Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Starts all over the place

To mirror our return to old ways, I am moving back to my old blog address:

http://japanmama.wordpress.com

Hope to see you there..

Back we go!

In continuation from my last post, we are now officially quitting the hoikuen. Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun! No time for regrets. Most important thing is the children. And I KNOW Hannah will be thrilled.

Y told them that my working hours are not stacking up as they should be, and so affording the childcare is a problem, and I will return Hannah to the youchien. If the youchien start the one year old morning class, then it will definitely be good to enrol L there as well. The GREAT thing is that we can quit the hoikuen this month, and start back at the youchien after golden week. It seems quite sudden, but then it's not really long enough for Luka to mind (although he still hates going, so it should be no problem there) and it's good that H and her friends won't have forgotten each other. She has made a few friends at the new place, but still pines for her old mates.

So LAST moving! Fingers crossed!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bum Bum Bum







Today I arrived at the hoikuen to find yet another shuffle. Last Friday, L had been in another classroom because one little girl had thrown up in his usual one, and they were cleaning up and disinfecting the toys, etc. Today, yet again, another different room. Although I got stopped before crossing the nursery threshold,


Teacher: "How is L's poo?!?"

Me: "Erm, it's ok.",

that seemed to be the password and they let us in. Apparently two more children had had sickness and diarrhoea, so they were disinfecting the classroom again.

Me: "Sounds like Noro virus."

Teacher: lots of sucking teeth and avoidance noises, i.e. Yes, it does, but I am not to say that in case there is a parental uproar "Erm, can you pick L up at noon today? It's ok if your work is busy, but a lot of mothers are picking their children up after lunch today."

Me: "Hmm, what day is it today? Monday, erm, yes, that will probably be ok" (liar, liar my pants are on fire)

So we went into the new room, where they had brought the stuff, hat boxes, towel hangers, etc. and put all of L's things ready. Then we went to H's room, where she looked as deflated as ever when we get there and once again asked me if I could pick her up after lunch time (before naptime), and I once again said no. Technically I could have done, but I didn't think it wise to start a routine of her coming home early for no reason.

So I left the place, feeling like a crappy mother once more. I thought of H at naptime, just lying staring at the ceiling for over two hours...when she was used to singing songs, playing outside twice a day, doing athletics, getting her wellies on and pulling potatoes from the farm at the youchien. That thought just keeps coming back to me. It may sound like a stupid comparison, but to me it would be like watching paint dry...ugh, what a dreadful waste of time. I came home, did the housework, then off to pick L up. When I got there, he looked happy enough, but apparently he cried ALL morning. The teacher said,

"it's weird, because he's usually happy enough in the other classroom."

I offered, "maybe it's because he's in a different classroom?"

"Oh, maybe," she replied, as if the thought had not once crossed her mind. "He had settled in ok, but now he's crying again. He must be that sort of type that is happy for a while, and then upset again suddenly."

"Maybe he now feels the change in his lifestyle (i.e. him going to nursery) is permanent, instead of just a temporary stage. So he is now sad for the old routine." (This snippet of info. was brought to me by my elder sister, thanks Joanne ;))

"Do you think so?" she questioned, disbelievingly..."well he is eating his food though, so he must be happy enough."
I swear, these women know nothing about child psychology. All of their information comes from hard evidence. Food and poo. If that's regular, and of the desired consistency, nothing to worry about. When we left, there was a little baby sitting on the floor, tears streaming down her face, SCREAMING, and nobody doing anything about it. I talked to her a little bit, and she calmed down (much to my surprise..I usually MAKE children here cry), and I thought, why couldn't the teachers have done that? And that おだまり woman...there is something really odd about her...she just stares at me blankly..like a psycho O_O

So I was asked if it was possible to pick L up every day this week at noon. I said I would have to ask work...but to be honest, it was kind of nice to have L home at that time today. We had some time together for the first time in three weeks, and I really enjoyed it.

After all this, I just started thinking how this situation is a positive one. And I couldn't really find any more benefit than the previous situation at the youchien.

The P.T.A., sure, I don't have to do so much at the hoikuen, but there is a lot of writing notes every morning, and laundry is greatly increased due to bedding, changes after every speck of dirt lands on an item of clothing. Plus, I heard about one foreign mother offering monthly English lessons to the youchien in exchange for her P.T.A. duties, so that would be a possibility. They have lessons now, but not from a native, and free would be better than paying...

