I’m going to have to apologize in advance because I’m writing this on Saturday (3 days after the event) so the details might be a bit fuzzy and lacking. You’ll see why later in the post why it took 3 days to get it onto “paper”
After another late night getting the blog posts current, I finally went to bed around 1AM.
We woke up around 6AM (this is a growing trend for us as we figure out how long it takes to get Kai up and ready to go). We decided to see if anyone was on Skype. We knew it was early enough for Nancy’s dad to be up so we sent him a text via Google Voice to tell him to jump on Skype. While we waited for him to show up, we talked to my mom on Skype while we waited for Nancy’s dad to jump on.
We were able to have a nice talk with my mom before that happened and the we switched to talking to Nancy’s dad. Up to this point, Nancy’s dad was the only family member on Skype that hasn’t had an opportunity to see Kai yet. So, we wanted to make a point to try and make that happen today.
After getting our conversations in, we made our way down to breakfast. We were touring the Henan Museum. Yisha told us that this museum was the 3rd largest in China and it had just recently undergone a renovation and reopened on November 18th.
We were able to secure a high chair at breakfast again (only a few available in the restaurant) and I did my part by being the primary person to feed Kai. We are hoping that by my continual assumption of this role will eventually help Kai realize that I’m someone he can trust.
I didn’t get to eat much again. I’m finding that when you are on a timetable, and your child can only take very tiny portions (just a fraction of the surface of an infant-sized spoon) you are the one that doesn’t get to eat.
We were supposed to meet in the lobby around 9AM and once again we were just cutting it close.
Today, the temperature took a dive and it was much colder than the previous days. So, the 5 foot walk from the hotel lobby and the bus, was a bit nippy. Not to mention the bus temperature wasn’t up to the typical Chinese preference of sweltering.
As has been happening lately, I’ve felt very claustrophobic on the busses. With Kai not wanting to be held by anyone but Nancy that means that the only role I can fill is that of pack mule. I don’t use that term in a derogatory way it’s just the truth. With Nancy being pregnant and carrying Kai with the ERGObaby carrier, she just cannot carry anything else, so I do.
So, when I’m sitting in those tiny seats on the Chinese tour busses, I’m holding: my shoulder bag with my camera supplied (and extra storage for Kai’s stuff), Kai’s diaper bag (aka Nancy’s backpack), and my Nikon D300. It really becomes hard to move and to top it off, Nancy and I crammed into those seats. I still don’t know how the families with more average sized adults are coping. With my being 5’3”, I’m quite a bit smaller than average.
It wasn’t long after we pulled away from the hotel, my stomach was starting to not feel so good. I mentioned something to Nancy and she said she was feeling the same way.
By the time we got to the museum, we were both ready to throw up. It felt like car sickness but I’ve been on enough of these busses to know that it couldn’t be car sickness or I’d have been suffering the whole time.
Our first inclination was to blame the McDonald’s we had the previous day.
We were told that we were going to be at the museum for 2 hours and that just seemed like torture and there was no real easy way for us to get back to the hotel.
We did have to go through security to enter the museum. That entailed running our bags through an x-ray machine and us walking through a metal detector.
The museum was laid out with numbered rooms with each increasing number representing a different dynasty of Chinese history.
I must say that Chinese history and archaeology is extremely fascinating. What is really cool is to see an artifact and see it dated back something like 8000 years way deep into the BC. Sometimes, I’m amazed at how advanced their art, society and infrastructure was for such an ancient time period.
About 30 minutes after arriving at the museum, the nausea was really getting to Nancy so she we went to the restroom so that she could try and throw up. She wasn’t in there very long when she came out and said that there weren’t any western toilets in the bathroom and she just couldn’t stare at that hole in the ground any longer and try to think about throwing up.
The whole time she was in there, Kai was sitting in my lap and wasn’t being really fussy.
Nancy had informed me there wasn’t anywhere in the ladies restroom to change Kai because there weren’t any counters (the sinks for the bathrooms are on the outside of the restroom and shared between the men and women) and the floor was sopping wet (the floors in the bathrooms are always wet).
So, we decided to go all commando on the situation and drop his trousers and change his diaper right there on the bench near the bathroom.
That is when we found out the extent of the damage. Kai had his first blowout since coming into our family. It was up his back and smelled to high heaven. He was wearing a Chinese diaper which don’t seem to go as high up the waist as diapers acquired in America do.
