An unfortunate incident for XiXi this morning has turned into one of our very first shared stories. I consider it a first because it's the only one we've been able to retell to each other with mutual understanding. And isn't the retelling of the story the whole point? At breakfast this morning, I was helping XiXi to fill his plate. While I was loading him up with fruit, he grabbed himself an egg from a basket of eggs on the counter. He's had hard -boiled eggs before, so I was fine with his choice. As we were making our way back to our table, he must have squeezed the egg because it burst open and raw egg splattered all over him--on his shirt (his last clean one), shorts (ditto), down his legs, and into his socks. He was completely shocked, as was I. Who puts raw eggs on a counter at a breakfast buffet?
Several workers ran to assist him and we got him all cleaned up. Back in the room, he acted out the whole story for his sisters, jabbering in Mandarin and laughing hysterically. With actions and facial expressions, we've been able to tell him the story too, of course in English, as we all share a good laugh. I can't adequately explain how much that one silly story has meant to us. We're communicating!
I may come home with an accent
We've met up with several families who will now be part of our group for the remainder of our trip. This morning on the bus, Rebecca passed around a microphone and asked everyone to introduce themselves and their child and tell the others where they're from. We're the only ones without a Southern drawl. When I introduced us, I passed the microphone to XiXi and he gave everyone a hearty "NiHao!" He's such a loveable boy, a little rough around the edges certainly, but so very loveable.
There are 3 girls and 3 boys in our group, all special needs adoptions. All but one family already had children, more than one with 5 children. XiXi is the second oldest in the group after a five year-old girl. The others are toddlers and babies. The resiliancy of these kids never ceases to amaze me. They all seem to be bonding well to their families and are doing great.
On the bus, Rebecca told us about our plans for the day--Shamian Island and the medical exam. She said, "The children will get weighed.....XiXi, I saw you eat breakfast and you should be nervous." I can't imagine he had a clue what she said, but hearing his name, he laughed and everyone laughed with him. How could you not?
At the medical exam, we had the same doctor who examined Cholita nearly 5 years ago. The number of kids this man has seen must be staggering. XiXi was perfectly behaved and you could tell that he was used to doctors. They did the extremely cursory ear and eye exams--plunk a key on a toy piano, (Yes! He hears!), and wave a toy in front of him, (Yes! He sees!). The doctor also felt XiXi's face where he's had his surgery and said, "Very good." He talked with XiXi quite a bit and pointed to each of us and asked who we were. XiXi said I was his mom and that those were his sisters. Then the doctor asked him if he could take him home to his house and XiXi emphatically said no and told him that he would go with his mom. The doctor, who always seemed so serious, then had a little tickle session with XiXi. As we left, he patted me on the back and said, "Great boy!"
From the doctor's room we went for the weigh in, XiXi's moment of truth. He stepped proudly onto the scale and a nurse wrote down a number. Then our guide walked in and looked at the paper and said, "That can't be right." The nurses had a little conversation, pointing at XiXi and pointing at the number and saying, "san sway" (three years old). Then they put him back on the scale and had our guide come look and said something like, "See, we were right." Our 3 year-old is closing in on 40 pounds. I'm getting a serious work-out in China.
From there, it was off to the TB test. Lily sat with XiXi and told him that it was going to hurt, but that it would be quick. XiXi put his arm out like an old pro, sat still as can be, and then burst into sobs when it was done. Lily gave him a piece of candy and he walked around sniffling, with his injured arm held straight out for everyone to see.
While we were at the clinic, we saw two beautiful girls of about age 13, who were clearly identical twins. The strange thing was, one looked so American while the other looked Chinese. (It was like the observation an English-speaking Chinese man made a couple of days ago in Kunming. "He (pointing to XiXi) is Chinese, but she (pointing to Cholita), is not." Lucy said that no, Cholita was Chinese too. "Yes," he said, "but you can tell that she's a Chinese foreigner." ) Anways, with these two indentical girls, even wearing matching outfits, one looked American and the other Chinese. Lily spoke to the parents and later shared their story. They'd adopted one of the twins ten years ago at the age of 3. From very early on, she told her parents that she had a sister in China, but they just assumed that she meant an orphanage "sister". As the years went buy, she became more adamant that she had a twin and that she'd been left behind in China. The family, still telling her that she did not have a twin, happened to send some updated photos recently to the orphanage. The orphanage workers who saw the photos were shocked and unsure of what do, sent a message to the CCAA. "A family a sent pictures of their daughter and it's the exact image of a girl, the same age, in our orphanage." The CCAA then contacted the family and told them that they had reason to believe their daughter had a twin. The two had been abandonded at different ages and in different locations and so the orphanage workers never put the two together, but there was no doubt that they were twins. As soons as the family could, they flew to China to adopt the twin sister that their daughter always insisted she had. It was truly amazing to see those sweet sisters together.
Healthy Body Image
XiXi has no qualms about being naked. None at all. When he was done swimming today, he let us know by getting out of the pool and pulling off his trunks. He strutted over to us naked as a jaybird.
Our hotel has a huge window that goes from the bedroom staight into the shower. There's a remote controlled screedn that you can lower for privacy, but XiXi is quite fond of remotes. It's more than a little unnerving to have him pointing and laughing and I'm thankful sometimes that I don't have a translator.
XiXi has the cutest farmer's tan and I'd love to share some photos, if I can figure it out here on the business office computer.
He's a great kid
He really is. We've had frustrating moments and I have no doubt that we'll have many more in the future, but he just has such a spark to him. I hope that spark comes through in the photos. When I think of all that's changed in his life in the past 5 days, I can't believe how well he's done. Tonight at dinner, he was getting frustrated about something and started to melt down. I picked him up and took him out of the restaurant. He was not at all happy about that and immediately pulled himself together. When we went back in, I asked one of the waiters to tell him in Mandarin that if he screamed, I'd have to take him from the restaurant. He told him, and then XiXi started to cry. It was a different cry than I've ever heard from him--just a very sad, quiet cry and he said, "Dwo boo chee." (I'm sorry). I rubbed his sweet face and he hugged me for a long time. He really is trying so hard. We're also trying--trying to establish rules, but also trying to be understanding. Tonight as I was putting him to bed he said, "Wo ai ni, Mama." (I love you). We love him too. There's something so very special about XiXi.