I get 9a.m. - 4p.m. to do housework, have some alone time, and plan lessons. This is true, but then I have only one lesson a week as of now, the housework takes two hours tops, and I had plenty of alone time when L was napping, or after the children were in bed. Plus, although I enjoy my single time, I can't really relax if I know the children are unhappy.

L can go to hoikuen, whereas he is too young for youchien. But you know, in the beginning, I wasn't really ready to let L go to hoikuen. Y kind of persuaded me by saying that I might be by the time April comes along, and that it would allow me to work more if I got the opportunity. I said maximum I would want him to go three times a week. But with the whole lying about working business, this isn't really possible. I HATE lying. I'm sure I look shifty as anything when they ask me about work, or drop the children off wearing jeans...

So I got Y to call the youchien in his lunch break to ask about the possibility of H coming back there, and if there was any chance of L starting when he turned two. I was already thinking that if there was no chance for L, that he could stay at home with me. The teacher said, OF COURSE H would be welcomed back. Apparently she was "a leader" there, so very popular..hmm...hope this doesn't mean bossy. As for L though, the youngest class would be too old for him. BUT, they have been thinking of opening a class for one and two year olds, and if they do so, it will be from this June! The only thing is, the day would be from 9a.m. - 12p.m. But how perfect is that?!? If you don't think about work...that is.

So after talking with Y on the phone after work (well at 5:30, so just the official, after his work..), we decided that it would be best for everyone if we went back to the youchien. I hate to make all of these changes for the children, but it's just been a little while, and when I asked H what she would think about being back at her youchien, her little face lit up, and she gave me a huge hug. Of course that brought me to tears. Ok, that did it. Back to the youchien it is.

Checking my e-mail this evening after the children had gone to bed, and found one from my employer, saying he has two possible students for me...typical. One is a mother of a one year old, who wants lessons in her home. That one COULD be worked out if she didn't mind me bringing L, or if I taught her while he was at youchien (if they start the lessons). The other one is free from 1p.m....oh bum bum bum. So I feel a bit crappy about that, but then my employer did say that he would have work for me from the beginning of April. We have quite a good relationship, so I explained the situation to him, and hopefully we'll be able to find some part-time work for me regardless. I could still work the hoikuens if they had some care for L while I was teaching, like I used to do when I took H.

So it's a kind of whirlwind as far as decisions go, and I keep doubting just a little about making the change, but already I feel a lot less adrenaliney (yes, that IS a word now...) than before. I think the hoikuen is good for if I DO work, if having L at home with me would drive me nutty, and for getting jobs done. But the truth is, I miss him. I miss H too. Coming home at 3:30 is a world of difference from 2:30 Having time alone to get things done is great, but I had children for a reason too. I'm pretty sure that this is the right decision.




Friday, April 23, 2010

All the time in the world

So the children have been at the new hoikuen for two weeks now. L still cries when I turn into the car park, and says, "nooooo" in a really deflated hauntingly sickening tone that makes me feel like crap. This morning was no exception, but on the way from the car to the gate, I noticed he was singing away to himself. Ahhh, he is very good at tugging at my heart strings to get what he wants...and then the next minute he is fine. He even waved bye bye to me this morning, which was a big improvement! H is still getting used to it too. The hard part for her is that there is a nap time after lunch of about two hours O_O H hasn't napped since she was two, when she told me in no uncertain terms that she was much too old for a nap and we agreed that she could go without one. Besides, she was sleeping 12 hours at night, and I didn't really want that to change. So at nap time, she lays on her futon and does nothing. For TWO hours. I think that would drive me insane too :( One day this week, however, probably due to her hayfever meds., she slept for the whole two hours. She keeps asking me to pick her up after lunch, and it breaks my heart. I kind of wish that the teachers would just sit her down with a book, or a pencil and some paper. Lying around doing nothing is just ridiculously boring. She was used to going outside twice at youchien, and now they only go out once, in the morning. She loves running around and climbing. Most of the time is spent eating and sleeping :( So they arrive, play outside for an hour, go in for morning snack, then I assume play and sing, then have lunch, then sleep, then wake up and have another snack, and then I come and pick them up. Bit stressed about that for H. L is still young enough to benefit from a nap in the daytime, so he sleeps, although not on his futon..Usually on some teacher's shoulder, or in the pushchair.

