Sunday, September 21, 2008
"She's got earring's" and other cultural shocks
As soon as the pediatrician gave the go ahead, Amelia got her ears pierced. She already had five pairs of earrings waiting to beautify her earlobes. This is a common practice in my culture. In Puerto Rico, depending on your gender, you either get circumcised or your ears pierced when you are born. But I never thought I would get so many comments on Amelia's earrings.
"Oh, she has earrings!" "A baby with earrings. How cute". They really mean how strange because it seems in the Anglo Saxon U.S.A., this is a very strange thing. Mothers of older girls really hate it because their daughter usually ask why Amelia has her ears pierced and they don't. I'm sure they've already explained to them that Amelia's Mom is from another country where they don't mind causing pain to babies' earlobes.
The cultural differences are even more emphasized because I married into a nice, midwestern Jewish family. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico so my references to baby rearing and accessorizing go back to my island.
For example, Amelia has been wearing a bow on her hair (or wisp of hair) since I could clip it on her. Now she likes to eat them hence no more bows. Thank God she has earrings or she would look like a boy. She wears dresses with bows and ribbons on them, sent from PR and usually made in Colombia or Peru. The bow on her hair have to match the dress.
My husband's family was fine with the earrings and loves the dresses. I have a in law cousin who loves bows. The one thing that freaks them is the white linen outfits. Puerto Rico has a warm climate, so babies often wear white linen outfits that make them look like members of the Spanish monarchy. (We were a Spanish colony before being a US colony).
Every time my husband's family sees Amelia in a picture with a white linen outfit, they ask if we have christened her. Yep. That big elephant in the room we don't discuss with either side. Amelia hasn't be christened or named at Temple. But it seems one side of the family is under the impression that when we fly over the Atlantic, all bets are off, and the Catholics win.
Now that the kid is bigger she doesn't fit in the linen gowns, so the question is off the table, for now. Or so I think because I hear my husband still giving the same answer since Amelia was born and I've been in charge of her fashion sense. "It's a Puerto Rican thing". That's why I love the man. He always has the right answers. Ay Mama!