We had our first battle of wills this morning. It’s so hard to know what to tolerate, because she is SO despairing over the loss of her Chinese family, that I hardly want to start getting into discipline issues now. However, since we are not bonding anyway and her behavior is so bad, I finally decided I had nothing to lose. She has hit me a few times and on these occasions, I hold her hand and say, “no!” This has been enough to make her stop so far, but she still throws far too many tantrums. Yesterday, she went over to our food pile, took a banana and started to eat it, which was wonderful. But, then she got mad at something about half way through the banana and threw it on the floor and tried to stomp on it. I gave it to her and motioned for her to finish it, but she started screming and stomping her foot again. So, I scooped her up, put her in time out, put the banana on the window sill next to her and told her she had to eat it before she could get down. She understood exactly what I meant and oh, was she mad. She tried to get off the chair twice without eating it, but I just put her back on the chair. After about half an hour (during which I was second guessing myself the whole time), she finally ate the banana and scooted off the chair.
Of course, she really hated me after that, but she has been such a tyrant, I am certain it was the right thing to do. That was the only behavior issue we had until bed time, which is saying a lot.
Thursday and Friday are free days. Thursday, we went to a museum here in Taiyuan City. It was truly amazing and I would have loved it, unfortunately, QingBei sobbed through the whole tour. She broke out into shrieking a few times, but mostly she just quietly cried and chanted things in Chinese like, “I want to go home, I want my mom, I want my sister, I want to go home.” Etc. etc. She was completely inconsolable. I would never have taken her, but it was part of the tour and I hate to deprive these guides of their livelihood.
She spent the rest of the day playing a sort of Chinese version of tag. Bill and I used to joke when our kids were toddlers about being “The Parent of the Hour.” Qing Bei, is in the habit of choosing “The Member of the Moment.” She roams in and out of every family member here, randomly deciding which of us will be the Golden Goose and who is going to dwell with me among the other Untouchables. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, but the beauty was that everyone got a turn, even Matt (15) and Paul (14). They were wonderful with her. Considering that they are teenage boys, they were fantastically gentle and attentive. Even so, their moment of glory only lasted a short while before she had moved on.
As for the rest of us, the novelty is wearing off here and I’m afraid we are getting a little bored…and hungry.
I am amazed at how little I eat when I really am not interested in the taste of my food. Overall, the food here is much, much better taste and quality than it was in Ukraine, but after a week and a half, I am getting weary of that peculiar, Chinese taste that seems to come through. It’s almost like a smoky flavor in everything salty and lots of grease/air in the things that are sweet. We have been eating the hotel breakfasts, which are truly wonderful, but we’ve been eating lunch and dinner in our hotel room. You can get noodle bowls here for a few dollars each—three bowls plus fruit/snacks will feed the six of us. We also have PBJ, which is good for all occasions. However, after a few days of PBJ and noodles, we are ready for a real meal, so we went to Pizza Hut last night. It’s a gorgeous restaurant and they have elevated it to the level of fine dining here. It was so good to eat because I liked what I was eating rather than to simply fill my empty spaces!
Pizza Hut was about a half mile walk and after a brief struggle, QingBei let me carry her on the way home. She cried quietly until she fell asleep on my shoulder. Even Untouchables have their moments.