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How to deal with jealousy of a new baby

Updated on May 14, 2012
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A story on how to help your older child to deal with the jealousy of a new baby in the family

Baby shower is a celebration of a new family addition before the baby is born. But Chinese give a red egg and ginger party after the baby is born.

Xiao Ding and his Baby Sister's Red Egg and Ginger Party

“Yay! Party today! I am ready, Mama. Can we go now?” Xiao Ding zoomed into the kitchen. He remembered they were having a red egg and ginger party today for his baby sister, Lulu. Mama told him there would be a lot of balloons and kids just like on his fourth birthday last year.

“Oh, no, you are much too early. It’s only seven o’clock. The party won’t start until eleven,” Mama smiled at Xiao Ding as she busily put some fruits and incense at the altar.

“We will leave early to decorate the restaurant,” Mama cheered when she saw Xiao Ding frozen there with his lips sealed tight.

When they got to the restaurant, Aunt Lily was tying up balloons to the backs of each chair.

“Let me help you put up the balloons, Aunt Lily,” Xiao Ding offered as he ran up to her.

“I am tying up the last balloon. But you can help me put the flowers on each table,” Aunt Lily suggested.

“Sure.” Xiao Ding started helping right away.

Xiao Ding was just about to ask Mama why no one had arrived yet when he heard someone call his name. There were his favorite cousins, Mei Mei and Yin Yin, walking into the restaurant with presents.

“Let’s play!” Xiao Ding exclaimed. He jumped up and down with a big smile, flapping his arms like a bird. But his cousins wanted to see Lulu first.

Xiao Ding sat down on a chair swinging his legs back and forth, waiting. More people arrived with their children and presents. They chatted with Mama and Papa, then went to see Lulu. No one seemed to notice Xiao Ding at all.

“Grrr. I don’t like this party.” Xiao Ding jumped to his feet wanting to go home. But just then he spotted something interesting on each table.

“Xiao Ding, what are you doing?” Aunt Lily caught him climbing on a table.

“I want a red ball,” Xiao Ding replied.

“Those are eggs, not balls,” Aunt Lily explained.

“Why are these eggs red? Do they come from red chickens?” Xiao Ding asked with his eyes wide open.

“No,” Aunt Lily chuckled. “These are just regular eggs. We dyed them red because red is a lucky color to the Chinese.”

“And the ginger,” Aunt Lily pointed at another bowl. “We believe ginger has the power to stop sickness. According to Chinese tradition, red eggs and gingerare always presented when we celebrate a new baby. It is a special way for wishing that a baby has good health and fortune.”

“Can I have a red egg?” Xiao Ding asked.

“Of course you can. Let me help you crack it,” Aunt Lily offered.

“No. I don’t want to eat it now. I just want to hold it.” Xiao Ding planned on rolling the egg on the floor just like a ball. But Aunt Lily knew his intentions and insisted he either ate the egg now or put the egg back in the bowl.

Having nothing to play with, Xiao Ding wandered toward the table that was now filled with presents. He picked up a present and shook it with both hands.

Aunt Lily followed Xiao Ding over to the table and stopped him.

“I wanted to know if there was a car or truck inside,” Xiao Ding whispered.

“All these presents are for Lulu. I don’t think there is a car or truck inside.”

“I DON’T LIKE THIS PARTY!” Xiao Ding threw the present back on the table.

“What’s wrong?” Mama rushed over and asked.

“I want to go home,” he sobbed.

“Xiao Ding, let’s play now,” Mei Mei and Yin Yin called out.

Without a minute to lose, Xiao Ding and his cousins started running between tables, chasing each other, and jumping up and down trying to poke at the balloons. Mama went back to greet the guests and to show off Lulu. Papa was busy setting up a microphone on the stage. Aunt Lily promised Mama to help and keep an eye on Xiao Ding. But as more and more guests arrived, Aunt Lily could only spot him here and there. Xiao Ding giggled with his cousins as they played hide and seek with Aunt Lily.

Talking, laughing, and babies’ cries soon filled the restaurant. The noise rose louder and louder as if it could almost break the ceiling when suddenly they heard a “Pang!” Everyone followed the loud noise, and there was Xiao Ding standing on a chair with his hand frozen in the air holding a chopstick.

