Milestones


Haruka’s growing so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up with her achievements and milestones these days.  It seems as if it’s a daily occurrence these days. But I was curious to see if she was on par with the average 3 year old, so I decided to look it up on the web and this is what I found: (my responses are in bold print)

  • The 3-year-old will ask more questions than a district attorney. Nothing is sacred and some questions will throw you for a loop!  Definitely on par here.  Evey other question out of her mouth is what’s this? or what does this do?
  • Continue reading books to your child. Admittedly, I need to do this more often.
  • Arrange times for safe running and exploring outdoors. Every minute of the day is running and exploring time for Haru
  • Playmates are important. Allow your child to experience interaction with peers. Three-year-olds are usually quite social and enjoy being with other 3-year-olds. This can be accomplished in a preschool, play group or just having another child over for a few hours.  Plenty of friends to play with.
  • It is normal for children this age to have imaginary friends. Parents can sometimes use the youngster’s imaginary “playmate” to their advantage (like getting your 3-year-old to do something you want them to do.) Michael Jackson and Harry Potter are her imaginary friends.
  • Limit television viewing. Do not use the TV as a baby sitter or as a substitute for interaction with your child. Watch children’s programs with your child when possible.  Guilty here.
  • Do not worry if the child becomes curious about body parts. This is normal at this age. Always use the correct terms for genitals.  Not so much here.
  • Children this age begin to recognize gender differences and will correctly say “I am a girl” or “I am a boy.”  No issues here
  • Discipline should be firm and consistent, but loving and understanding. Praise your child for his or her good behavior and accomplishments. No issues here
  • Three-year-olds like to do things for themselves. Not Haru, always wants mommy to play with her
  • The 3-year-old does not understand “tongue-in-cheek” comments and can not always tell when a parent is joking. For example, never threaten to leave a child at the store when he or she misbehaves.  Amazingly, Haru does understand when we’re joking sometimes, and she’ll even do it herself.
  • Your child may continue to use a security object (such as a blanket, favorite stuffed toy, etc.). This is normal and the youngster will give up the item when he or she is ready.  A lot of toys in our bed
  • Keep family outings short and simple. Children have a short attention span at this age and lengthy activities will cause them to become irritable and tired.  Please tell my wife about this!


Discipline

  • Encourage your 3-year-old to make choices whenever possible, but the choices should be limited to those you can live with (“red shirt or green shirt.”) Never ask a toddler an open question (“Do you want to take a bath”) unless you are willing to accept the answer. Of course
  • Use the two “I’s” of discipline (ignore or isolate) rather than the two “S’s” (shouting or spanking). When disciplining, try to separate the child and his or her behavior (“I love you, but I do not like it when you touch the VCR.”).  Hmmm, don’t know if this will work with Haru.
  • Provide alternatives. “No, you cannot play with the telephone, but you can play with these blocks.”  This sometimes works
  • Avoid power struggles. No one wins! The 3-year-old still uses temper tantrums as a weapon. Respond to this behavior with the two I’s of discipline – ignore or isolate (time out!).  Definitely does not work with Haru.
  • Discipline should be consistent. Do not make threats that you can not carry out. If you say you are going to do something, do it!  Please tell my wife this.

Development

* Can name pictures in a book.  In two languages too!
* Names at least one color. can name many colors in two languages
* Knows his or her own name, age and sex. yup, no problems here
* Begins to use pronouns.  Yup
* Able to put on his or her own shirt, but will need help with shoes and buttons.  sometimes, she still needs some practice
* May be able to ride a tricycle. never tried
* Can jump in place and stand briefly on one foot. Yes, Haru is very athletic
* Can (unfortunately!) open doors.  And lock them too
* More than 50 percent of the child’s speech is intelligible. There may be temporary episodes of stuttering during this time.  She’s getting better.
* Understands such words as “cold,” “tired,” “hungry.” Comprehends the meaning of “on or under”, and “bigger or smaller.”   Yup, and in two languages

Oral Health

  • Supervise brushing twice a day with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Twice a day
  • Take your 3-year-old to the dentist, if you have not already done so. Done it, no issues
  • Limit juice and sweets. Please tell my wife this
  • Continue giving a fluoride supplement if your drinking water is not fluoridated. Some dentists recommend fluoride be continued through age 8; others recommend continuing through age 12 or 16. Check with your pediatrician and dentist. not sure if fluoride is in the water in Japan, need to look that up
  • Stop pacifier use WOW really?  at 3 years old??  Luckily Haru never used a pacifier.  I was always against them.

