Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The land down under

This is my nephew, Zach. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. He hangs out with wallabies. We think Zach is very cool, and he knows where the wallabies live, and will introduce us, so we are going to visit Zach in Australia. We are leaving tomorrow and will be there for a month. What? It's a long way - we might as well stay for awhile. I'm on maternity leave - this seems like a good use of my time.

Are we insane for traveling with a 4 1/2 month old baby to Australia? Probably. There has been a lot of hassle about car seats, and bassinets in the bulkhead seats and pre-approval of car seats, and what have you, but we think we have it all sorted. Seth's parents are meeting us in Los Angeles for the super-long part of the trip to Melbourne. I think it's 16-ish hours or something. I try not to think about it. I do think about the favorable 4:1 adult to baby ratio for the flight. Seth had it worked out as 4 hours per adult.

I've made packing lists, hauled out the suitcases, done most of the laundry, and thought extensively about what to pack. Actual packing has not yet occurred. But I did get a pedicure.

We will be petting wallabies and kangaroos, and seeing koalas, emus, duckbilled platypuses, fairy penguins, beaches, and vineyards. We will not be eating Vegemite. I've tasted it and its English cousin Marmite, and that was quite enough of that culinary adventure.

We think Zach is excited to see Helene, though he may be a bit disappointed that she does not do too much stuff yet, by his 3-year old standards. You know, like say words or play trains with him. When he first met her in December, he definitely expected that his baby cousin would be a little more exciting, and not just a tiny sleeping lump that everyone was inexplicably entranced by. I'm sure she will happily hold and gum a Thomas The Tank Engine, but that might not fit in with Zach's plans.

So, there might not be a whole lot of posts on here for the next month. I'll try to stick up some random photos of us with kangaroos and on the beautiful Melbourne beaches just to make you jealous, but I'll probably be too busy petting wallabies and tasting wine and enjoying grandparent babysitting services to exert myself too much. (Could I be traveling to AU just to get free babysitting? It's possible.)

I wonder what Helene will learn or do over the next month. She does something new every day, it seems. She's almost rolling over. She talks expressively to the ceiling fan. She is discovering her feet, and on a recent warm day, she rubbed her little feet and toes together to test out the feeling of barefootness. She is a little sponge, gazing with wide-open blue-grey eyes at everything in sight, drinking it in, as I carry her down our street. It's my favorite thing about her right now - watching her see and be amazed by the world for the first time.

Her look clearly says "Holy cow! I can hold my head up!" She's Australia-ready.

Gratuitous baby toes picture. No pedicure needed - cuteness is more than enough.

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