I had an interesting conversation the other night with two of my fellow teachers, one of whom is married and has a child. The three of us, child in tow, were walking around a night market and found ourselves inevitably chasing the little girl in between passersby and in and out of stores. She was adorable and having a grand time, but once she started pulling shoes off a wall display in the Nike store we had to curb her enthusiasm.
We got to talking about different countries’ attitudes towards children. In Asia, they are extremely lax. My co-worker the mom said she’d seen one child peeing in a store and the customers gathered round to watch and laugh. In Europe, not so much. Apparently most Europeans get married in their 30’s and are so accustomed to their lifestyle that they don’t feel like throwing a kid into the mix – hence those reports of their declining populations. In America, we all know you’d never see a child peeing anywhere – except maybe on the side of a road in the interval between one highway bathroom and the next. I have to admit, despite the fact that it’s obviously unsanitary, I’m more inclined to think a baby with bladder control issues is pretty darn cute. Not to mention that the pants toddlers wear here are sort of like crotchless, assless chaps – worn sans diaper – so I don’t think anyone is expecting their baby to exercise the utmost discretion in the bladder department. And at least they don’t take this attitude towards the incontinent elderly (especially since I’m not sure they have Depends here…)