Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Can you show me your umbilical cord stump collection?

I think I'm jumping events a bit here in this new great series, but if I don't write it now the memory will grow cold and stale in my head.

Since I now am the father of a little future Office Lady, considering that little baby Sunshine is genetically 75% Japanese and we have close access and a good relation with the in-laws, I have accepted a lot of Japanese traditions without any complaints. Stuff like visiting the temple and things like that are a pretty nice tradition although we don't really see it from a religious perspective.

But sometimes it can go a bit overboard... Those of you who at some point collected babies probably know that after the umbilical cord has been cut, a small blackened stump remains at the baby's navel. This falls off after a few days. This little stump basically looks like a used snus, blackened and quite disgusting (hey, look at the picture!). When it falls off, my instinct would be to throw it away with the rest of the waste, but not the Japanese, no, they save this little biological waste product for the future.

I've been told that it's not unusual to present it to the child as a gift when they get married or become adults (age 20) as some form of symbolic gesture. The only redeeming thing I can see in this is that it could potentially save me a lot of money since I can just give that and not have to buy expensive shit (like a normal 20-something would demand...). When baby Sunshine was born and her stump dropped off, the in-laws brought out Ms. Sunshine's old waste product to gaze upon its glory (thankfully they had sense enough to indulge in this when I wasn't around, since I would assume it would be something like when they open the chest in the first Indiana Jones movie), but realizing that it had completely disintegrated into nothingness... Too bad.

In the end, I'm ok with keeping it in a box, as long as it's kept away from me and locked so it doesn't crawl up on me during the night...

14 comments:

Thomas and Sakie Gantz said...

Wow, that is gross. I'm glad they didn't make t
you admire it along with the relatives

aussiehisshou said...

I never knew about this. I just got married to a Japanese lass recently and I sincerely hope that they don't have any interest in doing this.

Corinne said...

When I gave birth in Australia my hubby collected the rotting stumpy cord and put it on the window ledge to dry out, my mum threw it out (as you would if you discovered stinking human matter.)
We ended up rummaging through the rubbish in the middle of the night to salvage it!

Mr. Salaryman said...

Gantz - Well, there was nothing left... or at least that was the story they gave me...

Aussie - Well, you should confront her now already to make sure you're given enough time to prepare for this...

Corinne - Well, your mom did the sane and rational thing there! But seriously, must've been a nightmare to find it in kitchen waste...

ThePenguin said...

Congratulations, that is the most disturbing image you have posted to date.

I believe the current Mrs. Penguin is in possession of hers, and I am pretty sure I have not seen it, and if I have, I have been pretty successful in expunging the memory.

Foggia said...

Interesting custom. I'll ask Ms. Foggia about her umbilical cord remains.
Oh, BTW, it made me think of this, for some reason.
http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081121143722AAJN4S9

illahee said...

corinne has me giggling (as usual).

the clinic where i gave birth snipped a bit of the umbilical cord off and put it in a nice little plastic box. i never had to see it. and my first born dropped his the day we left the clinic. my second born was not so considerate and on the second or third day after we brought her home, the stump fell off. i had been holding her and it fell to the floor when i stood up. my MIL just happened to be there ("helping") and INSISTED we needed to keep it. i told her we already had some. she didn't believe me. i got the little plastic box and opened it up and sure enough, there was a little blackened bit of umbilical cord. my MIL was QUITE disappointed to be wrong, shrugged her shoulders and put the extra bit with the other. i closed up the box and i can assure you, i will never open it again!

aimlesswanderer said...

Mmm, this sounds just lovely, I can think of no more attractive present for my future kids.

Just be glad they don't frame it and hang it in the dining room.

lina said...

I was supposed to keep my son's cord but I think I lost it somewhere after the second day it fell. :D

martin said...

I like the great moneysaving approach. maby you could make it an annual thing and avoid expensive presents every year.

-"The cermonial ubilical uncovering of the year! Be thankful child, no birthday gifts this year either. "

Mr. Salaryman said...

Yep, I'm sure it will become a hit if she gets married and asks us to help out with some money:

"well baby Sunshine, we won't give you any money at all for that, but I will do you one better! I will finally return that stump of yours so you can keep and nurture it for all eternity!"

Rydangel said...

it's better than the new american trend of keeping the placenta in the freezer in case some future medical need. eew gross.

Jen B said...

Oooh I'm late to this party (catching up my blog reading): congratulations!

The dried navel could make a tasty beer snack? No?

Martin said...

I´m thinking of saving my new baby moonlights umbilical cord as a future present.
Question - do I also save the rubber band attached to it scince the hospital or only the tiny stump?

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