Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First week after moving (cont)

Continuing to record the craziness of our first week in our new apartment.... Though I'm so tired it's getting hard to remember exactly what I was doing a week ago! :) Hadassah seemed to think it a good idea to wake up earlier every day, and even if she was happy to stay in her crib, we woke up to the noises. It being completely light outside by 5 AM doesn't help; though we have black-out curtains in her room, she seems to sense that the sun is up. Usually we'd be early to bed too, but with all that has to happen to set up a new place, after she went to bed was prime working time. But, so it goes. Once we're settled, we're thinking we'll just focus on sleeping for a while!

Thankfully Hadassah woke pretty happy, though it did wear off some as the day progressed. But, I could tell that she was finally on the mend, and even her rash was starting to show signs of retreat. I knew that her fever was caused by a virus because I started to feel the effects. With as much sharing as I do with her, there's almost no way not to catch whatever sickness she gets. I tried to ignore the sore throat feeling and hoped it would just leave, but after a long morning of playing inside, I was feeling the effects of a fever and desperate for a nap myself.

Hadassah wasn't too interested in one, though, despite being obviously tired. The poor girl still wasn't completely comfortable. I'd cuddled and sang her to sleep the night before when she was in the midst of obvious misery (something that would normally not work, so I knew she was out of it!), and so after a few cries, I just gave up. While I'm a big fan of her sleeping by herself, there are exceptions, and sickness is a big one. Plus, I just wanted to lay down myself! And with the painter working in the living room that day, and our room off limits as it aired out after it's previous day's painting, the only place for me TO lay down comfortably was in Hadassah's room. So I went in, announced we were going to have a special mommy & Hadassah nap together, and she was happy about it at first. But then, of course, found it was harder to fall asleep with mommy there than when she was alone as normal. She kept trying to get off the bed, and cried at the idea of being put back in her crib, though, so we persisted. I required her to lay down, we sang lots of songs, and finally, after probably 45 minutes, her eyes started closing...

The cuddles and singing and time together was special - a time to cherish as it's rare. But it also made me glad she normally loves taking a nap without protest, as it sure took a while for her to calm down! But that day, I was glad I could just lay myself, and we ended up both sleeping for about an hour before she woke with distressed cries. More popsicles, more computer videos, and watching the clock until Daddy came home. By now I was completely miserable and didn't want to move with my pounding head and chills, and considered calling Ryan to come home early. But with all the work he'd missed already that week, I knew I just needed to last... Never did time seem to be move so slowly though!

Leftover pizza wasn't the healthiest option, especially when I was sick, but it was all I had energy or freedom from a clingy toddler to get on the table. At least I added a salad and we didn't have to go anywhere... And Hadassah actually ate that night, giving me hope she was going to be all better soon. At bedtime she just required one extra song as I patted her back before settling down without protest, so I was relieved sleep was returning to normal too.

Ryan wanted to go to IKEA, hoping to get a mattress topper so we could actually sleep in our own bed soon, but I needed him home that night. I felt miserable and just wanted to be with my man. Even just sitting on the couch researching mattress toppers and bookshelves on felt relaxing after all the craziness of the week, especially when I could lean against him... I fell asleep on the couch as he cleaned up some things, not even bothering with the supper dishes. Ryan said that's how he knew for sure I was out of it!

Hadassah was up early again, and I felt like I didn't want to be alive. After a rough night tossing with fever and chills, I wasn't ready to be awake. Ryan took Hadassah outside soon after she woke around 5 AM, and I meant to get up and make breakfast, but mostly just sat on the couch and waited for tylenol to kick in... When I finally did make breakfast on their return, I made it through tears. I felt that miserable and exhausted and at a loss at what to do. How could I face another day like this? Being a mom while being sick is one of the hardest things I think...

I learned to ask for help. To be vulnerable. I don't like asking for help, and feel like I've had to SO much amid moving in another culture and language, but I had mentioned via wechat to a friend in the complex that I was sick and could use prayer the day before, and she told me to let her know if she could help in any way. So... I took the risk, feeling like I could be a bother, but also knew I couldn't get through the day alone. Ryan wanted to stay home from work, but he was already going to have to work some on Saturday to make up for all the time already missed that week. As it was, he stayed home a little later to be with Hadassah, and then dropped her off at the friend's house. She had been more than willing when I'd asked, and I knew it wouldn't only be good for me, but also for my girl who had been stuck inside all week!

