Two Years in Retrospect
Here we are, just after Lokien's second birthday. I have been stalling when it comes to updating this file. Initially it was just to write down all the details that I could remember from the birth, as I knew those memories would fade in clarity and specifics.
However, Mum (Boel) encouraged me to keep updating it as she was interested in my experiences at bringing up a child. She was in the child rearing business for decades, but I guess it is something else when it is your own children. However, mum died in August which deflated my enthusiasm for this journal. But I decided to keep going.
So here we are. Still having a great time, and strangely enough it is both much easier now, and much harder at the same time. I had my parents, and my brother's youngest child Rileigh, flown over in April. It was a fair bit of logistics, and wrangling but it was done in the end. It was the first time that my parents have visited where I live after I moved out from home.
There was just no incentive for them to visit us living in London after all. I also wanted Lokien to spend time with his grandparents as Mum had been sick off and on for a while. The Doctor in New Zealand gave his permission, we could not get insurance for them, but went ahead anyway.
They managed to get some good weather which was nice, perfect time for the cherry blossoms. Alas, the boy was having a teething episode at the time (why does he have those when we have guests? More on that in a bit) so he was not on his best mood. Of course when we said things like "this is the worst we've seen him" and having Mum just laugh, that is encouraging. (ie, we might be having it easy). He more or less just ate cheese for that week. I noticed that the last update was quite a while back,
So, what can I remember over the last year. He walks, started around 14 months. I guess we'd given up waiting. One thing that appears clear is that he does not do something until he is sure he can do it. So he practises and practises for ever. Then, when he already can master it, he will use it. Due to that it seems it rarely, if ever, fell over from walking. Similarly, climbing, standing etc. His friends generally always had "learning bruises" which he avoided. .. but caution aside, he gets completely addicted as well. Once he would walk, he wanted to walk all the time. The it was running, and running everywhere. First it was amusing, you just walked fast to keep up. But since he got so much exercise from it and training, it was not long until I have to jog just to maintain speed.
Having parents visit was great. Having Rileigh around was really good as well, as he clearly changed to interact more. Had to do whatever she was doing. There were even signs of other emotions. Near the end he did not want to share a bath with Rileigh, but wanted to have one with us as normal. The idea that children can be jealous of their parents attention was new. Rileigh had some other rules, and restrictions. After lunch, you go to the bathroom, them you go to bed. We imposed this on Lokien as well, and it was the best thing ever. He is so much better with routine. He loves it, and we love knowing when he will sleep. He is clearly more happy and energetic from it. Generally he will just go to bed after lunch on his own accord. No complaining or fighting. In fact, that only happens if lunch is delayed and he is over tired. Mum also gave us some advice on the food/feeding aspect. Not to worry too much, he will eat if he is hungry and so on. We do not bother to try to get him into his seat anymore, he will join us when he is ready. That works too. Once you leave the table, you have finished eating does not work here. He is far too energetic. Even when he is on his seat, he does not sit still. In fact, he does not sit for long at all, generally climbing up, standing, dancing, then down again.. always in motion.
I periodically try to sit down with flash cards, or any activity similar to that, to try to see if we can do "learning activity". But that never seems to work. That idyllic image you get on the flash card advertisements just do not seem to happen. He much rather just grab the cards off me, throw them, go pick them up and throw them again. He still does not want to be shown how to do things. Insist on learning himself. Still has a slight affinity for trains, both to take the trains, and to play with model trains. He has frequently been lying on the floor and driving the train right by his child carrier face, back and forth. In the early part of the year we took the Shinkansen down to Nagoya, both to go to the Expo 2005, as well as a Wedding. We were not too sure how the journey would go, and how to fit in his sleeping but he is just perfect whenever we go on a train. We corner off our area of the seat (he is not allowed to go in the aisle) so he does not try to leave. Just hangs around, looking out the window or plays with his toys. Slept on his own accord when the time was right, and had a great time at Expo. He loved staying in the Hotel room, spent most of that time looking out the window from the 42nd floor. We tried to make a bed for him on the floor but he would have none of that. Climbed up and slept with us. That's when we find out just how much he fidgets, turns and messes around before he falls a sleep. Not to mention all the turning and kicking during his sleep. He might have inherited the curse I had as a child. It always took me 90minutes to 2 hours to fall asleep. This was only slightly cured by having a child, it is down to just 40 minutes these days. He was a little bit hard at the wedding, but not really bad, just too much energy to sit still.
