Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The trip home

We left for the airport in Guangzhou at 5:30 am on July 6 and we were all excited to finally be on our way home. The airplane ride was horrible for Sydney and she had several screaming rages during the eternal flight home! On the flight from Guangzhou to Tokyo, a nice Chinese woman sitting behind us talked to Sydney in Chinese and calmed her down. Unfortunately, there was no nice Chinese woman on the long (11 hours...seemed much longer) flight from Tokyo to Minneapolis. Thankfully, I had grabbed a couple of bags of lollipops on our last shopping trip in Guangzhou. We decided to try a lollipop during her second or third screaming tantrum and she stopped crying! She actually fell asleep sucking on them a couple of times. She only slept for a few hours but we were grateful for any short period of rest that she was able to get! I don't think that we were ever so happy to see Minneapolis as we were when we came down through those clouds!!

Then we had the long line in immigration to get through. I counted the number of lollipops that were left and prayed that we would make it through the airport without her laying down and screaming. She was fussy but we managed to hold her together. Sydney received her official stamp on her passport and processed her paperwork to make her a U.S. citizen. Erik, Emily, and Sadie (
Herbivores go to China) were in front of us in line, so we cheered with them and were sad to see them go. It was the last family from our group that diminished slowly due to differing connecting flights. They are a great family and we enjoyed visiting with them and sharing time with Sadie.

Fortunately, Sydney loved to ride the buses in China and also loved to be in the van. She fussed for about 30 seconds over being in her carseat and then decided it wasn't so bad after all. Donny and I decided to pull a Cooper and Lisa and (against expert advice to the contrary)drove ourselves home from the cities. We made it safely to our front door and managed to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime.

Jet lag was much worse coming home then it was in Beijing. Sydney was up for a few hours during the night, which meant that we weren't able to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning and were up again by 8 am. Our saving grace was that my sister came to stay with us for the weekend or I'm not sure how we would've made it. She did the shopping and cooking and entertained Sydney while we sat on the couch in a daze. To add to the jet lag, Donny and Alycia decided to get sick with colds, which made it more difficult to snap back to a normal routine. We somehow managed for the four days after my sister left until my mom came down to stay on the following weekend. By then, Sydney and Alycia were sleeping on a normal schedule and Donny and I were gradually catching up on our sleep as well.

Sydney had a few difficult moments at home and had several more screaming tantrums. At least in our own home we didn't have to worry about needing lollipops anymore! Those rages seem to have subsided now and she is settling into her new home. She wasn't sure that she liked the cats at first but she is learning to be nice to them and pets them, unless they try to smell her toys or try to lay on her, then she gets made and fusses at them (in Chinese, of course). She is using quite a few gestures now to communicate and continues to parrot a lot of our words. We're trying to stick to a routine here and use similar phrases for things, so she can catch on a little quicker.

Sydney got to meet both sets of grandparents and her great-grandmother already. Unfortunately, we were all having a bad day due to a short night of sleep when my family arrived, so they will have to wait to experience Sydney's better side. We've been busy trying to run around after Sydney so she can show us the spots that we still need to toddler-proof! She enjoys dragging her ill father up and down the stairs and already knows that she is not allowed to climb the stairs without help. Lucky dad!! She doesn't seem too interested in playing with her toys for very long and is more intent on exploring her environment and putting toys in drawers. Mom also got a purse full of presents from Sydney stashing her toys.

Sydney seems to enjoy being a girl and already has a favorite dress from great-grandma. If it's in her closet, it's the one she wants to wear! Mom also bought her some hair clips, which she loves to have in her hair unless they are hidden in a purse or a drawer.

She still likes her baths but doesn't like to lay down for her naps or bed and cries herself to sleep. It's frustrating to not be able to communicate with her at times like this! We'll just keep trying different things to see if we can stumble across a solution.

It's great to be home and we can't wait for everyone to get to know Sydney!


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