Due to a very busy summer, I haven't been posting regularly. With summer vacation wrapping up in the next two weeks, I will try to make a better habit of posting.
Even before my pregnancy, I had a acquired a fair amount of time spent in Chinese hospitals. I'd assumed that after having the baby I'd be routinely gaining more experience in the doctor's office, but that hasn't been the case. Just another way in which life in China varies from that in America.
I figured that both the baby and I would be needing check-ups. In the States, women see the doctor in the weeks following birth for their post-natal check-up. I was told that I don't need to visit the doctor unless I am suffering from a particular problem. Likewise, a Chinese baby may not see the doctor until he is ill, whereas an American baby would go in every several weeks as a newborn, steadily tapering off to every few months during later infancy. William is now four months and has only seen the doctor once, to have some “work done” on his belly button (the umbilical cord wasn't detaching). He also sees a nurse once a month to have his vaccinations.
Ah, vaccinations—these seem to be the new hot button issue among parenting circles in the U.S. More and more parents are deciding to forgo vaccinations for their children. In China, the threat of many diseases is still very real. I see adults who suffer from polio fairly regularly, not to mention, my own mother struggled with the disease, enduring multiple surgeries as a child. Moreover, in Chengde, there have been recent outbreaks of both measles and mumps. For me, the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh any perceived risks. Furthermore, I don't think opting out of vaccines is an option in China. My understanding is that it is a requirement. In any case, William goes out for his monthly shots. Until quite recently, that was the only time he was “allowed” out of the house.
In late July, William finally reached 100 days (百天), which is a huge milestone in China. Before this time, infants are not allowed out of the home except to visit the doctor. They believe babies are still too weak and can easily catch cold or an illness. In celebration of William's One Hundred Days, we took him for a photo shot. This is very popular among families these days. Parents will do different things to celebrate their child's 100 days, including taking photos, buying a cake, and having a dinner party. For us, most of the celebrating will be put on hold until William's first birthday.