Foreign baby in China essentials: FRIENDLY STRANGER FINGER SHIELD

The guy in the stationary shop by our front gate says our daughter is “our neighbourhood’s little superstar.” I love showing off our little “foreign doll” (洋娃娃); she deserves all the attention no matter what country she’s in!

But sometimes the friendly little crowds that occasionally form around her can be too much. Especially when total strangers try to stick their fingers in our daughter’s mouth to make her smile! When I come home from work on the subway I always wash my hands before I play with her; there’s no way we’re letting random dàjiěs fresh out of the càishichǎng stick their fingers right in her mouth!

And that’s where this post’s foreign-baby-in-China essential comes in: āyí finger-blockers.

We have an Erogobaby baby backpack (they really ought to pay me for this!), and it has this very convenient lǎotàitàis-who-want-to-stick-their-fingers-in-foreign-babys’-mouths-finger-blocking device. It’s not in any of these photos because in winter the snowsuit does almost as good a job, but this baby carrier has a panel of fabric that you can button over the baby’s head when she’s sleeping. She doesn’t get distracted and people can’t get at her.

These photos are from today at Tianjin’s 古文化街。Lilia would not stop drawing friendly crowds! It was fun and she was smiling at everyone, but I was glad for the big snowsuit hood that she could hide behind and sleep behind when she needed to.

Related stuff:

Other foreign baby in China essentials:

4 thoughts on “Foreign baby in China essentials: FRIENDLY STRANGER FINGER SHIELD”

  1. Joel, one thing I love about reading your blog is that you always manage to turn bad things (strangers sticking their dirty, germy fingers into darling infant’s mouth) into almost-fun cultural experiences! Thanks!

    What I would add is that it is very easy for a “superstar” to become a “diva”. I personally work hard at avoiding these sorts of encounters (though fun, friendly, and ego-boosting they may often be). I just don’t think it is healthy for a young child to grow up thinking she is so special and expecting to be the centre of attention.

  2. wow… i have been missing soooo much! one good thing about having a sick kid who is coughing the whole night through is that i can catch up on reading your blog!

    ok. oh how amazing and precious are those photos…. everyone looks so happy to see her! love all the smiles!

    great posts! from red panties to be nice to the kitties… loved every minute of it!

  3. Glenn — haha: “almost-fun cultural experiences.” And I hear you about the diva thing, though most often when I people bring it up it’s usually attributed to growing up with “ayis” and other forms of privilege rather than the public attention.

    The only foreign kids I’ve been around enough to see how they react to the extra attention are the two English brothers in the “Our friends the rockstars” link above (funny photo there). Don’t know how they were as toddlers, but by kindergarten and grade 2 they were resenting the attention. Occasionally they might ham it up in front of a group (dance around or whatever), but often I would see the younger one pull and run away from strangers in parks who wanted to grab his arm or touch his (very blond) hair. Sometimes he would smack their hands away, make an angry face, etc. Definitely it’s something we have to get with other expat parents about. Gotta read all those third-culture kid books, too.

    Ruth — see what fun you’re missing? We’re having a total blast with my parents here.

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