You are a sign and a wonder.
Your English is growing by leaps and bounds; every day new words and new phrases. Your curiosity knows no bounds and you are becoming expert at more and more things, adding new skills to your repotoire with pride.
Your newest phrase came yesterday: “I diidja!” Yes, you did it, sweet one. I love hearing my encouraging voice echoed in your self talk. My “you did it!” becomes your “I diidja!” My cheer becomes your self-“yayyy” when you accomplish something big or small.
Nowadays you say “ni de bu kan” – “you didn’t look!” a hundred times a day. Sure sign that you feel secure and connected enough to expect my eyes to be upon you. I’m so glad.
We laugh and laugh at your English and my Chinese as we teach other the ways of our new life together. I hold the jar of lemonade and tell you “shake, shake, shake!” as I pump the bottle up and down to mix it. “Wu li!!” you insist, grabbing the bottle with your infamous Chinese for, “I’ll do it!!” And I break into laughter as you too shake the bottle violently shouting “chicken, chicken, chicken!” – I guess shake and chicken do sound alike!
Though our communication is broken it does not stop us from teasing each other mercilessly and in the best of fun. At bedtime I pray with you, and as I am especially tired as I lay in bed helping you fall asleep, I pray:” Dear yesu, please help Ava fall asleep QUICKLY.” (in Chinese of course!) You, quick as a wink, don’t miss your turn. “Yesu, help mama bu shuijiao” (help mama not to fall asleep!!) We laugh uproariously together as you try to push me off the bed and I threaten to tickle you.
In the pool, you swim more every day, risking big jumps into the water with your floatie buckled safely on. You wear your goggles persistenly, though they fill with water every time. Your favorite is “wu push ni; ni push wu” I push you and you push me – don’t you love our Chinglesh?) You shout with laughter each time you manage to push big mama into the pool. I tell you “Qingwa legs” and you show me how you are learning to kick like a frog across the pool. You lie on the chuan (boat/raft) and I sing the refrain from jaws, apparently universally understandable, as I sneak towards you, my arms wide jaws. “Shayu!” you shout, Shark! Adrenaline is your favorite and as I shake your boat and tip you into the water, you are one glowing beam of joy.
You are only growing in your desire for speed and excellence and so often your first words when I pick you up at school are ” ni de bu quai dian” – you didn’t hurry enough, you weren’t quick enough getting here! Sometimes I feel like I am in a race for my life these days, trying to keep up with you. Sometimes I get tired.
You think I am immovable and you are a monkey in my arms, still wanting holding so many times a day. You grasp my neck as if it is a tree trunk and hoist yourself into the most comfortable of positions (for you!), over and over and over. Sometimes I feel I will break in two, but then you lean forward, as you do so often and place your cheek against mine with a deep sigh and sometimes a little thoughtless kiss. And I melt completely. You are safe with me; our hearts are one.
We are beginning to talk now about bigger thing; usually via google translate. We talk about your first family, me opening the door to you, letting you know how okay it is to miss them, to love them, to discuss them here. I try to teach you about pinyin (Which you are learning in school) how Chinese characters are unreadable to me and English to you, but pinyin we are both learning together – anglo characters for Chinese script. It’s confusing.
You have your daddy wrapped around your little finger. Your sister and brother fall more in love with you each day. And me? I am the tired one now, breathing deep as I learn to love you at the new level you insist upon. So deeply grateful and so deeply overwhelmed. I am okay with that. This love affair is so worth it. Thank you for calling me Mama, thank you for wanting my time, my touch, my attention, my whole heart. Thank you for risking again.