A Surprise to all of us!


Over the last few days, I have been trying to get Haruka to practice sitting on my lap on her own. But at best, she could only balance herself for a few seconds before toppling over. I was doing this as recently as yesterday, and it was the same result every time: she would sit for a few seconds or so, and then I would have to save her from falling over onto the floor.

This morning, my mother called me to tell me that she saw Haruka on the web camera sitting up by herself in her crib early this morning while we were asleep. I was for sure that this couldn’t be the case because Haruka could barely keep herself steady, let alone pull herself up into a sitting postion and keep her balance. But I learned today not to underestimate Haru, because she shocked us all when she showed us that not only can she sit unassisted, but she can do it for several minutes at a time.

Today, as my wife was giving the dogs a trim on the terrace, I was playing with Haru while she played in her gym. She was doing her usual rolling over onto her stomach and then back onto her back. She has gotten to be a quite an expert at this now, and she does it with hardley any effort.

She then took interest to what was going on outside on the terrace, so I moved her towards the window and sat her up so that she had a better view of the dogs. I usually support her back so that she doesn’t fall back and hit her head. But today, I noticed that when I supported her, I didn’t feel her weight on my hands so I slowly pulled my hands away, and BINGO! she was sitting on her own. I figured that she would fall over at any minute so I spotted her and waited…and waited…and waited, but she never fell back. I was even able to run into the living to grab my camera, and she was still sitting steadily. By the time I got the camera going, she had already sitting for about 5 or so minutes, so in total she must have sitting unsupported for about 11 to 12 minutes. I was truly amazed because I was expecting that it’d be another month or so before she would be able to sit on her own.

She’s still not an expert at it, because eventually she did topple over. And it seems that she still can’t sit and do something else (like bite on her teething ring) at the same time. Sitting probably takes up a lot of her concentration, so multitasking is will still be a while. But then again, I shouldn’t underestimate.

Haru looking out the window

More of the same

one last shot

Finally, here is a somewhat long viideo of Haruka watching the dogs on the terrace.

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Haru’s Back


Haru returned from Yamaguchi the other. Aside from her hair looking slightly longer, she hadn’t changed too much, of course. It’s said that babies tend to have very short memory retention until they’re about six months old, and forget people’s faces within about a week or so. But fortunately for me, Haru seemed to remember who I was. But one thing that she did seem to forget was her daily sleep routine. Although my wife tried to maintain her routine while away, it somewhat deviated a bit. Consequently, Haru has been quite fussy lately and it takes a bit longer to get her to sleep now. On her first night back, she even woke up twice in the middle of the night, but she’s starting to go back to her usual schedule.

Here are some pictures taken today:

playing around in her gym

another shot

Standing with help from mom

more of the same

looking out the window

biting on her gym

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Meeting More Milestones


Lately, we’ve noticed that Haruka has been doing stuff that none of the other babies her age do. We know this from her 4 month checkup that she had last week. There were several babies there, who were born more or less within two weeks of Haruka’s birthday. Although Haruka was physically about the same dimensions as the other children, my wife noticed that Haruka was a lot more active than the others. She took immediate attention to her surroundings and looked around the room a lot, she even babbled at the other babies who basically just ignored her, and did a lot more babbling and reaching for things, while the other children were a lot more quieter and stuck to their moms. Milestone-wise, I have always suspected that Haruka was ahead of the game. However, being her father, I also figured I was a bit biased. But even my cousins’ wives commented that Haruka is able to do things that their children weren’t able to do at the same age like roll over onto her stomach, stand up (supported), or sit (supported) which she was able to do several weeks before the 4 month mark. And while on vacation away from Yokohama, my wife commented that Haruka has been babbling a lot more – perhaps due to there being more people giving her more attention. Haruka has always been a babbler. She started babbling a couple of weeks after she came home from the hospital, (although a bit more quietly and less frequently). Nowadays, it seems that she’s constantly talking to herself, or to her toys. I thought this was all quite normal or pretty common until I revisited one of the child development websites that I use to go to a lot, and read through the milestones for the average 4 month old. I know that different babies grow at different paces and that the milestones listed, are just an average. But I noticed that Haruka had already met several of the milestones listed several weeks to even a couple of months earlier. So I skipped on to the 5 month old section (listed below), and noticed that she has already met a majority of those milestones as well.

