LLC started off 2012 with a few more imaginary stamps in her passport when we packed our bags and drove to The Netherlands for the PhD Conferral of my dear confidant, wedding photographer and friend TVC. She's Dutch, and now she's a Doctor!
TVC's folks kindly offered us a room in their house just outside Amsterdam. Kind, generous, and as experienced short-term foster care providers for babies and young toddlers, they welcomed us with open arms and we could not have asked for a more child-friendly and relaxing base. LLC received scores of attention and food, discovered the joys of the iPad and made a great friend in TVC's sister D. Chris and I were gifted a child-free outing to The Hague for some history (Peace Palace, home to the ICJ), art (Mauritshuis) and hot chocolate. We also visited the interactive natural history Museum Naturalis in Leiden with LLC where she posed with a gorilla and clambered over rock and earth exhibits.
Then to top off all the excitement, LLC attended her first academic ceremony in the company and saving grace of raisins and partied until late in Amsterdam. Not too shabby for an almost 2 year-old.
I really enjoyed catching up with TVC, her boyfriend, family and friends that I've gotten to know over the years. LLC drank in the experience with her usual adaptability and interest in the new. I've always said she is spirited, but with this phase of toddler-hood this spirit seems continually on the rise. I'll leave you with this image.
It's after 9pm and we are in a bar in Amsterdam post PhD officiations. LLC has had a long day of ceremonies and celebration and is full on couscous and apple pie but showing no signs of tiredness. Chris and I turn our backs for only a moment and turn around to find her charging at TVC's boyfriend's grandma with wielding a balloon and roaring. It's a friendly but aggressive roar and we need to move quickly to restrain her. Fortunately grandma takes it in good spirits. We choose that moment to bundle a protesting LLC into her stroller and break through the bar's buzz into the crisp January night. It takes a 20 minute walk down and around one of the Central Canals for LLC to drop off. Chris and I smile at her defiant lips, pursed in sleep and enjoy our quiet family moment.
Then baby #2 starts to pummel me from within and I need to pee, so we dash back to the bar.