April 28, 2012

If you’ve got one sandwich, cut that thing in half!

Recently, we’ve been having fun at home listening to the Curious George soundtrack (by Jack Johnson). It has the peppiest song about sharing…fittingly called “The Sharing Song.” I’ve shamelessly played it for my little ones hoping the lyrics would rub off and they’d magically begin to share their toys with one another.

Sharing is something in which Chinese kids are very well trained. When it is finally warm enough to go outside here in Chiberia, all the grandmas head outdoors to entertain the little one they care for every day. Each kid brings a toy to play with outside. Once outside, the child loses all individual rights to the toy. If Yoyo and Dudu are playing together and Dudu wants Yoyo’s truck, the grandma’s will insist on sharing. The transaction usually goes smoothly as there is very close supervision over the whole ordeal. It works great because the kids end up more entertained with their friend’s toy anyway.

Enter foreign child into the situation. Yoyo’s grandma thinks foreign child is a darling and will therefore cater to his every want. If Yoyo is out for a cruise in his brand new, kid-sized, battery-powered jeep, grandma will insist that Yoyo let foreign child drive while Yoyo looks on. Foreign child realizes his special power in this situation and uses it to suite his own interests. Foreign mother insists her child doesn’t need to drive the jeep, but grandma insists. Foreign child drives jeep for 30 minutes. True story.

Sometimes, adults use the sharing thing to their advantage. The other day, our teammate felt like playing basketball. She arrived at the courts with no ball of her own and simply asked a group who had an extra if she could borrow theirs. She proceeded to shoot around by herself for 30 minutes with their ball, no questions asked. I’m considering trying this when I feel like playing tennis (because I’m too cheap to buy my own tennis racket).

One time, we were sitting in our foldable camp chairs in the “backyard” with the kids (we refer to a small bricked area with a tree in the middle of it outside our building as our backyard. It makes us feel better since we don’t actually have our own backyard). A mom and grandpa came up, and I got out of my comfy camp chair to chat with the mom and compare babies. As I stood chatting, the grandpa made himself right at home in my chair right beside Jeremy. How cool is that? Have you ever had a stranger wander into your backyard and sit in your chair? If you have, I’ll bet you called “911.”

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