Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Rainy Day Touring

Things here continue to go well. We are enjoying our time in Wen's province, but I have to say that I am starting to get a little homesick. I miss my other kids, my bed, my Keurig coffee maker! I also miss going to bed after 9pm and not waking up five times a night. Last night I really thought I was going to have my first good nights sleep--didn't happen! I'm feeling a little worn out, maybe more than a little, but know that I really need to concentrate on absorbing all I can in our time here.

Each day after naptime Wen really has a lot of energy! Yesterday he was especially energetic, a little too energetic. We really got the sense that he was just trying really hard to deal with his grief and this was how he was doing it. Almost as if he thought if he just kept laughing he wouldn't cry. He of course calmed down for dinner, because eating is his favorite activity. After his meal we got him an ice cream cone. I don't know if this was a first for him, but he didn't seem too sure what to do with it at first. That didn't last for long! He did do something really funny with it. The other day Brian was teaching him to do "cheers" with their cups. Last night he picked up his cone to do "cheers" with their cones! We were just cracking up! Then a little ice cream dripped on the table and he immediately licked it up right off the table! After returning to the room we played for a little while and then got ready for bed While we were getting ready I had a magical moment. I was sitting on the floor getting our PJ's out of the suitcase when Owen came over, looked at me, and said "mama". Needless to say, that brought a few tears to my eyes! I shook my head yes and he repeated it again. Well, if he's only going to have one word, I'm sure glad it's "mama"!!

Last night was the first night that we had a little bit of trouble with him, if you can really call it that. The first night we had him I held him as he fell asleep. The next night I tried to hold him, then he asked for Brian and he tried to hold him. He still was not happy so we put him in the crib and he immediately fell asleep. So last night we decided to go right to the crib. He was not happy. Not wanting to ignore his cries we took him out and layed him on the bed and he quickly fell asleep. We later transfered him to his crib. Through the night he semi woke a few times and was crying with his eyes still closed. Each time one of us would go over to the crib, lay a hand on him, and he would immediately stop. Poor little guy, I can't imagine all the things going on in his head. Although it makes me sad to see him sad sometimes, I know that this is a normal and healthy thing.

We were able to make arrangements with our agency to add some touring activities to our schedule. Today we visited the Yangtze River Bridge, the Zoo, and the Nanjing Massacre Museum. The Yangtze River Bridge was the first bridge to be built soley by the Chinese people. Before that China used the help of Russian engineers to build there bridges. The bridge was built from 1960-1968 and is a tremendous source of pride for the people here.

After that we went to the the rain! It has rained every day since we got here, but that doesn't seem to stop anyone around here. So, to the zoo we went with our umbrellas in hand. The first stop was the pandas. Brian and I were very excited to see them. Wen, not so much. At first he seemed very interested and even got mad when Brian, who was once again carrying him, turned around and he could no longer see the panda. It was amazing watching the panda sitting in the tree eating and climbing it's seemingly too small limbs. We couldn't believe that the tree limbs could hold his weight. Then we went over to see the other two pandas who were indoors. All was fine until one of them starting walking around. That is when Owen started to freak out. He was terrified! Those of you who know us, know that this isn't really going to work in our animal loving family! All I kept thinking was "thank God I didn't go with the safari theme I was thinking of in his room"!! We left the pandas and went to see the giraffe so I could get some pictures of them for my giraffe loving Ella. Yep, hysterics again! We were supposed to go see the animal show. We decided that the lions and tigers would at the very least cause just as many tears and just as much screaming, so we skipped it.

We then headed over to the Nanjing Massacre Museum. The museum is located in the downtown area of Nanjing. The drive there was, aside from the rain, a beautiful drive. This part of the city is quite pretty. The streets are tree lined. The road to the museum is lined with Sycamore trees that are so big they meet over the street and form a canopy. There are also small plum blossom trees planted in between them. Plum blossoms used to be the national flower until 1949 when the peony, my personal favorite, became the national flower. I couldn't really get a good picture of this because the windows of the van were very foggy and covered in rain drops (which was a good thing as it made me less able to see all the "near misses" going on around us!). The museum itself is quite large and beautifully designed. It was built to memorialize the Nanjing Massacre. In December 1937, the Japanese invaded Nanjing the then capital of China. In a six week period of time, 300,000 people were slaughtered. The Japanese troops were ordered to kill all Chinese people-men, women, and children. We also learned of the Americans who helped save many lives, like Minnie Vautrin an American missionary who is credited with saving 10,000 Chinese women and children. It was a solemn visit to the museum as there is so much suffering an death depicted there and many human remains were actually discovered under the ground where the museum is built.

