Saturday, June 28, 2008

Time Rolls On

Only a month until we go to NZ! It must be getting close because I find myself starting to organize myself, despite telling myself it can wait. I check out the second-hand store for suitcases...I make a mental note of what Erica eats in a day as the start of my plans about what to bring for her...slowly but surely a pile of things to bring starts to gather together on a step on the stairs, on its way up to the suitcase that's not there yet!

Here I find myself thinking, 'I wonder if I can fit my jeans into my cabin bag to put on before we get off' and there thinking, 'I hope they have individual TVs and still have the water on tap', occasionally a picture presents itself of the four of us crammed into three small seats, sometimes my imagination is kinder and the cabin crew somehow finds a spare seat for us to spread into. Sometimes I shudder when I consider the possibility of Erica crying and fussing the whole time...I usually don't allow that thought to continue! Back to piling up the noodles and the gloves and scarves and counting out how many boxes of Dars chocolate will be needed and will I make Japanese curry once or twice? Does Mum still want my blue knife and a laundry hanger? Do I want the laundry hanger?

Is there a high chair there still? How about a booster seat for little Lena? Can someone book a weekend at that lodge Mum stayed at when she was homeless? Are we going to school? When are the school holidays anyway? You've all inked in August 28, haven't you, and I want roast pork and pavlova. And corned beef and roast lamb and roast beef and luncheon sausage and tons of cheese and sauvignon blanc and raspberry splits and cream donuts and mince pies and steak and cheese pies and just pies and Krispa salt and vinegar chips and chocolate, mountains of chocolate.

And shoe shopping and winter clothes shopping and new pyjamas. My pants are falling off me I need new business pants, and nice winter tops and new bras. Ugh! I hope my visa holds out, because I'm broke and I can't afford this, but if I don't buy shoes now I'm stuck with what they have at Ezibuy, and that's not much!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Goodnight

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This one is from a few days ago, trying - failing- again to catch her walking!

Buzzy Bee

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Erica in the waiting room at the doctor's. She's figured out how to work her pull-chain vibrating Buzzy Bee, using her mouth!

What a weekend

We had a weekend full of ups and down, starting last Wednesday with Erica's fever. To the clinic Thursday, back again on Thursday afternoon to have Amy's head seen head seen to after her fall on Wednesday.

Friday was Friday the 13th. My students reminded me while I was teaching. "you'd better be careful" I said. Then ensued a discussion about Jason and Freddy...no, it wasn't Freddy, it was Jason, wasn't it? Or was that Halloween? Then one boy remarked, in Japanese "today's a lucky day then". I don't think he misunderstood, he just, like Japanese people often do, was seeing the yang return before the yin was done. The earth, human life is all in balance. If a day is supposed to be unlucky, it's quite likely the universe will see things right by balancing it out with a bit of luck. I remember one nice sunny day when we were having a barbecue in our back yard, how happy we were - then K got very suspicious and worried that we were too happy and something nasty would happen. I reassured him that we were poor, and that balanced things out enough for him! In reality, we're among the richest 5% of the planet, with everything we need, but I left that bit out...

Anyway, Friday the Thirteenth turned out to be a lucky day for Erica, who took her first steps. While no-one was watching of course, I caught it out of the corner of my eye. At Baachan and Jiichan's house, where we were staying to escape the termites, because Friday the Thirteenth wasn't all good luck - the flying, mating termites arrived. They arrive every year around this time, and every year I think the house is infested again. Amy and Lena were grossed out and couldn't lie down to sleep, and I don't blame them, neither could I when you see them crawling up the walls and across the pillows, one chasing another having termite sex, gross!

So we slept at their house Friday night, and I took Erica back to the doc's on Saturday, as her fever still hadn't dropped. I got antibiotics, picked up Lena and took her to get the passport photos taken. Then we swung by home and caught Jiichan and an insect guy inspecting the place. He talked Jiichan into getting the house fumigated again, even though his verdict was that they were coming from outside and were not infesting the house. Jiichan agreed and it will be done while we are in NZ, which means we can escape the chemical cloud and come back to an insect-free home.

Saturday afternoon Kanji and I went shopping for a vacuum cleaner. I had resigned myself to another cheapie, but he whipped out the plastic and bought a Dyson, a super-duper vacuum cleaner. We can't believe how much dust it got out of our carpet!

