Bed time

At the end of the day Shi Hui (which is pronounced something more like “Shuh way”) is not ready to fall asleep. Ellen sings to her (“Dream a Little Dream of Me” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), while I download kids’ books onto my iPad.

Then I head in for the inaugural reading of The Cat in the Hat. She wants to scroll the pages forward–and backward–but eventually we settle into the story. Afterwards, Google Earth, which conveniently shows exactly where we are. If you at home type in China Hotel, Guangzhou, our room is now in the central portion looking out over the pool (the jackhammering kept getting in the way of afternoon naps).

Of course, the next trip on the globe was our home in Norfolk, so I tracked a line from Guangzhou all the way around the world to the three story house on our street. “Your house. Your home. Papa. Mama. Jei Jei. Mei Mei.” “Papa! Mama! Jei Jei! Mei Mei!” Our girl does indeed speak in perpetual exclamations.

Then I brought up pictures of the Boeing 777 that will fly us around the world, found a seating chart and once again pointed to where each of us will sit. “Jei Jei. Mei Mei. Mama. Papa.” Katherine by the window. Shi Hui in the middle, Mama on the aisle, and Papa across the aisle. No four across seating on the 777. And, once again–with feeling–“Jei Jei! Mei Mei! Mama! Papa!” as she pointed back to those seats.

If you haven’t figured it out, “Jei Jei” means big sister, and Katherine is truly the big sister now. And “Mei Mei” means little sister. “Mama” and “Papa” kind of speak for themselves.

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Brian Brennan

I am a writer and a teacher. I have lived in Philadelphia, Binghamton, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Northern Virginia. I have sailed on the ocean and flown over the North Pole. I write fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

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