This post was sponsored by Sagebooks. All opinions are mine and mine alone.
Many people (including my husband) ask what I do in Taiwan all summer when the kids are in camp. And although I answered this two years ago on a Facebook Live, I suppose it’s not realistic to expect people to remember. (Although, I thought we were friends?!? HOW DARE YOU.)
Actually, come to think of it. The Facebook Live might have been on my personal Facebook page so I forgive you.
Anyhow, get ready for boring minutiae (but remember, a non-zero number of people asked for it).
My kids wake up anywhere between 0600-0700 because they’re jerks so I try not to get out of bed until one of them requires something from me. The rule is that they can watch screentime (in Chinese or with zero English talking) after they do their daily Chinese reading. Sometimes, I make the older kids read Sagebooks with Glow Worm (~6) and have it count as half their daily reading because I want to stay in bed just a smidge longer. I suppose I did it to myself because it’s to their advantage if they wake up earlier. Sigh.
Anyhow, I go buy breakfast at the end of our street around 0700 and usually bring Sasquatch (2.5) because he wants to come along and then he demands I carry him so I always regret taking him but what can I do? We pick up food at the little mom and pop store and then go to 7-Eleven to pick up choco milk, yogurt smoothies, and pastries for additional breakfast. I make Sasquatch pay because otherwise he goes around endlessly screaming, “Give me money!”
Between 0700-0800, I make sure the kids eat, sunscreen, bug spray, and watch some more screentime. If they are moving particularly slowly, I don’t let them watch iPads unless they’re done with everything. I heat up Glow Worm’s lunch and then pack up everyone else’s snacks and waters. I pack Glow Worm a lunch because he has so many food allergies that it’s just a lot more reassuring if I pack him his food instead.
We usually leave around 0800-0805 and from here, it’s rough. Mostly because Sasquatch refuses to go to school. So I have been carrying him from our apartment all the way to his preschool. Even though it’s one MRT stop, it’s rough on my body. He’s 35 pounds and if you’ve never tried to carry an unwilling screaming toddler, then, have you even really lived?
I also lug around my bag which is about 5-10 lbs depending on the shit I have in there, Sasquatch’s backpack, and Glow Worm’s backpack (it’s super heavy because of the food and he’s still a little thing). Sometimes, Cookie Monster (9.5) or Gamera (7.5) will volunteer and carry Sasquatch’s backpack because they’re older and kind and thoughtful. They try very hard to help and it’s nice to know that I haven’t completely failed as a parent.
After we drop off the wailing toddler, we walk back to the MRT and take one more stop to their camps. I drop them off, often order dinner from the local mom and pop store near their camp, and then my life begins.
This is the first year where I have no children with me during the day and I’m not also hugely pregnant so I have at least SOME energy to do things before falling over and wanting to die. However, I am also working part time with writing and other stuff so I now try to come home with dinner and do some work until lunch. If I schedule stuff with friends, I try to make it a late lunch so I an at least have uninterrupted time in the morning to dick around (I mean, work).
Like I mentioned above, if I’m not working until pickup, I usually schedule a late lunch around 1300 or a late shaved ice meetup around 1500 to motivate and reward myself for all that brilliant writing I’m allegedly doing.
But sometimes, I nap because carrying at least 50lbs of stuff and humans around for 30 minutes in the morning while walking approximately 3,500 steps in heat and humidity takes a toll on me. I suppose this should further motivate me to get into fighting shape but why? WHY MAKE IT EASIER FOR MY CHILDREN TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME?
Believe it or not, we’ve been in Taiwan almost four weeks and I still haven’t eaten at some of my favorite places because I’ve actually attempted to work and maximize my alone time on writing.
WHERE ARE MY MEDALS. I DEMAND MEDALS FOR THIS HEROIC SACRIFICE.
Late Afternoon/Early Evening
The latest I can pick up Sasquatch from preschool without paying fines is 1630 so I squeak in right about 1625 because why should I pay for time only to not use it? This requires me leaving around 1610 from my apartment so usually by 1600, I have to stop working or hanging out with friends.
