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Monday, September 20, 2010


Pin It I'm watching Babies, which came out some time ago and I've only now bothered to view. It follows the infancy of several babies, each from a different culture. Showcased is Africa, rural Mongolia, urban Japan, and the United States.

It's fascinating.

While the differences in cultures are remarkably, sometimes painfully portrayed, the babies themselves are almost interchangeable.

The babies in Mongolia are driven around, with their toddler siblings, on motorcycles. They mouth wafers, and tug on the tail of the cat that lives with them. They gaze in wonder upon the rooster that visits them in their bed, strutting along the edge of the mattress curiously. As they grow older, they are actually leashed to the bed post, with just enough room to play with a roll of toilet paper upon the floor.

The babies in Africa roll, gleeful and naked, around in dirt, lowering their faces to mouth up whatever might be laying around. They wear no diapers, stick their hands in the mouths of the canines that live with them, and battle each other for a worn out plastic water bottle. Their bottoms are wiped dry with a corn cob, which is then tossed back into the dirt. There are no fathers present.

The babies in America and Japan are cocooned in webs of protection--car seats, a neatly vacuumed floor, sterilized bottles. They are carefully weighed and measured each month. They have bedrooms and cribs, brightly decorated with stimulating articles. They are read to, and played with, by both mother and father. They belong to Mommy and Me groups, where they look with disdain upon the woman singing strange things and making weird faces.

All, though, are curious explorers of the worlds around them. They converse with expression and attempts at language with their caregivers. They do the same "I'm sleepy" eye rub, and throw the same tantrums over an uncooperative toy. They stand to walk on the same tottering legs, and clap hands proudly when they succeed. They cry, gurgle, giggle, and coo just like their counterparts around the world.

They're really kind of an amazing look at the wonder and marvel it is to be human.


Just SO said...

Yet another movie I need to remember to put on my Netflix list.

mistyc0x said...

awww, dang. that was just too good. i have to go watch that now. ;)

we are all so alike it is mind boggling.


RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

This cross-cultural perspective is very interesting.

Anaise said...

Will you need diapers and wipes or are you switching to corn husks and fresh air?


Rachel said...

I haven't seen this yet. I want to! Just haven't yet.

It always amazes me the universal language of children and the ease with which they acclimate.

Lori said...

Sorry, guys--I kind of forgot I had written a post!

Thanks for all of your comments--it was a fascinating look, for sure.

And Anaise...definitely diapers and wipes. I just don't think I'm a corn husk kind of woman. ;)

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