We are pacing now, Jing Yun with us. There is less running, less wandering off. He is learning that we are his pride, he is learning the value of family. He is still high energy of course, a constant mover, fast thinking and impatient. But we love those things about him.
Up early for medical testing at the immigrant medical center. Jing Yun takes it all in stride, giggling behind the curtain as the doctor examines him because he declares it “ticklish”, trying to work the eye doctor’s chair and exploring through the hundred of lenses without permission. On the way back down from the doctor’s he makes a dash for the farthest open elevator and our guide, who has worked for our agency for 18 years, grabs hold of him and drops down to give him a stern scolding in Mandarin – he scares me, she says, he needs to know that this behavior is serious. I feel heard and supported. Finally we head home in the taxi for a late hangry breakfast. A trip to the hotel playground. A long swim at the hotel pool, dumplings pool side for lunch and tech time afterwards.
At quiet time I allow Leo and Ava to play together on his bed which is set up under a broad windowsill and which has become his staging area for all his new things. I give them each a bag of sour dry plums and they chew and suck and play with delight. Meanwhile I process life with Naomi who is finding this trip harder than she imagined (she wasn’t totally thrilled to come in the first place.) We talk, she cries, I invest at a time when I don’t want to. We do this family thing.
With quiet time over, Jing Yun wonders what’s next. Phones? Computer? Swimming? He runs through the list of his favorite things. And I tell him that no, we are just hanging out, we have legos and games and books and we finally have enough time in one place with no meetings to just be together.
This unexpected relaxing into his new reality appears more over stimulating to Leo than the wildest play. He alternately bounces around the room yelling and climbing the window sills and leans, whining into my lap. I hold my ground as he tells me he doesn’t want to play games, read books, or do any of the other few things I suggest. I hold him and talk to him in silly english. He makes his dinosaur sounds, I scratch his back. Ava tells me, in imitation of a silly thing we say when they complain ” I sink so he has a hard life.” We all laugh. Yes, he has a hard life with all these toys, books and loving family around, I tell her. And he’s having a hard time getting used to this new life. We wrestle and play, Ava and I color, Jing Yun eventually sings to himself as Quinn and Naomi work on homework and rubiks cube solving. We relax into this space together, making these two little hotel rooms a home. Arms and legs intertwine on the big bed, Jing Yun settles, cuddles in and takes interest in our projects.
We do family.