As we shared in our recent post, ¡Ay! ¡Que Frio!, walking around with a baby in Guatemala can elicit some interesting reactions. However, perhaps more interesting reactions have come from people before they realize Jack is a baby. To begin to explain, for ease and comfort we often carry Jack around in a psuedo-traditional Guatemalan sling (or the adjustable gringo-ized version of what Guatemalan women traditionally carry their babies in):
While both of us frequently carry Jack around in this sling, Jed certainly gets more strange looks from people. Apparently, it isn't that common for men to carry babies in Guatemala, less common for foreigners to do so, and even rarer for a man to use a sling.
It usually begins with the question: "What do you have in there?"
Then upon answering that it is a baby in the sling, the usual fawning begins:
"Aye, que preciosa (Oh, how precious)"
"Que lindo (How beautiful)"
"Que calma (What a calm baby)"
If the interaction allows for more time, then the next set of questions begins:
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"How old is the baby?"
And, of course, "The baby isn't cold?"
After satisfactorily answering those questions, including an assurance that Jack is perfectly warm, the interaction often ends with another round of "que lindo".
In other circumstances, such as in a store or at the market, where time allows for further baby interrogation, the next round of questions include his name, why he was born here, etc. Then comes the sharing:
"Well, I saw you with that cargador (sling) but I wasn't sure what was in there. I thought perhaps maybe it was some goods, or books, or maybe some fruit. But a baby, what a surprise!"
Or, on one occasion, from a woman wearing a nearly identical sling with her own child in it, "I saw you walking around town yesterday with the sling and I wondered if maybe it was a baby, but then I thought no, it is probably just some groceries. Now I know it is a baby."
Sometimes, when we're sitting in the park or walking down the street, Jack's leg or arm will stick out of the sling and the chorus of murmurs will begin: "there's a baby in there", "look, it's a baby", or just "a baby!"
So, if you have a child and you ever feel like they aren't getting enough attention, then a short trip to Guatemala could be just the remedy (don't worry, you can buy the sling here for 1/10 of the price you'd pay in the US for a similar item).