Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dan is in Japan for the week. The most unfortunate part of that statement is its coincidence with one of Joah's hard teething weeks. He teethes slow and constant. He is not the kind of baby who accidentally gets teeth without noticing. This has proven especially true of the lower molars that have been coming in for months. He greets teething with whines and whimpers, the frequency of which are matched only by outbursts of diarrhea. I cope with sugar and caffeine. Unsurprisingly, we spur one another on to grumpiness. Yesterday was matchless misery. This morning wasn't great. But this afternoon was sweet and fun, with a walk in the park and shared banana ice cream in the reading chair. I don't know if it's him or me what changed, but at least sweet begets sweet like sour does its own kind.

Last week we were in Busan on Dan's working holiday. October has been nonstop for him. I think he's been home for maybe one weekend this month. It was nice to be a part of that part of his life. Joash and I hung out on the beach and were mobbed by school children and religious cults, neither of whom seemed ever to have seen or touched or poked or pinched a white baby before. The cult told us about Mother God, Father God's wife, and, kind as they were, I just never understand that sort of obligational evangelism, the kind done for fear of retribution, I figure. If I wasn't already a Christian, I would just have been irritated that they kept me from enjoying an afternoon on the beach with my son. Because I was already a Christian, I had no need of their proffered heresy. Oh well. They were very nice.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joash and I are in Dan's hotel room in Busan, right on Haeundae Beach, waiting for Dan to come home from setting up for his training. Twilight is the only English thing on TV, so we are watching it for familiar company. Joash is making varied use of the hotel room as obstacle course after we moved one mattress from platform to floor for him to sleep on. So there are three bed structures pushed up against each other like stair steps, and he likes climbing from one to the next. He has already scoped out the safe with its beeping blue numbers, the bathroom with its cloth slipper set, the lamp with its noisy shade. He just found the pull cord for the lamp and, while extinguishing its light, looked up at me in amazement. I've already hidden two remote controls. He's in a really bad mood today, probably on account of the two bottom molars pushing up hard inside his gums. Poor him, poor me, poor us. He likes to teethe while traveling.

If you need a pajama, they have them in a cabinet in the lobby.

Ooh, Twilight has progressed to my favorite scene. "I know what you are--vampire!" It is as terrible as it is nothing else because it is only terrible. Henceforth, the word twilight can only ever be used in humorous or pretentious literature to describe evening, as it has been so sullied by this book and film franchise that no one can take the word seriously again.

Oh, the things we are about to lose forever in this hotel room.

Here he is rejecting his bedtime story several nights ago. It is the thing he does with most dedicated consistency.

His stalwart papa keeps trying, though, even as we sense the babe openly mocking us.

I just realized I have no way to get the peanut butter and jelly onto the bread for his makeshift dinner. Well, fingers, I guess.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Self Stander

This is his new trick, standing up without the aid of human or furniture. He basically yogas into a standing position. He's so pro.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We met our first bully. His bully's refrain: 여기 올라 안데요! (Do not climb up here!). And he says it to my sweet boy whose only offense is being young and a little bit timid and a little bit in the way. Joash takes it in stride, though, and gets back at him by fearfully screaming in his face whenever he comes too close. And I managed the situation by avoiding that particular playground whenever I notice him there, which seems to be always when we want to be there all day all the time.

But we met a friend! A mom friend in Anyang. We were on our way home from the far playground where no one ever plays but Joash, and we ran into a mother of twins. I noticed her baby girl had blonde hair, and I knew that meant she knew English (American husband). And we chatted for a while and exchanged phone numbers. Isn't that just something? I never dated anyone, so I don't know how long to go before calling. Maybe next week?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kid in a Kid Cafe

I finally figured out how to embed this video from Facebook so my mom and dad, who have no Facebook, can watch it. This is the amazing kid cafe in Doota in Dongdaemun. There is also a zip line and a trampoline. Kids in Korea get all the good toys.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Make Toasted Coconut Butter from a Whole, Fresh Coconut

This post has nothing to do with this blog other than the fact that it is what I did today. Months ago, we found coconuts at the local Lotte Department Store. We bought two because they were only a couple dollars each. Living in a place without a ready supply of coconut butter, I knew you could make it yourself out of coconut flakes, so I figured I'd try to make it out of a whole coconut. I checked the internet, but I couldn't find any step by step instructions about how to make coconut butter from a coconut. Trial, error, flesh wounds, and I totally know how to do it now. I am putting it here so it will be somewhere on the internet.

First you take a screwdriver and a hammer, and you bust a hole through one (or all) of the dimples on the top of the coconut. Then drain the coconut water and cook rice with it or something. Yum, coconut rice.

Next, put the coconut, hole(s) side down, in a 400°F/200°C oven and cook it for 20-25 minutes. This loosens the shell from the coconut flesh.

Let it cool so you can handle it, then bust it around with the hammer some more until the shell breaks completely off. Usually it will crack some in the oven, and it just takes a couple good whacks to get the shell off.

