one could be accused of indecent crimes, and I’m surprised children are seen in daylight before they can vote.
And on an entirely different note: how was your dinner at Mexico Lindo?

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on March 8, 2002 - 20:45 Permalink

Oliver is a rare child. Even when quite young he has been content with “strangers” picking him up and holding him. Some kids are quite a bit more shy than that (some parents too). Some kids will be outgoing, go through a shy phase, switch back, and occasionally repeat the cycle. Oliver’s a lucky little guy to have folks who think about doing what right for him instead of just assuming they are.