Haruka Houdini

Over the weekend, we all went to the department store to pick up a few things for Haruka. One thing she was in desparate need of was a chair for the bathroom. Up until now, we were still using her pink inflateable bath tub for her baths, the same one she had been using since her first day home. But for the last several weeks now, its gotten more and more difficult to use the inflated bath tub, because she has simply gotten too big, and too heavy for me to hold her in. So we decided that it was time to bid farewell once and for all to the pink inflateble tub and introduce Haruka to the bath for big people. In order for us to be able to bathe her in our bath tub, we first needed to buy her a little bathroom chair with belts to keep her in place, so we bought her a pink inflateable chair that looks a lot like her tub. Its still only been a couple of tries, but Haruka hasn’t quite gotten use to taking her bath with her mom. I think the amount of water makes her a bit nervous, so it may take some time to get use to it.

Another item we bought for her was a teething ring. Although she hasn’t got any teeth yet, she has been showing the need to bite down on things. We suspect that she may be teething. She took to the teething ring quite quickly and likes gumming down on it.

Haruka has been adjusting to her new sleep schedule quite nicely. She’s back to sleeping through the night, although at times she refuses to sleep in the afternoon, which is not really a big deal. With new found use of both hands, she’s able ti keep herself entertained, so its been a lot easier to just let her play by herself.

But now since she is able to use her hands more proficiently and roll over, she has also figured out how to undo herself from her swaddle blanket. Occasionally, I would wake up in the morning to find that she has completely escaped from her blanket and have her fingers in her mouth. A regular Harry Haruka Houdini. I hope that her talent for quick escapes stops here.

Haruka and her new teething ring

Happily playing in her baby gym

Trying on some hats at the department store while she was asleep. Made her look like an elderly woman.

Finally, its’s been awhile since I posted home movies, so here is a little home movie I made of Haruka rolling over and playing in her baby gym.

Sleep Training

I haven’t been posting as frequently as I had before…I know. Lately, my cousin and I have been getting more and more involved in projects, which has kept me busy on weekends and holidays. There won’t be any more activity on the project until probably May, so this will allow me to get back on track with Haruka.

Earlier, my wife had been complaining about how difficult Haruka had been in the afternoons. She doesn’t cry as much she use to, but she likes to scream, and just be loud. And after a while would get bored or tired of listening to herself scream ,and start to throw a tantrum. She said that this would go on for the majority of the afternoon or until about 6PM, when she is put down for a nap.

I told my wife a while back that Haruka probably wants to sleep, but the amount of activity and light in the living room makes it difficult to sleep. So I suggested putting her in her crib (since she had outgrown her cradle) and letting her sleep for about 30 minutes to an hour before or after feeding her. After weeks of repeating this suggestion to my wife, who’d stubbornly ignore me, she finally tried it.

At first, Haruka wasn’t use to being put down for a nap at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, so naturally she through a fit, but then she’d fall asleep after a few minutes. After a few days of this, Haruka learned that 1 o’clock is her nap time, and falls asleep with very little or no fuss.

However, this new nap time had its disadvantages and we’re still working out the bugs. Although this gave my wife freedom to do the things she couldn’t do before because she had to watch Haruka all of the time, this new sleep schedule disrupted her night time sleep causing her to wake up at 3AM again. This had happened 3 times in the last week. The first time was because instead of sleeping the normal 2 and a half hours during her evening nap, she slept nearly 4 hours. The second time was because she didn’t have much of an appetite, so I put her down after she drank only 3/4 of her normal amount of formula. The third time was an unknown, but my wife said that she was staring at the light of the webcam on her crib when she went to check on her. So maybe she just got distracted. After my wife covered up the camera light, she fell right to sleep.

Last night, I made absolutely sure that she got her formula. As a matter of fact, she drank a bit more than usual. this morning, she woke up at around 5:45 AM. A bit earlier than usual6:30 to 7AM, but a lot better than 3AM. So, we still need to find the sweet spot for this schedule to make sure that Haruka gets enough sleep and that my wife doesn’t get too stressed out during the day.

Webcam photo taken as Haruka napped this afternoon

Finally, some hair to tie a barrette around

Being distracted by the dogs

A smile

One Year Ago…

I didn’t realize it until today, but its been one year since all of this started. I occasionally look back at past entries and read about the events that had transpired in the last year. It made me realize how we all often take time for granted.

