Most people, myself included, would not think of me as particularly maternal. I didn’t like kids before I had them and even now I generally don’t like kids other than my own. I think it’s because, like dogs, they can smell fear. Although my maternal instincts may be lacking, I surely deserve credit for my heroic efforts during our 13 hour flight to Korea. For several hours, my hip rested against the edge of my seat and my head leaned against a raised armrest as my kids’ legs poked me from all angles. I didn’t mind one bit even though it felt like I was trapped in some sort of primitive torture device; I would have endured much worse for the comfort of my children. Our first evening in Saigon, my daughter was blowing bubbles in the open lobby of my aunt’s apartment complex and a few of the local children were rambunctiously leaping and screaming around her as they popped bubbles. Their utter disregard for personal space made me really nervous. I didn’t expect to be a hoverer, but there I was, hovering anxiously around my daughter to protect her from little boys who were popping bubbles too rudely and loudly. Last night my cousins took us out to dinner at the mall and afterwards I watched in horror as my kids cavorted through various death traps posing as an indoor playground. If health and safety regulations existed in Vietnam, this place would have been in major violation. There was a rotating contraption that swung miniature punching bags attached to rope and I swear it was designed to give concussions to unwary children. Aside from myself, my cousin and one other rightfully paranoid parent, the gaggle of children were completely unsupervised. It was one of the most unsettling experiences of my life. Proof that I’m really a mommy!