Thursday, 25 February 2010

How To Make Friends In Madrid By Kate

It's easy - just wear a baby.
Spaniards are generally baby fans anyway, but combine that with a novel mode of infant transport (a wrap sling, in this case) and you've got a winning way with every passing stranger. It doesn't just work on Spaniards too - the Chinese shopkeepers were similarly captivated by the sight of Rosie nestling in the lilac sling as I enjoyed a stroll along Calle Jose del Hierro and a little light shopping.
Today the weather relented long enough for my vague plan to actually put some proper clothes on and get out of the flat for half an hour, to harden into resolve. So Rosie was duly wrapped up in her too-big clothes, topped off with a perfectly-fitting hat (thanks Anne - she bought us an outfit suitable for a premature baby - the only items of clothing that don't comically hang off little Rosie's minute frame at the moment), swaddled her in a fleece blanket and popped her in the sling.

We drew curious stares from passers by as soon as we hit the street. A young girl we encountered in the pharmacy was fascinated and almost dragged her mother up the street to get a better look at this curious little bundle tied to my chest.
The Chinese woman in the gift shop cried out in delight as soon as we walked in and admired the sleeping Rosie with gratifying enthusiasm. Next, she had pointed us out to another customer, a dad with his little boy - the latter utterly fascinated, as the little girl had been. They came over to chat and gaze at Rosie, who continued to snooze peacefully, unperturbed by all the commotion.
Next, Rosie and I were stopped at the pelican crossing by an elderly man's curiosity about the lilac-clad bundle sticking out of my duffle coat. Before I had even said a word he asked me where I came from - baby-wearing marking me out immediately as a foreigner. I told him England and he nodded approvingly.
"Good country", he said. I wondered what countries wouldn't have got his seal of approval.
The next place where Rosie became the centre of attention was the supermarket checkout. The two female customers ahead of me visibly melted when they caught sight of her snuggled against me, as did the checkout lady. While they cooed over her ("Que bonita!"), Rosie slept on, completely oblivious.
As a first solo outing with my daughter, it was pretty successful. So much so, I'm now planning a more ambitious project. To take her across town on the metro to visit a friend. In the purple sling, of course.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really glad to hear you're getting out. and longing to see you again and Rosie of course.