Thursday, March 15, 2007

First Chinese Play Date

The play date was a success, although the woman I initially wanted to invite (the one in my complex) didn't come. I have a feeling that my well-meaning Gymboree friend forgot to invite her.

I had tea (for the parents), fruit (for the kiddos) and mini sponge cakes (FYI: not a hit - maybe I should have put out an odd number instead of an even number?) on offer. The parents brought presents for Chase. I said, "not a party" over and over when I invited them, but they must have thought more than one invite = party.

I found myself wondering about cultural etiquette - do I save them and open them later or do I open them in front of them? I remembered reading somewhere that if you open presents immediately, it indicates you are greedy, so I put them on the bookshelf and said loudly "I will save them for Chase's birthday," but I'm not completely sure they understood what I said.

They mostly spoke in Chinese to each other. They got a good laugh out of her bed, which I think was the strangest thing they had ever seen. (What? No crib?) One said, "Does your daughter sleep here (meaning her room) alone?" I said, "yes." They continued, "Do you like her?"

Truth is, I don't just like her - I love her with all my heart. In fact, my love for her is so overwhelming it scares me. But I realized that responding in any way other than nodding with a smile would put me smack dab into the middle of a cultural discussion - something I try to avoid - especially when it comes to how different people/different cultures parent their children.

Now that it is over, I will admit I was really nervous about today. I have found the Chinese are very kind, and very inquisitive people. I have also found they talk a lot (gossip is perhaps a better word) amongst themselves. So I'm pretty sure that all the parents and the staff at Gymboree will get a full report - goodness only knows what they will say!

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