It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I leave two children who I know feel uncomfortable and think they would rather stay with me. I overheard one of the teachers saying, "おだまり" (shut up) to one of the crying babes in L's class and was horrified. She is definitely one to watch. I am not working during the week yet. Not at all. Just one lesson at the weekend, and still waiting for my "employer" to get some contracts for me. Plus the budget is getting stretched to pay for this childcare. Y is working until 11p.m. on average, some days coming home after 3a.m., but leaving earlier than before, at around 7a.m., just before I get up. So on lots of days, I never see him. I worry about his health more than anything, and just hope that this is just because he has only just started in the new department. But in the interests of positivity, here are the pros:

  • Y is encouraged to claim lots of overtime (unlike the last place, where it was frowned upon), as his colleagues all agree that their working hours are too long, so they need more staff. So although our expenditure is increasing, luckily so is our income.
  • The children are getting to play with other children and getting their Japanese language skills up to standard, which is good when Y is so busy at work!
  • I have found that I can get a lot done around the house when the children are at daycare, so that when they come home, we can have a quality few hours together instead of a whole day when I am running around trying to acheive the impossible and getting ratty with them.
  • After spending a whole day going out with the children for a fun day, I have realised that nursery IS a good thing for everyone. I am much more relaxed and nicer to the children. In a perfect world, we would be happy and spend every day together and play and have fun, but in reality it just doesn't work out. Whoever said having two children is not much different to having one was lying..or needs to contact me immediately and tell me their secret. Spending a bit of quality time together is so much better than spending lots of time with a grumpy mum.
  • I have researched our summer holiday in Guam, the first proper family summer holiday (if you discount our weekend at the beach in Niigata), found a good deal if I book hotel and flights seperately and found we can afford it if we skip our annual trip back to the U.K., so that will be good for hubby too, instead of us all just swanning off for a month and leaving him here. Ooh, and my friend used to work for Marriott, so she may be able to get us a further discount on the hotel (bonus!). Can't wait to just get to a nice white beach :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Letting go...again.

The bags I made
Start of the ceremony

Congratulations board outside the nursery



My little girl :)


typical timer shot..







After a pretty stressful couple of weeks trying to entertain two children in a house filled with colds and hayfever, yesterday was the day. The hoikuen (nursery) entrance ceremony! I finally finished making all of the cloth bags that the children needed, got all of the things together: bibs, nappies, wipes, plastic bags, face towels, hand towels, changes, lunch box (just for the rice, as the nursery will provide the rest of the meal), futons, etc. etc. ETC. and was woken at 6a.m. by a thoughtful little boy who made sure we didn't oversleep. Y was already downstairs working as he was taking the morning off for the ceremony. We dressed ourselves up. I didn't go over the top with the children because I really didn't see the need to buy a little suit for L that he would probably never wear again, and H had a pretty little dress, although on the day it was really cold and rainy, so in the end she wore a thicker dress, but still looked pretty. I realised that I am a lot calmer about dress and all those unimportant little things these days, so I was happy about that.

When we arrived, we took a quick look in each of the classrooms, H is in Moon class and L is in Star class. This is pretty funny, because L is obsessed with the moon..he walks around saying, "mOOn..stARRR" for a lot of the day. Along with "choo choo", and "uh-oh, spilt it" so cute. Anyway, H decided she had to check out the toilets, and went in on her own while I waited at the door. Wherever we go, the first thing she wants to do, is use the toilet. And if there is a little girls one, all the better. That over with, I noticed that there were triplets in the class..and twins...what are the odds?!? There are quite a few multiples around these days. I am thinking a lot of it's due to the IVF? So they seemed fairly friendly, I sent H off to play with them, and she ran around with them for a bit. Then we found her peg, drawer, and towel hook, oh, and shoe box. She was a bit annoyed that I had forgotten her pumps, but in my new found calm, I told her that we would bring them tomorrow, and she said, "my feet are cold" and then I felt wretched.

