Chinese New Year and Six-Year-Old Courtship

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A performer at Navy Pier’s Chinese New Year celebration

On Sunday, we packed up the girls, all decked out in their pink Valentine’s Day dresses, and we headed to Navy Pier to see the Chinese New Year celebration.

K was immediately drawn to the beautifully dressed young Chinese girls and women.  She watched in awe as young men performed Kung Fu moves to loud Chinese music.

K and A colored paper tiger masks, in honor of the Year of the Tiger, and they carefully cut out red paper Chinese letters that meant “double happiness.”

I wandered around and struck up conversations with a number of families who were celebrating with their daughters who had been adopted from China.  Many of these young girls were gloriously garbed in traditional Chinese clothing.

The children had been adopted into every type of family.  Just a few of the families I met: a single woman who had adopted a little girl; a lesbian couple who had adopted two little girls; an older couple who had adopted two little girls; a young couple who had adopted a little girl; and a middle-aged couple who had three biological sons and then adopted a little girl

As I looked around at all the beautiful beloved children, I marveled at how each of these little girls from China had transformed the lives of so many here in America.

A family has evolved into much more than the stereotypical world of Dick and Jane.  I did not see many families with an “all-American” blonde-haired, blue-eyed mother, father, son and daughter, neatly packaged into a unit with a dog named Spot.

But I did see every combination of parent and child, all content with
the families they had created.  We explained to K that these little
girls had something in common with her – they had been adopted too, but
from a different country.  She looked at them with new interest and a
kindred spirit.
K did not mention the Chinese New Year again until today.  I was
walking her to school, and we ran into A, a little boy she likes,
who is in another kindergarten section at her school.  We ran to catch
up with him, and Katie motioned for me to walk slightly behind them.

Seeking to impress A, Katie opened the conversation with, “Guess what?  This morning I put my scarf on all by myself.”

“Cool,” replied A.  “I’m wearing a turtleneck.”

“I like turtlenecks,” exclaimed K.

They walked on for a few minutes.  Then A said, “Look at this!”
and opened his mouth wide to reveal a new bloody hole in his gums.

“Awesome,” said K.  “And speaking of wiggly teeth, check this out!” and she showed him her new loose bottom tooth.

A admired her wobbly tooth.  “K, tomorrow’s my birthday.”

Katie tried to think of something to top this.

She replied, “On Sunday we went to the Chinese New Year.”

A looked at her earnestly and said, “I didn’t know you were Chinese, K.”

“I’m not,” she answered.  “I’m Jewish.  But mommy was taking pictures
of little girls adopted from China.  Like me.  I’m adopted.”

“From China?” A asked.

“No,” K patiently explained.  “From Missouri.”

Then she glanced back at me and loudly whispered, “Mommy, can I tell A what is in your tummy?”


“A,” she said furtively, “there is a person in my mommy’s stomach.”

He looked at me in disbelief, and I nodded that it was true.  He kept
staring at me, and finally he leaned in and half-whispered, “Did you
eat someone?”

“No, I ate cereal,” I reassured him.  “The person in my stomach is a baby.  I’m having a baby.”

“Is it Chinese?” he asked.

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