I've started trying to do freelancing work, and for the past few days I've been a little too burned out on the keyboard to post... which is kind of weird, since this blog actually (usually) helps de-stress me but it's just been a rough week time-wise. (There's other stuff going on that I'm just not writing about... gotta keep some things private!)
Anyway, most of the local family got together on Mother's Day to celebrate the various practitioners of that ancient craft that we have among us and to celebrate Aunt D's birthday, which unfortunately she frequently ends up sharing with the holiday. Still, it was pleasant, and Mom got a lovely filigree heart necklace that Miri had picked out on a shopping trip with AJ a few days earlier. (I got lucky -- both niece and sister wanted it to be "from all of us" so I was off the hook for gift shopping.)
Unfortunately, my love of listening in on the older generation's stories of a world gone by is not shared by my niece, so (as often happens at family gatherings when the weather's nice) the Pipsqueak decided that Mommy and Cousin E and Uncle Brian were going to take a walk with her. There's no way-cool lake near our folks' house like the one near Uncle M & Aunt D's (and I'll be posting a couple of stories about those walks in a while) but Miri's wonderful imagination and love of little critters that scamper & fly can make any walk interesting.
We had only gone a couple of hundred feet when the Pipsqueak realized there were caterpillars on the sidewalk. Singletons, pairs, even a couple of clumps of the things -- and her love of critters most definitely does not extend to multi-legged little squirmy things. Either I was told to pick them up(!) or us a stick to move them out of the way, or Mommy was told to move them, or Mommy was told PICK ME UP! in no uncertain terms so Miri didn't have to worry about stepping on any of the wee beasties. Of course, picking her up is no longer the easy thing it once was (where did that tiny, almost bald pre-toddler go?) so it took some fast talking and a bit of bargaining to get our walk past that particular stretch of sidewalk.
We eventually moved on to areas with fewer squirmy roadblocks, even going a ways down the nature path that crosses through the neighborhood all the way down at the street. I tried telling Miri about what that woodsy dead-end looked like when I was a junior high student skulking about in the woods, but of course she knew exactly what I was talking about... Oh, well, at least I tried to share my experiences with her! After many exciting squirrel sightings and a neat-looking stretch of deer tracks in the mud, I noticed a bright red carnation someone had dropped and made the mistake of picking it up in view of the Pipsqueak... so of course it had to come back to the house, and of course I had to be the one who carried it. ("But I picked it up for you!" "No, it's Mother's Day so you have to take it back to Grandma.")
On the way back I gave Miri a treat and carried her on my shoulders for a few blocks. While definitely nowhere near as easily or comfortably done as it used to be, she loves it... and to be perfectly honest, I like doing it, especially now because I know she'll soon be too big for us to share that activity. We headed home on the opposite side of the street to avoid all the squirmy things and soon my niece was regaling the grownups with tales of our adventure.
Oh, and that new Pipsqueakism I mentioned? All those squirmy things that we had to be careful to not step on: calapitters! (We tried to correct her but by the time the walk was over even us "grownups" were having fun with the word.)
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!