Let’s face, kids suck the life out of parents. I’m talking about their social lives, of course. Sure, when you have one child, it’s no big deal. Savvy and I use to take Reina out with us everywhere when she was little. Pack her up in a sling, grab a diaper bag, and Reina was the life of a club street scene, fancy dinner party, or art exhibition. And being China, our Chinese friends expected us to bring her out. If we left her at home with an ayi, they felt deprived of her bubbly baby cuteness.
All of that changed rather dramatically when we had twins. Sure, we can pack up the kids and take them out, but as our recent outing to the Beijing Kids Halloween Party showed, we will spend the entire time chasing, changing, and feeding cranky babies that have missed their nap time rather than spending any quality time with our friends who sat at the same table with us.
More than that, kids alter the landscape of what a social outing is. Sure, I still go out, and I still interact with friends, but now it is at school events, play dates, piano lessons, and lunches with other parents where we commiserate and strategize over parenting issues and coping strategies, and keep in mind that I don’t drink alcohol, so that coping method is off the lunch table for me too. I’m also gluten free, so most desert options are off my menu choices as well. Sigh.
Yes, I am in China, and yes, we do have ayis in the plural, but that is a welcome assistance, not a get-out-of-parenting-free card. Nor would I want it to be. One of the highlights of my day is picking up my daughter from the bus stop in the afternoon and finding out how here day at school went, determining how much homework she has (so much for no homework for first and second grade students), and how to get some dinner in her before rushing off to her language exchange or piano lessons. Somewhere in there, I’ve got to get in some reading time, dunk her in the bathtub, and get her to bed on time so we can turn around and do it all over again the next day. And that is just for one child. God help me when the boys start school.
Anyone free for lunch tomorrow?
Photo courtesy of Leszek.Leszczynski