Things I learn in the neighborhood

Spent this week’s sunny(ish) afternoon hanging out in the 小区 (xiaoqu, which means my apartment complex) with the neighbors and their babies. Here, that means a hefty helping of grandmother time (they are usually the primary caretakers for little ones) with one or two moms sprinkled in for variety. Here are just a few of the life lessons I picked up:

-I must hold Stella with my arm underneath her booty. I must never perch her on my hip or I will cause permanent damage.

-In America, the government gives you money to have children and you don’t have to pay for them yourself. I know this because one of the nainais (grandmothers) told me that her cousin’s daughter lives in America and told her this about the law. I tried to explain that this doesn’t apply to everyone, but she gave me the side eye and told me she’s sure this is how it is. (Note to self: apply for Stella’s money!)

-Also in America, you are allowed to keep having children until you get a boy. Sometimes you can even keep going after having the boy!

-Beef-flavoured candy is gross.

-Stella is always wearing too few clothes. Until I told the nainais that her purple suit is down-filled, at which point I am immediately informed that she is overheated.

-Everyone already knows where I live, all the way down to apartment building and floor.

-It is a bad idea to feed my baby yogurt at this tender age.

-My neighbors are the sweetest. They care for me and Stella well, and holding her (and comparing how she stacks up against their grandbabies) is the highlight of all of our days.


Christmas 2013.

Hi. It’s been awhile, but I’m still here, promise.

Two months later (!!!), here is a glimpse of our first Christmas with sweet baby girl.

Christmas Eve we went to some friends’ apartment for a candlelight gathering and a Christmas feast. Christmas Eve is my favorite of all holidays throughout the year, and this year was no exception. Michael made a delicious tenderloin (that man can cook! but only when he makes up his mind it’s worth it) and StellaB hung out with her favorite, Addie.


(See the glimpse of green? Finally started cloth diapering. So far I’m a fan, but still figuring out how to avoid diaper rash.)



With Cat and Adelaide. Addie is totally obsessed with Stella, and freaks out every time she sees her.


The feeling is mutual, I think.


Baby besties!

Christmas morning Michael and I exchanged stockings and presents (he made a rolling island for me!–y’all, his woodworking skills are truly amazing) and then friends came over for brunch and presents (our little group drew names for the exchange). Stella was so happy all morning long, and we stayed in our pajamas until evening, when we went out for the traditional (ha!) Christmas dinner of street dumplings.



Happy girl.


With Jess and Owens.


Matching pajamas for the win!


All in all a great day, and we continue to be more thankful than ever for this little bean we call our own.