Mie-Ling Hopgood, an award-winning journalist, moves from the suburbs of Michigan to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with her husband and their two daughters. At first she is shocked by the custom of allowing children to stay up very late at night. But then she realizes that it is part of the culture where people operate with a different sense of time. Many people observe siesta and restaurants are open at ten o'clock in the evening. Parents often include children in activities and outings with other adults. Argentinians sleep later in the morning to catch up after their late evenings.
Hopgood is a savvy cross-cultural guide who leapfrogs to a section comparing what she has learned about sleeping arrangements in various countries around the world. Most interesting are the Efe foreigners of Africa where "no one sleeps alone. Two adults, a baby, other children, a set of grandparents, and even a visitor" share a sleeping space together.
The American habit of eating-on-the-go or binging on fast food when time runs out to make dinner at home seems like heresy to the French who have trained their children in the joys of cooking and eating wonderful food. In a section titled "The Things Kids Will Eat" shows the diversity of eating habits and foods in different countries.
Here are some of the other fascinating subjects covered in this astonishing book: early potty training in China; the large role of Pigmy fathers in their society; the high regard for pregnancy by Tibetans; the Japanese custom of letting children fight; and how Asians learn to make the most of their educational opportunities.
Anyone who reads How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm by Mi-Ling Hopgood will come away with a fresh appreciation for the amazing diversity in parenting and child-raising styles, customs, and methods.