I suppose I could use our illness as an excuse for not updating the blog in ages. Actually, the more I think about it, the better an idea that seems, so let’s do it.

I haven’t been able to update the blog because we’ve been ill. Please ignore the daily updates to the Japanese blog.

Anyway, we have been ill. It started on Thursday. Yuriko went out to meet one of her friends during the day, but after she got back she started feeling really bad, and threw up several times. She was feeling rather better, although still not 100%, on Friday, so we put it down to mild food poisoning.

After I threw up three times on Saturday night, we revised that hypothesis. I wasn’t as bad as Yuriko, but I still spent most of Sunday in bed. Mayuki also threw up during the day on Sunday, all over the new Pingu pyjamas that she’d inherited from Yuriko’s friend’s son, but apart from that she was lively, so we assumed that we’d all be OK soon.

Indeed, yesterday Yuriko went to her kimono class as normal, and during the day Mayuki seemed to be fine. Her appetite was a bit lower than normal, and we didn’t go out any further than the convenience store, but she was playing in her normal way. After Yuriko got home and I was practising the piece I agreed to play with one of my students at her school Christmas party (she’s an English teacher, and I’m a meta-English teacher), Mayuki wanted to join in, which wasn’t great for concentration. On the other hand, there will be small children at the party, so it’s probably good training.

However, at dinner, even though she enthusiastically ate rice and seaweed (she really likes seaweed), she soon threw it back up. Her bib neatly caught all of it, and it was very fast, so we thought she’d probably just eaten too fast. Nevertheless, we didn’t give her any more solid food, but did feed her more milk, to try to keep water and nutrition levels up.

Again, she was fine afterwards. She went to bed with Yuriko before nine, and I joined them at about ten after washing up.

At eleven, Mayuki threw up lots. Fortunately, we were both there to make sure nothing serious happened, and we’d put towels under her before putting her to bed, but Mayuki was very upset. Yuriko had to cuddle her for a long time, and when we tried to swap Mayuki cried and reached for Yuriko, so I couldn’t help with that. Instead, I changed the bed. Thanks to the towels, only the sheets and one pillow were dirty, so it was just a case of stripping everything off and remaking. Within an hour, we were all back in bed, and asleep, and Mayuki then slept through (basically), and is still asleep now, at 8am. So is Yuriko; I’ve put the sheets through the wash, so they should be ready for hanging out soon.

We were planning to do our Christmas shopping today. The original plan was Sunday, which was cancelled due to Mayuki and me being ill. Then, by chance, I don’t have any lessons today, so we moved it forward. But now we can’t do it today, either. There isn’t another chance before Christmas, so we’ll probably have to do it after Christmas now. Maybe I can do a bit on Amazon.

Yuriko and Mayuki will probably go to the doctor today, but since this bug seems to be going around we don’t expect much beyond “it’s that bug that’s going around”, so I probably won’t go; I’ll stay here and work. I hope Mayuki is lively and happy again when she wakes up, though.

Imitating Her Parents

Sorry about another long delay. I’m quite busy at the moment, and writing the blog gets squeezed out.

Mayuki continues to come on in leaps and bounds, although actual leaps and bounds are still a bit beyond her. She can jump up and down a bit on the spot, but only a little bit.

She is imitating our speech better now, her recent clear word being “up”. That, “Daddy”, and occasionally “Mama”, are the only ones pronounced clearly, and apart from “Daddy” we aren’t sure whether she is using them with meaning yet. Yes, she does seem to be learning English earlier than Japanese. So far. On an evidence base of three words.

No, not convincing proof.

On the other hand, she does seem to be understanding what we say. She likes playing with the shampoo tube while she has her shower, but when I ask her to put it back on the shelf, she does. She also objects to “I have to work”.

She does a very cute imitation of me blowing my nose, holding the tissue up to her nose and making noises, although she can’t actually blow her nose yet, and she always copies Yuriko when Yuriko is cleaning the floor. She’s even got a small floor mop that she uses for that. Yesterday, we went down to the convenience store, and she took a little shopping basket and put sweets into it, so she knows about going shopping as well.

It looks like it won’t be long at all before she’s properly talking, so I’m really looking forward to that.

A long break and then a short article. Oh well.

Mayuki Update

It’s far too long since I wrote a blog entry in English, so I’ll have to write about Mayuki, or large portions of my audience will never forgive me.

She’s still fine, still cute, and still lovely. Of course.

My Dad was in Japan last weekend, so she had a chance to play with her Grandad. I was working on Saturday, but joined everyone on Sunday, and could see that Mayuki had no problem with Dad. Apparently, she was shy for about two minutes when they first met, and perfectly happy after that. It looks as though doing iChat every week or so has a good effect in terms of her comfort levels.

Today Yuriko took her to look at another possible playgroup. This one is bilingual, English and Japanese, although the teachers are from places like India and the Ivory Coast, so they aren’t putting a great emphasis on standard native pronunciation, which is largely a good thing, I think. Unfortunately, this place is a bit too far away and, because it is in Yokohama and we are not, it is also likely to be too expensive, but it’s a bit more useful information.

After they got home, I played with Mayuki while Yuriko made dinner. Mayuki decided to sit in front of the television and stare at it for a while. We are not encouraging her to watch television, which is why it was switched off. Clearly the war against television is unwinnable; even the off switch does not guarantee victory.

Fortunately, she also showed an interest in playing with her glockenspiel, picking up the sticks (well, one of them) and heading for it, and then playing it quite enthusiastically when I got it out for her. She’s definitely into music; she now has three different toys that play music when you press buttons, one of which is a picture book that Yuriko bought today, and she very much enjoys all of them.

