Today we had to take David to a medical appointment, and we decided to bring Matthew along with us and have my parents stay behind with Caroline and Lily. We met everyone in the lobby at 9:00 and got our instructions from Aron. Then we loaded up on one of the trusty buses they use to take our gigantic groups everywhere! There are three other families from Small World here, but we are always in a group with families from Lifeline, so it makes our group really large. In the lobby of the medical facility we were met with our favorite wine and liquor vending machine that we remembered from our previous trip. Each kid had to have their picture taken first. David climbed right up when it was his turn and gave them a big grin. Too bad that grin didn’t last the rest of the time!
For the medical exam you have to go through three different stations – an ENT, a nurse, and a general screening. Then for kids that are over age 2, they go into a fourth room to have blood drawn for a TB test. We didn’t have to do that with Lily, and I remember being very thankful for it! As soon as Aron got all the kids registered we started cycling through the stations. We went to the ENT first. Pretty much as soon as David saw the doctor he started whimpering and it quickly turned into crying. I was holding him on my lap but it didn’t really help at all. When the doctor started talking to him he calmed down a little. I had to hold his head while he looked in his ears. Cleft visits with David are going to be totally different than with Lily. And not in a good way! The next stop was the nurse’s station. He started crying when they had him stand on the scale. Then he did the dead leg trick while they were trying to measure his height. One of the nurses finally managed to convince him to stand up and we got out of there ASAP. The third station didn’t go much different than the first two. He started by crying at the sight of the doctor again, but she was able to talk to him and calm him down. She examined him all over and said that he was healthy. We gave him a little break to calm down before we sent him off for his blood draw. When we couldn’t prolong it anymore, we walked the plank to our final station. They don’t allow you in the room at all for this stage, which honestly is probably just as well. David wouldn’t associate us with forcing him to do this traumatic thing, and we got to be the heroes when it was over. I stood outside the door with a lollipop in hand and listened to the poor little guy scream at the top of his lungs. When the door finally opened I scooped him up and handed him the lollipop. He kept crying and staring at his hand with a look of disbelief. I had to put pressure on it for a few minutes, and he kept looking at his hand. I think Aron was a little distraught with how much noise he was making and told us to go ahead down to the lobby to wait. I was really missing being the only family at this point, because if we were we could have gone ahead back to the hotel. Instead we had to wait another 45 minutes for everyone else to finish. Poor David was feeling really nervous still and making his whimpering sound. Eventually he didn’t want to be held anymore and pulled my hand to take me on a walk outside. (Brian had taken Matthew to find a bathroom somewhere.) We walked up and down the little sidewalk there for a while. Every time we got close to the door he made sure that we didn’t go inside! He held his lollipop the entire time and would periodically stick his tongue out and give it the tiniest lick. Finally everyone was done and we were able to go back to the hotel.
While we were gone the girls had a great time visiting the fish pond and feeding them with bread that Daideo snagged from the buffet. They tried to take a walk to Aeon but couldn’t find it, so when we got back our first priority was to get some laundry detergent and food from Trust Mart. We remembered how to get there, and this time we knew that it was like a maze and made sure to explore every row to make sure we didn’t miss anything. We grabbed some paper plates, snacks, peanut butter, jelly, bread, and huge bottles of Tsing Tao that were only $4.00! I tried to buy some bananas and oranges, but when we got to the checkout the cashier wouldn’t let me have them. She kept talking to me in Mandarin like I could understand what she was saying and gesturing very unhelpfully. The woman in line behind me spoke English and explained that there was no price on them because you have to weigh produce and write down the price. No fruit for us. Thankfully we also remembered that we needed to bring our own bags so we loaded down our two backpacks with everything. I thought that I’d be helpful and carry one of them. I think I chose the one that had all the Tsing Tao in it, because halfway back to the hotel I thought my shoulders were going to start to spasm. It was lunch time when we got back so Brian made the kids PBJ sandwiches while I started washing some clothes. We enjoyed eating lunch at an actual table in our dining room!
At 2:00 we had a paperwork meeting, and I was selected as the representative from our family since I actually know what the paperwork is. It took an hour and a half for 14 families to fill out one form and organize a stack of papers for the consulate. I was really thankful that we were alone for all of our appointments and paperwork last week! It was comical how many people required white out because they kept messing up on the form. I think our guides must get lots of laughs at our expense. When I finally escaped from the paperwork jungle it was 3:30 and I was pretty exhausted. I figured out that in the past 36 hours, I slept for four of them. A nap was definitely in order. Brian took the kids down to the playground while I shut my eyes for a little bit before dinner. When he came back it was time to make a decision about dinner. Of course I should never be trusted with any decision shortly after being woken up. The thought of getting out of bed and going anywhere was way too much for me. Brian wanted to walk to a pizza place and eat, but I convinced him to just get it to go so I didn’t have to move. He and my dad went and took the boys with them. About 10 minutes after they left I woke up enough to have a coherent thought, and realized that I didn’t want to eat in hotel again. So I had the girls get their shoes on (I tried to get Caroline to take off her pajama pants but she wasn’t having it so whatever) and we went to find them. I knew Brian said he wanted to go to Tomatoes, so that’s where we headed. It’s so hard not being able to communicate with anyone if they aren’t the same room as you! I was just hoping that they hadn’t decided to go somewhere else and that we would get there before they started walking back. I figured if they weren’t there we would just go back to the hotel and wait. But, they were! When we walked in the door the food was just being put in takeout boxes to go. Whoops! The waitress nicely transferred our pizzas to plates and we sat down and ate there instead. The pizza was delicious! And it ended up being a good thing that we ate there, because we needed to order an extra pizza to feed all those hungry munchkins! Once the food was gone the kids started to get antsy so mom and I started the walk back while the guys stayed behind to pay the check. It took them forever, and we managed to get all four kids back to the hotel by ourselves and were talking to some other families from our group outside before they got there! When Lily and I nearly got hit by a bus we decided that it was time to go inside and put the kids to bed. I was still pretty tired, so after blogging I went to bed at 9:00. Tomorrow is a day of shopping!