The night before my parent’s arrival from China, we went to bed feeling so proud of the work we had done to prepare the house and guest room for them; cleaning, reorganizing, getting rid of stuff, replacing closet rod, replacing their ceiling lamp, cleaning our cars…etc. It got off to a wrong start as I woke up at 6:20 in pure horror that my husband was sleeping soundly next to me. The alarm clock set for 5:20a.m. did not go off. As he frantically dressed and made a mad dash to the airport, my parents called me twice to ask where he was. I apologized profusely and they were understanding. I hung up feeling grateful, then I realized I didn’t give them my husband’s cell number. So I was trying to take care of two needy kids who just woke up while I looked for a calling card in my e-mails and punched in 5 billion numbers of toll-free numbers, pin codes and long distance phone numbers. I had to do that about 3-4 times because I kept messing up the long distance codes. I just wasn’t able to think and function with no coffee, with a crying baby in my arm, and a whiny toddler at my legs (who thinks the open computer desk means he gets to watch a video), both with sopping wet diapers. I was also trying to figure out if I should be mad at my husband- and decided not to be (maybe just slightly annoyed since he was the one who set the alarm, then somewhat amused when it did eventually go off but at 5:20p.m.).
I knew we were in trouble the moment they started unpacking their luggage and filled the entire dining room table with stuff. They proudly pulled out an absolutely ridiculous Minnie Mouse dress for baby Banana, insisting she wear it next year for her second birthday. There are also little over indulgences, like letting Lemon Cake use their ipads whenever he wanted, or yesterday when Gong Gong let him have 3 cookies before dinner time, later explaining that he just couldn’t refuse Lemon Cake asking so sweetly for another cookie, and besides, Lemon Cake started talking to him in very fast English he couldn’t understand, so he thought offering a cookie couldn’t go wrong. Some of this stuff is just annoying like Lemon Cake did not have appetite for dinner after the three cookies, but it could also be dangerous. When they visited two years ago, around the time Lemon Cake turned one, I specifically instructed them NOT to feed him peanut butter given his severe eczema thus possible food allergies. Guess what Por Por did? She sneaked him a spoonful of peanut butter the very next day. His face blew up immediately, and he cried and scratched at his eyes. We administered Benadryl and luckily, he didn’t go into shock. I was a crying mess for the next hour, and I was PISSED. Apparently, my mom was just trying to fatten Lemon Cake up.
Despite everything, a two month visit from my parents is mostly a blessing (ask me again in a month and my answer might be different). Most of the cooking and cleaning is done by them for that time period. We mostly get along well. My husband almost never complains about them staying with us (even though my mom is convinced that he must think they are intruding on our privacy and romantic life- little does she know that our romantic life is sitting on the couch from 8:30-10p.m. eating cookies, drinking tea and watching t.v. shows and sometimes videos of our children, or talking about how crazy and wonderful they are). Our children show genuine delight at having them around, and they clearly care about our well-being and want to be helpful while they are here.
Last night before bed time, baby Banana downed an 8 ounce bottle of milk, and then promptly threw up everything she ate. It was a white slippery thick and smelly mess dotted with fruits, cheese and meat, and it covered me, herself, the rug, and her lovey giraffe. My mom helped wash baby Banana and scrubbed all the puke-drenched clothes, while my dad bundled up to look for her alternate lovey in the car in the freezing cold. Normally my husband would have helped, but he was cleaning Lemon Cake’s pee off of the dining room floor and getting him cleaned, changed, toothbrushed and ready for bed. Finally, with my parents’ help, we got both children settled down for the night.
Things felt much calmer this evening before dinner, as Lemon Cake and I snuggled on the couch enjoying a book together while Baby Banana played quietly on her own. It would have been perfect, were it not for the sound of my mom pacing the living room, complaining that the piping hot chicken she had just placed on the table was getting cold and would taste bad. The next two months will be interesting to say the least.