Rocking the cradle

Yesterday, my mom and grandmother stopped by bearing gifts for Haruka.  She received tons more clothes and other things.  But the one thing that was a real god send was the cradle.

At first, I didn’t think we needed it, but Haruka seemed to really like a lot, even more than the mobile that she got the day before.  Yesterday she slept for five hours in it.  Eventually, I had to wake her up because she went beyond her feeding time.  And surprisingly she wasn’t cranky when I woke her.  She drank her milk, whimpered a bit, then went right back to sleep.

I went to the store and bought some batteries for the cradle so that rocks her sleep automatically.  She really liked that a lot.   She stared at the little stuffed figures that rotated above her for several minutes and then went right to sleep.

She was a bit cranky last night and this morning, so I put her back in her cradle and she went right back to sleep.  She’s been asleep for about 4 hours now, and so it’s almost time to wake her up again.  Haruka is usually the one to let us now when she needs to be fed, but with this cradle, it seems that she would sleep right through the day if we didn’t wake her up.

Haruka sleeping in her cradle

Haruka sleeping in her cradle

Haru’s new mobile

Today, Haruka’s mobile arrived in the mail.  It’s quite colorful, which is good because babies at this age still don’t see things too well; they have something like 20/400 vision, so they can only see things really close up.  So the mobile will help her develop her hand-eye coordination.  The mobile also plays Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven, so this will help her develop her hearing skills.

She took to it pretty well and quite quickly.  The colorful moving obejects seemed to capitvate her.  She’s particularly fond of the red giraffe. She babbles a lot and at times, she even seemed to laugh.  But eventually she got bored with it and started whimpering. I guess its true that babies do really have short attention spans, but even so, the mobile seemed to have grabbed her attention more than anything else we tried.

Haruka being mezmorized by her new toy

First Xmas

Today was Haruka’s first Christmas.  However, since she probably won’t remember anything about it, we didn’t do anything too special.  It won’t be until probably next year that we do the real Christmassy stuff like trees and lights.  So, like any other day, today was very uneventful.  Haruka spent most of the day sleeping.  She was a bit fussy tonight, but didn’t put too much of fight when trying to get her to sleep.  For now, seems like her colic has taken a break.  As a matter of fact, lately she has been really good, and easy to deal with.  She’s also starting to communicate more by cooing anf making other sounds with her mouth.  It’s a nice change from the blood curdling screams she usually does to get attention.

I found out that Haruka loves music, so I played some of my MP3’s to get her to go to sleep.  She especially likes Huey Lewis and the News and Paul McCartney’s Hey Jude.  When I play it for her, she becomes really relaxed and dozes off to sleep.  But as soon as the music stops, she wakes up and whimpers a bit.  Interestingly enough, she doesn’t react as favorably to Mozart.  I wish I had known this earlier;  I could have saved $20 on the Baby Mozart CD that I bought for her.

The dogs have reacted differently to Haruka’s presence. Princess recognizes her as another human being and is very careful around her.  However, Jenna doesn’t see her as a living thing and tends to ignore her.   Today, Jenna jumped off of the top of the sofa and landed right on top of Haruka while she was asleep.  Jenna, being nearly twice Haruka’s weight could have hurt her easily, but luckily all she did was wake her up and made her cry a bit.  It’s hard to believe, but Haruka is now 4 weeks old.  I guess this is when the real fun begins.

Having a good day

Haruka having a good day

another shot

 Another shot

Princess and Haruka

Princess surprising Haruka with a Christmas kiss

Busting Out at the Seams

It’s been 3 weeks since Haruka came home from the hospital.  Its been a very hard 3 weeks, but things have been improving gradually in the last few days.  Although she still tends to cry a lot, lately she’s been crying for a reason (like dirty diapers or she’s hungry).  Her meaningless crying has slowly been decreasing, but when it does happen, it seems that the intensity has gotten stronger.  She’s a lot stronger and louder than she was just two weeks ago (which is good….I suppose).  Constipation is definately gone, and her ability to process gas from the baby formula is getting a lot better. 

We’ve been told by a few people now, including the pediatrician at the hospital and my wife’s mother that Haruka has really long leg’s for her age.  I didn’t really take this seriously until yesterday, when we clothed her with the clothes she wore just last week and noticed that it fits very tight now.  At first we thought that it probably just shrunk in the wash, but when we clothed her in a baby pajamas made for a six month old, she almost fit in it.  It’s a bit bulky of course, but she almost fills out its length.  We figure that probably in another few weeks or so, she will fill it out.

The other challenge has been trying to get off of formula and onto breast milk.   Although breast milk is more nourishing than formula, it’s biggest disadvantage is not knowing how much she drank, and that it’s a lot less filling than formula,  so it takes longer to breast feed, and it has to happen more often than formula.  So for now, we are doing 50-50, so that my wife doesn’t have to spend most of the day feeding.

