Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

It takes a village...of young Arab men

Parenting is such a communal task here. I've received all sorts of unsolicited advice from Arab moms on how to take care of baby Sterling, from covering him up from head to toe even when it's 40C outside, to eating lots of cakes and cookies to increase my milk supply (I kind of like that last one).

But I've also received parenting advice from the unlikeliest of creatures: young, unmarried Arab men.

First, the dairy aisle stockboy at the grocery store saw me putting low-fat yogurt and milk into my cart. He informed me, very kindly and earnestly, that I should be eating full-fat products because of the baby. He even pointed out to me where these full-fat products were located.

Then yesterday, I was walking with Sterling in the stroller to the little store on campus to get some orange juice. I was halfway there when a male student in a really nice car - so nice that I couldn't even tell you what kind it was - slowed down rapidly, turned around, drove back toward me, got out of the car, and told me not to go to the store because they had just sprayed for bugs (?) nearby and there were still fumes in the air there that would be harmful for me and the baby.

What could I do but say thanks and go back home? It was the most gallant thing to happen to me in a long time. So I turned around and went back home, as a symbol of my appreciation for his concern.

Maybe I should start asking these guys for their advice on how to soothe a colicky baby...

November 22nd, outsourced

A newly minted middle child