Tag Archives: Baby

…language

No, this is not a post about Korean, but yet another baby post. IMG_1803

Neko was more interested in developing her motor and social skillz than in learning to talk, at least until recently. When other babies are supposedly distinguishing between mom and dad, asking for more and using the name of a favorite toy, she only said, “dadaddadadadadada,” and that could mean anything.

Sadly, both the Mr. and I are still “dada,” but I get the occasional “mama,” usually out of desperation when I won’t pick her up.

However, in the month of April, her vocabulary expanded from “dadadada,” and the occasional odd word (we’re pretty sure she had “done” for a while, but she used it somewhat indiscriminately). Here’s the current list:

ball
baby
banana
wow
dada
mama
more
done
all-gone (can you tell food is a favorite thing?)
up
bird
meow
bye-bye (both to say goodbye, and to ask to go outside)
hi
hello (a lot of effort to learn two words that mean the same thing!)
diaper (this was the first really recognizable word, and she’s getting better at it every day, sounds like “di-pah”)

Of course, she’s understanding a lot more than she says, and is able to follow some directions, depending on whether she’s feeling peppy, perverse or pooped. If one of us says “Diaper Time!” to her, she’ll toddle down the hallway to the changing area, repeating, “di-pah, di-pah…,” and only when she gets there does she remember that she’s not really keen on the whole changing thing, and then completely spazzes out trying to get away.

Her favorite indoor activity is using the slide, but that’s tempered by doing wooden shape puzzles, rolling cars, playing her ‘piano,’ decorating herself in mardi-gras beads, cleaning house, using pull-toys or push-toys, and sorting small objects into various bags, drawers and boxes.

Her favorite outdoor activity is using the slide. Not content with the toddler sized slides, she seems to prefer the tallest, curviest big kid slides she can find. This is a kid who is going to love the water park. She also finds time to collect rocks, chase cats and birds, run away, and stare entranced at mysterious somethings. She’s always up for a walk in the stroller, which sends her into a zen-like bliss. She’ll stare longingly out the window if we haven’t yet gone outside that day, and walk to the front door and say “bye-bye” several times, before crying if I don’t take the hint.

The one thing she doesn’t get a lot of is friend time. She naps when every other baby we know is awake and vice versa. Perhaps when the Panda-baby comes, Neko’s schedule will change and we’ll see a bit more of the other little kids. When we’re out and about, however, she is a social butterfly, and charms everyone.

Unfortunately, we’ve entered the hitting and stubborness phase, it’s just the early days, but I can tell it’s going to be interesting here soon.

T minus at most 10 days until Panda’s arrival.IMG_1860

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…Bhutan

So, I am way late on blogging about our adventure in Bhutan, but, in my defense… I did get pretty sick the last day, and that lowered my motivation level for recalling it. But, it wasn’t Bhutan’s fault that I got sick, but Dhaka’s. I carried influenza with me from here. That gave me a rather novel opportunity to review their healthcare, which, more or less, reminded me of the summer camp nurses’ offices from my youth. Wood paneling… Tylenol… lots of cardboard boxes with handwritten labels. I had an IV, with a latex tubing system. Latex? What is this… 1960?

Regardless, Bhutan was beautiful, very peaceful, and very clean. The air was wonderfully brisk, both because of the chill and because of the lower oxygen content at altitude.

The view from the plane

We arrived on a direct flight from Dhaka, wending through the mountainous landing path before touching down. You really do feel like you could reach out and touch the surrounding mountains, and the pilot cannot land on a straight descent. The planes are all relatively small for international travel, as they have to negotiate the tight mountain terrain. We deplaned onto the tarmac, and all the tourists immediately started snapping pics of the plane, the flight attendants, the views, the tiny airport, etc. So did we. We were tourists too, after all.

On the tarmac. Look at that lovely sky!

Our guide picked us up after immigration. To visit Bhutan, you must purchase a rather expensive daily visa that includes a guide, lodging and meals (though upgrades are available). For us, that included a hotel room with a private bath, a space heater and a private sun porch. It was rather chilly, but the hotel staff was great, and loved taking Neko from us to play with her. The food was decent, if not terribly interesting, though they did have the weird cheese dish that everyone says you must try. I couldn’t face it.

The entrance to our hotel

Our first day we spent visiting some museums, cultural sites, and temples. On the second day, we attempted the famous Tiger’s Nest trail. OMG. There are a lot of stairs. If you’re of a smaller-than-average-American size, you can take a mule/donkey ride half way up to the view point. I recommend it, especially if you’re coming from sea level. If you have a chance to acclimate before the trek, it’s lovely. For me, it was rather challenging. (I didn’t know that I was coming down with the flu either). Neko spent most of the uphill bits complaining, and we had some interesting experiences changing and feeding her along the very busy trail. We all rested at the viewpoint before having lunch and returning to the valley floor. So, no, we didn’t make it all the way to the Tiger’s Nest.

A third of the way up. The first viewpoint. The cafe is another 30 minutes from here.

That night, I started feeling poorly and by the time that Mr Adventure was up, I thought I was going to die. (You know how it is when you’re sick….) The influenza got me, even though I’d had my shot. I piteously requested to go to the hospital NOW, and we eventually got there. I had the slowest IV drip ever (1 liter in something like 7 hours?), and it took forever for me to feel better. Mysterious injections, pills, etc… and a series of doctors who came to look. One diagnosed me with the common cold. Er… who has ever had a severe fever, bone aches, etc. from a cold? Anyway, they were all friendly too, even if relief from the dehydration and pain was slow in coming. The staff also really wanted to spend the day playing with Neko, so she enjoyed herself meeting all her new friends.

