Help the waitress stole my baby!

Help the waitress stole my baby!

…Travelling in Vietnam with Kids…

travelling in vietnam with kids
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My heart started pounding in my chest.  Where is she?  She was here a second ago.  The waitress was playing peek-a-boo with her and now I can’t see her! I stand up quickly, spilling my glass of water, and scan the room.   My husband is attempting to convince our three and a half year old that spring rolls are edible.  The people at the table next to us are deep in conversation.  Why aren’t they looking worried!

I open my mouth to shout, ‘Help, the waitress stole my baby!’, and then my eyes fall to the piano in the corner, less than ten metres away.  I spot my 11 month old baby girl, sitting on the waitresses lap, bashing the piano with her chubby fists in the way that young children do.  She looks over at me, smiles, and continues her assault on the piano.  Nobody seems to mind the awful noise she is making.

I on the other hand, have slumped back down into my seat in relief.  I feel stupid for over-reacting so badly and thinking the worst.  Although this is the first time, it certainly isn’t the last time a Vietnamese waitress steals my baby.

Although a little confronting the first time, it is not uncommon for Vietnamese people (especially waitresses) to reach their arms out to young children.  In fact, it seems the normal here to go out of your way to make baby talk with a stranger’s child, or attempt to interact with them.  If your child is happy enough, they will indeed pick her up and walk around the restaurant with her, introducing her to all the other staff and guests.

Not only are children welcome here, they are treated like VIP’s everywhere you go.  Especially foreign children!  If you were to stroll past a group of Vietnamese women, it is unlikely you will make it past without at least one squeeze of baby’s chubby thighs, or some very serious baby talk and fits of giggles when baby smiles back at them.

Kids are a fantastic icebreaker when travelling.  It is so easy to strike up a conversation here; in fact, a friendly local usually just comes over and starts up the conversation for you. They are genuinely interested in how old and what gender your kids are, and funnily enough, what they like to eat.

Vietnamese people will even ask to take photos with your children.  I found this a little weird at first, as back home, taking photos of other people’s children is a bit of a red flag.  You can say no of course, however I quickly realised it is all very innocent and you will usually be shown photos of grandchildren, children, nieces and nephews in return.

This warm welcome, combined with great food, cheap public transport and luxury accommodation at affordable prices, ensures that Vietnam is a strong contender for one of the best places to take holidays with your kids.

My advice, give in to the welcoming nature of the Vietnamese people.  By the end of your travels through Vietnam, this ‘it takes a village’ culture will have become a breath of fresh air.  Where else in the world will you receive such a warm welcome in a restaurant with young kids.

travelling in vietnam with kids
Van Long Nature Reserve – Ninh Binh, Vietnam
travelling in vietnam with kids
Ripley (aged 3.5 years) helping row the boat

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For more blog posts, photographs and information on my travels through Vietnam with kids, please check out this page: Vietnam

For more information on ALL of my travels, please check out this page: My travel destinations

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