I am on night one of Dan's two weeks away. He is elsewhere in Korea until Friday night, and he leaves on Saturday morning for Mongolia. I won't blame him for my horrible headache/borderline migraine, but I do think it might be his fault. I always seem to get sick while he's away, sometimes moderately, others apocalyptically. I got the baby down, though, and I have my cold compress (old tube sock stuffed with ice cubes) tied tight around my head. I feel pretty good actually. We took Joash back to the giant Christmas tree at the Millennium Hilton. Our friends Greg and Karmen met up with us for Christmas and dinner afterward. It was such a different experience with a toddler. He didn't seem to notice the tree much, but he completely loved the trains. I picked him up to try to show him another part of the train set, and he yelled in my face, thinking I was taking him away for good. Then he ambled back over to his original vantage point, and we camped out for a bit. There are two types of trains, bullet trains and traditional trains. The bullet trains come about twice as often. Every train he greeted with the same exclamation. My only regret is that we went in the evening so we didn't have enough time for him to lose interest. Next year we'll have to make a day of it. Dan and I can bring books or projects and get work done while a train babysits our baby.
Here are some pictures I got from Facebook from our Expat Thanksgiving. Joash wasn't the only baby this year. Little Kathleen took his place as the passed around infant. I still remember how weird it was last year not to be in the same room as him.
He spent much of the night pushing around a stool and eating turkey and rice crackers.
He loved Kathleen. He heard her hungry squawks, and it made him laugh. He patted her face and held her hand. He slyly poked her in the head.
Then we made him put his arm around her, which he promptly undid.
Until he noticed the laughs it got, after which he put it back as best he could.
So, Korrine is a crazy and wonderful person, and she sent us a box filled to the brim with clothes and snacks. Almost everything we needed was in that box. Joash especially liked the arrowroot biscuits. He also quite liked the toddler undies...and putting them on his head.
Joash is already on his third haircut, but seeing this from before makes me want it longer again.
Such a little babe.
We bolstered our holiday weekend with gingerbread baking and snowflake making.
De-escalating to the subway to take us to the tree.
Though I often get frustrated at how infrequently the trains run here in the suburbs, Joash often enjoys the wait.
We and the tree.
I could tell he was overwhelmed because he kept standing and staring. Poor shy guy.
Greg and Karmen in the dwarfing glow of a giant tree.
With questionable origins and an indeterminable creepiness, that's our Santa Claus!
He found his own little corner to peer out of, and that made him feel much more at ease.
Downstairs to the trains. We dressed him as a conductor on purpose.
The various expressions of his joy.
A like-minded companion.
Waiting for a train to come.
My favorite part of the train set is the somewhat sinister humor in the details. Last year, a polar bear was making his way toward a human victim. This year, Santa is being haunted, presumably by the ghost of Christmas past, and a giant bear is working its way through a group of campers. I mean, I don't love that everyone's getting eaten, but I do like that there are silly jokes hidden in the scenery.
Ever the marker of success. He's been doing so well transitioning from subway sleep to bedtime sleep. This night, he let me change him completely and then just nestled into his pillow when I eventually put him to bed. What a guy.