Monday, September 25, 2006

For Keenan: Your first car!

Keenan's first car
Originally uploaded by kuckibaboo.
Written on September 11, 2006...

You were such a good boy on the drive home from Sapporo yesterday! You were a little wingey to start but it was nothing my singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for 30 minutes couldn’t take care of! You slept all the way to Hidaka (about 2 hours) where we got out for a pee break for me, a diaper change for you, a bit of walking around and the purchase of a very hard to find Domo charm (for me of course!). Then we continued on until the rest stop with the gigantic papermache-like bear. We had lunch there. I had a cheese sando, ume juice and a Yubari melon softo and you had two boobies. It was here that I bought you your first car. It’s hand carved from wood and I have visions of you scuffing up the hardwood and wearing out the knees of your pants as you push it along the floor in your little hand in a few months! You're a pretty lucky little boy. I didn’t get my first Japanese made car until I was 34!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just what the Doctor (Sean) ordered!

Man do I feel great! I just got back from a terrific 3-day retreat to Sapporo. I was starting to go a little kooky with cabin fever and teething crankiness. I so badly needed to get out of our apartment, Obihiro and my role as the chief sounding board for Keenan’s teething complaints. I started to crumble on the eve of the eve of Sean’s departure for a 5-day/5-night conference in Sapporo. I just couldn’t bear the thought of being super parent for nearly a week without some sort of break beforehand. Plus I’m starting to get all gooey about this being our last year here and I might not ever get to see fall in Sapporo ever again blah, blah, blah! So Sean suggested we pack up the family and spend the weekend before the conference together in the big city. Financially we couldn’t really afford it but emotionally I was already careening towards bankruptcy so technically one cancels out the other. I’m pleased to report the trip was well worth the money!

The drive there was a little much for Keenan and perhaps for Sean as well. For the last 20 minutes or so before we got to the hotel Keenan was just full on wailing in the back seat. I usually come undone when he does that but I knew stopping wouldn’t help any so I just drove on. I thought Sean was going to climb out of his skin. I found myself promising Sean that we would never ever drive to Sapporo again but would opt for the train instead. As soon as I pulled into the hotels single parking spot (things would have gotten desperate if it wasn’t empty) Sean popped out of the car and got Keenan out of his seat. The two of them stood in the shade of the hotel entrance and consoled each other. It was a beautiful thing to watch. After that everything was peachy. We unloaded the car, checked in and went for dinner at Taj Mahal. We ran into the only other JET family in Hokkaido. What are the chances that all 6 of us would end up in Sapporo, on the same weekend and in the same restaurant at the same time? Nutty. It was really great to spend time with another family. After stuffing ourselves with waaaay too much Indian food we headed off to drool at the Patagonia store and then to Robinson’s to buy breakfast for the next day. Keenan conked out early and for probably the fifth time since we’ve been together Sean fell asleep before me. I had a great time with full control of the TV remote until I came across the soft porn channel featuring a young Japanese woman dressed up as Sailor Moon having sex with a teddy bear that was outfitted with a dildo. Is that supposed to be sexy? Too gross for me so I spent a good 20 minutes tweezing my overgrown eyebrows. They were definitely not sexy!

