Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wedding Anniversary

It was our 8th wedding anniversay today!

Kanji got me flowers and sweets. The flowers are still alive and beautiful (as of the following Monday), the lilies having opened up in the intervening days. They have joined Lena's three bouquets from her ballet concert, and the two little ones Jiichan got for Amy and Lena. After a few days having them in various glasses, I finally caved and went and bought some vases. That didn't stop us spilling them though, most recently yesterday when I managed to knock down three bouquets with the laundry. At least it forces me to change the water.

The sweets were chocolate cakes, which I made into sundaes with banana, vanilla ice cream, walnuts and chocolate sauce on Friday night. Also chestnut whip puddings, which are just lovely and come in little ceramic ramekins, which we get to keep! I have five now, gulp, which means I just HAVE to get one more sweet little chestnut pudding, yum yum.

We took the kids out for dinner. We went to the Grand Hotel, which is the hotel we were married in, when it was called the Sunroute. I had no idea the Grand had such a good western food menu! We chose a set menu for us, and curry for the girls. Entrees were persimmon wrapped in ham, then pates. There was a fish course with salmon and sea bream, and a soup, maybe pumpkin and potato, steak with vegetables and a delicious chocolate self-saucing pudding with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and custard sauces. The pudding turned out to be an under-cooked cupcake! Interesting, easy and delicious - you know how yummy uncooked cake batter is!

Erica came too and was reasonable. It would have been a shambles if I wasn't such a consummate breastfeeder, if I may be allowed to blow my own trumpet. I took her from the restaurant when she first cried, but the lobby was large and decorated with hard materials that just echoed her cry. I had to go all the way to the toilet, which I am usually opposed to, as babies shouldn't be made to eat in there. But hotel toilets in Japan are scrupulously clean, and, like in malls, usually have a second separate room for handbasins, and even a third room with mirrors and chairs. This one had no chairs, so I got her latched on standing up. I was wearing a low-cut sweater over a higher-necked t-shirt, so I was able to do so with very little clothing moved, and when Amy came into the toilet to find me, she had no idea Erica was feeding, so I felt confident enough to walk thus across the foyer and back into the restaurant, where I sat down and resumed my meal, with my left hand, but otherwise in comfort. Kanji didn't even know until later on that she was latched on all that time! Everyone just thought she was asleep in a cradle-hold. She stayed that way through five course, which is why it would have been a shambles if I wasn't able to feed her so comfortably, or, for that matter, if I had chosen different clothes. Ladies - high-cut under-top up, and low-cut over-top down. Got it?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, I think I can almost say it without reservation...tempting fate here'll all go to pack next week, or next time she has a growth spurt...but I think I can say she's nearly sleeping through the night! She's taken to having a LOOONG overnight stint, from bedtime at around 9-10, to anytime between 3-5 in the morning. Then she wakes, feeds a bit, wakes again around dawn, when I feed her and she sleeps through the breakfast/school thing.

And she just woke from her nap NOW, so off I go, I know she's really awake cos she farted

edited Wednesday: nope, she woke up at 2am and 4am last night. And I really needed the sleep too! I think I'm coming down with something. Or am I just tired?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Above and below left, at the rehearsal the day before, with her much prettier un-made-up face, and plain shoes.
Below, Amy came too, and amused Erica!
Below, in full stage make-up, very bizarre close-up, like a drag queen, but it helps their features stand out on stage


Far eft, with a couple of other, equally gorgeously costumed little dancers. Left, the bouquets she received for her performance!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fun Things About Baby

1) Her smiles. Talking to her. That adorable succession of coos and gurgles as she tries with all her might to communicate with me. It's so exciting to watch her get closer and closer to an out-loud laugh! We are also teaching her to be tickled - squeeze her slightly on the sides of her ribs by her armpits while giggling madly at her. She's slowly catching on! And we're teaching her peek-a-boo (or Japanese inai-inai-ba!).

2) Breastfeeding. I just really enjoy it! I like the chance to sit down and just rest and forget everything and reconnect with the baby. It must be the relaxing hormones, because while when I am walking up and down the room to soothe her crying or get her to sleep, I am constantly noticing the things that need to be done, and disturbing her by picking up laundry or rubbish, plucking things up with my toes, but when I breastfeeding, I just kind of review it all with a resigned, "Ah, well, do that later". I love watching her feed, from the shark-like clamp-on when she's really hungry, the little noises she makes, her hands clutching at the boob or holding onto my finger. Her perfectly peaceful face when she drifts off to sleep with a nipple in her mouth - baby heaven! Eating, sleeping, and getting a cuddle from the person you love the most - All at the same time! And my favorite baby face is the one when she just pops off, clamps her mouth shut, lips all pushed up, a dribble of milk down her chin!

