Monday, June 29, 2009

Quilts, Water, Jumps, and Cheers

This week Tiny got the little quilt that Meredith made for him. He really likes the fabric on it. Sometimes he tries to pick up the white dots off of the brown background. I am not sure if that is cute or sad because he obviously isn't ever successful. He has managed to grab onto the quilt and pull it over on top of himself as he rolls. That takes talent. Probably more talent if you are doing it intentionally, but still, we are all impressed, Tiny.

Justin continues to like to help in the kitchen. It can be hard to come up with jobs for him to do. Rob thinks that at some point in his life Justin will accidentally reveal to the world the strange things his mother has assigned him to do. Yesterday while I was cutting up watermelon I gave Justin some watermelon rind and his little scrub brush. I asked him to clean it so we could throw it away. He must think I am quite the clean freak! He did an okay job.
Doesn't Tiny look so cute relaxed and chilling with Dad on the couch? I ordered him some new shoes. He rarely wears socks long because he can (and does) pull them off.

Even though Justin gets plenty of time at the wading pool, Tiny does not. We went over for a bit on Saturday and Ryan LOVES it. I am going to need to find some kind of baby pool float for our pool in Africa.

Tiny likes the jumper, but he ADORES big brother Justin. Whenever he is upset I know Justin can cheer him up IF Justin is willing, I try to make it fun. Here he is cheering on the tiny jumper. Two different short segments.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mommy's Hair!

Not too surprisingly, my hair started falling out after I gave birth to Tiny. I have a lot of hair to begin with, but it is just EVERYWHERE now. Hopefully eventually it will calm down to more normal fall out levels. Ryan is six months old now. Sometime it has got to get back to normal, right? Well my hair is everywhere and in everything. Justin comments on his discovery of "Mommy hair" and is even so kind as to return last lost hairs to me. I guess I could try to attach them back on?

I have been getting more and more grays. Rob says it makes me look distinguished. I tell him that only men look distinguished with gray hair. I decided that instead of letting the grays continue to creep I would take a shot at covering them up. Not only are they gray, but their funky texture makes them stand out when they are short, calling even more attention to them. Sometimes I can get Rob to pull out what I refer to as flocks of gray, but he isn't very good at it.

I selected Nice and Easy shade 120, natural dark brown. I wonder if ANY hair dyes have the word fake in the color name? Natural seems to be a key word. Why, you may ask, all the detail about shade number? Well, if this works out I will want to do it again. They have a tendency to change the pictures and that makes it hard to remember exactly which 'natural' shade I selected. Now I can check back on my blog to see.

Justin will probably continue to find Mommy hairs in the tub, in his bed, in his cereal, on the floor... Hopefully they won't be gray ones though.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Funny Boys

Justin loves letters and numbers. His ability to count helps make things easier for me at times. He understands first, next, last or #1, #2, #3. He doesn't have the fine art of negotiation down very well. When told that he has a two minute time out, he will often give me a counter offer of five minutes. Whatever works for him!

Poor Justin was having a hard time counting the train track pieces when they were in an oval. He is generally a pretty accurate counter, but since the oval leads back into itself he recounted the same pieces and made it past 20, but not quite to 30.

Tiny, unlike Justin at the same age, understands that the jumperoo is for jumping and not just standing. Ryan does have the advantage of a cheering section though. Go Tiny!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pictures, Video, and a Pretty Good Week!

What a great week! Justin started the toddler summer camp program and he loves it. I probably love it even more. Too bad it is only 9 to 12 and not full day or sleep over. ;) Every morning when he wakes up, Justin makes sure to tell us that he has energy and is ready to go to school. Too bad he still wakes up around 5:00 AM. We have tried to convince him to sleep later, but he just isn't interested in sleep. Can't be my child.
Justin's "school" begins each morning at the wading pool. It is easy to convince Justin to get ready for the pool every morning. If only everything could be so easy with him.

The playground also reopened this week. Thank goodness! After school, Justin has lunch and a nap before we head back outside. He is enjoying the new equipment. He is still an outdoorsy kind of kid though and spends about as much time in the dirt and the sticks as he does with the playground equipment.

Tiny continues to be my ravenous beast. He loves his solid foods! So different from Justin at this age. He enjoys his foot too. I find green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash on his legs, feet, socks, ear... That baby food sure gets all over.

