• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

Three Chinese Dads, Seen From Afar

October 26th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  1 Comment

1. He’s young and alone on the flight from New York to Hong Kong. Or not exactly alone—he’s got an infant with him, a girl it looks like. Pushing her in a stroller on the jetway. God, he looks so young! In his mid-twenties at most, and from the way he’s dressed not an ABC. Maybe out of his depth, even without the baby. Where’s the mother? Why is he flying with such a small child? I can tell I’m not the only one asking this question, and not the only one too shy to ask it aloud. Later, I see him in the back of the plane, holding the baby, feeding it with a bottle.

2. The crowded Chongqing light rail stops, and even more people get on—including a dad in his late 30s, thin hair swept across his balding scalp in classic style-less Asian style. In tow are two kids, a girl of maybe 4 and an infant in his arms. My seatmates and I all get up to give them our spots, and he’s all smiles as he sits down. This doesn’t seem to be a big deal for him, even if it’s a surprising image to me. I just haven’t seen that many dads here schlepping their kids around on public transport. In cars, sure, and I saw one guy holding his 8-year-old daughter’s hand as they walked down a sidewalk, but it didn’t seem like quite the same thing. Could this dad be a househusband? I don’t know. He whispers in his daughter’s ear, and she looks shy. He does it again, and she turns to me and says, in English and in a very quiet voice, “Thank you.”

3. I’m walking through a park somewhere in Chongqing when I spot a tent. A nice one, big enough for maybe three people. It looks out of place here, a bit of high-tech outdoors gear in a grey-green manicured hillside. But when I glance through the screen, I see a guy holding an infant of maybe 6 months, feeding the baby with a bottle, then putting her down to sleep amid blankets. What could be going on here? Is he one of the region’s countless millions of migrants, forced by circumstance to set up a home here in the relative wild? Or just a well-equipped day-tripper hiding from the damp? I want to interrupt, but the baby’s asleep, so I walk away. When I return 20 minutes later, I see him standing outside, chatting with a friend. Both are well-dressed, definitely not impoverished laborers from Gansu province. But where is the mom? And why, in all of these cases, do I feel the need to ask this question?


  1. theodore says:

    October 26th, 2010at 2:08 pm(#)

    well done, sir. –Theodore.

Leave a Response


Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!



The Right Way to Swear in Front of Your Kids


Context, context, context.

Sep 19th 2:33pm • No Comments

I don't care. EAT IT ANYWAY, KID!

‘Five Second Rule’ for Food on Floor Is Untrue, Study Finds


Researchers concluded that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it.

Sep 19th 11:38am • No Comments


Why Danish Parents Like to Talk About Death


It's because it makes for happier kids, says new book.

Aug 11th 8:19am • No Comments

Not sure whether to be proud or pissed we didn't make this list.

The Awl

The definitive ranking of dads.

Aug 3rd 5:39pm • No Comments