Question: What makes Chinese people laugh?
If it weren’t for the one-child policy, Phil and Ted’s tandem strollers might have a huge untapped market here, because I don’t know any other single object that so easily puts smiles on faces in Beijing. Everyone thinks it is hilarious.
But the stroller might just be the perfect delivery for the doubly adorable toddler punchline.
Magnolia usually sits in the front and loosens them up, gets them smiling. Then as we pass, most people laugh in surprise and exclaim “Liang ge!” Two!
Our Chinese is still pretty limited and most of the time our aural experience is the equivalent of this:
Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah TWO! Hahahahaha!
We were warned that our girls would receive a lot of attention. My seat-neighbor on the flight over told us that her daughters--the youngest was 10 or 11 when they first arrived--would have their hair petted in the street by total strangers, and they weren't even as blond (or toddler-cute) as Magnolia and Kaleia. She assured me that it wasn't as weird as it sounded, that I need to accept it. She was probably right. If I tried to fend off even a portion of the gawkers I'd quickly become a very prickly person. Remember this video we posted a while back?
Young Chinese Man (eager to practice his English): You have two daughters?
Me: Yep, they’re mine.
YCM: They are superstars now.
Me: Haha, yeah. It’s kind of weird.
YCM: They are wery attractive.
Me: (Uh...) Thanks.
I don't know how I feel about any twenty-something male saying my daughters are "wery attractive" but he was right. Magnolia and Kaleia are superstars now. A trip to a park on a beautiful day looks like this:
These men were here to take photos of the black swan viewing area.
But at one point at least 90% of the umpteen hobbyists and professional photographers had their lens squarely on the girls.
Sometimes, especially when someone in the group speaks English, they will ask if they can take a picture of them.
Sometimes the girls perform for the paparazzi.
And sometimes it's just a lot of eyes and bodies.
And sometimes someone watches you eat an entire meal.
Superstardom does have its perks. Sometimes, when you're at a computer store trying very hard to buy a computer for 5 hours, someone or somethree will entertain your children.
At gatherings there are always plenty of eyes making sure the girls are safe and entertained. Having children here has definitely made the face of a daunting city a lot friendlier than it otherwise might have been.
Magnolia doesn't always appreciate the extra attention.
But she did like the free manicure.
We're hoping all the extra attention doesn't go to their heads. So far, Maggie hasn't forgotten the little people. This is her xièxiè (thank you) card to the spa (which is just down the hall from us).
Now, I try to be a fair and balanced blogger so, lest I mislead you, I must say: not everyone here loves Magnolia and Kaleia.
This girl doesn't.
Her mom made her give Kaleia one of her cookies.