Whereever we went in SE Asia, people wanted pics with our kids. Sometimes with permission but more often without. Our kids are pretty laid back but they were really tired of it about 3 weeks into our stay in Chiang Mai. It would be almost 2 more months before we left SE Asia. They especially singled out Thys (the super adorable 4 year old blondy with giant blue eye) for obvious reasons. However, of all the kids, he happened to be the most resistant to the attention. We started out asking him to "just let them take the picture" or "just smile and keep walking" but he quickly turned very shy (not normal for him) and wouldn't even respond with greetings in situations where his newfound shyness could easily be seen as disrespect in that culture. So, we talked to Thys and got a sense of his range of comfortability when these situations occurred and then altered our behavior to better guard his feelings of uncomfortability and personal loss of space (they were also constantly reaching out even in a crowd just to touch him as he walked by). If walking near a railing or wall, we would position Thys on the railing/wall side of us rather than the opposite side where the opposing foot traffic was passing by. We often moved him behind us when we noticed people pulling out their phones to take pictures. When in a situation where we really couldn't get away, Thys had agreed to let them take a picture of him IF he was sitting on Mom's lap. For example, when we were sitting at a street side table having a snack and a bunch of passing school girls stopped to take pictures of Thys, Paul and I would scoop him up and deposit him quickly on my lap and then he would happily continue munching his snack and not get upset about the 'Thysarazzi' flashing around him. Throughout all of this we still required him to greet people politely and respectfully when it was appropriate despite his seeming shyness.
Now that we are in South Africa his shyness is beginning to fade but if someone singles him out with a "how old are you?" some other benign questions he still hides his face. We have a ways to go to reverse this behavior but that is part of the story.
This was at the hospital when we were tryign to get my ear unplugged. One of the nurse had gone down to the hospital daycare and gotten her daughter and then asked if they could have a picture with the kids. When all the kids were in the photo, Thys didn't mind as much.
Some wanted 'selfies'with Alia-which she loved! This is when the kids started noticing that many Asians do a peace sign with their fingers when they take a picture. They would be playing together and pretend to take pictures of each other and do the peace sign with their fingers for the pretend photos. :)
At one point we decided to turn the tables and take pictures of the locals. This little local was pretty ambivalent about being photographed. Her grandma, however, was very happy to let us hold her and take photos. What a little peach!
You may notice in the backgroud that we were sitting on a street corner (about a block behind out apartment building) where we liked to go and buy Thai tea. We could get a snuggle of the baby while we waited for our tea--a very good deal! You may also notice that even though we are outdoors, the use of fans are still necessary.
Oh, the peace sign! These are some friends we made at our apartment building pool. We met there often to swim together. The oldest, Ta, would wait to hear us "yelling" down in the pool and then come down (we lived on 12th floor, he was on 5th) and join us. His mom and little sister, Mimi, would sometimes some too. We had a LOT of fun with Ta at the pool. Even Zander would stand on the side of the pool and call for his attention, "Ta! Ta!".
Alia loved having 5 year old Mimi for a pseudo-sister to play with on these occasions!
SIDE NOTE: As I have been writing this Paul was on a business call out on our front porch. He called us all outside after his call ended to say that he had been watching whales in the bay for the whole hour of his call. We all got to see whale waterspouts and tail slaps for about 10 minutes before they moved farther out to sea. SO COOL!!!!