Saturday night I had a PTA dinner to attend, with no-one but myself. I was there for two hours before Kanji couldn't contain Erica's cries any longer and I had to come home. Never mind, it was getting pretty boring by then!

Sunday was Father's Day, and after making the house very clean with the new toy, we cooked curry for Dad's dinner. Amy helped a little. She also made mandarin juice - individually squeezing each segment through a seive. I gave her a juicer, but she said it didn't work. Then she helped make the apple crumble, squishing the butter into the flour. She said she liked cooking, it was like art. She loves making things!

They also devised dances to show Daddy in a concert. Amy has to write a diary entry for school each weekend, and she decided to write about the concert and party we made for Daddy - before we did it! So she wrote in her diary that she fell over while dancing, but Lena danced on and she caught up. So because she wrote that, she had to do it!

We had dinner, including sashimi and VB beer that I've been saving up since before Erica was born! And convinced the kids that there were no more termites left in the house!








Monday I finalized my tickets to NZ! I'm so excited, from going from thinking I would not be able to make it back until next Spring, to suddenly having tickets to go in just six weeks! I'm trying not to think about how I'll handle toddling Erica on the plane. No, I'm just NOT thinking about it at all. I'll cope, it'll be rough but it'll only last half a day, and half a day is quite quick really. And then we'll be there, because I have a direct flight!

I took Lena to swimming and she remembered about how she nearly DROWNED last week - twice - so I had to go in and make sure the teachers would keep an eye on her. Idiots. Then it was back to the doctor's to check out a rash on Erica's body that had started developing on Saturday, not long after I started giving her the antibiotics. Could be a reaction, heat rash, excema, measles, or just a run-of-the-mill baby virus. That's exactly what it turned out to be, so I have another few days of rash, and a low fever and general fussiness before she gets better.

So it's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride of a weekend, with the ups and downs!

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She walks! Okay, I could have got a better shot - she hardly ever sucks a dummy, truly! But it's harder than you think - once she sees the camera, she wants it, and tries to get it as quickly as she can, and that still means crawling.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

At the docs again

Well, I kind of regretted that decision as I wasted a whole morning waiting at the doctor's. So I've got my anhiba and some throat medicine which I probably won't even give her. Oh well, if she's hot and bothered tonight I have the fever meds.

Then it was back to the doc's this afternoon to get Amy's head checked. She fell straight onto the back of her head onto concrete yesterday, and had headaches all day today, so we took her for a check. All okay, just needs pain meds.

Lena's doing okay so far, only she disappeared right when we were all piling into the car to go, or rather, that's when we noticed her gone. She has to learn to not take off without asking permission. She takes off on her bike around the neighborhood.

Lost

Not the TV show, though I do still have a crush on Sayid.

After remembering that we still haven't renewed Lena's Japanese passport, I went to get the passports to see her old one, but only the NZ passports were there. While I turned the house upside-down in a panic to find them, I found the money I had lost a few months ago! It was behind some files in the computer cupboard. Last time I looked I had pulled the files half-way out to check inside them, but this time I pulled them all the way out - and there it was.

This morning the passport search continued, along with a search for the thermometer. I knew Erica had a fever, and that it was lower than last night, but I also know that the nurse at the pediatrician's office will ask me what her temperature was, and even if I say 'hot, really hot, quite high' she'll just keep asking "nan-do nan-do" until I come up with a NUMBER for her to put on her little symptom chart, so find it I must.

Still on those searches, I realize the hairbrush has gone AWOL again. I am going to have to tie it to the door handle again. I also tried the "ten brushes from the 100yen shop" idea a friend suggested, but they have ALL disappeared. We are down to two - one round one that Amy can't use on her thick hair, and the good one.

I call Kanji, ask if he knows where the thermometer is - he'd seen it last on the table. And he thought the passports were in his blue and red bag. Flush with hints, off I go searching again, all the while hassling the girls to get ready for school, and having them join in the search for the hairbrush while I try to find the thermometer and settle a grisly feverish baby.

No luck with the bag in the spare room, though I find Kanji's suits which I had thrown in there in a fit of rage last week, now they are all crumpled and I'll have to get them dry-cleaned. Amy finds the brush, and teases Lena because she had to get her hair brushed with the painful round brush - only the round brush doesn't hurt Lena, because her hair is fine.

