wasn't easy. Childbirth did not mean a time when the woman would
take it easy. She would have to continue to manage the household.
Doing so meant that she had to take care not to cause a miscarriage.
If there was a concern, the woman may stay in bed for a while. One
remedy to ward off a miscarriage was to have the expectant mother to lie
in bed with a saucer of garlic on her stomach.
When it was
time for the birth to occur, other children in the family were sent to
stay with relatives. When the children returned to find a new baby,
they would be told that the baby had been found in a cabbage, the hay,
a pond, or somewhere else nearby. Sometimes they told them that someone
had brought the baby to them. Some other excuse was given to explain
why the mother, who normally worked all day, needed to stay in bed.
The baby was soon
baptized. The common names might come from a family member or Saint
(if it was born on their day). Babies were tightly wrapped and usually
had a cradle to sleep in. Instead of diapers, they used a loose wrap
they called drapeaux. Babies were not allowed to see themselves
in a mirror for their first year, to prevent them from becoming vain.
Their nails and hair were not cut that first year. To do so might
allow their wits (genie) to escape ... rendering them idiots.
There were many games
that the children played. In the winter, they'd skate on the ice.
In the summer, they'd play ball games. Other games included 'button,
button, who's got the button' (bouton), blind man's bluff (colin-maillard),
and puss in the corner (quatre-coins). Their toys were almost
always handmade ... sleds, balls, wagons, boats, etc.
There were schools
in Acadia. The first were started by clergy. As time went by,
more schools developed. But the Acadians didn't stay in school for
long. They were often needed at home for farming and other chores.
The Acadians of the Maritimes, Daigle, ed.