Developmental Milestones 5 Months

Old Physical

  • May sit with assistance YES
  • Your baby will extend her arms and legs and arch her back when placed on her stomach YES
  • Can lift head and shoulder when placed on his back YES
  • Can bounce up and down if you hold her under the arms and let her balance her legs on your thighs YES
  • Easily brings a toy to her mouth YES
  • Shows more signs of being ready for solids NOT SURE
  • Can spot small objects YES
  • Holds heady steady when sitting upright YES
  • Continues to perfect rolling over YES
  • May be able to stand with support for brief periods of time YES

Intellectual

  • Your baby has learned how to hold his own bottle-don’t prop him though. YES
  • Likes to blow raspberries NOT YET
  • Likes to make bubbles SOMETIMES
  • Adding sounds to her language collection YES
  • Enjoys simple cause and effect games-she may drop objects to watch you pick them up YES
  • Giggles and laughs more often YES
  • Begins to distinguish softer colors YES
  • Realizes where sounds come from and will turn towards a new sound YES
  • Minics sounds and gestures YES
  • Babbles YES

Emotional

  • Still enjoys cuddling at feedings YES
  • Your baby likes to watch you talk YES
  • Easily distracted YES
  • Shows a strong attachment to main caregiver, parents and siblings YES
  • Cries when you leave the room SOMETIMES
  • May give hugs and kisses NOT YET
  • Your baby will laugh at funny expressions YES

So I know this doesn’t mean that we have another Einstein in the making, but its nice to know that she is getting a good head start in life.

Getting ready for her flight at the airport

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Number 101


Its been a couple of days, since Haruka and my wife left for Yamaguchi, which is literally on the other side of the country. Despite the endless rain, ts been quite peaceful. My cousin and I even took a nice little road trip to Mie and Shiga prefectures yesterday. It was a very educational yet exhausting trip that we probably won’t be repeating for a while, if ever.

This is the 101st entry since I started this blog. I occasionally go back and read past entries and look at “old” pictures. I often find myself saying to myself “it was only a few months ago, and now look how much she’s changed!”. Its amazing how much babies change in such a short period of time.

I know that all parents are suppose to think that their baby is the cutest baby in the world, but to be absolutely honest, I was really concerned over Haruka’s looks for the first weeks after she was born. She had very little or no hair and big puffy cheeks that made her eyes look small and narrow. But lately, she has really really started becoming one cute baby. Her eyes are lot bigger, and she has got the greatest little smile. And looking back at some of my own baby pictures, I am finally starting to see some resemblances to what I used to look like as a kid. She has the same little pushed up button nose, puffy cheeks, and round face that I had. Also, her hair is starting to curl up in some places which kind of adds to it. And oddly enough, although you can’t see it in most of the pictures, she’s got very noticeable two-toned skin. In some areas, like her hands and feet, she’s almost as dark as me, while in other areas like her face she is very fair skinned. Not too sure what direction her skin tone is going to take, but my wife says that she had especially gotten darker after she took her to the park last week, so perhaps she has a some unstimulated skin pigmentations. A lot of people with mixed-race children in Japan say that their child was very fair until their first summer, so it will be interesting to see what Haruka looks like after the summer.

The baby gym is quickly becoming Haruka’s favorite.

Big smile

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Haru’s first vacation


Tomorrow, Haru will be taking her first plane trip. She’ll be traveling with my wife to her home in Yamaguchi, which is about an hour half away by plane. Unfortunately due to my very non-busy work schedule, I won’t be able go with her. They’ll be there for about 10 days, which will give me time to do some longly neglected house-work (cutting the branches on the trees, cleaning and maybe even painting the garage, and cleaning the pet stains off the bedroom carpet.) I will also be doing my own traveling this weekend. My cousin and I will be going on a small trip down to Mie (which is about a four hour drive), in the hopes of possibly buying a car for our joint venture.

