Ezekiel didn't sleep very well last night so we were all a little tired this morning, and he was especially grumpy. It was raining hard all morning. At 10:00 Jeff took the kids to the playroom and I met with Elsie and Charles (the dad from the other family) to go over our documents. Before we left for China, we had a phone call with our case worker from Wacap to make sure we had packed all the correct documents - we went over each and every paper to make sure we had it, and I've been carrying it with me ever since, unless it has been in our locked safe box here in our hotel room. Since we've gotten to China, we've picked up a few other important documents that we need (adoption registration, certificate of abandonment, birth certificate, passport, etc.), so the purpose of today's meeting was to make sure we have all the correct things, and all in the right order for when we go to the consulate to apply for Ezekiel's visa on Tuesday. So now everything is all ready to go, and back in our safe box. It only took about 30 minutes to go over everything, and at 11:00 Elsie took Jeff and TongJie on the subway to a nearby bookstore. Those of you who know Jeff can imagine how excited he was about that! It sounds like they had a great time, and came back with a stack of Chinese books that they had gotten for the equivalent of about $16 or $17. TongJie got two Thomas books that teach how to write some Chinese characters, plus a Big Hero 6 story book (he watched that movie on the plane coming to China and didn't understand most of it but thought it was SO cool) and a Pleasant Goat comic book. Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is a Chinese children's cartoon that is hugely popular here - you see it everywhere: on products in the store, on shirts, advertisements, kids' bike seats, etc. Plus, TongJie watched it a couple times on TV when we were in Jinan, so he thinks he knows all about Pleasant Goat even though none of us understood a word they were saying! Jeff also got a few comic books. They were pretty excited about their loot when they got back to the room, and I've "read" the Big Hero 6 story book to TongJie about five times already.
While they were gone, I just hung out with Ezekiel in the room. He's getting tired of being here in our room, but he doesn't really like to go other places either. I think it will be a lot easier when we get home and he'll have more space to crawl (and soon walk) around, and more stuff for him to do. He's not the easiest baby to please, but he's really been doing pretty well. He is starting to like eating the Gerber Puffs a lot, and he's been saying "buh!" when he wants them. We're not sure if he's trying to say "more" or if he's trying to say "puff" because he's heard us call them puffs. He's so funny though, because he hasn't figured out how to put them into his own mouth yet, so we have to put them in his mouth. We've tried setting a few out on the table or in a bowl for him, but he still can't figure it out. So he takes one of our hands and makes it pick up a puff and then moves it to his mouth to try to make us feed him. We're going to be running out of the Puffs soon, so we were trying to find something here that we could buy that would be similar. We don't want him to choke because he's really not used to chewing yet, so it has to be something that kind of dissolves in the mouth by just sucking. We remembered when we were here before, Sarah showed us some Chinese cracker type things that are similar to those Baby Mum Mums that TongJie loved so much. We called them Chinese Mum Mums, and we bought a few packages to take home last time and TongJie ate them for snacks for months after we were home. So, yesterday we bought a package to try (and yes, TongJie still loves them!) and they seem to be working for Ezekiel as long as we break them up into small pieces since he can't figure out how to bite yet. I put him down for an early nap this afternoon since he missed his morning catnap and hadn't slept well. He was asleep shortly after noon and it's almost 3:30 and he's still sleeping. The rest of us ate lunch and now Jeff and TongJie are napping too. It's pretty exciting around here!
We're looking forward to coming home soon. It will be nice to be able to be in our own home and not have everything be constantly damp. Even the sheets feel wet and clammy when we climb into bed at night, and nothing is ever really dry. It will also be nice to prepare and eat our own food again. Both me and Jeff are craving fresh vegetables! We've been told not to eat anything here that can't be peeled, unless it's cooked. So we haven't been able to have salads or any raw vegetables. We've been eating steamed vegetables every morning at breakfast, and TongJie eats at least a few pieces too, but mushy broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus start to get old after awhile. They have a delicious looking salad bar every day at breakfast, but it's all lettuce and raw vegetables and we don't want to risk getting sick. It will also be nice to be home where we can speak the same language as everyone, and go places without getting constantly stared at. People come up to us to touch Ezekiel's hair, and several times we've seen people openly taking pictures of us, and they're always staring and talking about us - I think it's mostly about Ezekiel and his beautiful American hair. The Chinese people don't believe he's Chinese, and I'm sure that most of the people here think that he is our biological child and that we are adopting TongJie. A Chinese lady on the elevator argued with Jeff about Ezekiel being Chinese. It was funny, he was speaking a little bit of Chinese and she was speaking a little bit of English, she was pointing to TongJie and saying "Chinese," and Jeff pointed to both of them and said "Chinese." The lady said "no, no, no!" and pointed to Ezekiel "No Chinese!" Jeff: "Yes, Chinese. From Liaocheng." She just kept saying "no" and scolding us like she thought we were either really stupid, or lying. It was funny.
A couple days ago, we were at a little clothing shop looking at tee shirts for the boys and Ezekiel was in the front pack with Jeff and TongJie was with me. TongJie had already helped me pick out a shirt for him and for Ezekiel, but Jeff was still looking around, so TongJie was looking through the shirts too just like all the other people in there were (all the other people were Chinese women, so we totally stuck out as different) and the owner of the shop came up and started yelling at him in Chinese and grabbed the shirt out of his hand (not the one we were planning on buying) and hung it back up with a disgusted sigh. I guess kids aren't supposed to look at the clothes in there or something, but I have no idea what she said. Maybe she thought he was going to steal it. So I took TongJie outside to wait so he wouldn't get yelled at anymore, and he sat down at the edge of the sidewalk and was driving his little matchbox car and completely minding his own business when a different lady walked by and went out of her way to step on his fingers, saying something to him in Chinese (I assume she was trying to teach him a lesson for playing in the sidewalk). As she walked away, she was looking over her shoulder and glaring at him. Poor TongJie, that ended up not being a good evening for him. I felt bad because I was the one letting him play with his car on the sidewalk, but he really wasn't in the way, he was way over on the edge next to a tree. It's not like I would have let him be in the middle of where everybody was walking or anything. Anyway, that is by far the worst thing that has happened to TongJIe (well, maybe besides getting a brother, ha ha) since we've been here. Generally, all the interactions with people have been very pleasant at playgrounds and stores and everywhere. TongJie has been doing a great job of jumping right in and playing with the other kids on the playgrounds even though he doesn't speak the language. Even the people that are staring at Ezekiel are not being mean, that's just part of their culture. That one day just wasn't very fun when the two different ladies got mad at him and the one stepped on his fingers.
The picture on here of me and Jeff is one that TongJie took of us last night. Then there's one of Jeff and Ezekiel at breakfast, and a couple that I took of Ezekiel in our hotel room. He's a cute little kid!