Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Better or worse

Today was better and harder both. We had a good morning at the Child Welfare Institute, getting our paperwork for true custody completed. This included our signatures with right index finger prints and her right foot print.

Like so many things we do to Fang Fang, even though it was probably scary or annoying to her she didn't complain about the foot ink. She doesn't really cry much, and until this afternoon she hardly made a noise. It's so sad. I'm 100% certain she wasn't crazy about the bath this morning but she is quiet and compliant which makes me feel even more like a villain. I would shut up and take it, too, if I were abducted by aliens too dumb to speak my language and who did everything just a little- or a lot- differently than every single thing I have ever known. I was talking to another mom this morning. We agreed our nights had been relatively easy, but I confessed I feel like I am just doing things TO her all the time. She tolerates us and our fawning, but there really is no help for the situation in her mind. She is resigned.

Red ink= fingerprints!

Primrose loved being back at the CWI. She likes the plastic horses in the "playground" which is really just a little glassed-in room off the main meeting area, with hardwood floors and a small couch, about twice the size of a walk-in closet. She likes seeing kids and calls them all Jie Jie and Ge Ge (big sister and big brother). In fact if the mood strikes her, she will point at everyone on the street and call them that, too.

 When we got back from the CWI, we put our things in our room and got ready to head out on an adventure to Starbucks and a shopping mall we spied from the bus. So far, Primrose seems to hate the hotel room more than any other place and she cries so pitifully whenever we go back in the room. We knew the mall was on the train line, and it looked very schwanky from the brands advertised on the building. We rode the subway, which is new here and was very nice. There were some stares and friendly curiosity about Primrose and it was pretty clear foreigners aren't common on the subway. I'd say about 40% of the people we walk by smile broadly at us, and many of them say hello or wave. Grandparents with kids almost always encourage them to say "Hi" or "Hello". They often ask how old she is... and other stuff, but we usually end with "Xie-Xie" (thanks) and "bye-bye" because I don't know how to say, "Sorry we suck so much at your language" in Mandarin.
Lots of food for thought when taking the Metro.
The mall was ridiculously expensive and very pretty. It was a blast to walk around, and nice and cool which is a very big deal for me. With her in the beautiful front carrier I have, we both sweat buckets if it's much over 75 degrees, which it always is outside and often is inside. We had fun walking around, and she even started to point out things she liked. She has a face she makes at us when she wants us to know something is cool. Not really a smile, it's a slightly open mouth with a wrinkly nose and great big direct contact from her eyes. She looks like she is thinking "Isn't that a hoot?"

Food was on the seventh floor so we rode a thousand zillion escalators to get there. Turns out she loves them as much as I hate them, so we took them all day for her. Walking in to the food court made her incredibly happy, and I wondered if she had been there before. We found a place with pre-made dishes set out and she pointed to what she wanted. She couldn't WAIT to get that food and was chatting and smiling like crazy. It was one of the first long sustained chatty times from her and I wanted to soak it all up. She ate like a champ. She let J feed her his noodles for a good 15 minutes, smiling and pointing to what she liked. She also tore into a seafood egg custard and some fried rice with seafood and veggies. They even had little steamed buns with sweet beans (in Japan they're called Adzuki) inside that they had shaped like hedgehogs. Squee! It was her first really big meal with us and she seemed relaxed and happy.

We made our way back to the hotel slowly. With a full belly and tired legs, she took a 90 minute snooze in the carrier so we were in no hurry. When she sleeps I can stroke her cheeks and stare at the curve of her eyelids, kissing her head whenever I please. When we finally arrived back in the hotel, she lost it again as we entered our room. We went out one more time tonight, because I just couldn't bring myself to spend a small fortune to get her some jammies and a sippy cup at the mall earlier. Instead we went back to the cheap department store and J also picked up some Wuhan style duck. It was supposed to be duck neck, but as it turned out he opened the box in the hotel to find... four full duck heads! Sad sadness on so many levels. He wasn't sure how to proceed with them ("They're... hard!" says he.) so back to room service it was.
Any food that comes with surgical gloves just can't be right.

This last hotel room entrance ordeal had really put Primrose out of sorts, and she didn't even want J near her. No more noodle-feeding partnership, no more happy chatting. The poor thing didn't even want any of the food we ordered until she saw the huge egg on top of my Bibimbap. Once she had that in her she started to cheer up a bit, but it was definitely a subdued end to the day. She would not let go of the balloon she was given at the department store, and it's in the crib with her right now. She had even said "balloon!" at the shop in her squeaky little voice. Don't tell, but I kind of hate balloons. Like the escalators, she is ridding me of my weird phobic tendencies one by one.

I don't think we've really met her yet, our daughter. We have her, and have held bathed, fed and played at her ("at" her, not really "with" her yet). It will be yet another gift to unwrap her and help her decide when to remove the old layers of discomfort and mistrust. She is still playing with her shoes a lot, and J thinks maybe she'd like to put them on and head back home now. I think she is looking for people she knows when we're out and about, pointing and shouting "Jie Jie" and "Ge Ge" because she'd like it to really be her foster sister and brother out there, who will take her back and clear up this weird misunderstanding.

Onward to tomorrow...

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