Australia! We did it. I can hardly believe it's come and gone, but there it is, already a week in the past. I have spent most of this week's nights readjusting the baby to sleeping in his own room and most of this week's days getting ready for his little Yellow Birthday Party tomorrow, boiling eggs, baking Anzacs, slowly building up a stockpile of ice. We figured we needed a theme for the party, and I couldn't help but notice that all of his preferred foods fall within the yellow/tan color spectrum. Bananas, potatoes, hummus, crackers. So we are having variations of most of that food tomorrow for a couple of friends who will be wearing yellow. Do you know how hard it is to find yellow things right now? Everyone has green, pink, and blue things, but no yellow.
We got to Australia by way of Malaysia, with a 30 hour or so layover. That gave us the chance to at least see a famous sight. This is not that sight, but it is the view from our hotel window.
The other direction.
This we saw on the way to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) via subway. Do you know what's really great about Malaysia? Their air conditioning is just so effective. It was hard to come back to Korea where they are always sacrificing quality of life for some esoteric greater good.
Because we knew it would be close to 100 degrees and because, clearly, we get grumpy about unmitigated hot weather, we decided to go to the mall for the day. The KLCC, though, is the kind of mall with a science museum on an upper floor. Yay for Petrosains! Lots of people on the internet said that it was just petrol propaganda, but we had a really good time there. There was air conditioning and all the fun science museum stuff like that static tube that makes your hair stick up, and the staff was super nice and accommodating.
Joash and Mom checking out gears. Joash and Dad checking out tractors.
Unfortunately, we wiled away a little too much time drinking vanilla Cokes and eating Nasi Lemak, and it was Joah's sleeptime almost immediately after arriving at Petrosains. He shed some sleepy tears over his be-strollered reflection.
Meanwhile, Dan was in an earthquake! But he spent it sat upon quite the idyllic little bench inside a cave.
Anyhow, I wrapped up our son so he could have a nap, as always wishing someone would do me the same courtesy. I do feel like my mom would if she could.
We waited out Joash's nap at the Science Show where we learned that hot air rises and cold air descends.
Joash woke up in time to volunteer, but he lost out to the kid down front who needed the re-directive attention.
We hustled the kid over to the zone for him, and, now that he can crawl, he had his first public play time. And he loved everything about it. And we struggled some to let him play on his own, but we are the grown ups so we managed.
Then a well-meaning stranger ran over and picked him up.
Then they told their baby to kiss our baby, and Joash expertly deflected his affections.
Then other strangers took flash photos of him.
And then everybody left him.
But he thought it was about time anyhow. Ha! No, but this is good that he's taking to clock reading early because I am almost 30 years old, and I cannot tell time.
Here is the propaganda part. We hung out on an oil rig, but it was actually pretty cool and Dan got to drop down an escape net.
We thought the museum was over at the oil rig, but it only gets even better. There is so much hands-on stuff afterward that I wish we'd spent the bulk of our time here instead of at the beginning. These kids hogged the telekinesis table, but then I was able to school Dan in moving marbles with my mind. The (published) trick is to keep calm, and I have deep-breathed my way through childbirth, so I obviously very easily won.
These are the Petronas twin towers. They are different from Harry's patronus.
There was a beautiful tropical courtyard we braved the steam heat for.
Joash loves fountains, so every other shot was of him looking that way.
Sweaty bangs in front of the KLCC.
A little help from Dad.
One horrifying 8 hour plane ride, and then we made it to our first Australian beach, right in Korrine's backyard. The problem with our kid and plane rides is that he always wants to be teething while we travel. And he discovered what it means to want something, and I think that is always a hard adjustment at first.
Joash decided to show Quinn some sand tricks.
His sensory experience of sand is one of utmost revelry.
The babies each had a taste test of the sand, his resulting in a 5 o'clock shadow.
Quinn's ended in a quick cleanup.
The tide was out, so Dan found a deserted island to claim. And then he found a more deserted one.
Soldier crabs dig up their little homes and leave the sandy DippnDots byproduct along the shore.
