Wednesday, February 29, 2012


As in, un-fun. Our international flight experience with United was lame. I said we reserved a bassinet. Apparently, you have to pay a fee of several hundred dollars to secure the bulkhead seats to sit near your bassinetted baby. Instead they just moved the person seated in our row, so our kid had to try to sleep on a convex surface with his head up against that bulky part of the armrest that doesn't fold up. Maybe I shouldn't complain because it's nice that they arranged a free seat for us? Or maybe I should complain because the world is sometimes hostile to mothers of young children. I spent the five hours that he fitfully slept with my folded body stuffed in the gap between our row of seats and the row in front of us to keep my sleeping son from rolling off the seat onto the floor, oh, yeah, except when there were two bumps of turbulence and the flight attendant came by and curtly told Dan that "she [me] has to sit up and buckle, too." Okay, so I'll just let my baby bounce onto the floor, then. Thanks for all your attending.

And how about how flight attendants don't smile back at you, even though you say lots of affirming gratitude words? On Korean Air, the flight attendants bring you extra steam buns and hold people's babies just for fun.

On our second United flight, the flight attendants had to refuse to let people move to the empty exit row seats because those seats now cost more money to fly in. So, in case of emergency, no one's going to open the doors and lead us down the slip and slide unless they wanted to pay 50 dollars for that extra inch of leg room.

Also, since when does a six hour flight come with no food service of any kind? Not even a peanut or a pretzel.

And, why is TV on United only for first class? And why do first class seat belts have shoulder straps? Why not be more obvious about how much more you value the lives of the rich people?

I hated other things about the flight, too, but I can't remember them now. It was the longest 6 hours of my life, even longer than the ones I spent in labor (but with marginally less stinging).

It's not all bad, though. My parents drove to and from Orlando in one day to pick us up and meet our boy. He loves them and loves touching their faces. My brother paid Joah the highest compliment I think my brother could pay a baby and said that he looked CGI. Also, the fridge raiding in America has been exceptional. They have salami here. And pickles! And leftover spaghetti. My mom baked me two cakes with two different frostings. And, just so you know, ignoring other people's conversations is apparently a learned skill or a skill you can lose, anyhow. Dan and I felt like Super(wo)man, understanding everything everyone was saying. I think we are a little culture shocked.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

100+ Weekends in Seoul

We're flying to and arriving in America tomorrow night through the magic of the time-space continuum. I have been packing for days, getting overwhelmed, and Dan comes in and fixes everything, and now we're pretty much ready to go. The last load of laundry is drying in the kitchen. The baby's sleeping on the floor. All we have to do is throw loose ends in suitcases and hope Joah doesn't mind an airbound bedtime. He actually has one last doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. Is it a bad idea to fly under the influence of immunization? Gosh, I feel like maybe it is? He's never had any reactions so far, though. If anything, maybe it will make him sleepy, and I'll get to watch some select episodes of random TV shows on my airplane screen before I fall asleep myself. We reserved an infant bassinet, an option we didn't even know existed before our playdate friend Sophia told me about it. Such luck that she mentioned it. Our baby has never been so contained. I hope he likes it.

I am putting up the last of our un-posted pictures before we leave. After this, it's all McDonald's and cowboy boots or whatever else people think Americans do. A Korean friend did once tell us that she can always spot the Americans by their flip-flops. Meanwhile, Dan was wearing flip-flops.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tactile Learning

Last week, Joash experienced play involving several different new textures. It is a constant science experiment down here in this billa.

We learned about cold and wet things from a jar full of iced coffee.

We learned about dry, papery things from a Ramen/moving box. Oh, also, this is our kid's laugh. He's not one of those cute gigglers or belly laughers, he just lets out shrieks of hysteria. I can't help but think this is a reflection of my personality. I really need to reign in my joyful shrieking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Illness

I know I should be more devastated than I am, but I have been relishing Joah's first illness. It came on quickly and appears to be dissipating in similar fashion. I am taking advantage of the extra baby-in-arms time, feeling the full weight (now 17.8 pounds) of his curled up, relaxed body on my chest. Gosh, is it just the most wonderful thing. It is freeing to have no semblance of schedule. Freeing also, somehow, to be tied to the bed with a baby. Yesterday he was on my lap in such a way that I could still knit with him sleeping, and that really is all I want out of a day. Dan even got to hold the snuggler while we were at the doctor for a well-timed visit (and the day before when he suspiciously fell asleep at the hair salon; we should have known!), and that made me glad because Dan often expresses his jealousy of all my sleepy baby time.

