11 Months Old

Haruka is 11 months old today. Her continued advancement, and quick learning skills still amazes me. I’m not sure if this normal for a child her age and if I’m just over-reacting to otherwise normal changes, or if she’s truly learning things at quicker than normal pace. For example, yesterday morning I put her on our bed and after crawling around a bit, she decided to get off, so she spun herself around and slid off the bed feet first. Nobody taught her how to do this so she must have figured it out on her own. It makes me wonder if this is something that a normal 11 month old does.

We also suspect that Haruka will be able to talk by the end of the year. Again, this is just speculation on our part, but she’s already pretty good at repeating some words and sounds we make. Haruka’s friends, whom my wife refers to as the 1127 trio because they were all born on the same day, November 27th, aren’t as quick as Haru. Even most of the websites I often visit, say that at this point, 11 month olds should be getting use to standing, and Haru is aleady running while carrying objects in her hands. It will be intersting to see how much progress she’s made by the end of the year.

Rolling around on the doggy bed

a close up

Haru and Princess waiting for mom to come home

posing for the camera

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Learning New Things

In less than four weeks, Haruka went from barely being able to stand, to being able to run. Since the beginning of this week, she has been able to run across the room. She not a fast runner of course, but she’ll happily chase after a toy or try to get out of taking a bath by escaping from the bath room and running away from her mother. Her progress never ceases to amaze me.

With the ability to walk, there comes some advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantage is that Haruka is prone to falls more often than before. Because of this, she now has a small bruise on her cheek from falling face first onto the living room table. But the advantages far outweigh the disadvantage. I can now get Haruka to bring me things from the kitchen, provided that my wife is there to give it to her to give to me. Sometimes she brings me something that I don’t need, like towels or a bag of sponges, but I always praise her for doing it anyways, because she so adorable. But the biggest advantage of Haruka walking are the nightly greetings at the door. Before she could walk, she would be in the living room doing something other own when I get home from work. Sometimes she wouldn’t even notice that I came home. But nowadays, she would walk out into the hallway to see who came through the front door. And when she sees that it’s me, she’d run towards me and beg me to pick her up. No matter how good or bad my day was, that always makes me feel good, and I look forward to going home just for that.

Haruka’s interest in music seems to be become more prevalent as she gets older. Aside to dancing to the music on her favorite kid programs, and the commercial jingles on TV, she seems to take interest in the music played at department stores etc. Additionally, my wife and I both noticed that she would often hum to herself while playing with a toy, and getting into mischief. Her humming isn’t any kind of real known music per se, but she is clearly trying to hum something. The other day, while we were at the department store, we stopped by the music department to look at some of the pianos and other musical instruments. After a while, a sales lady walked up to us to see if we were interested in buying a piano. She played a few notes on a piano, and Haruka sparked an instant interest in the melody being played. She sat up in her stroller and began dancing to the music. The sales lady invited us to let Haruka touch the piano. Of course she didn’t play anything that even sounded remotely like music, but she really enjoyed sounds coming from the piano. Across the way, there was a little girl, who looked to be about 4 or 5 years old also playing a piano, but she was playing actual music and playing it REALLY well. Obviously she was receiving lessons, but it got me to thinking.

Haruka’s interest in music is nothing new. And although I know there are plenty of babies out there who take an interest and dance to music like Haruka does. But perhaps this might be the time to harness and encourage her interest while it’s fresh and new. So after some talks, I’ve decided to buy Haruka a small real piano (nothing outrageous or expensive though)for her first birthday. Afterall, you can’t really start too early with these things, and she may have some hidden musical talent. I figure that if we encourage her enough, she might be able to play a couple of notes by her second birthday. And if she can do that, then perhaps we can take it a step further. And of course, if she never touches the piano, then it’d be no big deal. I’ve always wanted to have one and my wife can play a little so it’d be worth it.

playing “escape from the bathroom” with her mother

notice the small bruise on her right cheek?

playing with her friends

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An American Girl

Last Friday, we finally took Haruka to the American Embassy in Tokyo to register her as a US citizen.  She will soon have an American passport and her own social security number.  So in turn, this makes her a dual national (something I always wished I had), and she can choose to live in either Japan or the US when she gets older.

