These darn kids can keep on surprising you. There is a big meeting of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Beijing right now. 50 or so big time American editors here for a gathering of the tribe. Jim Pensiero, an Assistant ME of the Journal is among them. Last night he and Becky were talking and he said that today they were heading for a tour of the Summer Palace, one of the big destinations here, where I went with my in-laws but no one else in the family has been yet. Jacob listed it the other day as the place he most wants to visit..
“Oh., I haven’t been there yet,” Becky said. “But we have to go. Jacob is obsessed with seeing it.”
“Why doesn’t he come with us?” Jim asked. “I’d love to take care of him.”
Last night, we asked Jacob if he’d like to go.
“Instead of school you mean?’
“Oh yeah! I’m going.”
“Jacob you won’t know anyone there. You will be the only kid with a large group of adults and neither of us will be there. Our fried will take care of you, so you’ll be fine… but do you understand?”
“Yeah. I want to go.”
I double checked again this morning and he kept saying, “yeah, yeah. Jim will take care of me.”
So I said, “Jacob, do you realize that it is not Olivia’s dad, Jim?” [I had a strong gut instinct that he thought it was Jim Yardley, whom he knows pretty well.]
“Oh, it’s not? I thought it was.”
Short pause… “I still want to go.”
So Mr. Lu picked Becky and Jacob up at 7:15 this morning and they set of for the far-away Intercontinental Hotel. I was a little worried that they would get there and he would grab Becky’s leg and not want to go, but no. Apparently, after a tiny bit of shyness, he shook hands with Jim and bounded onto the bus. We packed him a lunch and put his sketch pad into his backpack and gave him some money to buy a disposable camera and snacks.
I stopped by his class this morning when dropping off eli and picked up his homework and filled in his teacher on his absence. She thought it was great and said he would get extra credit if he gives a report on his experience to the class tomorrow. Yet another reason Jacqui Cameron is a great second grade teacher.
Here are some of the emails between Becky. Jim and me that ensued this afternoon.
If you get a chance, please tell Jacob that his teacher is very excited that he is doing this. She thinks it sounds very cool — and she said to tell him that he will get a merit if he comes back tomorrow and gives a report.
Rebecca: Will pass this along. We’re at the palace now and we’re having a great time. He has a camera and summer palace book and has warmed up and is charming all the editors. Jim
Thanks for escorting jacob. Have fun and please let us know if any columns are to be written about him.
Alan: We’re having a great time. Checking out the fish at the restaurant (sturgeon, carp and catfish in a tank). The Chinese love him, and want to have their pictures taen with him. All best. Jim
We’ve just got back at the hotel from the palace. Jacob and are seeking out a soda before bus leaves here at 2.30 for the China Daily.
Alan, I’m so proud of him.. I was telling him not to burp on the way over!
I am also very proud of him. It feels like a landmark moment to me.
And so it goes. I discussed this with Dixie last night and he said, “Well, sooner or later they wave good bye, turn their back and walk away. It happens at different times for different kids.” It happed today for Jacob, for the first time. Interestingly, he has been extremely cuddly and loving with both of us lately.
Becky is picking him up at the China Daily [English language propganda paper, where the editors are going] and escorting him to me at the hospital, where I am taking Eli this afternoon for his final wound cleaning. It is almost totally healed. Saturday, we see Dr. Ma for a final checkup and I anticipate being given a clean bill of health. It has been hell of a month with him.