Thursday, December 9, 2010

That vein

Yesterday, we went for Mommy & Me in a 黑车 (illegal taxi) – I know it’s illegal, and it’s quite dangerous as they’re not regulated, and it’s been long since I last took one, but hey, Wayne was having a meeting that morning and I tried calling for a cab during morning peak period, but had zilch luck. So I carried my girl out, and carrying a bag, it wasn’t funny having to scour the streets for a cab, and having loads of competitors around (who were more able-bodied with no bag/toddler in arms, so they were able to sprint and push to get empty cabs, if any).

So someone asked me for RMB35. RMB30, I say, that’s the standard, even in morning jams. And another driver agreed to go at that price. And there marked our daughter’s first黑车 ride ever.

We reached there with ample time to spare and had the usual fun activities involving masses/messes of paints and water, and were told that next week would be the last session. Wow, 10 weeks has flown by that quickly…

After eating a slice of cheese, we got going, or rather, tried to get going, to Element Fresh for lunch. I dabbled with the thought of having a change and going to Annie’s, which was a further walk away, but changed my mind mid-way when I realized it’d probably take forever to get there if I let Rosabelle walk on her own (and I sure wasn’t able to carry her all the way). She would take maybe five stops, stop and look and me (maybe wanting me to give up and scoop her up), or even worse, retrace her steps and look at something. At times, I would indulge her and let her dally, at other times, I would scream at her to get a move-on if she wanted to get lunch anytime soon. Sigh!

The last 200m or so, I carried her some part of the way, and we finally managed to reach Element Fresh. Now, I was carrying her, with both of us wearing thick winter clothing in a restaurant with ample heating, carrying a huge bag, and Rosabelle decided she wanted to pee when she saw the flight of steps leading upwards, so I told the staff I needed seats for two, and stressed that I needed a baby chair to be put next to me (i.e. NOT opposite me). This trainee led me into the restaurant, where I decided to put down my bag and take off our warm clothing first before I trooped up the steps to the toilet, but she still led me to a two-seater, i.e. with the option of a baby chair put OPPOSITE me. I was quite irritated and told her I’d already told her what I needed, and then asked her to get me a place before I hastily made my way up to the toilet with bag, warm clothing et al.

It wasn’t pleasant at all, having to manage a bag, get off both our thick clothing, and hang them in the confines of the small cubicle, before getting Rosabelle to pee. Luckily she managed to hold it all in whilst waiting. Eventually, I went downstairs, carrying her, my bag, BOTH our jackets AND our scarves, and asked clueless trainee where our table was. She looked lost, and led me to the other end of the restaurant, all the way, to see that ALL the seats were taken, and mumbled something about other staff leading customers to that table that she’d prepared for us. Now, I was REALLY fuming. I did not mince my words when I lashed at her that she should make sure my seats are there before she even leads me all over, seeing that I was carrying so many things! She eventually sat us at a table that was just vacated, with dirty plates/cups still on the table, and I asked why isn’t a baby chair, the menu etc all set up at this table, and suggested that maybe she did not place the necessary things on the table, that was why other staff did not know that our table was taken.

I was basically very pissed off with her as she scrambled to get a menu, baby chair, crayons etc for us, as I wondered out loud why all these weren’t done as we were in the toilet, and why she should not be letting me run all over the restaurant for a seat… I had a very good mind to let my discontent be known to the supervisor/manager, but decided to hold off my anger first. Thankfully the supervisor who took my order was very nice, and I used the Element Fresh card to redeem a free apple pie and green tea, so that sort of put me in a better mood. In retrospect, I’m glad I held off the complaint, as that might have spoilt her day, or even worse, her tenure at the restaurant. However, I’m making sure I speak to and get attended by someone else other than a ‘trainee’ the next time round.

I let Rosabelle have some pasta with tomatos – I’d put the peas in her bowl, thinking that’s what they were, when she said it was spicy. I thought she meant the pasta, so I tasted it and said it’s ok. Later, she said ‘豌豆不好吃’, and when I tried it, oh, it was pickled small olives, heh! So I scooped them all out, then gave her the usual pork wonton as well, and she also had half a bowl of pumpkin soup and some of the bread from my steak sandwich. Half-way through, she told me she needed to poo, so I brought her upstairs, but I sure did not think it funny when she told me she had no pee nor poo. I was already in quite a bad mood and tired from climbing the steps, and felt quite bad that I forced her to remain on the toilet bowl till she really did manage to get some poo out… hmmm… maybe she just does not want to poo, and I should try making her do so every day….

Afterwards, when going down the steps, I suddenly felt a grinding pain in my right knee and quickly put her down and held her hand down the steps. I was afraid that if I should suddenly feel excruciating pain, I might tumble down whilst carrying her. Luckily the pain faded after about 5 more steps down… must have been all the tension… Back at the table, we also shared the dessert, basically with me eating the apple pie, and her eating the ice cream, heh!

Now, during our lunch, there was this Chinese lady seated next to us, eating with her angmor husband. She caught Rosabelle’s eye and started greeting us cordially, when she went on to ask me if the prominent-looking vein in between Rosabelle’s eyes (at the bridge of her nose) was a recent development, or one she’s had since birth. I wasn’t exactly sure but it’s been there as long as I can remember. The lady then said that Rosabelle might have a spleen or stomach problem, as her younger daughter (now 2.5 years old) had as she had the exact same mark between the eyes. Like me, she received the same answers from Western doctors (she goes to BJU), who say that it’s because children have thin skin, and this will eventually fade, so it’s no biggie. According to her, she brought her daughter to 儿研所, and for doctors there who practise TCM, one look at the nose, which is telling of problems within the system, and they will know that with the prominent vein at the bridge, there is a problem with either the spleen or stomach. It can go both ways – if it’s the stomach, the child will not have any appetite at all. If it’s the spleen, the child can eat well, but the foods don’t get broken down/digested as well, and it will lead to problems like constipation.

Voila! Eureka! The second scenario is just what I think Rosabelle is going through! When I mentioned casually that I am perplexed as to why she can instead poo every day whilst on our Guilin/Yangshuo tour, she said in cases like these, such children must be careful to not overeat, or it’s even harder for their systems to process the food. Again, voila! True enough, when out on our trip, we have meals outside, and I am not as strict about her finishing her foods. At home, I scoop a certain portion onto her plate and expect her to finish that, PLUS a bowl of soup, so maybe that is really too much for our poor girl. The lady went on to mention that after taking about two weeks of a 健脾化及口服液, her daughter was better, her pallor and appetite improved, and she did not have any constipation at all.

It’s not anything major, just that some children have digestive systems weaker than others, she said. But all these were all very enlightening to me, so I did an online search – true enough, Western forums/doctors all dismiss it as the child’s skin being thin, but Chinese forums/doctors all point to the spleen or stomach as an underlying cause. Wayne does not think we need to visit儿研所 or get her started on any medication but that night, I made sure that I did not force my girl to finish everything – I know what they say about children knowing when they’re full/hungry, but I never really did put that into practice, going into a ‘I’m an adult/your mother, so I know better’ mode. Now I REALLY know better!

After lunch, we again went to the bookstore at the suggestion of Rosabelle and since nice assistant was there, I again got two small books. Heh! You can never have too many books!

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