We get "bright" days, but blue skies are rare.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Well, it's your lucky day--because this morning, NZ came along on Sal and my morning walk.
With iPhone in hand.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012
The obvious response was a "YES!" from both of us.
Our first visitor and we haven't even been here a month.
Since TZ had been traveling for work across Asia for a week already, and we hadn't really been into Shanghai other than our stay at the Sheraton our first night in China, we offered to make the drive to meet him. It was a 2 hour drive, and for the most part, we didn't hit traffic till we got into Shanghai past the Hongqiao airport.
Shanghai has an area called xin tian di, which is architecturally rich with history (shikumen houses), but also very modern with the shops and restaurants that are located in these reconstituted homes. The area takes up a few city blocks. Xin tian di reminded Nick and I of Disneyland because it was like we were taken out of the city and into another world. It had cobblestone walkways & old stone buildings. Pretty much straight out of a storybook.
Our first stop was at a Tapas bar for some Tsingtao beer (this brand has replaced Budweiser on our fridge shelf) and a prosciutto & salame appetizer. I loved people watching from the patio. There were many foreigners in the mix, and there was even a John Mayer imposter singing "Georgia" for a big crowd. It was just a really neat place..and although the mall that anchors xin tian di was calling my name, I headed off to dinner with the boys. TZ had been to xin tian di many years ago, and recalled a super delish Chinese restaurant within the corridor. We found it and decided to give it a go. As formal and Chinese as it was inside, I was laughing at their use of the iPad for ordering off the menu. They literally give each table an iPad, and the guests order from there! We ate family style and I enjoyed my first taste of Peking duck. Yes, mom, this is the same daughter that lived on plain egg noodles for much of her teenage years.
One unforseen issue that arose not one, not two, but THREE times yesterday was that of our son's need to poop.
Now, in the states, this is no big deal. At home, I'd grab the diaper bag, head to the restroom, pull down the public Changing station, and get to work on the clean-up. Not the case here in China. Sal has been changed on, dare I admit it???
Hey, when in Rome, right?
Thankfully I have an arsenal of disposable changing mats I can toss, and I use an extra diaper under his head to keep his head cushioned.
What was different with yesterday's change at the restaurant was the help I received.
I asked to be directed to the toilet , and instead of the hostess just pointing, she walked me down & opened the stall door. I quickly decided that I could not close the stall door and complete a change, so I started to pull out my changing pad with the door wide open. A mom has to do what a mom has to do! Imagine my surprise when I felt a hand tug at the mat I was struggling to unfold with one hand. Out of my hand it went, and next thing I know, it's been shook open and laid on the floor by the sweet hostess. I thought to myself, OMG, she is going to watch me change a poopy diaper in her restaurant. She is probably cursing me under her breath! with no other choice than to have an audience, I removed the diaper. I looked up to grab a wipe, and I then had 3 more restaurant staff staring over my shoulder. What came next shocked me ( in a good way). The sweet hostess grabbed hold of one of Sal's wild legs so that I could finish cleaning up the mess. I jokingly kept saying " Peeee-eww and Stinky" and I think she understood English a little bit because she giggled. Once I was finished, she picked him up and played with him so I could clean up.
How's that for service?
Never in a million years would that happen in the States. Had this happened to us two weeks ago when we arrived, it would have creeped me out..but even just 2 weeks in, I realize that the saying, " It takes a village to raise a child" is sort of how Chinese culture works. I saw the woman who helped me in the bathroom as so very kind--but I think all she saw a mother in need of an extra hand, and jumped right in. I've noticed this also with our ayi. If she sees Sal just even begin to fuss she goes to try and fix it...even if it's just that his toy got away from him ( never mind that he has 16 others within reach-there's no shortage of toys here). The Chinese women I have run into this far, have been very warm and nurturing.
kě ài (cute) baby in the house, and many of the employees came to our table, picked Sal up and took photos with him. He was a good sport with the paparazzi until he had had enough flashbulbs in his eyes and broke down crying and wanting his mama. NZ so awesomely documented the breakdown so I could share it in true oversharing fashion.
Thanks for the visit Tony!
