In China our daughter got more than her fair share of attention I guess because she looked different. The Chinese love babies and children anyway, but they are really fascinated by the fair and curly hair of foreign babies. We could’t walk too far without people stopping in the street, trying to pick her up, cuddle her, say ‘Nǐ hǎo’, generally just stare, smile or stroke her soft hair.
We were shown such kindness from strangers from the moment our daughter entered the world. There was the lovely Mr Lee who I could see polishing his car for the important journey home with our precious new baby. There was the anonymous baskets of fresh fruit that were left at our doorstep as a welcome home gift. There were eager people on the street always wanting to get a glimpse of the new baby or share some well-intended motherly advise.
Although the latter was sometimes tough to live with, (especially for a fiercely protective first time mummy) my daughter now has a beautiful rosy coloured view of people in the world. She thinks it is very normal to pay the average person in the street extra special attention. It’s the thing I really miss about China but it’s something special I think my daughter carries with her in life – and I will always be eternally grateful to Beijing for that.