Sunday, November 26, 2006

New Ayi, New Danger

Xiao Hu, for all her faults, had one saving grace for me, in that she had her own home so for more than 12 hours every day, she wasn't in mine.

Zhou Ayi, on the other hand, doesn't. She's moved into our spare room/nursery - only for the next 6 weeks or so until we've established a routine as, frankly, I know as much about baby rearing as one would be know about how to disassemble and reassemble a Mark III Cortina having read the Haynes* manual and I'm not sure YY knows much more.

Now, I normally find cooking to be quite a pleasurable experience. Starting from recipe and ingredient selection, preparation, cooking, eating (of course) and then clearing up. Unfortunately it very rarely works like that here. I don't think people have the same concept of cooking for the sake of cooking any more than people understand that I like going cycling for its own sake, rather than because I'm at point a and need to get to point b.

If ever I try to cook (which hasn't been that often as the kitchen setup makes it fairly unenjoyable) then I always get offers of 'help' from the ayi. Fending off offers of help with whatever I'm doing just leads to her getting on with something else (ok, you don't want me to chop the veg, I'll wash up the implements that you've used...) rather than simply going away.

This morning was the first time this has happened to me over breakfast and, whilst it's a fairly simple affair, breakfast has more significance to me in that it really is my 'me time'. I potter about the flat, 5 days a week, from 6 o'clock on. Sometimes leaving for work at 6:45, sometimes not until 8. Sometimes YY will get up, other times not. It's all good.

This morning I was faced with Zhou Ayi and her determination to 'help me' by trying to wrestle me away from my simmering oats and not-quite warmed up espresso machine. We settled on a draw in that she made the coffee and I carried on the oats to completion, but inside I know I lost.

I hope she's going to be kept occupied when the baby comes because I don't want to go through this battle every morning. I think whatever I do, I'm going to end up losing face because cookery, after all, isn't "a man's work".

*Actually - the Haynes manual crack isn't as silly as it sounds as looking for the hyperlink I see there is a Haynes manual for baby rearing...

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