I have noticed very few children running around on the sidewalks, but many parents carrying the children in their arms. At first I thought the children were ill – we think of carrying a baby who is too sick to walk to the doctor or something. Au contraire! This is normal in Mongolia. Like the shawl Mexican mothers use, Mongolia mothers (and fathers) just hold their children in their arms – well past toddlerhood! My host told me she carried her son until he was six!
Babies are also tightly swaddled, at least in the countryside. This is related to migration needs – you can’t have toddlers dragging along behind.
So, it seems that in Mongolia, the children are gently bobbled within the protective arms of parents for a very long time. And I can’t help but feel it shows in the happy, contented facial expressions of everybody I see. There is a sense of “well being.” Of course I haven’t been in the countryside yet, but it’s rather noticeable walking around the city.