A Proper Father

I am now a proper father. Mayuki threw up all over me today.

I had a bit of a lie in this morning, and after I got up and we had breakfast, I gave Mayuki a bottle of milk while we sat on the sofa. She drank it all down at once, and then got down, standing between my legs. She looked a bit uncomfortable, so I asked her whether anything was wrong.

At that point she was sick on me.

After being sick, she started crying, so I called Yuriko. Mayuki had managed to avoid getting any vomit on herself, landing it all on me, so I didn’t want to give her a hug while Yuriko was going to arrive any moment. Fortunately, Mayuki stopped crying soon after Yuriko arrived, and we were able to mop up enough of the liquid vomit that I could get up and go to the bathroom to undress into a bucket.

I’d been wondering, after I finished feeding Mayuki, whether to have a shower. Obviously, that decision was made for me.

In the end, Mayuki seemed to be back to her normal self by the time we’d finished, so I gave her a shower as well, and then we went out for a little walk to the shops. Mayuki actually walked quite a bit of the way, although I had to carry her quite a lot as well. Lots of people said she was cute, and she was just as she always is, so we don’t think there’s anything wrong with her; she probably just drank too much too quickly.

Day Trip

Today we went on a family day trip to Atami, a coastal hot spring resort town a couple of hours away by train. This means that I’m even further behind on the diary than I was yesterday, because this is a diary entry sort of thing, with pictures. I’m going to have to deliberately set aside some time to get the diary done.

Anyway, we all had a good time. I don’t know exactly what Mayuki enjoyed, but she was a good girl all day, and got upset when we were home and obviously getting ready to send her to bed. I think she enjoys travel; new things to see, and she gets to spend the whole day with Mummy and Daddy. Yuriko particularly enjoyed seeing a house designed by Bruno Taut, a famous pre-war German architect. (Actually, he only designed one floor of the house, so he mainly designed the interior.) I particularly enjoyed visiting a couple of shrines. Fortunately, we both enjoyed the places the other wanted to see, so there was no boredom involved.

We’re trying to teach Mayuki Baby Sign, because it is apparently good for them to communicate before they can manage to frame words. We’re not very good at remembering to teach her, but today at dinner, when Yuriko tried to convince Mayuki that it was delicious, Mayuki tapped her left cheek with her open hand, which is the sign for “delicious”. I don’t know whether Mayuki knows what it means, since Yuriko frequently uses it about things that Mayuki doesn’t want to eat (which isn’t terribly good strategy, now I come to think of it), but she’s clearly connected the word and the sign.

Anyway, I’ll try to get round to writing the diary entry before I forget everything we did.

First Steps

Mayuki took her first steps today.

I actually missed the very first two, because I was asleep (I’ve been very tired for some reason, can’t imagine why a freelance writer with a one-year-old might be tired), but I did see her second lot, as she walked one step from holding on to the back of her high chair to holding on to the trunk that has the phone on. She celebrated her great achievement by turning the answerphone on and off, one of her favourite games.

In a matter of days she’ll be running around the flat, getting in the way constantly.

I can’t wait.

Mayuki Update

I’m still busy trying to catch up from the holidays, but I’m slowly getting there. I might actually be caught up by the end of next week, although I’ll have to work again this weekend. While that means that I still don’t have time to write up proper diary entries, I do at least have a chance to write a bit about Mayuki.

While she seems to be fine at the moment, she’s been to the doctor a lot this week. This started on Tuesday, when we went to the park. Despite the anti-insect patches stuck on her clothes, Mayuki was bitten on the back of her ankle. On Wednesday morning, the bite was swollen, red, and weeping clear fluid. Mayuki didn’t seem in the least bothered, or even to notice, but we certainly did. Yuriko popped out to the doctor with her. The diagnosis was that it was just a rather deep insect bite, so other than putting a bandage on and providing some cream, there was no need for lots of treatment. He did say to go back the following day, though. We did discover that all the treatment, including the medicines, is free, so that’s good.

That was her first non-routine (standard check-up, immunisation) visit to a doctor since she was born. Over a year isn’t bad going, really.

Her second was on Wednesday evening. She suddenly developed a fever, and we were concerned that it might be connected to the insect bite, since infections do produce fevers. So, off to the doctor again, albeit a different doctor this time. Her fever got as high as 39, although she didn’t seem particularly bothered by it. The doctor said it was either a response to her measles/rubella jab, or a disease that is apparently called Roseola infantum, where babies around one year old suddenly get a high fever for three or four days, followed by a red rash. There wasn’t a lot of necessary treatment for this, either, and it wasn’t connected to the bite, but he said to come back in a couple of days unless the fever got bad and Mayuki seemed to be suffering on Thursday.

On Thursday, Mayuki had no sign of a fever, and was playing perfectly happily, so we didn’t bother with an extra trip. Yuriko did take her to the first doctor, and confirm that the bite was behaving itself properly.

On Friday, Mayuki developed a slight fever again, but the doctor confirmed that it definitely wasn’t Roseola infantum. In fact, the streaming nose, sneezing, and occasional coughs enabled Yuriko and I to anticipate the doctor’s diagnosis: Mayuki had a cold. She still does today, in fact, although it doesn’t seem to be slowing her down much.

In fact, today she was standing up with both hands on the top of her bucket of Duplo bricks. This was only remarkable because the bottom of the bucket was a good ten centimetres off the floor. She stayed standing there for a few seconds, and then just put the bucket down in a new place so she could continue playing. While she has been standing by herself quite a lot recently, apparently when she gets distracted by what she’s doing and doesn’t realise that she isn’t holding on any more, this is the first time we’ve seen her doing it while holding something substantial; the bucket is about half her size (although a lot less than half her weight, obviously).

