This morning Ryan woke up as Tucker was stirring in his crib at the end of our bed. Ryan woke me up so that I could get Tuck out of bed. You know, start the morning off on a positive note with Mama. We went to the window with his two favorite toys like we've done every day since meeting him in order to provide him with some security and routine in the morning. We played for a bit and got ready for the day. Tucker was all about his Baba again and wanted Ryan to hold him on the way to breakfast. We were seated next to two other families we've met in China (the Parsons and Fontenots), and I went to make Tucker's plate. Beef congee with corn was a big hit today along with a banana, yogurt, a croissant with pineapple inside, and the beef sausage. Ryan put him in a high chair to eat, and he screamed for about 45 seconds but then resolved to it. I am loving the fried eggs, steamed buns with eggs and butter inside (tastes more like sugar and butter inside), toast, miso soup, and cold apple juice. After breakfast, we exchanged our money and jumped in the big van/small bus to do some shopping.
(SIDENOTE: Ryan just walked in at 9:37 p.m. (it's Sunday night here) with a Subway sandwich for me. He said, "I hope you enjoy your sandwich because I had to manuever past one Chinese hooker and one Jamaican drug dealer." HAHAHAHAH!!!!!)
We arrived at a wholesale market in Guangzhou to do a bit of shopping. As you can see, it is HUGE. This is just one section of the mall. There were children riding around on small bikes everywhere. Ryan assumed it was the kids whose parents were working at the mall. I think he was right!
Our first stop was the pearl shop. You can see, there are bags and bags filled with strings of pearls. There are various qualities of pearls, some fresh water and some sea water, as well as various colors.
I wanted to buy one string of pearls for myself and another strand of pearls for Tucker's future wife. I found the perfect strand for each of us. The irregular pearls below are the ones I bought for myself, and the second picture shows the lady preparing the strand for Tucker's future wife. I chose smaller, more classic pearls for her.
The next stop was a jade store. Jade is considered very precious here, and I'm not sure why, but I am just not a huge fan. I did see one jade piece that was three peas in a pod that I thought was cute, but they wanted 1000 RMB for it, which is equivalent to around $160. NO WAY! We passed on the jade without any regret. :)
Ryan had been juggling Tuck this whole time, as he had pretty much gone from being indifferent to me to completely rejecting me. If I touched him, he would push away my hand. If Ryan put him near me, he would move away. So sad. We knew the only way that Tucker would be near me would be for Ryan to hand him over and walk away. Tucker was screaming and crying in my arms and thrashing around. I just walked him around the mall. Man it is not easy to have a child be so upset to be with you. With Noah and Liam, we were able to walk through all of those important attachment stages together, and they learned to trust me very quickly. Tucker and I have no history, and he was wanting nothing to do with me. I went to walk down some stairs to either take him outside or to ride on the escalator, his favorite, when things got worse. I was wearing Toms and the steps were just a little slippery, and you guessed it. I totally fell backwards down the stairs. NO JOKE. Luckily, I was able to completely keep a good hold on Tucker, and I didn't get hurt. My pride didn't even hurt, you guys, because when your child who you've prayed for and fought for over the past 9 months doesn't like you and doesn't want you, nothing else hurts. We just sat on the steps, and I fed Tuck some Koala bear crackers. I was no longer the American with the screaming Chinese baby, but I got to be the American who fell down the stairs while carrying her screaming Chinese baby. AWESOME.
(I am laughing about it now.)
I stood up and started riding the escalator up and then down and then up and then down, tears just falling from my eyes. Tucker had calmed down, and I saw Ryan watching from a few floors up. I know he was so worried about me (though thankfully he didn't see me fall). Tuck was so not into me, and another parent had his son who was also writhing and screaming. At least I was not alone, though it grieved me to see someone else going through this same challenge. I told him that someone should take our picture so we'd never forget that moment. I'm sure someone did in China, and it's probably floating around their version of Facebook right now. We're going to be famous!
My friend, Lauren, made Tucker and I these shirts several months ago. She is one of my 3/20 sisters (and also made that cute "Ride the Train" video for us). I had hoped we would be wearing them under different circumstances, but alas, it was a rough morning. Our friend, Brad, took the picture just so I could prove that we were together for a bit that day. Ryan had been hiding behind columns and cars and anything else he could find so that Tucker would just stay with me. Another dad named Matt came up to me and said, "Your husband wants to know how you're doing." I replied, "Doing much better. I'd say falling down the stairs was the low point." :) So thankful to have other families here in Guangzhou to support us during this rough time.
Our next stop was a Memorial Hall for the Chen family in Guangzhou. The grounds were beautiful! There was a man making a drink with sugar cane outside, but we didn't drink any because we can't drink the water in China unless it is bottled, which this was not.
Chinese buildings, whether temples or this Memorial Hall or hotels, often have these statues on the outside of the entrances. It is considered good luck for boys to stand beside this statue of the lion body with a dragon head and a ball under its paw.
