The Mother's Union
The International Union of Mother's is strong here. Children are group projects. In church, the woman or girl holding the baby is only rarely the actual mother. On the street, any mother may actively mother any child. Me too.
I broke up a fight on the street this morning on the way to the Tropicana.
A small street child, a boy, (actually the child of one of the nearby street vendors who puts their kids out to beg - not an actual homeless child - there are fewer of those these days.) was being tormented by a slightly older girl. He decided to escalate the matter by picking up a fistsized cobblestone and aimed it at short range at her noggin - except that I was right behind him and interupted his windup by plucking the stone from his hand. I made the clucking sound of disapproval that mothers make here and gave him a nice highpitched and strong "OYA!" (no!) Girl, seizing her opportunity, closed in to slap him on the face. Fortunately she was intercepted by the mother coming from the other direction. She did a much better job of scolding than I could do, and we shoved them off in opposite directions. She nodded to me and I to her, and we proceeded. The kids were, of course, free to pick up the battle where they left off but not without the knowledge of what the mother's think, and probably with two fresh mothers on the scene. We don't have to be everywhere - because we are everywhere.