Ender has become a celebrity. Little did I realize that taking him to India would mean instant stardom. I am not sure if it is the fact that he is a boy, the fact that he has those pinchable cheeks, the fact that he is obviously not Indian, or a combination of all three, but he gets attention wherever he goes. It all began in the airport on the night we arrived. One of the the porters working by the luggage return came over and grinned and patted him on the head. He returned twice while we were waiting for the luggage to repeat this process.
I next noticed it while we were shopping the day after we arrived. While we all get stares when we go out because of our foreignness, Ender gets stares, grins, pats on the head, and pinched cheeks. This happened several times while we were out that day, and I even saw a lady snap his picture at one point as we walked by.
The best one was when we went to a little cafe for dessert. A woman was cleaning the floors, and she couldn’t keep her hands off of him. She just kept coming back to look at him, touch his cheek and pat his head. He finished his ice cream before the rest of us and of course got up to wander around (the cafe was empty so it was ok). She hovered around him, and then suddenly picked him up and sat him on a table so she could get face to face to look at him! There he sat just grinning at her while she looked him over and then continued her mopping below his dangling feet.
The novelty isn’t just for adults. Today we went to a game place where Ender found a bunch of building blocks to play with. Unfortunately for him, he became one of the games for a 1 year old girl. She couldn’t stop touching his hair and face. She was pretty much chasing him around trying to touch him. He finally resorted to hiding with his blocks in a corner.
Ender, suprisingly, takes it all in stride. He smiles and charms them instead of being rude and turning away like I would have expected he would do. It did help that we spoke to him about this, as we had been forwarned that this might happen. We told him that things are different here, and that people are interested in him because he is something new and different to them, and he should be polite and friendly. For once, it appears he listened to us.
Of course, the American mom in me has a hard time with this. The first instinct back home would be to snatch him away and demand to know why they are touching my kid. However, I understand the cultural differences and do my best to relax and go with the flow.
Yes, my boy eats up the attention. He loves for people to look at him, as we all know, and is not shy in the least. Now our big problem will be keeping his already overinflated ego from growing out of control.