Sunday, June 24, 2012
With both NZ and I on regular medications, we knew we should establish a relationship with a m.d. over here fairly early on. We had been referred to a Physician, known around these parts as "The Belgian Doctor". Word on the street was that she is only in Wuxi on Thursdays and quite busy, but that she is the best. I phoned the clinic on Tuesday this week, and we were seen Thursday afternoon. Our appointment was at 3:00p for both Nick and myself, and we were seen at 3:00p. I was quite shocked. I mean, I worked for a Doctor in my past life, and we actually did run pretty close to the scheduled appointment times, but that was not commonplace in the states. I was used to waiting at least 10-15 minutes minimum to be seen by my physicians.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Starting off my Friday series of "from the 25th floor", I bring you a photo taken around 6:30 p.m. On a weeknight. There is a public green belt that runs along the outer gates of our compound, and every night between 6:00 and 8:00p, there can be anywhere from 50-100 people exercising out there. The first time I looked out and saw it, I thought it must be some sort of organized group walking class, but then when I looked further, it was just a bunch of individuals, couples and families exercising on their own accord. It's really nice to see so many people taking care of themselves, and it inspired me to do that same green belt walk with Sal each afternoon before it gets crowded with people.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
This week we asked Sal to give peas a chance.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
He went to the local agency yesterday and we've been appointed a 41 year-old woman with a clean bill of health and no problems with the law. I guess that's good enough, right? I have no idea what makes a good housekeeper, or how to "teach" someone how to clean "my way". So, for now, I've made a list of duties I'd like to have her take over, or share with me ( I actually do enjoy some housework).
It's really weird for me to think of someone else doing what has been my "job" for so long. However, having her here to help will allow me to spend as much time as possible raising Sal and making sure Nick has everything he could possibly need. It will also allow for me to Immerse myself in my sewing (during nap times of course) and other things like working out that I enjoy but rarely have time for these days.
We're also hoping that she will interact with Sal and speak mandarin to him. I'm not sold (at all) on leaving him alone with her, but I do hope that in the few hours she is with us each day, that she and Sal form some sort of relationship so that he will head back to California bilingual.
I joked with Nick this morning that he might be creating a monster...I might like having help so much that I'll expect a housekeeper when we return to the states! He then jokingly replied, " I can call and cancel her. It's not too late.", lol.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
but we took our monthly pictures on the same blanket from home, and I
tested out the new iron while making his 5 month onesie. I'm happy to
report that although I can't read a lick of Chinese, I figured out the
iron settings without burning the building down.
Anyhow, Sal has done quite a bit of growing over the past
month. It seems like he is learning at light speed these days. One
moment he can't do something, then the next he can. He had his last
weigh in just a few days before we left for China, and weighed a
whopping 13lb 10oz. With as much and as often as he eats, I'm surprised
that is all he weighed, but he's healthy, and thriving, so we won't
worry about our lean bean baby for now.
Speaking of eating, Sal started rice cereal this
past month. He grubs on it, and even tries to help me with the spoon.
Many meal times end up in bath times, but it's all about the experience
for now....as messy as it sometimes gets. We still don't have a
highchair, so his Boppy has come in quite handy as a way to prop him
while feeding. He will get a high chair soon, but for now,he still can't
sit up without tipping over, so we will wait on purchasing one for a
His biggest accomplishment this month is the
development of his stink bug pose, bringing his knees up under his belly
while on his stomach, and then scooting himself forward. It looks like
the beginning stages of the army crawl. He can inch his way across the
floor already, and especially likes doing so while naked. Because, like--you know, diapers are so constricting, mom! I've
been stripping him down every evening and letting him go diaper-less
for a half hour or so to avoid diaper rash from the humidity out here.
Sal got his first real crib this past month, and he
sleeps like a champ in it. In fact, he has slept through the night for 4
nights in a row ( watch me jinx myself now). We're talking 7p-5a
without the dream feed or 3 am feeding he was used to.
We're looking forward to watching him grow, and have been so pleased with how he has adapted to his new surroundings.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Surely one of those meltdowns would occur as we took flight, right? As luck have it, he had his poster child day on the day we boarded that United flight with a few hundred passengers all crossing their fingers that their seat assignment wasn't next to that couple with the baby.
Still, it helped to be prepared.
I can't take credit for all of the tips I am about to share with you nor can I promise that our next flight home won't be a disaster, but being prepared with the following information and items before taking flight with our pre-mobile infant helped a ton.
