it’s a girlllll!

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)

wait a minute! am i pregnant?

20w heart shot

it’s about time for my eggs to get back in business.

i nursed elijah for full two and a half years. i thought i completely turned into a mother, but i was still a woman after all.

at the beginning of december, i got a severe stomach flu thanks to elijah (he’s full of germs, this child). one bright side of this stomach flu is that it lasts only a couple of days.  but long after i expected to get better, i was still feeling nauseated and had no appetite. my first instinct was “am i pregnant?”, but you don’t want to put your hopes up too high just in case the result is otherwise.

the nausea continued for the next two weeks and i couldn’t eat a thing.  i decided to get a pregnancy test and check. i bought it secretly and i didn’t tell paul that i was checking, in case the result was disappointingly negative.

11 weeks
(11w ultrasound)

a morning of 23rd, i got up early and took the pregnancy test to the bathroom.  the result was ready in one minute, but i couldn’t make myself look for about five minutes.  i must admit that i tried to get a glimpse at it with my peripheral vision.  i was talking myself into believing the worst case scenario so that i wouldn’t feel as disappointed as if i imagined the best.

finally i made up my mind and looked at it.  POSITIVE!

i dashed into our bedroom where paul was still sleeping. i told him that i was pregnant. he gave me the biggest hugs and kisses.   it was the best christmas gift ever.

20w
(20w pregnant)

that was already three months ago. i’m 21w pregnant this week. i started to feel the baby moving early — around 15w. the baby is very active. when we went for an ultrasound at 12w, the baby was rolling around and i couldn’t stop laughing with happiness. as i laughed, it was bouncing around as if my womb was a trampoline. i kept laughing until the radiologist jokingly settled me down.

12 weeks
(12w ultrasound)

at first, i thought about naming this baby, “peko chan” since i was very hungry! (‘peko peko’ is a sound to describe ‘hungry’ in japanese)  “poko chan” was elijah’s nickname when he was in my womb. “peko chan” and “poko chan” would be perfect, i thought. but the name was strongly rejected by elijah saying 『ちがうよ、ママ。ベービーちゃんでしょ!(no, mama. it’s baby-chan!)』

so, i’ve been saying “baby-chan” ever since.

elijah talks to baby-chan every day through my belly button.

『ベービーちゃん、今な〜にしてるの?』(baby-chan, what are you doing?)
『ベービーちゃん、ヨーグルトあげますからね〜』(baby-chan, i’ll give you yogurt.)
『ベービーちゃん、はやくでてきて、おにいちゃんと遊ぼうね〜』(baby-chan, come out soon and play with your brother.)

elijah tells me he’s pregnant too. he gives birth every day. he’s been pregnant with many things — baby, alligator, digger, panda, etc… if i accidentally bump into his belly, he says,『おなか、さわらないでね。ベービーちゃんいるからね。(don’t touch my belly, will you? there is a baby inside.)』

cherry mustache man
(2 and 7 months old cherry mustache man)

my happy second pregnant life continues…

today’s elijah :: happy setsubun 2009

oni panda

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.  

setsubun

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.  

setsubun

“who is this man anyway?”

setsubun

“ah~, panda-san!”

img_9803

happy setsubun!

happy 2009, kanpai!

happy 2009 kanpai

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.

happy 2009, kanpai

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.

kanpai, nihon!

happy 2009, kanpai

i’m elijah’s personal entertainment device

six leg elephant
(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.

the electric company :: ‘C is for CA’

the electric company

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].”

(elijah) “o,ya,su~mi”

(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.

today’s elijah :: happy belated halloween!

last year, elijah was a penguin.  this year, he was ‘Super Dave Osborne’.  i made the outfit using paul’s old white T-shirt.

elijah doesn’t care for hats.  so he gave his friend, mr penguin the SD cap. i also made the super dave helmet, but he wouldn’t let me put it on.

kiss…

proud to be Super Dave! (maybe).

elijah-lingo :: die, die mama (i love you very much)

elijah’s first word was ‘manma’, which is the japanese baby word for ‘food’. i since learned that some english-speaking babies say ‘num-num’ meaning the same thing. he uses ‘manma’ for any kind of food but especially snack foods that come in boxes or little bags, like crackers. this started after we drove home from ontario and he had all kinds of dry snack food to eat in the car seat.

the next thing elijah started to say was ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ randomly to both of us. one morning, he woke up at 5am and started chanting ‘mama! papa!’ over and over in a loud voice, banging on the bed frame. he was so proud of himself! at 13 months old, he had ‘papa/mama’ confusion. he could say ‘papa’ very clearly, but not ‘mama’. i was so jealous! he called me ‘papa’ for awhile. it melted my heart anyway.

