I bought you a little toy workbench today. It was used and cheap and I thought it’d be something you’d enjoy fiddling with. When I mentioned it to your nana she said that they have one for you too, it used to be your cousin Kyle’s. It’s a little different than the one I bought for you, and we’ll keep it at their house for you to play with when you’re visiting them. I told your dad that I think it’s great that you have two (toy) workbenches and no (toy) kitchen!
You are so quick with grabbing items. Last week at Gym Jam you grabbed a veggie stick out of a little boy’s snack container before either your dad, myself, the boy or the boy’s mom could react. And still, even though you’d think by now we’d anticipate it, you can swipe our glasses off of our face before we can react and stop it. You are so quick!
You’re starting to mimic things, and today started using your brush to comb your doll’s hair. You love your brush, and often navigate around the house with it in your hand. Sometimes when I can’t find it you’ve stashed it in the little seat of your Winnie-the-Pooh car. You know that it’s for brushing your hair, and often put it up to your head, but haven’t yet actually had the brush facing the right way and accomplished any brushing. Today was the first time that you used the brush to comb your doll’s hair. Too cute.
Nancy the nanny asked me this evening, “What is the deal with Emma pulling up shirts and dresses?”. With a confused look on my face, she continued, saying, “she keeps lifting up her dress, and also lifting up my shirts”. It was then that I realized that you’re looking for belly buttons! These are some of your recent new words, and you apparently were on a belly button hunt today! So funny.
Your ability to grasp new concepts is amazing me daily. Your nana’s been working to teach you to hold up one finger when asked how old you are. While we were on our trip you perfected this. Today we were at the Sun and someone asked you how old you were, and you told them (with your finger). She was so impressed and proclaimed that you’re quite advanced for your age. We think so too! She said she has 2.5 year old twins and they don’t yet know how to show how old they are.
Other tricks you’ve recently perfected are giving hugs and kisses (tongue out, so maybe not quite perfected) and high-fives on command, as well as knowing the words for fish, feet, and ball in addition to hair, nose, eye, ear and mouth (which you’ve known for a little while).
Well, unfortunately you brought home one unwanted souvenir: ringworm. We noticed two little circles on your arm last night, and took you to the doctor this morning where our (Google-driven) prognosis was confirmed. Luckily it’s not that big of a deal. The doctor gave us some lotion and that ought to take care of it.
This afternoon your nana and papa came over; they were anxious to see you. Since our flight was so delayed on Thursday you were sound asleep when they picked us up from the airport, so they didn’t get to interact with you, and most disappointing to them, they didn’t get to witness your walking. Well you were so happy to see them, and you knew that you were the center of attention. You practically put on a little show. You did great walking for them, and you were so silly and giggly and fun. Then we all went to eat at The Sink. Your nana and papa ate there when they were in high school and college, and it was so fun to take you there for the first time. You got pretty antsy, so we walked around a lot. You loved the jukebox.
I’m always on the hunt for foods that you’ll like, and today while we were at the grocery store I figured we’d peruse the isles and see what new foods we could find for you to try. I think I did pretty good, coming home with: strawberry/banana smoothie, chocolate almond butter, fruit leather, seaweed, and squeeze-pack yogurt. I was so excited when you really liked the seaweed, thinking I’d finally found something healthy that you liked. While you were eating it this evening I asked your dad to look at the calories and he informed me that the seaweed that you’d been scarfing down had a measly three calories a sheet! You’d packed away three sheets, but that was only nine calories; you probably burned that much just wiggling and kicking your legs while sitting in your highchair eating the seaweed. Ugh.
Last night we received an email notifying us that our flight was six hours delayed due to a snow storm at home. This wasn’t the worst news, as our original flight was scheduled for 7 am, and we were going to have a very early morning. Now we’d be able to sleep in (as much as you’d let us, anyway) and lounge around all morning.
Since we have no car, and given that the Wal-Mart is the only thing around, we headed there for breakfast and to kill some time. For some reason whenever we travel abroad I crave donuts (and they always taste bad, so I’m not sure why I keep trying them), and I was happy to find donuts in the bakery. We had fun looking at all of the pastries, navigating through ordering at the coffee shop and the cafeteria-style checking out process (all in Spanish, obviously) and ate our food there. Your dad had bought you a banana, but on breaking it open it looked orange, and tasted ‘weird’, and I realized it was a plantain. You didn’t love it.