The painter wasn't there that day, as the final room, which Hadassah was sleeping in, we'd asked him to paint the following week while we waited for her room (which had been painted with the lower grade, VOC paint accidentally) to air out. I resisted the urge to do the dishes that were overflowing, and laid on the couch for a whole hour! I took another round of Tylenol, and by the time she brought Hadassah back mid-morning, I was ready to make a simple lunch and get the dishes done. Funny how just getting things more in order helps me feel better too.

I was still feverish by lunch, but I could tell things weren't AS bad. So Ryan made plans to go straight from work downtown to get a mattress and bookshelves from IKEA. We were both ready to be able to sleep in our room, and missed being able to sleep side-by-side with our current couch beds!

Thankfully Hadassah napped fine on her own, and I got to sleep too. We had another quiet afternoon, taking one thing at a time, and I let her watch more than usual again. In sickness, I make huge exception to my usual "very limited video" policy, especially when the heat trapped us inside. ;)

When the little one was in bed I did the dishes as I texted my husband, who was on the subway home. It was so nice to have him finally have a phone that works, after a year of sharing a cell phone and many frustrating situations when we couldn't get in touch. We flirted over texts, smiling as we remembered the hundreds of texts we sent while engaged. By the time he was home we were ready to relax together and enjoy an episode of "Madame Secretary." We're not much into TV shows, but recently found this one free on Youku (Chinese movie site) and have been pleasantly surprised by how it's a great plot that's actually very clean, intriguing enough for Ryan's brain yet a story enough for mine, and portrays a very strong marriage between the main character and her husband, with her mentioning that she'd be even willing to give up her demanding job as secretary of state if it caused her to lose him in any way. It's been a good way to relax when we just can't think about details anymore!

Ironically, despite Ryan going all the way downtown, it's now a week later and we still have yet to sleep in our own room on our own bed! The mattress topper was too heavy for him to bring home himself, and delivery couldn't happen until Monday. By then, we had an unexpected guest coming, so we gave her our room so she could sleep and not be woken super early by an energetic girl, and what we thought was going to be one night of her staying turned out to be three. Which is wonderful - we love her company! - but we laugh with a twinge of remorse that we have yet to enjoy the retreat of our newly painted blue and white peaceful room. It feels like the Promised Land we've seen but have yet to enter... But, soon!!

5 AM always feels like way too early to get up on a Saturday, but a toddler doesn't seem to care. I was thankful to at least feel a little more alive, with the fever finally gone. I was congested and coughing some, but having a clear head makes a world of difference!

It was an answer to prayer, too, as with everything happening the previous week, I'd never gotten to go back over to our old apartment to clean up. Our landlady there has been so wonderful, that I wanted to leave things at least as nice as we found it. So after breakfast, I headed over with rags in hand and set to sweeping and wiping and scrubbing. Ryan had his own challenges having to wait around at home for a guy to come and fix our main door handle (it completely just fell out a few days prior, seemingly rusted straight through). The frustration of not being able to talk to repair men directly, especially when they're late or you're not sure when they're returning continues to be very real. Thankfully we had a Chinese friend kind enough to be called on the phone as translator and go-between, but again... always humbling to have to ask. I know it's good for us, though...

Finally, he was able to set out with Hadassah on a long-promised "Daddy-daughter date." She loves those so so much! She still remembers places he took her months ago, and there's nothing that gets her to light up with joy as much as telling her she was going on a date with daddy! Ryan took her to an indoor play place at a nearby new mall. They had fun, but she also was ready to be done sooner than anticipated, as it seemed many other parents had the idea to escape the heat and let the kids work off some energy! Our little girl is getting better, but crowds are still not her favorite, especially when she gets unwanted attention from the grandmas... But riding escalators up and down makes her just as happy as a pricey play place, so they were occupied until I joined them at the mall for lunch.