We slowly make our way to pick up the other three from camp and though pickup officially begins at 1700, they’re more than happy to send my three home slightly earlier. We usually get home by 1715 and by then, it’s a ticking time bomb before anywhere between one to four tiny humans meltdown.
Since I typically buy dinner in the morning, when we get home, I make the kids unpack their bags and dump their used bowls and utensils in the sink. (Taiwan local camps require you to bring a bowl and eating utensils to eat the lunch they provide. It’s a hassle but also environmentally friendly.)
I heat up dinner, the kids zone out on screens, and I rush to feed Cookie Monster and Glow Worm all their oral immunotherapy samples. I bribe the kids with popsicles which they can only eat AFTER they shower and are in PJs. I wash dishes and sign papers. (Local camps make you sign a daily diary where they write in their progress and what the kids learned that day which I can barely read and just sign because I don’t really care what they did.)
I shower with Sasquatch which is terrible and awful because he hates washing his hair and he has a lot of it and he always cries and screams and refuses water that remotely resembles warmth. After I finish my second daily battle with him, I finish my shower while Cookie Monster and Gamera take turns each day lotioning up the baby and putting his PJs on. They hate it. I feel bad, but you know what? TOO BAD.
Then, the other kids cycle through showers and pospicles and by 1930, I’m like, OKAY KIDS ALL DONE GO BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND GET READY FOR BED BECAUSE SOMEONE (I’m looking at you, Gamera) IS ABOUT TO LOSE IT AND CRY FOR NO REASON SO PLEASE JUST GTFTS.
We use the tiny washing machines as the dirty laundry and I usually run a load a night. That’s due to the sheer number of humans – but also because few apartments have dryers and thus we have to hang dry our clothes and there are limited spaces to do so. Sometimes, if you hang it on the balcony, it ends up smelling awful so I usually hang it in the closet, open the doors, and let the AC do its magic.
Eventually, they get into bed and I tell a few short stories in Chinese and traumatize my children because I am apparently incapable of softening life’s hardships and talk about happy things like death, 9/11, terrorism, and mortality right before bedtime because that’s the shit that helps them sleep. Usually, they get out of bed at least a bjillion times before FINALLY falling asleep and I pass out also because I’m exhausted.
Also also. Whoever thought having preschoolers nap during school was a great idea should be shot because this just makes it harder for Sasquatch to fall asleep. However, I found that if I put on a video of rain sounds on YouTube, that will help Sasquatch fall asleep much faster. Unfortunately, it also puts ME to sleep at 2130.
And thus, we live to rise again at 0500 the next morning.
Since I’m not a mean person, I usually delay breakfast a few hours and let the kids wallow in screentime until their hunger can no longer be ignored. Then I pick up food and throw the screen at them some more until lunchtime where we usually eat leftovers. I usually have us either visit family or hang out with friends in the afternoons.
My children weren’t keen on returning to Taiwan this summer so I promised all sorts of foolish money-spending fun activities to lure them into willingly coming. And thus, here we are. Throwing monopoly money away on stupid crafts that aren’t remotely worth it but since it’s literally right next to my apartment and inside and in air conditioning and in Chinese, I practically beg the vendors to take my money.
One of my friends also has a child around my kids’ ages so sometimes, after we have provided them food and a screen for every pair of eyes, we will lock them in the apartment and get a quick massage. So, there’s that one thing to look forward to.
And then, Sunday night, we go back to the madness all over again.
I wish I was more exciting than this, but if you’re a long time reader, you know that I’m not made for exciting. I’m made for boring, repetitive things because that requires far less brain space and I just do not have the mental or emotional capacity to do more.
Maybe when the Babiest Baby Sasquatch is older, we can do more fun things like water parks and insect camps or museums (OMG I DIE JUST THINKING ABOUT THIS) and then my blog posts can be more informative. But until that unlikely day, you can rest easy knowing that at least you’re more interesting than at least ONE person on this green earth.
Thanks for reading!