Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Traveling With Twins Part II: The Hand Off

As I paced the aisles of the airplane trying to look as in control and as calm as possible; I scanned the crowd for an eager Chinese Ayi (auntie) to hand my children off to. I knew the plane had to be teeming with eager women just waiting to get their hands on the Shuangbaotai (refer to earlier post titled Shuangbaotai for definition), and I was desperate to find just one.

Now allow me to clarify this whole handing off thing. When I say hand off, I don't mean permanently (though the thought had crossed my mind on more than one occasion) To hand your child off to a total stranger and allow them to be occupied for a while seems strange and practically unacceptable to those of us in Western cultures; but this practice is completely normal in the East, and more specifically in China. I was simply looking for a kind and eager person who could only see my malcontent squirming little screamer as a mound of sweet cooing baby; a person who was so blinded by their love for babies (almost any Chinese person qualifies) - that they would simply take them out of my arms and occupy them so I had enough time to pee.

As I was approaching the 350th walk down the aisle of the plane, a lovely Romanian woman who spoke very little English- stood up and simply took Naaman from my arms. It was love at first sight for both of them. She oohed and cooed and he paid it back ten fold. I stood there for a minute or two to seem like I was being an attentive mother, and then quickly ran to the loo.

When I returned from my blissful 1 minute break- the plane had practically broken out in a riot of women. As they realized I was willing to hand off my babies, a floodgate of Ayi's opened and poured forth.

As my little celebrities were being passed around to all the eager aunties (and granny's too) who were just waiting to squeeze them; Phil and I took the opportunity to sit for a few minutes and take a deep breath.

I only wish the floodgate had opened a few hundred paces earlier...

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