I believe where we last left off, Lindsey said we were going to a little play place type area in a neighboring hotel yesterday. Ivan was just ok when we left. He was a little fussy, but provided a lot of cuddles to start the morning, very much enjoyed by Lin. For whatever reason, Ivan wasn't wanting much to do with me yesterday, so I missed out on the cuddles, but he made up for it later in this story. Upon arrival at the play place we found some tubs of wooden blocks, which turned out to be the jackpot for our guy. There were a few other kids there playing, which worked out good. Ivan interacted very well with them, other than he seemed to hoard the blocks, which I think is fairly normal for 2 yr olds. His mood improved a lot while there.
After our block fun I treated my wife once again to the internationally acclaimed golden arches double quarter pounder with cheese. There were no disappointments.
We returned to the hacienda and Ivan went down for a nap. When he awoke, Mr. Cranky pants was present. He just couldn't get it together so we watched a Daniel Tiger, which helped slightly. We're currently in a town called Nanjing, which has a lot of river canals and waterways. Apparently it's known as the Venice of Asia...but don't take my word for it. We decided we'd take a river cruise. It was a pretty ritzy boat, it even had a bucket in the back if you needed to relieve yourself.
We chose to have some forced bonding time with Ivan in the baby carrier strapped to me and it actually went pretty well. He seems to do well when we're out and about moving around, which is a blessing.
We then went to a local restaurant for supper and had chicken dumplings and noodles. The dumplings taste like chicken noodle soup.
We headed back to the room and Ivan needed a bath from all of the sweat he and I shared while bonding. The temps have been in the 90's every day here. That's where things took a turn for the worse. Bath time was not enjoyed by anyone, least of all Ivan. Then we moved to book reading time, which was fair, then bedtime, which really went south. He laid in bed for 45 minutes, which wasn't the norm from the previous two nights, and then around 11pm started crying, and crying, and crying. Lin was able to calm him for a while. He would drift off, then wake up balling again. We finally decided I would sleep a bit, then we'd switch off. So at some point in the night, we switched and he drifted off for quite a while. We slept in the same bed the rest of the night, which I'd imagine was a first for him. I doubt he's ever slept outside a crib before.
So that leads me to Thursday morning. We had to be ready in our hotel lobby by 7am because we were visiting Ivan's orphanage today. Nothing helps a family get ready by 7 than having a rough night sleep, eh? We made it, but our little guy still wasn't too chipper. We piled into the van for our 3 hour drive. Once on the road, Ivan got happy. He was babbling and playing and would switch between Lin and I ever 45 min or so on his own. No carseats in China. A couple hours into the trip, Ivan was eating some crackers as a snack and washed them down with some water, then he snuggled onto my shoulder and relaxed nicely. I thought...this is great! Well, about 10 minutes from the orphanage, Ivan leans back and looks at me, then has a big burp...I said, "I bet that felt good"....then all the crackers and water chased that burp up! Covered my shirt and ran down onto my pants, front and back. I thought, yeah, this should make a good impression.
Once at the orphanage, we met the vice director and a few other officials who show'd us around the complex. Very nice facilities and play areas for the children. We saw Ivan's crib and the rooms we'd seen him in from pictures. He was hanging onto me the entire time we were walking around. He never seemed upset and did smile a few times, but he gave no indication of wanting to hang around. We walked to another building on the orphanage grounds where we met the director of the complex. He was a very nice man, I think someone who cares deeply for the welfare of the children. While talking in the conference room, Ivan was becoming more restless and fussy again. Lindsey tried to console him and I tried, all while the orphanage staff are talking amongst themselves in Mandarin and looking at us. Yep, those Americans sure know how to take care of a toddler... thankfully, we left shortly thereafter, took a picture of the front gate to the orphanage, which is where Ivan was found, and went to lunch.
Lunch was good, Ivan ate like a champ and was chipper the whole time. We headed back to Nanjing and Ivan fell right asleep, which was great, it was his nap time anyways. When Ivan awoke as we neared the hotel, he was back to the cranky side again. We couldn't figure out what the deal was, but started to wonder if he was getting backed up. We were in our room for an hour or so and his displeasure was increasing. We gave him a fruit packet of prunes...and about another hour later he had some very hard nuggets come out. The poor guy was whipped. We took it easy and decided to go get some supper. Dumplings for the boy and Pizza Hut for the parents! Ivan and I went to the Hut to order while Lin went a block the other way to get some dumplings. We were having a great time at our table, then the fussing started again. I'm sure every parent has been in that situation, but he was the only child in the restaurant and the crying started. Yep, everybody look at the super large white guy with the Chinese boy. So, we headed to the bathroom. He cried it out, and only after that I realized there was some poor sole in the only stall in there squatting over the hole in the floor. We pulled it together, headed back out and the tears flowed again. By God's mercy, Lin had arrived and came to the bathroom to rescue us. We had some pizza, Ivan barely ate anything, we decided to forego his bath tonight and we're hoping for a better tomorrow. Come to find out, the Pizza Hut fussy spell were from more hard nuggets.
Overall, I'm very glad we visited Ivan's orphanage. It gave us a very good understanding of the routine of his life. He's experienced a lot in the last 72 hours compared to the very sheltered life he's had. One very consistent positive sign he's shown us is his constant desire to be near us. Whenever he's feeling sad, which has been often lately, he turns to us for comfort.
Tomorrow, we'll fly to Guangzhou in the early evening, which is where we'll be until next Thursday. Thank you for the many prayers, we have certainly felt them! Please continue to lift up Ivan, that his little heart can learn to rely on us and trust us, and that we're past the constipation.