3) Bathtime. I've always enjoyed bathing the baby, it's a highlight of your baby day, getting to see the baby naked! You love ALL your baby, and you miss seeing those adorable little rolls and round tummy when they're hiding in clothes all day. But bathtime has taken on a whole new dimension since I started to go in with her. She's happier, because she feels more secure being held firmly in my arms instead of that awkward balance on two fingers behind the ears. The bath can be longer, because the deep tub doesn't cool as quickly as the small baby bath, a vital factor in an unheated Japanese bathroom in wintertime. And I get to cuddle up to her soft warm body! We're both loving it!

4) Watching her sleep

Friday, November 16, 2007

More of the sweet

I should know not to make any generalizations yet! Her next day after the last post was fussy and she cried quite a bit. The 8pm bedtime was a fluke, it seems, and her real habit is to cry and fuss from 8 to 10 or 11! Last night was another wondeful exception, at least I think it is wise of me to view it as an exception - she slept from around 9pm, to 3am, giving me such a refreshing six-hour sleep that I felt quite awake at 3am and read for a bit before sleeping again. She woke again at 6am, and I felt very energetic and got up, leaving her to sleep in until 8:30 while I cleaned up and got the laundry done.

So life with a little one is slowly getting more sane and predicable. She is pretty easy-going, she loves that activity gym, and will sit quietly in her carseat or daybed. She even goes to sleep by herself sometimes at night, and just with a little rocking during the day. Sometimes she needs to be held, but she knows the score so well now that she drops off after just a few trips up and down the room.

She smiles and coos, even in the bath - I've gotten in the bath with her every night since last Friday's wonderful experience. Now there are no more tears at all at bathtime, unless I put her in the baby bath to soap her up (no suds in the Japanese bath, remember!). And it lasts until well after her bath, so no more tears getting into her towel or getting dressed either. And we love it.

Amy and Lena have gotten in with us too, which they loved. They love her! They rock her to sleep, or shake the rattles on the activity gym. She stares at them, smiles at them and coos and gurgles to them, which melts their hearts of course.

Another photo

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Six Weeks

I'm sure there's an identical photo of Amy somewhere, and Lena too! That activity gym, which she loves to observe, that cushion, Mum's crocheted woolies, which it is finally cold enough to use!

If she looks a little puffy, that's because she has a bit of a cold, but she's getting her 'mama's milk medicine' so she's doing okay.

She is such a treat! She's settling into a very calm and happy baby. She's at her best first thing in the morning, when she grins from ear to ear. She opened her mouth wide in joy this morning, so I don't think it'll be long before she's laughing out loud. She talks and talks! Just coos and gurgles, but it's so purposeful, and she seems so excited to be having a conversation with me!

Last night she skipped the usual unsettled period, and slept soundly from about 8pm (not counting feeding breaks at 10, 2 and 5, but they were short and she went quickly back to sleep). And she chose the perfect night to do that - Amy and Lena were at Baachan's, and Kanji and I cooked ourselves dinner and leisurely ate it with some wine.

I also had my first bath with my precious baby - it was wonderful, it feels just SO good to hold their soft little body in your arms, skin to skin. She stayed in for ages, even let go of her towels, and really relaxed. Kanji managed to squeeze in too! She's in the day bed in the kitchen right now, talking to the ceiling. I might go feed her and see what comes next.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!

A centipede crawled across the baby's bed last night. I had just fed her and was ready to put her back in her bed when I saw it. It ran right across where her head had been. Mum will recall the little one I saw from my feeding chair, when we were still sleeping downstairs. I said then that they were coming up through the tatami from the garden, and I would move upstairs when she left to avoid them. So it's rather a blow to encouter one upstairs! And this was after I abandoned the tatami room upstairs, as the crumbly walls were exacerbating my allergies, which are playing up since I have a cold. I have spent the last few nights on the floor in the girls' room! So, I am left with no-where to sleep.

So I gave the room a thorough clean, and sprayed bug spray in every corner. Kanji, who managed to find and kill the creature last night, looked it up on Wikipedia this morning, where it said that the centipede-killing sprays are not very effective, and hazardous to human health. It's best to eliminate its prey - cockroaches and other small insects. I've never seen one before upstairs, so I'm hoping it was a one-off! And luckily I am tired enough to sleep anyway, even though I had to banish horrible images of the room being overrun with centipedes a few times before I slept!

See photo here

Monday, November 05, 2007

Erica comes to life

My squishy newborn is turning into a bouncing cuddly wee baby! I was just holding her here as I read the online news, and I looked down at her to find she was intently studying me, and grinned as soon as I looked at her. She was just waiting for me to talk to her.

She talks - she goes 'goo'. It's so cute! Kanji will be home this afternoon, so I'll try to video it, it's one of those precious things that go so soon, that you forget so quickly!

She turns those big steel-grey eyes and fixes her gaze on me with a look that says, 'You're my Mother' and nothing more. But oh how much that means!