As I mentioned, we spent Christmas in California with my father. This was Mayuki’s first trip to the USA, although she went to the UK in summer 2008, and met most of the US family then. One thing we discovered is that it really is rather easier to travel with a very small baby than with a toddler; Mayuki complained a bit on the flight out, even though she did sleep, and she was sick just as the plane was coming in to land. Fortunately, we had a change of clothes for her in out hand luggage (that was my idea, by the way), so we were able to get her into something clean before we had to queue to go through immigration.
That took as long as ever, but there were no problems, and when we emerged into the arrivals area, Dad and Joy were waiting for us. Mayuki saw them and, shouting “Grandad!”, ran to him with open arms for a hug. I imagine that he was pleased, not that he’d ever show it. We attribute this to the weekly iChats with them, so that Mayuki was already quite comfortable with him. Indeed, it didn’t take her long to get comfortable with everyone, and start calling Joy’s mother “Bestermor”, just like all the other great-grandchildren.
It took us quite a while to get over jet-lag, something that becomes harder with a two-year-old. Mayuki kept waking up around midnight and not sleeping again until three, which was not quite what we had in mind. Still, we recovered enough to go shopping, and I went to see Avatar, in 3D, with Dad. (I quite enjoyed it, by the way.) I spent a whole day in bed on the 23rd, and I’m still not sure whether I was actually ill, or just completely exhausted. There was a cold going around (Dad and Joy both had it), but I didn’t really have any cold symptoms, so it may have been just tiredness.
Mayuki enjoyed meeting her cousin John, who is four months younger than her, and they actually played fairly well together, with only occasional “Mine!” or “Mayuki no!” (Japanese for “mine’, as said by Mayuki) problems. She also met her older cousins a little later in the break, and that seemed to go well, too. However, she didn’t speak much English; she got as far as “again”, and “popsicle”. Her understanding of English was on display, however, and even included understanding, and acting on “one more time”, which was quite impressive.
Christmas Day was interesting. Mayuki got utterly involved in her first present, a colouring book, and we had to open the rest of her parcels for her. She did get interested in the other presents later, but she didn’t want to do anything but colour for quite a while. She’s showing more understanding of Christmas than she did in 2008 year, but she still hasn’t quite grasped the whole thing. Maybe this year she’ll be as crazy as small children are supposed to be.
We’d planned to get back for New Year, so we left on the 29th. It was only two weeks, and they went really quickly. Mayuki seemed to enjoy herself, and when we got back, she said “Mayuki’s Grandma Joy has gone, hasn’t she?”. I think she missed everyone.
Talking of Mayuki’s presents, Joy made her a Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet to go with the book that Silver bought for her. The puppet turns inside-out to turn into a butterfly. Now, when we read the book, Mayuki insists on getting the puppet, which she says is the same as the pictures on the pages, and when the caterpillar metamorphoses, I have to turn the puppet into a butterfly as well. I think those were a very successful pair of presents.
I did realise that Mayuki needs longer in an English environment to draw her talking out, so I’m thinking about ways to get her to the US or the UK for a bit longer. It’s a little tricky, however, because I can’t afford to take too long off work.
But this was such a good trip that we would like to repeat it quite soon. It won’t, I think, be this year, unfortunately.