NOTE: I started composing this post a few weeks ago before I got really, really busy and then got really, really sick... But I'm posting it now in the interest of catching up!
The Pipsqueak had a pretty bad cold a couple of weeks back. (How can such a small body reach such high temperatures?!?). AJ stayed home from work to take care of Miri, but she could only do that for a limited time; eventually she had to get back to the job -- so the Pipsqueak's Grandma & Grandpa had to take care of her during the day (when she would've normally been in daycare) for most of the week.
As usual, my timing was a little off... but I managed (with the help of a phone call after I fell asleep halfway through getting dressed!) to spend some "Uncle duty" time today keeping an eye on Miri while Mom & Dad took care of a couple of of life's little necessities that couldn't be handled with the little one in tow. When I got to the house, the Pipsqueak came running to the door to say hello -- but after about 30 seconds of happy greeting wanted to know why I didn't bring Mommy home with me (oh, well, at least she's got her priorities straight). There were a few strained moments when, after explaining that Grandma & Grandpa had to leave for a little while, I had to go out because my beast was blocking the driveway; that particular problem was handled by Grandma holding the Pipsqueak up at the front door where she could watch me move the SUV to a spot in front of the house and then walk back in.
We watched the Wiggles, we played some games, I wiped up some of the sour cream & mashed bananas Miri had played with, we sang a couple of songs, I picked up some of the raisins Miri had squished into the couch cushions, we played on the Pipsqueak's little slide -- and then, after turning down my offer to go for a walk, my niece cuddled up next to me on the couch, tucked herself up under my arm, and went trustingly to sleep.
I sat there for a few minutes, fretting over my leaving my cell phone in the pocket of my jacket (now hanging in the next room), leaving the closest handset for Mom & Dad's phone at the opposite end of the couch, and leaving the TV remote on the other side of the room... and then I thought about how much my little niece has grown in the past few months. She's still a little thing, but the growth & development we've seen in the past year -- heck, just in the past few months! -- have me feeling pretty sure she's not going to be tucking herself in under my arm for a nap too much longer. The result was a very peaceful, pleasant half hour spent just savoring the quiet and watching Miri snore quietly next to me.
The Pipsqueak woke up on her own just as Mom & Dad pulled back into the garage, and it wasn't long before I was explaining to her that I had to go to work. She wasn't too sure about that, but acquiesced when I promised that I was going to see Mommy at work and send her back home. I got a nice hug, a happy "goodbye!" and then, when I didn't move quite fast enough, the Pipsqueak's trademark "go, go!" as she pointed toward the door.
Despite essentially being thrown out of my parents' house by my diminutive (but strongly opinionated) niece, I had a nice glow the rest of the day... You wanna talk about quality time, there's nothing that can beat sitting quietly on the couch with my little 2-year-old niece trustingly tucked up against my side, snoring just a little bit but feeling safe, secure, happy and loved.
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!