Lots to do for work tonight but I'm just totally unmotivated. I've got about five hours worth of work to complete tonight. I'll probably do about two and head to bed at around 1am. I'm taking tomorrow as a vacation day and will work half-a-day to catch up from tonight. Depending on the hours logged by the end of the week, I may or may not actually file the vacation day.
The weekend has been fun. Spending time with the girls has become one of the most enjoyable pastimes ever. Although the days are taxing, and the nights still too short to get a full night's sleep, I'm very happy with my personal life (work is OK but severely stressful in this economy.) With Hirono's parents returning to Tokyo this past Thursday, we've had to spend the last three days recovering from their presence. The girls had to become adjusted to having only Hirono and me here. The kitchen needed to be rearranged to the way I like it after the interlopers left. And we had the normal chores to do. At the same time we moved the girls to one nap per day, which was very challenging for all four of us.
We went to the nearby uber-playground this weekend. The girls haven't been there for a couple of months. Since that time their own learning horizon has increased considerably, so they found a whole new playground awaiting them on Saturday morning. Both of them really enjoyed the swings this time, as well as the see-saw and the slides. They were frightened of the slide at first; but, after cajoling them into a ride with me holding them from the side, it was love at first slide. Eventually both girls even found their way around a wooden stage to the big kids' slides, where they promptly displayed an absolute physical need to go on the biggest slide possible. We eventually took them up to the littlest "big kids' slide" and held them on our lap as we went down together. They loved this, and it provided a good way to close out the morning before going grocery shopping. Sadly, we didn't bring the camera.
The girls have also developed a joy for shopping. With Alisa in particular, she loves shoe shopping. She points to the shoes she wants to try on and cries whenever we put her own shoes back on to leave the shoe department. Once we found a pair of shoes that fit our needs and her feet, she decided she wanted to parade around the store in them. It was quite fun! Now she started applying that same behavior pattern to clothes. While walking past the clothes section she twice squealed for a particular item that she liked. One of them, a sweater, had her size and she eagerly looked about for a mirror. Of course, she cried when we didn't buy the sweater - not accepting the rationale that we had enough sweaters already. In the toy section they had the most fun, of course. Both of them have a strong attraction to Snow White. Alisa is fond of anything cute and cuddly, such as all the animals in a toy pet store. Leia is more interested in balls and sporty stuff.
On the emotional front I'm quite pleased with the girls' progress. They both enjoy the praise whenever they try to help. Usually they really just get in the way; but, the fact that they are eagerly trying to help brings out our praise nonetheless. They also show lots of affection now. For example, I was dozing off this morning on the bed while the girls played around in the nursery. We sleep Japanese style (futons on the floor), so Leia found it easy to climb up next to me while I drifted off to sleep. She picked up Alisa's blanket and covered me with it, then proceeded to stroke my back trying to comfort me. She's such a sweetheart. Leia will also often bring Alisa's comfort object (a stuffed Miffy toy) to Alisa whenever she see's that Alisa is starting to get upset. She'll also share her food with Alisa regularly, including once giving Alisa the last cookie. Both girls regularly hug each other for fun or comfort. Often they'll bump their heads together when the hug, setting off a raucous wrestling match or game of chase around the first floor of our house.
Lastly, twice this weekend Alisa wanted me to teach her how to play songs on the piano. I'll play a melody she loves and she'll hold out her finger (often correctly on the first key of the melody) and have me use her finger to play the melody again. So far her two favorites are the theme song from Tonari No Totoro and the title song from the same cartoon. She'll also pick up her own recorder and try to play it whenever I play one of these songs on a recorder. She easily gets frustrated by not being able to play the songs herself, so we have to carefully encourage her to continue to learn and grow in this area without becoming bored or overly frustrated.