At dinner time, Mayuki did a good job of eating. She ate quite a bit by herself, with her fingers, which is, I think, the first time she’s done that consistently at a proper meal. She eats the baby prawn crackers by herself quite enthusiastically. She even managed to get a spoon full of rice into her mouth with only minimal assistance from Yuriko, but she only managed that once, so obviously there’s still a bit of time to go there.

Towards the end of the meal, she decided she wanted a drink. There was some barley tea in her bottle, which has a drinking spout, and in Yuriko’s glass. I held up the bottle, and Yuriko held up the glass, and Mayuki sat in her chair, looking from one to the other, before finally stretching out to the glass. She’s started making her own decisions.

Right now, I hope she’s deciding to go to sleep.

Mayuki’s Modelling Debut (Part II)

Today I was in Shibuya, enjoying a day off by myself, and I just happened to pop in to a large electrical goods shop and wander over to their digital camera section. Fortunately, they did have Mayuki’s album on display with the camera. So, I’ve had a look at it in a shop. I took a couple of photos of the display, to record it for posterity.

In addition, Pentax have put most of the pictures up online. To see the pictures, click on the silver-grey button under the picture of the album. I think you probably need to have Flash working, but that’s not a problem for most people these days.

All By Myself

I’m all alone at the moment. Yuriko and Mayuki have gone off to Nagoya for a week or so, so that Mayuki can spend some time with her grandparents (and vice versa). Yuriko is hoping to take advantage of baby-sitting services to get a few things done, as well. So I get left all on my lonesome.

Of course, this isn’t all bad, by any means. I slept all last night without being kicked in the head once, for example, something I’ve not managed for quite a while. I’m not interrupted while I’m working by complaining shouts from the next room. All the getting up things take one hour rather than two, because I don’t have to get a baby up as well. I’m sure that I’ll enjoy the break in a lot of ways.

I’m also sure that by the end, I’ll really be looking forward to them getting back.

Mayuki’s Modelling Debut

Mayuki’s debut work as a model has now been released. Unfortunately for most readers of this blog, it’s only available in Japan, and even here it can’t be purchased. However, you can see some of the pictures from the shoots for it; Yuriko’s friend Sonoe took them, and there are some pictures on her blog.

As you can probably tell from the top picture on the blog, the photos were to advertise a camera. The camera is a single lens reflex camera aimed at ordinary mothers, and as part of the campaign Pentax decided to create a sample album, with baby pictures in, to display next to the camera in shops, showing off what it can do. They asked Sonoe to take the photographs, and, having seen the earlier photos on Sonoe’s blog, asked Mayuki to be the model.

We had to think about it a bit before agreeing, but since Sonoe is a friend of Yuriko’s, and had photographed Mayuki before, and Pentax is hardly an obscure, dubious company, we did decide to do it. In the end, it took several days, with several hours per day, to gather the necessary photographs, and we had to make sure that we didn’t push her too hard. Usually, this was easy to tell; once she stopped being cheerful and smiley-faced, it was time for a bit of a break. Of course, while she was being cheerful, smiley-faced, and banging a spoon hard on the restaurant’s plates, it was us who felt like we needed a break. (She objected quite strongly when we took the spoon away, and tried to find a new instrument…)

Pentax paid for some new clothes for Mayuki for the shoot, nice ones, and for the various meals involved, but the main benefit we get is copies of the publicity album, and the original digital photographs. Lots and lots of photographs of Mayuki, free! OK, so that wouldn’t make for a very professional relationship, but then Mayuki isn’t a professional model…

Sudden Walking

Yesterday evening, Mayuki suddenly decided to go walking around our living room all by herself. It’s really a bit mystifying. One moment she was playing with Yuriko, just as normal, and the next she was walking from Yuriko to me and back again, visiting other places as they took her fancy. She’s been able to walk by herself for a couple of weeks now, but she’s not been doing it very much, nor has she really been doing it spontaneously. So last night was a bit of a surprise, albeit a pleasant one.

One possible explanation is that we went to a Mums and Tots group in the morning. When I say “we”, I mean Mayuki and I. Yuriko was in the same building, and introduced me to the other members of the group (Yuriko has been going for some time), but she wanted to attend a class on how to raise healthy, happy children. In addition, when her new kimono classes start she won’t be able to go, so I’ll be taking over from next month. Thus, yesterday was a chance for me to get to know the other people involved a bit.

Anyway, there were two other babies of almost exactly Mayuki’s age at the group, and both of them were walking around by themselves quite happily. Mayuki may have seen what they were up to, as she walked around holding my hand, and decided that she wanted to imitate them. Whatever the reason, we’re happy.

Busy Lives

I’ve not had time to get the diary caught up yet, even though there’s only one entry to go, because I’ve had to do lots of work. Yuriko has been busy as well.

On Tuesday she went to the Taira Children’s Culture Centre for a talk on food for babies from one to two, which was very useful, particularly in convincing her that she didn’t need to panic about Mayuki. Yesterday, she went to the Sugao Child Raising Support Centre for a talk on picture books. She says they were very good, although most of them were for children aged two and a half and up. It is certainly true that Mayuki doesn’t seem to fully appreciate books yet, much as she enjoys looking through them. There is, apparently, a library of such books in the Sugao Children’s Culture Centre.

All of these centres are funded by Kawasaki City, and thus free to use. There is a serious shortage of nursery places in Kawasaki, due in large part, I suspect, to the relatively high number of both children and working parents, but the rest of the child support system seems to be in very good shape.

Today, Yuriko took Mayuki to Ikea, along with Mayuki’s half-English friend and her mother. I’ve not heard the full account of what they did yet, because Yuriko is currently making dinner in the hope that I can eat before I have to teach at half past seven. It’s getting a bit tight…