The first step really can’t be far in the future now, although she seems to prefer holding on to my or Yuriko’s hands. We might have to trick her into doing it…

Pictures of Mayuki

I’ve not posted for a while because I’ve been very busy trying to catch up on al the work I missed while I was on holiday. I’m still doing that, in fact, but I’m just doing a quick post to let people know that Yuriko’s friend Sonoe took some pictures of Mayuki, and the rest of us, and put them up on her blog again. Click on the link to go and see them. The text of the blog is all in Japanese, but at least you can enjoy the images.

Mayuki is Fine

Well, that’s what most people reading the blog care about. Of course, that could be because I’ve only been writing about Mayuki recently, and not posting very much even about that. This is because I’ve been rather busy recently, and not managed to find time to do my blog. Sorry about that.

Still busy today, so this is just a quick note to confirm that I’m still here.

Family Day

Yesterday was a family day, and more so than most: Yuriko’s parents came up from Nagoya to get their grandchild fix. They arrived around midday, while we were iChatting with California, so my Dad got to say hello to them, which was nice.

In the afternoon, we went to the local shrine’s summer festival. It was the third time I’d been, and the second time for Yuriko, but Mayuki’s first time. (And Yuriko’s parents’ first time.) Mayuki was a really, really good girl. Not only did she not cry, she also watched most of the sacred dance, and didn’t shout or squeal too much.

I also got interviewed again. Last year some people were videoing it as part of a record of cultural practices (the dance is registered by Kawasaki city), so they wanted to interview the only foreigner present. This time, someone from Yomiuri Shinbun was there, and she wanted to ask me what I thought of the festival as a foreigner. This is a little difficult to answer. Yes, I’m a foreigner, but it’s the fourth time I’ve been, I know the people at the shrine quite well, and I’ve studied Shinto quite extensively; I’m not seeing it from a standard foreigner perspective. I did my best to answer the question as put, however. After all, she wasn’t really interviewing me, she was researching the event.

In the afternoon we took Yuriko’s parents to Shinrin Kouen, one of the local parks, because they hadn’t been there before, and then they took us out for eel. There is a tradition that you should eat eel on this day of the year. Apparently, this tradition was started by an eel shop about twenty years ago, but the Japanese are remarkably uncynical about excuses to eat particular foods. And eel is very tasty, so I’m not going to object either. The restaurant we went to was very nice indeed, but they don’t advertise much. Yuriko and her parents suspect that this is because, if they did, lots of people would come, and that would inconvenience the regular customers. I think that’s a good attitude to have, if you are already making enough money; human relationships do matter at least as much as profits.

Mayuki was a really good girl in the restaurant as well, and the other customers, and the staff, said that she was really cute. If we’re not careful, we’ll start believing people when they say that sort of thing to us.

Today is Ocean Day, so Yuriko doesn’t have a kimono class. Her parents stayed overnight in Kawasaki, so they’re here again now, and I’m getting my computer to the point where I can start it backing up and thus go and spend time with them. Of course, they can play with Mayuki, so they aren’t that bothered about what I get up to.

9/10 Month Checkup

It’s been so long since I wrote a blog post that the software asked me for my password. Sorry about that.

Anyway, Mayuki had her 9/10 month checkup yesterday, and she’s fine. (I couldn’t go, because I had to work, so I have to rely on what Yuriko told me.) Her weight is still under eight kilograms, but the doctor said that’s no problem; we should think of it as respect for her parents. I certainly appreciate it.

The night before, we went through the questions in the Mother-Child Record Book, to check various bits of development.

“Can she crawl?” Yes!

“Can she hold onto things and stand up?” Yes!

“Can she pick up small things between finger and thumb?”

Hmm… We try to keep small things out of reach to reduce choking risk. Time to check. We got a small thing and put it in front of her, attempting to convince her that it was really interesting, and she wanted to pick it up. She looked at us like we were mad for a little while, and then reached out and smoothly picked it up with her finger and thumb. So she passed the first exam of her life with flying colours.

Mayuki is such a good baby that we had trouble thinking of things to ask the doctor, when Yuriko was trying to prepare questions.

“What about the fact that she cries at bedtime?”

“All babies do that, Yuriko.”

“Hmm, yes. Well, she’s stopped trying to crawl away when I change her nappy. Maybe I should ask about that?”

“You’re really desperate now. Mayuki’s just being cooperative.”

“OK, what about the trip to the UK?”

“I suppose that’s fine. I can’t see any problem, though.”

And, indeed, as the UK is an advanced country, there should be no problem. We can buy baby food and formula milk there without worrying.

I hope Mayuki will continue to be as good as this for at least a few more years…

Crawling and Calling

Mayuki has started crawling. Her first definite crawl was the day before yesterday, so she’s still not very quick, but she can definitely move in a clear direction, to get to the phone so that she can play with it. She really likes our phone. It beeps when you press the buttons, and if you press the right buttons, it talks to you. Yesterday, she managed to call the automated weather forecast. Not quite sure how she managed that, but it was her first phone call.

Talking of calling, she called me yesterday as well. She was playing in the living room, while I was working in my office. The office door wasn’t quite closed all the way, and Mayuki crawled to a point where she could see me.

She then called out “Dada”, two or three times, and crawled towards the door, trying to push it open when she got there.

She only says “mamamama” when she’s crying and wants something.

Of course, before I get too confident that she likes me better, we have to consider bedtime. Last night, as soon as I picked her up, wearing my pyjamas, she started screaming and crying, and strying to push herself away from me, with her arms and legs both pushing hard against my chest. When I put her sitting on the bed, she started trying to crawl off it, but didn’t stop crying. In the end, I had to take her to Yuriko, whereupon she promptly went quiet, and then fell asleep while being fed.

We can only conclude that Mayuki prefers Mummy and Daddy at different times.