Eating habits. He still loves his cheese, rice and potelongs. But he eats many more things when he feels like it. He does not eat sweet things still. When we go out for food, like Little One's cafe, or just a restaurant, he is great. No bad experiences at all, and he gets really excited when the rice is brought to the table. (yeah, that's right... rice.. ). He'll eat most things when we go out. About the sweetest thing he eats are bananas. We phased out the morning formula bottle fairly early on, and replaced it with just milk. He likes the routine of having the bottle still. That did significant improvements on his eating habits. Clearly he was just not very hungry for lunch due to it, and it would seem the formula is hard on his stomach anyway. (Which could be part to why he was always spewing). He still have formula for after dinner, however, we have already said that when the current can runs out, it will also be milk. That is just one or two nights away now.
In September, Ushka's parents came for a visit. He picked this time to have the 2nd teeth thing. So there has been a few days of just eating cheese again. But beyond that, he has been just great. We went down to Hakone for a mini break, which includes the Romancecar Train, cable car, ropeway, switch back train, boat, and bus. He was great for all of it. We shared a room between all of us in true Japanese style, and that was fine too. He was last sleep and first awake. He was a little bit ratty for dinner, since that felt like a nicer occasion, so I just took him for a walk. Lunch and breakfast went well. We took his pillow with us then, which opened a whole new thing. Apparently he did not realise it was portable. So now, he takes the pillow with him everywhere. To watch tv, to chill, to play in his room, or on our bed. This teeth event was the first time when his bum was so sore I could not wide it clean. Had to hose him down in the shower instead. Poor guy. The other symptoms were non-existent however. No fever, runny nose etc. He has become more aware of what he wants however. If we go for walks and he does not get to go in the direction he wants he will sit down in protest. "Banana back" sometimes, but no real tantrums yet. They can be averted, or distracted away from it. When there is no leeway in what we are doing, he will give up after about a minute. When given the option of holding hands walking, or going in the push chair, he generally "gets it". Sometimes he is just too tired though. He frequently insists on everyone coming out on the balcony and run laps with him. That probably looks quite strange to the neighbours.
The speaking thing. He appears to be behind everyone else that we compare him to, not that we should compare him of course. He does not really speak. Sure he had words, many sound like the real words like "chhhhzzz" being cheese. "up" is just that. Some words are his own "golgo" for botbot. "Alldang" seems to be "again" or "one more time". Who knows. He is very chatty though, it is just that we don't quite follow what he is saying. He usually does the signs for things on baby Einstein before they come on the screen, so there is memory there. In fact, he appears to have a good memory. At one point he was doing some sort of sequence of moves. Eventually it became clear he was doing the "head, shoulders, knees and toes" song, quite out of the random. It was two days before that we last had done that song, so it would seem toddlers can get songs stuck in the heads just as much as grown ups.
Moving on to health. Touch wood and all that, but he has not been sick. I am unsure when the last time he was sick was. It was not this year, and yet, his mates seem to be constantly sick. Is this a good thing or a bad thing. Is it all just building up, or a sign of good immune system? We generally do not get sick anyway, both having fairly strong immune systems but still. There has been a couple of nights when he woke up crying, either spooked by something, or a bad dream. But he is not hard to settle.
The second birthday itself. Did not have any cake of course, too sweet. Got far too many trains, but loves playing with them all. Especially the Thomas train with smoke. He is somewhat interested in the marble racer, but purely at watching. Quite a bit too young to get into the building the race track. Did not open any presents himself, but we did not really expect him to either.
It is not always easy to remember specifics, but over all it has been a good year. He has the nature of being happy which is nice. He occasionally will even hug back! Lokien is happy when I come home from work which is endearing and does not care at all when I leave. He needs breaks from us we have noticed, from time to time. Where he goes into his room and does his own thing for a while. That is quite interesting. Over all, he is tall, very strong and muscular, so when he does fight us - ooo wee.. although tickling works well for that.