Tiny loves playing with Justin's toys. I suppose it is only fair since Justin is constantly taking Tiny's toys away or trading them out with Tiny and insisting that the trade is mutually agreeable. It is a good thing that Ryan is such a good natured little guy. He is starting to protest sometimes though. I don't blame him. Not only does Justin take things away from Tiny because they are "for grown-ups, not babies" but he sometimes finds that he NEEDS to play with Tiny's rattle or other baby toy.

This is a very LONG clip, so if you aren't Grandma, you might want to go ahead and just skip it.

My friend, Erin, gave me a little push car that her daughter has outgrown. Ryan loves it, but so does Justin. I am able to give Ryan some time with it while Justin is away at school.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Long Week with Little to Show

This past week was a long one. Monday morning Tiny had his six month check up. He is now 70 cm long (27.5 inches) and 8.09 kg (17.8 pounds). Tiny isn't as big as I thought. He started out big, but he is lighter than Justin was at this age and I believe (I looked it up, but forgot again) just slightly longer. Guess we just know a lot of small babies, because he seems big! Of course shots come along with the 6 month checkup, but Tiny did pretty well. In fact, Tiny was probably better behaved than Justin. Justin. He is a whole other story.

This week the playground here has been closed as they install new playground equipment. That means no playground time for Justin. We usually spend significant time there. We tried some other locations on Monday and Tuesday, but they weren't too successful. The playground is fenced in so nicely and is a safe place. Justin wants to explore and wander and that is hard for me to do with Tiny in tow. That leads to him disobeying me and that means coming back in. Running away is NOT okay and means we immediately go home if he does not come when he is called. That usually means carrying Tiny in the Baby Ergo (which I love by the way) and holding a kicking and screaming toddler under one arm as I head back home. The variation is pushing the stroller with one kid and carrying a baby or a screaming toddler. Neither choice is a lot of fun. Monday, June 15, 2009 will be Justin's first day of "school" as he begins the toddler summer camp here on the Embassy compound. I made him a calendar to count down the days. I think I have been looking forward to it more than he has!

Tuesday I did have a good moment with Justin. He fell asleep on the couch. He hasn't been sleeping well. He has suddenly developed a fear of being in his room alone. He screams and screams. He wants someone right there with him. It hasn't been pretty. He wakes up several times in the night too. As a result he is overtired and so are we! A good mother would probably get him up to his bed, but I was just thrilled that he was quiet and let him sleep right there!

Wednesday was a busy day. I went (with my two boys) to a friend's house. I hadn't been there before and finding places in Tokyo can be crazy, even with directions. It took me just over an hour to walk to a place that should have taken somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. We ended up calling her from just around the block to get directions from where we were. Yay! Now we know where it is! The walk back was going much better. I knew where I was going. Justin and Tiny were both actually being great. We would get home, have lunch, and maybe I could get them both down at the same time for a nap so I could have one too! Then at Roppongi Crossing, waiting for the light to change, I collapsed. I came to and saw people around me, asking if I was okay. I was totally embarrassed that I had passed out, and was helped up, and started on my way again. I don't think I was out very long and perhaps it even appeared that I had just tripped. I am not sure. I probably didn't take two steps before I passed out again. This time when I came to, someone was holding Tiny and someone else was holding Justin while people were checking on me. I was assured that Tiny was fine and that he had not hit the ground or stroller. Justin wasn't upset, mostly interested. An ambulance arrived and my vitals were taken. The paramedics looked more like workers in a radioactive environment all covered from head to toe with protective gear. Kind of freaky. I was able to convince the paramedics (or whoever they were) that I was okay enough to take a cab to the Embassy doctor rather than get hauled away in an ambulance where I would be admitted for heaven only knows how long. Rob thought it odd when I called him and simply told him I needed to be met at the gate. I didn't think I could get to the health unit on my own.
EKG was fine and there seemed to be nothing really wrong with me. My blood pressure was low, especially in the upright position. My blood sugar was a little low and I had a slight fever. My main problem was the stiffness that was letting me know I did indeed fall. Rob took the rest of the day off (and half of the next day) so I could rest. I was so proud of Justin during the incident. After was another story. Once we got home he became a monster for his poor dad. I am fine, don't worry, Mom!

Thursday I was supposed to go to IKEA with a friend, but I cancelled. Friday was probably the highlight of my week. Justin has developed a love of cooking. I have to sneak into the kitchen if I don't want his help. His help means it takes me a lot more time and that there will be a lot more mess. Quality sometimes suffers as well. Not that I am a great cook or anything, but I do have higher standards than Justin as this picture shows.

