Mamahuhu: A joint column for mamas in Chengdu
A growing list of totally shameful behaviors I've occasionally engaged in here that I wouldn't be caught dead doing if I were "back home"—or if I didn't have a kid:
1. Taken my kid to play in the supervised kids' play area at Ikea and then run over to Decathlon because I heard they had those fleece pullovers on sale again. No, I haven't decided to use that precious hour of freedom to go on a spree at Sephora, Mango, and H&M at the Galleria ... but I've been tempted.
2. Let my kid pee on the sidewalk. And instructed innocent by-standing friends to take him outside to pee on a tree. Under 6 is still OK, right?
3. Let kindly fuwuyuan provide free baby-sitting.
4. Argued in front of other patients with a doctor: "No, I am not going to pump my baby full of antibiotics for a chest cough—I just wanted to make sure it wasn't pneumonia or TB or bird flu, thank you ... and I didn't ask your other patients to be in here anyway!"
5. Let the taxi driver think it was my baby who let out the fart, not me.
6. Picked up my kid and held him when he would have been all right standing just so I could get a seat on the bus.
7. Glared at seated, able-bodied people between the ages of 20 and 40 while my 50-pound lump of deadweight slumbered peacefully when I couldn't get a seat on the bus.
8. Gone into places with clean restrooms claiming that my child had to pee when it was actually me.
9. Smugly answered nosy strangers, "Actually, he can speak three languages" and "No, he doesn't have a Chinese name. Or an English one!"
10. Let my kid take candy from strangers.
11. Let my sweet pride and joy run amok in a store, restaurant, or other public place when the only other people around were those who'd just laugh it off.
12. Yelled angrily at any driver who gets within three feet of me or my kid.
13. Retorted to critical strangers, "你的小孩子穿的多!" (Western parents in China hear over and over and over again how insufficiently bundled up their child is. It gets to be annoying after the first 300 times or so.)
14. Gone into random stores where I had absolutely no interest in buying something just to get free balloons, tissues, or food samples.
15. Cattily informed critics that "this is how modern moms do it" when told that using a baby sling would deform my child's legs forever.
16. Asked complete strangers in my vicinity to stop smoking. Actually, I'd do that anyway.