My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Somebody Made Their Uncle Nervous!

There's actually about a week left before the end of school, but I've been noticing some changes in the Pipsqueak's situation (and knowledge).

The first thing that's making me nervous is the seemingly accelerating passage of time...

This past weekend was the SBA end-of-year showcase -- a Really Big Deal with 61 separate performances showcasing all levels of all dance classes. There were shows on Friday (which some of our friends saw) and Saturday (which we attended), and Miri danced in five separate numbers, complete with a "quick change" situation involving both costume and hairstyle, a process completed in the 5-1/2 minute span of another class' performance. The Pipsqueak was part of performances by her Acro class[1], Jazz class, Modern class, Ballet class, and Tap class[2] -- and garnered multiple compliments from the backstage moms helping with the show for her calmness, good behavior, "can do" attitude, and near-professional approach to all the costume changes & backstage rules.  The downside of the whole thing was five costumes at $85 rental per costume... but for this, there was never a question about finding a way to scrape up the money.

Oh, you want photos?  Well... there was no photography or videography allowed[3]  (Dude, don't you remember quietly recording her last number with the viewscreen of your camera turned off...?) and they've just begun editing the official video for the DVD we have on order. I have a couple of images of the Pipsqueak in costume, but my laptop has almost literally zero remaining storage space so I can't download any of them from my iPhone. They'll be posted as soon as I can download them AND reinstall Photoshop. I promise.  (Did I mention I'm having a bunch of problems with my laptop?)

Anyway, there's only one more visit to SBA before summer camp, and that's just for the cast party/open house on Tuesday. The only remaining dance classes before summer vacation are the Chinese dance classes Miri takes over at CCACC, and that particular end-of-year showcase is this coming weekend... so (aside from a week of dance camp over the summer) that's it for the dance classes until September.  I'm looking at that with a big sigh of relief, since my schedule revolves around when Miri has to be picked up either to get to and/or home from dance class Monday thru Friday, but I'm also thinking it's a real sign of time passing and the midpoint of the year fast approaching.

A related item making me a little nervous is that we are now in the last week of the school year -- and that scrawny little baby that peed all over her uncle in a Guilin hotel room is done with third grade! The Pipsqueak's closing out the year on a high note, with just one more report card to go (and her least was all A's). How the heck did she get halfway through elementary school so fast?!?!

But for real nervousness there was the conversation Miri and I had earlier today about babies.  Y'see, her next door neighbor just had a little girl this past Saturday.  All the pertinent information is on a sign out in front of the house, and when we pulled up in the car this afternoon Miri said she wanted to go find out the baby's name.  We read the sign, I explained that 19-1/2 inches is indeed normal for a baby, and then kind of tuned out my niece's ongoing prattling about babies and big bellies and such. Until...

M: "And then the splurge hits the egg and the egg cracks and the baby comes out."

B: "Um... WHAT...?!?"

M: "I said the splurge hits the egg and the egg cracks, and that's how a baby is born!"

B: "The WHAT does WHAT?"  (Please stop laughing at me.)

M (rather annoyed at her uncle): "Uncle Brian! I said that the splurge hits the egg and the egg cracks, and then the baby comes out!"

B: "Um... You mean 'sperm,' right...?"

M: "Oh... Yeah! That's right!  The sperm hits the egg and the egg cracks and that's how the baby gets out!"

B: "And where did you hear this, kiddo?"

M: "Mommy told me." There was a pensive pause, and then... "But I'm not sure how it all works."

B: "Umm..."

Visions of "The Talk" flashed before my eyes. I quickly thought about the books & articles I've already read on how to explain "all that" to a child. I mentally reviewed the location & content of the new book about the human body plus a younger child's book guide to how a girl's body develops over time that replaced/supplanted the decades-old book about the human body that AJ inherited from Yours Truly about 45 years ago (all three of which AJ has read through with the Pipsqueak a couple of times). I mentally took inventory of  the terabytes of information stored in my brain about the subject (I have a B.S. in Zoology and worked in healthcare for more than a decade).  I took a deep breath and responded...

"Maybe you should talk about that with Mommy."

Nailed it...! <g>

In my defense, my sister laughed at me when I told her... and pointed out that Miri's been confusing "sperm" and "splurge" since they first talked about it a couple of weeks ago.  (Also in my defense is the fact that AJ admitted to being worried about what happens when Miri realizes she still doesn't know how the sperm gets to the egg...)

Anyway, it's past my bedtime so I'm going to call it a night before I get asked any more flop-sweat-inducing questions.  I'm working to clear enough space on my laptop so I can begin including photos here again, so until the next blog post I remain nervously yours... ;-p

[1] "Acro" is a shortened form of the word "acrobatics," performed complete with large mats unrolled across the stage.  A few months ago, Miri couldn't do a cartwheel, even with the help of her "virtual sister" Sarah (who tried mightily -- thanks, kiddo!). In this performance she successfully did a series of three cartwheels and finished off with a front roll (something else she couldn't do until recently), all learned in the space of a few months thanks to her strong personal drive and some excellent teaching by the SBA staff.

[2]  At the beginning of the semester, Miri was taking only four classes. Then she attended an intense dance immersion weekend at which she encountered tap dance for the first time -- and for which she & AJ were surprised by the awarding of a certificate of excellence for her tap performance. This led to a mid-semester talk with SBA's tap teacher, whose response was, "Okay, we'll loan her a pair of tap shoes and she can try one class to see if she likes it."  After that class, AJ asked the teacher how Miri had done and the response was a smiling, "Has she been fitted for her performance costume yet?"

[3] While I freely admit I did a little bootleg video recording, I did it with an all-black camera held up in front of my face with all external indicators & screens dark so that it would not affect anyone sitting behind me. Meanwhile, there were so many people lighting up phones and iPads(!) to record dances, the emcee had to remind the crowd to stop doing that twice during the show.  Even then, the unwelcome bright light of phones in the middle of the dark theater was commonplace, and I even watched one woman sitting two rows ahead of me spend an entire dance number texting and checking the weather.  I'm not surprised when kids behave inappropriately in public -- look at what their parents are doing!  >:-(