Archive for November 8th, 2007

Swearing an oath

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

After the zoo, we went over to Lucy’s for lunch, and then Anna and Auntie Nicki stayed in to watch movies while mama and baba and Will headed over to the US Consulate to swear the infamous oath and get his visa to enter the USA as a legal immigrant. I have no pictures because you’re not allowed to take in cameras. You might be tempted to post photos of what a ridiculous farcical formality this cattle call is if they let you bring in your camera. All we swear is that all the information we provided during the adoption process was correct to the best of our knowlege. Woo hoo! After the oath, we get the child’s immigration packet, sealed in a plastic sheath, which we are not allowed to open. It will be given to the immigration officer in our port city in the US. There is a cover sheet on the front with all the critical information which we are to check over.

Of course, Will’s new name is listed incorrectly there as “Winter, Casciari William Joseph.” How idiotic. I have no idea is this is just on the cover sheet they made up for our envelope, or if he is officially in the USCIS computer system that way, and his Certificate of Citizenship will be issued like that. I immediately approached Jason about it, and he swears it will be OK, but that I have to make sure the immigration officer in Newark knows it’s wrong. Apparently they can’t fix it here in GZ. ???!!!!???!??!**!*%%&&##?!?! They are the ones that messed it up, but they can’t fix it?!?!?! I sat on my butt on the floor in a poorly lit hotel room for over an hour painstakingly filling out 1000 forms CORRECTLY, and this is what they do with them? I will not be paying anyone to legally change my son’s name if they do this wrong. Fur will be flying at home.

So now, not only do I have to be responsible for getting my family with 2 toddlers, a cranky husband and 18,635 pieces of luggage weighing approximately 3 tons all the way through the Beijing airport, claiming our luggage, rechecking it, rechecking ourselves in, waiting 5 hours in Beijing, then flying for another 13 hours, but I have to maintain enough alertness after a solid 24 hours of travel to remember to badger an immigration officer into making necessary changes in my child’s paperwork. Good thing they don’t let you carry shotguns on planes. It probably won’t faze the immigration people. They probably have to deal with hundreds of irate mama bears with no sleep every single day. Grrrrrrr.

To finish the day, we got back to the hotel. Anna met us at the door crying. Nicki swears she just started 2 minutes before we got back, but we really think she was torturing Anna for the entire time we were gone. Just wait until that child can talk! Anna fell asleep almost immediately in my lap, and she’s still asleep now 6 hours later. Baba had gotten motion sick on the ride to and from the consulate, so he wasn’t interested in dinner. Nicki and Will and I headed back over to Lucy’s to eat with the Krys and the Berters, since Teresa and her family are flying out early tomorrow. Will did really well overall, but he did have to spend a few minutes in time out on a bench outside the eating area (I was with him) because he kept clamboring that the spoon and fork were his after I took them away from him (the big silverware from the restaurant) because he was preparing to use them as drumsticks on the glass-topped table. He says something like “wa ca” or “wa ta” which means “mine”. I don’t like that possessive behavior, because frankly, it’s all MINE! He just wouldn’t quit yammering about it, even after I shushed him several times, so we had a little time out. We just went off to the side and sat for 2 minutes, then I explained to him that he was not to say that anymore this evening. He didn’t. Good boy! He ate quite well, and didn’t even melt down when he dropped one of his corn cobs on the ground and I had to throw it away.

I think we’ll be OK once we get home. Tomorrow is just a shopping and packing day for us, thank heavens. No more field trips. I leave you tonight with a photo of my son’s attempt to put his own shoes on. He normally does much better than this, but he must have been in a hurry.

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Wrong feet, tongue pushed up, what more could a boy want?

Teacher let the monkeys out

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Today, we went to the Guangzhou Zoo.  It’s not the San Diego Zoo by any means, but the animals appear to be well-cared for, and it was something the kids really enjoyed.  Anna has never been to a zoo, and I doubt Will has, either.  OK, I have to confess, I like zoos, too. 

I have to back up for a minute.  Will did not start the day out well.  He woke up, refused to give me a hug, and lost his favorite truck.  He continued to refuse to give me hugs as we were getting ready for breakfast (you don’t refuse the mama hugs around here! Ask the baba!) and lost more and more toy privileges.  He wasn’t just refusing to give me a hug, he was sticking an arm out behind him and squalling.   This, after I had snuggled him to sleep last night.  Hmph.  So, we were annoyed with each other, and we didn’t have a good breakfast, either.  He did manage to produce an acceptable hug after breakfast, and earned his beloved truck back.  Yes, I know I’m a mean mama.  Requiring a hug from my child.  How terrible.

We got out to the bus, and traveled to the zoo.  Kathy herded us around all morning.  We had about 2 hours to spend there, and we booked around, looking at all the animals.  We saw monkeys, tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, a panda, other bears, and various other large cats.

11-7-07-1.jpg The chimpanzee house – we didn’t actually see any chimps

11-07-07-2.jpg 11-07-07-3.jpg Some other monkeys

11-07-07-4.jpg Yet another monkey, looking at a bear

11-07-07-5.jpg Anna and Baba shortly after they had fed the bear their zoo map

11-07-07-6.jpg Yet more monkeys – the place was crawling with them!

11-07-07-7.jpg Is that the hippo or the mama?

11-07-07-8.jpg Oh, wait, maybe that’s the mama!

11-07-07-9.jpg There’s the mama, and she belongs in the zoo!  She matches!

There was a cute kangaroo statue with a pocket that a kid could stand in and pretend to be the joey.  Isabella would have none of that! 11-07-07-10.jpg

Of course, my little ham bone had no problem with it!

11-07-07-11.jpg 11-07-07-13.jpg 11-07-07-12.jpg 11-07-07-14.jpg

11-07-07-15.jpg The lone panda seemed a little sad

11-07-07-16.jpg Anna was worried about him

11-07-07-17.jpg But she got over it when we got to Monkey Hill!

For the amazingly low price of only 10 yuan per adult, you could go in with the monkeys and feed them.  Joe and Nicki beat me to it, so I had to stay up top and take pictures of the festivities.  Nicki tried to get them to keep Will, but the handler told her that would cost WAY more than a lousy 10 yuan.


11-07-07-18.jpg Recovering from the monkey adventure with Kevin and Carson, and Trish and Isabella

11-07-07-19.jpg 11-07-07-20.jpg There was a beautiful tiger, and we were very careful not to upset him by “striding over”

This was the cutest thing at the zoo.  There were several groups of preschool aged children visiting, and they were all lined up so neatly, and all holding on to each other’s shirts, and there was no pushing or shoving or yelling.  I can’t imagine a group of American kids of any age behaving that well.

11-07-07-21.jpg 11-07-07-22.jpg

11-07-07-23.jpg I included this picture, not because I thought the water rats were cute, but to remind me that this is the precise point at which Will announced he needed to niao niao, pulled down his pants right next to me, and thought he was going to pee.  I know they let little ones do that here in China, but we DO NOT do that in Vermont or New Hampshire, and we’re going to get out of that habit ASAP.  I scolded, yanked his pants back up (which started the squalling again, of course) and called over the baba.  He helped find a more secluded spot for Will to relieve himself. 

11-07-07-24.jpg And yet, immediately after this incident, here’s the baba allowing both his children to stomp and splash around in a small puddle on the pavement.  It didn’t rain last night or this morning.  Hmmm….