Still no passport, but the thermometer turns up on the piano. I take the baby's temperature, 37.7 as I expected, my cheek on her head, my fingers on her neck told me as much, but we must have those numbers for nursie! Meanwhile, Amy's hairband is gone and she even knew where it was - in the bathroom, but I probably shifted it or covered it up with laundry. She 'looks', but I doubt she really looks!

So the kids go off to school, hair brushed, but teeth not, as we ran out of time for that while looking for everything else. Baby back to bed for a long feverish sleep, and I hit the spare room once more, find the blue and red back instantly and the passports within.

Phew...now I just have to do the laundry and I'm sure I'll find several hairbands. Erica has woken up so it's off to the doc's to report my NUMBERS and get my suppository fever meds, the whole purpose of the exercise. I could buy over-the-counter tylenol, but not only is it expensive, the suppositories are much easier than trying to make a baby eat something and I don't even know if they have dosages for under-ones. Doc is free until the kids start school, so I'll put up with a bit of waiting, read a book, and then pick up the passport applications on the way home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Food Day

Hello, it's a hot Tuesday afternoon, the kids will be home from school soon so we can go and buy the mince for the Spag Bol. I forgot it at the supermarket this morning. I've been busy cooking today. Amy liked Erica's spinach and potato puree (with chicken stock) so much she asked me to cook it for us, so I'm using a recipe I have for a chicken, bacon, potato and spinach soup. Lena requested the Spag Bol. I don't usually cater to my kids like this, but it's Tuesday, which has become Choose-day, and they are so excited about the chance to actually choose what they get to eat that night, they think about it all week! Even if it ends up being curry one week and Spag Bol the next.

Lena has settled into First Grade nicely. She has a very sweet young lady teacher. She was sitting next to a nuisance of a boy who constantly bickered with her, but now she is sitting next to her boyfriend. She is so glad she has a boyfriend and says he is very nice to her. Amy also hangs out with boys. I think she's had enough of girlie bickering. She comes home and tells me so-and-so is strong, but she can still pick him up, or some such result from rather more boisterous play.

Amy is doing well in piano, Lena is going through a rough patch, trying to clear the hurdles of learning to use both hands, and learning about rhythm and rests. Amy cried a lot too at that stage, but got past it and now enjoys being able to play a song she likes. Both go on and off swimming, depending on the behaviour of the other kids more than anything else I think. Lena said she nearly drowned yesterday, twice, which worried me of course, though she seems okay with it as she managed to save herself. But on one other occasion I saw a kid go under during playtime and all the teachers were so busy they didn't notice. She managed to get hold of a rope, but she then vomited so she must have swallowed a lot of water. So I worry. Maybe I'll go early enough to watch that final ten minutes playtime.

And they are both doing an English class at Keio Academy, just because I can never seem to find time to do English with them. When they come home soon, I will have to start them on their English homework as well as their Japanese. Lena applies herself well and gets her work done quickly, but Amy fluffs about, and gets distracted so she ends up taking ALL DAY to do it. Last night it went to bed with her, and she woke in the morning with it still not done! I'm going to try hanging over her shoulder more today so she can get some time to relax without having to think about it.

Erica is next to me, playing with an old phone. She also likes tissues, the broom and pulling all the DVDs off the shelf. And the Wiggles. And Blondie, although I think she confuses the Wiggles and Blondie, since she looks at the TV when we put the music on. She dances! She got so excited yesterday when we put the music on, and her big sisters started dancing. She stood up, waggled her hands around and clapped them, grinning from ear to ear.

She finally has a tooth, and another one coming. She's hard at it, chewing and standing and cruising, plays hard, sleeps hard, still three naps a day, then a fairly late bedtime of 8 or 9. She eats - loves bananas, and the spinach and potato puree! She also loves the computer and is trying to get it right now so I'm off to finish my pureeing!

Monday, June 02, 2008

and a tooth!

Standing, standing, standing, but not a foot forward yet! She's gotten really good and standing up from the floor, and sitting again, but the whole thing stills excites her. She'll grin from ear to ear and start flapping her arms, and of course she loses her balance and falls onto her bottom.

She loves the Wiggles! They have finally been translated into Japanese, though we can switch it back to English. She sits on the floor in front of the TV and flaps her arms and goos.

Meanwhile she's sprung a tooth. I noticed it last Wednesday.