Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 13 - Monkey Park, Visit from Friend

Sorry for the delay, things have been hectic and the internet is sketchy. I hope this update will show you how we are doing. I will try to do more really soon!

Day 13 – Monkey Park, Visit from Friend (short version)
~Taxi to monkey park
~Screams on cable lift
~Great lunch
~Visit from friend

Day 13 – Monkey Park, Visit from Friend (long version)
It is difficult not to make comparisons when you have two children, especially when they are both adopted, but come from completely different circumstances. When we brought the Ladybug home in 2006, she was about eight months old and had been cared for by a very loving mother for her entire eight months of life. By the time that the Ladybug turned 14 months old, she had gone through the crawling stage and was walking and running around. She could grasp things easily and reach out for us when she wanted to be picked up. During the first few months that we had her up to that point we had practiced sign language with her to help her bridge the gap of communication between only hearing Mandarin and learning English. By 14 months of age she could easily communicate with us through a few spoken words as well as over 100 signed words.

The Butterfly on the other hand in many ways seems far behind in age-appropriate milestones of the average 14 month old, and even behind where the Ladybug was at the age of eight months of age. The Butterfly cannot crawl at all. Daddy is working on this with her, and at this time she looks like a very slow inch-worm as she scoots her way on the bed toward Daddy. She can stand when her hands are being held or when leaning against something, but she cannot walk on her own. It is difficult for her to grasp things such as food, and she doesn’t yet know how to reach out for Daddy or me when she wants us. On the plus side, she does do a lot of babbling and is trying to mimic Daddy when she plays. We are hopeful.

I was ready for these delays when we started this adoption, they are common for children who are raised in orphanages. I have been told that as soon as a child becomes part of a forever family that the gaps that we see in the beginning, close very rapidly. It is just a little sad as a mother of a 14 month old child to see that she acts about half her age. But, we are making strides just since the first day. The Butterfly seems to be really bonding with her Daddy. Happy, laughing smiles are seen often when they are playing. Daddy is teaching her to crawl and she is becoming much more comfortable with playing on the ground and on the bed without having to be held every minute. Finally, the Butterfly is starting to think that the Ladybug is not half bad, much to the happiness of the Bug who has been so excited to be a big sister for well over a year.

Today started with us taking a taxi to Qian Ling Mountain Park, better known to everyone who has ever visited there as the “Monkey Park” because of the over 800 monkeys that freely roam the grounds. The area is a lush, green park with a beautiful lake and the Hong Fu Buddhist temple. We visited the park four years ago when we came to get the Ladybug and had a wonderful time. We knew now that the Ladybug is older she would really enjoy seeing the monkeys and revisiting a place from her past.

During the taxi ride over a huge rainstorm soaked the area, making us a little leery about making the hike with the wet walking paths and roads. Fortunately, shortly after arriving at the park, the rain subsided making our visit thoroughly enjoyable. Once at the park got onto a cable lift to the top of the mountain, which apparently the Butterfly hated since she screamed the entire 10 minute ride to the top… screams which could be heard throughout the park. From there we hiked to a little pagoda that gave us a spectacular view of the entire city below. Enjoying the view with us were two monkeys who perched themselves atop some rocks and a fence, just within reach of passersby. We had been warned not to have anything hanging outside our backpacks because the monkeys will grab them. Low and behold we watched a pair of visitors who got just a little too close to the monkeys and ended up losing a drink bottle as a result. Fortunately for us, we lost nothing on our return to the park.

After viewing the city from above, we began our descent by walking down the mountain, and our first stop was the Buddhist temple. Although she had done really well up to that point (except for the cable ride of course!), the Butterfly started getting a little bit cranky once inside, so we had to stop for a bit to make her a bottle. During her nourishing respite, the Ladybug decided to light some incense in honor or her two papas who had passed within the last two years. She placed them in a large area and said a little prayer in memory. It was so special to all of us to see her do this, and it especially meant a lot to Nana who is dearly missing her husband, my father.

We walked around a bit more and then decided to stop for lunch at a wonderful vegetarian restaurant just outside the temple. The food was wonderful, and I was so proud of the Ladybug who eagerly tried so many of the dishes. Her favorite was one of the tofu dishes that tasted like chicken. There was also a rather exciting dish that looked like a ball of tin foil, and when served the waitress lit the bottom with a lighter. It stayed lit and cooked for over five minutes, and when finished cooking, it tasted delicious as well. I really am enjoying tasting all of the exotic cuisine that China has to offer.

Following lunch we continued our descent down the mountain. There were so many monkeys to see throughout, and the Ladybug loved every minute. One thing I notice while we were walking down the mountain was that we were quite the spectacle for all of the other visitors. They loved walking up to us and looking at the two girls. So many people just watched us walk by while others actually tried to talk with us. What really surprised so many of these people was our adorable four year old Chinese girl whose only words in Chinese that she knows how to say are “Ni Hao” (hello) and “XieXie” (thank you). It is quite funny to see people walk up to her trying to strike up a conversation only to get a very Americanized “Ni Hao” back. Pretty cute to see I must say.

We did eventually make it to the bottom of the mountain and were amazed to see how far we had hiked. It was a long but satisfying hike. We eventually caught a taxi and made our way back to the hotel. A short while later another adoption family stopped by to say “hi.” Mindy and Allen adopted an adorable little girl they have named Karis. She is just beautiful and so sweet. Mindy is a person I met on-line a couple months a when we both found out we were adopting little girls from the same province. We were so excited to find out that we would be traveling at the same time and would finally meet.

When the family arrived, Karis was perfectly dressed for a photo-op… wearing the same pajamas as our little girls, the “Little Sis” version. We dressed our girls in the matching outfits and snapped some adorable photos. The Ladybug sat in the center of the two girls, playing the part of the big sister. She loved every moment. The Bug was so sad to see her new friends leave, but it was nearing bed at that time. We do so hope to see them again soon.

We have an exciting day ahead of us tomorrow. Until then…



Kelly T said...

I was going through withdrawl!! LOL So glad you were able to update us!!! Love you! I love seeing the smiles! ;-)

S. Krumpus said...

It' s nice to read an update again. The kids and I have been checking everyday to follow along. You are in our prayers for a safe trip home. Thanks 4 the update, Stacy.