Travelling with an infant is different from any other way of travel I did before.
- Packing gave me some unknown challenges. (How many diapers are enough? How many are too many?)
- I massively slowed down the itinerary. (We tried to take a break every other day.)
- And travelling with an infant was probably also the easiest way to get in contact with local people around me.
Here are 9 things they did with my baby which they might do to yours if you let them.
1.They called my baby’s name (when he was almost asleep).
One of the first questions was for his name. And once people knew it they would call it over and over again. Even if the pronunciation was difficult to them. Especially, when I was trying real hard to make him sleep.
2. They called my baby other names.
Sweety Pie and Chubby were only some of the English names I understood. The ones they gave him in their mother tongues passed me.
3. They pinched my baby’s cheeks.
To all occasions and in various degrees my son was pinched in and twitched at the cheeks. I had read about it earlier and realised that it is a common thing to do to babies. Although he didn’t love it, he never complained about it either.
4. They held my baby.
Much quicker than any German before, many Indians took my son into their arms. Several of our hosts seemed to see it as their duty to let me have my arms and lap free so that I could eat. Therefore they carried him a lot. But also total strangers would pluck him from my arms. One young woman even asked whether I would remove him from the wrap I was carrying him in so that she could hold him. I had to explain to her that she should at least wait until he woke up. But when he did, I had my arms free once more.
5. They carried my baby around and away.
Once people held him, it didn’t take long and they carried him around and showed him things in the other room, in the yard or elsewhere. Several times a day I was wondering where my child was.
6. They fed my baby.
In India my baby started to show interest in food other than mother’s milk. Since it was his first time to have solid food I tried to be careful with what he ate. I didn’t want to overwhelm his little stomach. He ate biscuits, though, and other Indian food that people gave him.
7. They talked to my baby in their mother tongue.
He doesn’t speak yet and he is growing up with at least two different languages anyway. So the languages in India may have not been more confusing to him. Only I didn’t understand what people told him.
8. They took photos of and with my baby.
We as a family have a policy. We don’t want photos of our baby to be spread around. We tell people that it’s okay to show them to others but they need permission before sharing them online. In that way we are trying to keep control over the distribution of our baby’s photos. I should have mentioned that to the many people in India taking photos with and of him. I just felt uncomfortable and wanted to be polite so I didn’t. Next time I will.
9. They blessed my baby.
I don’t know what it means when a woman moves her hands around my baby’s face and then clicks her finger bones on her temples. They did it a lot. But I consider it as a blessing. All the things people did to him, including starting to cry, people did out of happiness and joy about him and for his best.