Monday, April 28, 2008

Shopping for a Southpaw

I know it's only just begun. I guess I should start looking for left-handed scissors now. I know from growing up with two left-handers just how set-up for right-handers the world is.

I just did a spot of baby shopping, and stopped by the food utensils section to see if I could find a soft, short rubber spoon that I could give to Erica to wield about like a light sabre without choking herself while I try to feed her, and there was quite a selection - almost all of them curved the right. Perfect for plain old right-handed babies, not so useful for out little Southpaw.

I got the ONE that had no curve. None were curved to left, needless to say.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Erica at Seven Months

Erica has discovered the raspberry. She especially likes to make one (perhaps only can make one) with either her hand, or my finger, jammed into her mouth. She grabs my finger, shoves it in, and raspberries away, quite proud of herself! This is in addition to her usual Lamaze breathing ('hee hee huu huu'). She also added BaBaBa a few weeks ago, but she seems to have forgotten that. She 'talks' with vowel sounds only: "uuuuueeee" and mostly to Amy and Lena when she hasn't seen them all day, like she's saying "Where on earth were you, I was so bored and I wanted to play!". She still gets excited when she sees them and flaps her arms up and down and kicks her legs. She likes all other kids too, and is often nonplussed when the random kids she solicits for play in the supermarket (by kicking and flapping and "oooo"-ing) don't respond to her.

The moving is still 'nearly there' but not there yet. She took one crawl-step today; we spent the rest of the day encouraging her to repeat the feat, in vain. I'll have lots of video footage (again) of a non-plussed baby, distracted by the camera itself, with background noise of Jessica Rabbit and a nutty mother going "Come on! Come on! Come on!". She stands, mostly to play the piano. She has stood up by herself twice, once in the bath, which I am going to try to photograph tonight, as her bottom is just delicious!

I love watching her figure out her hands. After a period when I thought she'd turned ambidextrous, she's a definite left-hander again. I think she just realized her right hand was there, after having it curled around her thumb for months. Now, it's her left she uses to reach for something, and while she's happy to eat her cracker with only her left hand, if I put it in her right hand, she'll bring the left up to help. She sits there twisting her wrist and watching the effect, or delicately moving two fingers together, just to see.

She eats apples for breakfast, sometimes with weetbix and milk (mother's milk), soft-cooked rice with pumpkin or sweet potato, and baby crackers. Nothing else yet, as she got slightly sick last week, a low fever and lots of throwing up, so I cut back on her food. She likes to eat, she's just got the hang of getting the food off the spoon efficiently, after several weeks of poking her tongue out at the wrong time! She likes eating crackers most of all.


Playtime at our house! Erica, as you can see, can stand! This one was a set-up, but she has pulled herself up twice, once in the bathroom and once at a restaurant. Lena's classmate Kanade has come to play, and they in the garden setting up tents and climbing trees, and Amy has made a house for a slater. She still loves bugs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Day in Mel's Life

Amy got a Mel backpack for her birthday, which inspired another round of Mel games. I don't know why Mel, of all the dolls, has become No.1. Her pink hair maybe? Mel started out as a bath toy, her hair would change color in the water. We have three other baby dolls - a soft-bodied one the Lena got in her present basket for being the last baby born in Hawera Hospital. Then Popochan, Amy's first baby doll. Then Molly, who Lena got for Christmas in 2006, and who talks. But Mel is the No.1, and they manage to share her beautifully and hardly ever argue over her. She has stolen Popochan's bed, which is up on Amy's bunk. Amy got Lena the shower for Mel for Christmas, and the toilet for her birthday. Lena got Amy the backpack/table-chair for her birthday. Santa got them a Cinderella and a Little Red Riding Hood costume/book set for Christmas. Here are some photos of a day in Mel's life, how she is always with us!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amy's 8th Birthday Party

Emily and Masaki came back from NZ just in time for the party, but unfortunately her other friends were unable to make it. Two from school had other committments, and Karin and Momoka were unable to come. She got over her disappointment, and we had a fun day, with one of Lena's friends coming, and their old kindy teacher, who is now living just around the corner.
We had plans to have an all-day party, but most people came for lunch and afternoon tea. Lunch was sausages, pizza and sandwiches - very eary for Mum to prepare! Afternoon tea was sweets and the cake, of course. Lacking a dolly varden tin, I tried making it in a mixing bowl, but it flopped. I cut and pasted, using icing, to make the above dress out of about ten separate pieces of cake!
We had a treasure hunt, which was nearly ruined by rain, but we went nice and fast and the kids soon found the chocolate strawberries in the tree in the front yard. We made a 'Pin the Wand on the Fairy' but we have yet to play it - we are waiting for a day when Amy will finally manage to get a few friends together to play, which we'll call her 'Second Party' and we'll play Statues and Hunt the Thimble and Pin the Whatever on that day.

