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!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Whoa -- it's DECEMBER already!?!?  I'm still trying to catch my breath from November, write an entry about some of what was going on, write an entry about Thanksgiving (okay, okay, "Thanksgivukkah"!), write an entry about... well, several entries in the blog to go with about 2 gigabytes of new photos and a whole bunch more.

I apologize to all the regular readers of this blog, and throw myself upon the mercy of the jury.

There WILL be new posts VERY soon. (Really, there will! I promise!) 'Til then, a quickie or three...

The Pipsqueak's big gift this year was a LeapPad2; Mom & Dad got a really good deal on one at Costco, so of course we had to make up for that by spending lots of money on a first round of games, etc. (Dude, maybe you should just tell 'em that your credit card hurts...?)  Anyway, with three screens of new educational games to check out, Miri quickly chose one... then switched to a different one after about a minute... then to another... then to another... on and on and on until she had checked out almost half of all the apps in about 15 minutes. Just then AJ came back (she'd taken advantage of Uncle Brian keeping her little whirling dervish occupied and tossed a load of laundry into the washer), took one look at my face, and tentatively asked how things were going. The response was a cheerful, "I learning everything, Mommy!

Not too much later, as I was getting ready to leave, the Pipsqueak discovered the LeapPad's pre-loaded songs (vaguely reminiscent of "Schoolhouse Rock," if I haven't aged myself too much with that reference). She glommed onto a song about punctuation ("Punc - punc- punctuation! Have you ever gotten hung up on a question mark? Punc - punc - punctation...") and began one of her trademark freestyle dances. For more than 15 minutes, the only pauses were the few seconds it took her to run back to the tablet & restart the song when it reached its end, again and again and again. When AJ pointed out that it was getting very late, Miri replied (without slowing down the least tiny little bit), "But Mommy, I dancing! Dancing is good exercise! It makes me get big!"

And, in the "how strong a relationship do you have with your niece" department... Last weekend I got the usual, "Can you bring your computer? I want to watch something on your computer!" so of course I dragged the laptop to Mom & Dad's on Saturday. After finding the same doggone Ariel video again (Disney seems to have done a really good job of scrubbing the 'net of unauthorized copies of anything), we stumbled into a YouTube page that listed Barbie videos. Miri really wanted to see one, and I know that a couple of her friends are really into Barbies, so I thought, what the heck and clicked the link.

Somewhere along the line, I realized we had watched several scenes from "Barbie and the Rock Star," several scenes from another movie where Barbie's a winged fairy, and then... well, and then we stumbled onto the "Barbie Dreamhouse" series and watched it. All. Four. Seasons.  And then, since AJ had to work on Sunday, we ended up watching all four seasons of the show again (some episodes several times) a second day in a row, until even the Pipsqueak decided it would be A Good Idea to do something else for a while.

So here I am, a fifty-something guy with his own man cave of a house, humming the Barbie Dreamhouse theme song and quietly chuckling to himself over some of the "old folks" gags in the show (e.g., when the old "Midge" doll visits, she's in black & white and the episode has an old-style laugh track that only one of the characters seems to be aware of)... knowing that the next time my niece and my laptop are in close proximity to each other I'll be asked to watch at least one full season of the show all over again... and knowing that if Miri asks, I'll gladly do it.

...and if that ain't love, I don't know what is. :-)  See y'all soon...!

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