Friday, February 10, 2006

Aerial View of Chongqing

It's our last night at the Golden Resources and I didn't expect to feel so sentimental about it. I actually feel really weird about leaving Jarrah's hometown, like we are doing it against her will or something. I realize, though, that much of her history up to now has been against her will (and come to think of it, not many babies get to exercise their will!)

We've had such an amazing experience here, aside from the not sleeping. The hotel staff has bent over backwards for our comfort; tonight at our final dinner at the Chinese restaurant (all I can say is YUM) we had about six servers hovering deferentially, anticipating our every desire. And I am really going to miss Marie and Anita, who have had our needs figured out before we even knew what they were going to be. They work as a well-oiled machine, but with so much warmth and kindness, too; I feel like they really care about us. Mary, Paul, David and I just stopped by their room to give them gifts that we bought for them today at one of the local department stores--some fancy lotion and these cute red wallets. It was fun shopping for them, but it's not fun leaving them. I had imagined all kinds of things about staying in Chongqing--that it would be an ugly city (it's vibrant and full of color and action, even if it does intermittently smell of sewage) that the pollution and smoke would bother me (I've barely had time to notice; I hardly flinched when a man dropped ash on Jarrah's blanket when she was sleeping in her stroller) that I wouldn't see Western food for a week (we've had toast and jam and coffee every morning at the hotel) but mostly that being here would feel so alien that I wouldn't be able to relate. That has not been true at all. I wonder if wheeling around one of Chongqing's tiny citizens is part of what makes the city seem so welcoming and almost comfortable.

Today was a pretty nice day. Jarrah is still not allowing me to hold her, but she let me feed her a couple times and once I took her off in the stroller for 30 minutes with Mary and Joy and she didn't cry (that is, until she saw her daddy waiting for her upon our return; then she sobbed as if she'd only just realized how much she missed him.) However, she was quieter today overall; we've figured out that she prefers to take her bottle when she's already lying down for her nap (Thanks, Lisa!) and that she prefers to sleep on the floor than be trapped in the evil crib. Right now she is peacefully snoring on a quilt right next to me, rugged in a green blanket, looking like a pea in a pod. Pretty darn cute. Also, she is showing more personality and confidence today. She learned how to use her sippy cup. She smiled a lot more, laughed a little, and even baby-talked a bit. The biggest difference was that she stood quite a bit today, and even walked a few times holding on to David's hands. We knew she could do this before we met her but she's had no desire to test her new environment until now.

We had a nice moment at dinner tonight when she played a game with me that involved us slapping our hands together and yelling "Da!" and then laughing a lot. I felt a little emotional at the feel of her soft little palms, realizing that she hasn't touched me since the first day. But I feel confident that more tiny hand contact is in my future. She also ate a huge dinner of egg custard (all the babies adore it, just like you said, Lynette!), Chinese cucumbers, fried rice, dragon fruit and broccoli, which, like her mama, she seems to adore. I just love watching her eat; she is very clean because she doesn't want to waste any, and in fact will forage in the pocket of her disposable bib between courses. I've taken to calling it "the snack tray."

Today was a quiet day, which was a relief since we had absolutely no sleep last night. Well, amend that: David literally had no sleep, because the girl cried straight through the night unless he was holding her, sitting upright, and not on the bed. She has a lot of rules, so he ended up dozing fitfully in a chair with her passed out in his arms. Since my presence at these moments is not only not helpful but a hindrance to getting her to calm down, I stayed in bed, but of course no one can sleep through the sound of their baby screaming. We were so tired this morning that we slept in and almost missed breakfast, and then I tricked Jarrah into letting David sleep another hour by setting her up with a biter biscuit right next to him on the bed. She was willing to overlook his snoring while she watched her crazy Chinese cartoons, so it worked out for all of us.

This afternoon Marie and Anita walked us to a huge local bookstore, which ended up being a lot more fun than it sounds. We got some really cute picture books with great photos and both Chinese and English descriptions, and a DVD called "An Aerial View of Chongqing" which should be a great souvenir for Jarrah some day. It was some of the most fun (and cheapest) shopping we've done since we arrived. We also had group pictures with the babies; the cutest one was where all eight babies sat together on one couch, but of course a few of them were always screaming or trying to escape, so mostly we got a lot of photos of various parents' asses. That was funny, too.

So tomorrow we are off to Guangzhou, which I can tell already will be quite a bit different. For one thing, we're not getting a baby there. ;) For another, it's been in the '80s and here we've been in hats and scarves. Jarrah will also, obviously, be taking her first flight tomorrow, and luckily it's only about 90 minutes. We'll be in Guangzhou almost as long as we were here, but I don't know exactly what we'll be doing there except that at some point we'll have an appointment to finalize Jarrah's citizenship. It should be fun to see a new city; pictures and updates to follow.

Next Entry


Amy said...

I am so glad to hear that Jarrah is showing signs of acclimating to her new environment. I believe you will continue to see incremental changes for the better with each passing day. I hope you are able to focus on absorbing all of the local color during the rest of your trip so you can relate all the memorable details to Jarrah when she is older. Again I can't wait to have you all home so we can meet your little wonder baby in person!
Much love and hugs,

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam and David,

Sam, I am sure being that being that tired is making this very difficult. I am also sure all these feelings are very normal. Things are going to get better!

She is a CUTIE!

Anonymous said...

Jarrah looks like she is slowly letting you in, Sam. Great!

I also notice from the photos (those really help us be there with you!)she's a very observant child, interested in what's going on around her. You mentioned she likes to go places, & look. Seems like a pretty social child. I bet that's why she doesn't like her crib...that must signify the end of stimulation & start of confinement to her.

She sure is a cutie!
Best, Gail

Anonymous said...

Dear Sam and David,

The only way I ever got any sleep at all was sleeping with Jacob lying next to me on his side, me on mine facing him. Or sometimes lying on my chest, while I slept on my back. Worth a try.

Hurray, Sam! The wonders are just beginning.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sam and David,

I am so happy for both of you, the baby looks so cute in all different ways.

Chongqing is at the heart of China, so it is more chinese. The souvenir you got from the book store for Jarrah sounds so special. What a thoughtful idea! I always like to check out local book stores when I visit a new city.

Traveling with a young baby could be challenging. I hope you will enjoy Guangzhou too. It will be much more westernized, and you may not get stared as much, because there are a lot of western people passing by everyday.

Have a good trip to Guanzhou.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sam!

Sounds like your persistence is starting to pay off! Keep the little hand game up. I'm glad the bottle in the bed worked---and thanks for the mention! :-) I also see Anton's preferred choice in sippee cup made it to China: he will be quite pleased :-).

Good job Mommy!

Love, Lisa G.