Tuesday, June 26, 2007

a case for central airconditioning

No matter how well the airconditioner is working in the living room, if I need to go to the bathroom even for a minute, I return covered in sweat, which is why I cannot believe that Sakura has chosen *this* moment to figure out how to use the potty.

Seriously. I cannot catch a break.

so far this week

I felt like I wasted time and money buying that breast pump last week since I only used it twice, but it turns out that Natsuki really likes the bottle that came with it. It is small and lightweight but it can still contain 150ml and when she drinks, all the formula stays in her mouth and doesn't leak out the corners and run down her cheek. Woo-hoo!

I guess if I need to lend this breast pump to someone I'm going to have to find a new bottle for Natsuki!

Also, yesterday Sakura told me she needed to go potty and proceeded to poop twice and pee once throughout the morning. I didn't have to prompt her at all. Maybe we've turned a corner in the potty-training game!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

just a matter of finding the right balance

Thanks to all of you who gave advice regarding Natsuki's nursing strike. I really appreciated it.

It seems that Natsuki has decided that she doesn't want to nurse during the day but would prefer to drink formula for her first three feedings and then nurse at night before she goes to bed. It took a whole week for us to figure this out and I'm still really not sure why she decided to make the sudden change (probably teething) but at least now we know. Friday did not go well. I went out and bought a breast pump on Thursday evening with the thinking that she might prefer breastmilk in a bottle since I hadn't been very successful with the formula and at the same time hopefully I would be able to keep up my milk supply until she was feeling better. But by the end of Friday I realized that she is not going to want to nurse during the day. Ever. Again.

Anybody want a brand new breast pump? It's only been used twice!

This morning, for the first time, Natsuki drank 150ml of formula from her bottle within 15 minutes without complaining. I cannot tell you how relieved and happy I was as I watched the occasional rivlet of formula run down her cheek. If I was a crier, I would've cried, but I'm not so we gave her a round of applause when she was done. Yeah for Natsuki!!

I'm not really the type of mom who gives in to the whims of her children, but occasionally there is a force that comes from my previously content baby that cannot be ignored.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

seeking advice

This week, a weird thing happened with Natsuki. Well, weird for me anyways. Natsuki turned 10 months on Monday and I had been planning all along to start weaning her around this time. She is nursing four times a day (8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm) and my plan is to take one feeding time away every two weeks and hopefully finish nursing her before her first birthday. I did the same thing with Misaki & Sakura and it worked really well. Emi quit on her own one day when she was 8 months old probably because my milk had changed since I was pregnant again(surprise!). I'm already not feeding Natsuki her 4pm feeding on Tuesdays when I teach English and it doesn't seem to bother her at all so I figured this process would go smoothly. I started giving her a bottle with apple juice and water in it a few months ago and although she doesn't drink the whole thing down, she will drink some of it so I figured if she was thirsty she would drink more.

I thought my plan was pretty good. On Monday, instead of her 4pm feeding, I gave her a bottle with formula instead and she drank about 20ml. Not great, but it's a work in progress, right? Then on Tuesday, she refused to nurse at all and she only drank about 100ml of formula altogether (I think normally a baby her age would drink between 800-1000ml per day). When I went to teach my English class, I was so sore from all the build-up of milk in my breasts so I made an effort that night to concentrate on her during her 8pm feeding. She hardly nursed at all, but at least it relieved the pressure for me.

On Wednesday, again, she wouldn't nurse at all again. This time, not even bothering to latch on, just a lot of crying and screaming. So I tried the bottle again, but she only drank about 80ml throughout the day. Grrr! I was pretty sore again, but not as much as the day before which worried me because I could lose my milk supply if she's not nursing so I went through the last few days to see if I could find any contributing factors. One thing I know is that she is working on her second tooth so I think that when she nurses, the pressure hurts her tender gums. Other than that, the only other problem would be stubbornness. Just my luck.

On Wednesday night, I really wanted her to nurse well for her 8pm feeding so I gave her some Infant's Tylenol before her 7pm nap and then woke her up after the girls had gone to bed. I kept the lights low and just had a CD playing to minimize distractions. She was pretty groggy when we got her up and she nursed for her normal 20 minutes. Yeah! If she hadn't nursed, I was going to go to the store and buy a breast pump and a variety of bottles and try them all with her until something worked. But she nursed, so I thought that whatever was going on with her was over.

Was I ever wrong!

This morning, she woke up at 7:30am so I brought her down and tried to nurse her and I was met with protestations. Crap. Not again. I was also busy trying to get Emi out the door to school so I decided to ignore Natsuki a bit and see if she would change her mind if she wasn't getting anything else. After about 30 minutes, she gave in and nursed half-heartedly and then I gave her breakfast. But I tried the same thing at lunch, but she's smarter now and wouldn't even *think* about it.