Oh, it was messy and Nancy was having to change the diaper in full view of the bathroom going public. We were quickly getting an audience of mostly older Chinese. To add insult to injury, we didn’t bring a second set of clothes for the little guy, so even though we were able to change his diaper, we were going to have to put his clothes back on that has some mess on it.
As I was coming back to Nancy after locating a place to toss all that toxic waste, Nancy told me, “And that is why I told you to bring more than one pair of pants”. I was like, “What?” and she told me to look down. Well, you see, when I was holding Kai in my lap while Nancy was in the bathroom, all of Kai’s “overflow” was seeping into the crotch and inner thigh of my pants. So, now I looked like I had a bout of incontinence and had a huge stinky wet spot on my pants.
Now mind you, both Nancy and I were now feeling violently ill and now I know why they use that term violently, because you want to kill anyone around you and when spouses are both that way at the same time, lookout a missing button on your shirt could start a nuclear melt down.
Fortunately, our altercations were mainly snide remarks, dirty looks, and a few statements with raised voices and things weren’t helped by the fact that Kai wouldn’t let me touch him to help so I get to stand around feeling useless (I wouldn’t know what to do even if he would let me).
Once we got him in a new diaper, Nancy put him back in the ERGObaby carrier because she didn’t want people to see him with his giant poop stain on his back.
To top things off on this fabulous day was that both Nancy and I suffer from sciatica and Kai won’t let me carry him in the baby carrier so Nancy has to do it and his weight, plus Kylee’s weight really puts pressure on her back that doesn’t ever get relief. My sciatica is so bad that if I stand still for more than a few seconds, I have a pain that is so painful that it brings me to tears. At home, our backs seems to get reset when we sleep, but here in China, they like to fill their mattresses with bricks and our backs just pick up the pain where they left off the previous day and build on it. So, my first steps out of bed in the morning are tear inducing and so are Nancy’s.
One of the funny things that was going on in the museum was that random people were coming up to people from our group and asking to have their picture taken with them. I had multiple people do this with me. The funniest was when this 20-something girl ran up all giddy, grabbed my arm like it was a prom photo and smiled brightly as her boyfriend (I didn’t see a ring) took our picture.
There was one family in our group that had 3 older boys and I swear by the time we were done at the museum several queues had formed of people waiting to have their picture taken with them. It was like a Character Meet-and-Greet at a Disney theme park.
Needless to say, we were rather excited when it was time to leave the museum. All we wanted to do was go back to the room and puke and pass out. But, despite all the misery we really did enjoy the museum and highly recommend anyone going to the Zhengzhou region, to stop by and visit the museum. We are just upset that we couldn’t have enjoyed it more because it was really impressive.
The ride back to the hotel was a really long one and we were so agitated that we were just sniping at each other the whole way. I know that I was probably the biggest instigator because I don’t do sick well and I rarely get sick and when I do, I’m usually really miserable.
On the way back to the hotel we were informed that Mama Mia was going to be holding a Thanksgiving Buffet and that you had to get reservations. Most people were going to be there at either 5:30PM or 6:00PM.
Jason and Robyn wanted to know when we were going but we couldn’t tell them. We were informed at the museum that there was an extra step we had to take in order to secure Kai’s Chinese Passport. This was due to the fact that our trip was so last minute they didn’t have time to do his “interview”. So, we were going to have to physically take him to a passport office so they could see him before they would release the passport. We knew that Yisha was going to call us some time around 2PM to tell us when and where we needed to be.
So, I told Jason that I’d have to get back to him on dinner.
When our bus got back to the hotel we didn’t waste any time getting back to the room.
The unfortunate thing for us was that Kai slept on the bus ride home. That was unfortunate because it meant he wouldn’t go back to sleep once we got back to the room. We so desperately needed him to get back to sleep so we could take a nap.
As I was lounging around on the bed hoping I’d feel better, I eventually got so nauseous I ended up deciding to just get it over with and made myself get sick in the bathroom. I know it’s not pleasant but it often makes my stomach feel better if I just get it over with. I was sure I had gotten some bad food (now I was pretty sure it was at breakfast).
It did indeed make me feel a lot better. I ended up deciding to take a shower because I just felt so bad, I thought a shower might help refresh me. That, unfortunately, was not a good idea either. I was feeling better before the shower then after the shower I felt worse than before.
2PM came and went and we heard nothing about what to do in regards to Kai’s passport. So, I went to Jason’s room and we decided to go get our reservations. It turns out that the Thanksgiving buffet must’ve been popular for more than just the hotel guests because we were told that the reservations were almost filled up. We were able to secure a table for 6PM.