Then, and here's where I start having pictures, peel the skin off the coconut flesh. I just use a vegetable peeler.

Quarter the coconut and pulse it up in your food processor.

Spread it on a baking sheet. I like to use parchment paper because it makes it easier to funnel back into the food processor.

Marvel at your baby son's creative vision (and assertiveness) in adding the coconut shell to the picture at the last minute.

Toast the coconut at 200°F/100°C for a couple hours until it starts to turn golden brown. You have to get the moisture out of the coconut flakes or the butter won't ever form. The first time I attempted homemade coconut butter, I blended coconut flesh for two solid days, wearing out my food processor and my patience every quarter hour or so. If you're struggling to blend the coconut, my advice is to toast it a little longer. Of course, your coconut butter won't be white, but it will be toasty tasty.

And then start blending and scraping. Here it's starting to oil up a bit.

This is how you know you're on the right track. Eventually I switched blades to the one with closer proximity to the floor of the processor. I don't know what it's actually for. I like to process two coconuts at a time, usually, because it makes more, obviously, but also because it fills my food processor perfectly so that I don't even have to scrape down the sides, which is, of course, the most loathsome part of the whole operation.

One somewhat small coconut will yield slightly more than 1/2 cup of coconut butter, I think. I didn't measure it, but this is a really small jar. And next to it is the only plant that's ever grown under my tutelage. (Mom, buy a succulent!)

Toasted coconut butter from a whole, fresh coconut, and they said it couldn't be done. Literally, someone did say that on one of the blogs I found.

Lens cap for size.

Little oily bubbles. Joash and I like to eat it on toast or as coconut butter and jelly sandwiches. Also, make peanut butter cups with it or some chocolate bars.

I bought the last coconut at Home Plus, just like Jimmy Buffett. I'm afraid it might be the last ever, as they have already stopped selling them at Lotte Department Store. I can't imagine what Koreans are doing with whole coconuts. A boy and his dad were joking around with the coconut when I arrived, and I thought they might snatch it from me, but the dad just pretended to crack it over his kid's head.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The drunk roofies returned, this time at a 2AM, the girl's shout-talking fused into a dream I was coincidentally having about a loud girl screaming, and I opened the window screen, stuck my head out and yelled, "SHUT UP!" It echoed quite satisfyingly off the surrounding valley of apartment buildings. And then they collected their bottles and stumbled through the hallway and made their way somewhere that is not directly adjacent to my open window because the apartment complex deactivated our air conditioning like this is 1984. The book, not the year. I have not read it, but I bet dystopian novels are full of details about apartment complexes deactivating air conditioners based on the time of year, not based on the weather. But now I have to go to bed in case it happens again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

So, Dan's been gone 5 days, today will be 6, and Joash has been up an hour early for each of them. We jigger the bedtime this way and that. We do soothing wind down routines. We camp out by cribs exhorting sleep. None of it elicits later wake ups. This morning we switched boobs for bananas, as he is a very dedicated breastfeeder. We'll see if he decides how lame it is to wake up early for bananas instead of snuggly, cuddly breast milk. He has already done the unusual thing of falling back to sleep at only 7 AM. Usually he is up for his day like gangbusters.

Meanwhile, I reserve the right to declare any day beginning before 5:30 AM a coffee day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Playground Politics

Joash and I have been going to the playground in the afternoon to ease the bored/grumpy time between second nap and dinnertime. He loves it. The second he spots the plastic turrets, he kicks around to be let down. Yesterday, a bunch of big kids were running all over the slide structure, but that's where he wants to be, so we walked up the baby slide (he crawls on, then puts his arms up so I'll help him, the assumption of babies is so sweet), and then he crawled to the barred bridge and walked back and forth while the big kids ran to the tunneled slide. At one point, he was about to cross from one side to the other, and a kid found him right in between, right in the way. And the look on his face, like he didn't know what to do, mild panic, broke my heart. He wasn't in danger, and he wasn't even particularly upset, it was just my first realization that he will be stuck somewhere and not know what to do, he will be in the way somewhere, he won't be welcome somewhere. Such an ache to be a mother. But I guess I'm supposed to prepare him to conquer those situations.

Well, anyway, I was trying to get him out of the way, because one girl seemed to be getting annoyed by the baby. It just so happened that right before he finally crawled over to a spot where I could grab him, a little boy, playing a troll, I think, had included him in their game by very lightly tapping him on the back with his stick and growling at him. It was so cute, and I so appreciated this kid's inclusive behavior. But, the way it looked to his mom was that he hit the baby with a stick and I got mad and left. So she ran over to me and apologized in perfect English. I tried to assure her that we weren't leaving because of that and that it was actually quite fun, but I think we got the little boy in trouble. I am new to playground parenting. I guess I'll have to get good at it.

Now I realize I should have begged that lady to be my friend, as I have no mom friends in Anyang. Maybe we'll see them later on in the week. I'm trying to go as much as possible while Dan's gone.

Shrieks of joy.

And here he is pondering the hilarity of crackers.