Mayuki Recovered

It looks like Mayuki did just have a bit of a cold. She was a bit off-colour yesterday, and slept a lot, and she was rather restless last night, but this morning she seems to be back to her usual self. As I type this, she’s sitting in her bouncer next to the computer (so that Yuriko can get a bit more sleep, after the rather broken night), smiling at me, concentrating on her toys, and generally being the normal Mayuki.

So, that was a nice, gentle first illness for us.

Mayuki’s First Sickness

Mayuki has got ill for the first time. Fortunately, it doesn’t look serious; I think she’s caught a cold.

She’s had a slight cough for a couple of days, and her nose was running a bit yesterday. Then, in the evening, when Yuriko picked her up she suddenly threw up all over the floor. (Mayuki, not Yuriko.) I cleaned the floor while Yuriko cleaned Mayuki. We were, of course, rather concerned. Mayuki, on the other hand, seemed utterly contented, smiling and laughing, and trying to play with this interesting white stuff that was all over the place.

After we’d changed her, I took her temperature, just to make sure she didn’t have a fever, although she certainly didn’t feel like she had one. She was happy during that process, smiling at us, and then, just as I finished, she threw up again, all over my hands. A little later, she threw up again, but only a little bit; we think that emptied her stomach. At no point was she even slightly moody.

We ate dinner with her sitting in the high chair, and she behaved exactly as normal. When Yuriko worried, aloud, that she didn’t seem to have as much energy as normal, she started singing and banging her hands on the chair’s table. Her energy seemed about normal…

She drank before bed time, and then woke up after an hour demanding more. Not really surprising, since her stomach emptied itself. She then slept for about six hours, before having a bout of diarrhea at around 4am. The noise woke me up (she’d already woken Yuriko by kicking her), and obviously I was worried that she might have vomited. However, she hadn’t, and although she had quite a lot of diarrhea, she seemed quite happy during the process, and talked to us when we took her back to bed. She did quieten down after a while.

Right now, she’s still asleep with Yuriko, so it looks like there are no immediate problems.

Today’s a national holiday in Japan, so unless the symptoms get worse we won’t be going to the doctor’s today. And Mayuki might be better by tomorrow. It really does look like she’s caught a bit of a cold, and that that’s all it is.

Computer Fixed

Well, my computer is working again. Sleep on the problem, and work out how to fix it.

Since the keyboard was working on the login screen and on the Live CD, I figured that it had to be something to do with my setup. So, I used the failsafe terminal, which just gives you a command line, to create a new user, and then logged in as that user to see whether the keyboard worked then. It did. So I compared the configuration files in the home directories for the new user and my current user. (Fortunately, I was able to switch user in a terminal in the new user without breaking the keyboard for my normal account, which meant I could easily edit my files. From the command line.) The keyboard directory in .gconf was not present in the new user. That means two things. First, it’s not necessary, and second, it could be the problem. So, I moved it up to my home directory, because if it’s in the wrong place it won’t do anything, and I might want to check the contents later. Then I logged out of the test user and logged in again as myself.

And the keyboard works. Even Japanese input works. 見てご覧。Although that Japanese full stop looks a little odd.

Computer Woes

I’ve just upgraded the version of Linux on my computer to Ubuntu 08.04, and it’s broken the keyboard. What that means is that I can’t type anything on Linux. It’s only the software that’s broken, so fortunately I can type on the Mac side of my machine.

However, I work on the Linux side. I rather hope that the bug system provides a solution to this problem pretty quickly… If not, I’ll have to downgrade, which will be a complete pain, because I’ll have to reinstall the Japanese input system and a bunch of programs I use that don’t come with the default installation.

This sort of regression is really not supposed to happen with official releases. There’s a live CD version that you can use without upgrading your machine, and the keyboard works just fine on that. It might also be an upgrade conflict, but it’s beyond my expertise to solve, at least right now.

So, if you’re waiting for an email response from me, you could be waiting for a little longer than usual.

