Continued from >>>> Entry 11
I sit on the bed next to him smoothing his hair back and telling him I am his Nonnie and I love him. Sumeet changes him, gives him a bottle and he comes into the living room where he sits in her lap and I give him the floppy dog I brought from home and an ABC picture book. He gives me a stern look. And I imagine he is wondering, "Who is this person and what part does she play in the revolving door of my very short life"
I have brought money to Sumeet and her family that was owed her and some extra as a thank you. I hold both her hands and tell her how grateful I am for taking care of Christian. Tarn translates and I am told, "Sumeet and her family love Christian. They want only the best for him and they hope you will be able to bring him home with you." This means the world to me. I know he has been cared for lovingly by this wonderful family.
Tarn, Ant, Sumeet's husband, their 2 daughters and the driver who brought them to Bangkok, and I all go out to a wonderful lunch Tarn has arranged close to the hotel in Bangkok. Sumeet stays behind to watch over Christian. She does not know that after today she will never see him again.
Tarn has also arranged for A to meet us in Bangkok. Tarn has gotten a hotel for her. The plan is that Tarn and I will be bringing Christian to Tarns house for a few days leading up to his first birthday party. A will take him Christian back to Surin City after our visit.
It is now time to leave and Sumeets husband brings Christian downstairs to us. I hold him on my lap and Christian is terrified to be taken from the man he thinks of as his dad. He shrieks for the next 40 minutes. Tarn, Ant and I are crying right along with him.
We arrive at Tarns house and Julie is there waiting for us. Julie is Tarns housekeeper, now nannie. She is from Burma and speaks not one word of English. Christian sees her and calms down instantly. He likes Julie, Tarn says. We spend the day at Tarns taking Christian in Tarns pool, playing with him while Julie prepares his dinner. Fresh minced chicken, organic vegetables and brown rice pulverized into baby food. He will eat like this every day he is here. Nothing is store bought. Everything is cooked fresh.
Julie sleeps on the couch next to Christian while I am upstairs in the guest room. Tarn must tend to business so I think I will have Christian to myself. Not so. Julie doesn't let me have 2 seconds with the baby. She runs a mean interference. I am so frustrated. Tarn calls to check on things and I plead with her to call off Julie. Julie disappears into the other room and I am afraid I have hurt her feelings, but now I have my grandbaby all to myself.
We read, we play ball, I put back all the electrical wires he delights in removing from one of the drawers he is constantly trying to climb in. I am exhausted, but so happy.
I pantomime to Julie that I would like to take Christian for a walk around the neighborhood. She just stares at me. I go to collect the stroller Tarn has bought but I cannot open it. Julie just stares. Finally I am able to wrench open the stroller and put Christian in. I point to my watch and show her little hand on 2 big hand on 25. It is 2:05 and I will return in 20 minutes. She nods. Out we go and as I turn around to check the number on the front of Tarns house for our return, I see Julie peeking out from behind the post, watching after us. I wave at her.
It is freakishly hot and humid yet I have not been this happy in almost a year. I sing The Wheels on the Bus over and over again making up words to the song. Christian turns back in his seat to look at me and for the first time he smiles. I cry. This will be our little ritual; our singing walks. Row Your Boat, Swinging on a Star, Twinkle Twinkle, but mostly Wheels on the Bus.
Tarn has a trip planned for us. She and Ant, Christian and I are going to Hua Hin Beach about 90 minutes from Bangkok. We are staying at Novotel, a huge hotel with lots for kids to do. A whole wing at the hotel with a playroom, ball house, puzzles. I am excited. Then I find out I am to share a room with Christian and Julie. I am a very light sleeper and I know when Christian wakes for his 5AM bottle that's it for me. But this turned out to be the hour I loved most. While Julie slept, I would take Christian out on the balcony and sit with him in my lap waiting for the sun to come up. I think we bonded!
We discovered Christian likes salmon! And fish in general. He has an amazing appetite. But he pulls on his ear and I worry he may have a chronic ear infection. Josh had them and we had his tonsils removed when he was 3. There is also a small rash on his chest that bothers him on occasion. He is a very serious little boy.
We spend 3 days and 2 nights at Novotel. I pay for Julies and my room. It is hard not to pay for more but Tarn is so generous that I try to pick up the tab as often as I can. She is used to going first class and as much as I admire that, I am a little out of her league.
The next day we head back to Bangkok for mamas arrival. A! We have been making nicey-nicey and Tarn is worried I will screw things up. I think she is remembering my plans to have her killed! I promise I will be kind and loving. Tarn thinks that is hilarious and gives me an evil eye.
Uh-oh. I am sick, feeling weak and tired and not myself. This will be my third trip to Thailand and the first time visiting Josh I was so ill in Chang Mai I could not leave my hotel room.
My second trip was after Josh died and if I got sick I didn't know it, my grief was so profound. This trip I am most definitely coming down with something; sore throat, red eyes. And A gets here tonight.
We are prepared for her to want to take the baby back to the hotel Tarn has reserved for her. She arrives 2 hours late and makes a big to-do over Christian. Christian seems unimpressed. I pretend she is the person I most want to see in the world. And Tarn adds to the gifts I have brought her. We go out to dinner, the 3 of us. Julie stays back with Christian. I ask if I can stay with Christian and Julie can go with Tarn and A. Tarn gives me The Look.
To be continued...