Joash's second ocean experience was much gladder than the first. No tears. No pants. Koala undies.
Rocks on the beach. I like lines and layers of rocks, especially sedimentarily.
Baby bump on a log.
He loved the swing, but he really loved the safety chain. My precious.
I do just love this boy. Something about watching him gaze off thoughtfully is really stirring for me. I'm sure he's not thinking much, but it always does make me wonder what his heart is set on.
Boom. Nakers. The well-positioned toy Joash is holding was part of a set of stacking cups that he loved to crawl around clacking on the floor.
What is this stuff? Dan and I took a nature walk along the beach, and these yarny threads were piled up everywhere. Or maybe they look like piles of poop.
We found this beached starfish, and I think, in trying to help him, we hurt him somewhat fatally.
Before he (maybe) died, he kicked around a bit.
Here's one of those soldier crabs in his marbly shell. And what looks like the former resting place of a stingray.
This is Korrine's backyard. She had told me she lived in paradise, and then I believed her. Lots of Australia was very similar to America, but every view was so, so beautiful. I do not often find myself apologetic of America and its virtues, but its purple mountains and majesty seem more spread out than what we saw in Australia, just a constant barrage of lovely scenes.
Joash loved borrowing some of Korrine's nieces' toys. This bike riled him up so good before a nap that instead of sleep there were lots of tears.
Playing catch with his Papa.
Turning one in Australia meant, really, discovering the world of food outside of breast milk, specifically lots of carbs and most things yellow. He had his first tastes of rusks and rice cakes, hot chips and crisps (french fries and chips to us). Luckily he also likes yellow foods like bananas and egg yolks.
Couch potato. Potato - another food he enjoys.
These days he is always up for reciprocal smiles. I can't believe how wonderful it feels to have a kid smile back at you.
Quinn is such a milestone reacher. She learned how to sit up while we were there. I spent a lot of transit time flanked by baby seats in the back of the car, so Quinn and I bonded pretty well.
The poor kid keeps trying to swim during the winters/springs of various countries, so he is always shocked out of compliance by frigid water. This particular pool boasted of its "solar heating," but it is as much solar heated as your car is when it sits and bakes in the sun. Unfortunately, pool water is not as good at heat retention as a vehicle.
But he did like wearing his swimming gear and sitting by the pool.
Aiding in the kitchen. He's definitely handy for research and development, finding knives and pots and tupperware with surprising ease.
Rice cakes at an outdoor cafe on the water.
Quinn with the same.
Getting all my kisses in.
Quinn color-coordinated with her pouch.
A big, ol' pelican. He is actually a parade float with moving parts.
Our second beach.
The Olympics had us feeling sporty, and Dan really wanted to do this paddle-boarding thing, but we never got around to it. I think it's probably easier to do on land anyhow.
Birds having flown.
We know all the Aussie theme songs now that we've seen their coverage of the Olympics.
Friends and families on the shore.
Birds on a wire. You know how you hear a bird make a funny sound in a movie sometimes, like funny caw-caws or sing-songs? All the Australian birds make those sounds in real life. Also, we discovered that Joash's shrieking, displeased, horrific, grumpy cry is the same as the Cockatoo's early morning call. He could win a contest, but we'd have to make him very angry beforehand.
Ferny tree. This is all shortly before Dan's head became a receptacle for bird poop.
Birds nestled in.
In learning to feed himself, Joash discovered the joy of putting his food in other people's mouths. Mmm. He is a great re-hydrator of various dehydrated fruits.
Ever the Anzac eater. Anzacs are an international baby success, as our friend Joonsoo just ate some yesterday at Joah's birthday party.
We moved on from Queensland to Sydney, where we stayed with Korrine's auntie in a lovely, lovely home with the most thoughtful amenities, like a stuffed kangaroo (toy) for Joash to play with, soy milk for me to drink with coffee, and bathrooms stocked full of toiletries.
Improvised high chair.
We took a morning walk. See, this is another Australian backyard. Korrine's auntie lives right on the river.