It was here that we bought chops. This was the only other real thing that I wanted to buy in China. A chop is a handmade stamp that is carved by hand. This artist was working at the Memorial Hall. I bought one for Noah, Liam, and Tucker, as well as one with our family's name. So, each chop will have the English name on top and the Chinese characters for that name underneath. It is a special treasured item, as it not something I could find in the US. Below you can see the different chops to choose from. We got Noah, Liam, and Tucker one with their respective Chinese animals (rat for Noah and rabbit for the littles), and I chose one with a dragon for the Abell one. They will be delivered to our hotel tomorrow afternoon since our group ordered so many.
I love this picture below taken inside one of the courtyards.
By this time, it was about 12:45, and Tucker was done. He had ran all over that Hall. Ryan was doing such a nice job with him. I was feeling super sad and a bit hopeless. I felt like Ryan and I couldn't even enjoy the day together because this little guy was having such a hard time with me.
We drove back to the hotel, and Ryan put Tuck to bed. I think it was around 1:30 by this point. I sat on the couch and wrote the last blog to document our adventures Saturday while Ryan grabbed Pizza Hut, which tastes just like home (but will still never top the one in Columbia City). Ryan and I decided that when Tuck woke up from his nap, Ryan would leave, and I would stay in the room to work play with him in an attempt to build our relationship. Ryan laid down on the couch in the living area, while I slept on the bed by Tucker's crib. It was probably 3 p.m. by this point.
The next thing I knew, it was 5:51 p.m. Tucker was still sleeping, and Ryan was gone. Did I just sleep 2 hours and 51 minutes? Had Tucker really beend sleeping for almost 4 1/2 hours? Holy pajamas! I made some quiet noise in order to wake up Tucker, which he did. He put his arms up for me to pick him up, a first that day, and we got his favorite toys and made our way to the window.
Ryan and I text a bit, and I learned that he had been gone since 3:30 p.m. because he had heard Tucker stirring in bed. Instead, Tuck had stayed asleep for 2 1/2 hours more. OOPS! To make a long story short, Ryan sure knows the surrounding area of the hotel since he spent 3 1/2 hour walking around! Seriously, you guys. This man is amazing. He said he walked around with headphones on listening to Lord I Need You maybe 100 times and praying for us.
Meanwhile, Tucker and I played with different toys. He was acting just as friendly as the evening before, which was very similar to our early relationship after first meeting. I changed his diaper, and we left the hotel room to find a trash can outside. It was nice to get outside together for a bit. We attempted to find some fruit, as Tuck had eaten very little fruit the previous two days, but we didn't have any luck (don't worry, Ryan found lots of places to buy fruit on his 3 1/2 hour expedition around the city). :) We explored the hotel for a bit and then went back to the room. We played for a bit more, and Ryan joined us at 7:00 p.m. Prior to that, we had been working on our picture communication tools that my friend Kim helped me make before our trip, as well as sign language. Tucker is picking up language so quickly, and I know that the more language he learns, the less behavior he will have to show to get his point across.
When Ryan got back, he took a more laid back approach with Tucker. We didn't make a big deal about his arrival, and Ryan would give Tuck very simple feedback likes smiles. He tried to stay less engaging in order for Tucker to continue to focus on playing with me. Here are some shots to prove we were having fun! :)
Ryan also videotaped some different interactions that Tuck and I were having in hopes that by using video self-modeling, Tucker would see himself engaged and having fun with me, thus training his brain to trust me, to have fun with me, and to see the interactions we have together. We watched the videos once today, and we will probably watch them first thing tomorrow.
Again, Tucker and I took a bath to continue working on our relationship. We were in there for quite awhile and again had fun with the stacking cups. Ryan made his bottle while I got his pajamas on, and then I fed him the bottle while singing A Thousand Years.
You know, the months while we waited to come to China, I would sing that song at home and just pray that God would somehow let Tucker hear me singing it. I prayed that it would somehow reach him and that when we were finally together, he would hear me sing that same song, recognize it, and feel comforted by it. He stared intently in my eyes while I sang and drank his bottle. I held him for awhile afterward and then put him in his crib. I laid beside him on the bed, and for the first time, Tucker reached out to hold my hand. He gripped my finger for the longest time, and then tucked his hand back in and held his puppy (go-go) tightly. I could tell he was starting to fall asleep, but just before he did, he turned his head to look at me one last time. Once he saw that I was there, he turned back and fell asleep.
Our very difficult morning and early afternoon had ended on a positive note. We made good strides tonight, and I am hopeful that our plan for the morning works well in order to give us a better day tomorrow. Time will tell.
We got to FaceTime with the boy again tonight. They look so good! I am so excited to have just 4 more full days in China. We will get home on Day 17 of our trip. I can't begin to imagine how emotional I will be upon seeing them faces again and holding them and kissing them at the airport.
Tomorrow we will go to the zoo in the morning and pray that Tuck's TB test is negative. We will know between the hours of 2:00-4:00 p.m. tomorrow. We will also get our laundry back, as we sent that out today. Then, tomorrow night, we will go on a cruise to see the city at night. We hear the food is terrible but that the view is incredible. :) Thank you for your prayers. They truly mean everything to us! Listening to K-Love tonight was so good for my soul, and I know that after a night of deep rest, I will be ready for whatever tomorrow brings. So thankful The Lord is with us here.