elijah made hina-ningyo at japanese school for koyuki’s first hina-matsuri (girl’s festival).
paul and i are glad to announce our second-born daughter, koyuki sophia.
koyuki was born at 10:43pm on monday, july 26th.
her birth weight was 3240g.
she is now five month old. she is happy, healthy and beautiful. koyuki is a japanese name combining the kanji ‘small’ + ‘snow’. it means that it is snowing gently. we wanted her to be as gentle and pure as the untouched snow.
i’ve been fortunate that she is very calm and happy. she hardly cries. even when she wakes up at night for feeding, she ‘talks’ like ‘uh~, uh~’ to call me. she smiles and plays on her own happily.
i’m still a three year old parent. i’m learning to take care of two children. i’m lucky that she’s a good sleeper. i used to think that the saying, ‘sleep like a baby’ is just to tease sleep deprived parents. but now i learned that there are some babies who actually sleep! she can sleep 8 hours straight, even 12 hours once in awhile. i only have to nurse her once at night. i couldn’t believe at first that she can do that. i remember checking to see if she’s okay only to find a peaceful baby sleeping.
if and when my three and a half year old boy sleeps through the night for the first time ever, i’ll be laughing.
elijah loves koyuki so much and plays well with her. he expresses how much he loves her by kissing and licking all over her face and putting her small fist in his mouth(why?). he’s learning to be gentle with her. we pretend that she can walk. he likes to hold her hand and go for a stroll around the house. we’re playfully amused that she can jump so high and occasionally she can fly so fast.
nowadays, she likes to observe her hands very carefully. her eyes are glowing when she does that. it is so fascinating to see how human beings start to make sense themselves with their bodies and the world around them. i fail to appreciate the basic fact that my eyes can see, my mouth can talk, my legs can walk, and my hands can draw. it’s a cliche but watching her put me back to appreciate such basics of life.
(koyuki on a lovely blanket by carole)
one month old elijah to…
twenty month old elijah.
from here to there, from there to here, funny things are everywhere!
three years ago on setsubun day (february 3rd), i debuted as an oni for the first time. this year, panda-san volunteered to become oni! initially i tried to put the plastic oni mask onto elijah — silly me. elijah said a definite “no!” and threw the mask away like trash, running out of the room laughing with victory. i grabbed him and tried again but he went limp and slipped through my arms.
i made some maki-sushi with tofu and vegetables. elijah skillfully peeled off the nori and ate the rice and tofu. you’re supposed to eat as many roasted soybeans as your age but they were too crunchy for him. so i made cooked soybeans instead for easy digestion.
“who is this man anyway?”
this is elijah’s favorite video at the moment. he asks ‘motto! (more)’ even before it ends. we end up watching again and again. when i finally stop the video, he sheds actual tears and says ‘mata miru~! (watch again!)’. tough luck. ‘mata’ comes tomorrow.
elijah likes this video so much but i don’t want to show it too often. so i sing the short version of the melody to him and say ‘bus stop’ in a dark and low voice. he asks me to sing it again and again so i sing it to him again and again.
elijah loves watching the buses go past our window every day. i take him on bus rides from time to time, mostly just for fun. he is so happy and enthusiastic waiting for the bus even when it’s minus 25. he goes ‘basu, mada kana? (bus, not yet)… ah~!!! kita kita kita kita! (here it comes! comes comes comes!).” if a school bus drives by he says ‘icchatta… (it’s gone…).’ when a tow truck drives past he says ‘oh~!!! TOW TRUCK!’.
minus 25 feels like plus 25.
happy new year to all of you! i hope your first 18 days were glorious and that the glory continues for the next 347 days.
elijah wants to say to you all, ‘KANPA~I!’ i should write it in all capital letters for accuracy. elijah has been really into saying ‘kanpai (cheers)’ whenever he gets the chance. he says ‘kanpai’ to clink glasses (he’s drinking barley tea or milk in a cup), but also says it when he’s eating food from a plate. he wants us to grab our plates and clink them against his, many times every meal (whenever he wants attention). i’ve tried to correct him, but his adorable face always wins. there are so many things to say kanpai to in elijah’s world.
elijah turned 19 months old last week. i thought he was pretty adorable his first year, but his 19-month-old cuteness just keeps accelerating. his communication skills have been improving like a storm. he can make two- and three-word sentences now. he can say ‘kore nani (what’s this)?’, ‘mama suru no (mama do it)’, ‘milk hoshii (I want milk)’, etc… he can also say prepositions like ‘mama mo (mama, too)’ or ‘elijah no (elijah’s)’. he seems to understand that i speak japanese and paul speaks english to him. so when he speaks to paul, he says ‘papa, too’ or ‘papa’s’.
he can say names other than papa and mama. he says his playmates’ names, grandma and gido to paul’s parents and ba-ba and ji-ji to mine. today he said to me, ‘ba-ba, nihon (grandma, japan)’.
my family is still living in japan so we communicate on videochat. when elijah and i videochat with my parents, elijah does his best to show them how much he’s learned. he holds up shapes in front of the camera and says ‘sankaku! (triangle)’ or ‘shikaku’ (square) and sings the ‘ABC’ song or ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’. my parents applaud and cheer every time.
so close and so far away. it makes me feel a little homesick.
this is one of the christmas presents i made for elijah. it’s a panda backpack. elijah really likes the pandas we’ve bought him. he has three panda cuddly toys from ikea. he really looks up to them, he’ll follow whatever they’re doing. when his panda sits down on a chair without making a fuss, so does elijah. when his panda eats quietly takes a few bites of supper, so does elijah. so pandas are very helpful for elijah’s mama.
elijah is happy when his pandas are happy.
and he feels sad when they are sad.
i don’t know if he can really use this as a backpack, since it’s made out of felt. but that’s okay, it’s just another useless toy from his mama.
