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!

Friday, April 6, 2012


The Pipsqueak seems to have a bottomless bag of tricks from which she draws actions or statements or behaviors that leave us laughing, or shaking our heads, or gaping open-mouthed at something totally unexpected. Thankfully, the vast majority of these little tricks are of the positive variety... and she pulled a whole set of 'em out of that bag this week.

This morning, Miri repeatedly told her Mommy "Don't worry, I won't break any eggs."

It took a while, but AJ figured out they're doing the whole Easter egg thing at daycare. We're not sure why the Pipsqueak was focused on breaking eggs, but chalked it up to the same warning about the difference between uncooked and hard-boiled eggs that we got as young children. (Hey, don't all Jewish kids grow up coloring eggs for Easter...?!?)

One afternoon, when Grandma & Grandpa picked her up from daycare, out of the blue the Pipsqueak asked to "get food at Donald's"

We don't talk much about Mickey D's in our family, and it's not a place we go often, but it seems that Miri had stored it in her (seemingly all-encompassing) memory and decided that was what she wanted. Her surprised Grandma asked if she wouldn't rather have some homemade pasta, or mac & cheese, or scrambled egg and cheese, or even just some of the shredded cheese she's suddenly taken a liking to (Dude, do you detect a pattern here...?) -- but no, the Pipsqueak wanted "food at Donald's" and could not be dissuaded.

Grandma checked with Grandpa (who was trying to keep driving without laughing out loud) and they decided that it couldn't hurt too much to get a couple of cups of Mickey D's coffee while Granddaughter munched on some fries -- her usual order those few times we've taken her through the Golden Arches.


Make no bones about it, when my niece wants something, she knows exactly what she wants, thank you very much. She was not interested in fries, even with extra ketchup. She wanted Chicken McNuggets (and nuthin' but).

This from a little girl who has until now has loved meat the way Mother Nature loves a vacuum. I mean, the kid was only two when she told me "I don't like meat! Meat bad!" (Yes, that's an exact quote.) The daycare center's staff insist they have never broached the subject with her; to the best of our recollection it has not been a subject of discussion in any of our homes; and none of the vegetarian friends or relatives we remember her ever meeting have broached the subject in her presence -- but the Pipsqueak does not eat meat.

So here she is, asking for chicken nuggets (which she knows darn well are meat) -- and promptly finishing off an entire 6-piece package! None of us know if it's the beginning of a new phase in dining or a one-time reaction to something that happened at daycare, but until now we considered this as likely as Newt Gingrich saying he thought Barack Obama should serve a second term as President.

As an added bonus, as they walked through the parking lot to the car, Miri pointed to the big sign out front and told her grandparents, "That's an M, it's the first letter of my name!"

This from the little girl who happily randomizes the order of letters in the alphabet, who regularly tells me, "I write your name!" while scribbling shapeless blobs on paper, who flawlessly reproduces the tune of the alphabet song while only using about 18 letters... or 37... or however many suits her mood at the moment.

Needless to say, Grandma was kvelling mightily while telling me about all this on the phone. (I freely admit her jiujiu is doing the same.)

The Pipsqueak also gave me a couple of those "Huh?!?" moments this week. I had an early day on Wednesday (midday meeting at HQ) so I got to have a rare mid-week dinner with the rest of the family. Before we ate, Miri had me sit on the couch in the family room so we could read a book, and she grabbed one about animals that live in the sea. She was happily turning the pages and telling me aaallll about the animals in the pictures (very little of which matched what was actually printed on the pages, but I was having a blast listening to her make up little stories). We had a spirited round of, "shark BITES!" (which she seemed to think was the best part of the book) after which she turned to a picture of an octopus and loudly said "oh, yuck!" several times -- an expression I'd never heard her use before.

After dinner, she directed me to an easel her Grandpa had set up for her earlier in the day and asked me to "please draw a okoputs and skid" for her. She liked the way I drew the big eyes on the octopus, and appreciated the little wings I put on the tail end of the squid, but I didn't get too far into my discussion of the difference between the two when she loudly interrupted with, "draw me a monster!"

"You want me to draw a sea monster?"

"Yes! I like monsters! And draw me a spider! I like monsters and spiders!"

Oh-kay... This is the same little girl who seemingly just days ago didn't like any animals she thought looked strange, and who immediately asked to be picked up and held if she so much as thought there was the image of a spider in the vicinity.


I can't wait to see what she comes up with next...!

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