Children: the schedule you live by

it takes 4 adults to feed 2 boys.

second day of chinese new year, my dad’s side of relatives came to our house for lunch. first to arrive was my aunt and her daughter, armed with 2 baby boys and entourage. The entourage included the husband, who’s so quiet he’s mostly in the background, one maid who became the third arm of anyone carrying the boys, a high chair (yes they brought along the high chair you see in the picture – there’s no way we have one lying around the house for visitors. we’re not a chinese restaurant), a bag of toys and a bag of baby things.

the minute they entered our house, they immediately set to work getting the boys comfortable. as it was lunch time for the boys, before we even changed new year greetings, my cousin and her family were busy prepping for the meal. the husband set up the high chair and plonked one kid in, while my cousin started scooping out a mash of porridge and mashed up pumpkin and cauliflower *pinched face* into 2 separate portions. she then turned one son away from the other and started feeding him while the other son was seated in his father’s lap. they cooed and begged the kids to eat, making aeroplane noises and going MMMM as if that would make the food go any tastier. with every mouthful, they will smile and praise each child for having achieved that one spoonful. when one kid’s attention strayed away from the spoon of mash before him, the other adult will zoom in to grab his attention and bring it back to the spoon. this went on for a good 20 minutes or so. I cannot imagine them doing this 2-3 times a day (or however often a child eats) until they got it down to factory efficiency. It was amazing watching the 4 adults moved around the 2 boys, like art in motion or a dance move they’ve practiced every day for months.

when lunch was over for the kids, they took turns to distract both boys. the older twin was much more well-behaved, happy to sit among his toys and run his Thomas train around himself. The younger fussed a lot so he’s constantly being bounced about in either his mother’s or grandmother’s arm. they used all manners of things to distract the younger one so he’d stop whining. orange? tree? food on the table? ah yee (that’s me peeping out to see what the commotion was about)? monkey? piano? wall? toes (i’m not kidding, my cousin pointed at my toes to amuse the child)? soon he got annoyed at the pointing game and I was made to play peek-a-boo with him but he cried when he saw my face popping out from behind a wall.

when it was the adult’s turn to eat, the older one sat obediently in his high chair, flinging his stuffed animals around while the other was being entertained by the maid with his story books. when any one of them fussed, they rotated the boys around to keep them entertained. I think that was the theme of the afternoon, keeping them entertained. if it weren’t the toys before them, then it’s the things lying around the house. usually everyone will be sitting before the TV watching a repeat telecast of something, but today everyone was watching the 2 boys like they were a show. the older adults will smile fondly at the 2 boys while the younger ones seem to have a o.O expression on their faces. whenever one of the kids wailed, one of my younger cousins will grimace. I had to laugh at his expression.

All too soon, it was time to go as they had to rush back home in time for the 2 boys to nap, where previously everyone would sit around in a food coma before leaving. in a whirlwind of movement, the high chair was dismantled, the toys packed, the 2 boys had their socks and shoes one and everyone left in a flurry of goodbyes, exchange of oranges and flying kisses to the boys. as my mom would put it, when you have children, you live by their timetable.


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