Yesterday I posted a couple of messages from my long time friend C about her travels with her family to China to adopt their beautiful little girl, who we are calling here, Button. Here are a few more of her messages that she sent while she was in China.
Our last day in Chongqing
Last night we went out for Korean BBQ. The kids and I liked it but poor R was feeling REALLY unwell so we rushed through it as fast as we could and Button was a squirming machine. R took some medicine and went to bed. He is feeling much better today. He just came back from the mall (we needed more formula and wipes). He just told me that he was starting to feel more at home here when he saw a cute little boy being held by his mom – the little boy was in split pants and he was busy peeing into the garbage can. At least it wasn’t on the floor.
So, after getting Bean and Boo to bed last night – they are doing very well with a new little sister by the way – I decided to try to give Button a little bath in the sink. To this point she’s had sponge baths (that’s what they did in the orphanage) and once I had her in the shower with me. I sat her on a little towel, filled the sink and then put both her and her towel into the water. She quite liked it and didn’t even mind when I wet her hair. She was busy playing with the aluminum cups on the counter. I haven’t washed her hair with soap yet so she still smells a bit like the orphanage. It isn’t unpleasant – just foreign to me. A note in retrospect: after getting the film from disposable cameras we sent to the orphanage back we saw from one of the photos that what they meant by “sponge bath” was actually a bath in the sink. I guess that explains why Button didn’t really care for the sponge baths I was trying to give her!
The night was a little tougher. Turns out all the food we were giving her needed to work its way through but a few diapers later and everything has been resolved. Still, she is an easy sleeper once you get the bottle temperature right. She wants it just a bit hot – room temperature is too cool, thank-you very much no matter what the nanny said. So far we’ve been very lucky. I took advantage of some of my awake time last night to do most of the packing – we leave after we get Button’s Chinese passport this afternoon.
Button woke at 7 and had her bottle. I wheeled her crib into the bathroom (yes, it is THAT big) and put her in there with toys while I had my shower. I was expecting tears but she had no problem – she is getting more and more comfortable around us and is not quite so clingy. R was unwell so I took the kids down for breakfast. They love their pancakes and they love getting me different types of juice. Button had more egg, watermelon and congee.
Back in the room, the kids did some homework and played with pillows. Button decided to show just how fast she can crawl and cruise while she played with toys in the living room or wandered in to visit with Bean and Boo. At one point she was cruising along the desk and decided to suspend herself by her arms! She is one strong little bundle but I quickly scooped her up. Button’s increasing confidence with us meant I could get more packing done and let my arms rest a bit. We also have been getting some smiles from her.
Button had her 11 am bottle at 10:30 or so and then went down for her nap. It is 1 now and according to her schedule she will sleep until about 1:30. She was up for a couple of hours last night from 1 to 3 am so we’ll see if she sleeps a bit longer or not. R has ordered us room service – pizza for the kids I think and pasta for the adults. We have the room until 2:30 then we have to meet our guide in the lobby and go to the airport. I’m hoping that he was able to get the cameras from the orphanage developed for us – the last place he checked needed 3 DAYS to do it. Just goes to show that it is now a digital world. He should also have a photo album from the civil affairs office for us with photos from the orphanage and the city and our ceremony. Button cried whenever the formal photos were taken because it scared her to look in the direction they needed her too but really she has cried very little and mostly to try to communicate a particular purpose.
When she is scared she doesn’t cry – she just breathes really fast and gets tense and wants to be held closely.
We are off to Beijing today to complete the Canadian citizenship requirements. Beijing is about 15 degrees cooler than here so we might actually have a chance to wear those long sleeved shirts I packed.
Really not much more to say. Considering we haven’t actually done anything today I guess that is enough!
Hope everyone is well.
Return to Beijing
What a time we have had. ugh.
First, at the airport in Chongqing they frisked both Bean and Boo at security – a first for our well traveled family. Then they spent a lot of time going over Button. I had to take her out the carrier but they still were not satisfied. Note to self: do not put a diaper shirt with snaps at the crotch on the baby when traveling! LOL At least they let us have our thermos of hot water!
