Sunday, August 3, 2014

Baby A La Mode

Here's the story of how I dropped ice cream on poor baby Seoul's little head...
 Sadly, I don't have actual photos of an ice cream-topped baby so this photo of Seoul laying on her daddy's chest will have to do.

But first...
I must admit that as this Sunday started off, I was extra irritable. It was leftover from Saturday night when, inexplicably, our internet stopped working. And then started working. And then stopped. And started. And stopped again. You get the idea. We just replaced our router after having a bunch of connection issues and now we were back at square one again.

I should be happier though. Jeremy's already fed Raelynn and Seoul is peacefully chilling in her chair as I make us some eggs benedict. I realize though as I whip up the holladaise sauce that it's my last packet of it and it makes me sad. My mom sent that in one of her massive and supremely awesome care packages to us. As the supplies of these sublime American items begin to dwindle, I feel even more homesick than ever.

Somehow, I manage to get 2 children ready for church, along with myself. Meanwhile, Jeremy contacts the internet guy who's been so kind and helpful to us during our connection issues and he tells us he'll come out in the afternoon and replace the building's internet cable.

And somehow, my day begins to change into a better one. We arrive at church and I run into a friend who had her first baby a month before I had Seoul. I hadn't seen her in a while and got to see her cutie-pie son. But I couldn't go into the service. Raelynn didn't want me leaving her in the nursery. Seoul was fine anywhere. She didn't cry once. She lay in my lap, watching Raelynn and the other children play, had her milk boobies, made a poop and just chilled. She's cool like that. So Seoul and I just hung out with Raelynn until it was time to go.

And when it was time to go, we went to the house of a woman I'd never met before to pick up some baby items she was giving away before she moved away. Here in Qingdao, we have an email group called Qingdao Mamas where you can email all the other moms (and dads) about play groups, having stuff to sell or giveaway or looking for specific things to buy. People are always coming and going so it's a great resource when you're looking to stock up on children's books or things like that. This woman had sent out an email about free baby girl stuff - a Baby Bjorn carrier, a Baby Bumbo chair and an assortment of baby girl clothes.

Church services are held in the auditorium at the Intercontinental Hotel. This woman's apartment was just the next street over from the hotel. I couldn't believe how lovely it was there. We live in the north part of town. I've mentioned before that my first friend in Qingdao, Andrea, always said that where we lived was "the part of Qingdao that time forgot." It must be actually enjoyable to live in this city and live in a building like that, I think to myself as we walk up to it. The surrounding area is clean too, unlike our nasty neighborhood. But I try to be grateful for the home we do have as we don't have to pay rent here. We are able to save all the money that we make.

A place like the one we stood before now would cost a fortune. It was easy to see why. We ran into another person from church who happened to be going to the same place to pick up a treadmill. As we walked into this apartment, I was stunned. It was SO gorgeous. A chandelier hung over the dining room table and the whole place just looked so opulent, I felt like we'd wandered into the Shangri-La. The woman and her family were so nice that I felt sad for having to meet them and like them, for they were moving away to the Philippines. As she showed us the things she had for us, she also offered us some other miscellaneous things - all free - to take with us. A Strawberry Shortcake house, which Raelynn immediately latched onto once she was given the OK to do so. Wearable butterfly wings. Some children's books. Some talking laptop-like toy that has that "It's Learning Time" dog on it, only since they were from Australia, the voice on it had an Australian accent. And a small Christmas tree which was perfect because Jeremy and I had been talking about replacing our cheap, scrawny one with a better version.

Jeremy was stunned she would give away so many nice things. He tried to offer her money but she refused, saying people had given her things when she first came and she felt the best thing she could do would be to give things to others. It really humbled me that someone could be so generous and so friendly and yet live in an apartment like this that had a stunning view of the sea. No wonder she didn't want to leave Qingdao. If I lived in that place with that view, I'd never want to leave it either.

Somehow, we make it out to the car with both children (Seoul slept through all this) and all our new things, sweating like beasts as we do because it is August and I fucking HATE this month most of all here. Everyone is in a great mood now and as we drive along by the part of the sea that has no tourists (hence the part I love), enjoying the scenic views that make me like living in Qingdao, my husband suggests that we go to Silver Gardens, or as he calls it, "The American Supermarket."

It's a small little nook of a store at the bottom of an apartment building. You have to know about it or you'd never find it. When my friend Genesis lived here, she took me there. The lady that runs it is so nice and some of her prices are fair. But not all of them. Jeremy told me he'd buy anything I wanted so that I could make a meal that would make me happy. This was to make up for the other night when he invited his mom over. He still owes me a nice meal out somewhere but with Seoul this little and uncannily waking up every time I'm about to eat, it might be best if we wait to do that or else my nice meal might turn into takeout reheated by our microwave. But this indeed was a really nice way to make it up to me. For now. So we bought syrup for when I make pancakes, brownie mix, a can of black beans, flour tortillas (which is one of the items that she overcharges for at 40 rmb per package...when we were still able to shop at Metro, we could get them for 15 rmb per package), pesto sauce, Doritos, a can of A&W root beer, guacamole dip (another overcharge at 50 rmb for the jar but so worth it), and a few other random items.

I should mention the store was not air conditioned (of course not...oh China!) so we were beyond sweaty at this point, trying to hurry and buy things and get out before Seoul woke up screaming from the heat. That's why Jeremy must have decided buying us each an ice cream would be a great idea. It was a sweet idea, I'll say that. But because it was so fucking hot, we had to eat them very quickly. Raelynn has not yet mastered the art of eating ice cream quickly. We try to hurry to the car but I'm carrying a sleeping baby and melon ice cream on a stick while trying to coax Raelynn to 1) walk quickly and 2) eat the ice cream even more quickly.

Suddenly, as we approach the car, Raelynn starts freaking out because the ice cream is melting down her hand because she is the world's slowest eater. As I start to reach for her ice cream to help her, part of mine plops down onto Seoul's head. Yes, that's right. I dropped ice cream on my tiny baby's head. And she didn't scream for that. She only started screaming when Raelynn went nuts and I think she was just trying to say: "It's too fucking hot for this shit! Get in the fucking car! Gah!"

As the ice cream spilled onto Seoul's head, I couldn't help but laugh. And as I did, I sputtered melon ice cream like a broken sprinkler, somehow managing not to spray her in the process. Jeremy, who had raced to the car to put our bags in, had missed this spectacular sight.

Poor Seoul. Mommy's so sorry she dropped ice cream on you!

As for Raelynn, Jeremy went through about 15 wet wipes trying to clean her up before putting her in her car seat. I think that's the last time he'll give Raelynn ice cream while we're out unless we are sitting at a table in a restaurant with a bowl of ice cream.

And that was our Sunday, a la mode.

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