Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Alone with Levi

Wednesday, January 30th (China Time)

7:00 - Ben has already gotten ready and has just left to go to the breakfast buffet.  He is preparing for a very long day of traveling down to Levi's hometown.  I'm gearing up for my first day with Levi without Ben.  I'll admit, I'm a little nervous as to how Levi will handle it.

7:15 -  Just as I get the shampoo lathered in the shower, Levi begins to wail.  He is calling out "Mama".  I pretend he means me and get out the shower quickly to get him ready for the day.

7:30 -  I get Levi changed.  I brought size 12 month clothes, optimistically hoping that he grew enough to fit into them from the time I received his updated till now. They definitely fit, and are bordering on almost too small.  I am surprised and pleased.  We were told in November that he weighed 17 pounds.  We weighed him here in China and he weighs 26 pounds.  Either he gained an insane amount of weigh in a couple of months, or his measurements were way off.  Either way, he is a healthy sized kid.

However, with his sort-of-short pants, random elderly Asian women have been tugging at his pants legs while I carry him in public, lest a square inch (or centimeter, as we are in a metric country) is exposed to the comfortable temperature air.  I have been smiling politely and over bundling my child in blankest to appease them.

7:45 - I give Levi his bottle this morning and sing to him while snuggling him in close.  He continues to avoid eye contact.  I switch to whistling Disney songs.  This catches his attention.  He makes sustained eye contact.  I stop whistling and smile at him.  He refuses to look at me again.  I start whistling frantically, but the moment is gone.

9:00 - I take Levi down to breakfast for the hotel's buffet.  Before I took him down, I put in in the side carrier for a while so he could get his screaming out in the privacy of our room before venturing to the very public dining room.  I think he has resigned himself to me.  I will consider it attachment progress.

The high chair provided has no straps to hold him in place and is much too large.  To prevent him from sliding out and cracking his head open on the marble floor, I grab the least embellished fancy throw pillows on the back of the banquette and shove it between Levi and the back of the high chair.  I hope he doesn't smear too much food on it.  It looks expensive.

Almost his entire meal consists of a Chinese type doughnut thing and kidney beans.  I know I should probably restrict the bean intake because I am fearful of what that diaper will look like, but I let him have at it.  He smiles at me occasionally, but pouts when I make him stop smearing steamed sweet potatoes into the fabric of the pillow behind him.  He then spends his time squeezing watermelon all over his tray.  I let him because at that moment, he likes me and I can eat my meal with a happy child next to me. 

11:00 - We spend the morning in our hotel room.  Levi's cold has gotten worse and it breaks my heart to hear him wheezing and coughing.  I think the wheezing is in his nose and cleft, not lungs.  (I hope)  I don't take him out because I don't want him breathing in all that pollution and slightly chilly air. 

Our room has floor to ceiling windows on one side.  Levi enjoys leaning up against the window and banging toys on the glass.  We are on the 17th floor.  No matter how much reassurance Ben gave me or how much info I look up on the infallible Internet I don't feel comfortable with this.  I guess I am not enough of a city girl to be blase about the strength of glass separating my child happily tapping a water bottle on the glass in our hotel room from my child plummeting to the ground.  I resort to distraction.

Honey Nut Cheerios help.  I put a few in his plastic bowl.  He then dumps them all over the carpet and then picks them up to eat them.  This, apparently, is his favorite system.  The cleaning crew is going to love us.  I put only a few into the bowl because there are fewer to be lost and ground into the carpet.   But more importantly,  when he wants more, he gently holds my hand and walks me over to where the giant Cheerio stash sits enticingly just out of reach.  Then he points at the bag and babbles to me.  It is endearing and wonderful.

There are a few moments where Levi seems to actually enjoy my company.  He does not want me to rough house with him like Ben does.  I tried and it made him cry and look at me warily for a long time afterward.  But, he'll occasionally peek at me and smile or throw the beach ball to (at?) me.  He also likes hauling heavy things around the room and look at me for signs of my admiration of his strength and prowess.  I smile and clap enthusiastically.

12:30 - After a morning of snacks, we have a light lunch in our room and he is finally asleep.  I attempt to put on the Do Not Disturb light (they don't have the cards to hang on the outside of the room) but I realize that the crazy electrical sound coming out of the wall when the room entry light or Do Not Disturb Light is turned on hasn't been fixed yet, even though we contacted the front desk about it last night.

I contemplate the probability of setting fire to the hotel and study the emergency evacuation plans on the door.  I realize that even if Levi and I are able to escape a blazing inferno, the sweet elderly Asian ladies on the street will be tugging at Levi's pants legs and giving disapproving looks.  I turn the Do Not Disturb sign off and hope housekeeping knocks lightly.

1:30 - Levi is suppose to be napping.  According to his paperwork (and we know how accurate that can be) he naps for 2.5 hours every afternoon  He is spending more time crying than napping.  He cried through his nap time yesterday, too.  He is so tired and keeps rubbing his eyes.  This is a sad time for him and consequently for me.

I keep reminding myself, "It is not my job to make him stop crying.  It is my job to comfort him in his sadness."

3:00 - Levi wakes up from his fitful nap just in time for housekeeping to come and clean the room.  We haven't had the room cleaned for a couple of days because we left the dangerous Do Not Disturb light on too long and missed the cleaning times.  I leave the room with his bottle and some Puffs, planning to walk the hallway for 5-10 minutes while they freshen up the room.

Apparently we are incredible slobs and must have turned our room into a cesspool because it takes housekeeping about 20 minutes to clean. I am embarrassed for our apparently slovenly living conditions.  I realize that my nose has probably become deadened to the poopy diapers in the room.

Levi and I wait at the end of the hallway and spend time looking out the large window.  We watch the ant-sized people and cars pass below.  I try singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to him.  He's a fan!  Finally he likes something I do.  I sing it again.  He laughs, claps, and then slaps me across the face.  I am not expecting this.  He laughs some more.  I do not.

I switch gears over to Peek-A-Boo.  This he also likes, but I still keep an eye out for any unexpected hand movements from Levi.  I also make weird sounds and stick my tongue out a lot.  This is also a hit (not literally, thank goodness, but figuratively).  He has figured out how to point his bottle at me and squeeze juice in my face.  He is smiling at me and making more eye contact.  Unfortunately, we don't always share the same sense of what is funny.

All the while, Puffs are being consumed.  At one point he stops shoving them in his own mouth and reaches out his hand to feed one to me. 

Now it is decision time.  He is sick.  His hand is coated in a slimy combination of snot and drool.  He coughs on the Puff when he presents it to me.  I open my mouth and let him put the Puff, and most of his fingers, in my mouth.  I try not to grimace.  Again, attachment progress.

5:30 -  We have supper in our room.  After supper he gets pretty sleepy and starts falling down more in the way that tired toddlers do.  Sometimes he opens his arms for a comforting hug.  A moment later he remembers who is hugging him and shoves away from me.

7:00 - Its an early bedtime for Levi.  He is rubbing his eyes and laying down on the freshly vacuumed (and already dirty again) carpet.

I put him down in the crib.  He starts to cry.  I rub his back and he calms down.  I sit down next to him and put my hands through the railing of the crib.  He stops crying as long as he holds my hand.  This melts my heart.   It makes me feel hopeful.  When he falls asleep, I watch him for a long time. 

9:30 - I'm already asleep when Ben comes home from adventure in Yuncheng.

Ben took these pictures.  He hasn't been quite so jolly yet with me.

That face looks like trouble.

What an adorable boy!


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