Raelynn, with the infamous ugly necklace and her mommy (me) posing in front of some new artwork in our home which my husband selected in order to rid us of his parents' crappy decorating tastes.
Someone very small and cute is a tired little girl today because yesterday was her big day! Yes, Raelynn in all her adorableness that shined through despite being forced to wear ugly jewelry to make her grandmother happy had a very special day for her 100-day party. It was quite the success!
I'll admit, the day started off in a troublesome way. At 6:30am, my husband's phone rang. It was his driving coach. 6:30am. Saturday morning. Whatinthefuck! See, driving school here seems much like fraternities and hell week. You get a call and you HAVE TO go to your lesson, whenever that might be. And, I'm being totally serious here too, if you bribe the guy with cigarettes, he'll make you a priority. Lovely, huh? So, off "Lane" goes to learn how to drive as badly as the rest of the residents of Qingdao (which includes but is not limited to riding in two lanes at once, honking constantly, side-swiping, driving toward oncoming traffic, aiming for pedestrians and turning around while driving to look at the person in the backseat while you're driving) but not before telling me that his parents would be coming at around 9am. I should mention the party was to start at noon. I try to go back to sleep but with this curse looming about the room, threatening me to have no privacy in getting ready thanks to our open wall between our bedroom and living room (see Photographic Evidence of My Mother-in-Law's Destruction for photos), plus Raelynn who is happily cooing away in her crib, it was impossible.
Somehow, I managed to get both of us dressed before my in-laws invaded. I had to finish my make-up so I bit my tongue and smiled big and fake while handing them the baby. I had the A/C on in our room but when I saw how sweaty these two were, particularly my FIL, I cranked up the A/C on the other side of our apartment too. He reached for the baby but I instead pointed him towards the water jug and the A/C. But my MIL in her infinite lack of wisdom comes from the bathroom after freshly washing her hands, takes the baby and then I watch in horror (and anger) as she hands Raelynn, in her new, pretty dress, to my FIL who is still sweating profusely. I go in my room and strangle one of the pillows on the bed and remind myself that this is Raelynn's big day. And I make a mental note to slather some more baby lotion on her to get their smell off of her before we go.
According to my husband, the banner basically roughly translates to "Happy 100 Day Celebration."
After that though, the party was a hit, despite an odd start. We arrive and about 30 of my husband's family members are all there happily greeting us. I think MIL might have coached them on not touching the baby which I have to say impressed me because they kept their hands to themselves (I'd prepared disinfecting wipes and even rubbing alcohol in case I ran out of the wipes). But they did crowd around to have a good look at her. She'd fallen asleep in her carrier until we arrived there, at which point she looks around at everyone else, then looks up at me, frowns and begins crying. She was already so tired and now there was a lot of noise, new people and she was in a new place. She wasn't happy about this arrangement. At all.
All of my husband's relatives edge in for a gander at Raelynn. You can barely see me as they surround us!
I manage to calm her down and as relatives come up to take a look, they hand us the traditional red money envelopes. In Chinese culture, it's very rude to open up a gift when you receive it, for you will appear greedy. Knowing this, I smiled heartily, thanked each giver and stuck them safely away for later.
The dump-truck stroller, as my friend Genesis dubbed it, which weighs so much that it is actually more inconvenient to us to use it.
We make our way to one of 3 tables in the large party room of this restaurant. I've got Raelynn in her dump-truck stroller next to me, which we brought along to appease MIL though we plan to sell it soon since it is utterly useless to us (and poor "Lane" is wiped out from carrying it down the stairs of our building and then up all the stairs inside the restaurant). And I soon begin to fear that despite how hungry I am, I won't get to eat. The room is air conditioned but as is the case with Chinese people who would sooner die of heat stroke than just pay the extra money on the electric bill for 2 months out of the year, they don't have it turned up nearly enough. It's still hot as all hell in there and Raelynn is upset because of it. I'm fanning her with one hand and using the other hand to roll the massive stroller back and forth to calm her down. FIL comes and scoops her up so I can eat something and she's happy to be with her grandpa.
Yes, it's the real deal. Chinese food in China.
But I'm not happy at this point. The food they bring out are things I do not at all care for. There is a chicken dish which isn't bad but that is all. Oh and the wine. And beer. But soon, my mood brightens because they start bringing Chinese dishes that I adore, like roasted duck and a whole large steamed fish. Suddenly, this party's not so bad. I also notice that every time I empty my glass, it is suddenly filled back up again.
My FIL makes a toast. He's actually a lot of fun to drink with.
Meanwhile, MIL hogs the baby all to herself. But it looks like Raelynn is making her fart side-eye face so maybe I dodged a bullet there.
Plus, Raelynn has calmed down now. And despite I haven't gotten to hold her since we got there which makes me sad and a bit angry, I remember that I have to be gracious. My in-laws paid for this party. Plus, if I am rude to them in front of the extended family, it will more than embarrass my husband. It will break his heart into pieces. So, I do my best to try to speak as much Chinese as I can, I clink my glass with each guest and I remind myself this is all for Raelynn. And in the end, she's all that matters. Happy 100 Days Raelynn! You make our whole world complete!