Where I had to do a month thing.

So I have a baby! She is a dinosaur alien in disguise as a human. More on that later. That might be a lengthy post which I may or may not be able to get to. Speaking of things to get to, I should get to the laundry before I launch on another post. Laundry may possibly be more important than informing you about my little cuddly alien (A for short). A is almost two whole months old. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone.

The first month I had to do the month thing. Yue zi. Here is a brief description. I have learned that every kind of Chinese person–and by kind, I mean regionally–does it slightly differently. It is also, apparently, a tradition that is hundreds of years old. Now, thinking about it, I can’t believe I participated in a tradition that’s hundreds of years old, albeit halfheartedly. So for the curious ones:

  • I did have to stay in bed most of the day–for resting (I wasn’t good about that one, though I appreciated mandatory rest)
  • I didn’t wash my hair for an entire month–because Chinese people have this major aversion towards cold, and if you wash your hair something about cold, etc., etc. (it was terrible and I hated it)
  • I had a very prescribed diet–to purge bad stuff and infuse good stuff (let’s just say I will be avoiding sesame chicken for some time)
  • All the water that I came in contact with had to be boiled first–otherwise I would develop arthritis or some other bone ailment early on in life (it was such a hassle, think hand washing, bathing, etc.)
  • I wasn’t supposed to use my eyes because if I did (and I did), my eyes would degenerate more quickly when I get old.

The whole premise for the month thing is to prevent aging poorly. I can’t think of a better way to put that right now, but the idea is that if you take really good care of your body post partum, you won’t age that quickly and your body will be healthier when you get older. I’m… not sure how much I buy into that. Besides, it seemed like region by region, people eat different things and have slightly different practices. Anytime I asked my mom about so and so, she would say, oh, but they might be even healthier than they are now. And basically any physical problem they have now is probably because they didn’t do the month thing well. And this applied to her as well. It was not an argument I wanted to get into, so I did my best to cooperate.

To be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My mom let a lot of things slide (a lot of screen time on my phone in bed) and not having to cook or clean for an entire month was bliss. Our white neighbors asked if I would do the same for A when she has her baby. They were intrigued by the whole month thing. I have no idea. I might get more and more traditional as I get older. Who knows? But I do think that it was awfully nice to have so much help the first month after A got here. Also, everyone I knows calls the yue zi “the month thing.” I wonder if there’s a more accurate translation in English. Also, someone please do some real scientific research on the merits of the month thing so daughters don’t have to have arguments based on anecdotes with their mothers.


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