Monthly Archives: February 2007

Childcare, Maggie and sunshine

With a little help from technology we’ve found a wonderful woman and her family who’ve agreed to provide childcare services for Li Li. Lei has two children, a daughter who is 3 1/2 years-old and a son who is 11 months old. Lei’s husband is a PHD student in applied mathematics at Brown, and they are from the Anhui province in China which is a neighboring province to Jiangxi (Li Li’s home province). They speak Mandarin at home so Li Li will be able to maintain her Mandarin skills, not too mention be extremely well cared for by Lei and her mother-in-law. We feel very lucky to have found such a wonderful family so quickly. It’s definitely a load off our minds.

So many of you have asked for more pictures so here are a few just so you can all see just how beautiful our little daughter is.

LiLiCathSun  Li Li Paper

Catherine spends lots of time staring at the our little jewel. Like her father, Li Li has become a big fan of the morning paper. Here she is about to rant about how those darn Red Sox.


One of the benefits of being up at 5:30 is you can see the sun rise. This is the first sunlight coming through our antique bay windows. The light only stays on the door for about 3 minutes before moving across the room.

Li Li Floor Maggie  HandPaw

Maggie has adopted Li Li as a member of the pack and even seems to accept the fact Li Li is now the highest ranking female in the household. (I as the only male, am still the Alpha male but we’ll leave the relative rankings of females and males in the household for another day….).


Maggie likes to be be close to the action and Li Li is where the action is.

LiLiBathmad LiLiGabe 

Baths are still problematic. Li Li expresses her displeasure. We’re not sure why she’s so unhappy with baths but we haven’t had much success convincing of the fun to be had splashing in water. Once bathtime is over, she returns to her wonderful happy self. Here the neighbors came for a visit and even the sun cooperated by highlighting the newest star of the neighborhood.

Sorry the posting frequency has dropped but parenthood is much harder when there is no maid service, no laundry service, no buffet breakfasts, etc. It’s all worth it, but we do miss China. -tjm


Groundhog Day – the Sequel parts 2, 3, …..

Our little spicy girl is quite the night owl, awakening for her usual evening party. Last night was Catherine’s turn to keep our daughter company from 1:30 to 3:30. I had duty the previous night at roughly the same time. We’re told it takes about two weeks for the jet lag to wear off for the little ones coming home from China. We are closing in on the first week and it’s been tough. We are looking forward to our little “chill baby”, as our friend’s James and Kerin dubbed her in China, returning to being the champion sleeper she was in China, where she averaged 10 straight hours most nights.

A surreal moment happened to me yesterday afternoon. After a pre-New Year’s dim sum lunch with Catherine’s sister, parents and Li Li’s cousin, Catherine was off replenishing supplies – diapers, formula, etc. – and I was catching up on school work – I don’t think I’ll ever catch up – while Li Li was napping. Within minutes I was deep into a reading a Harvard Business Review article about service variability and barriers to efficiency – I know it’s pretty compelling, I can get you a copy if you want. Anyway all of the sudden I heard a baby crying and I thought “wow, that’s strange, why do I hear a baby crying, the windows are all closed…” Then reality came slamming back into my mind and I rushed upstairs to console our little girl who after 15 minutes was done with her nap. In the middle of the night as I stare at her, willing her to sleep, wondering what her life will be like, it’s very easy to feel like a father, even if I feel like a fraud because I’m so clueless. But other times I occasionally forget, only for a second, that we now have a 3rd family member and our lives have been changed forever. Not sure if other parents have had the same thing happen to them, but it’s very disorienting and guilt-inducing all at once.

Although picture taking has fallen off dramatically we have to take and print 10 pictures by the end of next week in order to fulfill China’s requirement to check on how the babies are doing. And they like to see fully clothed babies and parents so there’ll be no semi-naked pictures of anyone despite pleas to the contrary.

Anyway, Li Li is cuter than ever as you can see for yourself.


We are bundled up for a walk on Friday. Cold weather and lots of ice made for treacherous walking. Luckily there were no falls.


Li Li can sit up but sometimes she lists to starboard or port, rather quickly, hence the pillows on each side of her as she plays.


We went out for a pre-New Year’s Dim Sum lunch and yes our little Xiao Bao, had plenty of layers on.

Back to the ever present schoolwork. -t

Groundhog day in real life

The sleep saga, or lack thereof continues. I’m not sure where Jet lag ends and sheer lack of sleep begins. Lili is not transitioning well. She goes down for a a few hours and then pops up crying inconsolably a few hours later. Last night however we were prepared – comfortable pillows and comforter on the floor in her room so the other parent could sleep a bit. She’s such a happy baby normally, but like her mother (and father I’m told),she can be more than a little cranky when she’s not getting enough sleep.

We awoke yesterday morning to signs in the neighbors windows of “Free Lili” and “Where’s Lili” expressing their displeasure at being denied visits with Lili. We called them and Lili waved through the windows (all of six feet away) which seemed to placate them because the signs came down shortly thereafter. Hopefully the busy schedules next door can mesh with Lili’s (and our’s) sleep schedule this weekend.

We appreciate everyone’s phone calls and I apologize if I don’t seem especially forthcoming over the phone. I know everyone wants tons of details and blow-by-blow descriptions of every second of the day including poop details  (okay, I’m not even sure if the grandmother’s want those details although they are interesting) and doctor’s vists. As we come up for air and eventually transition to eastern time, I’m sure those things will be forthcoming. For now the blog will have to suffice along with a few minutes by phone. Pictures will come, I promise. I have a few good ones from our tramuatization of our daughter – we gave her a bath and she still isn’t a big fan. Otherwise we are trying to find a rhythm that works for everyone. Lili seemed to like her morning and afternoon constitutionals in china, but the weather hasn’t been very cooperative since arriving home, so hopefully we can venture out for a walk today. We do miss the 75 degree weather in Ghuangzhou as I look out over the treacherous ice fields called sidewalks. Enough for now. Schoolwork calls. Ciao, -t

Never ending Jet lag…

We thought we were making headway in eliminating the jetlag, but Lili had different plans. After lulling us into a false sense of sleep security by sleeping roughly 12 hours the night before, last night she decided she wanted to keep the neighbors awake, again. After an earlier successful test run of napping in her crib in her room in the afternoon, we thought putting her down for the night would be easy. As you might surmise, we were wrong. We’ve discovered a few things – laying on a cold floor trying to comfort your screaming daughter is especially uncomfortable without your slippers on nor a comforter to keep warm; our dog Maggie is concerned by the crying and wants everyone to be happy; and if our daughter doesn’t want to sleep, no one gets to sleep (actually that’s not entirely true because I could sleep, I just choose not to).

Catherine’s jet lag is becoming epic as her sleep deficit is approaching triple digits. She’s a trooper though, trying to comfort Lili in ever more imaginative ways. If the weather outside wasn’t so miserable, I think we’d have gone for a walk. As pleasureable as watching the sky slowly change from dark night to clear blue sky with rosy sunshine was, we’d all have preferred dreaming about it instead of watching it in person, wondering if our dear daughter was ever going to sleep. However if history holds true we can hope for a good night’s sleep tonight. Right now both Catherine and Lili are sleeping as part of the morning nap routine. I’m catching up on all of my business school reading wondering how I am ever going to be ready for class next week.

We’ve taken a few pictures but they’ll have to wait until we are all firmly on eastern time. And tomorrow, after all, is another day and hopefully we’ll be fully rested and can enjoy it. -t