A couple days after Josie’s first birthday she participated in an activity organized by Les Enphants held at Taichung’s Chung Hsing University. We signed Josie up for the crawling competition and the Zhua Zhou activity [抓周]. There were also a few activities for toddlers. The event was very well organized and we found the staff extremely helpful and professional.
It was a short wait before Josie’s turn so we let her do a few laps on the stage to warm-up. Just prior to the beginning of the competition she seemed pretty eager to crawl across the mat. However, when the race began she only crawled about a meter or so. All the toys we waved and encouraging words we yelled from the finish line weren’t enough to coax her into continuing. That’s still further than anyone else in the group with the exception of two babies who were disqualified after standing up and running to the finish line.
We missed our number for the Zhua Zhou activity, but we were squeezed in another group after a short wait. Zhua Zhou [which literally translates to “pick” and “anniversary”] is an activity held on a child’s first birthday. In the activity, objects are placed on a tray and the object a child picks can indicate his or her future career and personality traits.
The tradition, said to have started during the Three Kingdoms period, arose following the death of Sun He, the prince of the Eastern Wu Kingdom. His father, the emperor Sun Quan, grew worried about which of his grandsons would succeed him, so a Wu citizen named Jing Yang suggested he place a few items on a plate and ask each of his grandsons to pick something. Sun Hao grabbed a bamboo slip – an ancient form of Chinese paper – in one hand, and an imperial belt – symbolizing royal power – in another. Both were deemed fortuitous choices that led to him being chosen as the new emperor. [The Zhua Zhou Way]
The meanings behind some items are pretty straight-forward while others require some knowledge of Chinese language or culture to understand:
- Measuring Tape – Designer / Architect
- Sword – Law Enforcement / Soldier
- Green Onion – Intelligent [green onion (蔥 cōng) and intelligent (聰 cōng) are homophones]
- Stethoscope – Doctor
- Abacus – Businessperson
- Chicken – Won’t have to worry about food
- Yuanbao [(元寶) money used in ancient China] – A life of fortune
- Book – Scholar
- Calligraphy Pen – Writer
- Stamp – Civil Servant
- Peanuts – Long Life
- Microphone – Entertainer
- Celery – Industrious [celery (芹 qín) and industrious (勤 qín) are homophones]
Our daughter picked the peanuts first followed by the stamp. After waving both around for a brief period of time she decided to set down the stamp followed by the peanuts. Afterwards, she picked up two microphones [for some reason our tray had two] and banged them together for a while. She soon grew bored of the microphones and settled again for the peanuts.
Stamp + Microphone = Politician?
Josie didn’t show much competitive drive during the crawling competition and didn’t seem thrilled during the zhua zhou activity. She was most excited as she cheered and laughed at the sight of a person in an elephant costume walking by on our way out.
Josie having fun at Jhongsing Park. One thing we noticed while taking the baby to the park is that parents of more than one child and grandparents are very encouraging to allow their children and grandchildren to play with other children, while young couples with only one child are extremely cold towards other people’s children and encourage their children to play by themselves.
I finally registered Comic Life 2.
Our daughter Josie likes her Very Hungry Caterpillar toy almost as much as the sound of her voice. Lately she’s been entertaining herself by making sounds whether we’re talking to her or not. She is usually in a chatty mood for about a half an hour to an hour two to three times a day.
Photograph 1 – This picture was taken during the fortieth week of Cathy’s pregnancy outside a restaurant in Jhongsing Village. I had a dream the previous night that her water would break while we were eating in the cafe and I would need to rush her to the hospital [which wouldn’t take long, as the hospital is less than a kilometer away]. The dream didn’t come true – most likely because we ate in a restaurant two doors down from the cafe.
Photograph 2 – Under our doctor’s advice, we went to the hospital on the morning of Wednesday, December 1 – the beginning of the forty-first week of Cathy’s pregnancy to induce labor. Around noon on Thursday, December 2, it became clear that induction wasn’t working. We had a brief meeting with our doctor and agreed that a cesarean would be the best option to ensure a healthy delivery for our baby. After about an hour of sitting in the waiting room, nervously looking up every time the door opened, our daughter Josephine was carried to me by one of the nurses. She weighed in at 7.8 pounds and shares a birthday with my mother.
Photograph 3 – Josephine waits in the newborn center while Cathy is under supervision after the surgery.
Photograph 4 – Everyone says she looks just like me. What do you think?