Monday, August 25, 2014

She is going to think we live in a shopping mall.

Today and yesterday we spent most of our time at the mall, which is air conditioned and shiny. We have probably spent 5 or 6 hours there over three days, though we didn’t buy much. I found some cute cheap leggings at the supermarket on level 2 and a great lunch (both days!) at the food court on level 3. The leggings have stuffed animal birds sewn to them and cost less than $10. I like buying her the cheaper Chinese-Western clothes rather than the full-on Western expensive stuff that is also everywhere. The low-brow things are quirkier than what I have seen in the states and certainly the price doesn’t hurt. 

Today we were joined on our outing by some friends from our Wuhan group who were the first other family I met when we arrived in Wuhan. They have a spicy-sweet 3 year old, whom we have loved to watch as she opens up to her new family. Despite sporting some serious feistiness, she is so gentle with our Primrose, and never seems to take offense when our girl asks to hold her dolly, patiently mothering her younger adoption group sister. They kept kissing and trading toys, and our little friend was happy to walk along with her hand on Fang Fang’s stroller. That’s a big deal, as she has insisted for six days straight that her new mother carry her almost everywhere. That woman is going to have guns of steel, I tell you.
Have some milk, little sissie!
From the way many of the other preschool aged kids behave and a few things I have observed in Chinese families in public places, I wonder if there is more slapping going on in Chinese parenting in general. It could be these are just universal frustrated-kid behaviors, but some of them seem learned. There is a gruffness to the tone of voice used with children that then comes right out of the kids’ mouths when they are annoyed with us or each other.

This is another thing we have been mostly spared because Fang Fang is just so young. We made a game of crossing our arms, turning our head away and saying "BU!" when she starts to get sassy. It turns her right around and I think shows her we can handle it if she decides to try out being a mean grump. She has tried a bit of slapping, but not with great conviction and not in a way that a quick correction hasn't cured. Some of the older kids need more time to let those habits work their way out of their systems. 

Primrose was so happy to have a friend in her room, she kept running around with her hands in the air going "OOOOOHHHHH!!" I can see we're going to owe her a lot of girly play dates when we get home. 

Almost all the rest of our group went out to a safari today. I cannot imagine voluntarily sitting out in the sun in 93 degrees and 70% humidity but who knows, it might have been better than I thought. It was nice to still have some camaraderie even though we opted out, and I’m really glad our friends were looking for an alternative as well.

The Wuhan group overall is doing pretty well, all things considered. There is one older child having a very rough time and it is terrible to watch. I won’t be specific as it’s their story to tell. Please pray for them to see improvement and make it to the states with them all in one piece, both emotionally and mentally. The little I know of her new family (it's a very good match) and her old story leaves me in tears just thinking about it. Please do pray for her and for them. She is broken like no child should be and distraught, and we are all so helpless to do anything for her.

I think we may be in for the night, except perhaps foraging for dinner. "The best hotel in China" prices their food accordingly, so eating in is not an option. We’re probably going back to the pool later, and hope to see more of our friends. The pool is gorgeous, and the hotel is a comfortable place to pass a week before being released to go home. The pool's outdoors but up off the street and inside the u-shape of the guest room towers. Yesterday we saw the sun set while cooling off, pointed at airplanes and enjoyed a cooling breeze. Well played, Marriott. I suppose we’ll forgive you for the expensive bottled water and dearth of towels. The hotel room came with a "welcome adoptive families" basket with a teddy bear and baby wash inside. Between that and the Starbucks downstairs, we are just about set. Two more nights, then one in Hong Kong. So close. 

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