Today was our first rainy day, which was amazing because when I checked the weather before we left, it looked like it would be 17 straight days of rain. after breakfast, we headed out to the Confucius Temple and market. Autumn really enjoyed this because she was outside the prison walls of our hotel room. Last night, she slept in her coat and jeans and today, she has had them on with her hood up and backpack on all day. We made her take off her shoes to take a nap (she cried and cried), but she kept the backpack on and laid on top of Steve while she slept.
The temple was about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. It was very touristy - my favorite kind of place - gimme the kitsch of the Dells, Pigeon Forge, or Myrtle Beach any day. We walked around the market for a while - a bunch of shops selling a variety of things. Sheehan bought a sandalwood fan for $3, that smells fragrant when you wave it and it has Phoenixes on it. Josiah ate a tang hular (we read about them in the book Little Pear from our Son Light curriculum), which is fruit stacked on a stick and coated in hard candy syrup, like a red candy apple. His was strawberries and cherries. He loved it. One vendor asked to take our picture - I guess we were an oddity - but I chose to think celebrity instead. There were men pulling rickshaws on foot and there was a huge tree with fake gold leaves and red tags hanging from it - probably decorated for the New Year. The streets were decorated with red and gold lanterns.
I carried Autumn in some kind of wrap, that Anne let me borrow, for about 20 minutes, but she was just too heavy. Those last measurements I got of her where I whined and complained because she couldn't possibly be that huge, well, they were accurate. She's probably a 3T, while I'm squeezing her into 18/24 month clothes, and she weighs 14.4kg. The doctor said she's in the 97% for weight and 50th for height. Shes a chunker.
After walking around, we decided to stop at KFC. We're not too adventurous.. Autumn enjoyed the French fries. There was a play area that Autumn and Josiah played in for a few minutes (Sheehan was too big). A woman came up to us, asking us something in Chinese, and I just kept telling her over and over, in Chinese that I didn't understand. Eventually, I figured out that she was asking if the kids were ours and I was able to tell her they were our children. Hey, Rosetta did something right.
It had been raining throughout most of our walk, so we decided to head back to the hotel. Autumn didn't have a meltdown when we approached the room this time, just when we had to change her diaper. We sat in the hotel room the rest of the afternoon and I was bored out of my mind. Steve decided we should splurge on dinner and eat in the hotel restaurant. We thought Autumn would enjoy it too, since she loves going down there for breakfast every morning, and getting her to eat anywhere else has been a challenge.
We got down there a few minutes early and had to wait around with some business men at the hostess station. Josiah and Sheehan decided to climb the walls - literally. The walls were made out of jagged stones and they were both able to climb up to a 40" ledge to stand on - all very gauche, of course, but we have three kids now, so we don't care. But, I asked the boys not to stand on the ledge (because it's a playground of jagged rocks just waiting for a tumble and a bloody lip). Josiah kept "forgetting" he wasn't supposed to stand on it, so when he stood again, I brought him down. Then the high-pitch wailing started and accusatory looks of what an unfair mother I am. The Chinese men stared, then tried to console him, then Sheehan "accidentally" kicked him in the head (from his seat on the ledge). So I brought him down, and thankfully the hostess came to seat us before his wailing could start. She took us to our table and Autumn saw her high hair and refused to go in it - round 2.
She used all her cutest head tilts and puppy dog eyes to not get in that high hair, nor wear her bib, nor eat the food we picked out for her. She sat on Steve's lap and ate watermelon, while it dripped down her furry coat, that she refused to remove - she wouldn't even let us take the hood off.
The buffet was great - all very gourmet-looking. They had baby pigeon soup, pork ears and tongue, and lots of sushi. The desserts were beautiful, but only the size of your thumb, so we had to eat five each.
After dinner, we tackled Autumn's bath. We knew there would be a lot of screaming because she melts down when we remove any item of clothing, including her shoes/hood. We tried to be strategic and had Josiah take a bath and play, and show her how fun it was. She had fun watching him and filling the stacking cups with water at the tub edge. After 20 minutes, we decided it was her turn. We prepped everything for a super fast bath, dry off and dressing. She screamed and cried the loudest we'd heard her when we removed her clothes. Then I put her in the tub and scrubbed her. I gave her some bath toys to hold, but she just stood there paralyzed. I rinsed her off and she suddenly calmed down. Josiah continued to play and she bent down and began to play too. She played and splashed and laughed in that tub for 30 minutes. It was the most vocal we'd heard her. It seemed she'd never really played in water before. But when we washed her hair and dumped water on her head, she shook her head back and forth getting rid of all the water, like she had experienced that before.
I imagine, after seeing the pictures of the feeding time in the orphanage, that much of the lives of these children is like an assembly line, with very little extra attention or activity out of the routine. So when they get that extra attention from us holding them or playing with them, then it must feel really great. Autumn is very independent and hasn't reacted to us too much, so it's been a challenge to engage her. I look forward to getting home where we can cook and play with play-doh and go to the playground and run together.
Another cool thing about bath time last night, was how Josiah stepped up as the big brother. He's mostly been ignoring her since Monday, not out of spite, but because he doesn't know how to interact with her, not to mention his illness. She doesn't speak the language and Josiah's a talker, and he plays independently a lot too. So when he was able to help her with bath time and show her how to have fun, that was a big brother booster for him. After getting dressed for bed, he got into our bed, under the covers, and she followed. Then he ran and got some books and showed them to her. So sweet.
As far as the illnesses, we are doing much better. Josiah's rash is clearing up, his energy level is back to normal (as demonstrated by his Kung fu moves and jumping from bed to bed last night), my throat is feeling much better too and I don't feel gross anymore.
We tour the city this morning and then have a 7 pm flight to Guangzhou. That should be interesting, since we've all been going to bed before 9 pm every night. It's a 2 hour flight. So we may not be in our beds until 11 pm. Dr. Barbara (the agency doctor who's been healing us), will be traveling with us, so we may have to enlist her to help us out.