The whole process was pretty simple.  It was just a matter of filling out papers, and presenting documents. The whole process took about an hour, and we should be receiving her passport in the mail sometime within the next 3 weeks or so.

I think the most difficult part of the whole process was taking Haruka’s picture, which we did at home with our digital camera.  The picture needed to be a clear shot of her face on a white background.  What we wound up doing was covering my wife with a white sheet while she firmly held Haruka still.  Unfortuantely, this is a lot easier said than done.  After several minutes of wrestling to keep her still, and several retakes, we were able to get in two pretty good shots.  One looked slightly better than the other, and I asked the embassy official to use the better picture, but like typical US government workers, the used the wrong picture.  No big deal though, we can always use the better picture for her Japanese passport.

Yesterday, we took our SUV for a tune-up at the dealer.  While the car was in the shop, we went to World Porters in Yokohama, which is like a real big department store.   They had so-called “garden” on the roof, which turned out to be no more than wide open space with a small miniature golf course.  We let Haru run around there for a while to tire her out so she would sleep better.  It really did the trick, because she fell asleep within the first five minutes during the drive home.

Haruka’s US passport picture

At World Porters

Another shot at World Porters

Playing fetch with Princess

Finally, here is a picture of Haru, tottling around at World Porters.  She’s gotten quite good at walking.

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Happy Birthday

Today is Princess and Jenna’s (our Westies) 9th birthday.  Unfortunately, we didn’t do too much for them today, but as a present, they both get to share 1800 (roughly $18.00) steak.  We usually give them steak on their birthday which they seem to really enjoy.

Yesterday we took Haru to Toy’s R Us to pick us some more toys for her.  Haru doesn’t seem to take interest in toys like the other babies do.  She tends to make thing that aren’t toys into toys.  For example, rather than playing with the toy itself she prefers to play with the box of packaging it came in.  So rather than buying anymore baby toys, we decided to get her some stuffed animals.  She really enjoys them, and they last a long time too.

At Toy’s R Us

Surprised by the big red snake

Enjoying the sun

watching TV…again

Here is a random video…nothing special

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Back to Square One

Haru’s midnight awakenings have returned.  On Sunday night, it got so bad that I would up having to sleep in the living room.  Even with me in the living room, I could hear her crying which kept me awake for the majority of the night.  This left me in a complete zombie state at work the next day.

I slept in the living room last night as well, but this time the dogs kept me awake, so again I am at work, very tired and sleepy.  I guess I will have to tough it out until the weekend.  Luckily, this weekend is a three day weekend, so maybe I can sleep in at least one day.

Playing with her toy turtle

Still trying to perfect the fine art of walking

Helping with the laundry

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Haruka finally was able through the night for the last three nights.  Still not too sure what the root cause to the problem was, but we have curbed the TV time so that may have had some effect.  Another thing that we stopped doing was making her walk.  Up until a couple of nights ago, we would have Haru walk back and forth across the room to tire her out before her bedtime, in the hopes that it would make her sleep better.  Although she seemed to enjoy it, maybe it was the constant attention that overstimulated her or maybe even over excited her, and caused her wake up.   Now she walks on her own without any assistance or prompts from us, which she seems to enjoy more.

Over the weekend, there was an omatsuri at the shinto shrine near our house.  I wasn’t really planning on going because omatsuri’s are really for children and they’re almost always overcrowded with people.  But since this was Haru’s first omatsuri, which I think was really no different from the O-Bon matsuri that we took her to last month so its really her second, but I thought it may be a good idea to go and check it out. The omatsuri turned out to be a lot better than the o-bon matsuri, in that the food was a lot better.  Haru seemed to enjoy it too.  She even got a free baloon animal, which she managed to pop by chewing on it.   The loud noise from the balloon scared the dogs, but Haru didn’t seem to notice it.

Staring into the crowd people at the omatsuri

Chewing on her balloon animal

She also received a box of caramel, which of course she can’t eat yet

Finally, a very short clip of Haru walking across the room…nothing new.

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