Half a Year

My laptop broke a couple of weeks ago.  Apparently, the model I have has a design defect in both of its memory slots so it was always destined to break at some point.  Unfortunately, since the warranty has long expired and passed, there’s no freebees in trying to get it repaired.  So in my haste, I bought a new one which should arrive in a few days.  I say haste, because after I ordered my new laptop, I found an article on the web that showed how to do a home repair on a laptop with the particular problem that mine had.  It basically involved disassembling the laptop and resoldering the memory slots.  The disassembling part is easy especially with the IBM Thinkpads; it’s the soldering part that’s difficult.  The points are very tiny so you basically have to have very surgical soldering skills (which I don’t) to get it right.  However while having the laptop in pieces on the living room floor, I discovered an alternative solution which involves stuffing strips of thin cardboard in the memory bay to close the microscopic gap between the memory and mainboard connections.  Although not the most elegant of solutions, it did revive my laptop.  So when my new one arrives, I will just hand this one down to my wife.  Its much faster and newer than the one she’s using now, so she’ll be pleased with the performace boost.  By the way, the whole paragraph above was my excuse for not updating this blog in a while.

Haruka turned 6 months old yesterday!  Although it was a somewhat uneventful semi-anniversery, Haru did get some presents.  One was a new highchair.  Now she can sit with us while we have dinner rather than watching us from the living room floor.  The second present was a new cup.  It’s one of those training cups with the little holes on the top.  I tried giving Haru her first taste of diluted wheat tea yesterday, but the unfamilarity of the cup made her just chew on it, and eventually throw it across the living room.  I’m sure that with a little practice, she’ll catch on. 

I also ordered a little toy piano for her.  She likes to bang on things with her hands so I figured she might enjoy something that makes noise.  Some sites suggest giving babies pots and pans to bash together, but the idea alone gives me a headache.

Haru is also getting a lot better at crawling.  She’s starting put her legs underneath her and rock on all fours now.  I think its just a matter of figuring out how to coordinate her movements to move forward.  She’s also figured out how to grab onto the table.  I can tell that’s she’s trying to pull herself up into a standing position, but she still lacks the strength.

We’ve also been experimenting with not swaddling her when she sleeps.  With hotter weather on the horizon, the swaddle blanket needs to be phased out otherwise it will be too hot for to sleep.  So, while the weather is still mildly warm , we’ve bugun the phase out.  We tried this before with no success.  Most of the time she’d wind up getting entangled in the bars on her crib and waking herself up in the middle of the night.  This time around, I’ve placed thick bed comforters over the bars to cusion her just in case she bumps into them.  So far, it’s worked to varying degrees of success.  Sometimes she’s sleep to as late as 7am, other times she’d wake up several times a night.  But since she no longer needs a midnight feeding, after a few “ahhhs” and “ooohs” she’d usually just fall back to sleep on her own.

Finally, I need to retract my statement about Haru hating carrots.  My wife’s mother suggested grinding and shredding the carrots into finer bits after boiling it to make it even pastier.  She said that both carrots and cabbage are too fiberous for babies to swallow, so it really needs to be diiluted almost down to a juiced state.  Unfortunately the solution worked like a charm.  Haruka was able to eat her small cupful of carrots without grimacing or gagging.  As a matter of fact she seemed to enjoy it, and so we will be stocking up on carrots.

And as usual, here are the pics from the weekend:

Enjoying a spoonful of pumpkin sauce.

Enjoying watching Baby Einstein on TV

Practicing her crawling

More of the same

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Haru and Carrots

Haru got her first taste of carrots today. And since she took to the okayu pretty well, we thought she would take an instant liking to carrots as well. We were wrong.

Haru’s first reaction to having mashed carrots was almost that of  shock. I wasn’t sure if it was a wow! this stuff is good! or if it was a YUK! this stuff is disgusting! But it soon became very apparent that that it was the latter. After a few bites of the mashed carrots, her facial expression turned into that of intolerance and disgust. At times, she even gagged on it as if she wanted to spit it out. However, she reluctantly finished her small bowl of mashed carrots.

