|Marie feeding William|
The baby's completion of his first month of life, known as mǎnyuè (full moon) in Chinese, is a significant milestone. William reached his "full moon" on May 16th. My friend, Marie, gave us a visit that day and William celebrated his one month birthday by giving us quite a scare! A normally happy baby, he began crying and screaming uncontrollably. We tried to soothe him, but found he was having difficultly swallowing the phlegm that had built up in his mouth. I didn't know what to do, worried that perhaps he was having some sort of allergic reaction--was something wrong with my breast milk? Did he swallow something I didn't know about? Was he suddenly, inexplicably ill?
Luckily Marie kept me from spiraling into full out crisis mode. She has a background in midwifery and is quite confident in dealing with newborns. While I panicked, turning white as a ghost, she kept her cool. She held William and kept trying different strategies to calm him until he finally fell asleep upright in her arms. He woke up later as if nothing had happened. Next time, hopefully I'll be able to handle such a situation better, but it's definitely scary seeing my baby that distressed.
|Marie and Willaim|
But there's more to William's mǎnyuè than nearly giving Mommy a heart attack. William, like all Chinese babies, got a special dinner to celebrate the occasion. Actually, the dinner wasn't so much for William (As babies don't really give much notice to dinners and parties, do they?), but for the grown-ups. Everyone who had giving us a gift when William was born was invited out to eat. Gifts for Chinese babies are different from gifts for American babies. In America, we like to do the baby shower, giving the soon-to-be mom lots of useful baby stuff from onesies to changing tables. In China, people tend to give cold, hard cash. And lots of it. From a few dozen people, including Ming and his mom's relatives, friends and co-workers, we received about 9000 rmb (US$1500). The cash definitely helps with the out of pocket cost of my c-section (which was about 4200 rmb, US$700), though I think we'll end up using the money to start William's college fund.
|a month old|
The dinner itself was pretty uneventful. We brought William over to the restaurant so everyone could get a quick peek at the little guy. Chinese people believe that babies shouldn't go outside, unless absolutely necessary, until they are 100 days old, so we didn't keep him at the restaurant for long. While Ming held the baby, I shoveled in some food as fast as I could and then said a quick good-bye to our guests, finally returning back home with William. We'll get to have another dinner in his honor for his 1st birthday, which will be a bit more enjoyable as he'll actually be able to hang out and eat with us at the table.