WE ARE HOME!!
First of all, thanks to everyone who helped JieJie get through the last two weeks by sending stickers, letters, cards, you-name-it through the mail. Our mailman was nice enough to bring things addressed to JieJie since technically we hadn't stopped her mail! Well, we had a great last day and night on Shamian Island. Thursday was mostly shop-til-you-drop, and that night we ate croissants and slices of cheese from the Deli Shop at the White Swan Hotel before turning in early.
Friday morning bright and early Richard met several of us in the lobby to get on a bus bound for Guangzhou Airport. We got to the airport and there was a long line for the flight that seemed to be moving swiftly. We were waved to an agent who must've gone through training the night before...he kept looking at the computer and the boarding pass printer as though they were going to magically conjure up the right things...finally, after 45 minutes of nonsense, watching the entire rest of the line come and go, we asked for a manager, got everything straightened out and were on our way. Four and a half hours later (MeiMei slept two of them) we landed in Tokyo. We had a little bit of time to let MeiMei stretch her legs before boarding the747-400 for the long leg from Tokyo-Minneapolis. MeiMei was good for most of the flight but thank goodness we bought her her own seats all the way home because I can't imagine what it would've been like to try to hold her on our laps all that time - even with her own seat she found it frustrating to sit that long (didn't we all??). There were probably a dozen families with babies on that flight, maybe more. We landed at Minneapolis, went through customs (MeiMei is now officially an American citizen--yay!) followed my aunt Kathy's directions to the guest access area of the airport and sure enough there was my mom's sister Jeanne waiting to meet MeiMei. We were bummed Kathy couldn't make it (flat tire, grr) but we'll see her soon I think. Jeanne, John, MeiMei and I sat at the Starbucks and had some coffee and cookies and MeiMei took to Jeanne right away (smart kid). It was so great to see her. We got to Washington-Dulles, were met by John's sister Kathy and got in the car to head home. When my mom answered the door, her face was covered with return address stickers--Mom was trying anything to keep JieJie occupied while they waited for us. It was so great to see JieJie - we had a big long hug, and then John walked in with MeiMei. He said "do you know who this is, JieJie?" and at that, Big Sister squealed, jumped up and down and said "Mei-Mei!" which so overwhelmed MeiMei that she started her little Tarzan yell crying. We all laughed at the contrast. JieJie was so sweet to her little sister, cooing at her, touching her gently, saying "nice to meet you!" and then of course having the occasional meltdown because Life Has Changed. We said goodbye to Mom and Dad yesterday (not to mention Thank You a million times--mom lost 15 pounds running after JieJie and Dad painted the entire back fence!) and started settling into some type of a routine.
Only hitch was, we let MeiMei sleep too long yesterday afternoon and she woke up at 2am for the day. Oh well! We took some cute photos of JieJie giving MeiMei a bottle - will post soon. The main project right now is just easing MeiMei from all-bottle nutrition to mostly-solids nutrition. At almost 17 months old, she has had so little experience with solid food that she tries to cram it all in and has choked a couple of times...a bit scary, but we know better now, and she's getting better about chewing too. As far as the walking, coordination and all those things, she's making leaps every day and ever since she saw her big sister running all over the place, she wants to walk more than crawl and she's getting better at it. Language-wise, we're not pushing things right now. Her brain has to back up, turn around and head in a totally new direction from Chinese to English and it will happen all in good time. She babbles a lot so we're not worried. JieJie has had a bit of a learning curve in terms of how to play gently with a baby, but MeiMei doesn't seem too hair-trigger sensitive so that helps. JieJie has already learned that if you take a toy from MeiMei, it's best to give her something as a substitute. Hey Debby - thanks for the bears and JMU gear - hoping to takea picture soon and will send it to you!Thanks everyone - and it's ok to call now. Just not after 8pm - we might be asleep.
Louise, John, JieJie and MeiMei