Cheerleading Event Part II

Over the weekend, Haru had her second cheer leading event. My wife had been warning me in advanced that Haru wasn’t catching onto her new routine as well as the other children in her class and as well as she did before, so I was expecting somewhat of a disaster.

The event took place in a gym of an elementary school on the other side of town.   I had to work that morning, so my wife had already taken Haru to the school so that she could prepare with the rest of her cheer leading squad.  After my work was done, I hopped on the train home and met my wife at the the station where we had quick lunch at the nearby restaurant and then headed off to the elementary school.  It was raining a bit and it was a bit of a walk to get to the school from the train station.

As with any of Haru’s event, the venue was packed with parents, but not to the point where we had to be there ultra early otherwise we couldn’t see anything.  The whole event was somewhat of a kid’s talent show.  Kid’s were performing different things from hip hop dancing to piano and violin.  We arrived about thirty minutes before Haru’s event.  It seems that most of the parents in the audience (including us) weren’t too interested in watching the whole show -just their child’s event.  So, people were walking in and out all afternoon, and so we managed to get pretty good seats after a relatively short wait.

After sitting through about4 or 5 events, it was about time for Haru’s cheer leading event to start, so I grabbed the video camera and stood off to the side of the gym where I could get a better unobstructed view.   Most of the other parents did the same when their child was performing.  Prior to Haru’s group’s performance, there were two girls who were about 11 or 12 years playing a piano and violin duet on stage.  There were pretty good, but their performance lasted WAY too long.  It went on for nearly 20 minutes, which may not seem that long, but in reality, it’s a very long time to have to continuously listen to someone playing a piano and violin.

It was finally time for the cheer leader’s appearance.  Most of the girls had been waiting by the gym door, patiently awaiting the conclusion of the previous recital.  Right after the recital was finished, some of them premature ran out onto the floor before their spotters could spread the gym mats on the hard floors where they would be performing.  At this point, I couldn’t see Haru anywhere because she looked so tiny compared to the other girls.  Haru is one of the youngest if not the youngest girl in the squad.  I think she is even the youngest among the kindergarten squad.  But the amazing thing is (and of course I may sound biased) she can do a lot of the gymnastics stunts that the older kids do.  Apparently, there is one girl who is a year older than Haru who had been having problems landing her cartwheels.  Haru has been practicing cart wheels and round offs like crazy and is able to nail the landing about 90% of the time.  But for some reason, the instructor won’t let her have her own solo.  Perhaps its because she is too young, but most likely because she’s been having a hard time remembering the routines.  IN HER DEFENSE though, she was did better in her first event and didn’t have look at the other kids much for ques on what to do.  I attribute this to having to have to remember all of stuff for Sports Day at her kindergarten,  in which they practiced and did drills for on a daily basis.

Sports day practices at Haru’s kindergarten is notorious for being pretty intense depending what teacher you get.  I remember last year, Haru nearly had a break down from all of the intensiveness.  She cried and threw tantrums almost every single day.  And as soon as the Sports Day events were over, she returned back to normal.  So, maybe it was a bit of an overload for her.

Having said all this, Haru didn’t make any too many big mistakes, but when she did make a mistake, it was a bit noticeable.  But I figured that since she is small and young, it would be seen as “cute” instead of embarrassing.


Fast Tube by Casper


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Making Friends

Today is our last full day in Atlanta.  I have been totally depressed about having to go back to Japan for the last couple of days now.  I guess this is the biggest drawback of taking long vacations; it’s always difficult returning back to reality.

Haruka has made a lot of improvements in her English skills in just the last week alone.   She’s got a bigger English vocabulary now, and she actually makes an effort to speak it as well.  Lately, she’s been showing off her new found skills to other children and making new friends.  The other day, we went to the park where a bunch of kids were playing in the fountain.  Haruka, who loves playing in water, joined the kids and nearly instantaneously mad some new friends.  The kids quickly figured out that English wasn’t Haruka’s first language but somehow still was able to communicate with her.  So for most of the morning, Haru played with the kids and had a really good time.

Haru and the fountain

Haru and her new friends

Cooling off

Walking on the wall

more friends

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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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Deep Deep Frustration!

Earlier this week, I wrote about how Haruka is becoming less newborn infant-like and more closer to a happy gruggling  and cooing baby.  I may have well jumped the gun when I made this statement, because in the last couple of days, it seems that she has behaviorly reverted back to  being a newborn again, which has deeply frustrated me.

Coming home to a crying baby has become routine for me, and I have gotten used to it.  And up until very recently, it was easily remedied by simply playing with her.  Then it was just a matter of her feeding and changing, and then she would fall asleep.  And during this time, my wife and I  would have dinner, and then prepare for Haruka’s nightly bath.  Occasionally she would either wake up while we were having our dinner and whimper a bit, but then she’d fall back to sleep. Or sometimes she would not sleep at all and just quitely lay in her cradle.

Since last Wednesday, Haruka’s dinner time whimpers has escalated in full fledged temper tantrums that would last until the very late evenings,  and it has been very difficult to get her to sleep.  And to add to this, it seems that her mid morning feedings are back as she has been waking us up at around 3:30 AM.

