The Ayi Diaries, cont…

So our Ayi has been with us for three months, and I thought it was time for another installment of “The Ayi Diaries.” We have had our share of bloopers over these past few months, as we sort out our differences and find a routine. I’ve been around the house studying the whole time, and next Monday marks the beginning of school. It’s been wonderful to have the time to get to know each other as well as work out some of the inevitable kinks in such a relationship.

Leo adores Ayi, and is happy to see her every day, which is a relief to me! I have to admit though, as a Mom, the first time he reached out his arms to her while in my arms I thought, “Oh, so soon you forget who carried you in the womb and fed you night after night!” ☺ Just kidding, sort of.

We almost parted ways when she fed him a bunch of her lunch one day without telling me. Without being too explicit, let’s just say there was “evidence” that he had been fed something very strange. We had to confront her with this (very interesting to confront anyone in China about anything, by the way) and at first she just said, “Well, he really liked it.” (I thought to myself, “Well, he would really like to eat ice cream for breakfast every day too.” ☺) I kept pushing the issue, because she knew that I wanted her to only feed him our food (I’m neurotic about food because we’ve had two bouts of food poisoning and I’m not anxious for Leo to have this experience!). Finally, she admitted that she thinks we don’t feed him the appropriate foods, and thought he needed more fiber. We then had another conversation about his poo habits (yes, at this point my potty vocabulary ROCKS), and settled the issue. She promised to never do that again. That’s the only time I thought our relationship wasn’t going to work out!

She has taught Leo how to dance and how to clap! He responds to the Chinese for “dance” and “clap” and still doesn’t know these words in English. We’re really interested to see how his language develops, and it seems he’s having no trouble. He can speak about 4 or 5 words now – all in English so far. But it’s great to see that he’s assimilating the sounds and is beginning to show understanding of some Chinese words.

Otherwise, there have been some interesting cultural encounters. We’ve made a point not to fuss too much over him when he hurts himself. In China, the babies are really fussed over when they fall, and they tend to cry quite a bit. So she likes it that he’s not quite that easily flustered. She also told my tutor that she likes my methods that I get from books (she thinks we’re a little book crazy because all we do is study and read), and that it seems that the methods work very well. She asked me to go the bookstore with her to pick out a Chinese book so she could read about it herself. I told her that I don’t think they’ve translated them into Chinese quite yet! Now that he’s walking and has turned one, he’s turned into a bundle of busy-ness – enough for any one person to handle. I’m not so sure there’s a book that covers this territory! We joke that we now live with ‘Animal’ from the Muppets ☺.

Although sometimes it’s still hard to communicate, it’s gotten so much better over the past three months. I understand her fairly well now, and she’s really patient with my choppy Chinese. It’s a complicated relationship, both because of the language and the culture. Some things don’t translate that well no matter what you say! However, we’re working it out a day at a time, and at the end of the day – she’s pretty cool. She recently came to his birthday party, and we were glad to celebrate with her. Cheng Ayi is a big part of Leo’s life and ours.

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2 Responses to “The Ayi Diaries, cont…”


  1. 1 mjfalk September 4, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Dear Loved Ones,
    Great insight!!! Patience equals eventual understanding and then appreciation for each others place in our lives. Peace inthe world depends on patienc and knowing ones goals and values. Keep up the blog. Please collect them for allof us. Long live the Chinese and Americansin peace and harmony. Patience and more patience while God’s plan manifets itself. Love Dad.

  2. 2 Becca September 8, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Yeah…just tell her that if he’s pooping, he’s getting enough fiber! :o)

    So happy everything is working out for you and Ayi!


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