Ideas of my Chinese mother-in-law

I had big plans to write this weekend of our newborn baby but this plan is currently on hold as the baby is just still too fond of his current residency. I know I know it is disappointing so I have to go with plan B for this weekend’s blog post.

Remember when I wrote about my mother-in-law and her adventures at the airport? For a normal human being this would be already a highlight for some time but not for her, oh no, she just continues with weird things. Now it is not anymore the way she does things but those really weird ideas she gets and proposes to us. Here I give you a short list of only the past two days of her ideas:

Mother-in-law just loves this UHT milk


  • Buy several boxes of milk and take them to China. She trusts the milk more here than the one she can buy in the Chinese stores. When we told her the milk will be expired by the time she arrives she said “It will be still better than the Chinese milk”, well, what should I add except of also the difficulty when it comes to the weight of several boxes of milk in her luggage and not to speak of the customs later on…


  • Buy a bread knife so she can cut bread back home in China. This one makes again no sense at all since the only bread she ever eats is the one you usually toast so it is already sliced into pieces.


  • Buy a spoon measurement set for baking. This could be useful in case she would actually ever bake something.


  • Buy a cappuccino foam maker. According to mother in law this is something rich people have. With this she can make cappuccino from now on when her friends are visiting so everything is very classy. Note: she does not ever drink coffee or cappuccino or any other kind of drink like that.


Similar Ikea cabinet she wants to take to China


  • Buy some cabinets from Ikea.  Yep, she really believes that you can fold them so they don’t take any space in your luggage and they weigh nothing at all (the set she looked at clocks in at around 25-50 kg) besides that my parents in law don’t even have any tools to drill holes into the wall to fasten them. But no worries mother in law said, her husband will just clue them to the wall or something like that (reminds me of the non-existing DIY skills of many Chinese I have met so far).


  • When you take hot shower the baby won’t come out. The temperature will scare the baby and delay the birth and this is why my wife is already a week overdue.


  • Small dirty items you can just put into plastic bags and throw them into the microwave. Reminds me very much of last year when she tried to make rice in the microwave which resulted in half melted Tupperware container and lots of acrid smell.

I believe there are still many more ideas but I simply forgot about them due to the high amount. Whenever something crazy happens I try to take note but mostly I simply forget about it. Now the waiting time continues and I hope to get some baby article done next weekend (surely he wants to be out by then, I mean it can’t be that comfortable there, can it?)



Have you ever experienced such ideas from your parents, family or friends?


16 thoughts on “Ideas of my Chinese mother-in-law”

  1. None of the ideas are crazy to me…, does that mean I am already crazy? 😛

    The milk scandals really hurt, a lot. The basic faith of consumer in Chinese products was almost entirely shattered. It also shattered any vague notions that Chinese government is really out there to protect consumer rights, health or safety. The milk powder runs to HK had gotten so bad that HK government had to limit to 2 cans per shopper because they were buying out the entire HK supply of milk powder. Now I think about it, that maybe that’s when the push for the third wave of immigration really got its start.

    That’s not really that out there, I mean, there is always that tag line – “This is the Greatest thing since Sliced Bread!”

    Coffee maker of any kind is something the “sophisticates” supposedly have. Nvm that quite of few of them are made in China. Espresso machines ARE quite expensive no matter where you go though. The thing is, the “taste” for coffee is literally an acquired taste in Asia. In my old marketing class, I learned that the “taste” for coffee was slowly introduced to the Asian children through ice cream, candies and chocolates when they are young. When that generation grew up, they started a craving for coffee. China didn’t have time to go through that transition, so it has had a very staggered introduction to coffee. It doesn’t help that cafes’ in China are usually done in the upscale diner style with sofas and steaks. Cafes like Starbucks are also quite expensive as well. I would say about 25 – 50% more expensive than Canada. The rich sophisticates in commercials drink coffee, not tea.

    Why? Ikea has many branches in China. She can get it done there. The DIY thing is something I can’t comment on since I might get in trouble. *looks around*

    This one is difficult to explain to people who aren’t familiar with TCM. The easiest way to explain this off the top of my head is that many of the traditions and folk remedies involving child birth came from the fact that most houses in ancient China were freezing during winter times. Suffice to say that there were no heaters. Even though someone did invent the roman style heating system of burning wood under the bed and letting the air circulate the house, not everyone can afford that. And it can be very difficult to boil water depending on where you are in China during winter times in those days. There are various combination of factors but in the end, the point is that it’s very easy for pregnant women to get sick/in trouble/lose baby/die in those days. Imagine those days when you can finally take a hot shower/bath but you had to walk out into the frigid room/air without heaters?