(a six leg elephant for elijah)
i am elijah’s personal entertainment device.
i read books to him from dawn to dark, and even later (it gets dark at 5pm these days). i’ve read some of his books so many times i started reading them back to front, for variety. i make sure to read the credits, publication date and all the small print just to keep myself informed about the world. elijah says ‘book, yomu [read]. hon[book] yomu. etto~ [hmmm], atta! [found it]. tech, okay” [he means a book called ‘iggy peck, architect‘ ]’. he grabs a book or two from his bookshelf and tells me, ‘mama, sit!’. he climbs onto the sofa and points next to him. as a japanese citizen i’m naturally obedient, so i sit and read to him as much as he wants. whenever he finds one of my books around the house he grabs it and pretends to read it. then he says “okay, okay” meaning i’m supposed to read it to him. if i start reading, he gets bored right away and goes off somewhere else. sometimes he tries to take the book with him. i tell him ‘that’s mama’s book’. he firmly assures me, ‘mine!’.
i’m also his jukebox. all day long, he asks me to sing. he’ll say, ‘zoh-san [elephant], okay~’ or ‘abc, okay!’ etc.. i sing ‘zoh-san’ in japanese and the alphabet song in english. as soon as i finish he says ‘okay!’ and he wants me to start singing again. this continues even when we’re eating supper or when he’s nursing or when i’m driving the car. he doesn’t care that i’m behind the wheel and it’s icy and i have to concentrate. he says ‘mama, cookie, okay!’. i used to think he was asking for a cookie and i’d give him a cracker (i told him crackers are cookies). then i figured he was wanting me to sing ‘c is for cookie’ from sesame street (he saw it on youtube) again and again. i start singing and crash the car into a ditch… mentally. it won’t be long till elijah finds out i’m tone deaf, maybe then he’ll start listening to different music.
finally, i’ve been appointed as his personal toy maker. i made him a panda scarf the other day since it’s been awfully cold here in saskatoon (-25 during the day, -35 at night). it’s not as bad as it sounds — the sky is blue and everything is covered in white snow. it is very beautiful and painful, nice to sit inside and look out the window. anyway, as soon as elijah saw the scarf, his mouth opened wide and he said ‘OH~! PANDA~!’. it was almost as exciting for him as the time we had supper near the yellowhead highway on the way to edmonton and he spent 20 minutes pointing at every single truck that drove by (‘OH~! TRUCK!’). i was touched that he liked the panda scarf, even though he didn’t let me put it on him at first.
ever since then i’ve become his personal toymaker and i’ve been sewing away while he is playing and sleeping. he likes elephants very much, but he didn’t have an elephant plush toy. so i made one for him out of felt. it’s flat like a pillow and has six legs. i don’t know why it ended up with six legs. i just started making legs and kept going until i reached the end of the elephant. elijah’s first reaction to it was enthusiastic (‘OH~~~ ELEPHANT!’) and i was happy he noticed it was wearing socks. but since then my elephant is only played with occasionally, but at least it makes it into the lineup of the favorite plush toys that elijah wants to say goodnight to before he goes to sleep.
today, elijah turned 18 months old. he hasn’t learned to sleep through the night yet. i’m writing this post at 10:30pm and he’s already woken up once since 7:30 pm. he called me saying ‘mama~, mama~’. when i went into his bed room, he was just about to open the door (now he sleeps in his bed, not a crib. so he can come out of his room anytime!). he said to me “that way! thay way! (pointing at the rocking chair). SIT DOWN! OPPAI~ (breasts)”. i nursed him and asked him “bed?”. he walked up on the bed and i sang to him and he fell asleep.
elijah has learned all the letters of the alphabet and most of the numbers (1 -9) in nice mixture of japanese and english. he started to say some adjectives and phrases as well.
every night, before he falls asleep, he recites some of the words he knows. it goes like this:
(elijah)”acchi [that], kocchi [this], docchi [which]? dump truck, garbage truck, dump truck, garbage… mail truck, ookii truck. papa. truck, big truck. digger~ (with hand gesture). mama~ dai~ [i love you] (gives me a hug). utau~ utau [sing]. kon kon, OKAY~! [then i sing ‘yuki ya konko’]. are? are? naine~ [hm? hmm? there isn’t…]. atta! [i found it!] panda! sleeping… blanket, blanket (he covers panda with a blanket). sheeee….. wawa [water], hoshii, hoshii [want]. ageru~ [give]. that way, that way… kitchen. bye bye~!”
(me) “do you want me to go? okay, i’ll be in the kitchen. daijyobu [it’ll be okay]. i’ll be back and check on you later. (all in japanese)”.
(elijah)”daijyo-bu. bye bye”
(me)”oyasumi [good night].”
(me) “shimeruyo [i’ll close the door.]”
(ellijah)”shimeruyo, bye bye”
[i close the door]
(elijah) GYA~~~~~~ (crying…)
[i come back to his room]
(elijah) “star~star~…twinkle, OKAY~! (then i sing ‘twinkle, twinkle little star’ in english). “tokei [clock], OKAY! (then i sing ‘my grandfather’s clock’ in japanese). kira kira, OKAY! (then i sing ‘twinkle~’ in japanese)”.
a few more songs later, he falls asleep…
C is for Calm down, elijah.