While we waited for our flight we garnered quite a bit of attention since we had not one but THREE children. Button chose that time to play games and really laugh with us so we were quite a spectacle. At one point though R went to check at our gate to see if the plane was in (we were sitting at the next gate since there was more room and less smoke). Well, the man across from me was really giving me and Button a stern stare. I glared back at him but he kept it up. To make matters worse R decided to take his time and it was getting near boarding time so here I was with the baby, Bean, all the carry on bags and a Chinese man staring me down. At least they had a nursery room where I could change Button.
On the plane Button was really restless at first. We’d fed her at 2 pm and again in the car around 3 pm and she should have been good until 7 pm but she kicked up a fuss and had 2 more bottles. After that she fell asleep until just before landing time. I fed her some chicken and rice and she fussed again for a bit. Thankfully the man beside us was very sympathetic and didn’t seem to mind. He would smile at her and show her his magazine.
We collected our baggage with no trouble and a driver met us at the exit. Well, Button fussed again a lot in the car but we were out of hot water by that point and she should not have been hungry, really. I think she was just over tired. She calmed down eventually – we were in the car a long, long time. The bus before us took 3 hours to get to the hotel from the airport! It should only a be a short drive. Eventually, we could see the hotel from the car and our guide walked to us and escorted us, on foot, with all our baggage through the grid locked traffic the 3 blocks to the hotel.
Then the fun really started. We made it clear that we required adjoining rooms – not just two rooms side by side. We were given one of two tiny little suites in the hotel. They are stuffed to the gills with oversized furniture. We had to put some stuff up on a cabinet so we could move around! Then we saw the crib. Oh my. If you tried to design a crib that contravened every Canadian safety standard it would pretty much look like this crib! At least we got the “mattress” lowered so it is less likely Button will tumble out of it. (Note: the cribs used by the orphanage also did not have high rails though they were a foot off the ground. The kids must learn not to fall out the hard way. In fact, the cribs have an opening where a child climb up or get out of the crib which is all well and good for toddlers but what about the babies?!!) By this time though Button did not want to sleep. She was on her two hour pass the poop schedule so there was nothing to do but hold her. Then poor Bean got really sick with a fever and vomiting etc. etc. We hauled out the antibiotics and other medicines. She is doing a bit better this afternoon.
R went out to find a grocery store to buy diapers and formula and wipes and water. He found everything except the formula and so he’s gone out again taking Boo along with him.
We completed the paper work today and had the visa photo done so the formalities are over with from our perspective. Yay! All this was done in our guide’s hotel room – even a photographer came. It was all very convenient.
I didn’t sleep much last night but I did get some laundry done in the sink. The clothes are not drying very well though. Maybe now that the sun is out it will go better.
I happened to be in the room when housekeeping came and so now feel much better that we once again have clean washrooms and clean sheets for Bean and lots of extra washcloths and hand towels.
We’ve spent the day in the hotel room doing paper work and just being. It is a bit cramped and the room is worn and not quite as clean as I’d like so we play only on the bed for now. The group had gone to the zoo. I’m not sure what the agenda is tomorrow but I think we may just do our own thing.
We were able to help one of the families. R (who is a pediatrician – ed.) had a look at their little boy for them and we were able to give them some medicine for him. We’ve seen the other families a little bit and everyone is saying how well everything is going and I believe them because things are going well for us too but it is still challenging. It is going well is what you tell everyone yet you still feel the difficulties. Even those with bigger challenges to face usually don’t say they are at their wits’ end but I’m very sure they are feeling that. It is important to have someone to spell you so you can have some sanity breaks. I’m so glad R is such a great husband and father.
So for lunch we ate some instant oatmeal (the kids did) and R and I finished our last dehydrated camping meal which was actually pretty tasty. Hopefully we won’t have to eat in the room again.
Sunday in Beijing
Thanks everyone for all the emails from home. We really look forward to receiving your messages.
