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Mutual Ignorance

Here in China, I feel like Superwoman. Everyone feels tired and overwhelmed with one child. Meantime, I’m out and about with two small children — one in my hand, one on my hips. There must be whispers of I-don’t-know-how-she-does-it.

When people see me with two kids, they ask if both are mine. I say yes, we’re from Canada. Then they want to know what the fertility restriction is in Canada. None, I say, you can have as many kids as you want. At first, I was floored by the ignorance. China is the only country in the world with a one-child policy and yet many Chinese don’t realize it.

Then I remembered that many of us in the West don’t know about elimination communication, even though it is practiced by the world’s most populous country. Of course, they don’t know about how we deal with our babies’ elimination needs either. Mutual ignorance.

It was an eye-opener to hear questions “in reverse” when I talked about diapering practices in the West. “Isn’t it a lot of work if you keep having to change diapers? How does a child get toilet-trained? How can baby’s bum breathe if it’s wrapped up all the time? Don’t people care about baby’s bum?”

Well, I am not even going to start talking about the West’s belief that early toilet training can cause psychological damage. That idea will simply be too strange.

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