Family Dinner

Yesterday we had our first family dinner. Now, it’s true that Mayuki has gone to restaurants with us, as this weekend, and that she has been sitting at the table with us for breakfast and dinner since her high chair arrived a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday, however, was special. Mayuki ate at the same time we did. She had a slightly different menu, of course: no salmon, and the carrots were pureed. But Yuriko fed her a bit while we ate.

Mayuki is not wildly enthusiastic about non-milk foods. She’s not violently opposed to them, either, although the face she made when she got the pureed carrots in her mouth suggested that she loathed the taste. She still ate them, and came back for some more, which makes me wonder whether the link between that expression and a horrible taste is not yet properly established. Still, she only ate three spoonfuls or so, before pushing the spoon away. According to Yuriko, she does that a lot; once she is pushing the spoon away, it’s very difficult to get her to eat any more.

On a slightly different topic, I put Mayuki to bed last night, as usual. At 9:30, she was lively and happy, her eyes wide open, kicking her legs. (She kicks her legs when she’s happy.) By 9:35 she was sound asleep. I suspect that this is because we are pretty good at getting her to bed between 9:30 and 10:00 every day, so that she’s ready for bed at that point, and I always put her to bed in the same way. I carry her round the bedroom, without looking at her, and sing to her. I always sing the same songs: first, “Dear good night”, then the Skye Boat Song, then “When a knight won his spurs”. Normally, she’s asleep by that point. It doesn’t always work, but it works far more often than not.

Ice Yearning

I have written a fantasy novel. After writing a lot of RPG books, this was what I wanted to do next, and a month or so ago I finished. Since then, I’ve had a few people I know read it and make comments, and I’ve made some revisions as a result. (And caught some more typos.)

Now I’m going to publish it. However, I’m not going to do this the normal way. I’m going to publish it on the web. You can read the first chapter of Ice Yearning right now, free. That’s a link to the relevant web page, in case you hadn’t guessed.

However, since I’m a professional author, you can’t read the next chapter until I get some money. So, I’m asking people to pay for the current chapter. Once I have enough money, the next chapter will go online, and the process starts again.

One advantage of this method is that I don’t have to worry about piracy. I’m releasing the chapters under a Creative Commons license, so it’s legal to distribute and share the released chapters, as long as you don’t make any money off them or change them. I’m still the only person allowed to do that. This means that, once the whole book is paid for, people will always be able to read it.

This is, you might guess, an experiment. It is possible that I will make almost no money off the novel. That, however, is a risk that I take every time I write something; there is a company that owes me $3,000 for writing I did almost three years ago, and I’m starting to suspect that they’ll never pay. (I’m not going to name them until I’m sure, though. $3,000 would be rather nice right now.) On the other hand, I’m not the first person to try this. Greg Stolze has used a very similar model to publish RPG material, and Alexandra Erin is using another version for a very-adult-themed fantasy novel. I am aware of other people doing similar things, as well. No-one I’m aware of is using exactly my model, but I’ve just tweaked it to suit my novel and my preferences. Nevertheless, this is hardly a well-established model yet, so this is still an experiment.

So, this blog post is the first bit of the publicity campaign. Please have a look at Ice Yearning, and if you like it, please pay for the first chapter.

Seven Month Medical

Mayuki had her seven month medical today. This also included her second DPT jab, and apparently she cried a lot at that. She’s about 65cm long, and weighs a bit over 7kg, both of which are within the normal range. The fact that she still isn’t rolling over is a bit unusual, but nothing to worry about, apparently. Since she’s sitting up and reaching for things, I guess there’s no problem with her general muscle development, so maybe she just doesn’t feel like rolling over.

Although her weaning is not progressing as quickly as some, it’s still OK. The doctor suggested that we force feed her a bit more. Or, at least, be more positive about getting her to eat. She’s not generally violently opposed to eating, she just seems to lose interest. So if we try harder, she might eat more, and maybe move up to two meals per day.

The next check-up is at ten months. Lots of excitement before that.

