Monday, October 1, 2012

party pooper

one of the dietitians i work with is a sweet 3rd generation chinese lady who frequently likes to chat with me about my (non-existent) asian-ness.  after 5 years of gauging my interest, she's finally found that i know absolutely nothing about chinese traditions.  shame shame.  but she knows i like to read so she bought me a book called good luck life, hoping i'd become more familiar with the practices of my kind.  super sweet!

this afternoon, having the day off and transportationally immobile cuz of my dino's broken left arm, i picked up the book and delve into my heritage.  you ask, what have i learned?  major crapballs of weirdo, that's what.  hahaaa  i sure hope none of you are into this stuff cuz you'll find much of my comments very offensive.

being into pregnant moms and babies and all, i'll share about this portion of the book.

don't eat bananas or your baby will have big ears.  ear size is genetic and if they're unusually large of misshapen  he's got a genetic disorder.
don't eat pineapples or your baby will have rough skin.   again, genetics are in play here.
don't eat ginger or your baby will have extra fingers.  you should be more concerned whether you married your cousin.
don't visit the zoo or your baby will look like a monkey.  if so, your husband prolly looks like a monkey too..
don't sew anything while pregnant or your baby will have a harelip.  aka cleft palate.  lay off the booze and take your prenatal vitamins.

these are just a few of the don'ts she instructs.. 

following childbirth, moms and babies are instructed to stay home for 30 days - without leaving the house, taking a shower, washing her hair, eating fresh fruit, or drinking cold beverages.  this is done to restore the yin and yang balance in your body to gain your full energy and strength after birth.  mebbe i'm just too much of an independent modern woman with my own opinions but i'm gonna liken this to torture.  can you imagine squeezing out blood and guts through your private parts and not be able to clean yourself for a month?!?  common sense says when i don't shower, i feel gross and lose my appetite.  especially after delivery, comprehensive nutrition is so crucial in building your body stores and supplying your nutrient needs to feed your baby.  that includes a variety of foods, fresh fruit included.  also, studies show that postpartum weightloss is most effective within the first 3 months of delivery.  your hormones are all working together to help you accomplish this - so sitting at home for a month really does nothing for you.  plus, i'm pretty sure having a stinky head does not do much in rekindling the romance with your husband..

i never really understood the purpose of the red egg/ginger party for the baby's one month anniversary other than that it's another chinese tradition to gaudily splash red stuff everywhere.  here's the real story.  way back then, infant mortality was common before a child reaches one month of age.  in order to avoid going through this heartbreak, families were cautious about announcing the baby's birth to the public until they'd passed this milestone.  traditionally, baby's were given a "fake" name during this time so that evil baby eating gods would be tricked from taking their baby.  at one month, babies are given their first bath, first hair cut, and first new outfit (gross cuz babies typically barf on themselves every once in awhile).  then, traditions say the grandma will take a peeled red egg and rub it all over the nekkid baby long life and good luck.  the mom is supposed to eat ginger and blow ginger breath on her baby's head so it'll be nice and buddha-round.

couple things.  the most common cause of infant mortality in the first month of life is genetic disorder or diarrheal disease.  the first cause, though rare, is usually discovered before delivery.  the second, is easily treated with a little sugar and salt water - or if you wanna be advanced and stuff, you can use pedialyte.  i'd be stupid to say people shouldn't be aware of risks, but generally if you're watchful and careful you should be okay.  as for the round head deal, i remember when chara was first born, she had a really cute cone head.  the plates in an infant's head are not completely fused at birth because God decided this would make the birthing process more feasible.  eventually, the plates will come together the way they're supposed to regardless of how you try to manipulate it.  you should also know that that flat spot on the back of your head is not because your mom was smart and made sure you slept on your back to avoid SIDS.  there's a scientific reason for it but i can't remember.. will get back to you on this =]

i guess the moral of the story is, i'm proud of my ethnicity and all that kind of stuff.  but some traditions are so rooted in superstition and old practices that are no longer relevant to the world we live in now.  keeping the tradition may be important to some people but i feel like if they stem from a belief that contradicts what i believe about god's sovereignty and creation of things, i'd be okay leaving tradition behind.

1 comment:

  1. My mom told me that if I read in the dark too much, I'd have small eyes.


    Also, the traditional explanation for back sleeping is that it reduces respiratory complications - i.e. the baby producing a pocket of CO2 that it constantly "re-breathes", or an impaired respiratory function due to pressure on the jaw. However, back sleeping may or may not be a good thing - the research done on it is sketchy. It's correlated with a decreased incidence of SIDS, but studies don't account for other risk factors (smoking, breastfeeding, etc). It's also been recently correlated with decreased sleep (25% less sleep, on average), and thus decreased cognitive development.