Do NOT stay in Beijing during Chinese New Year Unless You Have A Sanity Plan

Our first year in Beijing, we foolishly stayed for the whole Chinese New Year, unequipped, unorganized and unprepared.

Our sweet ones were one and two. They turned into horrible monsters, and there was a strong resemblance between them and the Chinese New Year monster the choking, non-stop fireworks are supposed to drive away. (Fireworks did not drive our little monsters away and return our perfect angels.) Our holiday was miserable. We were more tired after the break than we had been when we left school on the last day of work.

We went to Thailand last year despite our repulsion at the cost. But that vacation was worth ever baht! Our single best friend, Christopher, stayed in Beijing that year. Even with visits to others, he was lonely. Miserable. Cold.

I’m sure you’re getting my point.

Well, even though I know the first New Year was hard, I can’t get over my fears of giving birth to twins far away from a culture with which I’ve become familiar. Thailand hospitals are great, but it would be so much 麻烦 to have to deal with whatever I’d have to deal with, but while on vacation. And where would the money come from if I had to stay there until I got their passports? I haven’t become an independent full time writer just yet. By the way, ballooning with twins in a bathing suit? No thank you. Not to mention I currently have NO summer pregnancy clothes. The worst-case-scenario-what-if’s and the costs associated outnumbered the benefits under the “pros” side of that decision list.

But, we’re not going to blindly go into this New Year.

You need a sanity plan

Here is our sanity plan:

Monday through Friday Mornings:

Bobby will do his absolute best to wear our 3 and 4 year olds out. He will brave the cold on clear days, and he will utilize the indoor playground we’re praying will be open during the break. (We should probably ask them to confirm.) I’m going to help plan indoor gross motor activities that will keep them active on polluted days.

Run away from the big bad Daddy wolf? Check.

Jump into a mound of couch pillows? Check.

The mornings are my time to do what I want to do. These are my priorities: homework in my certification program, writing, Chinese study, pleasure reading, nesting.

Monday through Friday Naptime:

I’m going to pull out every trick in the book to help these kiddos fall asleep. My daughter especially likes star treatment massages. As back up plans for my daughter, I will have quiet activities planned that she can complete while sitting next to me on the bed. Bobby will go to Chinese class for several hours during this time.

Monday through Friday Evenings:

This is Bobby’s time to do what he wants: learn Chinese.

We recently put shelves in their room to mimic the Montessori atmosphere at our daughter’s Kindergarten. Not only will I be updating this, but I also plan to have some thematic units for our kiddos.

Saturdays – Family day! If the air is clear, we go to the pool and play outside. If not, we all hang out together.

Sundays – We worship as a family and eat lunch with other brothers and sisters of our faith.


I’ll be sharing about how this sanity plan actually works out. I’m not so sure we’ll be brave enough to stay here during the winter break when our twins are here in 2017.


Original photo thanks to Bridget Coila.


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