Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 31st

March 31, 2010
As you can tell from Connor’s blog, we’ve had about enough time together in close quarters. The kids are bickering, and I’m heartily sick of the TV. We rarely watch TV at home, and we don’t even have cable; here both TVs are on constantly. This is the longest we’ve ever been away from home, and we miss our dogs and Austin too. The only one who still seems happy- go -lucky is Ben. He entertains himself most of the time, and he finds humor in everything. I awoke this morning to the sound of Ben laughing hysterically. What a cutie. Connor told our guide yesterday that although Ben wakes him up during the night, he doesn’t mind because Ben is so cute. The other night, Ben woke up and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Ba? Ba!” He was calling in Chinese for Dad. He sleeps in the living area of the suite, (there is only a sliding door separating our bed from his), but since he couldn’t see David immediately upon waking, he was upset. He has obviously bonded with his dad already. John is still not certain of his place, I think. As Connor said in his blog, he seems to be battling for a position in the family hierarchy. And just so you didn’t misunderstand Connor, I did say that Connor can defend himself if necessary, but I am not encouraging the boys to duke it out. For instance, this morning John supposedly “flipped off” Connor. I told Connor that he shouldn’t be a tattletale, but he also shouldn’t accept any bullying from John; basically, Connor needs to treat John as he would Austin. I asked Connor to think about how he would react if Austin acted like John (which he does sometimes!). Connor told me that he will give it more thought. Remember, this is the son who wants to be a priest, and he is struggling with how to deal with a new older brother who isn’t nice sometimes. I think the best thing I can do is back off and let the boys work it out. I did remind Connor that John lived in an orphanage of 200+ children. He might need to be taught how to relate to other people in a constructive manner. What I actually said is, “Can you imagine the power struggles when 200 children are struggling just to survive? Would you want to live there?” Again, Connor told me he will give it more thought, and since our talk this morning, things HAVE improved. Ben’s needs are so simple compared to John’s. But he is trying to adjust. For instance, he teases me every time we pass McDonalds. He says, in Chinese, let’s go to McDonalds—and then I make the noise of vomiting. It’s a joke (as lame as it is) that we share. It’s a start anyway. And he obviously adores Ben, as do we all. He watches out for him (and Connor too sometimes) when we least expect it. Yes, it might be a challenge, but we know John will be O.K. in time.
On another note, last night, we went on a Pearl River cruise. The weather was nice and balmy, and it was a lovely outing. We went with the other couple I mentioned previously, and our guide. I took 107 photos, and the kids ran around the boat and danced to Ricky Martin music. I invited John up to the open deck alone, before dinner, just to carve out some one-on-one time with him. He seemed to be excited to be on a boat. We spend so much time doting on Ben; I don’t want John to feel like he’s not important too. After the cruise, there was a man on the sidewalk with a trained monkey. I took a photo of the monkey, and, of course, the guy then demanded money. David gave him some change, but the man was angry because it wasn’t enough. It was funny, really. For the most part, we feel that we are just in a holding pattern, waiting for the trip to be over. Our guide wants us to tour around Guangzhou, and we just aren’t in the mood to sight-see. To us, Guangzhou is just another big city. It’s not any more ancient or Asian feeling than Beijing. Most people who adopt, do so from a rural, poor, village. They visit the rice paddies and farms that we didn’t get to see on this trip. We decided to adopt from Beijing because our pediatrician told us that the children from Beijing have the best medical care and educational opportunities. Although this is probably true, I sometimes envy the other families who were able to see the “real” China during their adoption trip. On the other hand, I am also happy we stayed in five-star hotels the entire trip!!! And tomorrow, the pool might be open!

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