Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Dorothy Moment

Boarding the plane with Sal in one arm and our passports in the other, I thought to myself, here we go. Sal just sat there in my arms, gnawing on his little fists as he always does--blissfully unaware that he was about to take flight and call some foreign land "home". As I looked at his little grin through my teary eyes, I  announced to him, " Honey, we're going to your new home." and asked, " Are you ready to move to China, baby?"

He smiled again, and it just melted my heart.
It wasn't more than twenty minutes after takeoff that I had myself my very own "We're not in Kansas California Anymore" moment.

As Nick and I were applauding ourselves for having the best baby ever ( no crying???Really, Sal?! Are you okay, dude?), I looked to my right, across the plane to see a mother struggling to get her toddler under control. When I say "under control", I mean, trying to get a little girl who is STANDING on the armrests of her seat, bouncing back and forth on the seat back in front of her ( which, mind you, someone was politely sitting in and trying to ignore the constant earthquake this kid was producing) and screaming bloody murder at the thought of calming down--I mean, isn't standing on armrests like totally appropriate airplane etiquette?

I started to sympathize with this mother, as I saw a man next to her, presumably the little girls father, just cozy up against the window with a newspaper and pillow..
...that was, of course, until I witnessed the mother rip her kid off the seat by the arm, and wallop her across the chest, then turn and spank her.

Spank her hard.
In broad daylight.
In front of judgey judgey strangers like myself.
yet, no one even batted an eyelash, except for myself.

And, this is when I realized that we're not in Kansas anymore,
 or California,
or the US for that matter.
All the politically correct, American child rearing norms went out the door with the closing of the airplane cabin doors. It's going to take some getting used to--seeing children get disciplined in a way that would cause most of us Americans to report to CPS.

This afternoon we had the pleasure of meeting up with a business aquaintance of NZ's and his wife, both Chinese Nationals. During our visit, I fed Salvatore, and noted that it was naptime. I excused myself to go put him down, and when I walked out a minute later, leaving Sal in his room to cry it out, I heard his wife rattle off in Mandarin to him. I KNEW it must be something to do with Sal's crying and a cultural difference.

 I was right.
He explained to me that in China, it is customary for mothers to rock their babies to sleep, no matter how old they are. We went back and forth a few minutes using him as an interpeter, and once she heard of our reasoning, she said she thought that they way we do it might be easier on Chinese mothers if they'd try it. Phew! Dodged a bullet on that one. I was worried that only 24 hours into our arrival and I had already done something to be labeled a spoiled American.

I have a feeling that these are just the first of many Dorothy moments over here.
Sal, we're not in California anymore.


  1. Oy, my heart hurts just thinking of seeing that child being spanked that way!

    I will say that I've flown with Cooper at 8 months and he was a dream...I've flown with him at 2 and it's a nightmare. We won't be flying for many more years to come!

    I hope you guys settle in nicely but it sounds like it's going to take some getting used to!

  2. I think you have a little adventurer on your hands and he will be introduced to many ways of travel at such a young age. So happy to hear he was a "model baby" on the trip there!