After some rainy time with typhoons either hitting or threatening to land in Taiwan, the last few days have been bright and clear. Perfect weather for going outside for a walk. Unless you are in the middle of doing Chinese postpartum confinement (zuo yuezi).
Every day I gaze out my bedroom window onto the palm trees outside my apartment. The last few days have been like something out of a brochure for a tropical getaway. Late afternoon is the best, as the palm fronds casting golden glints as they sway. And the pool area, on the other side of the building, is an inviting oasis in the hot weather.
Of course I can only look outside with envy. One of the golden rules of postpartum confinement is though shalt not leave the house. I did break this rule early on when I went out during a typhoon to visit and then bring my baby back from hospital (he had an extended stay due to jaundice). And according to some schools of thought, it is okay to go out from time to time so long as there is no wind. (Alas, today is windy.)
Up until now, not being able to leave the house has not really bothered me because I have been happy to stay home and rest. Most days I give me incredibly kind and patient husband a list of things we need to buy or do, and he goes out on errands. Yesterday he even went into my office for me to do some admin. But today my toddler is home with a nasty cough, baby keeps crying and the apartment upstairs is being renovated. So in between the hacking coughs, protests about taking medicine, baby crying and loud drilling and jackhammering overhead, the thought of disappearing to a quiet tea house somewhere seems appealing. Very appealing.
But I did resolve to see confinement through, so along with no-washing, I will remain at home. I did, however, treat myself to watching a DVD: a rare luxury for me, as I seldom watch TV or movies (once I start, I can’t stop). And maybe I will stick some earphones in this afternoon and listen to some relaxing music or an e-book. Perhaps I should invest in earplugs.
I do wonder, though, about the long-term health impact of remaining indoors. Surely a certain dose of sunshine each day is important for ensuring vitamin D? I have read about some office-workers experiencing vitamin D deficiency because they drive to work pre-dawn and leave after sunset. With zuo yuezi, some women stay indoors for 45 days or longer. Do they develop vitamin D deficiency, or do they find a way around it?
Of course I could just find a sunny corner somewhere and sit down for a while. Except our apartment is not positioned in the right direction to catch the afternoon sun. We do, however, get a small amount in the morning and we like to wheel Taiwanxifu baby in front of the window so that he can get a little sun — important for helping to prevent the return of his jaundice. Usually this is when I am catching up on missed sleep from the night before, but perhaps I should reorient my schedule.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be quieter. Fingers crossed.