A bit of a (mostly) lighter post today...
Things are improving somewhat on the daycare front; AJ checked out a couple of new places, and the Pipsqueak got a free day at one. She cried when she was first dropped off in the unfamiliar environment, but by the time Grandma & Grandpa picked her up that afternoon she was her old talkative, singing, dancing, excited, happy self -- not the same depressed little girl they've picked up most days since the semester began. AJ had an impromptu conversation with the mother of a little boy who's been in Miri's class, who complained that all of a sudden he's exhibiting a whole set of brand-new, very negative behaviors. When AJ told her how the class was now mostly 2-1/2 year olds, she was shocked; apparently the center's administration has been less than forthcoming with the families of children who've been there since last semester. I'm not sure exactly when, but a change of centers is likely soon.
Meanwhile, we've achieved a new milestone compliments of the same daycare center. For years, I (and then my sister) would periodically realize there was a school assignment or project due tomorrow! and the whole family would have to scramble to get things done on time. Weeeelllll... what goes around, comes around -- the Pipsqueak's class was supposed to have a family photo for a "this is my family" project on Monday morning, so on Sunday evening I was at our folks' house, trying to convince a less-than-fully-cooperative three year old that she wanted to look at the camera, and smile to boot... 'Twas indeed a difficult proposition! Luckily my niece's internal performance artist came to the surface and I was able to get some good shots. (Of course I have family photos; the problem is they all are either too old or would require a lot of Photoshop work for the project.) My favorite (and the one that Miri took in for the assignment) shows me with a funny look on my face because the Pipsqueak leaned forward and began mussing my hair -- very much on purpose! -- just as the camera's timer clicked off the shot.
During the evening, Mom told me about a couple of the Pipsqueak's comments earlier in the week. Aware that she's now one of the two oldest kids in her class, when asked by her Grandma what was bothering her at school, she replied, "I don't like little people!" (Extra-funny when one takes into account her actual physical stature.) Another day, when asked about the rest of her family while being picked up from school by Mom & Dad, she told the nice lady, "My Brian is an uncle. We know each other for a long time!"
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!