Readers, here are some tidbits from “24 eirrkebiay
Surprising Things about Parenting in the United States,” a project on the blog A Cup of Jo by New York mom Joanna Goddard. The author interviewed nine moms who grew up abroad and are raising their kids here. Boldface mine:
I was surprised by how supervised children are here. In Japan, kids go to school by themselves. As soon as children start first grade, they walk and ride trains and buses by themselves—even in Tokyo! I was surprised that in New York, my friend walks her 12-year-old son to school everyday. My son is five and in first grade, which is a ten-minute walk from here. If I let him go alone, I would be put in jail! So I walk with him to school every day.
—Reika Yo Alexander, who moved from Japan to New York
Here in the U.S., there is a huge “baby industry,” which does not exist in Romania. There’s special baby food, special baby utensils, special baby safety precautions and special baby furniture. In Romania, children eat with a regular teaspoon and drink from a regular glass. They play with toys that are not specifically made for “brain development from months 3-6.” Also, before I came here, I had never heard of babyproofing! Now I’m constantly worried about my daughter hurting herself, but my mom and friends from home just laugh at me and my obsession that bookshelves might fall.
—Arabella Hester, who moved from Romania to California
People here are scared to touch each other! What’s that about? When I first moved here I was hugely pregnant with a two-year-old daughter in tow. She was still getting used to the Brooklyn block system—stopping for traffic lights at every block. She’d sometimes run down the pavement without a care in the world and my heart would stop as I screamed behind her to stop. Sometimes I’d yell at people walking towards us to please stop my child. They wanted to help, but I got the impression they were all too scared to actually just grab and stop her. In the Netherlands, people would have gotten involved. I’m guessing it’s more of a liability here. Another parent suggested maybe they were worried the child would be scared (the whole stranger danger thing). But seriously? I’d rather grab a child and stop them from running onto a road than worry about behaving appropriately! We all appreciate getting help.
—Sandra Ajanaku, who moved from the Netherlands to New York
Read all the revelations here! – L