There are many cultural things that go along with raising children. Isaac and I had no idea the depth of these things and how much they would affect/stress our lives.
Socks! If I haven’t heard this a million times. Lucky for me most of the “suggestions” on how to take care of my babies is in a language I don’t understand. But socks is translatable so I’m getting my share of listening to people complain that I haven’t put socks on my babies feet. One woman, with much attitude, put it “over here we put socks on our babies”. Oh the advice it goes on.
|Ezra holding up his gift money (1,000 shillings, about 30cents)|
Women here in Kampala tend to over wrap their babies. They are holding a bundle that looks like a 5 gallon bucket in their arms. But not it’s just a baby, in a onesie, snow suit, winter hat, mittens, socks, a swaddle blanket and yes a thick winter blanket that is designed for a twin bed. The baby’s forehead is dripping with sweat. No wonder people think I’m doing a terrible thing letting my babies go without socks. While we were at the hospital getting the boys checked up I watched many women unwrap their babies to get weighed. Oh the heat rash that was on those babies bodies!
Another cultural thing is breast feeding. Women do it all the time. At the smallest fuss of the baby everyone says that the baby is crying. Then the mother pulls her breast out the top of her shirt and proceeds to let the baby drink for about 2minutes and then when the baby is calm all goes back to normal. I on the other hand nurse a good 20minutes or so every 3 hours at this point. The boys get a good fill of milk and then are good. They play and sleep before they need more food. Well because of this culture of always feeding in small doses I get told all the time that baby is hungry. A childish way to say nursing is, choo choo. This phrase comes at me all the time, “Muzungu, choo choo!” With a look of confusion when I take my baby, bounce him and he calms down. Oh cultural differences.
Another difference is the gifts given to babies. In my culture we have a baby shower and gifts are given, or someone coming to visit will bring something. Here in Kampala (not sure if it is other tribes within Uganda or just the Buganda) when a baby is visited you slip a bill of money to the child. This can be sticking out of their diaper, between their toes or my favorite in their hand. I say this is my favorite because as soon as the dirty money enters the hand of my baby then it goes to the mouth. Or after the money falls to the ground the baby puts their hand in their mouth. GROSS!!! So I’ve spent much time washing my children’s hands after visitors go.
We are taking these cultural differences in stride and making sure to remind ourselves that people in all cultures like to give advice that isn't always helpful. ;)