Did you know my child is a celebrity in Asia? I didn’t either…but she is.
There seems to be this wonderful fascination people have with Lucy when we travel around Asia. We first noticed it in Macau on Christmas Eve. We were in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt Macau and strangers approached Lucy (sitting quietly in her stroller) and began taking photos and selfies with her. I was a little apprehensive at first of their intent and a little wary, especially since no one seemed the slightest bit inclined to ask my permission first. The photos didn’t stop there. We encountered a few more situations in Hong Kong, but when we landed in Thailand, the iPhone paparazzi was in full effect.
We sort of laughed off the first few times, shrugged and played along. Then we found that this could get seriously annoying at times. When we were in Thailand we took a boat tour that only allowed 30 minutes on each island. Hopping from stop to stop, our time was consumed by the line of people who are trying to take photos while holding our baby. It is the sweetest compliment and yet something very foreign to us. Before we were parents, we were just two westerners traveling the world with whom no one wanted their photo taken.
On our recent trip to Beijing, with a now walking, talking, big personality baby, the picture obsession returned. Men and women of all ages scooped Lucy up, handed us their camera and asked for a photo! I use the word “ask” very loosely as not everyone would request our permission first.
Lucy was a trooper.
As she is now older than when we were in Thailand she is more aware of her surroundings and of where her parents are at all times. She also has some wariness when it comes to men, and though she would turn to stone, she never freaked-out or cried. A strange man would pick her up (always within my reach) and smile for a photo with her. She’s a natural and far more calm than her parents.
I can’t quite figure out what the fascination is with taking pictures of my beautiful baby or how I should feel about it. Fear of germs also crosses my mind. I often wonder where the pictures end up and who sees them. Should I worry and not allow the photos to happen? My suspicion is that it’s probably okay but I have my concerns. I don’t want to seem cold or rude as a foreigner in their country. I have allowed it to happen in these instances already, but I wonder if going forward I should continue to be so relaxed about it.
Am I just being a paranoid parent or should I have legitimate concerns about strangers taking photos of my baby?