I love Old Wives’ Tales because they are funny and there is really no truth to them. For exmaple- if you cross your eyes they will stay that way; if you eat watermelon seeds, watermelons will grow in your belly; or the ever popular- swinging a ring over your pregnant belly will tell you what the sex of your baby is- if the ring swings from side to side, it’s a girl, and if it swings in a circle, it’s a boy. An ultrasound reading may not be as much fun, but the test results are certainly more accurate.
Korean people, namely Korean women, take crazy tales (and just crazy in general) to a whole new level. This is especially evident when pregnancy/having a baby is involved. I live in Arizona, and my wonderful mother lives in Toronto, Ontario. Though I miss her like crazy, it’s just the way it HAS TO BE, cause sometimes, she just drives me crazy. Anyway, with our first pregnancy, I told her the news on the phone. Then I was finally able to go visit her when I was three months pregnant. And that’s when the craziness began. I wear jeans. All the time. They are comfortable, they look good with everything, and I always find great ones on sale, so they are also nice and cheap. My mom nearly ripped my pants right off my body when she first saw me. She asked me if I was trying to kill the baby. No, definitely trying to keep the little guy alive. Well, the baby can’t breath through your jeans. You shouldn’t wear jeans when you are pregnant! I was still not really following her train of thought. I didn’t think the material of my clothes affected whether or not my unborn baby could breath or not. She said that jeans were too tight ‘down there’ and that’s why the baby couldn’t breath if I was wearing jeans- they were too thick and too tight. So basically what my mom was saying was that she thought the fetus in my body was being kept alive by air he was breathing through my crotch… super.
That was one of the bigger, crazier wives tales that I heard. Other stuff was smaller and a little less ridiculous. A little less. My mom said that I had to eat a lot of fruit cause it was good for the baby. Not crazy. But it had to be peeled and cut up beautifully in order for my baby to be beautiful as well. Crazy. There’s also stuff about not letting your bare feet touch tile, otherwise you will have back problems for the rest of your life. I dunno. Like I said, most of it is crap.
I tutored this korean girl in Phoenix for a few months while I was pregnant. Near the end of our time together, her mom asked me who was going to make me The Soup after I had the baby, because I had told her before that my mother-in-law was going to be in town for the birth of the baby, and then my mom was going to come as soon as my m-i-l left a week later. The Soup is simply a broth that has seaweed in it. Seaweed has a lot of iron in it, and so it’s good to eat this soup often after childbirth, especially since there is some bloodloss involved in the childbearing process. Korean people actually have this soup for their birthday, in remembrance of their mothers eating it all the time after they were born. And again, cause it’s a good source of iron. Anyway, I told the lady that no one was going to make me The Soup. And she freaked out. ‘Oh, you HAVE to have the soup. You will surely die if you don’t have The Soup.’ I calmly told her that I was pretty sure people in America, and other places around the world had successfully lived after having a baby and not eating The Soup. She didn’t understand what I was talking about. She probably could have made me The Soup herself, seeing as how she was one of the only korean people I knew in Phoenix, but that thought didn’t cross her mind either.
Anyway, my mom made herself sick thinking about The Soup Situation. As the day of my baby’s arrival kept approaching, the more sleep she lost over the whole thing. She actually called a korean church in Phoenix and told the pastor that she would make a nice financial contribution to their church if they could but get someone to come to my house after my baby was born to make me The Soup. I was in the hospital for about two days after having our child. My mom called me constantly, probably just to make sure I was alive, and she kept asking me if I had gotten any calls from korean people. I hadn’t. And she was pissed. Needless to say, that church lost out on a pretty penny or two.