Baby Showers!

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We had a shower last weekend for a dear friend’s daughter-she is due in one month. I was interested to see that Burt’s Bees is now doing baby stuff-clothing and products that were very cute and clever! I started wondering about all the different traditions around the world for baby showers and this is what I found on Wikepedia:

Baby showers and other social events to celebrate the impending or recent birth are popular around the world. They are commonly “women-only” social gatherings.

  • In Canada, it’s traditionally known that only women may attend this event.
  • In Brazil, a party called “chá de bebê” (baby tea) is offered before birth and is often a “women-only” event.
  • In Chinese tradition, a baby shower, called manyue (满月) is held one month after the baby is born. Due to the lack of advanced medical technology in ancient times, the high infant mortality rate prompted families and friends to celebrate if a baby survived more than one month after birth.
  • In Armenia, a baby shower is called “qarasunq” (քառասունք) and is celebrated 40 days after baby’s birth. It is a mixed party for all relatives and friends. Guests usually bring gifts for the baby or parents.
  • In Iran, a baby shower is called sismoony party which in the family of pregnant woman 1-3 months before delivery will provide her virtually all accommodation and accessories her first baby needed. This includes but not limited to bed, toys, clothes, dishes and almost every things related to the baby. All family and close friends would be invited to see the gifted items and also themselves will bring a gift.
  • In Costa Rica, a baby shower party is called té de canastilla (“basket tea”).
  • In Hindu tradition, they are called by different names depending on the community the family belongs to.
  • In northern India it is known as godbharaai, in western India, especially Maharasta, this celebration is known as dohaaljewan, and in West Bengal and Odisha it is called saadh.
  • In Southern India, in Tamil Nadu/Andhra Pradesh it is called Seemantham or Valaikaapu (The expecting mother wears bangles) and in Karnataka it is calledshreemanta and is held when the woman is in her 5th or 7th or 9th months of pregnancy. Although Seemantham and Valaikappu might be celebrated together, they are very different. Seemantham is a religious ceremony while Valaikappu is a purely social event much like Western baby showers. In a Valaikappu, there is music played, and the expecting mother is decked in traditional attire with lots of flowers and garlands made of jasmine or mogra. A swing is decorated with flowers of her choice, which she uses to sit and swing. At times there are symbolic cut-outs of Moons and Stars that are put up. There are blessings showered on her by the elderly ladies from the household and community. There are gifts given to the expecting mother. It is a very affectionate and fun-filled event for most of the expecting mothers since they are on the threshold of motherhood and entering a new life.
  • In Kerala, it is known as ‘Pulakuli’, and is practiced predominantly in the Nair community, though it’s popularity has spread to other Hindu sects as well over the years. On an auspicious day, after being massaged with homemade ayurvedic oil, the woman has a customary bath with the help of the elderly women in the family. After this, the family deity is worshipped, invoking all the paradevatas (family deities) and a concoction of herbal medicines prepared in the traditional way, is given to the woman. The woman is dressed in new clothes and jewellery used for such occasions. A big difference in the western concept of baby shower and Hindu tradition is that the Hindu ceremony is a religious ceremony to pray for the well-being of the baby. In most conservative families gifts are bought for the mother-to-be but not the baby. The baby is showered with gifts only after birth.
  • In Islam adherents are required to perform aqiqah of newly born child. This involves the sacrifice of animals. The meat is then divided in three equal parts; one for the poor and needy, one for relatives and friends which can involve inviting them at home for a feast, and finally the last part is utilized by the household itself.
  • In South Africa, a baby shower is called a stork party, and takes place typically when the mother is about 6 months pregnant. Stork parties are usually not attended by men, and South African men do not have an equivalent party of their own. The stork party is accompanied by silliness such as dressing up, and babycare related gifts are given to the mother. A stork party is often organised as a surprise without the mother’s knowledge.
  • In the United Kingdom, this is called wetting the baby’s head, and is a more common substitute to a baby shower, which is seen as a materialistic American custom.Wetting the baby’s head is traditionally when the father celebrates the birth by having a few drinks with a group of friends.
  • In Nepal baby shower is called Pasni, It is often done to the boys in 6 month of their birth and it is done to the girls in 5 months of their birth. People give money and other gifts during the baby shower.