On Sunday I started my day with my first onsen since giving birth and it was fan-freakin-tastic. The best part was I had the whole bath to myself and that meant I could indulge in onsen swimming, which probably isn’t a good idea, but I love it regardless! There’s only one thing better than swimming naked in the ocean and that’s swimming naked in a steaming hot onsen! Fully scrubbed and steamed we continued on our regular Sapporo routine to routine regular ness. Which means Sapporo is the only city in Hokkaido where we can spend a day doing all the things we love to do in any city in Canada. We went for coffee and then we went to the bookstore, which has an entire section dedicated to English magazines. This section always looks like it’s fallen victim to some sort of localized magazine tornado. Being the only decent English mag section in the 5th biggest city in Japan it gets a lot of love and since the mags are so pricey they get a good once over by many folks and are left behind. It’s such a novelty reading magazines here I find I pick up many titles I wouldn’t even glance at back home. In an effort to maximize my titles per minute I don’t really take care to put them back where I picked them up from. It’s apparent I’m not the only one guilty of such a sin hence the tornado affect. I also looked at lots of books for Keenan and fell in love with the “My very first (insert-numbers, colors, shapes and words-here)” by Eric Carle I’m gonna have to check out for the complete set as the format and illustrations are simple yet wonderful. It’s hard to leave a bookstore with just a list of books you want to buy and with no books in hand but it’s just too expensive to ship books back home so they’ll have to wait. I’ll get a few for Keenan and that’s about it. Next on our check list…Yodobashi Camera to check out the Nikon D80. The ultimate “we’ll never need another camera” camera. It is a beautiful instrument. The D70s is already pushing my price limit though so Sean’s gonna have to work on me a bit more! We did get a really nice family photo taken of us by the gal promoting Canon cameras! She was demonstrating the speed at which you can take a photo and print it off so we got a free 8 x 10 of the 3 of us! Our usual route brought us to the Patagonia outlet next. Sean has become fast friends with one of the sales staff who is a member of the Surf Rider’s Foundation and they’re always so pleased to see each other. It was a little too hot in there for me and Keenan was getting hungry so I had to do a quick once over of the place which made me kind of sad. Sean did find me a great Watergirl shirt, which he bought me as an early birthday present. Happy Birthday to me! After that we beat a path to the train station which is a mega, multi floor mall you could spend a week in and never see every store. It makes the West Ed mall look like a corner store. The main target here was Akachan Honpo, which is a whole floor, devoted to kids stuff. They have a great comfort station and I fed Keenan there and we picked up the next size in cloth diapers as well. As I was feeding Keenan I noticed that his second tooth has broken through! This one was way easier than the last one! We had lunch and then headed to Jupiter foreign foods where we bought exotic things we can’t buy in Obihiro like green Greek olives, oats and mushroom ravioli! I popped went to the Gap and picked up a pair of swim trunks for Keenan for 3 bucks and then we wearily made our way back to the hotel in the rain. We treated ourselves to Robinson’s sando’s for dinner and a Java Chip frappacino. Then back to the hotel again for my second onsen of the day and some much deserved sleep.

After Sean left at 7:30 am for his first day at the conference I got all of our stuff packed while Keenan had a nap and then we headed to Starbuck’s. I had a mocha and a scone and Keenan flashed his big blue eyes and flirted with a very cute little girl in a Burberry dress. Being a year older she was 3 times his age and the high-end dress and $500 Aprica stroller meant serious trouble in the future so he had to leave her broken hearted! Besides she was from Honshu and we had to return to wee Obihiro! Speaking of which I packed up the car and Keenan and I hit the road rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the week together.

Friday, September 01, 2006

First tooth!!!!!!!

Well, we now have our explanation for why Keenan has been sounding and acting like he was just stabbed by the witch king on Weathertop!!!! He’s cut his first tooth at 16 weeks + a day! That’s about 2 months ahead of schedule. I spotted the tooth this afternoon when Keenan and I were settling into a feeding session. He opened his mouth wide and I noticed the jagged little white protuberance in his lower gums near the front and just off center. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I poked my finger around in his mouth, which didn’t please him much since he already had his eyes on the boob. I have to admit that sharp little tooth didn’t make me feel too happy about sticking my boob in there! It’s pretty tiny though (the tooth, my boobs are huge) and I didn’t end up feeling it after all.

Sean and I have recently had the solid foods discussion (as in when we are going to start Keenan on them). The mid wives here have told us that we could start him on juice at 2 months, soups at 3 and solids at 4 months. That might explain why Japanese babies are so round. The hospital has been really good with our views on when to introduce solids. We have decided on letting Keenan take the lead but we both agree that we’d like me to breast feed Keenan exclusively until 6 months. Everything we’ve read clearly identifies that babies don’t have the digestive system for solids until around then and they usually don’t cut their first tooth until that time anyways. I’m not sure if that theory works the other way around but like I said we’re going to let Keenan lead us in the right direction. If he seems like he’s not being kept satisfied with the breast milk then we’ll start the solids earlier.

So this first tooth explains a few other things too. As of this week bibs have become a permanent addition to Keenan’s daytime attire. He drools a nearly obscene amount of oob and it gets everywhere. He likes to chew on the bibs too so they serve as a convenient, tethered down teething device. Everything he can get into his mouth he sucks on. My shoulder, Sean’s fingers, all his toys, the shoulder straps on his car seat. Two days ago I found him on his side in his crib sucking his own forearm. I can’t wait to tell his first girl friend that he gave himself his first hicky! He’s been chewing on his tongue and rolling it around his gums non-stop the last two days. And he’s been breast-feeding like crazy. Probably because it feels good on his tender gums. It’s been impossible to get him to nap for more than 5 minutes for the last 7 to 10 days. He gets himself so worn out that he goes to sleep by 6:30 pm, gets up for a 2 am feed and diaper change then sleeps until 5 or 6, and then I bring him into our bed and he gets fed again and sleeps until 7 or 8 am. I’m pretty sure that even the weather has changed for the better because of this tooth!!

