Early on, ok really early on, according to Chinese customs, Michelle’s mom and dad encouraged her to start eating right and to get ready for being pregnant. Now, this was alarming to me since we had just gotten married and weren’t even thinking about babies… So right away at dinner time my mother in law would encourage, well strongly encourage, Michelle to eat foods that I thought were both not good for people to eat and not edible. At times we would be eating some meat, not an unspeakable meat just a normal meat I don’t remember clearly, and then she was told to eat the fat part of it. When I saw this, I would jump up like my mom and dad and tell her, “Hey, don’t eat that stuff…that’s bad for you! That will make you fat?!!” Well, that was the point! Two points for Cliff’s correct guess.
The non-edible item that I witnessed my wife consume were the pork bones that were left over from some really good soup. Michelle actually didn’t eat them but she put them into her mouth and sucked the juices and tore them apart like a wild jackal. She did all this with mom and dad’s approving looks and her husbands blank stare… and wide open mouth. This was yet another thing that Michelle was told, by her mother and from thousands and thousands of years of Chinese baby making history, that you just do because this will be good for the baby. What can I say?? I trust them.
Fish is a big thing for pregnant women. The western books even say that fish is a good source of vital nutrients for the baby. But they do fish here in China in a different way. Of course. I don’t think I’ve ever had a filet here in China. Everything is included, head and tails and fins and all. Even the eyes seem to look at you and tell you, “I’d rather be swimming in the Yangtze river…” I can’t tell you how many fishes I’ve eaten since coming to Shanghai and especially since I’ve married into a Shanghai family. Michelle’s favorite classification of food is SEAFOOD. I’ve eaten more shrimp this past year then I’ve ever eaten in my life. But the fish for these pregnant girls doesn’t stop. We eat it all the time. I was never a big fish fan in America but now I actually kind of like fish, if I can find the meat amidst the deadly bones that lurk in every clump of fishy flesh. Be it soup or sweet and sour or whatever… the fish in Shanghai is great! Another good thing about having a pregnant wife!!
Eggs are another item on the menu here in Shanghai. But not the normal egg, oh no no. I was introduced to the Pigeon egg early on in Michelle’s pregnancy. This is smaller than the normal egg and has a few characteristics that differ from a normal egg. The big difference other than the size is the black splotches all over the egg. I made an omelet with the pigeon eggs but I had to use a few just to get to the normal size omelet. Little did I know, but these pigeon eggs are a bit steep when it comes to buying a few in the market. According to my father in law who searched all over his district for an honest pigeon egg seller, he said that one pigeon egg was about 3 yuan for each egg. Now for those of you in America, this comes to about 35 cents or so but I have to say, 3 yuan for one egg is a rip off big time. Especially because they are so small! A normal egg in Shanghai, according to my wife, is about 5 mao each, which comes out to about 6 cents in America. Orignally I thought dad was cheated like I normally am when I go to the market. But no, this is the price, this is the price for a special egg for pregnant girls. These needed to be purchased to show the love for his daughter and my wife. Much appreciated DAD!! Our cousin from an island near Shanghai even came with a really special delivery early on when they heard that Michelle was with child. He came with a Werther’s Original tin. I was like, “wow, this kid is cool! He came and brought us some candy. My MAN!!! Not so good for a pregnant girl but it’s good for me!” Then he opened it. It was filled with saw dust. I was disappointed until we sifted through them and found the tin filled with tons of pigeon eggs. The real thing! These were fresh from the country side… Thank YOU Cousin!!
My wife wanted to add, that this is normal here. Take it with a grain of salt. I am learning as I go along. I object sometimes, but when stuff tastes so good, how can I object?
On to Month 4.