You guys. We went a FULL day with NO TEARS from Gladdie Mae!
This is answered prayer, right here! I mean, we know her grief has longevity, and we are not in any way minimizing her experience. But, to go from weeping and begging to go back to "mama" on Gotcha to laughing, giggling, and even saying some English words 3 days later...well, prayer works. In fact, Simon and I joked a couple times today "Okay, friends, you can stop praying now!" (LOL) because Miss Gladdie was so animated, happy, and joyful for most of the day. So much so that we were begging for bedtime.
We were up and at 'em pretty early today. And before I could even suggest a new outfit, Gladdie was already getting dressed in her Gotcha threads. Good thing I was able to wash them last night. Whew!
First item on the agenda was breakfast with the koi. The other 3 Gs remember this well from our previous visits here. Gladdie, I'm sure, will remember it fondly from now on. We had a lovely breakfast, and then we took a few pieces of bread and let the 4 Gs feed it to the (huge) koi fish in the Garden hotel's garden pond. Gladdie loved it!
Next up was a trip to the medical building. Gladdie must "pass" a medical exam in order to receive her US visa to travel home with us next week. She did great! The exam includes ENT, height/weight/hearing/vision screening, general examination, and the dreaded TB test, where blood must be drawn. Gladdie did great in all of them, really. The one time she got very stoic and almost shed a tear or two was after the TB test. She did not cry at having been stuck by a needle, but she was holding the bandage on the crook of her elbow in a way that said, "I can't believe you let them do this to me!" A woman in our group, who speaks Mandarin, said that Gladdie said something about her "mama" but couldn't tell exactly what. But no tears!
Then, back to our hotel apartment and a trip out for lunch. We ventured out to a chicken wing place, and we discovered that Gladdie likes grape soda and eating chicken legs with a fork.
Back to our apartment for several hours of bonding. We did all sorts of things: beaded jewelry, basketball, watching videos, playing with Barbie Mulan, "washing" Mulan's hair, getting the bathroom soaking wet...but I digress. Anyway, before we knew it, it was 5 o'clock.
Oh wait. And hoops, we busted some hoops!
We were getting low on some things...like water and soda. (We cannot drink the tap water here, so bottled water is a must!) We decided to venture out as a family to a local grocery store called Aeon. I forgot to mention that we were able to secure a stroller form the hotel concierge. Miss Gladdie's special need causes her to walk with a severe limp. And while she's quite resourceful in compensating for her need, when it comes to lots of walking we felt it better to get a stroller. Well, she wouldn't sit in it at first. Okay. We let Gem try it out and we walked a few blocks. After more than one fall, including one in the middle of the street (!), I decided to make Gladdie sit in the stroller. Sure enough, she took to it pretty much right away. After some crazy "driving" by dad, she liked it. She even "bossed" us around like a queen on her throne.
Anyway, we walked to the store. It's so funny in China. Staring is not considered rude. Can you imagine how many stares we get? One bald guy + one blonde gal + 4 Chinese kids. It's so finny. Sometimes we say "Ni hao" to the starers; sometimes we flash the "V" for victory sign at them.
Back to our apartment and we decide to order pizza for dinner. Simon calls it in to a Pizza Hut just down the street. When he hangs up, he tells me that he honestly has no idea what kind of pizza he just ordered. #becausechina #lostintranslation
He goes to get it and I bathe the 4 Gs while he's gone. Lo and behold, he comes back with a pepperoni pizza, just like we wanted. **It's somewhat poignant that Simon and I are celebrating our Promiversary today. On this day, 26 years ago (!), we went on our first date to Kellogg High School's senior prom. That began a relationship that has spanned over 2 decades and 4 children. Simon, I'm so glad I said YES to your prom invitation!!
After pizza, we offered the Gs a little dessert. I pulled out a sleeve of Oreo cookies, and I thought Gladdie was going to pass out with joy. When she saw them she clapped, hopped up and down, and chortled! After that, brush teeth and into bed! Miss Gladdie put her PJs on and I swooped in to get her Gotcha clothes into the wash.
We are seeing such a wonderful look into Gladdie's personality. We know she misses her first mama. We know there will be hard days and times ahead. But if today was any indication, we have a very joyful 4th daughter. 4 daughters!! Can you believe it?!?
Off to the Guangzhou Safari Park tomorrow. Goodnight for now.