On Friday, Bimala came over and spent four hours cleaning our house. She worked her buns off for all four hours. Things looked sooooooooooo much better. I think she is a miracle worker. She is going to come once a week. It was great to spend time with my boys and not worry about trying to get things done around the house. Tiny doesn't crawl yet, but that day will come before I know it and even with Justin out of the house three hours a day, I think I will be busy.
Saturday Justin and Rob went out to try to burn off some of Justin's energy while Tiny and I got our produce for the week. In the evening, I took Justin over to Daly Hall to watch a movie on a big screen. He hasn't ever been to a theater before and I thought this would be a good introduction. It was The Tale of Despereaux (or whatever the title of the cartoon is). He lasted almost 45 minutes. He got to cuddle with Mommy and eat popcorn. He wasn't interested in the movie, but who can beat 1:1 time with Mommy and food?

So, while I am not thrilled about this past week, I guess I can't really complain. My poor cousin's family is sick with the swine flu. She has seven kids, two (twins) not much older than Tiny. One of her kids (I don't think much older than Justin) is in the hospital. All I had was a little tumble. Neither of my kids got hurt. Justin doesn't seem traumatized, just interested in my boo boos. I fell in Japan, a very safe country where people came to my aid rather than walk on by, or worse yet, do harm to me or my children. Rob was able to take time off work to help out, Justin will be heading off to school, and someone else is cleaning my house. I think I have it pretty good. That might not be my attitude when (not if) the boy(s) wake me up in the night. :)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Patience Is a Virtue

Lately Justin has been trying my patience. I don't know what it is with him. I know that he has had a cold for the past couple of weeks, but I am starting not to be so sympathetic about that anymore. He can be SO obnoxious. I find myself sometimes hoping that he has a horrible ear infection or is in a great deal of pain because that would explain WHY he has been so hard to deal with. I don't want it to be a long lasting phase. I don't want my child to be a brat. I am trying to have patience and to make sure I spend quality time with him to minimize the jealousy he feels towards Tiny. He can be such a psycho Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. Charming and sweet one minute, spawn of the devil monster the next. It drives me crazy! I never know what Justin I will see!

Today he had a meltdown when we had to come inside. I have a rule that if he runs away from me, we have to come in. I can't chase after him very well when I have Tiny and it is basic safety that I trust he will come when I call him and not run off in the opposite direction. He thought he was being funny until I dragged him home kicking and screaming. I have discovered that when I start to video him, Justin calms down a bit. Guess he doesn't like to have a record of his misbehavior. Of course he doesn't cooperate doing cute things for me either...

After we had time to settle down from that incident, I asked him if he would like to make cookies with me. We had a pretty good time. Luckily, they weren't the best cookies ever because we could never duplicate the recipe exactly. The recipe called for 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar, I fill up a 1 cup measuring cup almost full and Justin gets most of it in the bowl. We needed two eggs, Justin got about 1 1/4 into the bowl so we added another. The whole process was kind of like that. He had a fun time though. He loves helping in the kitchen. I don't mind if I have the time. It can take me longer to reheat leftovers than to make the original meal when I have my helper.

Yesterday Tiny sat independently. He may have done it before, but this time it was long enough that I can say it officially. Before I never knew if he needed to be more upright, sit for a longer time period, catch himself and sit back up if he started leaning... Poor Ryan doesn't get a lot of time to practice though. So often I am protecting him from his overzealous brother. Justin wants to wrestle and play rough with Ryan, and Ryan would like nothing better. Justin does not get that Tiny isn't physically able to do that. When Tiny hits or kicks Justin, Justin gets mad at him and retaliates. Seems intentional to him I guess.

The playground is closed through the 14th of June because they are going to take out some of the old equipment and put in some new things. It is going to be a loooooooooong ten days. We usually spend quite a bit of time out there every day. The slide and the see saw are going to be replaced with newer, safer ones. The "bus" is going to be replaced with something else. It will be hard to beat the bus for fun. All the kids loved it.
I do love the way my boys laugh together and at each other. I love seeing how Justin goes from being totally clueless about a puzzle to doing it independently. I like trying to figure out his rules for Twister. I love Justin's big hugs and Tiny's smiles and squeals. I am amazed each day at how quickly Ryan is growing. He is my ravenous beast. He loves rice cereal and tolerates green beans, peas, carrots, and squash. He likes bananas and absolutely devours mashed potatoes. I don't remember Justin enjoying solids so much. It is hard to keep food away from Tiny.