Neko with our guide

Our visit to the hospital meant that we missed Thimpu, the capital. We did get to do a little shopping and picked up a temple decoration for Neko’s future room. It’s very brightly colored, and hangs from the ceiling like a valance.

Would I go again? Er… it’s really pretty, but I’m not sure it’s worth the price. The visa fee isn’t as bad as the cost of the flight. 45 minutes in the air at a rate of almost $20 per minute. Kinda steep (lol).

It was a calm and pleasant respite from Dhaka, and something unusual, for sure. It was also good practice for traveling with Neko. She was a trouper and lived up to her reputation as a people lover. Right now, everyone is her friend. She’d rather be at a party than anywhere else. Bhutan was perfect for that.

…Bandito

I am Antonia Bandita! I will steal all your treasures with my handy velcro grenade!

(When I put this outfit on her, the ayah said… “Oh! A boy princess today!” This is in a culture that doesn’t do the pink and blue thing. And there’s a flower on her shirt. Apparently a boy flower.)

…Easter

Here’s a cute shot of Neko all dressed up and ready to head out to the Easter Vigil mass.

We went to mass at the Vatican delegation. It’s a great big imposing building, but always seemed rather empty from the outside. It’s really close to the American Embassy, so I pass it everyday, but this was our first time inside. The nuncio and his secretary, a monsignor, were both very hospitable, and hosted a potluck on their formal china afterwards. The attendees were varied, and included both high and low brow folks, but a pretty small group. Still, we filled the little chapel and had to squeeze in a few extra chairs. It was a homey little service and reminded me of my time in Boston, both architecturally and spiritually.

…Babytime

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Neko’s been busy working on her head control so she can really enjoy some of her toys. Lying on the ground is just not cutting it anymore.

The bumbo was a hand-me-down from a great one-time Dhaka family. They also gave us their saucer, but she’s not ready for that yet. She loves the Bumbo, and will gladly read books, throw (drop) the ball for you, or cuddle with a stuffed toy in it. We’re working on hitting the play gym stuff from the chair, since she’s not into lying under it so much any more.

Last night we set up the doorway jumper, and it’s also a hit. Technically she’s too small for it (supposed to have her waist as high as the tray), but she loves it. She spins around and smiles, looking at us, and the rest of the room. She’s almost got the bouncing part down, but not quite, especially with stocking feet!

Yesterday we spent some time with other babies in the park at the American Club. It was Neko’s first significant amount of time outside (other than when we go on walks), and she was sneezing from all the dust of Dhaka. Oh well. I guess she’s got the family allergies too.

We’re almost on a schedule, at least for sleeping, day times are a mixed bag. The ayah’s very good at putting Neko to sleep, and we’re grateful they like each other so much. It was a pretty easy transition for Neko, and since I’m only working half days, we still get some cuddle time in in the mornings. Not that she’s much of a cuddler, she’s too curious and active for that.

…Naptime

There are a lot of naptimes in Neko’s (our pre-natal name for the baby, and what I’ll call her here) day, but not very many long naptimes. Of course, every time I say, “She’ll be up any minute now,” she’ll actually sleep for a whole hour. That happens mostly when Mr. A is around, of course, so he doesn’t get to see her day time 10-20 minute naps.

So, here is is nap 3 and it’s only 1 o’clock. Here’s hoping we can actually finish this entry!

My computer broke, and I’m now on the lookout for a local person with a Mac to use as a master computer for me to back up all my more recent photos. I haven’t been very dedicated to backing things up since we’ve been in Dhaka, so… there are a lot of things I’ll miss if they’re lost. Luckily, the problems only with the “click” of the mouse/trackpad (the computer always thinks I’m left clicking, regardless of my actions, the mouse I’m using, etc., and the keyboard shortcuts aren’t enough to be able to save what i need on disks). So, that’s put a big crimp in my blogging too, plus, I don’t know how to use the software and such on Mr. A’s computer, so no photos here for a while.

Otherwise, I’m going back to work next week, and we’ve hired an ayah to help out here with Neko. Thankfully, work’s being pretty flexible, and giving me the opportunity to both work part-time and work from home, when projects allow. Of course, now they’ll have to lend me a laptop, since I don’t have a computer any more!

Neko herself is adjusting to Dhaka, she got a bunch of shots last week (and loved them, not so much), and has some more this week. She’s loving the bell toy hanging from the play gym that arrived in the layette last week, and she’ll bat at it for quite a while before demanding to be walked around to look at things around the house. She made her first laugh noise earlier this week, but hasn’t repeated the feat. She also loves when her daddy makes silly noises, so I bet we’ll hear another laugh soon.

Things around Dhaka have changed while we were gone, especially notable are: a new menu at the ARA (breakfast was good, and more people are hanging out there than there were in the fall), but the pool is closed for several months. They’re building a Nando’s in Gulshan 2, and a sign outside declares “the neighborhood will never be the same!” If it becomes something more like Gulshan 1, I think we’d all be pretty happy. There’s some tasty options down at Gulshan 1. A new building appeared behind ours, full of new residents, but there’s nothing finished on the outside walls, so it looks like it will melt away in the next rainy season. And… naptime’s over.

…Jet Lag

Contrary to popular belief, babies do suffer from jet lag. Well, at least ours does. Last night, as we slept in the airport hotel, exactly 12 hours opposite the globe from where she’d spent the rest of her life, she wanted to be up and playing all night long. And, when we tried to make her sleep, she threw quite the fits. Hopefully today’s attempts to keep her alert when the sun was out will help her acclimate.

That won’t help the rest of us though, as we’re suffering from jet lag too, and her habit of sleeping in fits and starts doesn’t really help either of us in figuring out when it’s day or night.

However, I mostly wanted to let everyone know that we’re back in Dhaka, and even though the airline lost our stroller twice, it and all our bags made it here. Thank goodness!