Monday, 12 November 2012

Eleven Months

The past month was filled with firsts:

  • Junior's first trip to California
  • Junior starting at nursery as I returned to work
  • Junior's first independent steps

Walking practice at the London Transport Museum
Walking practice at the London Transport Museum

Shopping for leaves
Shopping for leaves at the park

Walking practice
Walker, we don't need no stinkin' walker

Junior has been doing well so far at nursery. I took him for a few hours of 'settling in' the week before I returned to work, and he loved it. The first full day was perfect - no tears, he ate and slept, and he remembered me when I picked him up. The second day was not so good. He cried all day, and his teachers told me that his two top front teeth were coming in. I'm not convinced. He has been teething for months now, and they still have not emerged. The third day went better. I think he is adjusting to the new routine; enduring a growth spurt while mastering the art of walking; and catching a bad cold all at the same time (in fact, he developed a fever over the weekend). It's a lot for a little person.

For my part, returning to work was at once strange and familiar. Nothing has changed, yet everything is different. Predictably, they had no desk, laptop, or mobile ready for me so I spent three days hanging around and using other people's computers when possible. My role is still being defined. Right now it is a relief not to have too much pressure or responsibility, but I suspect that will change as my project develops and they get more dependent on me again. I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Junior in California

After six months of planning, we took Junior across the pond for his first visit to California. Despite our fears, he was a perfect traveller on the ten-hour plane ride to San Francisco.


We reserved seats with a bassinet (which gave S extra leg room - bonus!), and lucked out to have an empty seat next to ours, so the flight was as good as we could have ever wished. Junior slept for the first half, and kept himself busy by playing on the floor and walking in the aisles with us for the second half. By the time we landed, the passengers around us were praising him for being such a good boy, and giving us credit for being great parents. Yeah, we're pretty awesome.

As soon as we arrived at my parents' house, Junior made himself at home.

Making myself at home

We were reunited with my sister, brother-in-law, and 17.5 month old nephew. Watching Junior and his cousin over the course of our trip was fascinating: they both have distinct personalities and are quite different from one another. Despite P being older, Junior was more bold (dare I say aggressive?) and by the end of the trip, P had mastered the word, "no!" Funnily enough, Junior started mimicking P shaking his head "no", and defiantly ignored P's admonishments to leave his things (toys, sandwiches, snacks) alone. Thoughtful P couldn't help himself, though: he kept offering (showing?) Junior his things and expecting him to respect his treasures. I hope Junior's greedy phase recedes over time... P was a bit overwhelmed.

Bath time
Wait a sec, I was playing with that one...

Although the boys had a few minor skirmishes, they played nicely together for the most part. And we had a great time entertaining them.

We went on the merry-go-round and steam train in Tilden Park.


Steam train

We played at Totland and Thousand Oaks Park.

In the sand

Walking practice

Thousand Oaks Park

We spent an afternoon at the Oakland Zoo.

Oakland Zoo

Junior and the goat



We met one of my high school friends and her son - who is six days younger than Junior - at the Discovery Museum and the boys had the time of their lives exploring and splashing together.

Watching bubbles


Splashing water with Sam

Stream at Discovery Museum

We snuck into P's swimming lesson.


Swimming with Grandpa and Cousin P

We visited my best friend's family. Junior enjoyed playing with her son, who is a few weeks younger than P. They even invented a secret handshake under the table.

Chez Raymond

Making deals under the table

Chez Raymond
The 2011 boys and big brother

In quiet moments, the boys read books with Grandma and Grandpa.

Cousins reading with Grandma

Cousins reading with Grandpa

They played music and ran around at Studio Grow.

Playing music

In the ball pit

In the ball pit

One of the highlights of the trip, though, was taking them to the Nicasio pumpkin patch.

Mums and juniors at the pumpkin patch

P was kind enough to lend Junior his pumpkin outfit from last year, and although it was a tight fit, Junior roamed around in it for well over an hour. P wore a tiger outfit. They inspected some pumpkins and walked through the hay maze. Halloween is not as popular in the UK as it is in the USA, so it was a new experience for S as well. Read his impressions about it on his blog.

Stealing a sandwich at the pumpkin patch

Inspecting the pumpkins

Hay maze

Hay maze

It was such good fun to have the boys together and to see my family in person (as opposed to on the webcam). Ten days passed quickly, and it was time to return to London. Junior was fussier on the flight home and suffered bad jet lag for a week, but it was worth it to see everyone. Now to plan our next adventure...

*Some photos by S and my sister