Right now, I am sitting in the room while the two little boys take naps. David took Ben and John to the pool. Guangzhou is tropical, and the hotel here feels more like a resort in Florida. Don’t get me wrong, we still only have two (rock hard) twin-sized beds (and a small sofa) for the six of us, so we are not on vacation, but at least this room has a separate living room area. Now, we don’t all have to nap and go to bed on Leo and Sam’s schedule.
Tomorrow we are supposed to go on a sight-seeing tour. I’m not sure yet if we’ll join the rest of the group, or skip the tour entirely. While it’s great to meet and chat with other adoptive parents, most of them have adopted toddlers. There is one mother here who just adopted a girl, just before she aged out (age 14). She brought her 13 year old son for the trip too, and he was adopted only two years ago. I want to find out if they are also going on the optional sight-seeing tour. It would be nice for John to get to know other adopted teens and speak to them in Mandarin. By the way, John’s Mandarin is still excellent, according to everyone we meet. He was self-conscious and tongue-tied the first few days in China, but now he’s conversing with the locals easily. Ben hasn’t been so fortunate. Sadly, I seem to know and understand more Chinese than Ben. Our hope was that the language would come back to Ben on this trip too, but it hasn’t. Maybe Sam and Leo will continue to talk to each other in Chinese, and Ben will pick it up again. Time will tell.
It’s evening now, and I’m finishing up the post for today. DangTong is being a big pain in the butt, and we are working out a strategy for addressing his needs and those of our family. We discussed trying the good cop, bad cop, routine, which works sometimes with the kids, but we don’t think Leo can reason on that level yet. Really, it’s like dealing with a naughty two year old, instead of a child who will be 5 next week. For instance, at dinner tonight, Leo threw a butter knife at me. When I sternly grabbed his hand and told him NO, he laughed and tried to do it again with a fork. I put him in my lap, wrapped my arms tightly around him and repeated NO. Then he hit me in the face. I really needed to hold him strait- jacket style, and not let go for at least a few minutes, but we were in restaurant and again people were staring at us. So….I just put him down, ignored him and proceeded to take care of the rest of the boys. Of course, Leo immediately went to David, who also refused to carry him. Remember, this is the kid who doesn’t want to sit alone and wants to be carried 24/7. We were leaving then, and David had to hold his hand while we walked home because the traffic is nuts (and Leo would be in danger walking unattended), but we all tried to send him the message with our body language that he was in big, big trouble. John scolded Leo in Chinese once in the restaurant, and then we all refused to speak to him as we walked. When we got to the hotel, where it was safe, David refused to hold Leo’s hand or pick him up. I don’t know if Leo really understands, but it took less than 10 seconds of both of us refusing to hold him when he said “sorry momma “(in Chinese), “pick me up” (which I did) and he give me a kiss. Now, of course, it’s as if it all never happened. David wants me to be firmer, because I tend to error on the soft side. If you know me, you probably don’t believe that, but David thinks that if I’m not careful, I’ll create a little emperor. Yep, adoption isn’t for the faint hearted. Thankfully, Fu KangChao (Sam) hasn’t had any more melt-downs or trauma in a few days, and he is being an angel here in Guangzhou. He loves the pool, the food, and all things related to the hotel. As long as they take turns being difficult, I guess we’ve got it easy.