Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official! We’re expecting a tiny little cube abandoner of our own! The little guy (or gal) will be here late this July. We’re planning on having the baby in Beijing, China.
If ultrasound pictures don’t gross you out, one of out little babe is below.
One of the most interesting (and comically frustrating) aspects of staying in China for the pregnancy and birth is that it’s 2012. Many of you think of this as the year the Mayan calendar said we’d all bite the dust. In Asia, 2012 is the glorious Year of the Dragon. This is the single most fortuitous time in the Chinese zodiac to have a baby. Thus, anyone who could wait to have a child has done so aiming to have it born in 2012. Their baby will be bold, wealthy, decisive, confident and lucky. On the other hand, there are some downsides to being born in the glorious Year of the Dragon.
For one, these kids will be hugely disadvantaged. Starting with their birth. Hospitals are all pre-booked (like hotel rooms) and already sold out. All the good (local, Chinese) hospitals are booked. In order to have a prayer at a slot you have to opt for a C-section so they can time your short stay in the much-coveted (and lucrative) hospital bed. This is forcing folks who could afford better care but didn’t get into the system in time to opt for lesser-quality care. This is forcing us to run all over the city like crazy people trying to find a space in a hospital somewhere.
The second disadvantage is the huge amount of competition that these kids will face. Beijing expects an additional 200,000 babies this year over last, which they attribute to migration and the zodiac, much of the former being attributed to new families or expectant families. Already the cost of a nanny has jumped drastically in anticipation of the increase in kids. The price of diapers, milk powder and toys are all jumping up… and not marginally.
When these kids turn 6 the schools will not be equipped to handle the sudden surge over the previous year’s attendance. When they reach high-school age, they will have to compete to get into the good schools. When they hit college, the competition will be more fierce than previous years, or the following few years. Essentially, once every decade one group of supposedly lucky kids will be hugely disadvantaged by increased competition and a lack of resources.
Still, for us we’re watching the chaos with a shrug of the shoulders. This will all make for a hell of a story someday, and of course our kid won’t be raised in China so the disadvantages only extend to him/her insofar as finding a hospital for the birth and the first year’s baby necessities. And the surge in pregnant women in the city is noticeable and, clearly, strange.
We’re excited about our new family member coming this summer and look forward to meeting the little kid and showing him/her around Beijing.
Mike & Lauren