nowadays he can clearly say ‘papa’ to paul and ‘mama’ to me. when he wakes up in the middle of night (still…) and shouts ‘mama~ mama~! oppa~i (breasts)!’ i feel like i can do anything for him.

i’ve been saying ‘daisuki (i love you very much)’ to him for a long time. around 14 months, he started to imitate me hugging him. we’d say ‘daisuki’ and he’d open his arms wide and give us a hug. he’s recently started trying to say ‘daisuki’, but he can’t say the entire word. so he says ‘dai~, dai~’ and open his arms and for a hug. he does it to my friends and their babies as well. it’s pretty adorable.

‘dai’ in ‘daisuki’ means ‘big’. ‘dai’ plus ‘suki (like)’ becomes ‘i love you very much’. but in english, ‘dai’ sounds like ‘die’, so it sounds like he’s chanting ‘die! die! die!’ and wanting a hug. it probably sounds horrible to some people, but to me it’s the sweetest thing.

elijah’s vocabulary is increasing every day. i keep track of the words he learns in my ‘elijah word diary’ (it’s just a small agenda book). he picks up new sounds very quickly and seems to be able to associate the sound with its object. he learns so quickly that i can’t keep up with what he knows. most of the words he says are not really words, just the first syllable or sound from a longer word — but we can understand him, it’s our secret code. we are ‘oya-baka‘, so we’re convinced these are all certainly words.

here’s my elijah dictionary at 15 months:

A:

  • ai~ (from ‘ari’, meaning ‘ant’ in japanese) — he uses it for ants on the ground or flies buzzing around the window
  • appu~l (apple) — he says this clearly enough for most people to understand. he can recognize a real apple and a drawing of an apple. at the supermarket he chants ‘apple!’ and points firmly at the apples. if you show him an orange he’ll also say ‘apple’
  • awaa~ (‘flower’) — he says this pointing at a real flower or a picture of a flower or a field full of flowers. one of his favorite things is dandelions — he brings them to us to blow the seeds
  • ashi (meaning ‘leg’ in japanese) — he says ‘ashi’ if we point at his leg or one of ours, and if we say ‘ashi’ he points at his leg

B:

  • beee (‘B’) — he has some magnetic alphabet letters. he calls them all ‘B’, except sometimes he says ‘aysh’ (‘H’) at random
  • bana~ (‘banana’) — i think he just like to say this word. he doesn’t eat much banana. he’s more of a melon guy.
  • be~bi! (‘baby’) — he says ‘baby’ for babies in real life and in photos and also uses the word for kids much older. i’m not sure if he knows that he’s also a baby.
  • bai-bai (‘bye bye’) — he waves goodbye to papa leaving for work, sometimes too soon when paul is still putting his pants on. he also waves bye bye when we put him in the car seat and close the door, even though we’re getting in the front seat right away.
  • ba~cku~l (‘buckle’) — he loves to spend time playing with the buckles on his high chair, trying to open and close them
  • baffi~ (‘buffy’, the name of our neighbour’s dog) — even though we’ve lived here for more than a year, buffy is always surprised to see us and barks at us when we’re out in our back yard. so i taught elijah to say ‘hello buffy’ every time we go out in the yard. she still barks at us.
  • a!ba!ba!ba! (‘bus’) — buses are very exciting.
  • bu~bu~! (the japanese baby word for ‘car’) — he likes watching the cars drive by from our window. he also uses this word for his toy car.
  • bey~ah (‘bear’) — he has three polar bear cuddly toys. he’ll hold them tight and lay down on the carpet.
  • bah~~ (‘ball’) — he likes to run around after the soft soccer ball inside and his green plastic ball outside
  • buk! (‘book’) — he is always asking us to read books to him. we go through his entire book collection almost everyday. his favorite book is dr suess’ “hop on pop”. he asks for it by name: ‘op op’
  • burrrrr~ (‘bird’)– this was one of the first words that he learned. he notices birds all the time, even when they’re far away in the sky

C:

  • chapu-chap (sound effect for water splashing in japanese) — i taught him that ‘chapu-chap’ means bath. he loves the bath and he’ll point at the bathroom door and chant ‘chapu-chap!’
  • chea~ (‘chair’) — he learned this word from a picture book. he was so happy to learn this word that he walked around to touch all the chairs that day.