We then roamed around the store. Again. I was still thinking I could find a neat Spanish-speaking toy or book in Spanish. We did find lots of toys that spoke in Spanish, but they were identical to the US toys (almost all were plastic Fisher-Price), but cost about twice as much. So we decided against getting any of those. We did pick up some coffee beans and then headed back to our room to pack up. At the airport we made it through the long lines and you had fun walking along with your Trunki suitcase. At the gate you were very active, which I hoped would wear you out for the flight.
This was the flight that I was most worried about and that I’d planned for. I’d done lots of reading for activities to keep you busy, toys to keep you entertained, and any other ideas that could make the trip easier. We’d bought you one of the ‘best travel toys’ for your age, and we kept it hidden the entire trip hoping that it’d excite you and keep you occupied for a while. We packed your Trunki suitcase with this ‘surprise’ toy as well as many books and other toys. We had plenty of snacks and as a worst-case plan we even had a few iPad apps for you. We’ve never used those before for you, but we thought if things got really rough we’d give them a try.
The flight was five hours, and you did great for about four of them. You played, and ate, and slept and explored (by holding onto me and walking up and down the aisle). But around the beginning of hour five, you were over it. I think you were tired, and that was making you a bit fussy, but also you were just sick of being contained. You wanted to climb the chair, and reach over it to touch and pull the exciting looking brown hair you could see peeking out. You wanted to walk and crawl up and down the aisle on your own, so that you could grab onto people, and dig into their bags, and pull on their seatbelts. And when we wouldn’t let you do these things, you screamed. You have a newfound, super high-pitched, scream that you do when you are not happy, and unfortunately, we all heard a lot of it the last hour. Your dad and I kept getting up and holding you and walking around, but that was not placating you. At one point I took you into the bathroom, just for something different to do, and you were content in there just looking around and staring at yourself in the mirror, so we hung out in there for probably ten minutes. But alas, the seatbelt sign came on (oh no!) and we were beginning our descent (oh yeah!), so we had to sit down. Those last 30 minutes or so were really rough.
The best/worst moment was when, during these final moments, when you’d really had it, I thought we’d offer you a squeeze pack of food. I’d been saving it for just this moment, when the seatbelt sign came on and there was nothing left for you to do. I figured it’d be a great distraction. So your dad took off the lid and handed it to me, and I tried to bring it up to your lips. While doing so you grabbed it, squeezed hard, and a stream of peach/banana/beet mixture shot up a few inches then cascaded down onto you and me. If it wasn’t so sticky, and smelly, and ill-timed, it would’ve been super comical. But about half of the packet came out, and was pooled on you and I. And of course, the seatbelt sign was on, so we couldn’t get up to clean ourselves off or change. We had a burp cloth in our bag and used that to sop most of it up, but we were both soaking and stinky. Frankly, it smelled disturbingly similar to vomit, and it looked exactly like vomit, and so I’m sure that’s what everyone around us thought it was. Good times.
Luckily virtually the instant we got off the plane and I could set you down and let you explore, you were happy. I was able to get you cleaned up and changed, and we collected our bags and headed home. Your first international adventure was a fun, quick, entertaining success!
We spent the morning at the pool and beach; this is our last day at the ocean before we head to San Jose this afternoon. We took a raft out in the ocean and sat you down on that. You refused to stay seated and kept standing up, and thus seemed to enjoy your first attempt at surfing. In the pool we found a wide ledge that only had a couple of inches of water on it. You were able to sit or stand and play on top of the edge of the pool, and we spent lots of time there.
But soon it was noon and we had to quickly cleanup, get packed and head out. We went to the marina for lunch and then headed out of town towards San Jose. On the way you were asleep when we crossed the crocodile bridge (lots of crocs under the bridge). You were asleep when we crossed it coming, also. We’ll just have to save the crocodiles for next time.
