Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Journey to Kai – Day 07 (The Free Day)

Once again, I was up until 1AM. These trip reports don’t write themselves and I like to provide as much detail as possible.  Not only will these trip reports help us when it comes time to show Kai all about our trip to China to bring him home, but all those people who are waiting anxiously to be where we are right now will benefit, I hope, by reading about what we are doing.

I also got to enjoy some conversation with the online friends back home because it was the beginning of their day while it was the end of mine.

Kai really didn’t wake up in the middle of the night this time.  He did have a moment where Nancy felt that he was running a bit warm so she gave him some Children’s Tylenol just in case.  She is also thinking of starting him on his antibiotics today because his cough is getting a lot more wet and more frequent. We are noticing that a lot of the cleft lip and palate kids are having a cough that has been slowly getting worse.

For those who haven’t been to China, the pollution is very noticeable.  At noon we still cannot see buildings that are further than across the street.   It looks like fog but it’s not and breathing it often is reminiscent of being in a room full of smokers.  It does get better as the day goes on, but it’s still different.

China is a country with a fast growing middle class and lots of industrial growth.  I cannot bring myself to blame them for the situation they are in because if the United States was as large as China when they were at this phase of their development they would’ve trashed our air to this extent a long time ago.  Plus, more ecologically friendly ways of doing things are very expensive and not very common so it hinders growth.  If you really want too see, first hand, the impact of progress come to China.  It might make you want to support efforts to make it easier to clean things up and device methods to prevent it from getting dirty in the first place.

That is my PSA for today…haha

We woke up around 7AM and fired up the computer.  We decided to  launch Skype and see who was online. It turns out that quite a few people were online.  Nancy’s sister, Julie, was on and her daughter, our niece, missed out on meeting Kai the last time we spoke to her, so we made sure to call her first.

It looks like our timing was impeccable because they were on the way out to go to Disneyland.  Regan was excited to see Kai.  Kai was sort of just ambivalent about the whole thing but would occasionally point at people on the computer.  While we were talking with Julie and Regan, my friend Tim was calling in.  We hung up with Julie so we could talk with Tim and his family.  They are one of the many aunts and uncles Kai will have the pleasure of knowing.

We had a great talk with Tim, Karen and his son Billy.  Karen and Tim have been very supportive along the way with Tim often being the voice of reason with me and helping to get me “off the water tower” when I freak out.  We had a great talk with them and Billy was excited to see Kai even though he still really didn’t grasp the concept of adoption and that we were in China and why we were there.

We ended up having to cut the conversation short because it was getting late and we were worried about being able to get some breakfast.

We gathered up Kai’s backpack and headed downstairs to get some food.  As we walked up to the restaurant they told us it was too full and took us up one floor to Mama Mia and told us we could eat there.

We did put Kai into a high chair this time.  He didn’t really like it at first but settled in quickly.

China_20091125_1138_Day07Sure enough there was plenty of room but all the food downstairs wasn’t on this buffet.  I went and got some congee for Kai since we couldn’t find a place to ask for some scrambled eggs.

The first two spoonfuls of congee Kai loved, but the third must’ve been hotter than the previous two because he acted like I shoved napalm into his mouth.  At that China_20091125_1146_Day07 point, he lost trust in me and wouldn’t let me feed him anymore.

After several failed attempts he did let me hand feed him some Cheerios again.  Nancy ended up finding a person to make some eggs and ordered two eggs scrambled.

I continued to try and feed Kai a combination of steamed buns, Cheerios, and congee until the eggs arrived. He was much more open to the eggs once they arrived.

China_20091125_1147_Day07On one of Nancy’s runs back tot he buffet she brought back some yogurt for us to try and feed him.

Apparently, Kai loves plain yogurt because he wasn’t having anything to do with the eggs and congee after we started feeding him the yogurt.

The downside to feeding Kai yogurt was that it was extremely messy.  I could feed him just off the yogurt that missed his mouth and ended upon his cheeks and chin.

Now mind you, except for the few minutes I ran back to the room to get our camera, I fed Kai the entire time.  He was very open to me doing that and only got a bit fussy when Nancy was out of sight but I could distract him with the yogurt.

By the time Nancy got done eating they were telling us they were shutting the buffet down, so I ran quickly to get some food.  When I sat down to eat the food was cold so I really didn’t eat much except a few steamed buns.  I am good at going without food so I wasn’t too upset and the meal didn’t cost me anything.  I was just glad Nancy got to eat.

China_20091125_1153_Day07 We went back to the room and I hopped back onto the computer. I only did that for a little bit and eventually ended up on the floor with Nancy and Kai playing with the stacking cups.  Now Nancy will tell you she really didn’t think much of the advice from previous families about bringing the stacking cups, but they have quickly become Kai’s favorite toy.

After a serious blowout in his diaper we got Kai dressed an took him up to the 5th floor where a little play area had been setup.  It China_20091125_1155_Day07wasn’t anything fabulous based on what you’d expect in the US, but it apparently was highly entertaining to the kids. One of the other families were up there with their little girl.  Kai saw the ball pit and wanted inside so Nancy climbed in there and played with Kai.  We suspected he’d like the ball pit since we have a picture of him playing in a ball pit at his foster home facility.