All of this has psychologically taken a toll on me lately.  It’s really frustrating to spending a whole day at work dealing with people in general, being stuffed aboard an over-crowded train, and then come home to even more chaos.  I don’t mind having to keep her attention all the time, or even playing with her after a tiring day at work.  As a matter of fact, it’s a joy to be able to put a smile on her face because it makes me happy to see her happy.  But I do wish that I could have some moments peace, at least at dinner time.  It’s the only time I really have left to unwind, and lately I feel that that has been taken away from me.

Yesterday wasn’t a particularly difficult day at the office.  Despite having been stuck in a two hour meeting with clients, I was still able to leave work relatively early. But for some reason, Haruka’s dinner time temper tantrum had got the best of me.  In the midths of all the crying, shrieking, and blood curdling screams which at times looked as if she’d stopped breathing, I pushed my dinner away and told my wife that I could no longer deal with the dinner time chaos.  I had lost my appetite and spent the rest of the evening trying to calm the screaming child down. But the one thing that frustrated (angered) me the most, wasn’t Haruka’s crying, but rather my wife telling me that I had an attitude problem.  This attacking statement not only saddened me very deeply, but also made me question my abilities to deal with parenting all together.  And to add insult to injury, I wasn’t even able to put Haruka to sleep last night.  She had only drank three quarters of her milk when her crying had flared up once again, and this time nothing I did would make her stop.  She was obviously sleepy and wanted to sleep, but I wasn’t able to do anything for her.

My wife eventually took her away from me, and was able to get her to stop crying, which made me question my competency even more.  I was so distraught by this, that I couldn’t even bare to be in the same room, so I decided to go to bed early.  I know that Haruka is not intentionally trying to make things difficult for any of us, but I find myself reminding myself of this more and more lately, which has been very mentally challenging. 

I thought about last night carefully, and my wife’s comments towards me, and I made somewhat of a wish list of what I though would make things personally easier on me:

  • I wish that Haruka would not cry as I try to eat dinner.  She demands so much of my time as it is, and dinner time is really the only time I have left to myself.  I need peace during this time to maintain my own mental stability.
  • I wish my wife would be more understanding of my feelings , better recognize when I am frustrated and help take the load off when this happens, and not make such harsh statements when I do get frustrated and be more comforting or offer advice.
  • I wish my wife would make better efforts in researching the root causes of these problems instead of relying on me to do the research and give her solutions all of the time.
  • When I do give a researched solution to problem, I wish that my wife would at least try them or research them on her end, and not criticize or prejudge without even attempting to do so.  And I also hope that understand that I would not try anything that would mentally or physically harm our child.

Finally, since I really want to keep this blog positive, I probably won’t be updating it again for another several weeks until the situation here has improved.

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The Colic Strikes Back!

Haruka is now 3 weeks old, and yesterday was probably about the worst day for her.  She spent most of the night crying uncontrollably which kept my wife and me up.  I made the mistake of trying to feed her during this period of unease, and she wound up throwing everything up , which irritated her even more and made things worse. 

I tried using the gripe water that I bought several days ago, and it did work a little bit, but it was hardly enough to keep her quite for a long period of time.  At best, she would sleep for about 40 minutes and then the whole cycle would repeat itself.  And with my in-laws back at home, the whole thing has taken an emotional toll on my wife to the point where she started to cry as well.

Luckily, I had some vacation time coming to me.  I had been working extremely hard for the last several weeks to pull off the near impossible, and that was to complete my projects by mid-December.  It’s amazing how motivated you get when you have someone who needs you there to care for them, because I was somehow able to complete all my projects more than 2 weeks before their deadlines, hence I was able to take off from work until January 7th.  Now I will be able to spend more time helping my wife cope with Haruka.

 Yesterday, during one of Haruka’s short periods of calmness, I noticed that her belly looked really bloated.  It was as if someone had inflated a balloon inside of her.  I gently massaged her belly and felt  small little pockets of gas moving around.  So, after about 10 minutes of massaging her belly, she passed the gas and fell sound a sleep. 

Today, things were a bit better.  Haruka slept well last night.  She slept a good five hours which was what we all needed.  So, in turn, yesterday’s experiment confirmed that gas is bothering her, and that helping her get it out helps her sleep longer and more comfortably.  Can’t wait until she goes on to solid foods so that we can put this problem with the baby formula behind us.

a somewhat grainy photo taken at 6am this morning right after she woke up 

a bit blury, but here’s another

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Dealing with emotions

I moved to a new server. Everything is located in my house now so that I have more control of the database and I can customize the entries better. Feel free to leave comments to tell me what you think.

Tomorrow will mark the end of week 10. I will be going to the clinic with my wife so that I can see first had as to how the baby is developing.

I’ve read that as the pregnancy continues, the mother tends to become emotional and experience mood swings. Up until recently, I have really seen any of this. But at the beginning of the week, my wife told me that she get really angry at work because her co-worker didn’t receive a bonus. I could understand the anger she felt for her co-worker, but she took it to the next level and was really close to chewing out the management for it. Had it been her own bonus at steak, perhaps that would have been a somewhat of an appropriate action to take. But I didn’t quite understand why she was getting so wound up over a co-worker not receiving a bonus, when considering the co-worker didn’t really care either.

Also that very same day, she started crying for no reason. It took me a while for me to calm her down but eventually she did get a grip on herself. I’m glad I read ahead about this stuff otherwise it would have worried me a bit.

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