“Can’t buy me looove..” sings one of the Beatles guys over the stereo as I plop myself onto my favorite couch at Lilliput. My firstborn passes me by in a blur as she practically catapults herself onto the bounce pad. My younger one is looking for a little doll to call her own and finding a stroller to push her little baby in.
A waiter comes over with a menu and a big smile. I don’t even open it. “Caramel Macchiato,” I say in Chinese. He nods and confirms that I don’t want the menu. No, just that first, I tell him.
I take out my laptop and get ready for my weekly few hours of freedom. I relax my shoulders and wait for my computer to turn on. “Mommy, mommy!” squeals L1 as she bounces in circles. I grin, wave, and melt in that moment where both my kids are busying themselves while Mommy’s Work Buddy sings “Tuh-nang!”
And oooh! 29 new notifications.
L2 comes over with her baby in the stroller. She picks it up and gives it a kiss. She asks me to kiss it, too. I hug our temporary addition to the Parks family and give her a little kiss as well. My daughter giggles and starts pushing away. One staff takes a liking to her and asks her about her baby. She looks up and babbles. The waiter talks as if she can understand Chinese.
A random toddler heads over to the ball pit where L1 has just squirrel-dived. My daughter is naturally shy and attempts to climb out, but a staff joins the foray and tries to connect the two. She throws ball after ball at the projected screen on the wall, and the kids copy her. They love it!
Okay, Facebook, done. Twitter, done. Beijingkids, done. Hm.. oh yeah, need to catch up on my Wechat Groups reading. Just as I’m about to log into my Wechat group on my laptop, I’m called to non-stop banging on the glass window on the second floor of the crawling space across from me. I act surprised. How did you get there? I mouth to my littler one with feigned shock. She gives me that beautiful smile and keeps crawling away. Next thing I know my older daughter is going after L2, and they’re both headed to the blocks area on the second floor.
Should I stay or should I go? The question lingers and suddenly the song is playing in my head. I’m glued to my seat as I watch the two head upstairs. Fortunately there aren’t that many kids, and one of the staff heads upstairs. Oh definitely stay, I smile to myself as I check my e-mails. Ooh! I got mail!
My Ayi finally arrives an hour later and asks me where the kids are. I point upstairs to one and at the crawling space for the other. Ayi greets the two and picks up L2. She takes her to the diaper-changing room and minutes later I see them head to the sensory-play area.
Ayi asks for the menu to order something for the two kids. She looks through the options, and chooses their favorite: rice balls the size of my littler one’s fist with lots of veges inside. Anything would have been fine, really, especially since the cafe promises that they don’t use MSG—a relief for moms who don’t want to worry about food during their break!
An hour later and time is sadly up. But I’m glad that I’ve done everything I set out to do, enough to last me another week. Now it’s time to play mom again.
See you next week, Lilliput.
Ages 5 and under, and adults of course. Monday-Friday, 10.30am-8.30pm. Saturday and Sunday, 10am-9pm. #102, Bldg A1 of Wangjing’s Ulo Park (北京市朝阳区望京广顺南大街悠乐汇A1座102). 010-84715788 or 18910858779.