Bad husband! You make your wife do what?

The only way one of my teenage ESL students from Beijing could reconcile the fact that Canadian mothers apparently routinely engage in self-destructive life-threatening behaviour after giving birth is that Chinese and Westerners must have different biological constitutions. It was funny (and not entirely untrue). I was tutoring her this morning in between trips to see Lilia in the NICU, and she was alternately gushing with very earnest advice about what Jessica must eat as a brand new mother and appalled with the things we let Jessica do.

I was telling her how the day after the surgery Jessica walked to the NICU to see Lilia in the incubator (and rode back in the wheelchair) — my student couldn’t believe I’d let Jessica out of bed. Then she couldn’t believe that after getting discharged from the hospital we actually let/make Jessica ride in the car to the hospital at least twice a day to see the baby (there are bumps in the road!). Basically Jessica shouldn’t leave the house — actually, better that she just stay in bed, for a month.

When Jessica was still pregnant one mother of a teenager from Sichuan was talking to me about the traditional Chinese custom of being house-bound and not showering for a month after giving birth. “Oh, that’s silly. I had a shower after only two weeks!”

Of course we’d heard about the popular traditional Chinese beliefs surrounding pregnancy and birth. No doubt our various cultures contain plenty of mutually jaw-dropping popular advice in this area. But this kind of stuff sounds even funnier in Canada for some reason. :) And no matter how particular advice sounds to us, it’s great the way our Chinese friends show their care and warmth by showering us with concern and advice.

(P.S. – Commenting *should* be fixed now, so you can leave comments again. Stupid security plugin changed my settings without telling me!)

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她有喜了! (We’ve got a bǐng in the oven!)

现在怡安的烤箱里有了一块饼! / xiànzài yíān de kǎoxiāng lǐ yǒu le yī kuài bǐng!
“Now inside Jessica’s oven there’s a bǐng!”

Joel和怡安的猫从袋子里逃出来了。 / Joel hé yíān de māo cóng dàizi lǐ táo chūlái le.
“Joel and Jessica’s cat escaped out from inside the bag.”

Neither of those idioms make much sense in Chinese. The Chinese way to say this is “She has happiness!” (她有喜了!/ tā yÇ’u xǐ le), or just “She has!” (她有了!tā yÇ’u le).

We told our families on Christmas (so glad for Skype!). As of right now we’re just about at 12 weeks.

(You may now commence with the “Made in China” and homemade Christmas present jokes.)