Parenting in Shanghai


My baby girl turns 15 today.  I can’t believe it.  It all feels like yesterday.  I can remember the Easter morning I woke up on Cape Cod and found out for sure that I was pregnant.  I remember calling my best friend back home and she knew right away why I was calling and we shrieked and giggled and cried a little together.   Then, in the still wee hours of the morning I returned to my room to find my four year old son curled up with his dad in bed and my 1 1/2 year old son still curled up in his porta crib.  I wondered, how is it I could possibly have enough love for another child – or enough time to show that love?  My husband had spent so much time trying to convince me that our family was complete with our two sons and I was just starting to be won over to his point of view.  That day I learned the true meaning of the saying ‘when man makes plans, God laughs!’

We celebrated that morning with my boys and my in-laws.

I spent the next nine months traveling once a week by car, one and a half hours each way and the boys in tow, to have a blood test and get genetic counseling and medical advise.  It turned out that I have a negative marker on my blood (like Rh neg.) but there is no shot for my marker.  So my new baby was at serious risk of attack from my own body.  The doctors monitored my antibody levels and gave me advice about possible in-utero transfusions for my unborn child.  When none of their dire warnings came to fruition it was my first clue that this would be a child who would seize life and make the most of it.

She was born on a clear, crisp winter morning.  My boys made cupcakes to bring to the hospital for her to help her celebrate her birthday.   Of course the boys got the full benefit of the cake, but they did sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to their new sister.  She was wide eyed and hairy as all get out!  Since she was a little early she still had the thick fuzz of a pre natal baby.  And since she has very dark, curly hair, she looked a little like a baby neanderthal!  I was lovingly reassured by my mom and mother in law that this dark fuzz would disappear  and my daughter would look like a human soon enough.  And boy did she ever!

These past years have flown by.  My spunky, loving, kind, thoughtful, deep thinking daughter is now 15.  This year, after having moved halfway around the world, started in a new school, a new language, new friends.  And tonight she is with four of the funniest, nicest friends one could imagine.  They come from all over the world and have all decided to make the most of this crazy life their parents have thrown them into.

The plan is pizza at our apartment, then go to a karaoke club for an hour or so, then return for cake and a sleep over with movies.  All the girls arrived and were noisily working on catching up on news -they hadn’t seen each other for a whole 24 hours! – and I told them they had to get ready if they wanted to go out.  Bags were collected and they crowded into the bathroom and the giggling began in full force.  What happened next was something neither Hubby nor I were fully prepared for……Makeup!!!!

Several of the girls had come supplied with enough makeup to stage a full broadway production.  The resident makeup artist gave my daughter a full on ‘smokey eye’. Yikes!!

So here is my baby – then and now…..

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