Sunday, February 18, 2007

The One Month Party

Red Egg and Ginger Party (滿 月 酒)

Traditionally back in olden days of ancient China, the mother would be confined to the house in the first month of post-partum. This was done in order to giver her time to rest and recover from the physical stress of labour and delivery of the baby. Also, the mortality rates of babies in China back then were the highest in the first month of the baby's life - if the baby survived the first month, then it is likely that the baby will have a long and prosperous life. It was common back then to wait for a period of time after the birth of the baby before officially welcoming the baby into the circle of family and friends.

As a result, the Chinese held a "Red Egg and Ginger" party to celebrate these two events - the mother's "re-integration" back into regular life and to welcome the baby into the family and the world. It was also common at this time to formally present the name of the baby as a part of the celebration. The egg represents fertility, red symbolizes good fortune. Ginger is important because in the yin (cold) and yang (warm) balance of Chinese food, ginger adds quicker recovery and rejuvenation to the new mother.

Ok, ok, so not every letter of the tradition has been followed, but it's still definitely a one-month celebration that was held for Silas on Feb 17, 2007. Unfortunately, due to Silas's dad being out of a steady source of income, Silas was not able to invite all the people that he wanted to see at his party. It is Silas's most sincere hope that those who had heard about this party, but wondered why they were not invited, would understand and forgive his dad for this offense.

Silas's one month party also happened to coincide with Chinese New Year's eve for this year. During Chinese New Year's Eve, it is customary and a big social event for the families to gather and have a big dinner to usher in the new year, and also as a symbolic gesture of reinforcing the family bonds (團 年 飯). So, Silas's one month party also served as the Chinese New Year's Eve family dinner. For Chinese New Year, it is customary for the younger children say "Gung Hay Fat Choi!" to their aunts and uncles, and in return they receive packets of lucky red envelopes containing sums of $$$$. But with Silas being the alpha male in the clan (seriously, Silas's dad is soooo subservient now, it's no longer funny), and with his one month coinciding with Chinese New year's eve, some of his aunts and uncles went over the top and as a result, Silas was the lucky recipient of some bling-bling.

What would a one month old know about 24-karat and jade bling-bling? Right, and that's what Silas's dad thought as well. Anyways, to prepare for this big event, Silas had a nice hot and soothing bath in the afternoon, followed by an extra long nursing from Silas's mummy, so Silas was pretty much knocked out for most of the night, and had no clue what was going on around him during the dinner, or how many times he was passed around from stranger to stranger like a basket of bread.

During this one month party, it was tradition and customary for Silas to go around to each table and have a toast with each guest. However, since it was such a small party, and since Silas's parents wanted to keep things informal, there was no ritual toasting at each table, but just going to each person and chatting, catching up, and having fun in a relaxed atmosphere. It was all good.

The First Month

Tomorrow marks the first month of existence for Silas. He has come a long way ever since he was born, even though it has been a mere 4 weeks.

What has Silas accomplished in his 4 weeks of existence? Well, he has demonstrated his adept skill at hurling, he can pooh in more than one colour, and he makes strange noises during his slumber that only a parent would find endearing.

Silas only complains if he is hungry, and is also proactive in informing his parents that his diapers need to be changed. He's even learned to stand on his feet during times when he is complaining of hunger. Silas does have an insatiable appetite, slurping up 3 ounces of formula, and up to 2 ounces of breast milk per feeding session. But once he is full, he's flexible and easy going.

Silas does not complain much. Silas does not complain when someone other than his mother or father is holding him. He does not complain when given the bottle instead of the breast. His parents are grateful that he is not a colicky baby. Sure, sometimes he has a bowel movement on daddy's hand, but that is really a small price to pay for this sort of flexibility. In return, he is given the royal treatment by his parents.

Later this week, Silas's parents will take him to the community clinic to get him weighed. It is safe to say that he weighs more than his birth weight of 8lbs 10.5 oz. Current estimates are that this piglet weighs somewhere between 10-12lbs. If you would like, make a guess as to his current weight in the comments section.