It was one year ago, we discovered Haruka’s existence. She was was just a blob of cells, with no real recognizeable structure back then. She’s now 3 and a half months old, and beginning to roll over onto her stomach at a success rate of about 25%. Yes, it is amazing how much can happen in just one year.

Last Saturday, we went to my grandmother’s house for the first time since the new years. Coincidently, my cousin’s wife and their little boy were there. The had stopped by on their way home from kindergarten. My cousin, and his older brother and family showed up later, which gave us a chance to reintroduce Haruka to her second cousins, Ren, Karin, and Shiyu. Everyone was impressed with Haruka’s ability to stand up, with support from me of course. Later on that evening, we all went out for dinner. I guess being at the restaurant must of overwhelmed the children a bit, because they all started crying at about the same time. Even Ren, who’s the oldest at 5 years old, tired out and begin to cry, but then fell asleep.

Later on that evening, when we got home, Haruka decided that she was ready to roll over. It was pretty amazing. One minute she was struggling to turn herself over, the next minute, she was on her stomach. I think she even surprised herself. Even though she’s still not very good at doing it, her quick progress is really amazing, sometimes astonishing.

Haruka, after her nightly bath.

Another shot

Second Site

It’s not often that a person gets a multiple language site dedicated to themselves, but Haruka has one now.  After almost a year of writing blogs about Haruka , my wife has FINALLY decided  to create a Japanese language  blog.  I don’t know how often or how long she’ll update the site, but I have a feeling it will be short-lived.   The contents may or may not overlap with the contents of my blog, as we will be updating indepentantly.

Today we will be going to Tokyo to visit my grandmother.  Its been a while since we’ve been out there so we thought it’d be a good idea to let my my grandmother see Haruka.  It’ll also give Haruka an opportunity to get out of the house.

Finally, in my last entry, I said that Haruka will probably be able roll over onto her stomach within the next 2 weeks or so.   By the looks of it, it may happen a lot sooner.  She’s managed to roll over onto her side and stay in that state for awhile (as opposed to rolling back onto her back), now she just needs the final push to roll over.  This can happen any day any minute now.

Enjoying the boogie board position. 

Ahead of the game?

Haruka’s milestone achievements have been happening about 2 to 3 weeks quicker than the average.  I can tell already that she is going to have a very hasty and impatient personality like me.  In some respects, achieving the milestones is a good thing, but I am firm believer that one has to learn to crawl before they walk, and quite literally in this case.  She hasn’t been able to roll over completely onto her stomach yet, which I can tell frustrates her.  She spends most of her waking hours trying to roll her body over while making grunting noises.  Sometimes she comes very close, but then winds up on her back again. And up until last week, she was able to only hold her head up for a few minutes at a time, before her stamina wears out, and wind up fact down on the floor.  But now she can keep her head up much longer, and when she gets tired she would roll over onto her back on her own. I have a feeling that she will be able to roll over onto her stomach completely within the next 2 weeks or so.

Haruka’s adamants about wanting to do things like roll over or stand up is a thing that every proud parent wants to see, but not necessarily a good thing.  I read about some children being able to stand up by 6 months and being able to toddle by the time they are 8 to 10 months old. The relatively short time spent on all fours and crawling around could stunt their sense of balance.  As much as I would love to see Haruka walk at 8 months old, I would rather see her crawl a bit longer, and have a proper sense of balance later in life.

The shots she received last week seems to be healing quite nicely.  The redness has gone away, which means that its not likely that she is infected.

Haruka on her stomach, which she seems to enjoy a lot these days. 

Getting ready to roll back over onto her back. 

Another shot 

First Shots

Over the weekend, we took Haruka to get her first shots. They weren’t really shots, but more closer to a tuberculosis skin test. The doctor basically took a little device that had a bunch of small needles on it, and pricked the top layers of the skin on Haruka’s arm. We are suppose to wait several days to see of there is a reaction to the test. If there is a reaction, that means that she has been infected and needs medical treatment. A positive result will make the area where she was picked turn completely red, followed by discoloration. Haruka’s arm has turned a bit red, which concerned us a bit, but it may have been just the initial reaction to the pressure rather than a infectious reaction. After a few days, if the redness doesn’t go away, we will take her back to the children’s clinic.