Haruka, has been waking up early these day. We haven’t made any further changes to her sleep schedule so I’m not sure what’s prompting her to wake up at 5:30am. It possibly may be because its been getting lighter outside earlier these days, or it could be because its been raining and the sound of the rain may be waking her up. Whatever it is, I hope it resolves itself soon.

Finally, I am still playing around with code to get the webcam to work with Internet explorer. I am pretty close, and it may be online this weekend.

Haruka sitting in her new pink inflatable bathing chair getting ready for a bath.

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Harucam is LIVE!, but…


Haruka had her second round of vaccinations yesterday. And like the first time, she threw a fit even before the needle went in. I guess Haruka is going to be one of those kids who hates to get shots. Afterwards, we all went grocery shopping which Haruka really enjoys. When my wife took Haruka for her very first train ride last Friday, she seemed to really enjoy that as well.I guess she likes being around different people because she really enjoys crowds for some reason.

I spent most of the weekend writing code for this blog, so that I could finally publish live shots from IP camera on Haruka’s crib. Unfortunately because Internet Exporer sucks has more enhanced security than other web browsers, I couldn’t get it to work the way I want it to.  So far, Mozilla based browsers like Firefox, Netscape, and Safari seemed to work, although I haven’t tested Netscape or Safari yet.  And hopefully Opera works too, although there is far less of a user base than the others.  So if you’re using Internet Explorer, unfortunately all you will see right now is a message from me saying that it won’t work, but I’m still working on it.  Eventually I will put together a password protected page with a larger picture and better motion.  And if you can’t see it, you’re not missing too much because all you will see is her sleeping or crying anyways, so its no real big deal.  We use the webcam as a baby monitor more than anything, but hopefully in the future we can expand its use.

And of course, here are the pictures from the weekend:

Haruka at the doctors office getting her temperature taken

Asleep at my wife’s cousin’s house

playing in her baby gym

its getting easier to get her to smile these days


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Graduation


In the last 3 weeks, Haruka has undergone several graduations:

-Went from an inflatable baby bath, to taking a bath with her mother

-Went from using a 150ml bottle to a 240ml bottle

-No longer uses her cradle (too small from her), and plays quietly or noisily in her gym.

-Has outgrown a lot of her clothes.

-Went from flopping about with no real control over her limbs, to effectively being able to use both hands and grab things.

-Able to roll over at a greater rate of success.

The list is endless and still growing. And it seems like every couple of days, she is able to do something new. The newest feat for Haruka is sitting on her own unsupported. Although she still has a ways to go with this, she’s able sit on my lap with no back support or me holding her, for several seconds. Even when I am supporting her, I can tell she is making tiny adjustments trying not to topple over. According to the Baby Centre site, it won’t be for another couple of months before she is able sit completely on her own, but I have a feeling that this will come much earlier, because Haruka seems to be adamant and determined to do everything early.

Haruka playing in her baby gym, just before I leave for work

On a different note, this week is Autism awareness week. And all week, I have been reading several different articles relating to autism and its symptoms. Fortunately, Haruka hasn’t shown any symptoms of having autism, but apparently it seems to strike at about 18 to 24 months old, so its too early to say. But I am pretty sure that Haruka will be okay.

And in addition to reading articles, I have been watching videos on YouTube of several different children who were diagnosed with autism. But the one child who captivated me the most, is a little boy named Quinn. His video is here. Out of respect to him and his family, I won’t embed the video here, so please go directly to YouTube to watch his videos. Just watching this amazing boy kind of makes you wish that your child was born autistic. However, I’m sure that there is much more to Quinn than just his amazing ability to pick things up quickly, and I am also sure that his parents went through a long struggle with him. But its also a testament to say that autism is definitely not an untreatable disability and can be treated through proper therapy and care. Something that the future Emperor and Empress of Japan should take note of, no doubt.

Finally, as an addition to the photo (above), I will also add a very short video of Haruka mumbling to herself while she plays in her gym. Kind of boring, but it all that I had time for.

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