a cellphone

(We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogs on Culture Shock in China to bring you this short story…)

My wife and I were shopping for baby supplies at Target a few days ago. It was going smoothly, and the excitement inside me was building while I was daydreaming at the same time. I kept imagining a little critter at all these different stages and ages that my wife and I were discussing. I even got to pick out my favorite outfit for the boy. Oh yea, some of you may not know. We’re going to have a boy! At least that’s what the Chinese hospital told us, and we’re assuming they wouldn’t joke or lie about this since the gender is something nationals actually aren’t allowed to know before the birth.

With random thoughts popping in and out like a Chuck E. Cheese game, a young girl’s voice came out of the blue.

“I want… I want… I want a cellphone.”


I should have walked away and tried getting my mind off topic by talking with my wife, but the conversation between the girl, her father and grandma was too funny to be true and it didn’t stop there. The grandmother pointed the sentence out over and over to the shopping father and how it was a full sentence. The father then stopped and asked the grandma to write this down. The girl was “2 years and 3 months old,” and this was one of her first full sentences. In fact, it may have been the first one. I’m not quite sure because of not catching but just a gist. Following this, the grandma asked the girl to say “daddy.” It took the girl several times before she responded.

By now I’m sure you’re thinking, that’s socially unacceptable. Who would drop eaves and then blog about it? And you know what? You are right! I tell this story though to make a point. What do I want my child’s first word, first sentence to be? I won’t be able to control everything, and I don’t mean the technology issues. Right now, I’m reading a book called The App Generation. I’ve been poring over the book to understand my students better, but it seems that much of what’s been stated thus far has been quite relatable. Reality check! What I really mean is that I won’t be able to create my boy’s firsts, and I don’t want to try and live through him. Sure I had my wife buy an All Star outfit for him, and I would be lying if I said it was because it was “cute.”


Raising our child his first year in China will be interesting to say the least. We’ve seen it firsthand. In months it will be our turn, Lord-willing. What will our boy want? What will I want for him? I can tell you one thing. My cellphone won’t be at my side at all times for him to see because what I want will be in my arms and in my heart.


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