I had my doubts in January when I purchased our tickets for the flight home to the US this summer. We’d taken the twins to meet the family when they were just a few months old, but this time the boys will be mobile – and have the ability to wreck a home.
Don’t get me wrong – we were so excited about taking all three of our children to see their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that we started planning the trip nearly a year in advance. The kids will have a great time playing in the fresh air, green parks, and grandma and grandpa’s huge backyard. That my folks fenced in a portion of it for their dog is a bonus, as we can drop the boys in with some toys and leave them there until lunchtime.
However, the realist in me cannot help anticipating the things that can go awry. We’ve already had to tell someone that we couldn’t accept their hospitality because our boys would tear their home apart.
Even with the best of efforts, things can go wrong. When one of my nieces was 2 years old, she got into a relative’s purse, managed to open a bottle of pills, and swallowed a few before she was discovered. The entire episode took place in a couple of minutes.
That’s the kind of trouble one baby gets into; twins size up their adult handlers and giddily take off in opposite directions. Suddenly, one child is holding a hairdryer with his head in the toilet and the other is stepping over the edge of the staircase with a pair of scissors. (You get the picture.)
Despite the near-certainty that something will get broken, the scary part is not knowing how things will go when we are on the plane. I have many fond memories of flying with Reina, but the boys don’t like to sit still for long. Over a ten-hour flight, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them got into the cockpit while the other discovered the crew’s quarters at the back of the plane. They are that persistent.
If we’re lucky, the boys will sleep through most of the flight and wake up in a new time zone without realizing it – but I’m not leaving it up to chance. We’re already stocking up on toys and activities for the flight, and are investigating car seats in the hope that the boys will feel more comfortable (and sleep better) if properly secured. That being said, the idea of adding two car seats to a double stroller and a pile of carry-on luggage doesn’t sound very appealing. Some well-meaning friends have suggested medicating the twins, but the best suggestion I’ve heard so far is to print out cards for the neighboring passengers to explain our situation and offer ear plugs to anyone who wants them. I will likely be the first one to use them – and may wear them even after we land.
Illustration by Sunzheng
This article originally appeared on p42 of the beijingkids April 2014 issue. Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com