There's just too much happening with the girls' growth to keep up with. Adobe's US offices are closed this week, so we have some time finally. This means lots of time with the girls and so many fun things to talk about.
Our normal routine is to pick up the girls at around 5:30 from day care. We come home, go for a walk, feed the girls their dinner, bathe them and put them down. Then we sometimes have a chance to eat dinner before my evening meetings start.
Alisa is a bookworm and can spend 30 minutes or more just poring through a pile of books. At 5:30 in the morning this can be a wonderful attribute since it allows me to take a cat nap wrapped around her. She has a pile of 25+ of her favorite books sitting the middle of the floor. The books are a mixture of Japanese and English, with Dutch and Spanish thrown in for fun. She tends to like the Japanese books more. Its the pictures in the Japanese books that really get her though; colorful with an overload of cuteness. She's also starting a new pile of books in the music room.
Her most favorite books are about Miffy. She totally loves Miffy. Hirono has always loved Miffy as well. Miffy is a craze in Japan for women young and old, and has been for decades. Hirono has a terry cloth Miffy doll for herself, as well as a framed Miffy picture in our living room (the only other framed pictures being of the girls.) Alisa has two plush Miffy dolls with which she must sleep every nap and at nights (alongside a handful of other furry creatures.) She has two Miffy books (with a Dutch one in the cupboard because nobody here can read Dutch.) We also have a Miffy themed bathroom (designed and remodeled before the girls were born), Miffy plastic silverware, Miffy bowls (also Hello Kitty), and Miffy lunch boxes on mail order. Of all this stuff, Leia is only interested in the Miffy wooden blocks (with Japanese kana glyphs instead of the alphabet.) Everything else makes Alisa literally dance in delight. Whenever one of us talks about Miffy Alisa will look expectantly at us and start to dance, hoping we'll start singing the Miffy song so she can continue dancing.
Liea climbs the stairs just like Mom and Dad now. She doesn't use her hands to help crawl up the stairs. She just walks up. Its pretty incredible to watch. She does have to hold on to my hands; but, she does all of the effort herself. She has a wonderful belly laugh when she reaches the top.
We went to a professional photographer for family photos. Hirono likes to support the Japanese community here, so we went to a part-time photographer who immigrated here from Japan. The photoshoot was at his house, upstairs in a very hot room. Alisa had an ear infection that day as well. Altogether it was extremely taxing; but, we got a number of decent pictures out of it. The only way we could keep the girls in front of the camera was to bribe them with crackers.
There is a serious danger of me spoiling the girls rotten. Today was the very first day I've gone out shopping for anything besides groceries, baby supplies or home supplies since well before the girls were born. Hirono and I both wanted to get a pair of jeans. Although the girls didn't need anything I spent 90% of my time looking (and buying) toddler clothes. There is just too much cute stuff out there for them.
I try to spend 15-30 minutes a day in the music room with the girls. Its easiest when they are bathing. Hirono will give one of the girls a bath while I and the other girl will sing and play with instruments in the music room. We do this on weekend mornings as well, usually when Hirono is showering or taking care of herself. Each of them have their own favorite instrument; but, they both try all of them.
Music is everywhere. Both of them like to dance as well. We dance ballroom and modern around the house together (I'm a big dance fan myself.) Leia likes a fast waltz or to be spun upside down. Often when they hear music (performed by us or from tv/radio/computer) they start to dance on their own as well. Alisa's dancing is all in her arms, bouncing to the beat. Alisa also sometimes sings along on the baby's part with one of her favorite Japanese songs (hottokeeki - Pancackes!). Leia's dancing is more of a body-swaying rhythm at random times during the music. Leia definitely is moving to the beat, and will dance to either live or streamed music. I haven't yet noticed if she has any favorite songs or just sometimes feels like dancing. Her dances are almost always accompanied by a most wonderful belly laugh.
The girls' eating habits are different from each other. Alisa really likes carbs. She's happy sitting and eating Cheerios all day long. She loves pasta, toast and rice (in any form.) If its sweet, she'll eat it. Alisa is always in danger of spoiling her dinner by eating Cheerios when we go for walks after work. Leia, on the other hand, never spoils her appetite with Cheerios. On our walk today Leia only finished half her bowl of Cheerios, hand-feeding Alisa with the rest of her bowl (until Alisa grabbed the entire bowl from Leia for the last few.) What Leia really likes are leafy green vegetables, fruit and meat - or anything she can successfully eat with her own hands. They both chow down heartily on tofu and seafood. They've been practicing with their spoons but really can't feed themselves yet. Today I cooked the same dinner for all four of us (ground chicken with onions, carrots, soy sauce, a dash of rice vinegar and some white pepper.) Its really nice that they like my cooking thus far (and Leia seems to relish it.)
We pretty much opened up the house to them now. For the last few months we've had toy fences up in the living room to keep them corralled (though it was never fully closed and they had plenty of opportunity to roam.) We've now changed the strategy and just fenced off a couple of places. The rest of the house if free roam for them. They're just now getting mobile enough to really appreciate the change. Leia in particular loves to ramble around the house endlessly poking in to things. She also has a fondness for cleaning the floors.
Update: Oh, yeah, and I would totally love to lay down on my belly on this balcony, looking thousands of feet downward as the tower swayed in the wind.