I once read a book (cannot remember any identifying features, if you know the title let me know and I will give it credit) that was a collection of stories by this fellow that was an art teacher and a pastor. In one such story he spoke of a friend (we’ll call him Bob) that would not eat pork. Before you jump to conclusions, Bob didn’t have any religious practice of not eating pork, but he was raised thinking that pork was unclean. Now as a grown person, he knows that pork isn’t really bad for you (well I mean sorta….), but still can’t bring himself to eat it….
He then went on this long rant about urine.
Yes, I said urine.
The author (we’ll call him Dan) went on and on about how some guy lived to be over 100 and when asked the secret he replied saying that he drank his urine everyday. Dan followed this up with statistics about how urine can be good for you, its sterileness, and how if you’re dehydrated in the middle of the desert it could help keep you alive. He finished this long article about pee saying, ‘I’m still not going to drink my pee.’
I thought I ‘got it’ then. The way that different folks think in different cultures (and even your own culture), and how we are molded and shaped to think these things. Sometimes no amount of reasoning can change a felt belief. I know I certainly will not be drinking my own pee anytime soon.
I thought I ‘got it’.
I didn’t know crap about ‘it’.
This is Martha. Isn’t she a doll baby?!
In Ukraine there are very specific ways you treat babies. These rules would include: always wear a hat outside, can’t sit up till 6 months, babies can’t cry for a long time (this will lead to bad character or tummy aches), babies can’t have anything cold (like those frozen teething toys are out of the question), ect ect.
Now most of these rules I think are a bit…different….. because we don’t think that if your baby sits up or is stood up (with your assistance) before six months that it will hurt their spine. Not that there’s anything wrong with this thinking, it’s just how I was raised.
Martha is a different Ukrainian baby. Her mom reads American baby books, and lets her do a lot of the things that I would let a baby do. So I get to stand her up and encourage her to sit—-bahhhh I love it sooo much!
We were at a church small group the other night, and I stood 4 (almost 5) month old Martha up on the counter (I was holding her of course). One of our fellas looked alarmed (I might have temporarily forgotten the baby etiquette oopps) and said, “Don’t you think that will hurt her spine?”
Earlier this week I was at Martha’s house. Her mom and I were chatting and she brought out a bag of candy. The plastic of the bag was particularly crunchy and we were crunching it for Martha. Then something crazy happened. She gave the plastic bag to Martha. I probably felt the same way as our fella did. My heart skipped a beat, and I almost yanked it out of that baby’s hand so fast. Her mom and I talked about how here they give babies plastic bags and candy wrappers to play with.
Every time I see a stroller left outside unattended (which happens frequently) while mom runs into the shop or office and when I saw Martha with that plastic bag, I feel panic. Just like my friends here do when I sit on the cold ground or stand up a baby.
I ‘get it’. I finally feel the disconnect between my felt/learned belief of how I normally treat a baby and how we treat dear Martha and the panic that ensues when this happens.
If you think this panic feeling is a little crazy, how would you feel if someone gave you something to drink and part of the way through the glass you learned it was urine.
Bet you’d feel a little panic too.