Somewhere around Nathaniel's birthday,Santiago got sick with a bad cold and spent most of his non-working hours in bed reading on his iPad. Most of the extended family were out of town, so Granny, Gramps, Older Sister, and the three of us had lunch at the hospital restaurant. I made a cake from a Betty Crocker mix that I bought in Beijing. I really didn't want to eat Chinese cake and they don't seem to like my baking, so I figured a mix was the next best thing. Older Sis loved it! I decorated the top with M&M's to look like a truck. Nathaniel really liked that part. He LOVES chocolate. I'm not sure that I bought him a gift, probably not, but he got some money from relatives. He gets lots of toys from his older cousin and other random people. I'm thinking we soon need to go through them and find some to donate to the orphanage.
A week later, Granny's mom became very ill, so Granny returned to her hometown to take care of her. She was away for about three weeks and I think Nathaniel lost a bit of weight in that time! Gramps doesn't care for my cooking, so he'd watch Nathaniel while I cooked, then go home and cook his own food. i resumed teaching weekend lessons and though i had expected about 35 students, ended up with more than 60. a class of 17 chinese elementary kids is quite a handful.
Santiago told suggested I take Nathaniel to Beijing to spend a few days with a friend. He was still getting an IV twice a day so he planned to stay home-- until I had packed the bags and was carrying Nathaniel out to the street to get a taxi! He told me that he had actually finished the IV the day before (though he hadn't realized it til he went to the hospital and the nurses told him!) and didn't need to start taking more Chinese herbs for a few days. I quickly ran back home, packed a few things for him, he managed to actually get a ticket (this was during the seven day National Holiday when millions of people travel, plus it was the last chance people had to go to the big Expo in Shanghai). A kind man on the train let me sit in his seat and hold Nathaniel. Santiago stood next to us the whole way. We had a fun 2 days in Beijing. We went to Ikea, I had a $5 Dr.Pepper, Nathaniel got to play at a park without shoes. He saw two kids take off their shoes and socks and eagerly copied them. My friend and I decided that they must have lived abroad before as their mother even encouraged them and helped them roll up thier pants. Not your typical Chinese mommy. It was nice to be away but we were glad to get home to our own place. In Beijing they have more "western" style beds which Nathaniel and Satnaigo aren't used to and we were in a tiny house where two adults and a cat live, plus they didn't have electricity so were running several extension cords from the neighbors home to thiers to have just enough to heat the shower, cook and see in the evenings. Not exactly child proof and a little much for a curious two year old!
The rather uneventful month ended with Nathaniel getting 2 stitches in his chin after he fell off a stool while Santiago was getting him a tissue. I was teaching when this happened so didn't have to witness all the tears and screaming, but over the following two weeks I did take him to the hospital twice. Once they tried to remove the stitches after five days. He screamed the whole time and then the doctors decided it was too early. Two days later, we went back and the stitches were removed. Nathaniel got more than his fair share of chocolate. Both daddy and his aunt bought him a box of mini chocolate bars! Yes, he's a very spoiled little boy!