01 January 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, one and all.

Its been a good holiday so far. I miss my family; but, its nice to spend some time with Hirono’s folks. The girls really enjoy being with Hirono’s father as well. They smile and want to play with him whenever they see him. Its very much like how they respond to my father or to me. I’m sensing a trend here...

They have grown so much in the last two weeks. Its not so much their size as their mental growth has accelerated. Their emotions are becoming more complex. Facial expressions are maturing. Words are starting to form. They show clear preferences between actions and objects.

For example, Leia refuses formula now. Its not that she hates the bottle. She’ll play with the bottle and suckle on it; but, she tries not to take in any of the formula within it. She still likes the breast as a way to pacify herself and go to sleep. What she seems to really want is adult food. She’s grown to really love yaki imo (baked satsuma potatoes) and okayu (rice porridge cooked in konbu dashi.) She doesn’t like okayu made with just plain water. It has to be konbu dashi. Unfortunately, Leia doesn’t have any teeth yet so eating is really hard for her. She gets frustrated easily because she isn’t allowed to have the same food as the adults around her until she gets some teeth.

Meanwhile Alisa isn’t so interested in food. She eats plenty, much more than Leia; but, her food is mainly forumula and the breast. She’s totally not interested in adult food. She’ll try it. Some of the food, like kabocha or yaki imo, she actually likes. Mostly, though, she just spits out her food if it isn’t something sweet. Unfortunately, Alisa is advanced with her teeth and matches a baby about twice her age. Maybe she’ll try crackers...

Another food difference is that Leia is totally content to let me feed her. She’s very skilled at eating adult food. She’ll open her mouth, move forward slightly as she takes a bite in order to get the spoon in far enough, close her lips around the spoon to pull all the food off it, chew (gum) and swallow pretty much all of every bite. Alisa on the other hand hasn’t figured out this spoon business – unless its yaki imo. She makes a total mess of her face, her hands, her bib, her clothes and the clothes of whomever is holding her. Even so, Alisa isn’t happy with someone else spoon feeding her. She wants to do it herself and ends up dumping the spoonful all over her face.

Other differences in preference are just as striking. Leia likes books and television. She’ll sit still and let me read a couple of books to her in a row. She’ll feel the pages and sometimes help try to turn the page. Likewise, Leia is content to sit next to Ojiichan (Hirono’s father) and watch the rooftops of Higashi Koganei or television (Ojiichan likes historical dramas.) Alisa only wants to eat the book and couldn’t care less about television. Instead, Alisa prefers to do calisthenics on someone’s shoulder; jumping up and down or throwing her body back and forth like she’s a head banger at an Black Sabbath concert.

As for myself, I’ve pretty much caught up with work and with sleep. There’s nothing to do here over the holidays. Everything is closed and we can’t go out in the cold with the girls anyway. So I’ve just stayed cooped up in this one bedroom apartment with five other people the whole time. All my paperwork and tasks are accomplished. I’m about one third the way through a stimulating management book (The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt.) Its had me thinking a bit about how to achieve my own career goal and how Adobe may be the right place to put some of my thoughts into action. More on that later.

Tomorrow is the family gathering. Its usually on New Year’s Day; but, the Kobayashi family (Hirono’s sister, Mizuno, and her family) went to an onsen that day. So the entire Mogi clan is gathering here tomorrow, all 15 of us. I can’t wait to see Hirono’s nieces again. They’re so much fun. There will be much food and drinking and silly kids’ games.

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