Start at the beginning with Mexicans and children
Clearly the child’s best is not of interest and it doesn’t stop with food. Most Mexicans seems to have a very narcissistic way with babies.
It’s not enough to see the new addition to the family, with high noise and shouts the baby must look at visitors and family members as well. Banging on the table or jingle a fork against a glass, “look at me, look at me”.
And when buying toys I don’t think there is any thoughts at all. Instead of look at a toy and think if it’s suitable for a 6 or 8 months old they buy something they think is cute or fun. If it’s marked suitable from 3 years old it’s not a problem because, “The baby is so intelligent”.
The child may very well turn out to be a genius, but are you really willing to bet her or his life on it? Age limit on toys is there for a reason, small things with risk of falling off it is not suitable for one-year-old’s, putting things in the mouth are part of their developing and learning curve to become that genius.
We are all family.
Leaving the baby years there are more to come. As a child in Mexico you are supposed to accept everyone in your family, even thought you never met them before. In Mexico all your relatives are family, they are all aunts, uncles and cousins. Your third-cousin is called your cousin or could even be your aunt or uncle if he or she is much older than you.
Walking in to a relatives house in Mexico a child can expect to be picked up, hugged and kissed by anyone, “”We are all family”.
A child is supposed to accept everything and everybody,
“Go over and kiss your uncle Miguel”
“I don’t want to” (Clinging to mom’s leg)
“Go now” (pushing the child) “It’s your uncle” (Although he really is a fourth-cousin’s grandma’s newly married husband).
In a region of the world with – in peacetime – most femicides, rapes, kidnappings and disappearings children are taught to trust and believe in people they never met before while the rest of the western world says, “Don’t accept candies from strangers”.
They are not only pushed towards strangers, they are pushed through the childhood years. They should always be better, stronger, more mature, develop faster.
Appearance is very important and it looks good for parents to have a fast developing child, from the discussions I have overheard it seems more important than a happy and healthy child.
Happiness is another thing, children are taught to smile all the time, if they are not smiling and laughing something is wrong. But this is true for all Mexicans, children as adults, Mexicans are said to be a very happy people but it’s just a surface. They have the same trouble and sufferings as all of us, most likely even more than the tourists coming and loving their happiness.
There’s an interesting book I have yet to find in English, El pueblo que no quiera crecer, which translates to ‘The people who do not want to grow up’ By Ikram Antaki. She writes about how Mexicans never change or are prepared to take responsibility.
Ikram got one thing wrong though, it’s not that they don’t want to grow up the problem is they are not allowed to fully grow up. The way children are raised and forced into the adult world and pushed all the time there is no time to process and grow emotional or with self esteem – If there’s no time and possibility to develop new thoughts and ideas how will there ever be a change?
Beside family and upbringing. What is it with strangers touching babies, treat them like pets or even things?
I will sound partial, and I am, but my daughter is with Swedish standard a very cute girl. In Mexico exotic with her light skin and blue eyes so of course she raised some attention. But what makes strangers on the street go up and touch her and kiss her on the cheek? A couple of times people even lifted her and gave her a hug on restaurants. It’s a child, a human-being, no one would get the idea to just go up and kiss me so what makes this behavior acceptable with a child? At the very least ask me first and move slowly to see possible reactions from the child.
I have never been more proud!
As a final proof she is my daughter and she was tired of being treated as a toy; At the airport leaving Merida a woman approach us talking about how cute Maya is. She lean down to kiss Maya on the cheek but Maya reached out her arm to shake the strangers hand – I have never been more proud!