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Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Million Euro Baby

Population of Greece: 10,668,354 ..... + 1

Yesterday, I became an aunt for the second time. I now have a beautiful little niece who will make it next to impossible for me to pass a baby store without finding at least 127 things that I will convince myself to buy for her.

I like to think that I am a practical woman. Anything I buy must be good value, good quality and of course, useful. However, when it comes to babies, practicality takes a back seat to fluffy, colourful sleeper sets and little dresses with Walt Disney glitterized cartoons emblazoned on the front. I know babies aren't toys or pets. I understand that. And even though I have worked amongst the conniving forces who market and advertise these non-essential and often overpriced items to consumers, I still succumb to their machinations. The only thing I can say in my defence is that I don't substitute necessity for style. A baby's safety and comfort come first and then I load up on the non-essentials like Weebok sneakers before she can even walk.

The birth of a new baby anywhere in the westernized world is expensive even if you are immune to guerilla advertising tactics. In Greece, probably even more so. Most Greek parents will pay several thousand euros in cash bribes to their doctor even though their healthcare insurance covers the delivery and hospital fees.

The other costly difference is naming the baby. Babies are not named until they are baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church which usually happens in the baby's first year (unlike in Canada where they like to have the baby named and his/her birth registration forms filled out before you even leave the hospital). Baptisms are usually costly affairs involving many expenses. Most of my friends have paid anywhere from 3000-7000€ for the often lavish event. In a year's time, my brother-in-law will be paying for invitations, caterers, the christening outfit and bonbonieres, lambades (candles) and the priest before "το μωρό" (the baby) receives her official christian name. Since the guests will be bringing gifts in honour of the baby's baptism, she will be outfitted and spoiled with toys well into her third birthday.

Of all the celebrations in life, the birth of a baby is the one I enjoy most and I'm so happy that Greeks believe it too. Yes, babies are expensive but I consider the money spent on them is just a symbol of the love people feel towards them. It's wonderful knowing that my niece will grow up in a country where she will be loved by family and doted on by affectionate Greeks.

We will also be going through this wallet draining ritual as well very soon. But, as you say, it's worth it when it comes to our little one.

zardoz says :

seems nice to see some blogging on children and the article ms seawitch was very warm ..all over
almost fuzzy.

been some time since fuzzy.

=== zardoz ===

Congratulations to you and the new parents.

And as an aunt it's your duty to buy cute outfits. She's only going to be a baby once. I LOVE those Weeboks :-)

Germans spend quite a bit on christenings as well, inviting friends and family and putting on a big spread, usually when the baby is around 5 months old, but it sounds much more elaborate in Greece.

scruff...Not only will it be worth it, it'll be a lot of fun for everyone. Baptisms bring families together...the cousins living in Kalamata who you never get to see or friends who you lost touch with over the years. You should blog your baby's baptism. :-)

zardoz...It's quite the change for me isn't it? I usually don't do the warm fuzzy feeling blogs because I find politics and current events much more interesting. And besides, it's not every day I see a newborn baby. I saw her last night and she is positively beautiful.

christina...Thanks! I bought her a car seat on Tuesday so now I'm off the hook and will buy those little Weeboks I saw last month. Who knows? Maybe she'll be the miracle baby who will start walking by the end of her first month.LOL

Na sas zhsei!
Congratulations on your newborn little niece!

I wish the law regarding "naming" the baby would change. Babies should leave the maternity hospitals not as "male/female baby [insert random surname]" until they are baptized or legally named. They should be given a formal "First Name" immediately. That underline should be officially filled, thus granting baby a full name in the new world. Baptisms and christenings can be dealt with ease later when and if the parents prefer.
I have a lot of friends who baptized their children after their second or third birthdays and it was weird suddenly swtiching to a real name from "Baby".

Oh well, on a lighter note: I may not be an avid window shopper but I always come to a full stop outside a baby clothes shop. I can't stop myself making annoying cutsie noises "Awwwww, look at those tenny-weeny shoesies. Look at that cutie-wootie dressy". Family or friends accompanying me slowly scoot away like they don't know me.

Flubber: I know what you mean. The neighbor lady who's 25 still is called "Beba" by the neighbors occasionally although that's not her name. I think I'm one of the only ones who calls her by her given name exclusively and she seems to appreciate it.

Congrats on being a new auntie! I wish my brother-in-law and his wife would get busy and make me an aunt!

Hello SeaWitch,
may I link to your blog on my blog?
I'm at http://caffefranje.blogspot.com.

If you'd rather I didn't, just say so, no hard feelings.

Flubber...I can't get used to calling a baby just "bebe" either. I always ask the parents what they're going to name the baby and then I start using that name. If they don't know the name, then I just add "oula" or "aki" to one of the parents' name and call the baby that. LOL

Mel...Start sending your B-I-L and his wife Anne Geddes products. If that doesn't make them want a baby, I don't know what will. hehe

Franje...By ALL means link to my blog! I thrive on publicity! LOL Thanks for asking. :-)

SW: Congrats! Babies are precious in this Greek culture -- maybe TOO precious sometimes, LOL! No, seriously, you're right to point to the great celebration of the "vaftisia" (the christening) as an opportunity for bonding with family and friends. For all its many problems, Greek society retains characteristics that make things a little more human and bearable. Pamper your niece and enjoy it!


Witchy...please give your bro-in-law and his wife my sincerest congratulations. (And kiss the baby for me too!)

When am I going to be an aunt again huh? HUH????? Why can't you and Mr. Witch give ME another niece/nephew???? I know the parents want more grandbabies. So make us happy...and GET BUSY.

Love you lots...
xoxoxoxoxoxo HRH QUEEN BEE

Congrats !!! Wow you are an Auntie again :-) I agree with HRH Queen Bee,, when will you and your hubby be giving us another nephew/neice?I think it is LONGGGGG overdue so get cracking with those eggs SeaWitch lol
Love Ya

Nice baby. I always concern about baby's clothing. In winter I take special care for them.

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