A Country of Grandparents

Believe it or not, it’s a post by Brian!


Turkish people seem to be very nice.  When it comes to children, and especially little blondish children like Theo, they are very, very nice.  Theo has gotten lots of head rubs, cheek pinches, and (on our second day in Istanbul), a package of cookies from a neighbor and a candy bar from a waitress within a ten-minute span.

But on our third day I found out how very, veryvery nice people in Istanbul can be.

I had gone out with Theo that morning and it was extremely cold and windy.  We had a 25 minute walk to a park where I hoped to find a playground. I was pushing the stroller over bumpy ice and through slushy snow and halfway through Theo was having no more of the bitter cold wind.  I tried bundling him as best as I could but we both arrived very sad at the park.

I thought that maybe we would be able to play at the park, but between the snow and the sadness I realized that it wasn’t possible.  After taking a few minutes to recuperate I loaded Theo up again in the stroller and started back.  After bumping over lots of uneven ice (did I mention the park was frozen solid?), I was attempting to descend the stairs out of the park when my difficulties with the ice and the sad toddler brought a nice man to help me carry the stroller down the steps.  A lovely gesture, but I still had 25 minutes of walking (through snow and over ice, remember) to go.

At this point I was trying to get home as fast as possible, but I couldn’t go too fast because when I ran Theo would say through his tears “Don’t run, dada!”  After five or ten minutes Theo was perhaps as sad and as loud as he was at any point that day.  It was then that a security guard at a bank offered to let me come inside for warmth.  I protested at first, not wanting to put the man to trouble, but quickly decided that it might actually be a really good idea.

Once inside a large crowd of bank employees gathered round Theo cooing over him and trying to soothe him.  They suggested I bring him over near the heater, and then asked if they could get him some warm milk.  Again, I protested and again I quickly relented to the obviously good idea.  Before the milk was brought out a candy bar was offered which had an immediate soothing effect.  Once that was finished he was brought the warm milk and a (bank branded) Turkish story book while various people took a minute or two out of their day to come and observe the cute, rosy cheeked child who was obviously enjoying the attention.

And then!  A woman who had felt his hands and cheeks and was obviously troubled over their coldness left for a bit and came back with some soup and bread which she got into him as fast as she could manage.

The whole ordeal left Theo quite pleased and me quite bemused over what seemed to me like a mob of grandparents.

Soon enough it was time to go home for lunch, so I gave some poorly pronounced teşekkür ederims and we waved bye bye.