We had our first meal at a local restaurant here in Nanjing. Our guide took us to a dumpling restaurant. She ordered us a variety of dumplings and they were all delicious. Wen especially enjoyed them-he ate FIVE!!!! The total cost for our meal was the equivelant of 5 US dollars. That was for me, Brian, Wen, and our guide!!! Much cheaper than the meals we've been eating in the hotel, and I actually enjoyed it more!

One more surprising thing happened today. Wen actually came over to me this morning and was tapping his hearing aid. Somehow both Brian and I both knew he was trying to tell us his battery died (Somehow we know just about everything he's trying to tell us!). Sure enough his battery was dead! It amazes me enough that he is so good about wearing it, but to be three years old and be able to communicate that it wasn't working properly is just astonishing! I think of all the patients who came into the office over the years for follow up visits and presented with hearing aids that weren't even working because the battery was dead---and they didn't even realize it! Not only does this little guy willingly wear his hearing aid all day, but he can also tell me that the battery is dead! Each day he does something that just leaves me speechless!

*B, J, and El-the zoo was so big and so beautiful. B-you never would make it around here on crutches! There is so much walking! J-I think Owen eats more than you! Ella-the giraffes were so cute, but they wouldn't come out to far because of the rain-I hope you can see them in the picture. Only 7 more days till you meet "little brother"!

I think he likes it!
The Yangtze River Bridge
Handsome little man and his happy mama
The backpack comes everywhere! We're wondering if he'll be less attached to it since the panda incident!
Family picture on the bridge tower
A master artist painting inside glass in a shop at the bridge tower. Yes...we did buy another souvenir!
Panda fears!
The panda climbing the tree--so amazing to watch!
Just for Ella-see the giraffes in the back. They didn't want to come out in the rain.
Our lunch stop. Our guide tells us that this restaurant is the Chinese version of fast food!
No trouble eating his dumplings! He doesn't have trouble eating anything really.
The sign at the entrance of the museum. We were not allowed to take any photos inside.
The footprints in the stones are those of some of the surviors of the massacre


Joanne said...

Yet again, another wonderful post! He said "mama"!!!, what a living doll he is! I'm glad you are getting to see and learn so much about his province ~ it sounds beautiful. Hmmm, wonder how he'll react to the your pets...but, Owen seems to adjust quiet well to things, so I'm sure he will do fine :) Cannot wait to meet him!

Michelle said...

I still have to laugh when I think about the Panda rocker! Hopefully if Wen sees Ella riding it, he'll begin to trust it. Maybe it should be moved from his bedroom in the meantime:) It was wonderful to talk to you again. It is heartbreaking to hear of the grief even though it is a "normal" part of the process. I'm praying for a speedy second week for you. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Hey there guys, we all love logging in to see your adventures and learn some interesting facts too. Owen is soo cute im sure once you get home and establish a routine with him he will be able to adjust well he seems{from the way you describe him} very even keeled. Rinas so excited to meet owen she wants owen meg and ella together... cutie overload... Once again wishing you well...

Red Thread to my Daughter said...

Ahhh I knew that my post didnt make it yesterday..darn wireless router... Anyway.. Love all the picts and I think it is great that you are doing so much siteseeing. The animal thing will pass with WEN over time. Ejoy your time.


Anonymous said...

So... he gets a little cranky at night, would rather sleep in bed with you than in his crib, scared of big animals, only likes certain foods.........hmmmm, sounds to me like you have a very NORMAL 3 year old! He sounds wonderful :) and we're missing you guys! Can't wait for you all to be home.
Joanne C.

JoAnn DaSilva said...

Hey Mel - I'm really enjoying your blogs and the history lesson you're providing. lol I am so happy for all of you - that it is going so well. I cannot wait to meet Owen.

BTW - you had Dim Sum. It is common in NYC too. DELICIOUS! We're actually going on Sunday to eat some. When I come to NYC in June, we'll have to go out with all the kids. :) You can also buy frozen varieties in most Chinese supermarkets and just steam them at home. Many stores are in Flushing and I'm sure there are some on LI too.

Love you!!! xoxo