We didn't have anything official on the agenda aside from receiving Mila's passport with U.S. visa and immigration documents from our guide in the evening. Had it not been raining cats and dogs, we probably would have ventured out to a new part of the city but instead we spent our last full day in China indoors.
We attempted to get Mila interested in a movie (airplane practice) but she was mostly into finding little treasures for her backpack. These treasures include small toys we brought for her, crayons, a map from the hotel, a couple of receipts, a broken pencil, an empty food pouch, and a few stray puffs that she has no interest in eating. She has also acquired a few ziplock bags that she stuffs full of her treasures and carries around. I found my phone in one of her baggies a couple times today. Mila also spent time strapping her dolly into the stroller and pushing it around the hotel room. She likes to bring me a bag full of stuff, unpack it, chooses one or two items to entrust in my care, and then goes and does something else for awhile. She eventually comes back and demands her treasures back. All day.
Another activity we tried in the name of airplane practice was me carrying her in the ergo. I put it on and she immediately looked suspiciously at me. Austin told her she was going to go in it and she started wimpering. He set her in the ergo and the battle started. Our tiny little girl fought like her life depended on it. She threw a monumental tantrum that included kicking, flailing, biting, scratching, crying until there were no more tears. She lasted way longer than I thought she would and all I could keep thinking about is what a strong fighter we have. Her persistence- though not expressed how we want her to eventually express it in our family- is amazing and probably was a great asset to her during the three years prior to her coming to us. Austin stayed with us and held her hand but she was pretty miserable. Her refusal to allow me to get closer to her- like carrying her and sometimes feeding her- is obviously grieving. We respect that and offer her comfort as much as she allows. But the ergo battle switched to a full on three year old tantrum and we decided to muscle through it for awhile. When she settled down (actually, she settled down about three times- but they were just breaks between the screams and tears) I unbuckled the ergo and she hopped out and went back to her toys. I sat down next to her and she immediately resumed playing with me and smiling at me.
I don't know everything going on in Mila's head but I know a few things about orphans. (Mila is no longer an orphan but shedding orphanage behaviors will understandably take some time.)1. They are rarely given limits or boundaries. 2. Tantrums are either given in to or eventually ignored as the child gets older- but behavior is rarely corrected nor character developed as it would be in a family setting. 3. There is a lot of room for negative attention from adults in an institutional setting- therefore, adults are unpredictable and unsafe in the eyes of an orphan. Mila didn't hold a grudge against me for holding her close in the ergo so I know this was mostly just a toddler tantrum. Her hesitation to allow me to carry her is legitimate fear/self protection and something that will take time for her to be comfortable with- but we will continue to work on it little by little in addition to showing her that we are her parents and set the 'rules.' She is incredibly smart (in addition to strong and stubborn) and I know she will 'get it' sooner rather than later.
We grabbed dinner in the lounge upstairs- Austin tried the Chinese beer and Mila had soup... Again. We played more in the room, did bath time and lotion time, and finally turned the lights out. Mila takes about 15-20minutes to fall asleep- she babbles to her doll and flops around until sleep finally wins out. I wonder how bedtime will go when there are three little bodies talking to their stuffed animals and flopping around, trying to get comfortable...we will find out soon!