Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Personal Space

The Moroccan people were amazing - so protective and loving toward children. Adults and children alike were constantly coming up to give Levi and Owen a cuddle and a kiss on the cheek.

At first I was okay with it - Levi had loved the attention of similar affections in Italy, so I continued to be of the mind that it was very sweet.
As it seemed to be rampant flu season throughout Morocco, we took to carrying Owen in our carrier to lessen the snuggles he received though he, as Levi once did, seemed quite happy with all the attention.

Levi preferring the freedom of his own two feet was subject to a lot of lovin´ and as he became more aware, and more prepared, he also became on guard to the point where every person who came within a short distance of him caused him to shout and run. Clearly he was not a fan of this space invasion.

It came from an honest and sweet place, but as he didn´t like it, I too started to feel bothered by it. It even got to where he would shout at every person who said hello.

This posed a slight problem because I didn´t want to teach him to accept what he wasn´t comfortable with, but I also didn´t want him to rudely shout at anyone who said hi. But how on earth can a 2 year old discern who is coming in for a kiss or a chat??

This attitude of Levi´s toward strangers has carried on into Spain, though it seems to be gradually waning as the locals in Spain seem to be a little more careful in their approach.

We never did find a solution. We would just quickly pick up our annoyed little boy, send an apologetic glance toward the offender and be on our way. As it is in their culture and to be expected there is not much more you can do, though at times I had wished there were.

I´m sure a child´s reaction changes according to their age, but also their ability to react properly to the situation and read people´s intentions.

Throughout our stay Levi generally was quite thrilled with the attentions from other children, and with each accommodation as he became familiar he became equally comfortable with the owners, and staff.

Adjusting to cultural differences is all part of the game, though this particular difference was tougher than most, and one I don´t think we ever fully adapted to.


  1. In thinking of this...... I would hate people I don't know coming up to me and trying to hug or kiss me in any way so why should it be Ok for a child, let alone the problems with flu etc. Maybe now he overreacts, but he will learn how to keep his space without doing that as he gets older. He needs to know he doesn't have to accept touch he is not comfortable with. (just my feelings about it)xo

  2. hmm interesting... I guess grown ups would have a hard time to adjust and sometimes feel like screaming also ;) Kids just keep it real sometimes lol.
    what can you do? soon it will be a different city and a different culture ~ you lucky ducky you ;)
    All the best!

  3. I think Levi was doing what we all wish we could some days, but have learned to keep to ourselves. Personal space is huge and he's learning it. Very interesting!