And that's just me and the girls. I can only imagine what poor XiXi is feeling right now. Still, even with all that will be new for him once we get home, I think in many ways it will be easier. Living out of a hotel room is difficult for anyone, especially a 3 year-old boy.
He had a great day yesterday and a very rough day today. His tummy has been hurting and he's complained of "dudzuh", which I was quick to learn was diarrhea. The poor boy has been eating unfamiliar foods and add that to the stress that I know he's feeling and I'm sure his tummy has been upset. Even with the upset tummy, he's given us lots of great smiles and laughs and hugs. But he's also had several tantrums and long periods of grouchiness. All of that seems very normal under the circumstances, so I'm not terrbily worried; I'm just really tired.
XiXi seems to have really connected to me now, whereas before his number one choice was Da Jie Jie. That's great, but he frequently wants me to carry him and 40 pounds is quite a load. I carried him all over the hotel gardens today, but for longer trips, I just can't do it and he's got to ride in the stroller. He's also seeking my approval more and more, which I consider a big step in the right direction. For example, in the tub the other night, he poured a whole bottle of bath salts into the water and I told him that was too much. Tonight, each time he wanted to add some salts to the tub, he'd say, "Ma!" and then put his cute chubby fingers close together and say in English, "little?" I'd tell him yes and thank him for asking and then he'd put in just the tiniest amount. He also points and asks "Ma?" when he wants more food. Food will be an issue, I can already see that. We need to make sure at each meal that he sees which food belongs to which person. Otherwise, he thinks it's all his and that's what's caused our biggest tantrums. We also need to keep a bottle of water with him at all times. The "shway" is like the security blanket that his photo books were on his first day. Thankfully that's easy enough to do. Cholita had issues with food when she first came home as well, so we've been there and done that and this too shall pass.
The majority of our other issues have been language-related. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to be plopped into an enviroment where you don't understand the people around you. He's doing more and more actions now to show us what he means, and that's helped. We're also learning more of his Mandarin phrases and he's understanding more of our English. When we get home, I'm anxious to teach him more sign language because I think that will help a great deal. I taught him the sign for fish and he now asks to go see the koi downstairs by doing the fish sign. Along with the sign, he does a truly adorable fish face. He still likes to tell the egg story and it still makes us laugh.
Before we came to China, one of my biggest worries was that XiXi would be a hard child to connect with and that I'd struggle with bonding, which would in turn make bonding a struggle for him. With a nearly-four year-old child I knew there would be issues, but I also knew that if I felt bonded to him that we'd be able to deal with those issues. I'm so thankful to say that XiXi is a very easy child to love. And because we love him, I know that we can help him through the struggles that he'll have as he adjusts to his new life.
I'm just ready to get him home.