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Taking to the Bottle

We took Mayuki for another check-up yesterday, and her weight is not climbing quickly enough. It looks like Yuriko’s milk has not come in fully yet. Mayuki’s weight has been going up, so obviously milk has been coming through, but there hasn’t been enough. So, we’re on to supplementing with bottle milk for a little while. Fortunately, we got a free sample of suitable formula from the clinic, and that may, if we’re really lucky, last long enough for Yuriko’s milk to get going properly.

Mayuki is certainly quite enthusiastic about drinking from the bottle, and does seem to be a bit more settled now. Still, she cried quite a lot yesterday evening. It’s a bit unfortunate that, with work starting again, I can’t help Yuriko as much now as I could before, but there’s nothing to be done about that.

So, it looks like Mayuki has to stop being the slender baby she is at the moment, and put some weight on. Baby fat is OK when you are actually a baby…

Life Insurance

Yesterday, I applied for life insurance. Now I have a daughter, this has become rather necessary. As is normal with these traditionally complicated and intimidating things, I had to do it in Japanese. (At some point, I will have to make a will in Japanese as well. The main reason that hasn’t happened yet is that I have no idea what I have to do, and I know it will take me some time to find out. Given that I do know that the basic rules will give everything to Yuriko and Mayuki, it’s not yet urgent. Anyway, back to the other death topic.)

Some bits of the form were partcularly odd. For example, one of the declarations I had to make was that I was neither a US citizen, nor possessed of the right of permanent residence in the US. Not sure why it’s impossible for this company to insure the lives of USAnians.

Another really odd bit was the box to authorise people other than the insured person to claim the insurance money. This is for use when, due to exceptional circumstances, the insured person is unable to make the claim himself.

This is life insurance. If I can make the claim, they are unlikely to pay out.

So, anyway, I filled that in, figuring that it was probably the result of some not-as-well-thought-out-as-it-might-be regulation. I really don’t want a legal technicality to get in the way of any applications.

Life insurance is an odd product. After considering the full range, I’ve gone for one that doesn’t pay money back while I’m alive, because I can’t afford enough cover if I go for one that does pay back. Thus, I am paying out lots of money from which I will never see any benefit. I will never even get to see anyone else benefitting from it. And, of course, I really, really hope that all the money I’m paying out will simply disappear and be completely wasted. And yet I still think I’m doing the right thing.

Yes, definitely a very odd product.

The one I’ve gone for is a bit different to the standard. Instead of paying out a lump sum on death, it pays out a monthly sum for the rest of the term of the insurance (up to my 60th birthday), or five years, whichever is longer. This means that the payout drops as time goes on, but then so should the amount of money necessary. By 2031 Mayuki will be 24, which is old enough to become independent.

The main benefit of this is that I can actually afford to take out enough insurance to cover Yuriko and Mayuki’s needs. On the lump sum plans, I can’t afford the premiums.

Anyway, as long as they accept my application, that’s now done, and the money will just go out every month, so I don’t need to worry about it. I can concentrate on trying to make sure that it’s completely unnecessary.

Feeding Troubles

You would think that, if anything were instinctive, breast feeding would be. Apparently not, however. We went for another check-up for Mayuki yesterday, and she doesn’t seem to be getting enough to drink. The main problem seems to be that she has been sleeping through times when she should be fed, and hasn’t been attaching herself to the nipple properly. So Yuriko got a few instructions on how to encourage her to do it properly, and now we have to wake her up to make her eat, whether she thinks she’s hungry or not. We’re going back for another check-up in a couple of days, to see is Mayuki’s weight gain is back on course. If not, we may have to go with supplementary bottles for a little while.

The natural question is “how did people get on before there were clinics to give advice?”, and the answer is “the infant mortality rate was about 1 in 4”, so I think I’ll stick with the modern system and clinics, and follow the advice. As things stand, there is no significant risk that Mayuki will die in the next twenty years, and I’d like to keep it that way, thank you.

On the bright side, she’s started making new noises. In addition to burps, hiccups, and sneezes, and the extensively-practised cry, she’s started saying “ah” and such from time to time. Not very consistently yet, but I suspect this is the first step towards baby babbling, and thus the very first step towards talking. She’s got quite a long way to go yet, though.

These Lungs Were Made For Talking

…but for now they’re going to cry. Yes, Mayuki has truly discovered the wonderful potential of her lungs and throat for making a piercing sound that, if continued for long enough, makes whatever is bothering her go away. Whether her mother appears with the Magic Milk Machines, or her nappy suddenly gets dry and comfortable, or Mummy or Daddy just comes to hold her, something good happens.

Of course, sometimes we fail to make the hiccups instantly go away. (Actually, that’s unfair. Mayuki doesn’t actually cry much when she has hiccups. She just looks somewhat bemused.)

In many ways, it’s a good sign; it shows that she has energy, and that her lungs and voice are developing normally. The fact that she cries a lot in the evening and early night is also, according to the Paranoid Parents’ Primer, normal, so that’s nothing to worry about. And, of course, crying babies are one of the necessary rites of passage of parenthood. You can’t be a proper parent until you’ve done it.

On the bright side, she’s started smiling in her sleep, and this morning, she smiled at me while her eyes were open. It’s still a bit ambiguous whether it’s a proper smile, but we’re nearly there.

The real trick will be getting her to smile at her grandparents and aunts over the internet.