We took three carry on bags between the three of us. One large diaper bag, Nick's briefcase and one small rolling suitcase filled to the brim with baby gear. I put just enough items in the diaper bag that they were easy to grab from the overhead bin, and the suitcase enough clothes and necessities to last Sal a week. No really, we packed it so even if our checked luggage went missing ( it's happened before..Remember Nick's last trip to China when our suitcase full of formula and clothes for Sal got picked up by the wrong person, and took 4 days to get returned?) Sal had enough clothes, diapers, formula to last a week.
My must have items:
- Enfamil formula pouches
- One piece sleepers
- Halo Sleep sack swaddler
- Boppy nursing pillow ( they make travel ones, but I used my regular)
- Pacifier on a leash
- Clorox Anti Bac wipes
- Bottle of water ( purchased in the terminal)
- nursing cover
- 2-3 small teether toys
In a gallon size ziploc:
- Arm and Hammer diaper disposal bags
- disposable changing pad
I both bottle and breastfeed Sal, therefore, I boarded the plane prepared with formula in case we had a difficult time nursing. He's been way more into playing than nursing lately, no matter how quiet or dark I make the room. I'm glad I did, because I made the rookie mistake of nursing him before the plane took off the tarmac, and I was worried about his ears popping, so we quickly made a bottle and let him drink it as we gained altitude. He was a well fed baby that flight.
The easiest way to dress him for the flight was a one piece footed sleeper. On our test run flight, I had him in a onesie, socks and pants. Try changing that in a lavatory. No thanks! Lesson learned. The one piece sleeper unsnaps and stays on, so there is no chance of losing an article of clothing on the bathroom floor.
We no longer swaddle him for naps or nighttime, but he has always slept extremely well when swaddled, so I brought along our sleepsack with the wings since he would inevitably be sleeping on our laps, and unable to roll over in our arms.
We did request a bassinet, but when it arrived, we said no thanks--for some of you, it may work, but I couldn't get over the thought of putting my baby in a duffel bag, which was essentially what the airline bassinets look like. This is where my boppy served dual function. Not only did it make nursing easier, but Sal was able to sleep on our laps on top of it.
Sal is not a pacifier kid, but it did help on the decent. Having it on a leash just made it easy to keep track of, and off of the dirty airplane seats and floor.
The Clorox wipes are my best friend (especially now here in China which is not the cleanest place). I used them to wipe down the dining tray and armrests and pretty much anything I touched, or would come in contact with Sal.
Having a few of his favorite toys helped. They entertained him for a few minutes each time I pulled them out.
To help with diaper changes, I put a disposable changing pad, 2 diapers, wipes, arm and hammer trash bags and a onesie in a gallon ziploc. This way, all we had to do was grab the ziploc and take it to the bathroom rather than lug a huge diaper bag into an already small space.
We did buy gate check bags, and bagged both the carseat carrier (left the base at home. Chicco carseats can be used with a car safety belt only), and the chicco caddy stroller while in the terminal. Nick gate checked them as he boarded, leaving me to board with Sal in my arms.
The best advice we were given, and that worked for us, was to have Nick pre-board , and Sal and I hung back until 99% of the passengers had boarded. Nick had a chance to get my seat set up with my boppy and nursing cover, and made a bottle of formula as backup. All Sal and I had to do was board, find our seat, buckle up and sit down. Boarding last allowed for less time sitting on the tarmac waiting for takeoff. I'd much rather he scream in the terminal than sitting on the tarmac waiting for others to board.
Seriously, boarding last was the best move, ever.
Remember, most people have children. Most have been in your shoes a time or two, and will most likely sympathize with you if your child goes nuts. If not, offer to buy them a drink or two in an attempt to make them pass out and stop with the stink eye looks they flash your way.
Beaver joined us today after one week in quarantine. Despite a bit of
fur loss, he seems to have his appetite and is cautiously exploring his
new digs. He has already found the window seat in our office that looks
over the courtyard below. Welcome home, Beaver!
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Nick had no problem what-so-ever following the paint by number directions, and had Sal's new crib up in no time!
We spent most of today unpacking bags and assembling the nursery.
Sal spent much of his day in his brand new crib catching up on some lost sleep.