Kai has already exhibited some signs on not wanting to share with China_20091125_1163_Day07kids but I don’t blame him since he’s had to share for so long and now he actually has some things of his own and he’s going to hold tight.

We pulled him out of the ball pit and let him crawl around on the floor.  He had a blast and eventually found a rocking horse.  He climbed onboard and after a brief moment of Nancy propelling him, he took over and rocked himself and enjoyed every minute of it.

China_20091125_1166_Day07About this time, Robyn and Jason showed up with their daughter  and the kids played while we talked.  Kai did, at one point, go up to Jason and plopped himself into Jason’s lap and let Jason hold him.  That hurt a bit, but I guess with Jason having a son at home already, he put off that parent vibe which Kai picked up on.

Eventually the kids started exhibiting the signs of needing a nap and we left and went back to our rooms.  It didn’t take much to get Kai down for a nap and Nancy laid down too.  While they napped, I worked on this post while  watching some seriously old American TV China_20091125_1171_Day07 (So you think you can dance).

After a couple hours of nap time (for Kai and Nancy), I woke up Nancy asking her how much longer we were going to let Kai sleep. It was decided that we were going to get him up.

He arose relatively painlessly and we got him dressed for going outside.  We had decided we were going to go check out the park down the road.

China_20091125_1184_Day07 We strapped Kai into the ERGOBaby carrier and I grabbed the backpack and my shoulder bag and we headed on out.

The park was only a couple blocks from the hotel and it wasn’t really a very exciting place to go.  It was very dead…literally.  All the plant life was dead and it pretty much gave it a very gloomy hue.

As we walked around we saw a lot of 20-something locals sitting on park benches cuddling or making out.  There was also a really nasty pond with quite a few people surrounding it with long bamboo fishing poles trying to hook “the big one”.China_20091125_1212_Day07

For the most part we were the main event at the park. Many times someone would walk past us and then double back and carefully look at the face of the kid in our baby carrier. Many of them would then smile and wave at Kai and look at us with inquisitive looks.  In Zhengzhou it’s not very China_20091125_1216_Day07common to see Anglo looking people and English is not really spoken here.

At one point we ran into a really run down outdoor roller skating rink.  Kai was really fascinated with the activities within the fenced-in rink.  So we stopped so he could watch.  Many of the young adults who were skating came buy you gawk at our son.  I cannot even imagine a similar China_20091125_1218_Day07scenario that we’d might encounter in the United States.  

While we were watching the people skate, an older gentleman came by to look at us and then he noticed that Kai only had on one layer of clothes.  Then he started rattling something off in Mandarin while pointing out that skin was visible under Kai’s pants. We are pretty sure we were getting the “Clothing Nazi” lecture. It is relatively known in the Chinese Adoption community that the older people will lecture you China_20091125_1219_Day07about not bundling up your kids outside.  The culture dictates that we load on the layers just like how he was when we got him on Monday.  We weren’t going to do that and Kai really seemed comfortable with the single layer plus being in the ERGObaby, he was getting a lot of warmth from Nancy’s body.

We just kept wandering and hoping that we’d run into the shopping mall the had the McDonald’s, but that wasn’t going to be the case.China_20091125_1223_Day07

What did happen was that we were dumped onto a street with no sidewalk.  So we followed it around knowing that it will eventually take us to the main road we wanted to be walking on.  It was pretty interesting because we knew that cars were not going to be looking out for us and it was our responsibility to avoid getting hit by a car or bicycle.

When we got back to the main road we knew we were still a ways away from the McDonald’s.

The crowds were increasing as we were getting closer and I was getting nervous about our safety because I was always taught when I lived in Singapore that it wasn’t wise to go out into local populations where English isn’t spoken without being in a group and without at least having someone who spoke the native language to translate.  Here we were wandering out with no way to communicate if we needed help.

China_20091125_1229_Day07 Eventually we got to this point where we had to cross 6 lanes of traffic to get to the McDonald’s.  I think I mentioned that stop lights really aren’t adhered to.  So, even though we had the light to tell us that it was safe to walk in the crosswalk, cars and bikes were still zooming through the intersection.  So, it kind of felt like a real live version of the classic arcade game Frogger.

When we walked into McDonald’s heads turned.  The signs over the register where you pick your Value Meal was all in China_20091125_1233_Day07 Chinese Characters.  So, we had to look at the pictures to figure out what we wanted.  Fortunately, when we got to the register the girl whipped out a mat that had the items with English descriptions.  We pointed at what we wanted, but they still didn’t speak English.

After they rung up our order she took off and came back with a boy in his 20’s and he spoke very crude and broken English. He basically told us the price and told us to have a good day.

As we were looking for a place to sit it dawned on us that we didn’t tell them to not put ice in our Coke’s.  The water here isn’t potable to Westerners so even the ice is off limits.  So, we had to throw the drinks away.

China_20091125_1237_Day07 There were a lot of signs around the various seating areas (it was a 2-story McDonald’s) but it was all in Mandarin so we had no idea what the signs were saying.

