Monday, December 10, 2007

Showdown at the Guangzhou Corral

We went to dinner tonight at an Azerbaijani restaurant named Baku, just down the street from our hotel. "Here is so pleasant to smoke hookah," the brochure says, and while we didn't encounter any hookah smoking there, we did have the first major battle of wills with Xiao-Ling.

After we were finished eating, our daughter was playing with the plastic number marker on the table indicating that we were sitting at table 4. She got a little too excited and knocked it onto the floor. Pick it up, we said. She just stared back at us with a very dirty look on her face. It was an expression which said, plain as day, that she understood us perfectly but didn't feel like complying, that she could stare us down whenever she felt like it.

Of course, we could not let her get away with this, so we returned her stare, with our daughter's gaze going back and forth between the two of us and with occasional repeated directives from us to pick up the marker. Since the restaurant is open 24 hours, Jacquie could and did legitimately promise not to let anyone go back to the hotel and to bed until Xiao-Ling picked up the marker. We even waved away the waitress who came over to pick it up for us, telling her that it was our daughter's job and she would do it come hell or high water.

No one gave an inch.

This went on for twenty-one minutes. I counted it on my watch.

Finally, Xiao-Ling's expression softened and she grinned. Her point made, that she could give as good as she gets, she bent over and picked up the marker. We all laughed and hugged, with lots of kisses and giggles, and all was forgiven.

Jacquie and Xiao-Ling in particular celebrated together by holding up the mother-daughter jade pendants they had gotten on Shamian Island earlier today. They each kissed their own pendant, then each others. Then there was much kissing of silken cheeks, puffed up with smiles and pride that we had all come through this narrow place together.

When we originally got our little girl's psych profile from China, it said that she was very stubborn. I guess she just proved it, and she fits quite well into this family filled with stubborn souls.

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