Monthly Archives: September 2013


Autumn in Seoul is lovely. It’s the crispness of a New England fall with the clearness of an Arizona sky and the wonderful things to do of any big, developed world city. Supposedly it will only last a few weeks and then winter will be upon us again, but I am enjoying it while I can.

Neko’s been talking up a storm recently. We’ve added some verbs and adjectives to her vocabulary of mostly nouns. Recently popular words include: Crying (to describe Panda), Hot, Cold, Happy, Heavy (these two get confused sometimes, so she’ll carry a “happy box”), Go, School Bus, Tree, and the ever popular Baby and Car. I think she’s at around 2-300 words now, it’s a pretty extensive vocabulary. She is even mixing them into odd sentences, mostly lacking verbs. She also still walks around randomly saying words as if for practice, yesterday I heard: sidewalk, shirt and all done repeated several times. She has also found her singing voice, and walks round the house singing randomly. She thinks she knows the Itsy, Bitsy Spider and Row, Row, Row Your Boat songs, as she’ll sing out a few words from each, strung together with random noises in between.

Panda’s little neurological connections are frantically being made. Overnight, a few days ago, she went from being non-ticklish to being ticklish. I give her a little belly tickle at all of her diaper changes, and suddenly she was reacting with a little flinch and a big giggle. She also has started to really like playing airplane, and I use it as a panacea for crying. She is a much calmer baby than Neko was, and also really loves to sleep. She likes to be walked around to look at different things, especially outside, but isn’t much into cuddling otherwise.

Tomorrow, Neko and I are headed to a farm to meet some animals and taste the fresh autumn fruit, hopefully there will be pics!

…birthday party lessons

We have been to our first kid birthday parties this month (all the cool people are born in September, don’tcha know?), and I’ve learned a few lessons regarding hosting and attending them.

1. Don’t take two kids if you are a solo parent and one of them really needs a nap. No matter how optimistic you are, that’s not going to go well.

2. Even if they are both reasonably well rested, or one is willing to sleep on the fly, chasing the second kid will consume your entire attention at the party, don’t hope to eat or talk to anyone over the age of 3. If you do decide to talk to someone else, know that your kid will choose that moment to become the food thief, drink thief (particularly alcohol or soda), and general mayhem causer. Neko opted for the lick the frosting off everyone else’s cake or cookie approach, with a few incidents of juice theft and covert tea smuggling.

3. If you hold a kid party in your home, every room you have open to the party will be littered with food and greasy fingerprints. Your toilet may or may not have napkins in it.

4. Cake brings out the mean in all kids. Neko got pushed and yelled at more than she ever has before at these parties, for fear of cake theft. She’s not innocent, but most of those occasions occurred without provocation, and all children were getting hit or yelled at by the guardians of the precious treat.

5. Even at a party for babies, breastfeeding in public is not cool. Or it is. Depends on the crowd. Hard to gauge.

6. If you think you should invite a huge crowd because you expect few of them to show, they will all show.

7. Pinterest is a crazy seducer, but all your hard work will be destroyed in seconds by the toddlers, so opt for the pre made stuff instead, your heart won’t get broken when the flannel banner or the elegant lace cupcake display does.

P.s. don’t tell Neko, but I let Panda play with her baby doll while she was napping. I am surprised by how much Panda is enjoying it.


…sitting in the window

Our house is right next to a park, I have probably mentioned this before. On weekends, the park is packed with people. Today, the first day of a week of holidays called Chuseok, is also the first nice day after a week of rain. The park is more full of people than normal.

On our side of the wall that separates us from the park, butterflies flit in and around the dregs of our summer garden. A field mouse tries to eat the last few tomatoes, leaves are gently falling from the sycamore trees. Outside my window it is quiet.

On the other side of the wall, hundreds of people are chanting as some sporting event occurs, kids are screaming on the slides, and little old adjummas are strolling on rocky paths. Outside my window is a giant party that everyone in Korea is invited too.

When I sit in the window, the sounds of the park turn me into a kid. I get that feeling that I need to go out and join the play, that childhood is so close, that I can just jump into anyone’s playing and find a place for myself.

But, there is no one out playing on our side of the wall. We live in suburban America, where you have to set up play dates and invite people to parties. No one spontaneously hangs out in the front yard with neighbors. We already took a walk today, and saw nearly no one, other than the family getting in their car and the woman jogging with her dog and iPod. If I go to the park, I am too much a stranger to jump into the play of the adults. They play in group games I don’t know or am not a member of the team for.

Luckily, the girls are both asleep, so we can’t go out and enjoy the day right now anyway. It’s too bad that today I feel like an 8 year old myself, and want to play hide-and-seek or something outside with my friends.


Neko prefers to feed herself, though she occasionally sees the virtue of someone helping load the fork with more precious items, so that she doesn’t drop them on the floor. This is her morning look:


Mister and I are planning to go for a Labor Day hike today, I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep between the babies’ various wake ups last night, and for the past 4 nights, so this may be a challenge for me. Hope I don’t fall off the mountain. We saved the trip for a Monday because we don’t want to embarrass ourselves in front of the tricked out Koreans. We don’t have proper hiking gear which includes: trekking poles, neon trail shoes, matching windbreaker walking suits, a giant sun hat, a bandanna tied on your arm for emergencies, etc. I think we both have sneakers, I might have some dollar store sunglasses? We will try to remember a water bottle, but there is no way I’m carrying a stove up there to make ramen at the top with.