It is now the day after I wrote the first paragraph. Sick, sleepy baby sure isn't sleepy at night. What a conundrum. At least today is coffee day. Also, could there be a stickier substance than Baby Tylenol? Trick question - the only answer is no. I am happy to see him happier during the day, though. That first smile from your lethargic kid or the first rattle he again shows interest in feels like such an accomplishment. I had already adjusted to the new nap-filled normal. At least today is playdate day (it always coincides with coffee day under the parent category of leave-the-house day), so I won't have to fully readjust until tomorrow.

Here is how he spends his fevered moments. He's a sweaty baby anyway, but that 100+ degrees of body heat and suddenly we're doing Bikram nursing.

And another picture to cling into the blackmail album. I told him that every time he misbehaves during a diaper change I'm taking a picture of it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Half a Year Has Gone By

And I just can't believe it.

Tonight, with Daddy at a birthday party and me congested with the start of a cold, Joash decided to take a break from the putting-to-bed to have a most redemptive cuddle. He doesn't yet often like to rest his head anywhere, but tonight he rested on my chest and let me rub his back and arms while we watched a little TV, and, though somehow half a year has already disappeared, everything slowed down long enough to ensure that that is what I will remember about today.

Meanwhile, we've had two of our standing playdates with Joonsoo. This time I remembered to bring the camera.

He wants to be a plane, not a pilot.

I think he's hilarious.

Moving pictures.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Good Day

I am always a little hesitant to share some of the good things here because I have been that discouraged mom reading about everyone's sleeping, perfect babies while mine was still eating for hours on end, skipping naps and carrying on. I know what the Baby Whisperer expects of me, and, while struggling with it for the first month, I always fell short. Before Joah was born, I was sure I'd do dream feeds and scheduled wake ups, but he never fit into any of that and, honestly, neither did I. How do you wake your kid up from a nap at noon when he ate right up until 11:30? I wasn't willing not to feed him on command, and leaving a brand new person alone on a bed for most of the day made my heart sick. Living in Korea and having to make many of the elements of my daily food intake changed my eating philosophy. Meeting the baby and having to care for a little human changed my parenting philosophy. So we snuggled while he ate for 9 hours at a time, and we took morning skinship naps together, and I brought him into the bed by the second or third (or fourth or fifth) time he woke up at night. (And even now, I bring him into the bed for his 5 o'clock feed.)

I usually save the successful sleeping news for my mom or my husband or for the baby book. But I don't want to just share the complaints because this kid is pretty awesome, and he is perfectly mine. I find that the best days with him are the days I stop fighting with him and trust his instincts. Yesterday was the loveliest day, and he hesitantly took two naps, each for barely 45 minutes. He sat and watched Dan play a new video game. He sat and chewed on my yarn. A wakeful baby makes noisy kitchen chores easier to do, and we had a great pauper's meal of tuna melts, french fries, and chocolate pudding while we are waiting for Dan to get paid this month. Joash was awake for most of it. And when he gets grumpy, we try to figure it out. And there is always that voice in the back of my head saying, "You know he should take a nap. Sleepless days beget sleepless nights, blah, blah, blah."

But that voice is wrong, and so I spend a lot of time ignoring it. Last night after a somewhat restless day was his best night of sleep yet. What now, internet! I am a better mother when I don't look at the clock.

It's funny I should write this today on his most napless of days. It's 4 in the afternoon, and he's had one 20 minute nap, which means that, though it feels so on many days, today I actually have spent more time putting him to sleep than he's spent sleeping. Parenting is nothing if not ironic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Winter Lounging

There's a kid on my lap. He may or may not be crazy. He keeps trying to wiggle his way down onto my clothed boob until he gets distracted and flings his arms toward things like my cup, the Xbox remote, a blanket, a spray bottle, the internet cord. When you're prepared for the wiggling, it's cute.

Here's some of that wiggling. Look out for the surprise ending.

And here he is keeping up with his social media. The tweet he highlights is about North Korean workers in Kaesong, pretty high brow for someone whose favorite toy vacillates between discarded wrapping paper and a jar full of ranch.