More on Children’s Books

Lately, I have been re-reading books that I had read when I was in grade school.  I finished two of my all time favorites, Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing and its sequel Superfudge (both by Judy Blume), a few weeks ago.  I didn’t think I would enjoy them as much as I did when I was a kid, but on the contrary, I found them to be just as entertaining and funny.  And just yesterday, I finished A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.  I’m not sure what compelled me to buy this book, because all I could remember about it was how confusing and difficult it was to read, back when I was in the fifth grade.  I guess my fascination with stories about time travel (although this story has little to do with time travel) inclined me into buying it when I was browsing through the site.

But having read through the story again, I am definately glad that I did get it, because it is truly a wonderful story.  The only thing that I didn’t like about it was some of the religious overtones, but it didn’t engulf the story, nor did it preach to you, so it was easy to just read around some of it.  And reading this as an adult, I can see why it was one of those books that didn’t really register too well with me as a kid.  It’s truly complicated, even for an adult with stuff like Einstein’s theory of relativity, theories about the fourth and fifth dimensions, speculations about the space and time continuum, and of course trying to visualize what a tesseract is, I probably wouldn’t consider it a children’s book,  but more a book for young adults. I could see however, parents reading this book to their children and explaining the difficult parts to them, which I hopefully plan to do with Haru someday.

Currently, I am reading another book that I vaguely remember reading as an assignment for school.  Its called Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  The strange thing is that I can recall very specific details with the book, like a diary entry where the main character, Charlie Gordon excessively used commas in his writings.  I guess I remember that part so well, because I use to do the same, and sometimes still do.  However, I can’t remember too much more about it other than a laborotory mouse dies at the end (which had a significant impact on the main character).

I guess I’m reading all of these childeren’s books in the hopes that in the future I can read them to Haru, and she’ll become interested in reading them on her own.  As I kid, I wasn’t much of a reader, other than manga’s from Japan, and the books that I was required to read at school.  I somewhat regret that now, because there are so many thing you can get from reading, even from a children’s book like the ones I’m reading.   So nowadays whenever possible I try to find a really good story regardless of it simplicity or complexity, and just read.  And the nice thing about living in this day and era is that whatever i don’t understand, I can find on the web.  And someday, I hope to write my own book.  I’ve attempted this several times since I was ten years old with no real great success.  But hopefully now I have the knowledge and skills to at least successfully complete one really good entertaining story, so that I can tell it to Haru when she is older, and have the pride of saying that I wrote it.

Haru in the kitchen with her mom.

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Finding Haruka’s Pace

Haru’s sleep schedule has been very eratic lately, which is nothing new.  She would wake up several times a night.  It got so bad last week, that I had to resort to sleeping on the living room sofa, because I was only getting a couple of hours of sleep.  I’m not sure what’s causing this eraticness, but it’s been quite difficult coping with it. 

Along with her irregular sleep schedule, her milk time has been quite eratic as well.  For some reason, she started to not like milk.  So trying to feed her has been difficult to say the least.  Before, she would drink milk right after her evening bath  like nobody’s business.  But lately she abslolutely refuses to drink any of it.  Even just showing her her bottle makes her throw a tantrum.  So instead of the usual baby formula, my wife would just breast feed her.

If my wife had the ability to produce several gallons of milk a day like a cow does, this wouldn’t be such an issue.  However, she’s always had a difficult time supplying enough to keep up with Haru’s appetite, hence we suppliment her daily doses of breast milk with baby formula.  But now with Haru’s sudden loss in interest for formula, we are at a loss for what to give her.  She does get solid food in the afternoon, so I suspected that her loss in interest for milk may be related to the switch to solids.  Moreover, she seems to be having an unfavorable reaction to mashed beans.  So this may be adding to her dislike for milk.

Haruka does seem to go through these phases pretty quickly, so I guess the only thing we can really do is to wait for this phase to pass, and hope that she regains her interest in milk.  She did drink a whole bottle of baby formula yesterday evening, so  and end may be near.

Haru and her new cup watching Baby Einstein on TV.

Haru’s new electric high chair

New headband




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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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Busting Out at the Seams

It’s been 3 weeks since Haruka came home from the hospital.  Its been a very hard 3 weeks, but things have been improving gradually in the last few days.  Although she still tends to cry a lot, lately she’s been crying for a reason (like dirty diapers or she’s hungry).  Her meaningless crying has slowly been decreasing, but when it does happen, it seems that the intensity has gotten stronger.  She’s a lot stronger and louder than she was just two weeks ago (which is good….I suppose).  Constipation is definately gone, and her ability to process gas from the baby formula is getting a lot better. 

We’ve been told by a few people now, including the pediatrician at the hospital and my wife’s mother that Haruka has really long leg’s for her age.  I didn’t really take this seriously until yesterday, when we clothed her with the clothes she wore just last week and noticed that it fits very tight now.  At first we thought that it probably just shrunk in the wash, but when we clothed her in a baby pajamas made for a six month old, she almost fit in it.  It’s a bit bulky of course, but she almost fills out its length.  We figure that probably in another few weeks or so, she will fill it out.

The other challenge has been trying to get off of formula and onto breast milk.   Although breast milk is more nourishing than formula, it’s biggest disadvantage is not knowing how much she drank, and that it’s a lot less filling than formula,  so it takes longer to breast feed, and it has to happen more often than formula.  So for now, we are doing 50-50, so that my wife doesn’t have to spend most of the day feeding.

Finally, last night as she slept on the sofa, I noticed that Haruka has gotten a bit more daker complected than she was a few weeks ago.  She’s definately darker than my wife now, and the tips if her fingers, and the tops of her ears are pretty dark.  Not sure what this will amount to in her future appearance, so it will be interesting to find out.

Haruka's smile

Haruka, smiling for the camera

Another Smile

Another smile

helix of the ear

Here, you can clearly see that the lobes of her ears are lighter than the top of the helix.

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