Friday, December 30, 2011
Jeju Island: Marine Park with Trick Eye Museum, Glass Museum, Chocolate Musuem, Circus World, Boat Cruise, Sunset at Jungmun Beach
We hired a Christmas pension (what I would call a magical Christmas cabin) with Korrine and two more of Dan's fellow teachers, Heather and Jessica, and went to Korea's southern island, Jeju, for the holiday. In so doing, we accomplished our first flights and our first vacation with our sweetest son. I keep saying that he behaves much more readily in public than he does at home, and this trip only further proved this observation. From the moment we woke up on Friday morning, he could tell something was amiss. He was distracted by our excitement and especially by our sorting and packing. So he fussed around for the morning, but the second we took him out in public, he was smiling and charming away. While we were gone, he ate wonderfully and without complaint, he was sleeping through until 6:30 most mornings, and he cheered his way through every overstimulating situation. Today, our first day at home, and he's back to labored eating, and last night, our first night at home, he woke up for an hour at 2:30 (and the next night at 1, 2, 3, and 4, practicing counting, I suppose). He's a silly guy.
He definitely loves the attention of all of his aunties, and Korrine is so good with him. One day Dan and I both accidentally fell asleep, and I woke up to see Korrine and Joah quietly chatting in the kitchen. She definitely taught him how to stick out his tongue last week, and he's been blowing raspberries with it since we got home.
It's not just aunties who puff up his ego. We were at a galbi-tang (beef rib stew) restaurant, and a waitress came and swooped him up off the floor and walked around with him. We even watched him shake hands with the chef. And on our last day, we took a boat ride that culminated in a mob of people taking his picture as we de-boated. It was completely insane, and he loved it.
Jeju was wonderful, and, of course, it's supposed to be a magical little island. I would liken it to the island baby of Florida and Kentucky. It is notched by jagged rock formations and carpeted in orange groves. Volcanoes were responsible for much of its existence, so porous lava rock is everywhere and celebrated. We set a relaxing pace for ourselves and got to pet dolphins and blow glass, sample chocolate and watch the sun set. Our only troubles were with grumpy taxi drivers, but that sort of thing happens everywhere.
My favorite part of all of it, though, was just how much it felt like a vacation. I guess I have never really needed a vacation before. Turning into the mom version of human is such a feat, though, that I was ready for a break from the driving beat of every day (weekends don't seem to exist for nursing infants). The fact that everyone else made meals and allowed me to just sit and take care of the baby was such a gift. On Christmas, we stayed home and baked cookies and ate cookies and watched Home Alones and did present exchanges, both proper and White Elephant. This year's Thanksgiving and Christmas have been the most authentic holidays since we left home for Seoul. Such a boon.
Speaking of cookies, though, I think Joash is going to have quite the adjustment period as his food slowly morphs back from spice and sugar into nutrients. So much cookie consumption.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Christmas Tree, Train, and Gingerbread House at the Millennium Hilton
So I just realized that I didn't post the extant pictures of Joah in his Santa hat. But now seems as good a time as any since we adorned him with that hat to go look at his first proper Christmas tree. We hiked up some treacherous alley inclines, scaling staircases inappropriately steep. But we otherwise arrived in the lobby of the Millennium Hilton without much difficulty. We immediately set to disrobing the child, discarding his snowsuit, and Dan set to waiting in line for our photo opportunity. Every event in Seoul is always excessively attended, but the holiday urgency did make this feel more fun and Christmasy.
We found two smaller Christmas trees outside of one of the hotel's restaurants, and that's actually where Joash got to engage. He could touch those trees, and he definitely liked exploring a new texture. It will be nice for him when he can sit somewhere and caress things to his heart's content, without being bound by the limited strength of his parents' arms. And I'm sure I'll cry because he doesn't need me anymore.
Even just now I watched him discover that he can lay his head down when he flips on his belly and so doesn't have to flail in desperation, unable to flip back over. Such an independent.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
We actually have no halls at all in our apartment, but we decked our window wall and a corner anyway. Joah participated by watching me cut out snowflakes and later sitting on Dan's lap while we put foil on our plastic Christmas tree (sorry to both Radiohead and Joni Mitchell).
Dan's early Christmas present to me was showing me how to watch the Today Show on demand on the XBox. For whatever reason it isn't blocked in Korea. During tonight's 3.5 hour baby eats, I have been watching the latest episode. Ignoring background American TV has helped soothe the sting of my holiday-triggered homesickness.
Baby's new trick: chewing chins and with gusto.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
I just realized as I set out to type it that the nickname I readily call my son is unspellable. I often call him any variation of the word booger. This includes: boogie, boogity (prompting recitations of this), and boog. But when you just write boog, it looks like you have written boog (rhymes with boob) not boog (rhymes with book). I feel like this serves as a proof that something or someone doesn't exist.
But, that someone turned four months old today! Another time-space continuum conundrum is that his birthday is August 7th, but he won't be four months old in his home country until tomorrow. Once we move back to America, we will always celebrate his birthday a day late, and what if we were to fly to Korea on August 6th? He'd miss his birthday entirely! But if we flew to the states on August 7th, he'd get two birthdays. I think the tangential nature of this post has something to do with the chronic naplessness of the aforementioned booger and/or the coffee I drank earlier.
Moving on, four months. And I took some pictures of his new and seasonal morning ritual: the cuddling of the Christmas lights. Maybe that's why he can't sleep? Who knows (but the internet)!