Old World Theories of Disease
My mother in law, who recently immigrated from Moscow, berated us over the phone tonight for bringing my toddler child up and down the stairs. It made him hot and cold and that caused his pneumonia, which he has thankfully recovered from quite quickly.
While she lived with us over the winter and spring she constantly scolded us for not wearing shoes if we took one step outside. We would get very sick.
Also, we were to massage toddler child's earlobes daily. If we do that, it will make his immunity strong and he will never get sick. She talked a lot about immunity. Some of it made sense, like stress weakens it. But it seems to me from her descriptions that it was more of a psychic entity within her than the multitude of processes we understand it to be.
Another interesting activity I saw her engage in was dressing for the season. This sounds reasonable, except that in this case it was governed by the calendar. She would wear a thick coat and take toddler child out in his furred snowsuit when it was 50F outside before March 21. At 60F, his lighter coat was okay. After March 21, she rarely used the lighter coat at the same 50F temperatures, and herself just a sweater or nothing.
I had heard of this kind of strict calendar adherence, but had thought it was not practiced anymore.
Various other activities have demonstrated to me that she has a very poor idea of germ theory.
This extremely fastidious woman has wiped my child's face with the cloth she just used to wipe the floor. Now, I know it won't kill him. I'm the mom who let him play with a worm, and lets him play in the dirt while I garden. But it still bugged me. I've seen her wash out a toilet a child was sick in, with her bare hands and a rag in the water, with an illness that had already proven to be contagious. The toilet brush was inches away. Not suprisingly, she got sick 24 hours later. It was her poor immune system, from being stressed out, she told us.
Bleach is for making things beautifully white, she has purposefully demostrated to me with the cleaning products I purchased. But it apparently doesn't need to be used on the counter that just had raw chicken juice all over it. A swipe with the three day old sink rag will fix that problem.
Okay, I've vented a little bit. There are a lot of good things about this woman, but her supersitions have driven me slightly batty.
The milk and I both agree that his mother, who we talk to much more regulary now, won't be hearing a lot about our children's illnesses. There is not much she can do about them but worry much more than is necessary (thus depleting her immune system), talk about it incessantly with my brother in law (thus depleting his immune system), and berate us for some strange negligence that doesn't make any sense.