Today Bean was feeling a bit better by late morning and Button was not napping so we walked down the road to an indoor market. 4 floors stuffed to the rafters with everything. First floor seems to be cosmetics and hair accessories. 2nd floor, not sure. 3rd floor clothing. 4th floor toys and kitchen type stuff. Guess where we spent most of our time?! Boo found some lego-type toy kits which he has been enjoying. He bought a forbidden city kit and a police kit. He also found a light up ball and R was able to bargain them down enough that we bought one for each of Bean and Boo’s classmates. It was quite a funny process trying to explain that we wanted 36 of them especially because they had to convey to us that they didn’t have enough but if we came back in a few minutes they would get more. Bean bought some wooden models to put together. They look pretty intricate. One is of a hutong I think. She’s also been reading books on my ipad.
For Button we bought a little chinese two piece outfit and a large ball with two handles. In the photos from the swi she was playing with one or rather chewing on the handle but she reached out to touch it when she saw it at the market. But, for all the merchandize in this huge warehouse there really wasn’t anything to buy. Maybe we aren’t shoppers… We thought we’d buy some mah jong games to bring home for people but we could not find any portable versions that were actually large enough to play with. Maybe we’ll find some souvenirs and thank-you gifts elsewhere… If not, at least you’ll know we’ve been thinking of you all…
After the market we ate dim sum at the restaurant in the hotel. We weren’t very hungry so only ordered a few things but the waitress brought us another menu and wanted us to order more. She thought we would not have enough food. Eventually I ordered a few more dishes and in the end we had way too much food. The kids really liked the broccoli salad they brought as an appetizer and I quite liked the soup they brought, too. We didn’t order either of those – they just came. I had to take Button upstairs half way through lunch though. She was fussy and we thought she needed another bottle. She napped well afterwards and I took advantage of the time to get some more laundry washed and to nap.
In the afternoon we were all going a bit stir crazy. Did I mention how cramped these rooms are? There just isn’t anywhere to put Button down to crawl a bit and the crib from hell has a horizontal bar across it which means Button can get her foot up on it and potentially flip out of the crib. It just isn’t as relaxing to play on the bed as to play on the floor. Yesterday I let Button crawl on the hall carpet (we are at the end of a hallway so I figured it wouldn’t be too dirty there) and her little socks ended up black. We had a bath after that lol! Anyway, so in the afternoon we went to the hotel pool and Button had her first swim. She was about 70 per cent comfortable. First we watched Bean and Boo and R from a chair. Then we sat at the side of the pool and dangled our feet in and splashed a bit. Then I held her in the pool and eventually she sat on the side of the pool and would lean in to come to me a few times. Oh, and we did have to wear our swim caps so at least that money was not wasted – except that they were cheaper to buy here. Sigh. I’m sure you all cannot wait for those fashion photos! One things we’ve noticed at the hotel pools. They often have a small well of water you have to walk through when you come out of the change room. It is only a few inches deep but they make it nearly impossible not to walk through it. It is such a tripping hazard if you aren’t expecting it. Luckily the first time I encountered one of these I had on my flip flops even though I was not dressed for swimming and was just watching. None of us like walking through these little pools for some reason…
Button was tired after the pool and it was about 6 pm so we showered off in the room and had jammies and bottle. She practically fell asleep drinking her bottle but would not go down to bed even after a huge poop. So we tried another bit of bottle but she wouldn’t settle. We walked and bounced and played a bit and eventually I just held her and rocked her. She woke up a few times but eventually I was able to put her in her crib. I’m not quite sure what the matter is. She usually just lies down and goes to sleep when she is tired. Could be constipation, could be grief, could be teething. So many changes. When we get home I will follow the advice of an adoptive mom friend I made and put her orphanage clothes under her crib so the smell will be familiar to her. I don’t want to do that here though. It is just as well that she not get too comfortable here.
Once Button was asleep I got to spend a nice cuddle time with Boo. I have been missing that time with him especially and we had a nice talk about lots of different things. Bean was already asleep but because she always wants to be with Button I get a lot more interaction with her during the day than I do with Boo who is less likely to jump in…
Tomorrow I think the group is going to the Summer Palace and the silk market. We’ll see if we go with them or not. We may go in the bus but return on our own when we are ready. It is better to get out a bit I think.
I am going to leave this sweet and happy family here now. They are all back home in Canada safe and sound, and Button is settling in. Welcome beautiful little Button to your new home where I know that you will be so very loved.