I apologize if the title of this post is a little cryptic... let me explain...
All the way back in July of 2010, while AJ and I were still trying to figure out the personality of a nearly bald, kinda scrawny not-quite-toddler (who was simultaneously trying to figure out who these weird-looking-smelling-sounding people were that would not leave her alone were), we were still a couple of days away from the long flight home when I realized this little girl already had a pretty solid sense of self. Once the initial shock of all the change began to fade and her real personality began to make itself known, the Pipsqueak let us know in no uncertain terms exactly what she did or did not like. Once home, she quickly showed that I hadn't been imagining things; as malleable as young children are, this one knew How The Universe Works and was ready to enforce those rules pretty much from Day One.
I think the first time was when Miri was about two and a half years old... but since then I have said (many, many times), only half-jokingly, that I fear my niece as a teenager. (I still have some pretty clear memories of my own time as a teenager, and "pretty" ain't the first adjective that comes to mind... More like the 9,437,862nd...)
Weeeelllllll... I may not have to wait that long. Some vignettes to clarify:
Since the iTunes library for Miri's iPod is on my laptop, I figured I'd work through my own (big) library with her and add songs she likes to her iTunes library. She enthusiastically agreed so I began cherry-picking my way through iTunes. (I've got some stuff that definitely does not belong in a little girl's MP3 library.) It took a lot less time than I thought it would, because the vast majority of the songs were cut off after just a few bars with a very valley-girl-ish "Weird!" and emphatic head-shaking. Finally, around the halfway mark, my darling little niece looked me straight in the eye and said, "Uncle Brian, you listen to some really strange music!" and headed off to play dress-up.
A conversation at a family dinner was getting a bit heated but quickly simmered back down when it was suddenly interrupted by that Little Schoolmarm Voice going, "Guys, just chill!"
Mom wasn't feeling too great a few days ago and was coming up with all kinds of silly excuses to not call the doctor or at least go to a walk-in clinic. After she finally agreed to call if she continued to feel sick the next morning, her little granddaughter walked up to her and (with a big smile and a laugh) told her, "Grandma, if you don't call the doctor, Mommy and I are going to beat you up!"
Mom & Dad were picking Miri up at her after-school daycare program but Mom got involved in a conversation with one of the counselors. After a few minutes, Miri walked up to him and said, "Excuse me, Scott, but what time is it?" He replied, "About 5:45" and she thanked him & walked away. A few moments later, Mom finished her conversation and headed off to sign the Pipsqueak out only to find scribbled confidently next to her name on the pre-printed sheets "Grandma X - 5:45" with her granddaughter standing nearby with a smile, jacket on and backpack in hand. (Needless to say, our family name isn't "X" but I'm trying to maintain a little privacy -- Miri had written out the full name.)
And my favorite...
Last week, it was a typical morning for the Pipsqueak and Mommy, with the former procrastinating while the latter desperately tried to get her daughter ready for school so she could then go to work. Finally, after AJ called through the bathroom door to hurry up for the umpteenth time, the following exchange took place:
Miri: Mommy, how many of me are there in this house?
AJ (cautiously & curiously): You're the only one of you here, honey...
Miri (in Little Schoolmarm voice): That's what I thought! I can only do one thing
at a time, you know!
(AJ told me that she was glad the Pipsqueak was still behind a closed door in the bathroom because otherwise she would've been very annoyed at how hard her Mommy was laughing.)
So... Those of you who know me personally may have heard me say, "I fear my niece as a teenager!" but I'm really beginning to think I don't have to wait that long...!
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!