Right before the national holiday my pediatric colleague and I held a developmental pediatrics workshop at the hospital with the residents which included some hands on interaction with 7 healthy children ages 13 months to 6 years. But more on that later.
It started with the 7 month pregnant woman (that would also be me, one of the two teachers of this workshop) getting 5 of the kids (after borrowing two more from a friend) and herself into the backseat of a (very small) taxi to get to the hospital–and all the stares from other drivers yelling to our driver each time we stopped at a red light.
I made sure the kids all knew that good behavior and showing the doctors how good they were at learning stuff would result in many yummy treats. It’s all about incentives. I don’t call it bribery.
The conversation among the kids was also interesting.
Our friends’ kids have the telephone number which is stamped on the headrest of every single taxi in the city memorized. Yes, forwards and backwards. Probably in Chinese too.
There was a long discussion about the lack of seatbelts in Chinese taxis, which was prompted by the tinny electronic recording that is played each time a new fare gets into a taxi, which says in Chinese and then in English: “Welcome to our city. Please fasten your seatbelts.” The irony: in 98.9% of all taxis that we have been in, the seatbelts have literally been removed from the car.
Meng Yuan (our younger daughter) told the other kids with great fanfare: “But when we were in Beijing, there was one taxi that had seatbelts that we had to use.”
Woe to Ma and Pa when we go back to the US and need to reinstigate car seats, booster seats and the like.