Wayne’s Worlds, a column about being a Chinese family man
By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
There comes a time in our lives as parents when we begin to examine and even question the choices we have made. Before I go any further, let me first say that any derogatory statement that I make from here on about my kids should be immediately followed with the phrase, “But I love them anyways.”
I suppose it’s the constant grind that gets to you. Clothes that the kids grow out of in two weeks. Getting up at the crack of dawn to take them to school. Arguments they have with each other that stem from something completely irrelevant.
Let’s not forget the diseases they bring home with them. I am getting over the second cold I’ve contracted from the children in as many months. The kids come home from school coughing and hacking, and nothing I do can keep me from catching it. Basically, the kids are like walking Petri dishes.
To try and prevent myself from getting it, I wash my hands until they’re raw. This last time, I was taking sanitary wipes and wiping down anything in the house that they could get their grubby little hands on. I don’t have a complete plan on what I’m going to do if they come back with another cold, but I know hazmat suits will be involved.
And the sheer lack of logic that children bring to your life … how do you explain a child that seems fascinated with the idea that he can lean his head back and put a used ping pong ball in his mouth and puff on it until it’s floating two inches from his face? Why is this so amusing that they pass the ball around and take turns doing it? Do they realize how ridiculous they look? Do they know what the dog was doing to that ping pong ball just minutes before? The scary thing is, would they even care?
Let me try to put it into perspective.
Someone has forced a perfectly healthy adult to live with you. However, this is no ordinary adult. This adult likes to bounce basketballs in the house and inadvertently knock down expensive artwork there, despite the fact that you’ve told this adult not to bounce basketballs in the house a million times because they will inadvertently knock down expensive artwork.
This adult, when heating up a snack in the microwave, will neglect to push the button that opens the microwave door and instead proceed to forcibly yank the door open, thereby pulling the microwave out of the cabinet it’s installed into.
This adult will tell you repeatedly that they have finished all their homework and then proceed to waste time entertaining himself or herself (see ping pong ball example above) and then, in the morning drive to school, proceed to furiously scribble out 10 pages of math homework with one hand, while wolfing down a breakfast burrito in the other.
This adult, when approaching your office and realizing the door is locked, instead of understanding that the office occupant (i.e. me) needs some quiet time to make an important overseas phone call, will proceed to forcibly twist the door knob until it breaks and than have the audacity to look surprised when he sees that you are displeased.
How long would you put up with this adult?
Alas, that’s not a choice we’ll be making any time soon.
After all, no matter what your children have done, one can never escape the fact that this was a choice I made out of my own free will. And honestly, as any parent will tell you, despite it all, I desperately love my kids.
It’s just that sometimes I can’t always pinpoint the reason why. (end)
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.