So what do I do now? She needs to drink something and besides feeding her popsicles to get liquids into her, I can't think of any other options than just pursuing the formula with her until she gives in or figures it out. I'm worried about her getting constipated and/or dehydrated (it's starting to get hot here). Also, should I just let her stop nursing? If her tooth comes in and then she wants to nurse again, it's going to be too late.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

eight random facts/habits meme

I got tagged to do another meme. I am really finding this mode of sharing about myself and learning about other people to be a lot of fun.

Here are the rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight random facts or habits? That's going to be tricky.

1. I really like Star Trek. I don't think I would consider myself a "Trekkie", but I really enjoy watching Star Trek, Star Trek Next Generation, and Star Trek Enterprise (with Scott Bakula - I also liked him on Quantum Leap). I don't own any Star Trek stuff so don't worry!

2. I don't like being all wet. I'm not really big on taking long baths or swimming for a long time. I think maybe my skin gets more sensitive the longer I'm wet and I start to get uncomfortable.

3. I have always hated washing floors but I recently discovered Swiffer Wet Jet and now I actually wash the floors on a regular basis, although you still won't find me on my knees scrubbing away!

4. I never thought about moving to another country so when I met Chikara and I really liked him a lot of people were surprised that I would consider moving to Japan. I think also I seemed like I would have a hard time adjusting, which is true, but I've changed a lot over the past few years!

5. I really want to write a book. I'm not sure that I would actually try but I think about it every so often. I can never come up with a good enough idea for a book. Maybe one day...

6. I don't really like cooking. I always assumed that after I had kids I would get more creative but that hasn't really happened. I am confident with the food that I make on a regular basis but beyond that there hasn't been much progress.

7. I used to be able to read books during long car rides but ever since having kids, I start to feel sick if I read anything for more than five minutes. It's really irritating because I would look forward to long road trips because I could enjoy a book, but now I mediate fights, hand out snacks, change CD's and talk to my husband to keep him awake.

8. I am NOT a morning person. Even after years of getting up with our kids in the morning, I still have a hard time waking up. This year, Emi has to get up at 7:20am and almost every morning, she comes in and wakes me up even though my alarm has been going off for awhile.

Gina already tagged a lot of the ladies that I know but I will also tag Cara and Abigail.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sakura's Birthday Photoshow

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Sakura had a great birthday party with us and her Japanese grandparents. It kind of looks like a repeat of Misaki's birthday, except that the dress is pink. Oh well, it was what she requested and she is really enjoying playing with all her gifts and that's all that matters!

Also, I have to add this picture of Natsuki wearing the tiara that Sakura got. It's just too cute!

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

three years ago...

Tomorrow is Sakura's 3rd birthday and it was about this time three years ago that my labor started. My mother had come to Japan to help me out and we had all planned to go out with my in-laws for ramen. A couple of hours before we were set to meet, I started having some contractions but nothing very regular so I felt that it was OK to go to dinner with everybody (and I was hungry). My in-laws thought I was totally crazy.

During dinner the contractions kept coming and after we got home, we started keeping track of them. Around 10pm we decided to go to the hospital even though we weren't really sure if they'd keep me. When I was in labor with Misaki I waited so long to go to the hospital that she was born 25 minutes after we arrived. We didn't want a repeat of that evening.

Although I was only 3cm dilated, they decided to keep me since it was my third baby. The contractions kept on but they were irregular in duration and intensity, which was frustrating for me. Around 3am, I was taken to the delivery room and at 3:36am, Sakura Nicole was born. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice and around her leg once but the cord was so long that it didn't really affect her.

So, for tomorrow, Happy Birthday Sakura!

a conversation with Misaki

Misaki: Hey, Mom...

Me: What?

Misaki: You didn't ask me to tell you about the one thing I did today at school.

Me: Really?

Misaki: Yes.

Me: OK, what did you do today?

Misaki: Mmmm... I don't remember...

Me: ...

Emi: haha!

This is a *classic* conversation between Misaki and me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

watching movies in Japan

I don't about other expats living in Japan but one thing that makes me homesick is movie-going or actually *not* movie-going. When Chikara and I were dating and then married, we used to go to movies all the time. Even after we had Emi, it was so easy to get a babysitter and go out when we wanted to. Since we moved to Japan, this is hardly the case at all. A few weeks ago, a Japanese friend and I were commiserating over how much our lives have changed since having kids and suddenly it hit me. We should trade babysitting so we could each go with our husbands to see Pirates of the Caribbean. We've been friends since I moved here and I don't know why we didn't think of this earlier. She came and babysat for us last Saturday and we're going to watch her kids next Sunday. Hopefully everything will go well and we can do this again every so often.