I found the whole scenario extremely funny, because I personally cannot stand carrots, especially the carrots the sell in Japan. The carroty odor (for a lack of a better description) is really strong; so strong that I can detect it even a small amount  of it in any food. The carrots in the States aren’t as bad, but I can’t eat them either. After a few bites, I would get really ichy, so it may be an allergic reaction, although I’ve never been tested for carrot allergies.

Although I felt bad that Haru had to experience eating something so distasteful, I found it somewhat refreshing that she dislikes the same things that I do. Hopefully this means that we don’t have to stock carrots in our refridgerator.

Haru enjoying her Okayu

Loving the Okayu

Reaching for more

Finally, here is a video of Haru having her first taste of carrots. The first two spoonfuls were just plain okayu. Then she was given the carrots. You can clearly see a difference in the reaction.

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Standing tall

As mentioned in my previous entries, Haru seems to be determined to do everything early. And when she can’t do something, she gets frustrated quite easily. I guess she gets that from me.

Every since Haru was 2 months old or so, she has been wanting to stand up on her own. Of course it was impossible, but she was able to do a good job of it when supported. However, lately her interest in wanting to stand up on her own has been increasing. Although I don’t want to discourage this, at 5 and half months old, I feel its still way too early. Afterall, she still doesn’t know how to crawl yet.

After doing some research on the internet, I have found that although not too common, some babies either learn to walk very shortly after they learn to crawl, or they skip crawling all together, grab onto a piece of furniture, and all of a sudden start walking. I’m not too sure about myself, but apparently I also started walking relatively early, so this may rub off onto Haru.

A couple of weeks ago, I propped Haru up to see if she could stand up on her own with the support of a table. Unfortunately, the end result wasn’t too good. She wound up falling flat on her face…quite literally. It took a good 10 minutes to get her to stop crying. After that I was reluctant to do it again. But last night, since Haru was so adamant about wanting to stand up. I propped her up onto the table once again. This time, she was able to hold onto the table and support herself for a good five minutes or so. She was even able to release one of her hands to grab a brush that was on the table and put it in her mouth. Although I was happy to see the progress, my wife and I were concerned that she would be one of those rare cases where a baby doesn’t crawl at all and starts walking. The negative effects of not crawling is that apparently it effects the child’s sense of balance as she gets older, but there are no real concrete evidence to support that. But I guess the main reason I prefer her to crawl before she walks is that it gives us some forewarning to lock down the house so that she doesn’t start getting into things.

Rolling around the floor

Standing with the support of a table

Grabbing a brush with one hand

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On Solid Ground

We started Haru on solid…more like semi-solid food last Sunday.  Along with her milk, she now gets a few tablespoons of okayu, which is basically really watered down rice.  Apparently it makes for really good baby food, because its practically tasteless and odorless, and has very little allergens.  Also, since its tasteless and odorless, there is little chance that Haru will become addicted to it and refuse to eat anything else but.   With cereals and some baby foods which sometimes contain sugar and salt, babies tend to start developing likes and dislikes too early. 

I remember when I was a kid, my grandfather use have okayu for breakfast every morning.  We use to call it Jijan gohan, or grandpa’s rice.  I was never too keen on it, it tasted like…well …hot water and rice.  But for adults, its usually topped with other foods or spices.  Sometimes its even spiked with a dose of Japanese Sake (which is also made from rice) and used as a cold remedy.

Haru took to the okayu well.  At first she kind of grimaced and gave a what’s this??  kind of look at first, but after a few spoonfuls, she seemed to like the new food.  The rice does have a slightly sweet (but nt sugary sweet) taste to it, which she might be attracted to.  At times she would even grab the spoon and shove it in her mouth as if she wanted more.  And other times, she would just hold her mouth open and wait for the next spoonful to be fed to her.  Next weekend, we’re looking to experiment with carrots.  I personally can’t eat carrots.  The odor makes me physically sick, so it’d be interesting to see how she will react to it.

