Monday, May 3, 2010

Bringing Nai nai home

This was a last photo of Rosabelle being fed by the nanny on the night we came back from Singapore (without the poor woman in the picture), before we had to let her go because of her injured leg.

After that, for a week or so, Wayne and I brought Rosabelle out and ate out alot - that's father and daughter at Olio sharing a moment, heh!

We didn't take alot of photos in Zhengzhou nor on the trip as I was trying to keep Rosabelle entertained during her waking hours with books, toys, CDs, nursery rhymes, finger foods (avocado, fruits, biscuits, seaweed etc - I stocked up enough to feed us three well through the 8-hour ride). We stopped for toilet breaks (adults, that is, as Rosabelle's still in her diapers), and for Rosabelle to stretch her muscles abit walking around in minimarts (as the outdoor area was congested with cars, smokers, and toilet stench...).

That's her sound asleep in the car sandwiched between neck pillows, haha! By the time we reached Wayne's parents' home, it was already after 7pm when she took her dinner. Sofitel, the usual place we stay in, was fully booked, so we checked into another local hotel - quite dingy-looking, but supposedly a hit with local travellers, so the executive room was good enough, but of course nothing international like Sofitel. When we got to the room, Wayne went with the bellboy to get our luggage from the car, and Rosabelle indicated she needed to poop. Aiyo! So just me, a poopey baby, and no wet wipes/diapers with me, and she had to go put one foot into the toilet bowl after she got up - yucky...

We took all our meals at Wayne's parents' place, and Rosabelle enjoyed the jiaozi that Nai nai made. Another purpose of this trip was to get the last bit of her denounciation of Chinese citizenship in place, so we headed there the next morning to submit some missing documentation and from here, we needed to wait another 3 months for them to process everything before she is officially non-Chinese. Well, at least we did not have to make another trip back. (On a side note, since my work visa was expiring, I had it renewed as a visitor's visa - a 探亲证 - valid for a year, multiple-entry, and best of all, cheaper than a work visa, heh! So once Rosabelle gets her non-Chinese status in place, we need to also apply this visa for her - paperwork, paperwork!)

And so, Nai nai came back with us and took the 8-hour trip back to Beijing with us. This time back, we reached Beijing earlier at around 6-plus and headed directly to Malacca Legend for dinner (since there was no food in the fridge/freezer).
When my mother-in-law first came, my sister warned me "Better be less harsh with your high standards. She's your MIL, not your maid ah!", and my mum told me "After all, Rosabelle is already more than a year old, so if things/food are slightly not to your standards, it's ok lah". Heh... all I can say is my MIL is really very nice and accommodating, and she helps with cooking our meals (I will let her know what to cook, whilst Wayne does the groceries), as well as cleaning the house in the mornings since she wakes up early. I will set aside 3 to 4 days in the week where I spend the afternoons when Rosabelle is sleeping to do more thorough cleaning - cannot expect my poor MIL to wash the toilet, or patiently wipe all of Rosabelle's burgeoning toy collection, or get on her knees to wipe/mop hard-reaching areas, or climb on stools to clean the windows/doors, right? These extra housework are what keeps me busy, when I used to leave this to the nanny and spend my afternoons updating my blog or run errands, sigh... Well, something has gotta give.

On the first day she arrived, my MIL made lunch for Rosabelle, but expectedly, since it was a new kitchen, and new ways of preparing foods, lunch was considerably late (around 1:20pm), and Rosabelle was quite hungry, and grouchy by the time food was served and kept clamouring for me even after I had fed her a bit (Wayne took over after he ate so I could eat). At that point when I was eating, and Rosabelle was throwing a tantrum in her high chair and kept going 'Mama, mama!', I just lost it, banged my hands on the table and screamed 'What else do you want from me?!' as I cried. Think I almost lost it at that point - the culmination of more than a week coping on our own, the tedious roadtrip, and the crying all came together and made me snap. Luckily I held back and did not cry/scream further - it would not have been fair to poor Rosabelle as it's not by her choice that we were going through such a situation.

Another time that I lost my temper even when Nai nai was around to help was during the night when she woke up shortly after her last feed to keep wanting me to nurse her still, and refused to sleep in her own bed, wanting to lie on me instead. Wayne and I insisted she stay in her own bed, and I just turned over and ignored her as she cried for close to an hour, going 'Please! Mama! Milk, milk!要!' as she nodded her head vehemently. I decided that she had to learn to sleep on her own rather than have comfort suckling, and she refused to let Wayne carry her, falling asleep as she nodded exhaustedly at the corner of her bed. Nai nai came over in between to ask her if she wanted to sleep with her, and with Wayne and I being harsh on her, she of course said '要!' but no way were we going to let her have an alternative to her own bed, so that made her cry even harder. It was heartbreaking (and still is, whenever I think about it) to have her cry so hard and for such a long time, but that episode has made her learn not to expect anything that she wants all the time. I cried as well, but of course hid my face as it'd be ridiculous to ask her to cry when I was doing the same, heh! Nowaday, she's at times bashful when she wants milk, letting me suggest instead, or she will give hints like looking at the pillow/my chest, and biting at a corner of the pillow, haha!
Other than taking care of our meals, Nai nai also feeds Rosabelle and dresses her in the mornings and after her baths, so Rosabelle has learnt to want Nai nai to feed her, indicating the chair for Nai nai to sit on, and for a period when she just came, wanting to sleep on Nai nai's bed every night before she went to sleep. She has also learnt to imitate Nai nai cooking with a 'Kua kua kua!' waving of her hands holding a ladle, and when she accidentally pinched Nai nai, she quickly kissed her on both sides of her face (she will do that to Wayne and I now as she wants us to turn the other side for her to kiss us).

Rosabelle also knows that Nai nai has a soft spot (which grandparent does not?), and when she woke up in a less than cheery mood today, she started rolling on the floor when Nai nai offered to carry her up to see Wayne cutting the watermelon for her. So unreasonable, huh?! So Wayne and I ignored her, and asked Nai nai to also leave her alone instead of hovering above her and asking/helping her to get up. After a few minutes, with each adult doing their own thing, Rosabelle realised she was on her own and got up on her own accord, turned a circle to see us all ignoring her, until she caught sight of Nai nai peeping at her, and she quickly laid down splat on the floor again to continue her acting - haha, so naughty!

With Nai nai, she is fast picking up more Mandarin, saying '光光' to indicate the baby doll's bald head, '托' to remove her socks/shoes, and '鞋鞋'. She has also learnt to say 'soft', 'sky', 'stool' (requesting for the stool to stand on to wash her hands), 'coon' (when I pointed out a raccoon picture to her in the minimart), and very cutely '白白兔'. She has been saying this last one for many days now, but I've been having a hard time trying to figure out what it was. Today, when the older kids did the '小白兔' nursery rhyme, she said '白白兔', and now wants me tp perform for her with my fingers on my head for ears, complete with hopping. Haha!

All I can say is - it's good to have a 老人家 in the house!

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