Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Best Wishes for a Strong Net

Okay, I'm trying hard here to gather my thoughts and observations about Xiao Ye dze (not sure how to spell that last sound, but it’s a diminuitive, like Margarita or Pepito in Spanish) and that's what I've been calling her, emphasis on Ye, Shou YEH dze. In my mind I'm picturing the Disney animated version of Pecos Bill trying to lasso the whirlwind. She's a beautiful child, but she swears like a sailor. She curses out strangers, you should die, you're a pig, etc. (Connie caught her telling a man passing on the sidewalk this evening that he should die, I wondered why he looked at her so sharply). On the other hand, she saved the last bite of White Swan Deli bun for YuYu on the bus today. Everything she touches is "wo de" or mine, but she is consistent about turn taking and hands the room key to YuYu if I make a mistake and it isn't her turn yet. She wants me to buy everything she touches, but if I say no, she puts it back and moves on. She started to stamp her feet and was almost beginning a temper tantrum because I picked up stray coins she had gathered at a temple but left on a bench (you throw the coins in a big, tall iron thing for good luck) and gave half to YuYu. I got them back from YuYu explaining that I couldn't tell Xiao Ye why I divided them. I put them all in Xiao Ye's hand and she calmed right down and instantly gave all the coins right back to YuYu.

She has never known behavioral boundaries and I want to choke the sob who taught her how to swear. News flash sob, it's not cute on a four year old. But it’s been 9 days now and I can correct her when she makes a bad choice and she doesn't mope or sulk or run away from me. She doesn't necessarily prefer me to other people yet, she chose Lisa Seppi's lap after dinner tonight, but at least she will sit in my lap now and today after breakfast, she sat there for a long nice time. She held my hand all the way to and from dinner and that’s a really big change from last week. She consistently yells for Ma MA when she wants my attention instead of just grunting like before. But she does still just grunt a lot like when the waiter tried to remove her glass from the table tonight and she didn't want him to. She didn't say no, she just loudly and sharply grunted at him. She is still very very loud, that may take a long time to change. She just yells, a lot. She is very very very outgoing and strikes up conversations with bell boys and shop keepers right and left. She grabs the phone out of my hand to talk to her sisters and grandma that she has never met, but she wants to say hello. I have to beg YuYu to take the phone to talk to her grandma and I know that YuYu adores that woman.

YuYu explained to Grandma that she thought that Grandma would like Xiao Ye, "but it takes time." I think YuYu is right. It isn’t instant love this time, no fire works like I had for my babies or the need I felt to envelope YuYu in warmth because she was so sad. Xiao Ye is a spitfire and she wants things her own way, and you know, you’ve got to love that in a kid. Tonight, after several attempts, she allowed me a good night kiss when I put them to bed, so I think I’m growing on her. I know she will grow on me, I just wish I could see the net a little more clearly as I fall into this strange realm of mothering a child who doesn’t want it yet and kind of really resents the restrictions it imposes on her previous orphan about town lifestyle.

Tomorrow we hit the consulate in the afternoon and off to the airport right after. This will be my last post from China. I’ll try hard to update after we’ve been home a few days, but no guarantees on timeliness.

Oh Chinese kids aren’t making the peace sign; the fingers in a “v” symbolize the upturned corners of a smiling mouth. The “v” is the equivalent of saying “cheese.”


Anonymous said...

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Lori said...

Marji: Thank you for sharing your blog. When we adopted Lydia at age 13, now 14, she would swear at other people, too. She wanted people to believe that she was stronger, more self-assured, more independent than she really is/was, but we had lots of shocked looks (and some angry outbursts and hard scolding) from people in China. Sherry of Sherry's Place in GZ even told us that she was accusing the merchants of robbing us and called them the worst names. It all went away after a couple of weeks here, when she realized no on in the U.S. understood her curses, and that they didn't matter, anyway. The bravado went on for a while, but the cursing stopped. I used to tell people, at least her time before our family did not break her spirit! And Nora certainly has spirit. :) Best wishes on the rest of your journey. Lori