Then we went off to L's classroom, where there seemed to be a whole load of people, we picked up his little notice book and hat, and then went into the hall. After this, it's all a bit of a blur. There was singing, dancing, and a weird skit by the teachers. But the children all seemed to like the weirdness, so it was all good. H was sat next to another little mixed race or foreign girl. I think she is phillipine, but I could be wrong. Anyway, they just sat and STARED each other out. It was quite weird. H told me later that the little girl doesn't talk and just blinks every so often, so H was copying her...I told H maybe the little girl was just shy and to smile at her next time. Then the teachers lined them all up and they went off to the classrooms while we and the little ones were treated to a p.t.a. introduction. This was great though. It turns out that we only have to get involved in 4 p.t.a. activities this year. At the kindergarten it was more like once a month.

Next, we went to L's classroom and they explained all of the things that we needed. This made me angry, because we had had a list for the past couple of months...then they decided to change things...an example, I had bought bibs, and then they pulled out this hand towel that had had elastic stitched through the top to slip over the neck and act as a bib. I told them I had bought them. The teacher told me to bring them in and they would see if they were ok. To this I replied, ok, I bought them. Please use them. What do they think we are?!?! It's a small miracle I made the damn bags, don't refuse my shop bought bibs. Then we were asked to bring around 100 plastic bags..labelled..and to write the names on a certain part of the nappy so that they can see the name when they are folded up after changing...ugh, I had forgotten about all this. Anyway, there were lots of questions from me translated through Y because none of the EIGHT teachers really knew what was going on. Then I realised, we had to go to H's classroom! As we walked down the corridor, H was standing at the door with the teachers, and when she saw us, she ran to me with a quivering lip and held on for dear life. "I thought you would never come" she said, ugh, there's that wretched feeling back. But she held back the tears. She's a good girl, always trying to be brave and make everyone happy..I felt even more wretched.

We chatted to that teacher too. Yes, H likes singing and dancing, and drawing. No, she doesn't have any allergies. Yes, she can go to the toilet by herself. And then that was it. We went home, had a quick lunch, and then Y went back to work. I bit my tongue for the rest of the day while H and L went crazy around the house, because I knew that H was stressed and worried about the new place, although she would never admit it.

This morning, as I want to ease the children into nursery, we agreed they should start by going from 9-11 H and I took L first, and of course he cried when I left, which tugged at my heartstrings and I had flashbacks of H's first nursery days. Then I took H to her class, and again felt emotional. I left the nursery, went to the car and then just let myself cry. After having stomach problems due to stress, I decided that if I need to cry, then I should. After that, I felt much better and went off to do some grocery shopping. The two hours flew by, as I thought they would, and when I got to the nursery, L was playing outside in the sandpit. He was relatively calm, and didn't cry when he saw me (as H did at that age, as if to say, "HOW could you LEAVE me?!?!?"), but pointed at his shoes and said, "uh-oh, spilt it"..I guessed as he was already wearing his change trousers that he had spilt his drink all over himself. Turns out that they had taken his socks off and he was outside with shoes and no socks, so it probably felt a bit weird for him..he is never without his socks, unlike H who would never wear them if it were up to her. The hoikuens here often have a no sock policy inside at least. I suppose it's slippy, and they have underfloor heating, so no socks is better. Kind of bugs me though..but that is one of those small things I mentioned earlier.

Then I went to pick up H, who seemed a bit out of it, but I think she was just taking it all in. The teachers encouraged us to stay and play outside for a while, so just as I had gone to pick my children up, they both ran away from me and started playing on their own..typical. Then I got surrounded by a bunch of 4 year old girls with a plethora of questions: "what is your nationality?", "British? Is that the same as English?" (nah, translation didn't work "イギリス人は英語人の同じ?”), "what nationality is she?", "whose mother are you?", "what about him?", "what language does she speak?", "what colour is this hair?" (accompanied by a very gentle tugging of H's hair)...very funny. I tried to answer all of the questions clearly, and they seemed satisfied. I love how children ask the questions that adults daren't. So then I had to drag L and H away in the end..typical.