We had a hard time finding our way once we got close to San Jose; none of the highways are well marked and the map your dad had downloaded wasn’t working. We missed our exit and ended up in San Jose, driving with completely no idea of where we were or how to get to the airport. At one of the tolls we asked how to get to the airport, and the directions we were given in Spanish didn’t make much sense, but we tried to follow them. I spotted an airport sign (yeah!) so we immediately started following that, and felt a little better though we weren’t certain it was the airport we needed since there are two in San Jose. It was rush hour and we were sitting in traffic on a highway, and then our gas light when on. The situation was getting worse and worse. It’s always hard to find a gas station when you’re on a highway and we didn’t have the gas to be driving aimlessly around. I told your dad that I thought the urgent priority was to get gas. It would be a bad bad thing if we got stranded on the side of the road. So, even though we were hesitant to get off the highway because it’s so hard to get back on, we took the next exit.
After driving just a little bit we found a gas station, filled up, and asked two different people for directions. Basically we just got back on the road we were on before (easier said then done) and followed it, and soon we were there. We were lucky because we ended up on the same road as the car rental company, and so just headed straight there. We’d planned to go to the hotel first and then you and I would stay there while your dad returned the car and dealt with taking the car rental shuttle to the airport then catching the hotel shuttle to the hotel. But since we’d had such a hard time navigating, we decided to just return the car. We were able to convince the shuttle driver to take us to our hotel, so it all worked out!
The hotel room was brand new and had a carpeted floor so it was perfect for you to walk around and explore. We soon needed to get dinner and we were going stir-crazy in the room, so we headed to the only store nearby – Wal-mart. We walked around for a while, just perusing the isles to kill time, and decided in the end just to eat at the hotel. We headed back, had a quick dinner while you explored the lobby, then went to bed.
We drove down to Manuel Antonio National Park for a little hike and some swimming this morning. It’s a couple hour drive and you slept the whole way. When we arrived there was a tour group ready to depart and they said we could join them, so we quickly gathered everything we needed (amazingly not forgetting anything for the hike or swim or you) so we could go with them. It’s fun to do a guided hike here because the guides have binoculars and are very knowledgeable about the rain forest and the animals, and can point out animals that you would never spot alone. However, the group moves at a really really slow pace….like walks maybe 10-15 feet then stops for a few minutes to look around and talk. We had you in the Baby Bjorn and you did great for the first 30 minutes. But you soon grew antsy and fussy. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that you went straight from a two-hour car ride to the Baby Bjorn, and never got to get down and move around on your own.
So we took you out and held your hand and walked with you some, or switched off carrying you. And this kept you mostly content for a while. But it was hard because you weren’t able to see virtually any of the animals he was pointing out (except we think you saw a deer and maybe a monkey) and so you were just a little bored, too. And you wanted to crawl on the ground and eat dirt and rocks and explore. You got so dirty once we let you be on the ground, but you had lots of fun examining everything down there.
You persisted with not being fully content, so I then thought maybe you were hungry. That posed a challenge since we were hiking with a group and in the middle of the rainforest, so I did something I’ve never done – nursed you while walking (with a group of strangers, in a rainforest, in Costa Rica). It worked out fine, and was a good arm workout.
But the hike kept progressing at a glacial pace and you were just over it. We’d seen a few sloths (which are my favorite and which were all I really cared about seeing) and your dad and I remembered from last time that we were nearing the end. So we said thank you to the guide and left the group to head to the beach. You and I changed into our bathing suits and headed to the ocean. Your dad stayed behind to watch our stuff and take pictures. I carried you to the edge of the water and put you down. You stayed standing and just watched the little waves come in, and when one finally reached us, you giggled as it passed over our feet. It was a picture-perfect reaction (wish we had it on video). You just stood there happily for a few minutes watching and feeling the waves come and go and the sand slowly bury your feet. I can’t imagine what an experience it must have been for you to experience all of that for the first time.
Then you started playing with the sand. You sat down and picked it up, tried to eat it, rubbed your face and hair and got sand everywhere. Then you walked a bit. All the while you were so happy.
Finally I decided I’d take us fully in, and I picked you up and off we went. I was curious to see what you’d do when you got the inevitable taste of saltwater, but you didn’t react at all. You were happy swimming and floating around with me. This was the perfect beach as it was really calm and the water was very warm. I tried to get as much sand as I could off of you, but it was then that I realized how hard it is to get sand off of a baby. We headed back to the beach, packed up, and hiked back to the car. I bought a coconut on the way back and offered you some, but you weren’t interested. You were exhausted and slept the whole way back to the hotel.