Keenan was carrying on this evening with the “eeehhhh, eeeehhhh, eeeehhhh”, “eeeeeeeeeyaaaaeeeehhh” business so we dug out the Anbesol I asked Pat to bring for us (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!) and put a wee bit on his gums around his new tooth. Poor guy, the first thing he gets to taste other than breast milk is yucky Anbesol. He pulled a very unhappy face but then the pain went away and he started in with the yawning. He was so tired that he didn’t even finish one boob and he was conked out. He was totally limp and sound asleep by 6:10 and I don’t suspect we’ll hear from him again before midnight. Poor boy, vaccines last week and his first tooth this week. Maybe I’ll make him some breast milk popsicles to make him feel better!

3 month check up

I got a very tired Keenan to bed early tonight and Sean is making me dinner so I have a bit of computer time this evening. Yippee!

I took Keenan in for his 3-month check up last Wednesday. The hospital was a mad house. It was so crazy busy that I had to use their tertiary parking lot down the street. We get in, I sign in and by the look on the nurses faces I can tell that I’ve already managed to do something wrong. So it comes down to…“What are you doing here?” … That’s busy nurse speak for “What’s the purpose of your visit today?” I point out that my mother/baby book states that I’m supposed to bring Keenan in for a check up between 3 to 4 months after he’s born. I figured 15 weeks was pretty much half way. Apparently I was supposed to make an appointment. Of course no body told me that last time and it says so nowhere in my book. I’ll just chalk that one up as “one of those things I should have been born knowing”. Needless to say everyone was once again extremely accommodating and they managed to fit us in.

Keenan has been doing this “wingey, I’m not gonna sleep thing” for almost 2 weeks and I was really worried he was gonna have a melt down in the waiting area. Didn’t happen. He was very curious about the other babies and really appeared to be enjoying himself looking around and taking in the sights. Within about 5 minutes the mid wives upstairs had been notified that we were on the premises and they started to file down to see us. It was great to see Sato-san again and she clearly enjoyed bouncing a much bigger Keenan on her lap. The first segment of the visit always consists of checking and logging Keenan’s stats. He was so amazing during this process. He actually smiled and looked about happy as a clam. I was so pleased!

His progress since birth is as follows…
Weight gain (since post birth weight loss)…1870 grams (4.12 lbs)
Head circumference growth…5.2 cm
Chest circumference growth…6.2 cm
Growth in length (funny how we don’t say length growth!) … 10.6 cm

Keenan’s current stats are…
Weight: 5800 grams (12.78 lbs)
Head: 40.5 cm
Chest: 41 cm
Length: 62 cm

Then I discussed vaccines with the nurses and asked that he get vaccinated in the backside instead of the triceps. A 9-point vaccine is used in Japan to ensure maximum exposure and it leaves a nasty scar about an inch square. They didn’t think it would be a problem but I needed to ask the pediatrician. We drew up a vaccine/booster schedule for the next year and I put in a request for a Hep B vaccine. Hep B is not part of the bundle of routine vaccines here but it is in Canada. It costs 6400 yen a shot and there are 3 shots in total. We are planning a trip to Thailand this Christmas so I want to make sure Keenan has that one before we return home. He will get the polio, DPT and Hep B at the hospital and we have to go to the Health Centre to get the BCG.

Next we were sent back out to the waiting area to wait to see the pediatrician. This is where you get to listen to all the other kids screaming while their vaccines are being administered, it’s bloody hell and I wasn’t looking forward to Keenan’s turn. Keenan fell asleep while we were waiting. Great, not only was he is line to get a needle in his ass, he was going to wake up to getting a needle in his ass. What an evil mom! The pediatrician completely checked Keenan over and was please with increase in length but said Keenan was still “smallish” read “not fat enough”! Arghhhhhh! By North American standards he’s doing just fine and I don’t think he needs to be a porker to be healthy. Now for the vaccines. It was pretty heartbreaking to watch Keenan naked and squirming around on the examining bench as he was getting a shot in the muscle above each bum cheek. He stopped crying as soon as he was dressed and in my arms and everything was a-ok again.

All in all I was pleased with how everything went and I’m happy with Keenan’s progress. It was great to see the mid wives again and Keenan did me proud by being such a tough and brave little guy. Hopefully I can be just as brave during the administering of the rest of his vaccines.