When we first met Q in Nanjing, her orphanage director and accompanying nanny told us that she was a good girl. They also told us that she was clever. "Very clever," they said. And they said it more than once.
I wasn't sure at the time what they meant by "clever", what that word means to a Chinese native who only speaks a few words of English, or where, in fact, they even found that word.
As I've come to know her, I've realized that Q is in fact - there's no other word for it - a very, very clever girl.
M. came home on his dinner break tonight, which he does on those nights when he is able to snatch a bit of time, just before QQ's bedtime. I made her dinner and let him feed and play with her a bit while I snuck a much-needed shower. Having daddy around off-hours always gets Q a bit worked up. She delights in having both her parents "in range", and will actually fall from one of our arms into the other's, back and forth, ad infinitum, if we'll let her.
Daddy's exciting presence distracted her a bit from her dinner, so when he left I sat her down in my lap, stroked her a bit, and generally urged her to settle down and focus on eating. She did (with some coaxing) suck down about 2/3 of her dinner. When she decided she was done, she slid off my lap - bottle still in hand - marched down the hall.... and dumped her bottle in the toilet.
Now, this was probably the first and only time we've forgotten and left the toilet lid up since she stuffed M's iPod (and various other objects) down it, resulting in a rather expensive plumbing tab.
Hearing the unmistakable sound of a foreign object landing in toilet water, I rushed into the bathroom and told her "no!".
Upon which she stuffed her hands in the toilet as well.
I pulled her hands out and told her "NO!" Rather loudly, this time.
I washed her hands briskly in the sink and deposited her unceremoniously back out in the hall.
Unfortunately, I then had the poor judgement to turn my back for a second to find the scrub brush, intending to clean the toilet before I closed it again. In that split second, she managed to throw her juice bottle into the bowl as well.
Open defiance. Right? I mean, we've determined that she now understands virtually everything we say (including, no doubt, things we don't intend her to understand).
So I picked her up, carried her to her room, and shut the door. Time-out.
I have never given her a time-out....this was her first. I didn't plan on leaving her in there any longer than it took me to clean and secure the toilet. But it didn't even take her that long...she had no trouble whatsoever escaping (completely unphased by my agitation, btw) through the bedroom doors (which she only just two days ago learned to open). When I blocked her escape and confronted her with a stern expression, she just turned her back and walked away.
So, I sat down on the floor and said, "QQ, come here, I need to talk to you."
She looked at me and backed up a few steps.
I said, "QQ, I need you to come here right now."
After a moment's thought, she did.
I took her by the wrists and looked into her eyes and said, very calmly, "QQ, what do we do when Mommy says 'NO'?"
Without so much as an instant's hesitation, she leaned forward and kissed me directly on the mouth. A big, full-lip smackeroo.
Understand, dear friends, that this was the first time she's ever voluntarily kissed anyone of her own accord. She allows herself to be kissed, yes, and if you say "Can I have a kiss?" she will incline either her cheek or her forehead toward us for a kiss. But this was the very first time she has ever deliberately performed the act of kissing with her own mouth.
Amazing. Absolutely astonishing.
Just try to tell me that kid doesn't know EXACTLY what she's doing.
...oh, P.S.....did it work? Why yes. It did. Mommy lit up like a Christmas tree, hugged her, clapped, and told her how much she loved her. And QQ went back to her sweet, willing, obedient, charming self. Toilet incident forgotten. Who won this round? Well, clearly she did.