We finally got Haru to sleep throughout the night again.  Basically what I’ve done was to take her blanket and tuck it underneath her when she sleeps.  This way, it makes it a bit more difficult to roll over onto her face (which is what I believe makes her wake up too early.)  For the last 3 nights, its been working well.  She’d sleep a good 8 or 9 hours non-stop, and wake up between 5:30 and 6:30AM.  Its still a bit too ealy for my wife’s tastes, but it beats 2 or 3 AM.


A random picture from the weekend

Her first taste of solids.  Enjoying her okayu so much that she wants to hold the spoon

Another random picture.




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A Mixed Up Haru

Its been two weeks since Haru returned from Yamaguchi, and even though there is no time difference between Yokohama and Yamaguchi, she still seems to be suffering from jet lag.  For the last several days Haru has been awake most of the time.  There were even times when she’d wake up in the middle of the night full of energy, and absolutely refuse to go back to sleep.  Since birth, it’s always been a chore to get her to sleep.  Aside from her after-bath sleep at night (when she would usually fall asleep almost instantaneously after her bottle), she would usually need a good cry prior to falling asleep.  Sometimes the cry would last a minute or two, other times they would last what seems like forever (realistically about 15 to 20 minutes, or sometimes longer on especially fussy days.)

Since her return, those especially fussy days have been in abundance.  As a matter of fact, there were nights when it was so bad that even refused to drink her bottle and had to be put down without her milk.  This of course meant she’d wake up in the middle of the night absolutely starved for milk.

Her afternoon naps were non-existent until about last Sunday.  At times like this, my wife would usually strap her to her back, and go for a walk outside. But unfortunately it had been raining for the last several days.  Taking walks indoors with Haru strapped to the back usually works too, but unfortunately not this time.  Haru stayed awake cooing and ahhing the whole time.  Having Haru strapped to my back was not only tiring, but also straining.  She’s getting quite heavy.  As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed that she’s gotten heavier than Jenna, our westie.  Jenna weighs about 6 and a half kilos which is about 14 pounds.  Princess, our other westie, is heavier at 7 and half kilos (or 16 pounds).  Haru hasn’t quite caught up to her yet.

As of yesterday, the situation with Haru’s jet lag, improved only slightly.  She slept at most of her nap times, but skipped her most important one, and that’s the 6pm one.  She stayed awake, but unlike her colicky days, she happily played with her toys on her play mat.  She even managed to get through most of the night without waking up.

My theory is that since Haru is about a month ahead of her chronological age (maturity-wise), she is probably about ready to switch to solids.  So rather than waiting until the WHO suggested 6 month old mark, (which is in another 3 weeks), we would begin the cutover this weekend.  Its going to be very interesting to see her get her first taste of something other than breast milk and formula.

Enjoying the furry feel of her blanket

Another one

REALLY enjoying her afternoon nap

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A Trip to the Toy Store

Its golden week in Japan which means that for most people, its a four day weekend. And since I had to work on a weekend a couple of weeks ago, I used the compensation day to extend my break last weekend, so this is my second consecutive four day weekend. And coincidently, I was able to be there to watch Haru meet a big milestone, and that is to be able sit unassisted.

Yesterday, we all took a trip to Toy’s R Us to see if Haru would be interested in some new toys. Up until now, she has expressed very little interest in toys, so we figured that maybe she’s still a bit too young for them.

We randomly grabbed different toys off of shelves to see if she’d take an interest to any of them, but she showed the same reaction to all of them, and that was to try to put it in her mouth. After trying on different toys, she finally got frustrated and started getting really fussy. So rather than buying things like stuffed animals and rattles, we chose thing that she could bite on like teething rings, and a really colorful play mat. We did buy her a rattle, but it gets very little play time. Perhaps next month she’ll be ready for real toys.

Sitting on her new play mat

more of the same

Here’s a 3 minute video of Haru sitting. She was being a bit fussy today.

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