Oh, my! I have a very special post to write today.
This evening as Q and I were preparing to set out for our long evening walk, the UPS man rang our bell with a very special package in his arms.
I have long been in love with the stunning paintings of Jeanne-ming Brantingham, an artist who born and raised in Formosa (Taiwan) who does amazing sculptural paintings, each with a story that goes with it, based on friends and neighbors from her childhood home on Wu Feng road in the town of Chai Yi.

Recently, I fell helplessly in love with one particular painting of hers, and am as of tonight the exceptionally proud owner thereof (talk about exceeding joy!)
The package that arrived on our doorstep, however, appeared to be far too large for just one painting.

As it happens, Jeanne-ming is also the woman behind Bunnies by the Bay.

Hence, thanks to Jeanne-mings overflowing love and generosity, Q became the recipient of BaoBao the bear, who comes with a fuzzy blanket and an adoption tag, telling the story of how he was found bundled on the doorstep of a family of bunnies.
Now, here's the interesting part: Q has never been enamoured of either stuffed animals or dolls. Though she has learned (with a little nudging from her speech therapist) to indulge in imaginary play (something that comes slowly to most children who were raised in an orphanage) she has never, NEVER shown any indication of imaginary play that involves nurturing. I always put this down to her tomboy nature, and her innate dislike for dolls. But it is an element that has remained absent from her development...up until today.

Obviously, Q doesn't read yet, nor has she yet accepted any of our explanations about her adoption, so it was not the story on the tag that struck her. But when I said the word "bao bao" (which means "baby" in Chinese) she gave me an odd look, placed the bear's face against her shoulder, and began rhythmically stroking the back of its head.

There must be some form of magic either in the bear or in its sender (or, more likely, a combination of the two) because from there on out it was love at first sight between Q and her BaoBao bear.

On our two-hour walk, she alternately stroked and rocked him, fed him bits of her snacks and sips of her juice, pressed his face against hers for multiple kisses, murmured to him and even hummed twinkle-twinkle to him as she held him in her arms. I heard her muttering "baobao" and "mama" to him repeatedly (quite a feat for a child who can barely talk outside of sign language) and she put him down for naps on her knees and woke him up again at least a dozen times. Toward the end of our walk, she held his face up next to her cheek and made the "kaching" sound that means "photo". She wanted me to take a picture of them together.
In case you're wondering, she was also a big fan of the painting that her mother was so madly in love with. Here she is matching the card to the painting.
It now hangs directly above the little vintage school desk where she does her drawing, partly to inspire her and partly to watch over her.

When we got home, I put her in her pjs and put her in bed with a bottle of warm milk and her BaoBao beside her. When I checked her again, there they were, heads side-by-side on the pillow, the BaoBao blanket (another gift from Jeanne-ming) tucked around them both. She was murmuring to him under her breath and feeding him alternate sips of her milk. Five minutes later, she was sound asleep. This is from a two-year-old who has, of late, been taking up to an hour and a half to fall asleep after being put in her crib at night.

Unprecedented, I tell you. Some sort of magic is obviously at work here.


Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

Magical indeed! Seriously, I have tears in my eyes just picturing Q falling in love with BaoBao, her new special little friend.

Jo @ life in lists said...

What a lovely day for you both, and what fantastic capturing of the event, as always!

Carol Jeandel said...

Friendly and talent women She's kind really I also had been received the mail from her of her friendly mail !

caramelcaramelo said...

lovely! just lovely! such beautiful energy emanating from all three of you well four if we count bao-bao. kenza.

sk said...

Wow! What an awesome gift, and a lovely story.

Yoli said...

What an amazing woman she is, she is full of love that lady. Congratulations on owning such a speacial piece! Isn't it wonderful that she gave Q her first love of a stuffed toy?

Shaista said...

Dear Maia,
I am so excited and happy to see my dearest lovely Jeanne-Ming's painting travelling and arriving at your doortstep and now watching over Q. I still can't quite believe that Jeanne named her exhibition 'Warrior' in honour of me, and now, Bao-Bao... what strange and wonderful connections await us, just around the corners of our days.
One day, perhaps soon!, I know I will have both your works adorning a space near me. I have always been privileged with my parents' art displayed in every room - but I don't think they will mind sharing their space with the two of you :)

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

All day I have been in a dreamy fog. Happy and filled with QQ's exceeding joy. Reading your post was an affirmation of why I work and why I paint.

Next week I go to China and will visit the dear friends who make Bao Bao in our workshop there. They have taken special pride in Bao Bao because they all believe in the Red Thread. I know they will be thrilled.
Thank you Maia.

FDChief said...

What a lovely story. Made me think, a little, of A.A. Milne's friend Christopher Robin and HIS little friend:

"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin."

Katherine Alyce said...

What a beautiful story! And such a lovely experience for Q.

Charlie said...

Oh Maia, that is such an amazing story! I feel like I know you both. I am so touched and so happy to read what an impact this has had on precious Q. It is magical and such a blessing. She now has her BaoBao to care for and sleep with. all the while keeping each other company. It's lovely. Hugs to you both!