They seemed tired, but H especially a little calmer. I know they will be fine in the end, but I am still finding it hard with L. I don't want him to go there every day, even though he is registered to do so. I think he is too young, and I want to spend time with him like I did with H at that age. I think it's important for his English too. But because the hoikuen is for working mothers, children are supposed to be there full-time. So it seems as if I will have to lie and say that he is ill 2 or 3 times a week. Big pain :( To be honest, I didn't want him in the hoikuen at all, but Y persuaded me to at least enroll him while we have an employer who will at least say that I am working for 15 hours a week, and to be honest, I need to be available for work, even though he still hasn't got new teaching contracts for me. So I am technically employed, paying for hoikuen, but with no job..fun huh?

On the bright side, I am more available for work, and I have a private model lesson this weekend, not going through my employer, so fingers crossed that she wants to start lessons with me. And fingers crossed that tomorrow goes well...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Anti-climax?

I have never been a fan of birthdays or New Year. I can get very very excited about Christmas, other peoples' birthdays, etc., but my own birthday..nope. I have memories (mostly teenage and early twenties) of really crap birthdays. When I was studying in Paris and turned 21, (you know, a birthday supposed to be a really big deal, even in the U.K., where 18 is the new 21, 21 is still a big birthday), my bf, who was supposed to be coming to visit, told me that he wasn't, and that was the end of that, the day before my birthday. The amble around art galleries, and the city was the highlight, although a friend thought it very sad of me to spend the day alone. Then me and my friends went out and got insanely drunk, leading to me throwing up on the Champs Elysee (classy), and looking after my drunk friend (seriously...the blind leading the blind) Since that day, and probably following a few birthdays before, I try not to expect too much from birthdays. Then whatever comes is great.

So today is my wedding anniversary. I would say "our", but it doesn't really feel much like that today. Y has been working like stink for the past month. I have hardly seen him this past week. Typically, we have all been sick with awful colds, and I have what can only be described as the insanely heavy and painful period that should be called the "age" of my teenage years. I considered going to see the gynae at one stage, because this erm, is not really normal. But after some internet research, it apparently IS normal and now I am convinced that being a woman sucks. I am also convinced that I am being paid back for a year and a half of no periods... So I have been trying to keep it together while looking after two poorly children, and it has gone, erm, kind of ok considering the circumstances. The housework definitely is on the back burner, although I got a load of it done at the start of the week, and hoping to get some more done tomorrow if Y is here to look after the children. L is so clingy, and after thinking that he was kind of better, his eye looks a bit gooey and he cries everytime I put him down. H is complaining of a sore throat and still has a lovely cough. Oh yes, and it turns out that her teething is still not finished, because there are two more just under the gum, so she is feeling miserable due to that too I expect. When H is sick, she gets wriggly. Anyone who knows her, or L, knows that they are crazy wriggly anyway. They can't keep still. For longer than a few seconds. Unless they are watching a dvd...and even then they are wriggling their bums. So she has been crazy hyper, and talking non-stop. I heard a crow cawing today and thought it was her saying, "Mummy, mummy" - weird, I know. I have been busy making the bags for hoikuen, which starts on Monday, and doing all the odd hoikuen stuff, labelling things, buying weird things that you have to go to five different shops to find, etc. One day this week, Y just didn't come home. He worked through the night. So although I slept, I kind of kept waking up worrying a little. This week has been really hard on everyone. So my point is, that I really should look at my anniversary as I do my birthdays. And I should especially ignore my husband when he says that we shouldn't have got married in April because work is busy...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sick and Tired

Today was supposed to be Y's day off in exchange for working all day on Sunday. However, because he is moving department and has to tie up all the loose ends of his current position, he has been really really busy at work. So he decided that today he would just take the morning off and go in to work after lunch. He said he could get paid extra for it, as I was a bit worried he would just be doing it in his spare time (tends to do that a lot, especially with overtime). I would usually be fine with this, but today I was a bit disappointed, because I woke up this morning with awful catarrh and a cough. Because of Y's overtime, I have been working out later, getting home later, and going to bed later. Last night it was about 1:30a.m., which is late for me. I usually go to bed at about 11p.m. when I'm not at the gym, and at latest, midnight when I am. But I cannot complain about this, because from the beginning, I told Y that he shouldn't worry if he has to work late, or feel that he has to hurry home, because if I can't go to the gym, then I just can't go. His work comes first. Although these days, going out to the gym is a lot more than just going for a work out. If I've had a long hard day, then going out in the car, driving the 20 minutes there, listening to my music loud in the car, and just having time doing nothing important, is a big big stress release for me. It's my firegazing time. Of course, the health benefits are great too! Love the endorphins, but I look forward to getting some physical space between me and home to just get away for a while.

