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!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

That "Hometown Goalie" Look

I'm going to cling to whatever shreds of privacy the Internet has left me and not go into detail, but life has gotten one heck of a lot more complicated around here... more complicated than planned, more complicated than anticipated, and waaay the heck more complicated than any of us wants it to be. I've not been posting because sometimes the stress has made dealing with just one more "oh yeah I forgot to do that, too" a bit too much to deal with on most days.
I'm not  giving up on the blog, and have recently realized that this bit of crazy online sharing of personal life actually reduces stress so I'll probably be getting back into a (slightly) more regular schedule of posting again.  I've got lots of catching up to do (Dude, like that's anything new...?) and shall endeavour my utmost to do so with the greatest alacrity.

In the meantime, the Pipsqueak has hit a cluster of nice milestones that I want to share.  First, this is the last week of 2nd grade. The summer vacation schedule is a bit on the wild side but Miri's already looking forward to starting 3rd grade in the fall -- while the rest of us just keep looking at each other wide-eyed and silently mouthing, "THIRD? What happened to Kindergarten?!?" She's even told her Grandma not to worry about her next semester because she's going to be upstairs with the rest of the big kids and already knows her way around.

Warning: Kvelling ahead...The Pipsqueak's finishing the academic year with a mess of academic achievement kudos & awards, and her reading skills are well into what's expected of her halfway through next school year. She took it upon herself to learn cursive writing this semester (Why did they remove that from the curriculum?!?) and her penmanship's pretty darn good. (I won't compare it to the often-illegible scrawl I seem to have inherited from Dad.)

The Pipsqueak fell over rocking back & forth in time to some music on her 2nd day home, and she's still at it (minus the falling over part).  After a short foray into hip-hop, Miri settled on ballet and jazz and modern dance on top of the Chinese dance routines she learns at the CCACC school on Saturdays. She & the other girls in her Chinese school dance class not only gave their usual performance at the Lakeforest Mall CNY celebration, but this year added a couple of other large public venues to their list -- including a performance filmed for Montgomery County Television that aired for the first time back in February and that is still available online! (I'm trying to get AJ's permission to post the link for general consumption; family & personal friends who haven't already gotten the URL please email me if you want it.)

Meanwhile, the ballet/jazz/modern studio had their big end-of-semester show this past weekend (three 2-1/2 hour shows in three days!) and Miri danced in three routines in each show, biiiig (genuine) smile on her face the whole time.  AJ worked backstage at each show, and told us that on the first night a bunch of the older girls got out of hand & pulled the fire alarm "just for fun" -- which left poor Miri in a panic since she's still processing the experience of having to run out of the house in the wee hours of the morning when the house next door nearly burned to the ground. AJ was really proud of the Pipsqueak, though; she pulled herself together and just 15 minutes later danced onstage like nothing ever happened. There's one more big show this coming weekend (the Chinese dance end-of-semester shindig), and then a one-week "summer camp" with the dance studio, but that's it for dance until the summer's over.

The last milestone is the one I reference in the title of this post. It's an old expression I picked up from Dad, referring to all those small-town kids playing hockey without protective gear back in the day. It wasn't at all uncommon for the hometown goalie to inadvertently stop a flying puck with their teeth instead of their hand... and now the Pipsqueak's begun losing her teeth, too!

The first wiggly tooth stayed wiggly (despite Miri's best efforts to loosen it at every opportunity) for over a week before suddenly parting ways with the rest of her dentition at school. The Pipsqueak saved the tooth and brought it home to put under her pillow -- and since it was her first-ever tooth, the Tooth Fairy broke the bank and left a $5 bill under the pillow! A second tooth became wiggly just days later, but for a while we thought she might not lose it 'til college; no matter how much Miri worried at it with her tongue or (gently!) wiggled it with her fingers, the darn thing just stayed put -- until suddenly popping out three weeks later when no one expected it to.

Mommy and Grandma had already explained that the Tooth Fairy (and you can rest assured that Miri knows exactly who that is) would not be leaving any more fivers under her pillow because it was a special "first tooth" payment only. Still, the Pipsqueak's a natural-born negotiator so we were wondering if she'd look for a loophole to increase her earning power. (She's trying to save up some cash for a beach trip later this year.) Sure enough, when the reluctant tooth finally came out, she brought up the subject of how much money it might be worth and when her Grandma reminded her of earlier discussions of that subject, Miri's response was a hopeful, "Yes, but that tooth was from the bottom, this was the first tooth from the top of my mouth..."

Gotta wonder if the kid's gonna apply to a dance academy or law school...! (Once Mom had stopped laughing, she diplomatically explained that the top vs. bottom loophole was closed, to which Miri replied, "Okay!" with a sheepish smile.)

And now I think I need to get to bed for some overdue shuteye... I'll be posting more here soon (I've actually begun editing photos for the next posting), and in the meantime...

Oops, hang on, one more (non-Pipsqueak) thing... I don't like blowing my own horn or commercializing this blog, so I'll keep it real short: Please check out what's available at http://zazzle.com/tee_by_b (yes, I'm the "B"); right now I'm adding new designs & products every 3-4 days so check back often!

Okay, commercial's over (but I can use the money, honest I can) so now I'm really heading upstairs to bed.  I hope all's well at your end of the wire & I'll be back online here in just a few days!

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