D:

  • dami~! (‘dame’, meaning “don’t do that” in japanese) — he likes things that are ‘dame!’
  • dau~ (‘down’) — he says this when he’s climbing down from something, or going down the stairs (backwards, on his stomach). he doesn’t use it when he’s being held and wants to be put down, he says ‘up’ instead.
  • dahhh (‘dog’) — i guess i was supposed to teach him to say ‘puppy’. he likes dogs.
  • do~h (‘door’) — we never taught him this word, but he was listening every time we yell at each other;”is the door shut?”
  • do~jyo (‘dozo’, meaning ‘here you go’ in japanese, when offering something to someone) — he mostly says this to mean ‘gimme’. you’ve got it backwards, elijah!

E:

  • eapu~ (‘airplane’) — he looks up to the sky every time he hears an airplane overhead. he does a gesture we taught him with his hand “flying” around like an airplane
  • e~lijah!  — he says his name very loudly and repeatedly.  he looks happy when he says this.

G:

  • gya~f! (‘giraffe’) — we have some giraffe stickers on the wall of his bedroom.

H:

  • hama~ (‘hammer’) — he likes to hammer things, especially when he gets to use a real hammer. we just bought him a toy hammer that makes funny sounds. so far he’d rather use his other toys (like his wooden cars) or some other things from the house (like papa’s shaving cream) to hammer on the floor very very loud.

M:

  • mama (‘mama’, me) — when he hugs me as he whispers this word he melts my heart.
  • manma (the japanese baby word for ‘food’) — when he gets really hungry he screams ‘MANMA~!!!’ again and again. not very subtle, elijah.
  • meyo~ (‘melon’) — he loves eating melon and asks for it all the time — either cantaloupe or watermelon. sometimes he stuffs his mouth so full that he chokes and vomits everything back up
  • mimi (japanese for ‘ear’) — another body part.  he’ll point at his ear when he hears music.
  • myu~ (‘music’) — he can turn on the big stereo and start pushing buttons. sometimes he inserts a CD or MD (mini-disc) by himself. he likes to turn on a CD/MD player, insert a CD or MD and hit play. he loves dancing to music.
  • me (not [mi], but [me], ‘eye’ in japanese) — occasionally he pokes my eye with his precious tiny finger saying ‘me’!

N:

  • nyo~z (‘nose’) — another body part he likes to name. he really likes grabbing papa’s big nose.
  • no, no, no, no, no~! — he waves his hands around and tells me that’s a no no! he started saying it to himself when he knows he’s not supposed to do something.

O:

  • ahf (‘off’) — he always wants to flip the light switch by himself. our house becomes a disco.
  • oh,oh! — he’s supposed to say this when he drops something accidentally. but he says this BEFORE dropping things — meaning he’s dropping them on purpose. the worst part is when he’s sitting in his high chair with his plate of food and he says ‘oh-oh!’ — BIG MESS.
  • auchi~ (‘ouch!’) — he gets so much attention when he bumps his head that he’s started bumping it (very gently) on purpose, or even pretending he bumped it (we can see he didn’t). he holds his head with his hands and comes running to me saying ‘auchi! so i kiss him and look sad. he doesn’t do it to paul, because papa just laughs when he sees the obvious fake injury.
  • opa~i (‘oppai’, meaning “breast” in japanese) — at night sometimes he screams and screams and screams and then suddenly says ‘oppai?’ in a quiet polite voice.

P:

  • papa — papa is elijah’s favorite. anytime he hears a noise from around the entrance, he points and asks “papa?”
  • pada~ (‘panda’) — his playmate is ‘panda-san’, a stuffed animal panda from IKEA. i put a diaper, baby clothing and a bib on panda-san so he can be elijah’s role model. elijah feeds him food and holds on to him in the crib as he falls asleep.
  • pee pee! (‘penis’) — he grabs his pee-pee with no mercy. i didn’t realize that thing could stretch so far.

T:

  • tachi! , do tachi! (‘don’t touch!’) — many things are ‘don’t touch’ in the house… sorry, elijah. he says ‘tachi’ or ‘do tachi’ when he’s near them, but then he touches them anyway and looks very happy.
  • te (japanese for ‘hand’) –another body part. he’s learning how to do “high-five”.

U:

  • up! — he can say ‘up’ very clearly now, whenever he wants to get picked up but also he wants to get put down. so he says ‘up’ even when he’s already up! how high do you wanna go, elijah? he’s a climber. he climbed all the way up a ladder to the roof of the garage one time. where is your fear, my friend?