Sunday, September 27, 2009

I got my wish!

The Chinese do not offer top bedsheets. They make their hotel beds with a single, massive comforter in a pillowcase-like cover. That's all you get. Even in sweltering Guangzhou.

I pulled my comforter out of the cover and discovered (dis-covered! haha!) that the cover by itself was an adequate sheet. Unfortunately I did this after a poor night's sleep.

The housekeeper, upon finding the separated bed linens, must have realized that I was dissatisfied with the traditional arrangement. So when she made up my bed, she left the uncovered comforter and withheld the sheet/cover.

I chased her down and attempted to trade. Her English was poor, so she called her supervisor. The supervisor entered my room and asked me to explain.

"I just want the cover. Bu yao (the comforter)," I said. "I made it warm for the baby, but that means, when I use (the comforter and cover), I am hothothot!"

She nodded vigorously and then asked me to go over my explanation 4 more times, which I did in various ways.

"Hothothot!" I said, fanning myself. "Bu yao."

"Okay, only the sheet, not the (comforter)," she agreed, and then added, "There is air conditioner."

So then I found 2 or 3 ways to explain to her that I adjusted the air conditioner for the baby's comfort. He kicks off his sheet, which isn't much to begin with, and it's easier to have a warm room than to get up every hour to cover him again.

She got it. I have my sheet. I am about to get an early start on sleeping while Rick is still out souvenir shopping with kiddo.

On my way into the room just now, I passed a pair of women admonishing their little girl, "Shut up! Shut up!"

I smiled sympathetically and told them, "I've said that to mine, too. I figure that as long as they don't understand English, it's okay." I also use a very flat tone of voice so the kiddo can't detect my annoyance so easily... when I remember to. I rarely have the energy for vocal expression these days anyway, so a flat voice is not as hard as it sounds.

Anyway, the two ladies then proceeded to complain about their daughter's relentless crying. My kid's better! Yay! In fact he was quite good at Lucy's restaurant this evening, until the end.

Lucy's is an American style restaurant (sort of) that we would ordinarily try to avoid on principle. But it's so cheap! And they're prepared for kids! And they're right near the hotel! Who cares about principle when your kid's been wailing all day? Their one big weakness is that they dont serve everyone at the table at the same time. This is common in the Chinese style, where everyone shares dishes, but Rick and I each ordered something the other didn't like. The chicken congee we got for the kiddo, however, was excellent.


  1. Not that this is any help in the practical aspects of dealing with a relentlessly crying child so far from the comfort of hearth and home, but if the child development experts are to be believed, 18 mos to 2 years is a particularly difficult time for a child to experience separation from his or her primary caregiver.

    Follow the chart at this URL and notice particularly under emotional development "Very upset when separated from mother" and "Temper tantrums (1-3yrs)."

    I'm sure intellectually you already know this, but emotionally it's hard to hear a baby--your baby--cry. It's hard to stand back and remember, "Oh, yeah, it's not me. It's not the kiddo. This is normal." Sometimes--many times, most times?--there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop the inevitable. When something works, great. When nothing works..., shrug, it's kind of like herding cats. At least he'll grow out of it.

    Dealing with normal will be soooo much easier once you get home.



  2. From his point of view, this is a pretty traumatic experience. He has no way of comprehending that this is a better situation for him, in time he will, but in the meantime the screaming is probably his primary coping mechanism. It doesn't make it any easier to deal with it but at least you can know it's not a personal affront against you but is seemingly "normal".

    Bah, that sounds like a bunch of words but I mean it as encouragement. He will learn that you are there to comfort him when needed and are meeting his primary needs and he will adjust and will begin to see you as Mommy and Daddy. But I can only imagine how difficult the adjustment and attachment period is for ALL of you.

    The holding and singing is great but don't feel bad about sometimes just needing to step away. That's okay too and it's better to "take a break" than to lose your grip on your emotions. That's true for all parents, not just during the adoption process! There are times I would place my baby/toddler in his crib because Mommy needed a "Time Out". It was much better to do that and come back to the situation with love and patience than lose my mind (or my temper) and pull out all my hair. ;-)

    As always, take any advice you need/want and discard the rest. It's tough being this far away to know if you want advice or just someone to commiserate and say, "Arg! That sucks!".

    Arg, that sucks!

    There, now you have both and you can choose.


    Parenting is hard sometimes and you just got dropped right into on the job training. The rewards are pretty darn great though. Hang in there, the first time he smiles at you, holds his arms up, and says "Mommy", it'll ALL be worth it.