Two Miriams


You know how in the movies, they always show old people pinching little kids' cheeks, and the kids hate it? Yeah. Well, I had never seen that actually happen in real life and I figured it was just one of those things that Hollywood would have us think happened all the time, but it really doesn't (kind of like how in the movies, babies are born a) without getting blood everywhere and b) looking like they're already three weeks old). (Sorry, I couldn't think of a better example right now.)

Well, it turns out that I was wrong. The cheek-pinching does happen in real life, at least in Jordan. Poor Miriam got her cheeks pinched all the time by strangers and friends alike. She didn't seem to mind, or at least, she wasn't able to express her dislike in a recognizable manner.

However, she was able to express her dislike of the manner in which she was treated by our landlady's mother. This lovely lady is also named Miriam. She was always sitting by the ground-floor window of our landlady's apartment (we lived on the second floor). So she could see all of our comings and goings, and we tried to step in and say hello every once in a while.

Whenever baby Miriam came with us to pay our respects, elderly Miriam insisted on holding her. The problem was, she would kind of jostle and bounce her awkwardly, leading to a scene such as you see above. Cheek-pinching was also a favorite activity of hers.

The funny thing was that elderly Miriam never seemed to notice that baby Miriam did not enjoy being pinched, jostled, and bounced. In fact, if we didn't reach out to take our baby away, she probably would have continued pinching, jostling, and bouncing indefinitely.

So next time you see a kid in a movie getting his cheeks pinched by an adult, just remember that this time, Hollywood is telling you the truth!
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A fitting farewell

Back to life