Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Organising independence

Well it is almost just 5 days until M-day. I had thought that I could get lots of packing done, but then I remembered how hard it is to pack when you are still needing stuff to live. I always end up packing the wrong things, and then having to rip into boxes to find whatever useless item I think I desperately need. Today I sat down and wrote a logical list of things that I could pack. I had been holding off on clothes because I didn't want them to be sitting in a box/case for days and get all scrunched up. For those of you who don't know, I am an ironophobe. But today I realised that most of the clothes I have hanging up would pack no problem, coats, dresses (all except the fanciest ones), shirts, etc. So I packed them all in one of those big plastic boxes that I used to keep my maternity clothes in (all sold, so now hubby knows I am serious about stopping here) and sat down on it to fasten the lid :P Hmm, that's better. Is starting to look a lot less lived in so motivates me to keep at it.

Next H's clothes and paraphenalia (swimming bag, beach towel, baby playmat that she refuses to get rid of, etc.). I have told her that on Friday, she can help me to pack the rest of her stuff. Last time, it took her a long time to realise that all of her things had been brought with us, and there was nothing left at "home", so this time I decided that packing together might make her feel a little less stressed about the whole moving thing. I think she will be much better this time, because we have talked about all the space that she will have to play in, and that we will try to have her and L together in her bedroom, not to mention the huge bath that we can splash around in! So it looks as if she is excited about it, but still a little bit apprehensive-looking whenever she sees there are more boxes packed up. She came to me tonight when we were getting ready for stories in bed, carrying her Winnie the Pooh light music wind-up toy and said, "Mummy, I think I can leave this here for the next little boy who lives here to play with." Sweet.

So this morning, MIL was off work and said that she could help me to change my gaikokujin card address and take a photocopy of it to the hoikuen because we had forgotten to include it in our application. I appreciate the offer, I really do, but I thought, hang on a minute, these are things that I can do myself. I am a slight control freak (heh heh), and don't really like to depend on people, or to HAVE to depend on people, so the more I can do, the better. I let people help me too much when I was first here, but I know enough Japanese to get by and should try on my own. After all, I am not a child, although I often feel like one! So after handing the copy to the hoikuen (daycare) I went off to the town office and the woman let me change my address even though I stupidly forgot to take my passport - gah! Then picked up a form from the post office for them to forward mail to the new address. This was also written in English and Japanese, but decided to let Y fill that out just for ease of understanding for the postie. Then spent way too much in the supermarket because there was a huge delivery of veggies from the farmers. Saw them all putting their produce on the shelves. Got a HUGE head of broccoli for 170 yen (almost, but not quite the size of my own head). Absolutely delicious.

After picking H up from kindy, we went to Toys R Us to get H's costume for a Hallowe'en party that S is hosting for us and her little girl. It's usually quite a battle to get round there, what with all of the toys and toys and TOYS around, but H was really good, so I bought her and L (he was not so good, so I buckled him in the trolley) a little "shake and go" car from the clearance section. L is scared of it though. Just the revving noises that it makes. He has suddenly become afraid of that kind of thing. Even the animal sound book that he used to love. Not really sure why. Any ideas?

Anyway, I digress..at the till, there was a mother and her (about 5 year old) son buying a rubber dinosaur. I stood at the cash desk and this boy, otherwise known as naughty little s**t, came up to L shouting and saying stuff like, "No, NO, it's not yours, get away, GET AWAY!" and then proceeded to vigourously shake the trolley that L was sitting in. I almost whacked him one. And his mother meekly pulled him away and said nothing to me. After this, he continued to verbally attack H and I just told her that he was naughty and just to ignore him. Times like this, I wish I could have said it more loudly and in Japanese. I think the boy was just high on sugar like most sweety filled hyperactive children around here. I saw another mother with a toddler probably the same age as L throwing a tantrum because he couldn't get a bag of crisps from the vending machine. And so his mother BOUGHT HIM ONE. The mind boggles...

