Encouraging Sleep

For the last several weeks, Haru was been consistsntly waking up at 3 or 4 am every morning. It’s not too bad on weekends, because I can make up sleep loss by simply sleeping in later. But on weekdays, it’s been pretty difficult. Right now I am pretty busy with a few projects at work, which require me to be alert, but I’ve found myself being very tired throughout the day. I’ve even found myself falling asleep a couple of times. Luckily I don’t work in a blue collar environment or with heavy machinary, or I’d probably be out of a job by now.

The last two nights, Haru was able to sleep through the night. I’m not quite sure what’s waking her up. At first, I though I might be the newspaper delivery guy who delivers the newspaper at 4am every morning. Unlike the States, newspaper companies hire adults instead of kids to do the deliveries, so instead of bikes, they use motorbikes which are pretty loud. I’ve been wanting to complain to them for some time now about using loud motorbikes and speeding away from the houses because it occassionally wakes me up too, but I haven’t been able to tell which newspaper it is. Frankly, whoever thought it’d be a good idea to use motorcycles to deliver newspapers in the middle of the night is a complete idiot, and they won’t be getting a subscription from me anytime soon.

Anyways, my other other theory is because it’s been really cold lately. Haruka has really poor sleep habits and tends to kick offf her blankets during the night, so I thought that it may be due to her being cold. Last Saturday, we put my theory to the test by leaving the kerosine stove on throughout the night to she’d still wake up. She did still wake up, but instead of the usual 3-4am waking, it was much earlier, and probably due to hitting her head on the crib.

Unfortunately, we ran out of kerosine for the stove in the bedroom, so we couldn’t keep it running throughout the night. But surprisingly and despite not having the heat on, she was able to sleep throughout the night, which confuses me more. I guess we’ll just have to wait until tonight to see if she has broken out of this habit.

Getting into things….again

Eating a banana

Shoveling it in

A Day at the Department Store

Over the weekend, we spent some time at the local department store.  Haruka didn’t really need anything, but it was good opportunity just to get out of the house.

As usual, we took Haru to Baby’s R Us, so that she could play with some of the toys there.  I personally have issues with buying Haru some new toys, but the problem is that she tends to play with it for the first day or so because it’s something new.  But after a day or so, it winds up in the corner with her other toys that she had gotten bored with.  It’d be so nice to find that ultimate toy that lasts well beyond the initial ooooh factor, but unfortunately at Haru’s age, nothing amounts to more than just a passing fad.  So for now, its just best to take Haru to the department store often so that she can play with the toys there.  And if she expresses a sincere interest in anything and actually finds something that she absolutely cannot live with out, I will be happy to buy it for her.  But so far that has yet to happen.  She usually plays with a toy for a few minutes, then tosses it aside for another toy.  One thing I have noticed is that Haru tends to be interested in objects that are not toys, for a longer period of time.  She loves her piano, and she is perfectly happy with playing with kitchen utensils as opposed to playing with her blocks, or plastic tricycle.  I don’t know if this is good or bad, but is does save me from buying expensive toys that get played with once or twice, and then  wind up in her toy chest, never to be played with ever again.

I know that when I was a kid, I use to associate an emotional attachment with some of my toys.  I use to think that playing with one particular toy too much would make the other toys jealous.  And if I didn’t play with a toy at all, that it would become sad and lonely.  I guess this is why I liked the move Toy Story so much, because it really reflected the way I thought as a child .  In a way, but not to such an extent of course,  I still grow emotionally attached to some of my personal belongings, but that’s a different issue.  Perhaps when Haruka grows older, she will start groing attached to her toys and playing with them more.

