People often ask me what it is like having a baby and living in China. Well, I imagine it’s much the same as having a baby anywhere in the world with a touch of the absurd & crazy added for good measure. I thought I would plot even a morning just for interest sake to highlight a few differences.
5.58am Alarm baby goes off.
6.00 Collect alarm baby and bring back to bed for feed, briefly peeking through gap in curtains to check how “foggy” the day looks. Knowing that whole day usually hinges on THIS moment.
6.12 Change baby.
6.15 Walk down hall with toddling baby holding finger saying “Where’s Daddy? Daddies making coffee.”
6.18 Reach daddy, take cup of coffee and consume quickly.
6.20 Put imported babies porridge in pot, cut imported fruit, put local toast on and purify water 4 times to make suitable for drinking (Aquasana x2 Brita Filter x2)
6.25 Repeat coffee consumption and removal of baby a second time from bin
6.30 Put baby in high chair for breakfast.
6.31 Put full body apron on baby, get 2 spoons; one for baby as she wants to ‘pretend’ to feed herself. Try to get food in general direction of babies mouth with second spoon. Baby really only wants to eat mummies toast. Try to trick baby by giving her some avocado from my toast, while wondering if this Chinese bread is even safe to feed myself let alone a baby. Decide it is probably not. Can’t read mandarin so have no idea what they claim is even in it.
6.32 Check air quality index as released hourly by United States Embassy. AQI 128 considered unhealthy for sensitive groups (i.e. babies) and therefor too high to go outside. Check wind direction prediction with vain hopes that the pollution will blow away at some point today.
6.35 Give up on baby eating any more porridge after 2 tablespoons consumed and 4 table spoons on floor, chair and face.
6.50 Attempt to wipe babies face, with Aquasana purified shower water. Fail. Wonder how an 11 month old manages to fend off me and face cloth? Wipe floor, wipe high chair.
6.55 Release baby from restraining chair. Wipe floor again.
7.00 Jump up in air in hallway saying “Boo” to make baby laugh. Baby laughs.
7.01 Put nappies in washing machine.
7.02 Sit on floor in lounge and roll ball back and forwards to baby and baby’s dolly to mix things up a bit and make baby laugh. Baby laughs.
7.10 Wave goodbye to Daddy at door, close door and seal up any gaps around the door where outside polluted air might get in with ‘draft tape’ (wide sellotape)
7.15 Say “uh uh nooo” as baby tries to eat contents of rubbish bin
Say “uh uh noo” as baby tries to eat Chinese DVD’s from the compound DVD shop. (How is that shop legal?)
7.20 Check 7am AQI. 135 Looks like it’s another indoor day. (Has to be under 50 to be considered Healthy.)
7.30 Follow baby around house watching while she looks for trouble, feeling a little anxious as baby knocks on glass window 32 floors up. Wonder is this window actually safe? Remove baby from window.
7.58 Decide to give baby some independent play time in baby-proofed bedroom.
8.00 Hear crash and run down hall concerned. Relieved to find baby just throwing photo frame on floor and smiling.
8.05 Lay on lounge floor throwing ball in the air to make baby laugh, but also to have a rest. Baby laughs.
8.08 Hang nappies up to dry. Smell a bad smell. Say to baby “have you done poopies?”
8.10 Change babies nappy.
8.12 Head to laundry to put washing on.
8.18 Hear total silence in bedroom run down hall, concerned. Relived to find baby reading books quietly.
8.30 Read ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ playing I spy as we go. Read ‘That’s Not My Tiger.’ Let baby read independently, turning pages with tiny beautiful little finger.
8.45 Adjust air purifiers in baby’s room to further purify the air before nap time.
9.00 Put baby down to bed.
9.10 Read news, check emails & Facebook (blocked) only viewable through VPN site.
9.20 Check U.S Embassy AQI.108 glimmer of hope we might get outside today after all… GLIMMER
If you are thinking that’s not so wildly crazy keep in mind I haven’t even left the house yet! Once you get outside the compound that’s when life really get’s interesting…
Professionals profusely spitting, birds that speak mandarin, turtles for sale on bikes, confused sex shop masuuses dressed as actual nurses (complete with the practical trackpants and trainers), poodles dressed as princesses, Chinese men sitting in blossom trees are just a few of the things I saw yesterday. But I’ll leave that post for another day.