Family Outing

Yesterday we went on a little family outing. Indeed, you could say that we went shopping, although we didn’t actually buy very much.

For the first stop, we did make purchases. We went to the outlet shop at a local bread factory. Yuriko buys most of our bread there these days, because the bread is quite nice, and very reasonably priced. This was the first time I or Mayuki had been, but Mayuki slept through the experience; she just does not understand what is important to her mother. Yuriko was actually a little disappointed, because most of the bread had already been sold when we got there. She normally goes a couple of hours earlier, and on a weekday, which I suspect makes a big difference, but we were able to get enough bread for the week. One nice thing about getting the bread there is that they give you free bread with every purchase, and it’s a different kind every week, maybe every day. That means that we get a chance to try a wide range, and thus broaden our horizons.

From there, we walked to Tokyo. It’s just over the river, so it isn’t very far, and the walk across the river bridge is fairly pleasant. On the other side, we stopped for lunch, at a Chinese restaurant. One notable feature is that the restaurant is directly under the railway bridge, so every couple of minutes the whole place shook as a train went by overhead. This did not seem to bother Mayuki in the slightest; she sat and played by herself for almost the whole meal.

Mayuki has recently got a lot better at sitting up. Yesterday, when she sat up by herself for at least fifteen minutes without any intervention, was the best yet. She can lean forward to study her feet, and then sit back up straight, all without falling over. Possibly as a result, she does not like being put down on her back anymore, and immediately cries. Put her down sitting up, however, and she’s a lot happier. This is an important bit of information for me, since I will be looking after her today.

She’s also got a high chair now; it arrived last week. She really likes sitting in it, and we put her in it and bring it up to the table at meal times, so that she can be with us as a family. Of course, she doesn’t eat at the same time as us yet; it’ll be a little while before she can feed herself, but probably only a little while.

Anyway, back to yesterday. After lunch, we went to the big shopping centre so that Yuriko could use the nursing room to feed Mayuki. I slipped off to a bookshop while that was going on, and they came to find me afterwards. Finally, we went for a drink at Starbucks. Unsurprisingly, it was quite busy, so we had to walk round a few times before finding somewhere to sit, and during that process Mayuki became thoroughly bored and fell asleep on my shoulder. She didn’t wake up again until we were on the train home.

Mayuki was good all afternoon, and she seems to be thoroughly used to trains and buses, so it looks like short trips with baby are a perfectly practical thing to plan. We’re looking forward to them.

Self-Harming Baby

Babies are clearly born suicidal, or at least with a strong tendency to self-harm.

A couple of days ago, Mayuki threw herself off our bed, and then complained vigorously about the result. Actually, I was in the middle of a lesson, so I heard “THUD. waaaaAAAAAA”. Obviously, I excused myself and went to investigate. Yuriko was worried that Mayuki was going to die; I wasn’t particularly worried about that (she fell less than 50cm onto carpet), but, obviously, I was a little concerned about concussion. So, a quick check of the Paranoid Parents’ Primer was in order.

This was actually quite reassuring, as it suggested that, if she never lost consciousness, there was unlikely to be any problem. She had quite clearly not lost consciousness. Things were made slightly complex by the fact that it was after 8pm, and Mayuki fell asleep soon after. Now, excessive sleepiness is a bad sign after a head injury. However, Mayuki fairly often falls asleep around that time… So, I deliberately tried waking her up. This was a complete success. At least from the perspective of maming sure that she could. It was slightly less successful from the point of view of getting her back to sleep again afterwards, but I eventually managed that, too.

Anyway, her behaviour was completely normal yesterday, and so far today. In fact, she’s sitting next to me as I write this, making comments on the blog. So it looks like there were no problems. I didn’t even notice much bruising when I bathed her last night, so that’s good.

However, she did have another go at torturing herself. She decided that it was a good idea to rub her eyes while I was washing her cheeks.

No. She apparently noticed that quite quickly. Of course, I doubt she’ll remember it for next time…