Haru showing off her pearly white teeth

showing appreciation for a toy at the department store

weighing herself…BTW, she weight 9.6 kg with all of her clothes on

playing with her mildly neglected toy duck, Mr. Shimizu

trying to get a kiss from Princess

New Words

Up until now Haruka has been only good at babbling incomprehensible baby talk that no one understands. But in the last couple weeks or so, she’s pick a few real words. She’s able to identify things, and know the proper labels for them. For example, she’ll point our house plants and say happa, which means leaf in Japanese. She even correctly identified shrimps one night, when we were having fried shrimps for dinner. Unfortunately, she thinks almost everything we eat is shrimp, so even when we are having chicken, she’ll scream ebi! ebi! (shrimp in Japanese).

learning nouns first is common amonst babies Haruka’s age. They quickly learn that different objects have different names, and learn the names at a quicker pace that any adult could. The difficult part of language is learning to use words in correct context,  especially verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. These will probably begin to happen from age two, and continue throughout life. Although quite minor, Haruka already knows how to use an adjective in correct context.   Sometimes when finishes taking a huge gulp of her wheat tea, she’ll say umai!, Japanese for “good!”

Haruka running up and down the hallway before bath time

more of the same

more of the same

a blurry picture of Haruka trying to hide in the bathroom

She’s figured out that by using her toys as a stool, she can get into even more mischief

Haru’s Original Language

Haruka is getting smarter everyday.  Although her physical milestones like learning to walk, have plateau’d a bit in the last couple of months, her intellectual milestones continue to progress everyday.  At this stage in development, it important that she is stimulated with new things on a daily basis, because the neurons in her brain is making new connections, connection that will determine who she is and how she reacts to the world around her.  I want to make sure that the progress she makes within next year will be positive.

One very interesting that I’ve noticed about Haru is her language development.  Every since she was about three months, she liked to babble out loud to herself.  And as time goes on, those babbles would spit out an occassional word or two.  But until recently, this was pretty inconsistent and random.  Lately, it seems she has developed her own language.  To you and me, it just sounds like incomprehensible baby babble, but I’m sure to her, she thinks she’s actually talking.  But the really strange thing about it is that her baby talk actually has nouns in it.  For example, about 90% of the time, when I show Haruka a picture of herself, or hold up a mirror to her face, she would point to it and say “aaaawwwaaaa”.  At first, I thought it was just a fluke, but when I show her pictures of other people or hold up other object, she would just point to it and use other “words”, and somewhat inconsistently.  “Aaaaawwwaaa” seems to be a word in her own language that refers to herself (like me or I).  This leads me to believe that perhaps there is a primative form of pre-language that babies communicate in that only they can understand.  Or perhaps the pre-language is not universal and is specific to the to the individual.

At any rate,  I’m not really a scientist nor so do I have enough eduation in psychology to conduct proper research  and testing on this, but it would sure make for really interesting research.  And as far as Haruka is concerned, I am convinced that she is speaking her own language, which over the next year will be forgotten and replaced by a proper understood language.

Chewing on some snacks at her great grandmother’s house

toting her little doll around

speaking in front of a crowd

Finally here is a video of Haruka pretending to talk on the phone, and also playing the piano.

Haruka and the twins

Today we went to Tokyo to my grandmother’s house, because my cousin Hide decided to bring his twin girls over, after almost two years of being on hiatus from everyone.  It was quiet, and pretty uneventful.  Hide’s twins, Reika and Aika were pretty adorable.  Haruka got along with them as well as could be expected.  One thing that was a little disappointing to me is that Hide didn’t follow the naming tradition by using the character 香 in the girls’ names, but I suppose that’s his choice.

The twins are 2 months and 1 week older than Haruka, but Haruka clearly showed that she was more physically and intellectually advanced.  This, of course could be be due the fact that twins usually mature a bit slower because they are born relativly earlier, hence being less mature at birth.  Haruka was a lot more sure-footed, whereas the twins were still trying to balance themselves and often reorted to crawling to get from point A to B.  Also, Haruka was a lot more more talkative and was able to do things like drink from a straw etc.  Not to say that there’s a competition between the kids, but I found it all very interesting to see how quickly Haruka is developing compared to the others.

second cousins, Reika, Aika, and Haruka

Haruka and Aika

Haruka giving Aika a stick of broccoli

Another Haruka and Aika picture

All three together

All three watching TV