Papa rushed over and took Xiao Ding down from the chair. After checking Xiao Ding and seeing that everything was fine except for the popped balloon, he apologized to the guests and dragged Xiao Ding back to his seat.

“You will sit still here from now on,” Papa ordered. He took a handful of napkins to dry Xiao Ding’s sweaty head.

After Papa’s speech, the waiters started serving the food, one dish at a time for nine dishes. Xiao Ding was hungry now from all the running. He hardly chewed his food before swallowing it. By the time the fifth dish arrived to the table, Xiao Ding was too full to take another bite.

“We need to take some pictures with our guests.” Papa stopped Xiao Ding as he was trying to slide down from his chair. “You can have a balloon now.”

Mama picked up Lulu from her carrier while Papa held Xiao Ding’s hand. Together they went from table to table to take pictures with their guests.

“WOW!” a smiling guest said to Xiao Ding. “You’re a big brother now.”

“What a handsome boy he is!” another guest commented.

Xiao Ding smiled shyly.

The party wrapped up after the lotus syrup dessert. Aunt Lily said “lotus” in Chinese is a homonym meaning to continue with having another baby.

When they arrived home, Xiao Ding did not volunteer to help carry the presents into the house like he usually would. He took his balloon to the living room and sat down on the couch quietly.

“Is there something wrong?” Mama asked softly.

Xiao Ding hesitated for a second, then asked, “When can I have my Red Egg and Ginger party?”

“You already had one.” Mama smiled and kissed him on his forehead.

“I don’t remember having one,” Xiao Ding said in disbelief.

“Do you know who this baby is?” Mama asked as she opened an album and pointed to a baby in a picture.

“Me,” Xiao Ding replied. He remembered seeing this picture before. He also recognized most of the people in the pictures with him.

“What else do you see in this picture?”

“Presents!” Xiao Ding exclaimed.

“That is right. These are the presents you got from your Red Egg and Ginger party.”

Xiao Ding smiled broadly. “Can I have another Red Egg and Ginger party?”

“No, Xiao Ding. Each person can only have one. And it only happens after a baby reaches a month old. That is why the party is so precious and special. You have a whole album to remind you of that.”

Xiao Ding nodded in agreement.

“Do you want to help me carry the presents in now?” Mama asked.

“YES!” Xiao Ding jumped to his feet and raced Mama to the garage, laughing.

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    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thanks Julie. Great you enjoyed it! :)

    • profile image

      julie 5 years ago

      I enjoyed reading about the red egg and ginger party! I did not know about this tradition until reading your story. Well told!

      Julie

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you tillsontitan for stopping by and your compliment. Have a great day! :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Poor Xiao Ding! What a beautiful way you have a re-telling a story and bringing your traditions to life. You are a truly gifted writer. Voted up and interesting and funny! Thanks for SHARING.

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you Stephanie for stopping by and your encouraging compliment. English is my second language. It took me awhile to put my thoughts onto paper. But it's fun to write. Have a wonderful day!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      It's so interesting learning of the Chinese tradition of the red egg and ginger party for a new baby. I smiled at the older brother who was a little jealous because that's such a typical reaction of a sibling to the new baby. The mother in the story was wise to show him a photograph of his very own red egg and ginger party. Well told and interesting!

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you for stopping by. Glad you like the story. :)

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 5 years ago

      Wow, what a beautiful story! I had never heard of the red egg and ginger party. Its good to know about this new kind of party:)

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you for your compliment. I'm still learning and hopefully by reading your hubs will help improve my writing skill. Happy Valentine's day! :)

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      What a great story! And I learned about a different kind of celebration! How nice of you to share this with readers! You are a great story teller, I could visualize it all. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you Grayrayl. :)

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you Susan. :)

    • profile image

      susan lee 5 years ago

      very nice!

    • profile image

      grayrayl 5 years ago

      Hi, this is a beautiful story that shows the differences and similarities of each culture. Thank you for sharing.

    • kittyjj profile image
      Author

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Yes, it is similar to a baby shower. They both celebrate the joy of the new addition to a family, except that baby shower takes place before the baby is born, Chinese like to have their red egg and ginger party after the baby is born.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, what a lovely story, and I had never heard of the red egg and ginger party, I think its similar to what the Americans call a baby shower, but what a lovely custom! rated up! nell