Odd and old. A long house and a gnarled tree.
An underwater barbecue, like the kind on the Titanic. Seriously, though, what happened here? Was this on fire and they threw it in the river? That's our best guess.
Dan got bored waiting for the train. I got bored during picture time.
Posing in Sydney. I know one of those buildings has a very fancy revolving restaurant.
Captain Cook's boat and maybe his bird.
We ferried over past Luna Park to the Opera House.
Co-sleeping all over the place.
Joah's musical skill set now includes exposure to the didgeridoo.
More harbor posing.
That's one way to get there.
We couldn't get the whole house in any pictures because they were doing construction.
Because Quinn hates banana, Joah offered her some force-fed encouragement.
Our Bondi beachside beverages.
Joash discovering birds, specifically seagulls.
Ready to rescue.
Loving the cool sand on Bondi.
We almost did a walk along these rocks, but babies create such time-crunches.
These guys are my guys.
To amend, we were lovin' our Bondi summer vacation during wintertime.
Friends and first friends once removed.
Mossy rocks and surfers in the background.
This is a salt water pool.
Get by and get high.
Joash spent his first birthday on the Gold Coast. First birthday cakes.
First birthday song, which he really loved.
First birthday presents: a personalized towel from Aunt Kozza and a bush knife from his parents. Now he's one, he needs to be prepared.
Don't worry, he ate it.
At least half anyway. I was not surprised that a son of mine would be a dessert eater.
And now he recognizes cake and points and "ooh, oohs" at it. I baked him another cake for his party yesterday, but I ended up sending it home with someone.
To make awesome first birthday memories, we took him to Alma Park Zoo where we wallowed with the wallabies. (I was scared is why I am making that face. Turns out I'm just a big sissy because everyone else was posing their babies next to kangaroo faces.)
We cavorted with kangaroos and our twin joeys.
We roamed with the buffalo and emulated emus. (I am taking alliterative license with the actual sequence and description of events.)
Joash grew a tail before we saw the sign that admonished toy touchers.
He's a bit of a sticky beak.
Waiting through the zookeeper chat for our turn to cuddle the koala. During this 20 minute chat, Joash failed but tried to pull the curious blonde ponytails of two little girls in front of us and succeeded in throwing at and hitting one of them with our small video camera. Babies don't care much for animal facts. Lesson learned.
Well, anyway, here's a picture of a picture of our kuddle.
Wandering peacocks and the red panda. We loved the Alma Park Zoo. I'm not much of a zoo person because I don't like suffering confined spaces full of animal stink. This zoo was open and more natural, almost entirely outdoors under a canopy of trees.
Posing by palms.
The sleepy koala. I bet it's great to be mum to a koala joey, since grown koalas themselves are only ever awake for four hours a day.
Ring-tailed lemurs and newly parental marmosets with their twin babies.
Friendship Farm is a bit of a misnomer because this white alpaca here is a grumpy, ol' spitting cuss. And there were bleating lambs demanding attention.
Even still, Dan managed friendship and then some.
On our way out.
We ended the day with an ill-fated birthday swim. Joash was just too tired. He fared much better the next day when some kids in the pool showed him how much fun swimming could be.
Our last beach, home to more seagulls and pelicans one could imagine with one's mind were one to imagine such things.
Pelicans are giant, terrifying birds, especially when they flip their jaws back to eat something.
Pantsless on the beach again.
Feeding seagulls on the beach is like peeing in a pool full of Wee-Wee See, everybody knows who done what.
And suddenly our adventure down under was over and we were putting our baby to bed on a Malaysian Starbucks banquette, waiting out our 10 our layover to take our most miserable 1AM flight (miserable because tossing/turning sleeping babies do not make good seatmates, and, for whatever reason after being an amazing and accommodating airline, Air Asia sat Dan and me separately, even though there were rows and rows of single riders).
At least he got these couple good hours in. Each night renders the previous one moot anyway.
And now I get to go to bed because, after days of working at it, I finished this blog!