Last fall, my wife Savvy and I decided to share the blessing of having children by attending a couple of parties that were happening neither at our home nor any other homes with small children. The idea was to catch up with friends, enjoy good food, and give the kids – especially the 14-month-old twins – a change of scenery. It was a splendid idea with one tiny flaw: We made the mistake of taking the two adorable blessings with us.
Yes, having twins is a blessing. We know this because every person without twins tells us so and every parent of twins repeats the same words wistfully, knowing full well that those first two years can be a living nightmare. But at 14 months, we could see the light at the end of the (sleep-deprived) tunnel and thought that we could handle a few outings with the kids.
But here’s the catch: if you alter the sleep routine of twins in any way, they will notice and make you pay for it.
The first event we attended was the beijingkids Halloween Party. This has been a family tradition for many years. Reina likes to plan her costume far in advance and we usually go with a several other families so the kids can play together. This time, we went so far as to hire a car to take us there and back so we wouldn’t have to worry about taxis.
But despite our planning, the outing turned out to be taxing for Savvy and I. The only safe place for 14-month-olds (short of a highchair) is a walled-off space. Unfortunately, the hotel did not have nearly enough of those so we had to hold or follow the boys everywhere. Though a few friends tried to look after them, the scale and volume of the event meant that Bryson and Ryder wanted Mama or Baba all the time. The jury is still out on whether or not the boys will attend next year.
Our second experimental outing was to a holiday dinner party at a home with older children. The event started at 6pm; we knew we were taking a huge risk since the boys tend to crash between 8pm and 8.30pm. The evening started off all right, but between the low coffee tables, eye-level gadgets, plants, stairs, and bottles sitting on the floor, it became clear that the boys would destroy something or – worse – seriously injure themselves if given the least bit of freedom.
Leaving was also a problem because the compound could not find a taxi for us and the boys got increasingly frustrated at their lack of freedom to move around. In the end, we managed to get them to bed around 10pm but the sleep lag threw off their schedule for several days.
All in all, these two experiences taught us the value of a good home-cooked meal – heck, even a mediocre one. I’m sure they will attend more food events in the future; I just doubt any of those outings will be in 2014.
Illustration by Sunzheng
This article originally appeared on p44 of the beijingkids January 2014 issue. Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com