Tuesday, May 14, 2013

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Taiwan Mother's Day fiasco

5/14/2013 Taiwan Explorer
Let me share you a little anecdote that happened few days ago: My wife and I went back to Taipei after celebrating Mother's day with the in-laws. We took the bus, and like always, we put the baby in the carrier with me being the one carrying her. Unfortunately the bus was extremely full that day. We found seats, but they were separated, and due to the expected traffic jam the ride was longer than usual (can you sense an upcoming disaster?). Somewhere in the middle of the ride our daughter started to stretch her legs, she was kicking like a frog, trying to escape the carrier, showing signs of agony. Perhaps she felt too hot, or the carrier was wrapped around her too tightly, I don't know. But it's not the first time she tried to get out of what she sometimes perceives as a straitjacket. I started stroking her head, talking to her, trying to calm her down, but nothing worked. The teenage boy sitting next to me was observing the happening with great concern, he clearly felt uncomfortable.

And then it happened: A volcano erupted! My baby started to cry so hard, it felt like I was peeling her skin alive! An extremely loud "Waaaah, waaaah, waaaaaaah..." sound echoed throughout the bus, that was silent like a church in Transylvania only a few seconds ago. Heads were turning, people were looking our way with sheer fear in their eyes and confusion, it was like a scene from a movie.

I was very embarrassed and frustrated, because I don't like to bother other people, but I had no remedy to shut her up fast. She was crying for about a minute, but it felt like hours to me. To be honest: After hearing this cry for nearly 90 days in a row I am completely numb to it, because I know that few minutes later she'll smile and behave like it never happened. It's like a coke that was shaken too much, and when you open it, it'll gush out like water from a knocked down fire hydrant. For me it was like people are getting shocked over that. For them it was like someone is torturing a small baby on the bus. I'm pretty sure I would've thought the same a few months ago when I had zero experiences with babies. I used to be the type of person who would whisper to my wife stuff like: "What's going on? Is the baby hurt? What's up with the parents?" Only those who had babies would react with modesty and calm, because that high-pitched cry must sound oh so familiar to most of them.

There are times when she loves to doze off in the carrier.

So what happened further? As she was crying harder and harder I took her out of the carrier and hugged her, but she still wouldn't calm down. Then the bus slowly came to a halt, and a person few seats in front of us was leaving, so my wife and I grabbed the chance and finally sat together. We decided to place her on my wife's lap, and took out the milk bottle (hoping that this will make her stop crying). As we were doing that, the obasan next to us was staring at her like a blind bat. I turned my back on her to block her field of vision, but she still kept staring which made me very uncomfortable. My wife calmed me down by saying: "That's how obasans are, just ignore her". Around 10 minutes later we reached our final destination, and the crybaby fiasco was finally over. Our daughter behaved as if nothing happened, while I started to scheme plans to avoid such incidents in the future. You can't always stay home with a newborn, and you'll never know what will happen when you are out there in public - it's like a ticking time bomb and it's very scary, because it's completely beyond your control. I feel like karma is coming around and slapping me in the face for all those times in the past when I was rolling my eyes during such incidents.