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Sunday, June 19, 2011
Just so y’all know, I’m not being contrary by refusing to blog this past week. I know many of you stuck with Our Little Tongginator’s endless inane blog posts these past three years just so you could follow our trip to China to meet Mei Mei. I wish I could share more of our day-to-day life with you during this tremendously amazing, difficult, awesome transition. But I can’t.
Because I? Am now a kangaroo.
And if y’all didn’t know: kangaroos can’t type. Or at least they find it extremely difficult. Several of you asked how Mei Mei is transitioning. I am here to assure you that Mei Mei is eating beautifully. While in the carrier. And she sleeps beautifully. While in the carrier. These past seven days, she’s progressed to playing on the bed – outside of the carrier – for short spurts while her adoring fans gather round to watch. And by adoring fans, I mean me, the Husband, the Tongginator and Tonggu Grammy.
We have learned more about Mei Mei’s orphanage over the course of the past week. Some of our previous information was spot on, some was incorrect and many gaps are now filled. During her first year of life, Mei Mei lived in a baby room filled with 19 other babies and one of two caregivers (working the day and night shifts, respectively). The children did not leave their cribs unless or until they learned to walk.
Mei Mei doesn’t know how to walk, y’all.
Which means she rarely left her crib, if at all. (I don’t know where they changed or fed the children.)
Hence my kangaroo status.
Mei Mei appears to have very few sensory issues, all things considered. She does become frightened/ overstimulated easily, but she gains comfort from my presence. She is quickly learning to eat from a spoon. The nannies informed me she only ate from a bottle, so I’m amazed she’s eating baby food after less than a week with us. She also – just yesterday – learned to grasp a toy for the first time. I don’t know that she’s ever had access to toys before. (The toys in the orphanage playroom were covered with a coat of dust.) Mei Mei army crawled in the Swan Room yesterday, using only her arms, with her legs dragging behind her, while housekeeping cleaned our room. I think Mei Mei probably knew how to do that before she met us, but she hid the skill from us for the first week. She also started babbling yesterday, but – again – I believe that was a skill she tucked away from us while she grieved.
Not that her grieving is over.
Because it’s not.
But we have turned a corner.
There is a tremendous difference between Mei Mei and a baby Tongginator. I’m sure quite a bit of it is due to personality, but some I believe stems from their living situations within China. The Tongginator was in foster care, so she went from one home to another, for arguably no real reason. We didn’t ask for a child from foster care, but that’s what happened. With Mei Mei, it’s almost as if she knows a good deal when she sees it. Yes, the orphanage was her family. Yes, she deserves to grieve that. But a ratio of 20 babies to every one caregiver… you can’t tell me that’s better than a loving family.
You just can’t.
We haven’t been able to see the sights around Guangzhou all that much. It’s not that I don’t want to experience Chinese culture, or that I want to hide out in the White Swan Hotel. It’s just that Mei Mei hasn’t been capable of it yet. We’ve done only adoption-related appointments and meetings. Never fear, though: the Tongginator has experienced the whirlwind that is Yun Tai Gardens and the Pearl Market and the museum and on and on. Either Tonggu Grammy or the Husband has gone with her for every trip.
Mei Mei and I hang out together in the hotel.
A momma kangaroo and her joey.
Which is why I haven’t been posting all that much.
(You know, cuz kangaroos can’t type.)