A couple of weeks (months?) ago I read a really interesting post by Grace in her wonderful Arms Wide Open blog about Mexican baby raising myths and let me tell you it had me laughing and blushing. As a new Jewish Mexican mommy ´ve gotten a double dose of weird advice. My grandmother is obsessed with Lu always wearing socks and when her babysitter saw me swaddling her she told it was a good thing we live in the city because if not the swaddle wouldn´t leave her hand free to fight the gnomes (wicked little man?) that attack little babies. And she was perfectly serious.
I always let my mom and mother in law dry Lu´s hair throughly after her bath because sleeping with damp hair will give her a cold. Lu´s stroller has a small silver hamsah hand attached to the handle to ward off the evil eye and thankfully when someone talks about how wonderful Lu is my family just mimics spitting sounds (tuy,tuy, tuy) instead of actually spitting on her. I´ve seen Jewish grandmas actually spit on babies. Like real saliva. Lu also has a Hebrew name even tough we are far, far from religious.
However, my daughter sleeps on her back (or slept before she started rolling around her crib) even if this freaks most mexicans out, she doesn´t wear socks or hats most of the time, she goes to bed with damp hair when her grandmothers don´t bathe her and uses the silver hamsah hand as a teether.
At first all this myths exasperated me or made me angry but as Lu gets older I´ve realized that this myths go hand in hand with weekly, noisy, huge family comidas in which I get to eat since Lu is handed from one set of delighted arms to another, with tons of happy volunteer babysitters, with a cool playroom in grandma´s house. To me this myths mean that Lu will grow up surrounded by two rich, colorful, yummy cultures that dote on kids and value family above anything else.