I went back to our room and just as I was fighting sleep we got a call from Rita (Yisha’s assistant) asking us to meet her in the lobby with Kai.
We grabbed Kai and headed downstairs. Rita was there already waiting for us. She was trying to tell us we weren’t dressed well enough. We had thought that we would be driving to where we needed to go, but apparently, it’s in walking distance. So, we had to run back upstairs to get our winter coats and get some warmer clothes for Kai.
Once we were properly attired we headed on our way. Apparently, the place we were going was near the park we were at the previous day.
It was cold outside, really cold. To top it off, Nancy couldn’t carry him the entire way because we didn’t bring the carrier.
So, we decided it was just too important for Nancy’s comfort for me to take him for a bit and just deal with the screaming. Well, he ended up screaming for a bit, but between the attention from Rita and his being able to see Nancy, he calmed down rather quickly.
But, in my effort to pay attention to Kai and avoid getting hit by bicycles and mopeds I didn’t notice a giant concrete pylon in my way and cracked my knee into it pretty hard. I managed to keep going without dropping Kai but it sure hurt like crazy.
We finally got to the passport office where we sat down while some paperwork was passed to the officers. A gentleman came up to us, said in English, “If you have a happy life, he will have a happy life” and gave us Kai’s passport.
We had to give Rita Kai’s passport because it was needed to finalize the notarizations we initiated yesterday.
We walked our way back to the hotel and Rita went back to the notarization office to drop off Kai’s passport.
We went back to the room and tried to settle in. Fully clothed, neither of us could get warm. I even climbed under the covers with all my clothes on and was still shivering. I knew this was a bad sign, so I got out the thermometer….sure enough I was running a fever. I knew enough to know that I didn’t have the flu, but China freaks out with foreigners with a temperature. So, I had these waves of panic about us getting quarantined and not able to leave Zhengzhou.
We both started popping Tylenol and I started my Z-Pak and Nancy started her antibiotics.
At this point we were still waiting for a phone call from Yisha to tell us when we could come and review the notarized documents. She originally stated that it would be around 4, but that came and went.
Around 4:30, we got the call and I went to her room to review the documents. I thought it was going to be one family at a time, but it was all of us. The room was hot and it just made it harder for me to concentrate because I was feeling so yucky.
I reviewed the documents as I was asked, then paid my money for the use of the bus while we were in Zhengzhou. We were also informed that China had instituted a new fuel tax and it would impact our flight the next day. So we were told that we’d need to have another $100RMB the next day.
We were told to have our spouse review the documents as well and if anything was wrong to bring them back to her so they could be corrected the next day.
When I got back to the room, Kai was till in full effect driving Nancy nuts. She tried her best to review the documents.
At this point, we decided it would be stupid to try and go to the dinner so I went to Jason’s room to tell him we would be trying to rest and to go without us.
Then I went back to the room. All during this time, we were also trying to pack. This was just exacerbated by the feeling of yuckiness and the fact that Kai was always underfoot.
There was one breakthrough moment in the evening though. Nancy was needing to do some packing and Kai let me pick him up and put him on my lap while I worked on the computer. That may seem trivial, but it’s not.
I honestly have a lot more respect for parents. At least with pets, you can just contain them somewhere and get your work done. But, with children you cannot.
Kai was like the Energizer Bunny this evening. His usual bedtime came and went and still wasn’t tired. We were exhausted and had decided we could finish packing the next day but we needed Kai to go to sleep.
We decided to give Benadryl a shot this evening. We needed to test it on him anyway because on some kids it makes them more amped up than sedated. The last thing we wanted to do was try it on him on a plane and have a psycho kid until the medicine wore off.
Well, it didn’t kick in right away and Nancy wanted to go to sleep. I know she wanted to keep having Kai sleep in a bed with us, but I told her that it would be in everyone’s best interest if Kai slept in a crib that evening. Even though he wasn’t getting tired, I told her to put him in the crib and we’ll turn out the lights. With his life in an orphanage and the foster facility, I was sure he would know what it means when the lights go out.
Sure enough as soon as we turned the lights out he was laying down in no time. We did learn something interesting. We found out why he does the weird stuff with his legs and arms while sleeping in the bed.
When he’s in his crib, he likes to push his feet through the individual paces between the slats and then grab on to different rungs with his hands. I guess this is one of his self-soothing techniques.
Kai eventually went to sleep and so did we and it was around 9PM. Well, I say we went to sleep but the fun was just beginning.