So this morning, the plumber came round to give us a quote for installing the dishwasher. They arrived at 9:30, erm, well, it was an electrician and a rep. from our housing company. They bumbled about a bit and then the electrician left. The plumber arrived one HOUR late..shocking. And they bumbled about a bit more. Then a builder arrived, climbed into a hole under the kitchen floor, crawled commando (not sure he actually moved like this, as I didn't watch him, but I'd like to think he did..) from the kitchen to the tatami room. At this point, the housing company man (think a Japanese Benny Hill), starts rocking backwards and forwards on the floor to try to find the squeaky floorboard that the builder had come to fix. All the time with a glazed expression..and the builder was talking to him through the floor. Oh My God...this was a severely bizarre situation. I really really wish I had videotaped it. Especially when the children started copying the housing man's "dance", and L was searching for the builder's voice...

So the squeaks were eventually fixed, but there was no "quote"...apparently this is something that needs to be drawn up and gone over and over before they will give us a price... But the good thing is, that it is DOABLE, so we will get our 60cm dishwasher with fancy eco modes and salt washes, and the like. All in due time though, but I can wait..a little..;)

So after all that palaver, and cooking and eating lunch, Y went off to work and left me with two huge balls of energy, and a cough tablet that made me drowsy...much coffee later, I bundled the children into the car and set off for Aeon...as did the rest of Takasaki and probably Maebashi too. Eventually found a parking space and walked in with the children. This did not last long. A three year old, a one year old, and a crowded shopping centre does not mix well when you add a worried mother. Of course they both wanted to ride in the car, but after establishing that they were both a bit too big to fit in there together, L rode in there and H walked..or should I say, ran...ANYWAY, let's just say that it was a little stressful and I wish I had taken the double buggy in. Have to say that it's getting really small for H now though, and I'm kind of wondering whether a twin stroller would be too small for H?

So I had planned to just "look" around in the shopping centre, but of course we came back with two tops, four pairs of socks, sunglasses, burriti body butter, and some make-up (all of which for the children apart from the last one..although that included nail varnish for H while she is on school hols...). Bad, bad, bad! But we ended up having dinner at the bakery, and it turned out that the children were really ready for their dinner at 4p.m., so we only had to come home and take a bath. They are now sleeping and have been since 7:30, so all is quiet :) I decided not to gym it tonight because of my cough/impending cold, and Y is taking advantage and working until 10p.m. So here I am with my alone time..wondering whether it's too early to go to bed...:)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Swimming

Last Saturday, I got up early to go to the dentist. These are two things that should never happen on a Saturday aren't they? MIL and SIL were working, so we took the children with us. They have a great play area in there, so they were fairly content to just play. And so began Operation Root Canal stage 3 When will this end?!? Anyone? It didn't hurt so much this time, and after we have established that I am a manic sleep grinder, he put the temporary filling on nice and low again. Next time we will start with some of the other teeth apparently, because root canals take so long. Erm, ok, as long as he doesn't forget to come back to this one. He says it will be ok to put a filling in when it doesn't hurt when he hits my teeth with a huge iron bar. "Does that ever not hurt?" I asked. Apparently not.

On the Sunday, Y had to work..boo..but it means he gets a day off in lieu this Thursday, when the plumber will come and give us a quote for the dishwasher installation. So Monday, the Spring Equinox, was the only day when we could really do something fun all together. We decided on swimming. So after a hunt for swimming nappies (why do they assume nobody wants to swim when it's cold out?), eventually having to buy a size too big, and then finding the right size at the actual pool (of course), we went inside. Y took L and I took H. In theory, I could have taken them both, but getting one child ready is infinitely easier than two, and when I saw the changing rooms, I was more than glad. Lots of lockers, one two seater bench, and 3 private stalls. We had our suits on under our clothes, so it was fairly easy just to strip off and put our stuff in the locker. Then came the demon hot showers that we had to walk through to make sure our dirty bodies were rinsed off. H, hating water on her face, was not best pleased about this and I ended up picking her up and resting her face on my shoulder. We got to the pool area, and it was a scheduled, everybody out for 10 minutes to check nobody has drowned period. We sat on the edge of the baby pool and waited for Y and L to come out of the changing rooms. Of course, L came out holding Y's hand soaked all over his head and screaming his head off. Y totally oblivious to child fear, was just casually walking with him, letting him carry on, while I was madly gesturing for Y to pick him up.

