when i walked through shanghai in fall 2007, i saw many colorful sturdily dressed children. somehow they looked like firmly inflated balloons. I used to wonder who inflated them every morning before they went out and for what reason (!). But during the following two years i became used to this strange habit and so i gave up wondering.
now, nearly three years later i am quite sure that i finally found the answer!
but let me start from the beginning ...
firstly more and more unsolved questions appeared:
is it true, that chinese bicyclists do not carry an air pump because it will be stolen anyway?
- yes.
same as in any other country ...  (and that's the reason why they invented the service of having an old guy with an air pump standing at every street corner - so convenient!)
is it true, that a sharp bellied pregnant will give birth to a boy?
- maybe ...
is it true, that a  pregnant who likes to eat spicy will have a girl and those who like to eat sour will have a boy?
- sounds  .... interesting ...
is it true, that eating ice cream during pregnancy will later cause permanently shivering of your babies lips?
- what?!
is it true, that mixed children are smarter than the average?
that's for sure ... ;)
once i asked a shanghainese mother, why she does believe  in that. her answer was somehow convincing: "if one parent comes from far away, the blood mix is more 'fresh' ".
- sounds reasonable
then she informed me, that she, for her daughter, could not accept a (chinese) husband from another place than shanghai  ...
- oh.
is it true that if  a pregnant woman eats too many river snails her baby will later produce a lot more spit than other babies and will drivel around all the time?
that's too much.
SUPERSTITION!!! i screamed out immediately,  while giving a good shaking to the river snail  sales woman. i bought two pound rivers nails,  passed by the supermarket to buy a huge pack of ice cream and went home to prepare our river snail ice cream feast.
while soaking out the meat of one river snail (meanwhile my beloved finished 50 of them!)
I said to myself like a mantra: i like china - i am open for cultural differences - i like china - i am open for cultural differences - i ...
we spent the following 8 month happily with eating chillies, ice cream, river snails and drinking vinegar. every time we went out we were entertained by people who could tell absolutely sure from the shape of her tummy that it will be a boy.
i went to markets where nobody knew me and bought the "forbidden food".
i  hid my shopping bags while climbing up the stairs, so that the nice old lady from the second floor could not involve me in another never ending discussion about the right nutrition plan for pregnant.  
the day of delivery came but at that time i did not think about the outcome.
i will skip the "1000-advices-per-minute-how-to-hold-dress-and-feed-a-newborn-baby-part" for now. (i like china - i am open for cultural differences - i like china - i am open for cultural differences - i ...)
instead let's  jump to the part "which part of our body deserves most  to be kept warm"
to make it short:
first of all it's the feet (that's international, but in china never ever without socks, even in summer at 40 degrees ...)
additionally in china: the belly. very important!
"subtractionally" in china: the  bottom.
having a closer look at the already mentioned inflated babies walking around in the streets, we can see that their butt is NAKED ....
asking somebody about this habit you hear: "the bottom?! that's not so important"
- but that's not logical!!
"but our logic is emotional and chinese culture full of contrasts"
- mhh ...
according to chinese medicine all the illnesses enter the body through the feet ...
- mhhh, yes - and acupuncture also helps - even it is not logical ....
- mhhhh
babies all over the world should not feel cold. yes.  but what makes the difference?
i will give an example of what i have been witnessing  since the birth of our child.
imagine there is a baby. on a sofa. in a well heated living room (25 degrees). the baby is wearing three layers of clothes. and has a quilt on its knees.
what do ALL chinese persons who enter the room say?
and don't even think about arguing. every chinese  will say "yes" and smile, when you say: "german children survive wearing less. look at me, i survived".
and when i dress my child according to the environmental temperature and put it on the sofa, turn around for a second, it is suddenly covered with an extra quilt by a ghost's hand. and everybody in the room smiles. - and i hear the ghost whispering: " by the way, why do YOU catch a cold so many times a year?"
then it's time to put on my "XXL naked butt blown up suit" and  smile.
by the way, this is my son(!):
but back to my initial question:
yesterday morning i could witness that the bicycle men on the street corner are not only responsible for inflating bicycle tires ....
by Hanna
comments on this entry:
sehr witzig, wer hat den lustigen Comic gemalt?
english translation (by bandeng)
very amusing, who did the funny cartoon?