It has been a long summer with no family holiday, a forced move, and the mistake of not signing our 6-year-old daughter up for a summer camp. I thought I would have time to take on the role of camp instructor by teaching her how to swim (among other activities) and for awhile, I did – I just couldn’t do it five days a week.
This was exacerbated by everyone we know in Beijing going on holiday – all of Reina’s Chinese and foreign friends. I’m not sure who was left in the city, but it must have been a skeleton crew of city-sitters here to make sure there were no major disasters with the plumbing and that the plants got watered. The result? Reina had no friends to hang out with and an overtaxed father who wasn’t keeping her busy enough.
Despite the chaos in my life, there was a light at the end of the tunnel in August – on September 2 to be precise, which corresponded to the first day of first grade at Daystar Academy for our play- deprived daughter.
Now that I look back on it, there must have been something in the air that alerted Reina’s twin baby brothers to this exciting development in her life (and mine). They celebrated over the weekend by promptly developing a pair of colds and waking multiple times throughout the night.
Not to be outdone on the eve of her first day of school, Reina decided to relive her infancy and wake up nearly every hour of the night in search of parental comfort to soothe the adrenalin coursing through her system. In other words, she kept waking me up.
Perhaps I’m looking at this all wrong in the stark noonday light (at least once she went to school and the ayi showed up to look after the boys, I could safely go back to bed and oversleep).
Perhaps my children do not hate me so much as they hate the idea of sharing a waking moment without me. If that is the case, there has never been a person more adored by their own children than me. (Except, of course, for their even more sleep-deprived mother.)
Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Roth (Flickr)