Miles is two years and three months old. David will be 33 his next birthday. Miles is David’s son and David is my nephew, so that makes Miles my great-nephew. In many ways, Miles reminds me of David at that age. But there are differences too. David was tall and thin with blond curly hair and a big smile. Miles is tall and thin with black curly hair, a big smile, a lovely olive complexion and oval eyes. Miles is half Chinese, so he has his mother’s coloring and eyes, but his dad’s build, smile and curly hair. I met Miles for the first time this past week, at my sister’s, Miles’ grandmother’s house. He ran around chattering in Chinese. He was very active and not shy at all, even though he was meeting a lot of new people, who only spoke English. His dad speaks a lot of English to him, so Miles’ comprehension of English was growing and he was using English words like – car, motorcycle, money, too spicy, please and thank you.
It was fun for me to see David as a dad. He was so patient with Miles, always taking time to explain things to him. One of their favorite things to do was to walk down to the creek at the back of the house and throw rocks into the water. David would help Miles find lots of little rocks and then hand them to him, one at a time, so Miles could throw them into the water. As each rock went in and splashed water, Miles would laugh and David would express admiration for the splash. This activity could go on for quite awhile, as Miles never seemed to tire of it. But as time went on, Miles wanted to try bigger and bigger rocks, to make bigger and bigger splashes. He even tried to pick up stepping stones from the neighbor’s yard. Here was Miles doing something that kids have done for generations and probably all over the world. It has universal kid appeal, an activity that David did as a child and now Miles was doing it.
Another favorite activity for Miles is one that his dad didn’t do as a child. Miles had his own iPad – his parents bought it and loaded it with games, to keep him entertained on the long plane ride from Beijing to Austin Texas. Miles could play games on his iPad all by himself but he often preferred to sit in the lap of one of the many doting adults and play. We all took turns being fascinated by all the things on his iPad, particularly the talking dog and cat.
So Miles is a very modern-day, yet traditional kid. He loved jumping into the swimming pool to his grandmother. He would play peek-a-boo with his aunties. His favorite seat in the car was the driver’s seat. He always seemed to be faster than his parents at getting out of his car seat and into the driver’s seat. As he sat there, pretending to be the driver, I could see his dad doing the same thing 31 years ago and looking out the window at his dad with the same big smile on his face.