There are some things I do not enjoy doing with my children in Beijing. Now, now, we’ve all thought it, I’m just imprudent enough to say it in writing. One example that jumps to mind is running mundane chores like going to the bank or topping off the electricity. Heck, I don’t enjoy doing these things on my own. Bringing a child along would only increase the agony of the long lines and suffocating boredom. So I gladly leave the boys at home with the help and endure banking in solitude.
As a wee lad I had no say in the matter, if mother left the house, I went too. I’m sure she would have preferred to leave me at home, but I’m equally certain I would have demolished the place. I still recall being bored senseless while sitting in shopping carts, or worse, standing at the fabric store for what felt like ages, but was probably never more than 15 minutes. Despite being told not to touch anything, I would run my hands along each bolt of cloth as I walked down the narrow aisles. By the time I entered kindergarten, I think we both felt relieved that our shopping ordeals were over.
These days, I almost never drag a kid with me when grocery shopping in Beijing, but while in Oregon (USA) over the summer, I often had no choice but to take the entire crew. Whether on the road in search of a snack or loading up a shopping cart for a few meals, it was a chance for the kids to stretch their legs, voice their opinions about what to buy, and bug the heck out of their old man. Fortunately, grocery stores back home take this into consideration and provide shoppers with comically huge shopping carts disguised as taxis and racecars that seat two small children.
Still, whenever we were coerced by pleading little voices into letting the boys actually “walk” in a store, Savvy and I spent most of our time chasing them to avoid restocking entire rows of canned goods or fresh produce. Those kids are fast, cunning, and relentless. It made me glad the shopping carts have seat belts and that we don’t have giant shopping carts in Beijing.
Photo: Christopher Lay