Finally, last night as she slept on the sofa, I noticed that Haruka has gotten a bit more daker complected than she was a few weeks ago.  She’s definately darker than my wife now, and the tips if her fingers, and the tops of her ears are pretty dark.  Not sure what this will amount to in her future appearance, so it will be interesting to find out.

Haruka's smile

Haruka, smiling for the camera

Another Smile

Another smile

helix of the ear

Here, you can clearly see that the lobes of her ears are lighter than the top of the helix.

Haruka’s Laws

Haruka loves taking a bath.  It’s one of the very few things that seems to soothe her.  As a matter of fact, when we take her out of her inflateable pink bath tub after her bath, she tends to throw a tantrum and screams until we give her her milk which is the other thing that soothes her.

In the last couple of days, I think I have figured her out.  Here is what we’ve been doing wrong:

  • Not burping her enough.  She needs to be burped often,  almost to the point when our hands start hurting from tapping her on the back so long.  Also, burping her every after 20ml of milk seems to minimize the gas intake.
  • Putting her to bed right after her milk.  She defintately does not like this!  Sometimes we would think she’s asleep, and put her down for bed, only to have her wake up minutes later crying.  Haruka likes to be held for at least one hour after  her milk.  Usually, one hour is long enough to make sure she’s asleep. Although this isn’t a hard thing to do during the day, it can be quite tiring in the middle of the night.
  • Assuming enough is enough.  My wife is still stuck on the mentality that she should be given a predetermined amount of milk (no more no less).  This is definately not the way to go.  I usually overshoot her limit and let Haruka tell me when she’s had enough.  That way there is no second guessing;  she’ll get enough every time.
  • Burping her right after she’s drank a full bottle of milk.  Definately not the way to go, unless you like partially digested milk all over you and the sofa.  I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to wait at least 3 to 5 minutes after she’s finished feeding before burping her.

Although not the answer to all of our problems, if we obey the rules above, the day ends relatively peacefully.  The gripe water has been working well in conjuction with tummy massages when she suffers from gas.  All in all, it’s been a hard learning experience. And as long as Haruka’s Laws stay constant, I think we have a pretty good chance of surviving the next several months.

Haruka, enjoying a hot bath

Haruka, enjoying a hot bath

The Colic Strikes Back!

Haruka is now 3 weeks old, and yesterday was probably about the worst day for her.  She spent most of the night crying uncontrollably which kept my wife and me up.  I made the mistake of trying to feed her during this period of unease, and she wound up throwing everything up , which irritated her even more and made things worse. 

I tried using the gripe water that I bought several days ago, and it did work a little bit, but it was hardly enough to keep her quite for a long period of time.  At best, she would sleep for about 40 minutes and then the whole cycle would repeat itself.  And with my in-laws back at home, the whole thing has taken an emotional toll on my wife to the point where she started to cry as well.

Luckily, I had some vacation time coming to me.  I had been working extremely hard for the last several weeks to pull off the near impossible, and that was to complete my projects by mid-December.  It’s amazing how motivated you get when you have someone who needs you there to care for them, because I was somehow able to complete all my projects more than 2 weeks before their deadlines, hence I was able to take off from work until January 7th.  Now I will be able to spend more time helping my wife cope with Haruka.

 Yesterday, during one of Haruka’s short periods of calmness, I noticed that her belly looked really bloated.  It was as if someone had inflated a balloon inside of her.  I gently massaged her belly and felt  small little pockets of gas moving around.  So, after about 10 minutes of massaging her belly, she passed the gas and fell sound a sleep. 

Today, things were a bit better.  Haruka slept well last night.  She slept a good five hours which was what we all needed.  So, in turn, yesterday’s experiment confirmed that gas is bothering her, and that helping her get it out helps her sleep longer and more comfortably.  Can’t wait until she goes on to solid foods so that we can put this problem with the baby formula behind us.

a somewhat grainy photo taken at 6am this morning right after she woke up 

a bit blury, but here’s another


It been two weeks since Haruka came home from the hospitial, and things have been quite challenging to say the very least.  Bouts with constipation, colic, and lactose intolerance have been quite stressing.  But I think we have most of the problems licked.  The constipation has not been as bad, and when it does happen a dose of diluted prune juice seems to do the trick quite nicely.  She’s still a bit colicky, but has calmed down considerably in the last week.  But just to be prepared, I’ve ordered a bottle of gripe water which should give some relief to all of us.  As for lactose intolerance, well unfortunaltely this will never go away.  We could always switch to soy based formula, but I tend to want to lean away from formula and go for breast milk.  Its much more healthier, nourishing, and natural.  Moreover, I really don’t trust some of the products they sell in Japan, especially after the really stupid advice I get from the so-called “qualified pediatricians” at the hospital.  With their archaic practices of medicine, which is no better than modern day voodoo, I sometimes really believe that I can solve some of these problems better on my own.

