On keeping with my reflection of the past year, I am moved to discuss that most sacred and simple task of parenting. I refer, of course, to the relentless onslaught of things that need to be purchased, especially the stuff used every day – diapers, wipes, and formula (not to mention clothes, nipples, breast pads, toys, and such). With twins, the shopping list seems to also grow exponentially.
Now regarding formula, I know this is a hot button subject. Let me begin by stating that the boys were breast fed for the first seven months. Though we tried to breast feed exclusively (giggle, okay, my wife tried), we were unable to produce enough to sate their appetites, and so we supplemented with formula until both babies and mommy decided they were done with breast feeding. From then on, the job of acquiring formula in a timely manner fell upon my skinny shoulders.
No problem, I filled a suitcase half-full of the stuff that we bought at Costco in the USA. FYI, 12 Costco-sized cans of Similac will half-fill a suitcase both for space and weight as formula adds up. From then on, it was impressing on friends to bring it back on business trips, picking up the odd 15 kilos of the stuff on Beijing Mamas when someone bought too much, and finally resorting to buying it locally when my imported supply could not keep up with demand. I was never concerned much about the quality so much as the price as I was saving nearly USD 15 a can when I got it from the USA. I look forward to totally eliminating formula from the equation soon as whenever I go into a store to buy some, there never seems to be more than a few cans in stock. I’m basically wiping out the Wangjing supply of formula, one store at a time.
Diapers and wipes are two other regular constants on the shopping list. There is no better wipe out there than the Kirkland branded ones from Costco. However, when I pondered loading up half a suitcase of them when we last left the USA, it became clear that I either had to ditch a suitcase full of baby clothes or keep the USD 20 case of wipes. Sadly, all wipes were left behind and we have resorted to using Huggies Fresh Clean branded wipes that we buy here. We also get our Pampers diapers here as this too was too bulky to import with any regularity and so we decided not to bother even trying. In order to save my back from lugging wipes and diapers home, Savvy orders them on Taobao.com. It doesn’t really save money, but the benefits of having four cases of diapers delivered to our door the next day is readily apparent, not to mention impressive in terms of the size of delivery. I do feel sorry for the delivery guys though.
All in all, I look forward to the boys being off formula, out of diapers, and rarely needing a wipe. After that, I’m certain there will not be much left to buy until they graduate from high school and leave for college. By then, God willing, they will be able to do their own shopping.
Photo by Christopher Lay