But it's still more work than it needs to be. I miss the concept of babysitting. I know we have four kids but when we go home and visit my brother's family, they get a babysitter (or two) who easily watch all eight of our kids and by the time we come home, all the kids are in bed and the babysitters are watching TV. I used to babysit when I was in high school and it was so much fun. I looked forward to watching other people's kids and relaxing. Plus the money was pretty awesome, too.

Another thing that really makes me realize that I live in different country is release dates and availability. Two years after we moved to Japan, we finally got internet service. That was four years ago and since that time, I had the ability to read about movies that were coming soon and see trailers. I was so excited. I felt in touch with my own culture. When I talked to friends and family, I actually knew what they were talking about. I soon realized that it was one more way to make me feel farther away. The movies I would read about wouldn't come to the theatres until a few months after they did in the States and again the video/DVD release date was even later. Also, some movies never made it to Japan. I guess someone thought that there were movies that Japanese people wouldn't appreciate so it wasn't worth the effort. Irritating.

I know it's just movies and not starving people in Africa so in the grand scheme of things, really not that important, but it was and still is frustrating for me.

Anyways, I still look and I recently found two movies that I hope to see in Japan.

Waitress with Keri Russell - I don't know if this movie will come to Japan because it's not really mainstream but I can wish for it.

Stardust with Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro, Claire Danes and a lot of other people. I saw this today and I hope to watch it within this year but I don't think that's a reality.

Oh, well. Life goes on. What movies are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

picture I've been meaning to share

I started writing a post about the last few days but honestly it was starting to sound like a bunch of blah, blah, blah, so I gave up. I will say that I have noticed a big change in our lives since June has begun. Maybe it's just a mental thing since I thought it would get slower but I don't think so. On Wednesday, I went around the house, gathered up all the piles of paper, organized and filed said paper until every last piece was in the right place. There weren't as many surprises lurking in the piles as I had anticipated so that was a great relief. Today I went around the house and picked up all the piles of clothes and spent some time organizing them. I put all the girl's winter clothes away and found places for their summer clothes. I did leave out one pair of jeans, a long sleeve shirt and a sweater but it's starting to get hot so although I don't think we'll need them, it's better to be safe than sorry.

I've had some pictures that I've been meaning to post but none of them were interesting enough to be able to stand alone by themselves as a story (I know, I'm overthinking this!). Now I have enough little bits to be able to put together. Woo-hoo!

First up is Emi and her bug-collecting. My girls, in general, are scared of bugs. If there is a something as small as a tiny fruit fly in the house, they all freak out and try to run away from it until Chikara or I kill it for them. Honestly, it's a little pathetic, but I'm not really wild about bugs in the house so I'm have not made any plans to teach them that some bugs are harmless. But, for some unknown reason, dango-mushi (dung beetles?) are okay and Misaki and Emi will spend hours searching for them in a dirt patch on our street.

This is a picture of Emi with her bottle full of bugs. She's so proud.

A close-up, just in case you couldn't see in the last picture. I tried to get her to put some dirt or food in there for them but she was pretty sure they'd be fine just like that. Poor bugs...

Another thing I'm working on recently is potty-training Sakura. Yes, she turns 3 this month but I've been a little busy this year. Also, I trained Emi & Misaki around the time they turned 3 and I found that it was so easy. Within a month or two they were fully-trained, even at night! I always thought I'd be the type of mom that had my kids potty-trained right after they turned two, but my life has not turned out like that. Emi was scared of the toilet and Misaki couldn't have cared less. My mom always says that "they'll be potty-trained by the time they graduate from high school, so don't worry". You can put any skill in the place of "potty-trained" and the sentence is still true. Misaki will learn to eat with her mouth closed before she graduates from high school. See. It works. I feel better already...

This is Sakura's potty chart. It's on the wall in the bathroom. I started with her on May 15th and she pee'd and pooped in the toilet on May 18th. I was really surprised and I wondered if her potty-training would go as easily as her older sisters. A few days later, she pee'd and pooped again. Yeah! Then a few days after that, she got sick and every since that day, there has been no further progress. She doesn't want to sit on the potty and when she finally agrees, a millisecond after her bum touches the seat, she says she's done. I can see that this is going to take awhile.

These are the onions that Misaki picked during her onion-picking-field-trip at her preschool. Look at her face. What a monkey!

The next three pictures are pretty self-explanatory. Emi has discovered tree-climbing and she tries it any chance she gets.

Misaki is my girlie-girl. She loves hats, sunglasses, high-heels, skirts, make-up and nail polish and will try any of the above on if she gets a chance. Sometimes it's really cute and other times, it's more like this, which is still cute but is not necessarily making her look like a lady!

So now I've shared. I feel better already. It's almost like I've taken care of one more cluttered area in the house. I hope you enjoyed these little moments from the last few weeks.
Sorry that the spacing on this post is really weird. Blogger can be a pain when you add pictures.