Sounds cliche, but it truly is hard to believe we’ve made it this far. My camera roll is literally filled with thousands of photos taken since the little monster was born — and that number is steadily growing! Poor Kokuto; you’ll get your chance to shine this year!
The eleventh month with baby has been a time of incredible growth for the Kaiju, and I’m finally reaping rewards through my writing work. I’ve also settled down, found my place in my classroom, and feel like I’m ready to take on anything.
I Can Walk!
The biggest achievement seen this month is baby’s walking skills. As my mom accurately predicted, she was tottering around since Christmas time. And, in the two weeks following Christmas, her movement has become less choppy and more fluid. She doesn’t even do Frankenstein movements (arms outreached to balance herself).
In fact, she’s so adept at balancing herself while walking, her newest habit is playing postman. She takes things out of the kitchen cabinets and off the shelves, picks up slippers, and delivers them.
Eating and drinking while cruising is also her latest way to show off, but I stop it whenever I see it (it’s dangerous, after all). All in all, it’s hard to believe that she’s actually walking, because she couldn’t even roll over until she was 6 or 7 months old!. At this rate, it’s safe to say that she’ll be running very, very soon. I’d love to see her walk around Tokyo Disneyland in a Minnie Mouse or Disney Princess dress.
Learning Japanese Customs
We watch two morning news programs every weekday, Zip and Sukkiri. Every episode the announcers say “‘Good morning,” to the viewers and bow. This is hardly remarkable (this is Japan, after all), but what is so interesting is that for the past weeks, little Kaiju has picked up the habit of bowing. She even knows when do it and at what angle.
Another phrase she’s picked up is the common exchange between guest panelists and newscasters: “Yoroshiku onegaishimasu, something along these of, “Thank you for your cooperation.” If I say it to her, she’ll immediately mumble something and bow! Sometimes, I say, “Mama desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu” out of the blue just to see her smile and bow and reply to me!
Earlier this month, we celebrated her first Japanese New Year, complete with a beautiful hago ita doll, traditional foods, and hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the year. I’m looking forward to all the other customs we’ll celebrate in 2018.
Look Who’s Talking
Her vocabulary consists of mama, dada (the husband tried hard to get her to say this over papa) and inai inai baa. If you’re wondering that “inai inai baa” is, it’s simply the Japanese way of saying “Peek-a-boo!” “Peek-a-boo” is another way that we entertain the Kaiju, and we often see her doing it on her own. It’s funny though, because she covers only one eye as she does it.
What It All Means For Me
While her achievements make me smile, one of the biggest sources of stress is sleep regression. It coincided with when I returned to the classroom, December 1, and also coincides with her growth spurt. I can’t tell if it’s a sleep related anxiety related to my return to work or is part of normal baby growth spurts.
Up until December, I could get so much writing work done and have time to relax when she was sleeping. Now when I put her down to sleep by 19:30, I know I have a maximum of 2 hours to get things done before she wakes up. After that, she’ll be waking every hour to nurse. It doesn’t stop even when I get in bed!
Letting Go of “Mommy Guilt”
It’s been a month since I returned to the classroom, and I do feel guilty. Though it gets easier to leave the house. I miss her, of course, but I know she’s in good hands with her father. I feel confident everyday when I leave the house, until I get to work — and there’s an anxious mom handing over her crying child to daycare teachers. It just pulls at my heart. I just want to hug the kid and say, “Your mommy is going to miss you just as much as you will miss her!” Then I want to turn to mom and say, “It’s actually harder on you than them. By 10:30 you’ll be long forgotten!”
Counting Down to One
We’ve only one more month to go until it’s time to celebrate her biggest milestone yet — turning one year old! There’s no going back now.
Check out other posts in the “Year With Baby Series:”