Yesterday Megan went to Beijing to pick up some friends who are visiting us from Indiana, and I’ve been cold chillin’ in Tianjin with Grace. Today Grace and I took a ten minute walk to KFC where daddy got his dinner. When walking with Grace we usually avoid the fruit vendors because Grace gets rather upset if she can’t hold the fruit. I decided to be a risk taker today though and purchase some bananas. Grace passed with flying colors. No screamin’ and cryin’. PTL. As I chomped on my Mexican wrap and cold fries at home, I popped in a Signing Times DVD for Grace. When she realized what was on TV, Grace was so excited that I know we would have won 10,000 bucks on AFV had I been taping her. These Signing Times DVDs are great. I highly recommend them. They teach American Sign Language to all kids in a fun and easy to comprehend way. I’ve only watched the DVDs a few times, but I think my ASL is better than my Chinese now! Of course I’m exaggerating, but that statement can be said of Grace. She has picked up on a number of the signs, and it’s so cool. She can’t say to us that her stomach is feeling a little empty, but she can sign it. It’s amazing what kids can learn. Grace’s oral skills are quite limited, but one of the words she says regularly is Amen. I love that. Makes me nearly cry. Not much else to report. Changed some stanky diapers, danced with my daughter to the tunes of Kirk Franklin, splashed water during bathtime, cleaned the mess Grace left behind after her meals, and read some Bible stories before hitting the sack. God is good. Amen.
The past three weeks have been busy now that I’m back in the classroom, but life has been going extremely well for the Wickershams. Today we celebrated a very special day that is worthy of me taking time out to write a blog – Grace’s first birthday. Megan put up some fun b-day decorations in our home, made a delicious strawberry cake, brewed coffee for the moms and moi, and took lots of pics of a bunch of kids makin’ our home a whole lot livelier. It’s fair to say Grace didn’t realize there was a party in her honor, but she enjoyed it nevertheless. Grace hunkered down on her cupcake making quite the mess. She was rather slow in unwrapping her gifts so some of her older neighborhood pals were able to assist in that process. She not only enjoyed what she received, but was noticeably happy with the wrapping as well. Thanks to Sony we caught it all on video so we look forward to watching September 1st, 2006 many more times.
In case you live on another planet, the biggest sporting event in the world is taking place right now in Germany. No, I’m not talking about the Olympics. That was two years ago in Greece. I’m talking about the FIFA World Cup. Most know that soccer is something I enjoy tremendously, so I often get asked if I’ve been watching any of the World Cup games. To the surprise of many, I’ve observed only small portions of a few games. I’ve been keeping up a little through the wonderful world wide web. With my new role as a father, soccer must take a backseat. Fatherhood certainly does have its perks though. Grace does a great job filling up the Pampers just after they’ve been changed. No big deal. We have hundreds. Hearing dada from time to time is super cool even though she might not know what she’s saying (Let me believe). She enjoys smearing egg yolk all over her face which cracks us up. I should try it some time. I think Grace would enjoy the bonding. When I come home from Chinese lessons now there are always two smiles waiting for me that I can count on. After we’ve done some mild wrestling on the bed she might spit up in excitement. Maybe in the future she’ll be like dad and do snot rockets on the pitch. Continuing to squeeze my face with her iron grip despite my yelp of pain seems to be something she likes. We have a tough one here. I won’t be surprised if she drives on the old man one day and dunks the ball in my face. I’ll respect it. Grace is also excellent at slobbering all over the furniture. I was guilty of that in my younger days too. With all these perks for me to enjoy, I don’t mind missing World Cup games at all.
It’s nearly midnight, and my wife and daughter are sound asleep. Normally I zonk out before Megan, but my mind is thinkin’ a million things. It has been quite a life changing week. You see I officially became a daddy on Monday. When we return home to Tianjin on Saturday our second bedroom will no longer be a place of total quietness. I now have a nine month old girl who likes to shake her head when filled with joy, clap her hands to the sounds of music, and laugh with excitement when dada plays peek-a-boo. The past 3 1/2 days we’ve been absolutely thrilled to see Grace’s personality get livelier and livelier. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we’re pumped to see Grace attaching to us so quickly. On day one Grace didn’t want me holding her, but now she is all about hangin’ with poppa. With almost two months before I have to return to work, Megan and I are extremely thankful that Grace and I will have lots of time to hang out. His timing is always perfect. I’m blown away that our Father would allow me to be a father. He has done great things for us, and we are glad. He is GRACIOUS in all his works. Xiexie Shangdi.