Archive for the ‘motherhood’ Category

Because I am working at a kindergarten, I get to check out all of the kids’ lunches, and I am really impressed by all of the good ideas that the moms here in Japan have for cute lunch boxes.  Now that Saya is coming to school with me a few days a week, I have to make a lunch box for her, so recently I have been trying to make a cute bento.  I don’t usually cook Japanese food, but this is my version of a bento.  Here is her lunch from Friday…

Clockwise from top left:  Rice ball with veggie furikake, cherries, tomato and green onion quiche, bunny pasta with spinach

all packed in a hello kitty lunch box 🙂

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For kids in Japan, summer is a time for festivals.  They dress up in yukatas (summer kimonos), eat ice cream, catch goldfish, and play with fireworks.  On Saturday we had our summer festival at school.  This year Saya wore a yukata for the first time.  She looked beautiful and we were so proud of her!  I tried to dress her by myself, but I ended up having to run down the block to get some friends to help me.  I still have a lot to learn about Japanese motherhood…

Saya in her yukata.

Another pretty Yukata.  (All of the girls looked so beautiful!)

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Wednesday’s are one of my most free days of the week.  Saya and I go to school until noon, and then we are free for the rest of the day.  We often meet friends on Wednesdays, but today we had no plans, and I was having a hard time thinking of things that Saya and I could do together.

Playing with a one-year-old can be difficult.  She loves to explore around the house and she can entertain herself amazingly well with her toys, but I want to get better at playing with her.  My husband is so much better at that than I am.  He always gets her laughing.  (I excel more at cuddling, bathing, feeding, comforting, and those kinds of things…)

I was looking on the internet tonight for play ideas.  This may still be a bit advanced for Saya, but my favorite idea that I found was shake and paint from toddlertoddler.com.

If anyone has any good toddler play ideas, please share–and I will let you know what else I come up with!  (I added a category, “toddler play ideas”, and there are a few things there that I hope might be helpful to someone.)

Here are some photos from today–a very average day in the life of our family.

We went for a walk.  She is a really good walker now, so we can go quite far even without a stroller.  She stops a lot though–for every stone that she notices on the ground.

We played with water.  I filled up the bucket and gave her a few cups to play with.

Junji came home during his break, and read books with Saya.

She knows that her books are on the bottom shelf.  She’s going for the elmo book!

The elmo puppet book is definitely a favorite.

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all by herself

Saya has been attempting to dress herself for a while now.  She wants to put on her shirt by herself, but she ends up just putting it behind her head instead of over her head.  But yesterday after our bath I left the room for a minute, and when I came back she was wearing one of Junji’s shirts that she had taken out of the laundry basket.  I was so proud of her.  That is quite a big accomplishment for this little one!

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It rained all day on Saturday. Junji was working, and Saya and I tried to find ways to entertain ourselves at home. She was so sweet coloring pictures and getting cozy on the futon, but by three o’clock I felt like we just had to get out of the house, so we went to the mall. (It seems like everyone goes to the mall on rainy days in Kochi. There aren’t too many indoor entertainment options around here.) I bought Saya her first baby doll. I thought she would love it, and I was right. Later that night we spent over an hour passing that little doll around between the three of us. She would carry the baby to me, make me hold her for about 10 seconds, take her back, carry her to Junji, hand her to Junji for ten seconds, take her back, carry her to me, and on and on and on. Well, I am happy that she likes her new toy.

Luckily, Sunday was a beautiful day. We had a potluck lunch at our house, and then a bunch of friends biked down the river to this cool park. Saya tested the water, and decided she wanted to swim, so we stripped her down and let her play in the river naked. After that she played in the park (still naked). I don’t know how many more of these perfect days we will have in Kochi before the rainy season and then the hot, humid summer sets in. At least we found a nice swimming spot to escape to.



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It is 12:30 am here in Kochi, so that means that it is officially mothers day.  I want to say happy mothers day to all of the beautiful mothers that I know!  Because my own mother passed away when I was eight years old, in the past this has been a difficult day for me.  But since the birth of my daughter, I can celebrate mothers day again.  I have so much to be grateful for, and the arrival of Saya in my life has been the greatest gift I could have ever received.  I still miss my mom so much, and I think of her often.  What I remember the most about my mother was just how good it felt to be near her.  At night she would lay across the foot of my bed and wait for me to fall asleep.  I would always make sure that I had at least one of my feet touching her so that I could make sure she wouldn’t go anywhere.  I hope that I can provide the same love, security, and comfort to my own child.  So, I am taking this mothers day as a chance to renew my commitment to being the best mother that I can be to Saya.  I think that as mothers there are many things that guide us and inspire us through the daily routines of caring for our children, and for me there is always this passage from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran somewhere in my mind…

On Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of children.”

And he said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I want to strive to be like this person–loving, joyful, curious, open, honest.  She is my heart and my love.

Happy mother’s day!

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Junji has been in Kyoto this weekend, and Saya and I have been enjoying our time together in Kochi. Today, we went out by bicycle for the first time together.  (I borrowed a baby seat from my friend.)  It was so warm and sunny.  Saya was wearing her summer clothes, and I even ended up with a sunburn.

We went to one park to play, and then to central park for a picnic lunch.

Saya is into stairs these days.  She can’t pass up the chance to climb up and down any stairs that she can find.  

After lunch we went to check out the craft fair going on near our house.  I bought this apron for Saya…

…just in time to steal some of Maya’s ice cream!

It was a fun day, but we are looking forward to seeing Junji tomorrow.  He is coming back on the overnight bus, so hopefully he will be here when we wake up in the morning!  

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