I had a talkative taxi driver on the way over. Usually they don't say anything to me, which I'm just as happy about, as trying to understand and word responses makes me sweat! But this guy was really friendly, encouraged my Chinese, and didn't seem frustrated when I didn't understand, just asking questions in another way. He was all smiles when he learned I had one daughter already, as he noticed I was pregnant too. I asked if he had any children, and he beamed as he said he had two. Recent Chinese law allows couples to have two children if they themselves are both from single-child families. He asked how many children I wanted, and I told him "many children. I love children." He kept pressing for a number that I wanted, so I said seven, though we've not set a number and would be quite happy with even more. He laughed and gave a thumbs up, and somewhat sadly said in China, he could only have two. It would be so hard to be under that restriction...

We enjoyed fried rice from a known place for lunch, and discovered a pick-ingredients-yourself delight at Dairy Cream. Ice cream with strawberries and blueberries generously topped with thick whipped cream is just what a hot day required, especially when we had to walk a little ways in the sun to find a taxi.

Hadassah went down for a good nap, and I envied her some, but knew I needed to get back to cleaning. Ryan had offered to do the cleaning for me, but deep cleaning relaxes me in its own way (while exhausting my body, 'tis true!) as my brain just loves turning mess into orderly cleanliness. It was my way of saying goodbye to a home that held so many memories too, and gave me quiet time to think and pray (a rarity for a mom!). I prayed for all the people we'd had in that home, that God would water seeds that had been planted...

By the time Hadassah woke from a long nap, giving Ryan time to rest and catch up on some work documents, my knees were aching from washing all the floors but I was down to one room and bathroom. I was going to make it! We wanted to see our neighbor too, so after her yogurt snack, Ryan brought Hadassah over by taxi. I was on the last room, the bathroom, which he was gracious enough to take over so I could visit our neighbor. It was so good to see her and catch up, and also be a companion for, as her husband had been gone over a week to a conference. It's just the beginning of his year in America... She is in a hard situation with many choices to make... I pray for her and want to continue to be as much encouragement as I can be even when not just next door.

By then it was dinner time. On more quick sweep of the laundry area, and the house looked sparkling and neat. We went back to the mall for dinner... This week had been a topsy turvy one with many meals not quite normal, so why not continue it? :) We enjoyed another of our shows before sinking into our couch cushions. Good thing about being so exhausted is that you sleep well no matter where!

This day was almost normal! Hadassah was acting her full, normal, happy-and-energetic self. She is growing so fast, and so so sweet!

 This stroller has been the BEST buy, and was even from Shanghai Secondhand. She pushes her beloved ni-night all through the house, always making sure she's strapped in, saying "Don't fall out of the stroller, ni-night!" in the most adorable way.

Ryan continues the tradition of taking her outside just after her morning milk, to get a little of the morning coolness and time walking and playing on the slides. She loves their time together, and when he came back in and laid down for some much-deserved rest, she climbed up to snuggle him. I love watching a daughter with her daddy. :)

We made the trek downtown, but it was at a normal time and for a normal length of time. The smell of smoke in the taxi wasn't pleasant, but so goes life in China - you never know what taxi you'll be given! Lunch was one of our favorites, Element Fresh, and we left soon after church ended and took food to go so we'd be home at a decent hour for Hadassah to nap. Eating in the taxi helps take up part of the long ride too, which helps everyone. Ryan gave me an amazing massage (my body was feeling the effects of scrubbing an entire apartment the day before!) which relaxed me so much I took a deep-sleep nap while he again caught up on missed work. He's a good employee, my man.

We did have to wake Hadassah up to get over to our old apartment to meet our landlady at 4 PM, but she had gotten good sleep and was in a good mood. The beaming smile on our landlady's face as she exclaimed about how clean and nice everything looked made all the sweaty hours of cleaning more than worth it, and we left on good terms. Felt weird to walk out of that complex, knowing we had no keys to such a familiar place! We celebrated a job well done with a strawberry popsicle, and enjoyed good leftovers for supper. That evening we were just a family, no huge chores to do, just enjoying time together. Life is slowly returning to whatever normal is possible when you live overseas!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, crazy hard stuff! Thanks for sharing the stories! Love you! - Elijah