Haruka reacted as expected while getting her shot. She cried and screamed, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. I thought she would cry uncontrollably for the entire afternoon, but she only cried for a few minutes and then fell asleep afterwards, so her first shot went fairly well. While at the doctor’s office, we took the opportunity to weigh her again. She is now over 6kg, which is about 13lbs. Carrying her is beginning to be a chore. I definitely can feel it in my back now.

After he shots, we took a trip to the drug store, then the supermarket. Conveniently, both the drug store and supermarket was right across the street from the clinic. By the time we got across the street, Haruka had woken up, and she was in very good spirits. She seems to enjoy the supermarket a lot. I guess the bright colors and the people interests her enough to keep her attention.

We finally got around to buying her baby shampoo. Up until now, we were just using soap to wash her hair because she had very little hair to wash. But I insisted that we switch to proper shampoo, because the soap seemed to drying out her scalp and possible contributing to the knotting and general unruliness of her hair. Although not too significantly dramatic, the shampoo made some degree of difference to the texture of her hair. It does lay a bit better and the dryness seems to be going away. Although still relatively thin, her hair seems to be filling in nicely, and the back has just started touching her shoulders a bit.

Haruka enjoying her new hobby: putting her hands together.

Haruka giving a dazed looked after her mother swung her around in effort to get her to smile.

Hinamatsuri and 100 days of life

Today is Hinamatsuri Day or the Japanese Doll Festival in Japan. Hinamatsuri originated during the Heian Era (8th to 12Th century A.D.) The Heian Era, meaning peaceful or tranquil era, was a time when a lot of famous Japanese art and literature came about. Genji Monogatari or The Tale of Genji, or sometimes also known as Hikaru Genji or the Shining Genji, which is thought to be one of the oldest if not the oldest novel, was written by Murasaki Shikibu (pen name) during this Era. Both Murasaki Shikibu, and her arch rival Sei Shonagon (pen name) , author of The Pillow Book are thought of as being possibly the world’s first female novelists and often wrote tales that revolved about Japanese Imperialism.

During the Heian Era, the imperial pecking order was of ut-most importance. This is depicted in the ordering of the Hina dolls when placed on their stands. And although the ordering seems to vary from region to region, the dolls that depict the Emperor and Empress is always on the very top or in some displays, the only dolls that are shown.

Hina Doll displays range in many sizes. It can be a simple one tier display, or it can be as large as seven tiers which are extremely elaborate and can take many hours to set up. My wife’s mother had kept my wife’s Hina dolls for her since she was a baby, and although quite old, it is the most elaborate full seven tier display. The whole set took nearly 3 hours to set up and took up nearly 1/4 of the space in our Japanese room in house. The dolls are in excellent condition, but the the stages are starting fall apart, so I suggested that we buy a new stage next year, otherwise it could be dangerous should the thing decide to fall apart.

Traditionally, the display is setup several days to several weeks before the Hinamatsuri, so that it can be admired etc., and then taken down promptly after the Hinamatsuri. This year, since it is Haruka’s first Hinamatsuri, we put the stage up during the first weeks of February just so we could enjoy it longer. Although it took a long time to set up, most likely it will be taken down tonight or tomorrow night and shipped back to the in-law’s house until next year. We would keep it here, but the whole display is so huge that we have no where to store it other than the attic. But Unfortunately, the summer heat could damage the dolls so, we though it would be best to send it back to maintain the longevity of the dolls.

Finally, as Haruka approaches her 100th day of life out of the womb, we had a second ceremony to celebrate this occasion. Basically the ceremony consisted of fixing Haruka a somewhat elaborate meal on miniaturized Japanese tableware and taking pictures of her. The ceremony is done to ensure that Haruka will never go through hardship or be short of food. Since Haruka is still not on solid foods, the food that was prepared by my wife is purely for ceremonial purposes, and so we would up eating it for dinner.

Haruka’s ceremonial first dinner

Full sized version for the adults

Ceremonially sipping on her soup

Ceremonially eating a strawberry.

Finishing her first dinner

Another shot

The seven tier Hina doll display.