In my last post, I mentioned that we had guests over for dinner on Tuesday night. We enjoyed eating huoguo (literally translated "firepot") together. It's a really fun meal experience. There is a simmering pot of broth in the middle of the table, and then we gradually put in the ingredients of our dinner: plates of fresh spinach and other greens, cabbage, mushrooms, chunks of tofu, strips of tofu skins, a ground meat mixture to make meatballs, some shaved meat bought for this purpose and at the end, rice noodles. Actually, anything that cooks relatively quickly in boiling water can be used. As the ingredients cook, each person can take out portions, dip it in a yummy sauce made from sesame paste, and eat! John and I were excited to host this meal--it was our first time to try this at home. In our city, there are numerous restaurants that are solely firepot restuarants, but it is relatively expensive compared to other Asianese food. But now that we bought the special pot and have done it once successfully, I have a feeling we'll be eating a lot of this as the winter progresses. A fun and tasty meal, even if we didn't have any real fire and just used an electric pot!
In this culture, it is typical when you visit someone's home to bring them a small gift. Usually it is something simple, like fruit at the peak of freshness or something small for a child. Our guests the other night were no exception. We have been friends with the guy for a long time, and every time he comes he has brought some sort of gift--some useful and enjoyable and others that were real doozies. One time he brought some pears from his hometown (well-known for its pears, so a real treat) but another time he brought us a truly ugly sculpture made from seashells whose edges were so sharp it was a hazard for adults, much less kids! This gift, at right, fell into the "doozie" category. Can you see what it is supposed to be? I guess it is some sort of rabbit, with arms that swing up and down and beat that small hammer against itself. It was made of clay and quite heavy (as well as quite breakable!). The outside was painted but some of the paint was chipped--maybe he made it himself? Who knows! It truly is the thought that counts!
Lest you were worrying that the pool of pee had something to do with our meal, rest assured it did not. It is an entirely different topic: lately Clara Anne seems to have decided that she is done with diapers. She has been guilty of taking off her own diaper during naptime several times in the last few days; unfortunately that has added significantly to my laundry load. It baffles me that she can be punished for something and then do it again the next time she has opportunity! Oh, the stubborn heart!
However, the pool of pee occured quite innocently. I had just finished giving Clara Anne a bath, and boy, did she need it. Her hair had some yogurt crusties on one side and some sweet potato crusties on the other side, her nails were really dirty and just before the bath she had had a really stinky diaper. So though bathtime is a bit of an ordeal (since we don't have hot water in our taps I have to plan ahead to heat water in a small electric pot) I was relieved to get her into the warm soapy water and help her get squeaky clean again. After a lovely time splashing, playing, and scrubbing, I dried her off and sent her walking ahead of me to her room to get dressed. Just as I was gathering up the diaper, onesie, and jammies, I heard a splashing sound. I looked over and Clara Anne was standing, shocked, in a pool of her own pee on our wood floors. It was only the second time to experience this feeling (i.e. without a diaper) and she was a little afraid. I reassured her and immediately said, "Don't move!" But, unwisely not heeding her mama, she stepped...and slipped...and her feet went right out from under her and she landed on her back, her hair right in the middle of the puddle, soaking it all up. Oh dear, Clara Anne! I scooped her right up and brought her back to the bathroom, where she went right back into the tub, which thankfully had not yet been emptied. Otherwise it would have been a cold-water rinse for her!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, your time is coming, Clara Anne! These diapers aren't going to last forever!