Feeding

  • Appetite is perhaps a shade better than it was a few months ago, but it is still not what most parents (or grandparents) think it should be. “My child will not eat,” is a familiar complaint heard at the three year checkup. Remember, feeding problems may arise if parents make their child eat more than the child needs to, or shows too much concern in what the youngster eats.  Haru is ALWAYS hungry, but I think my wife does a good job with controlling when she eats.
  • The 3-year-old should pretty much be able to feed himself or herself. Most of the time
  • During meal time, the 3-year-old is sometimes very demanding of parent’s attention and may also dawdle! Definitely
  • Avoid nuts, hard candy, uncut grapes, hot dogs or raw vegetables. Control sweets and avoid junk food. Impossible!
  • Eat dinner together as a family whenever possible.  Always
  • Begin to teach proper table manners and encourage conversation during family meals. Most of the times
  • Turn the TV off during meals.  We really should

Sleep

  • An afternoon nap is usually still needed by the 3-year-old.  Please tell this to my wife!
  • Fears of the dark, thunder, lightning, etc. are quite common at this age.  Afraid of the dark? yes sometimes. Thunder and lighting? not so much
  • Maintain a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine. Using a night light, security blanket or toy are all ways to help lessen nighttime fears. Please tell this to my wife!
  • Read to your child when possible before “lights out.”  I need to do this more
  • Nightmares can wake a child up from sleep. The nightmares can be triggered by changes or stress. Reassure your child and put him or her back to bed. yes, happens a lot, especially of she hasn’t slept much

Toilet Training

  • Many 3-year-olds are trained during the day but still do not stay dry at night. Others are completely trained. Remember, the age a child uses the bathroom by himself or herself varies and it is based only on a child’s readiness to be trained and the positive attitude of the parents.  She’s getting better, but sometimes forgets.
  • Avoid putting too many demands on the child or shaming him about wearing diapers. Instead, let your child no how proud and happy you are about any potty successes.  Not wearing diapers anymore, but definitely need to praise her more for the successes.

Illnesses

  • Your 3-year-old may continue to experience respiratory infections, such as colds, ear infections and sinus infections. These frequent ailments often become frustrating for parents. Unfortunately, most illnesses are unavoidable, especially if your child is in preschool or has older siblings who bring the colds home from school.  So relieved to know this.  Haru always seems to have a cold.  Every time she recovers form one cold it would only a matter of days before she catches another one…really annoying!
  • When your child is ill, the pediatrician will determine whether antibiotics are needed. Remember, most illnesses at this age are viral, which means antibiotics will not shorten the course of the illness Hmm, maybe we should try this.

So development-wise, I think Haru is pretty much on track.  As her physical exam a few weeks ago, the doctors said that her growth is well within the average, although there was a comment that her head was a tad smaller than average.  I contend that most Japanese children’s heads are proportionally too big for their bodies.

As for me, I think there are some improvements that need to be made on my part.  I will definitely start reading more books to her, before she goes to bed.  Maybe this will encourage her to go to sleep.

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December Again


Yup, it’s December again, what a month it’s been so far!   The last month had been quite busy for me. I’ve been studying vigorously for several different IT certifications so that I can be more marketable in the future, and all of the studying has paid off somewhat.

I can write about this now because I know now that the end is here. Or more accurately put, the beginning is here. You see, a few weeks ago, I was laid off from my job. As much as they hated to admit it, the poor economy was hurting them and I had been going to work everyday with basically nothing to do for the last five months or so. I knew that eventually I would get the proverbial tap on the shoulder as many others in my company did in the last few months.

At first, I thought not now! wait until the economy recovers a bit more so that I have a better chance at finding new employment! but of course that’s not the way business works. But the reality is, there couldn’t have been a better time for this to happened. This was destiny kicking my butt out the door and saying there’s something better out there if you look for it!

I was really worried at first, because in Japan, as well as other parts of the world, there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available.  But fortunately for me, I am one of those people who seems to be able to always land on their feet in the end (knock wood). Within a few weeks of job hunting, I literally had three companies seriously considering my application. One was taking too long to make a decision so I wound up dropping them. So it was a tug-o-war between two companies.  But after careful thought and consideration, I have finally signed with a very nice financially stable financial company (name withheld), and with a lucrative title of Head of Information Technology.  So overall, it couldn’t have worked out any better than it did.  I was expecting to be out of work until at least next February (which is when companies have their first quarter budgets in place and are starting to spend), but I was very fortunate to find a few companies who were looking to hire this month and looking for someone with my exact skill set.  Amazing!  As my first course of duty, I will be going to Singapore for 1 to 2 weeks and meeting with my staff.  I’ve never been to Singapore, so I am really looking forward to it.  In the meantime, Haruka and my wife may go back to Yamaguchi, since they weren’t able to spend a lot of time there earlier this month.

I am still considering going back to school next year, and enrolling in an executive MBA program, because there will be many opportunities to move up in the ranks within this company and I want to be able to take full advantage of it with a good education.  And of course, this is also to make Haruka proud of her father too.

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