Tough day. After breakfast the group boarded a bus to take our children to a clinic. It was remarkably modern compared to the image I had in my mind. If only I spoke fluent Cantonese or the doctors knew English I might have more information. Penelope received a general checkup, including a fit when one doctor wanted to listen to her chest. We’re not sure how much she remembers from her surgery visits and return checkups. Not much we hope.
Finally she received the shot to check for TB. What an unenviable job that must be, administering a shot to unsuspecting children the uncontrollable screaming. To calm her down one of the doctors offered her a chocking hazard, I mean small piece of hard candy. I promptly confiscated it setting off another round of tears.
Once all the families were done we headed back to the hotel. When we arrived I left for Carrefour to get more supplies, including diapers. We used the last of ours on a major load earlier that morning. Another family gave us 6 more to get us by.
Guangzhou cab rides are like romantic comedies compare to the summer blockbusters in Henan. No horns, no squeezing into impossible spots, nothing remarkable. When I got to Carrefour I was surprised to see it was one large shop surrounded by little specialty shops. 4 stories of parasitic shopkeepers hoping to drain a little lifeblood from Carrefour’s patrons. Inside I found the items on my list except for Little Noses (I couldn’t find solution for big noses like mine either) and arm floaties for children. My attempts to pantomime swimming, then pointing at my arms must have been amusing to those watching. They may sell them but it would have taken more time or a translator to find them.
An hour and a half later I was back at the hotel. I went into our room quietly. Jennifer said that Penelope had gone to sleep 10 minutes ago, and not quietly. After I left she wanted Baba. Jenn took her to see another family in our group and strolled around the hotel to calm her down. It worked fine until she got back to the room. Chaos ensued once again. Penelope loves to sleep, and does it soundly, but she hates getting to sleep. She doesn’t realize we’re not the most exciting parents yet. Catching a few Z’s is best for all of us.
At 3 I met with a our guide and one person from each family to prepare the paperwork for Penelope’s visa. Every time our guide would say “OK, now you need to get ____” I would wonder if I brought it. Silly since I brought everything. With the paperwork and documents compiled I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to the room.
The 3 of us went for a stroll to the pool where we saw Joy, a travel companion with one of the adoptive families. We talked for several minutes. Stephanie, the adoptive mother had to bring her daughter Hope to the hospital. She was running a 106° temperature. We hope to get an update on her tomorrow. The other little girl in our group, Ru, also went back to the hospital. It turns out she does not have pneumonia, but bronchitis. As small as this beautiful little girl is we are thankful its not pneumonia.
We ate dinner in the hotel. We know what to order to keep cost down. A large salad and a plate of spaghetti with the bred basket was 135 RMB, roughly $22. When I get back home I’ll have to stop dividing the prices by 6.
People have been telling me for a year now that many of the parenting skills will come naturally. I’m starting to believe it. When Penelope doesn’t like some sort of food she’ll spit it out (no problem there), put it in her hand (awesome), then throw it on the floor (big problem), all the while sporting the most adorable look of disgust a parent could hope for. Jenn will be the first one to tell you I hate making a scene in public, even something minor like sitting at a checkout while she counts out exact change when she could just hand over a bill and get change back makes me anxious. But throwing food (or anything for that matter) “will not stand, man” as the Dude so eloquently put it. People can stare all they want. She can throw food when she’s the next Lady Gaga. Until then she’s going to learn some manners.
Penelope got her bath and then went to bed, screaming once again. Tonight I put her in her crib when she calmed down. She was still awake and looked up at me briefly then lay there. Why have I been holding her thrashing body every night when I could have just done this!
Tomorrow we take our group photo. Unfortunately there is no red couch in the China Hotel as there is in the White Swan, the hotel that traditionally hosts adoptive families. Its getting a much needed overhaul. We will make due with what we have, thankful we are together and thankful to be departing soon.