Ok, I have to rant about this now, because I feel a bit like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Every day when I pick H up/drop her off, I see parents in the car park, mostly mothers but some fathers/grandparents too. They drive in with their cars all equipped with child seats, as the law dictates. But hang on, a lot of these seats are in the front. I saw this and thought, "ooh, that would be quite nice for Hannah to be able to sit in the front", as I knew the rear-facing seats have to go in the back, so I checked to see if this was legal/safe, and found that airbag or not, the safest place for children to be is in the back. Now as a mother, I'm sure other mothers will agree that safety is at the forefront of other mothers' minds, right? WRONG! But that is not the worst of it...I very rarely see the children actually IN their car seats. Now surely this is just laziness?!? Or is it the children saying, "I don't want to sit in my seat", and the mothers saying, "oh, ok then." Am I unusual in being strict about seatbelts? I would like to think not, but there is too much evidence to the contrary, at least from what I have seen here in Gunma. And horror of horrors, today, I saw a mother with her kindergarten child floating around in the backseat, and her SEVEN month old baby in a rear-facing car seat, in the passenger seat, and the baby was actually lying on her tummy peering out of the windscreen. I mean, I'm all for freedom of choice, but this is simply bad parenting, surely?!?! I thought afterwards, as I followed her car out of the car park, I should have beeped the horn furiously and told her that she had forgotten to strap her tiny baby in.

Seems that a lot of parents do things not only because other people do them (the sheep mentality), but because children want to do them. It's nice that children have choices, but when it comes to safety, and erm, that thing called the law, surely it's kinder to choose for them.

Phew, ok, well today was a pretty good day all in all, apart from that niggle, that seems to get worse every day...Am very excited about moving, especially as our downstairs curtains are now ordered and lights and furniture too :)


  1. Good to hear you have progressed with moving!! You know...I still haven't fully unpacked!I have boxes, suitcases all still filled to the brim.. I guess I'm holding onto the hope that one day SOON we will move away from MIL ;)

    Your Toys R Us Visit sounds much like mine... I had some naughty kid run up to Sakura and joust at her with one of those foam swords!? Lucky Riki was there and gave an all might shout!!
    Every time I'm there I am disgusted by the behaviour of someone... it's usually the mothers rather than the children! We rarely go there, Riki worked there before so he doesn't want to be seen with gaijin wife and hafu child?

    As for the car seat thing... I saw a man driving a car with his TINY BABY flopped up at the steering wheel last week! I told riki to call the police, but you know the Japanese mentality! Also saw a lady usher her kids into the back of her VOXY at Toys R Us, they were not much older than H, and she didn't buckle them in or anything! She slid the door across, and drove off, with kids STANDING in the back seats! I think what everyone assumes is that those huge people movers are safe... We have obviously seen that they're not! (that big car accident where the lady crashed into the guard rail that pierced her car and killed her 2 kids??)

    A bit of proof on that belief is my MIL... she makes BILL and BIRD drive around in FIL's Prado. You know how big a Prado is right?? HUGE! She said "Drive this because it's safer than driving ojousan's passo" Now, the problem is... BILL has rather bad eye sight. he has prescription contacts and glasses.. and has to tilt his head to see properly. He crashed our car... I mean it's just proof that he's not fit to drive! I think about the other people on the road being at risk because of him in that massive WEAPON!!!

    Ugh, better stop ranting! this is like a whole other blog post!!! ;)

  2. Yay.. you are soon ready to move. It would have held everything I had not to whack that shit-- and in Japanese I would have said, can you KINDLY control your son PLEASE?

    Is she an idiot? Sorry, that just makes me mad, and reminds me when I was teaching kinder at an international school the mother thought it was cute that her boy was touching and grabbing my boobs... no, no, no..

    Keep them snug and strapped in, although I am not a mum I often wonder why some don't..... I rather the child scream.

  3. Oh, yeah, Sophie you are dead on! My MIL lent us the money for my car because she didn't want my driving around (hmm, more like the children) in a second hand kei because they are soooo dangerous. Erm, just because you drive a tank that uses more petrol than the whole of Gunma, doesn't mean you can let your children roam free. What do they think will happen in a crash?!?! The sides of the car will stand dead still and stop the children from being catapulted out of the window?!?! Aside from that, there was a great t.v. advert in the U.K. about passengers without seatbelts causing death to the front passenger by not wearing a belt. Maybe their own endangerment might make them think twice?!?!

    Yuk, yeah, Mums are rubbish. Don't know for the life of me why they choose to have children in the first place, because they never seem to take responsibility for them. I would be embarassed if that were me!!

    April, I am annoyed with myself for not speaking up. I think I was just so shocked at the whole thing, I was just staring at her mutely for a few seconds. Plus I am the kind of person who always thinks of the best response after the event (except when I am having a bad day and then you'd better watch out.. rahhhhhhhh!)

    Oh, yes, I had one 4 year old not only try to lift up my skirt, but also pull down the zip on the back of it while teaching. That is not on...other people's children....nahhhhhhh!