Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Chapter 8: Bright Spots

[J]

It's Wednesday, July 5, at 8am. (Happy Birthday, Lindley!) We've had some nice moments since yesterday afternoon. For dinner, we went to the Cool Spot restaurant... with a little trepidation. Our meals in the hotel restaurant had been a bit tense. This is partly because the woman who runs the hotel restaurant is just so nice. Sadly, her very niceness was the problem. She was so eager to appease Minh and jolly him up that it sort of made our job harder in getting him to sit and eat, especially since E. is trying to be very consistent about having him take food from her. -- Anyway, we walked maybe a km to the restaurant, with E. carrying M. in the hip carrier. And we had a fairly relaxed dinner! M. ate mainly baguette and steamed rice (he likes his starch!), but, hey, he ate it from E.'s hands. The boy won't starve, and we can work on varying the diet later. (According to his foster father, Minh likes only soft foods, not many fruits or vegetables, and won't eat meat unless it is chopped very small and mixed into rice. And he definitely has a sweet tooth. One of his favorite snacks, apparently, is dry powdered milk mixed with sugar and eaten straight with a spoon! He also seems to like salt.)

But dinner was a reasonably calm affair, and the walk back was nice. He walked part of the way himself. We certainly attract plenty of attention when the three of us are out together. I'm afraid we may cause an accident... so many of the people on motorbikes turn to stare at us. -- Then Minh had a bath, "read" some stories, and went to bed for another full night's sleep. Whew. Breakfast today was also calm, with Minh eating more baguette and some rice congee with beef... fed to him by E. -- Now we are killing time until we leave for a day of touristing. We've hired a car and driver to take us to the Marble Mountains and Hoi An. Things seem to go better if we aren't trapped in the room, going stir crazy.

Yesterday, during a walk to the Han market, we stopped into a large store on Bach Dang street, where the hotel is, and discovered many children's books, including some with English and Vietnamese. We bought quite a few, most of which we can't read... but we'll make up the story line. (One seems to be about a monkey who plays with matches and sets his stuffed bear on fire, burning himself... could be a good lesson for our little fellow who likes to disassemble whatever he gets his hands on.)

Minh is quite a mimic, already repeating English phrases and words back to us. He also can make the funniest faces you've ever seen... much like our youngest, D. The two of them will be a comical tour de force. -- He likes to pick up and clean, too. He seems to like washing his hands... and he enjoys picking things up off the floor and putting them "away." As a result, we must check each drawer and cubby inb the room before we check out... all sorts of things have been stored in all sorts of places. (But it doesn't seem to be "hoarding" behavior.)

Meanwhile, life at home seems to be okay... except that we got an email that our dog died. This is sad, but not tragic. She was quite old and incontinent, and we had struggled with whether we ought to have her put to sleep before leaving for Vietnam... but I guess nature took its course. We feel terrible, though, about leaving E.'s mother to deal with it. We owe you, Caroline! Thank you. -- We were able to call the kids via MSN messenger last night, but during a second call to other friends, we lost our connection. Connectivity seems to be a bit wonky here.

And now we need to get this boy out and about, before he goes into overdrive in the room.

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