Extroverts and Introverts

This is a topic I find very interesting-my whole family is such a mix of both introverts and extroverts! My sister-in-law Deb wrote this for her blog-thought I would share it.She and my brother own and run the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara, CA.

hearttt“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” -Audrey Hepburn

Sam and Heather arrive in marriage counseling discouraged, frustrated, and at wits’ end with one another. Heather feels like Sam has abandoned her, preferring to spend time with his friends than to be home. Sam feels like Heather doesn’t love him any more. He complains that she never talks to him about what she is feeling, and that she spends hours reading books or on the computer. They used to be happy. They wonder out loud about what has gone wrong.

Although there could certainly be many reasons for this couple’s problems, as I got to know them better, it became obvious to me–and to them–that most of their problems stemmed from a crucial difference between them. Sam is a classic extrovert and Heather an introvert. Can their marriage still work out?

Common Myths About Extroverts and Introvertsfile591303253587

Originally coined by Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist and contemporary of Sigmund Freud, these words have become part of everyday language and, unfortunately, have become quite lost in translation. Most people think that all extroverts are outgoing and all introverts are shy. The truth is more complicated.

Myth #1: You are either an extrovert or an introvert. Reality: Most people lean in one direction or the other, but other folks are almost half and half (sometimes called omniverts). Like any psychological tendency, a person can be mildly extroverted or extremely so.

Myth#2: Introverts are shy, anti-social hermits. Extroverts are friendly, outgoing and the life of the party. Reality: Many famous actors and comedians are self-reported introverts. Think of Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks. Clearly these introverted celebrities have extraordinary social skills and know how to be the life of the party. Conversely, extroverts can be socially awkward and don’t require center stage to be happy.

file000115914088Myth #3: Introverts always want to be alone, and extroverts always want to be with others. Reality: most everyone wants and flourishes in a life with a balance of time spent with others and time spent alone.

Myth #4: You can change what type you are if you really want to. Reality: We now know that this is one of the aspects of a person’s temperament that has inborn tendencies. What people can learn is to develop better social skills such as healthy communication, listening, empathy, and self-disclosure. These skills are helpful to both introverts and extroverts.

Myth #5: It is better to be one type rather than the other. Reality: Each type has strengths and weaknesses, and can be found in all lines of work.When you understand the types, you can more readily appreciate differences between you and people closest to you in your life such as partners, children, friends and co-workers.

The Psychological Distinction Between Extroversion and IntroversionYing Yang Garden Stone

Now that you understand that everyone spends time “extroverting” and “introverting,” what is the real difference? Here is what Jung really meant and what tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Gray-Wheelwright, and Keirsey Temperament Sorter are measuring. (Note: All these tests measure other dimensions as well such as Thinking vs. Feeling, not covered in this blog).

1. What is your natural preference for where to direct your time, attention and energy? Think about choices you make effortlessly, that feel comfortable and natural–not what you think you are supposed to do. Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (extravert), or in your inner world of ideas and images (introvert)? Do you often think while you speak (extravert) or typically think before you speak (introvert)?

2. What kinds of activities provide you with energy, helping you to recharge your battery? Imagine you have a job where you work with lots of people or you have just been at a social gathering, do you feel energized (extravert) or do you need to spend quiet alone time to feel refreshed (introvert)? Conversely, when you spend time all alone, do you get bored and drained (extrovert) or do you feel refreshed and ready to be with people again (introvert)?