Thanks Grandma!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Yabakei onsen

We went for a drive to Yabakei to check out hotels and onsens for a Foreign Wives' Club convention I am organizing. So we got to test the waters!

Erica the Prodigy

What baby doesn't love a piano to bang! But have you ever heard one play this well?

Now that I have figured out how EASY uploading a video is, expect to see lots more!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Six Months Old

And what can she do? Well, as is clear from the photo, she can sit, and balance very well. Amy and Lena literally screamed when I let go of her for the two seconds it took to take the photo, and, as you can see, Erica was herself a little nonplussed!
She looks a little severe in this photo, but her normal state is smiling. She's always smiling. She wakes up smiling and I can hear her smile-breathing - mouth breathing with a smile plastered on her mouth, a kind of 'hee-hee' breath that's very cheeky, and usually indicates she is, or is about to, engage in some very fun activity that may or may not be what her mother thinks of as a good idea!
She is NEARLY crawling. She leans forward from a sitting position, and slaps her hands on the floor, lifting her bottom off the ground. It looks like she is going to do it just like her big sisters, and crawl from that position on one foot and one knee, skipping belly crawling altogether. She hates it when she ends up on her belly, and cries to be saved. We called her Eri-kame, 'kame' means turtle in Japanese, and on her tummy she's like a turtle on its back, helpless to move. Sometimes she rolls over to her back, and she's happier like that. She also micalculates often and ends up smashing her nose into the floor. It's all red now, and she has a bruise on her cheek. She also likes to practice standing whenever someone will hold her up, and just yesterday pulled herself to stand, rather wobbly, at the table with the piano on it. Need I say she loves the piano? What baby doesn't love banging piano keys? She always looks so proud of herself when she succeeds in doing one of these grown-up tricks.
And like any crawling baby, she's clingy too. As she realizes she can move independently away from me, she wants to make sure I'm always there to go back to. She likes best of all for me to sit on the floor so she can practice her pulling-up techniques on me. I can use one computer from the floor, and do the laundry that way, which is good, because I am able to leave her alone less now than a month ago! She has always been very content to amuse herself with her toys, but not so much at the moment. It doesn't help that the girls keep waking her up, so she's tired and cranky too. But even so, I know things are going to be a lot harder when she begins to move. I still have it good that once I plonk her down, she can't go anywhere! Only problem is, she knows that now, and it frustrates her!
She's not eating much yet. I've given her a few things, rice and bananas and bits of mandarin. She's not so interested once we sit her down and feed her with a spoon, but she still breastfeeds pretty often so I guess she's just not hungry. She hardly needs it anway, she's now 8.8kg!
It's Spring Break, which means I have to think of something to feed the girls every half hour or so! "Mum, I'm hungry". Only 8 and 6, my god, how many times in my life am I going to hear that? Mum-Judy, do you want to hazard a guess at how many times you've heard that?!! Today was strawberries and pineapple and cookies for morning tea, and I will cook rice and tuna fritters for lunch. There's cheese and crackers for afternoon tea, more fruit, some cake that no-one is particularly interested in, but I'll try to feed it to them.
Spring Break also means kindergarten is over for Lena, and she will enter school in two weeks. And I will go back to work. Right now with Erica just starting to get clingy and shy of strangers (she cries for Baachan now, whereas she didn't a month ago)! I am lined up to do my favorite class, the technical university. Three hours twice a week. We figure if Kanji feeds her, gives her some milk out of a sippy cup (she won't take a bottle), gives her a bath then goes for a drive with her, that'll about take up the three hours.
That means some savings! Things are not looking good on the savings front. I lost some money (I'm just about to turn this room inside out to try to find it) and it's harder to save than we anticipated. We have not booked tickets yet, and people are talking about booking summer tickets already, and the planes being already booked out. I suspect part of that is the travel agents' bulk reservations, which will come free a month before the flight. So we might still make it! Amy and Lena are dying to come - Lena is excited beyond belief about getting her ears pierced, and Amy just wants a world with no homework where she is free to do her own thing. I'm trying to tell her NZ is not that much of a paradise, but absence makes the heart grow fonder! We all got rather wistful watching a TV show the other day with a Tasmanian family, with the big yard, and bbq area, lawns and trampoline! For this, and this alone, will I torment my precious baby with the shock of dear mummy leaving her. She'll get used to it I suppose, they all do.