    Microwave is magical. I am not joking or making fun of her. That is how a lot of people (Chinese or not) treat the magical box. Most people don’t really understand how it works. A lot of Chinese do have the habit of using microwaves to “disinfect” things. What I usually do is teach them what isn’t microwave safe. If they put certain things into it, it will explode or destroy the machine. Since most people don’t want to spend to spend the money to replace it, they learn to be more careful. It is true that a lot of Chinese people above a certain age don’t really know what to do with it.

    I hope that explains things for you, cheers! 🙂

    1. I guessed most of the things already and knew about the milk powder scandal (here the shops for baby milk are always out of stock due to eager Chinese people buying everything and sending it to China).

      Ikea has many branches also in China but not in the province of my parents-in-law (Shaanxi).

      About coffee in China…as I really don’t like starbucks (just can’t stand the taste just like many other of my friends) I go mostly to KFC to get the coffee there but usually I go instead with alot of tea to make it through the day.
      As I live in Finland I have a rather high coffee consumption

      Oh, and before I forget, my mother-in-law was very surprised when I cleaned the microwave today, she thought it is cleaning itself. It really seems to be a magical box for her 🙂

      1. For Ikea in China, you can hire a delivery company or haul it yourself. It’s not that bad, since most Ikea pieces are packed to be delivered. It would be easier to buy it in Beijing or closest city and have it haul there.

        Starbucks is just an easy reference because of the so called “snooty” brand image. Most of the Chinese owned “cafes'” are filled with nice sofas, private rooms, and served steaks or high priced western influenced food. I am not really sure about the coffee there though, since it’s probably doused with chemicals to make it stronger and better smelling. The fun thing is that I take both foreigners and Chinese to eat there just to see their reactions. Both are amusing to see.

        The food safety issue is huge, and there is no getting around it. I laughed when a friend’s bf who was studying in Singapore came back to Beijing and wanted to buy some new pans because some news came out that none stick is supposedly making him feminine or give him cancer. I was like, “when you move back to China, there would be more things for you to worry about than pans”. I hate to say it, when they discovered the cooking oil racket, that was the last straw for some people. I remember people bringing their own cooking oil to restaurants and ask them to use that. High class restaurants source their own food or buy their own farms to insure safety. Of course, the people in the Imperial Palace don’t have to worry about it. All the stuff they use came from special regions and are grown and produced by people with “royal decrees”. I’ve seen those products myself.

        Let’s not scare all the good people here, and move on. In my own experience in China, the best way I get them to enjoy some coffee is to make it really sweet and creamy. Hilariously, I think that’s why 3 in 1 nestle coffee sell so well in Asia.

        Well, iirc, there are still some people that think it’s nuclear powered and works like a ray gun. So, that’s no different than a magical box. 🙂

  2. Actually, the milk idea doesn’t surprise me. Many Chinese who visit Taiwan stock up on milk powder – apparently, it is cheaper here. But the ‘clothes cleaning’ microwave idea – LOL!

    1. I think many mainland Chinese believe that the milk powder in Taiwan is more safe than theirs. At least this is why Chinese buy all the milk powder they can get their hands on in Europe, especially made in Germany baby milk powder

  3. Hahaha! Your mother-in-law is hilarious! She even wants to buy IKEA furniture back to China…I’m sure China has nice furniture too. Maybe she is just fascinated with all the versions of things in your part of the world and wants to take a bit of it back with her.

    My mum likes to buy Cadbury chocolate blocks by the few dozen to take home to the relatives when she goes back to Malaysia. I’m not joking – once she packed an entire carry on luggage with them and it weighed almost 10 kilos 🙂

      1. I love Lindt chocolate! Very smooth texture. They come in very small blocks, though. I don’t know if Lindt has diminished in quality over the years, since it’s always on sale here at the supermarket.

  4. This is an old post but I just have to share how hard I laughed at this post. I laughed so hard at the milk incident that my stomach hurts and I had to stop eating my bread… only to reach the second point about bread knife. This is just too hilarious, I think I took 10 times longer reading this post because it is too damn hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing. Lovin’ your MIL’s story, she must lead such an interesting life.

    1. Thank you for reading. Indeed my dear mother-in-law got some special ideas and I dont even bother to think too much about it. Seems like crazy stuff is the only thing inside her head 🙂

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