No shortage of parenting advice in Vietnam

People in Vietnam are very interested in Noah and Zoe. They love playing with Noah (I even caught the guard at the Embassy, who is supposed to be very serious, waving at Noah and making faces). When people look at Zoe they ask, “Vietnam baby?” and want to touch her.

There is certainly no shortage of parenting advice here though. When we went for Zoe’s medical exam, there was another adoptive mother next to us. Her toddler daughter had fallen asleep and was slumped forward. She had just told me that her daughter’s position didn’t look comfortable, but that she didn’t dare move her because she was so tired and needed to sleep. The nurse, an older Vietnamese woman, came over and pushed the little girl back up. She said, “Better.” The little girl didn’t think so because she woke up and starting wailing.

It was my turn next. I was feeding Zoe a bottle. The woman came to me and changed the angle of the bottle and said, “Better.”

It’s not just nurses who give advice. Anyone and everyone here will tell you what you are doing wrong, though it does tend mostly to be the older ladies. When she’s in the carrier, people tell me that Zoe’s nose is smushed. If one little arm is sticking out of the blanket, they tell me she’s cold. I was feeding her a bottle at the bonsai exhibit when a little old lady took my arm and led me to a spot behind a sign because it was less windy. At the same time, another woman was telling Christian that Noah’s shoes were hurting him. Yesterday Noah was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, but the hood wasn’t up. People kept coming up to us and pulling it up on his head.

We had been warned that people will tell you the babies should be bundled up when they are outside because they think they are cold, but a Vietnamese woman told one of the families we are traveling with that their baby was too warm. I guess you just can’t win! We just smile politely and say thank you, then move on.


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