Saturday, October 11, 2008

Addition to Those Many BTDT Lists

For those traveling soon, we posted a few times on lessons learned with my Ramblings (mentioned two "goofs") and DH's post on Totally Senseless China Thoughts ... I have thought of a few more so add it to your list if it applies to you.

I also will add in a FIRST for Alyzabeth - Yes, she used her training potty (Friday)! She was sitting in her high chair finishing lunch and started pointing to her diaper, so I thought the usual... she's telling us after the fact. So I scooped her up and decided to stand her by her potty; at first she said No, but I sat her on it and said the words I thought we were told her Nannies' would say (don't ask!) and Voila!! She did #2 in the potty! Yeah!! Yes, I will say it again, we are excited! One, to be able to understand her and two, that she is further along than we thought. She is very smart and understands most of what we say. I don't use the sign language for taking a bath anymore, I just tell her what we will do next and she gets all excited and runs to the tub. Oh... the joys of parenting a toddler!! (No, I did not include a photo of the "poop"; I did upload the one of her in her own "booster" seat for the first time).

Here's the additional BTDT stuff.....
Using Skype was great to introduce our new daughter to family members who did not travel, so once home, she recognized them immediately. We would recommend it. Now that we are home, we will use it to introduce AA to more family members... before arriving on their doorstep. Great face and voice recognition for the little ones.

Even though AA can eat with any utensils, we still prefer using the smaller baby, plastic coated spoons for when she is feeding herself. It helps her not overload her mouth and no worrying about sharp metal edges. Also, only buy the plastic platewares/bowls with the rubber non-skid feet/bottom on them. Helps when teaching to eat at the table or high chair (isn't as easily pushed off or flung far away!)

Your In-China agency guides can get the film developed from your Care Package cameras. Be sure to ask for a CD copy of the pictures as well.

If you're taking digital pictures, download them to your computer regularly and then BURN them to a CD or DVD as a safety BACKUP.

The buses used to transport our Travel Group were modern, air conditioned and clean. You pay extra for the tours and your Agency Guides will suggest an appropriate driver tip that is paid at the end of your stay in that city. You may end up paying the driver directly or your Agency Guide. The Agency Guides will tell you which.

Squatty potties "in-China": I used them the second day in China and had no problems and I brought toilet paper (Thanks, Kim!) with me (use any paper product, tissues, napkins etc). Straddling it and balancing is tricky, just take your time, everyone will wait for you. Each stall had a hook for your purse too. Every bathroom we were in had soap and water to wash hands. We did bring small packages of anti-bacterial wipes in our day-pack/purse in case.

"In-China" suggestion for ladies: There are no tampons in China. If you don't bring your own, you will only find pads. Bring enough for your regular amount of days. I brought enough for one day thinking I could buy more supplies in China. I was desperate the second day still thinking I would find tampons in the "next" store. My DH, on his own, even approached several ladies in our travel group asking for donations! As he says, he will do anything for his lady!

In-China: I won't even write about the non-potable tap water everywhere even in 5-Star hotels. We have to bath in it but not use for drinking or brushing teeth. Just live with it. None of us got sick. Back to the original list - drink plenty of bottled water.

It was mentioned in prior comments about the multitude of sales people in department stores. The system works by shopping with them hovering over and around you; you select the item you want, they write you a ticket, you take it to the centrally located cashier, then take the receipt back to the department where your merchandise is, the clerk checks the receipt and then you finally get your purchase. Sometimes the clerks follow you to the cashier and then back to their department. It all works even though very different than us; we have never had so much help in a store! Only in grocery stores is the system like ours/America; one shops by picking up the goods and placing in the cart, then check out near the front of the store to pay but don't be surprised to find a "helper" on each aisle to assist you. Bring your own bag, any kind of bag, to grocery shop or expect to pay a nickel or so for one when you check out. Provided you need one.

One more word about the red couch photo: We did take a family photo on the red couch. There are red couches on both the first and second floor at the WS, so take the photo anytime everyone is in a good mood. We decided not to force it during the group photos. Why upset the baby and have one more un-needed screaming session? We made minute by minute decisions based on our individual child (who was not like anyone elses!).

For toddler clothes, I love the little skorts or jean skirts that have the built in shorts or matching undies. They are cute plus simpler to dress sweet AA! No diaper showing and when she is playing, no awkward un-lady-like positions to worry about! (am I too sensitive?).

Next, I am going to type up the gifts we did buy for Alyzabeth while in China and the gifts we did not (either didn't find, didn't take the time, didn't have room in luggage, couldn't find what I wanted or just decided that shopping at different times of the trip wasn't worth it). I will be searching the web for authentic Chinese products in the very near future to fill the gaps!
Update: Check Mike and Rhonda's list of advice too.

Final lesson, make tea in your room, enjoy tea in the restaurants, get to know the customs surrounding the serving of hot tea and the different types. It is gracious and social; their form of hospitality. We should have learned more to show AA. Back to the Internet I go.....

Last photo: Do they look bored listening to their morning Chinese lesson? Pillow hugging must be the coping method....


Isabella's Mommy and Daddy said...

Thanks for sharing..
Now you will have to remind me when it is my
Can't wait to see all the goodies..
We are going to buy things also.
Have a Great Weekend..
Love the pictures and sounds like AA is doing sooo well..
She is sooo beautiful..
Hugs girly..

a Tonggu Momma said...

Great list! And we so wish we had paid more attention during tea time, too.

Rhonda said...

Looking forward to seeing your list of presents.

I love that picture of AA and her daddy. :)

OziMum said...

I had the same "female sanitary product" situation in Bali! I've learnt my lesson, and pack extra while in asian countries!

I think the Dept store salespeople are on commission? We had the same experience, with the person following us around!!!

Love that last photo!

Vivian M said...

I love the last photo! And congratulations on the potty training thing! We are still working on that, ugh.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

That photo is just adorable...I love it!

Hooray for the potty....that is great news!

And as always, thanks for your incredible tips....I am saving them for future use:)

Enjoy your weekend,


Julie said...

Good tips. And way to go Ford - seeking tampon donations!

Catherine said...

So many great tips! Thanks for sharing Aly!

denise klimas said...

HI Alyson and Ford,
I sent a long email to your comcast account. Sorry. Didn't notice that you asked me to send questions about Chongqing to your blog. let me know if you can't open it. Thanks!
denise klimas

Anonymous said...

This makes me want to return to China :) It is nostalgic to recall all those details of our daughter's birthplace! Thanks!

Nina said...

Thanks for the tips (no tampons in China?? WHAT?? And Ford, what a guy you are!). These are good tips to know, since we're leaving on the 28th, yippeee!!

Love the photos, especially the "green couch" photo of daddy and AA. So precious!

Billy and Maggie said...

Thanks for all the good advice and the heads-up.

Alyson, the 3 P's Mama said...

Those are some terrific tips. I had to laugh at your comments regarding the non-potable feelings exactly!! Wasn't traveling to China amazing? I still find new things I learned or can wonder at over a year later!

Sounds like you SO had the best approach for helping AA adapt. Way to go Mom and Dad!!