Today we visited the Forbidden City, ancient Beijing home to the Chinese royal family for over 500 years, from 1420 to 1924. The weather was just perfect . We woke to gorgeous blue skies and a temperature in the 50s. It had warmed up to the mid-60s by the time we left the City. Above is a picture of Caleb with our guide, Sylvia. I love that the guards walked by just as I was snapping the photo. (click on any photo to enlarge)
A huge crowd was waiting outside to enter the City.
I admit to doing as much people-watching as I do looking at the buildings. I questioned her decision making process as she chose her ensemble this morning. Surely she knew she had
a two hour walk over cobblestones ahead of her?
a two hour walk over cobblestones ahead of her?
The panda hats are quite the rage with girls young and old.
A lovely crane, the significance of which I can not remember...
probably because I keep getting side-tracked by adorable children...
...like this one.
He wanted to share Caleb's cracker. And his grandfather wanted to take a photograph of them together. Notice the split pants in the first photo. That is the potty training method of choice in China. No need to remove layer upon layer of bulky clothing to do your business. Just squat and go.
More buildings... (yawn)
more interesting architecture.
Oh, yay!! More adorableness. (I caught her mid-yawn, she's bored by the architecture.)
Precious! She's trying to braid her own hair.
Free ride on grandma's back. Couldn't you just smooch those chubby cheeks?
Toward the end of our visit to the City. Caleb had enough by now.
He's starting to get tired, so you know we've walked a good ways.
One last view as we walked to our waiting van. The magnolia trees are in bloom.
Off to lunch we go! Maybe you'd care to see the menu before you order?
Chocolate/blueberry flavored mashed potato anyone?
Or possibly a dish of geese intestines...
....with a side order of marinated jellyfish?
If not, perhaps you would prefer fish head in saltay sauce?
In all seriousness, our guide orders foods for us that are more familiar to our palates. For lunch we had steamed cabbage, spicy chicken and ginger, fried rice, and a bamboo shoot-mushroom soup. It was all very good. I ordered Jasmine tea because that is one of the reasons I came to China. #1 was to adopt Caleb. #2 was to take photos of adorable children. #3 was to drink Jasmine tea.
So, how is Caleb doing? He is adjusting to us very well. He is full of energy and enthusiasm. He is slightly strong-willed, but I'm afraid he has the distinct disadvantage of being our seventh child. (Read: his new parents are fairly experienced and his determination to have his way is no match for our determination that he will not be a brat.) So, consistency is the key. He responds very well to verbal correction. He doesn't necessarily know what we are saying, but he understands our tone is serious, so he concedes to our requests. He has learned quickly that whining gets him nowhere. Maybe his foster family thought it was cute, even our guide has said it is "cute", but we don't find whining cute. So that behavior is quickly on it's way out as a means to get what he wants.
Let me give an example of how quickly he learns. Yesterday he made a mad dash for the huge revolving door at the entrance to the hotel. He nearly got hit by the door and could have been hurt. When we got outside, our guide gave him, for lack of a better description, a verbal smack-down about the necessity of staying with us and holding our hands. She used the strongest voice I've heard her use and in no uncertain terms let him know that he must NEVER run ahead of us again and he must ALWAYS hold Mama or Baba's hand.
So, now, as soon as our elevator reaches the lobby floor, he reaches up and takes both Tom and my hands. He is obedient when he knows what the boundaries are, which is a very good thing.
Today is the first day that he has left any food on his plate at breakfast. He did not eat in such a hurry and he spent more time looking around at the room and the people instead of trying to gobble up his food. He obviously senses that there will always be enough food and he can now relax and enjoy it more.
Also today he told the guide that he misses his foster parents, which makes me quite sad. Not sad for me, but sad for him. She explained again that he will be with us forever and that his foster family will take in another child from the orphanage until he/she can be adopted and have a family forever. I know he really doesn't understand, but he says he does. He said, "They have cows and pigs that get adopted too and go away and don't come back." So you begin to grasp the innocence of his thinking and the process he must go through to understand all the changes in his life. He'll get there. I have no doubt.
He is strong and courageous.
I love this little boy...to the moon and back.