How Does Knowing This Help Your Marriage?file6881303933013

Let’s go back to Sam and Heather…By learning and swapping stories about their differences, Sam and Heather realized that they had been drawn together originally because of the very differences that were now causing them trouble. Heather had fallen in love with Sam’s openness, and appreciated that he encouraged her to make new friends and do things that she had never done before. Being with Heather, Sam had learned to reflect more about his ideas and behavior which had kept him out of trouble on a number of occasions.

Once they both realized that their partner’s behavior was a natural reflection of personality, they stopped taking each other’s differences so personally. They also stopped being so judgmental and critical of the other. They gave each other more space to engage in the activities that they now understood were healthy outlets, albeit different. They also began to think of other family members in a more forgiving light, realizing they had been making judgments without taking into account how introverts and extroverts were hiding in their midst.

 

Trivia Night

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If you are looking for a great party idea, this is it. We had a Trivia Night at our Yacht Club the other night.Spearheaded by a very clever person here, there was a committee of 12 people that came up with questions ranging from “Every breed of dog except one has a pink tongue.What breed is it?” (chow) to many geographical questions which had most people stumped.We also asked questions such as “what part of the blue crab is colored blue?”(the claws) “What fitness guru appeared as a meatball in a TV commercial?”(Richard Simmons)
Each of the 12 teams of 8 people had a white board. They chose one secretary for each table. The question would be asked and they had 30 seconds to confer and to answer-holding up their respective white boards. For each correct answer they received two points. At the end of the evening,we had a bonus round which took names of families in our community and had the reverse name..for instance the word “emptier” meant FULLER…”tactful”….BLUNT and so on.
The prize at the end of the evening was a really creative owl(for wisdom,of course) that the organizer found and made a stand for.The thought is that every other year we will hold a Trivia Night and the winning team will have their names on the trophy for all to see in years to come.We also made five baskets filled with fun games,candies,chips and drinks and raffled those off at the end of the evening.

Bridal Shower History

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Having just given a bridal shower for a very dear friend’s daughter this weekend with a couple of friends and the bride’s sister,I started wondering what the history is of bridal showers. This is what I found out:

Bridal showers in the earlier eras were very different from what they are today. The modern-day celebration of this old custom is marked with fun, fiesta, food and favors, and sums up as one complete farewell bash for the bride. However, bridal showers weren’t one such gala affair in the past.
This custom, which traces its roots and origin back to 16th century Holland, was initiated as an alternative to the dowry system, where friends and families brought small favors for the bride to help her begin with her married life. If the mother of the bride was too poor to afford a dowry, or if the father was opposed to the alliance, then the friends of the bride would bring her small gifts to make up for the dowry and help her walk down the aisle with the man of her choice.
In fact, there is a very interesting Dutch legend on bridal showers, which narrates the story of a young Dutch girl of high standing who fell in love with a miller’s son. She was so smitten by the young lad that she wanted to marry him, even though her family was opposed to the alliance owing to the boy’s poor standing. Her father wanted her to marry a wealthy pig farmer and threatened to withhold her dowry if she disobeyed him. However, when her friends and the village folks learned about it, they insisted on bringing her gifts to fill in for the dowry and help her begin her married life. It’s said that the father of the bride was so touched by this sweet gesture that he agreed to the marriage and also dished out a hefty dowry to bless the new couple. Since then, it has been a custom for the would-be-brides family and friends to shower her with gifts before she embarks on a new journey, namely -marriage.
Bridal showers became a part of elite United States culture in the late Victorian Era, when ladies of high social standing organized bridal showers to fete would be brides. These ladies held bridal showers, regardless of the need of the bride, to gather and gossip and exchange thoughts, ideas and have fun. Plus, the brides didn’t mind getting a few special items to mark off their new roles as wives either.
Although a bridal shower was an alien custom to the English, it became quite a rage in USA during the 1930s. The bridal showers of the early to mid 20th Century were simpler affairs as compared to their modern day avatars. Gifts were more modest and usually included a collection of kitchen implements, a single plate, table linen etc.