I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but we have an interesting problem with the Pipsqueak: she gets jealous of Mommy. Jealous as in, hug her at your own risk -- if Miri sees anyone hugging Mommy, they will suddenly be confronted by a very small, very loud, and very angry little person actively pushing them away.
We can't figure it out; we're always hugging in this family, and the Pipsqueak has absolutely no problem with any combination of family members sharing a hug -- but AJ is her Mommy and you darn well better not forget it! We've tried a variety of approaches (the most common being sneaking a hug when the Pipsqueak's attention is directed elsewhere, or even better when she's in another part of the house) but the bottom line is don't hug the Pipsqueak's Mommy!
Some time back, I remembered something from my early childhood, where I'd squeeze between my folks and we'd have a "love sandwich" (it only counted if everyone said that out loud). The tradition continued with AJ, but faded to a happy memory as we grew older -- but maybe, just maybe (I thought), it would work with the Pipsqueak... and I was right! The second or third time we did this, when the Pipsqueak had been home maybe six or seven months, we all got the happy surprise of her giving a biiig smile and a loud, clear, "Happy happy!" when we didn't knew she even knew the word. (Dude, you hit it outta the park!) Since then, any time one of us goes to hug AJ goodbye after a get-together, we're sure to make it a group hug with a loud "looove sandwich!" to make it official.
Fast forward to Saturday evening... (Technically, for me that would be "tonight" since I haven't actually gone to bed yet but for the sake of all you normal folks I'll call it "last night.) A particularly close uncle/aunt/cousin combo spent part of the day with us to help celebrate AJ's birthday, and we all did a love sandwich when they headed home so the Pipsqueak would allow them to hug AJ goodbye. A little while later, after a bit of cleaning up and a bit of an argument with the Pipsqueak over her having to put her shoes & socks back on, it was time for her Mommy to take her home (and for her uncle to hit the road as well).
We finally convinced Miri that it would be fun for me to put her shoes & socks back on while Mommy held her, and made it clear that it was time to go home. (We knew the message had gotten through because she nodded and very firmly said, "Home!") I was in the kitchen packing up my laptop as AJ gathered up her & the Pipsqueak's stuff in the next room when my niece marches in, whacks me on the thigh (her equivalent of a tap on one's shoulder), and says, "Samich!"
"What's that, honey?"
"It's not time for a sandwich, Silliness, it's time to go home!"
I had to stop and think; it was unusual for the Pipsqueak to ask for food when she knew Mommy was in the middle of getting ready to take her home, and quite frankly she'd already put away enough food over the course of the evening to fill even her hollow leg... Hey, waitaminit...
"You want to do a love sandwich before you go home?"
The pipsqueak nodded, gave me a firm "yeh!" and marched back into the other room, confident that she'd gotten her message through to her silly grownups. Grandma came in, and then Grandpa came in from the kitchen, and the Pipsqueak proclaimed, "Samich!" with a big smile.
So, for the first time at Miri's (very specific) request, we did a love sandwich to say goodnight -- three of them, in fact, as per her instructions -- and then it was alright for Mommy to take her home. She's always liked the family love sandwiches, but having her specifically requesting (demanding!) one was definitely icing on the cupcake.
Since AJ has weekend duty on Sunday, I've already been told I'm going to have "Uncle duty" to give the Pipsqueak's grandparents a little break while they're watching her.
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!