So, we grabbed a seat in the corner downstairs. As we were eating I noticed a couple young ladies in a different McDonald’s uniform consisting mostly of red and were talking on a Microphone.  I had no idea what they were saying but it looked like they were seating people.  So, I still have no idea if we broke the rules for seating ourselves.

As we ate our food, Nancy decided to give Kai some French fries.  China_20091125_1240_Day07 He loved them and begged for more.  Nancy only gave him a few but he absolutely loved the.  I tell you McDonald’s French fries are like crack.  You get one hit and you are hooked for life.

After eating our food, it was getting late so we decided to walk back to our hotel.  It was an uneventful walk except that it has become apparent that the cars and bikes ride on the road and they ride on the sidewalks.  So, you have to always be on your guard.

When we got back to the hotel people from our travel group were in the lobby so we stayed and talk to them.  It was nice catching up and hearing what people were up to on their free day.  Many people went out for walks like we did and China_20091125_1244_Day07many had similar experiences where people were gawking and in many cases taking pictures with their camera phones.

Our lobby has a small Christmas store and Nancy decided to buy a small Christmas ornament to mark the occasion.

The store had a snowman outside that was actually made from ice.  China_20091125_1247_Day07I don’t think I’ve actually seen anything like that before.

Then we went back to our room.  We checked his diaper and it was about 2 pounds heavier from the fact that he wet it.

We decided to see if he’d let me change his diaper.  He fussed a bit  more than with Nancy, but it got done.

China_20091125_1249_Day07After the diaper change, we all played on the floor for awhile.  Nancy figured out how to make the rice cereal and we had me feed him the food.  He seemed really excited to be eating the rice cereal and let me feed him two bowls of it.

As with breakfast, the feeding process resulted in as much food on his face as in his belly.

After the feeding was done, it was time for Kai’s bath.  Nancy went to the bathroom to draw the water and she asked me to watch Kai.  Well, he can really move once he starts crawling and was in the bathroom in no time.  Then he pulled himself up and was trying to reach into the bathtub to touch the water.  So, I picked him up and tipped him into the tub so he could reach the water to start splashing.

Nancy asked me if I wanted to get him undressed so we could put China_20091125_1251_Day07 him in the tub and I quickly got his stripped down and put him in the tub.  He was having a blast.  We got just as wet as he did.  I still wasn’t able to wash him but I did get to stay in the room.

When he was done, I was allowed to pick him up with the towel.  I wrapped him up and played with him a bit buy showing him his reflection in the mirror.

Kai really gets a kick out of seeing his reflection and I was able to get him to start squealing in delight.  I walked into the other room with him and got him on the bed so Nancy could slather him down with lotion.  Then I picked out his pajamas and helped Nancy get him dressed.

We had decided earlier today that we were going to try and brush his teeth.  So, now that he was dressed for bed, we took him into the bathroom and took a stab at it.  He obviously knew what a toothbrush was because when Nancy got it out and put toothpaste on it, he opened his mouth up wide.  The problem was that I don’t think he liked the flavor because he went nuts as soon as we got a couple teeth brushed and then refused to allow us to continue.

We didn’t push the issue too much.  We got most of his teeth brushed before giving up.  We’ll try again in the morning and try and find out what type of toothpaste he is probably used to.

Nancy took him to the bed and was holding him while he sucked on a bottle of formula.  She had me get his antibiotic drawn and I brought it out to her.

Once again, when he saw the oral syringe of antibiotic, he opened his mouth up wide and sucked it down like a trooper.

He wasn’t too tired at first and was getting real fussy and was pointing at something across the room, but we didn’t know what.  After awhile we realized that he was pointing at the stacking cups that were sitting on top of the TV.

I brought them over to him which put him in a good mood.  But, it was to be short lived because he quickly drifted off to sleep.

Nancy decided to lay down while I worked on this blog post.  I’m going to go hit the showers and then try and lay beside Kai and see if he’ll let me.  If not, Nancy will have to once again get kicked all night by the restless sleeper known as Kai.

Tomorrow we are supposed to go on a half-day tour of the Henan Museum which is the 3rd largest museum in all of China.  Then, the rest of the day, will be free.

Until Tomorrow…..


Steve & Michelle said...

Sounds like Kai is warming up to you! That is AWESOME! We are so excited and proud for both of you. I am LOVING the updates! I have been checking every morning and night. I know it is exhausting. You will be so glad you wrote them!

Poppie said...

Sounds like things are breaking into pretty typical routines...and it sounds like you guys are having a wonderful experience. The journaling is awesome and the pictures are amazing.

Anonymous said...

I am just so proud of you all and so happy for you! Look at this wonderful amazing transition you are having with Kai. I love seeing pics of him with you Nancy in the Ergo. He looks so adorable. Hearing about meals of congee and trying new things brings back all those wonderful memories. It is so good to document all of these experiences. Nancy, I can tell motherhood is so comfortable for you. I knew that would happen for you. It is a beautiful gift. Can't wait for you to be on your way home.

Much love -- Gayle Thornton