The final challenge are the in-laws.  I am totally grateful that my mother-in-law was able to come over and stay with us for the last two weeks and help us out.  However, I am looking forward to getting back some normalcy.  I think with having guests for long periods of time, you soon start to feel that you’re the guest and not the host.  And with the arrival of the father-in-law yesterday, normalcy has flown the coupe.   My father-in-law had a stroke a few years back, so his mind isn’t all there.  I know that he means well, but sometimes he does some really quirky things that can rattle my nerves.  But we will have our lives back soon, and so I am looking forward to the next challenges.

Haruka, getting ready for her nap

Haruka, getting ready for her nap 

Belly Button!

Haruka has been feeling a lot better lately.  As a matter of fact she hasn’t really cried once since I cam home today, which is probably the first.  Even before she started getting colicky, she would cry after her bath.  She loves taking hot baths and hates getting out.

Yesterday, Haruka lost her belly button scab.  It had been loose for the last serveral days and it finally fell off yesterday.  This freaked out my wife because she thought it looked disgusting.  It didn’t bother me in the slightest; it just looked like any other scab to me.

Japanese people like to save them by putting them in wooden boxes.  I never understood this, but then again I’m not really sure what non-Japanese people do with them.  Do they just throw them away with the rest of the trash?  I’m not the one for saving every little body part that falls off of Haruka, but just throwing away the belly button scab didn’t seem quite right to me.  So we just kind of took the Japanese approach, and just saved it.

And just after I write this last sentence, she starts to cry…sigh

Smiling for the camera 

Haruka, smiling for the camera….actually this was taken right in a middle of a hiccup

Smiling for the camera

Haruka, Showing Her True Colors

Its been two weeks since Haruka came into this world.  In a very short time, not only has she changed a lot appearance-wise, she has seem achieved some amazing feats (like being able to hold her own bottle unassisted, and communicating with grunts).  Although it has been quite a challenge dealing with her colic, constipation and lactose intolerance, she is healthy and strong, so its been an absolute joy having her around.

When Haruka was born, one thing we noticed right away was that she looked nothing like me.  Technically she’s 1/4 African-American, so we were hoping that she would display more of those traits.  But, I guess being a quarter, some of those traits get diluted in the mix.  My relatives, my wife’s relatives, and even the nurses at the hospital commented that she looks 100% Japanese or looks more like her mother, which somewhat disappointed my wife.  I was not as disappointed, however I was hoping to see a bit more of myself in her.

After two weeks of being out of the womb, we’ve noticed that her looks are changing quite a bit.  Aside from her face becoming more rounder, I particularly noticed that she is starting to show some of the traits I had when I was a child.  For example, in addition to my childhood chubby cheeks, she has my eyebrows, and my nose.  Also, we noticed that the skin at the base of her fingernails have darkened a bit, which according to this siteis a sign that she will ultimately be darker in tone, later on in life.  My wife also added that her under arms and genitalia are also darker in color, which is another indicator.  I am not too concerned with skin color; I think she looks fine the way she is, but hopefully some of my traits become more prevelant so that people don’t ask me “is she your real daughter?”or cause some kind of identity crisis.

Haruka’s fingers 

Hard Day!

Today was a pretty hard day for all of us.  Because of Haruka’s constipation, she spent most of the day awake and crying.  Her crying got so bad, that it really gave me a bad head and ear ache, to the point where I couldn’t even get near her because it hurt by ear so bad.  I knew she was uncomfortable, and I felt bad, because there wasn’t anything I could do for her. 

We tried everything from diluted prune juice to putting olive oil on her butt (which was the hospital’s advice, and I thoughtthat advice was absolutely stupid.) But nothing really seemed to do the trick.

I could tell she tried to sleep, and she did sleep, but only for an hour or two at a time.  She would then wake up screaming at the top of her lungs.  She didn’t lose her appetite though.  As a matter of fact, waking up every hour crying and screaming made her even more hungry, and so it screwed up her feeding schedule and caused her to feed more often than usual.  And of course, since nothing was coming out of the other end, she would just throw it right back up.  Projectile vomiting at it’s best; it was like a scene straight of The Exorcist.  And even though she had a hard time keeping her milk down, we couldn’t just not feed her, or she would just continue to scream and yell.

After about six hours of this, I was absolutely exhausted and in pain from my ear ache.  But then after all the screaming and crying, she finally did her thing.  Two and half days worth of stopped up poo came out all at once.  It was A LOT.  The load of poo probably weighed as much as she did.  This brought GREAT relief to everyone, especially Haruka.  She slept a good three hours after that, but she is still a bit colicky.  Hopefully she will recover soon.

Haruka, being comforted because she wasn’t feeling well.