The st(ring) theory — brought to you by the old wives

Yesterday hubs and I went to visit at my mom’s apartment, because we were having a family lunch with cousins who were in town and other cousins that live much closer but we still don’t see a lot. Along for the ride were the new generation (as it currently stands), which is weird and beautiful at the same time. Six grown women, three babies, one second grader, and my husband as the lone grown man (he handles it well though — to be honest, the men are typically outnumbered in my family). And we were happy to be together, to play with the kids, to coo over the newest baby, to speculate over the baby-to-be that I’m growing at the moment.

One of my cousins brought up the ring trick and swore that every time she did it, it gave her the same results and she was certain it was right. Like me, she went through a miscarriage before her baby boy was born last January and she said that prior to the miscarriage the results for her were girl-boy-girl, and that after the miscarriage the results changed to boy-girl. So she did this trick to one of my other cousins who has two-under-two, and the results were girl-boy, which is indeed the order of her children. Then she did it to herself to further demonstrate, and then of course it was my turn.

It was explained like this: If the ring on a string goes circular, it means you’re having a boy. If it swings side to side, it means you’re having a girl. If either movement is very large in execution, it means twins. If it doesn’t really move, it means no more babies. And the idea is you can keep doing until the ring-on-a-string says no more.

I didn’t really buy into it, but it seemed quirky and fun so I let her do it. As she began, my aunt walked in and asked what was happening, to which hubs deadpanned, “Some sort of satanic Wiccan ritual.” Ha!

The first time it went circular and they all crowed “boy!”. The second time it stopped, which my cousin proclaimed meant I would only have one child. I know it may seem stupid and illogical, but my heart skipped a little at that. I have always planned on more than one child. At least two, so my children had a “person”. And I know, that after March baby is born, eventually we will start trying for another. So to hear her say the stars and fates or whatever only give me one child, my thoughts immediately went to — Oh, God. All my other babies will die. All this processing and these thoughts happened maybe within a 15 second time span, and I tried to outwardly laugh it off and said, “Well, we’ll just adopt a second one then!”

But it bothered me. And I was very uncomfortable that it bothered me, because I knew it was just an old wives’ tale. A ring on a string cannot accurately predict anything! But it rankled me enough that later that night I did it to myself. Now, I should tell you; before I did it, I looked up the tale to be sure I have the results right. Here’s the thing. Different articles/posts/experiences contradicted what meant what as far as ring movement and where to suspend the string. Some said circle = boy/lateral = girl, others said the completed opposite. Some said you had to hold it over a hand, others said over the pregnant belly, others said they were interchangeable. Which made me feel marginally better, since it was so inconsistent.

But I still tried it anyway. First time was circular, just like before. Second time, it initially stopped, like before as well. But I held the string over my hand longer, and eventually it started to move again — lateral. (To which I thought, of course! I mean gravity and laws of physics have to be exerting some force on this experiment.) The third time, it was still, and it stayed still no matter how long I continued to hold it.

I was partially satisfied with my little foray into the ritual, but it still bothered me that it bothered me in the first place.

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