Anyway, it is a great pool! Baby pool is really warm though, almost too warm for me. Then another pool that goes around the whole area (we had to walk over a bridge to get to the baby pool), two flumes, a rubber ring slide, and a lane pool for ACTUAL swimming. The weird thing is that everyone was just walking around the second one...looked a bit odd. So we stayed in there for just over an hour. It was hot enough and the children looked tired enough for that to be it. It only cost 300 yen for adults and 100 yen for the children, so in keeping with my trying to have fun economically, that was a pretty good deal. After we were all dressed and wrung out, I got some snacks out of my bag for the children. Some raisins and some dried apple. Oh dear...how they went at the food. I swear people must have thought I never fed the poor things. H was still shoving apple in her mouth while I was trying to put her jumper over her head. Note..must take more substantial snacks next time...

http://www15.wind.ne.jp/~rockonsuipool/sisetu.html

Monday, March 15, 2010

Swapping Roles







It is very rare that I spend a whole day away from my family (well, my children). On Sunday, I had booked a hair appointment in Tokyo. This seems slightly ridiculous, until I think of past experiences. I have had pink/orange hair, barely-there highlights that ended up, er, washing out (!), and a very badly burned scalp. I had a great hairdresser when I lived in Tokyo, Mami chan. But she was bossy. I think I liked her because we got on well, lots to chat about. But in retrospect, she never really did what I wanted, even though she made my hair look great, and although she did a mean mahogany, she was also really crap at lightening.

So after some good reports, specifically re. blonde toners, I decided to give Sinden a try. I thought, and still think, that their prices are extortion, but I am willing to be a conscious victim at least once a year...

My MIL works at weekends, and my SIL is doing some temp. work at the museum at weekends too. So I knew that this time, instead of going to MILs, handing the children over, raiding the fridge and sleeping on their sofa, that Y was going to have to go it alone. Probably for the first time ever with the two children.

I woke up at 7a.m., dumped a code brown baby on Y while he was still half asleep, and then set off for the station. We are a half an hour drive from the train station, so I parked, and then went for the train. It's amazing what kind of things you can do when you are alone..things that I never really thought about when I was free and single, ha ha. Running up stairs, nipping into the shop for literally 10 seconds, using public toilets without claustrophobia, oh, and did I mention using the stairs?!?

So I took the rapid train to Shibuya, and of course got a seat the whole way. I had chance to read magazines, listen to music, and yeah, I fell asleep on some random man's shoulder. I kind of wish that he had jostled his shoulder to save my dire embarrassment, but ho-hum. So I arrived at just after 10a.m., my appointment at 11a.m. and I found a lovely roadside cafe with tables outside, so stopped for what I suppose was my lunch, as I envisaged being stuck in the salon for at least 3 hours. They didn't really have much, so I opted for a couple of little bread rolls with raspberry cream and chocolate cream (not so keen on the choccie one, but the raspberry one was to die for), and a cappuccino. O.M.G. Cappucino - 500 yen...ah yes, we are in Tokyo, not far from Aoyama-dori, what did I expect? Anyhow, managed to be a couple of minutes late by the time I arrived at the salon. Was very small, but really friendly staff, and a stylist who seemed to know what she was doing. So there I sat...for FOUR hours...Stupid me, thinking that once they cut my hair off, it wouldn't take as long to colour. Er, yeah, not if you are having highlights, right?! So my masses of hair took forever to do. Although she was not the fastest worker I have ever seen. But I took my time, read fashion mags., drank copious amounts of coffee, leading to gowned toilet going and a bit of buzzing.

And finally, at 3p.m., I was allowed to go home without a burned orange head I might add. I called Y and he seemed kind of distant. He had taken the children to the park, and was now having something to eat. Hmmmm, he has had it, I thought. So despite thinking I might have time to shop (or at least browse), I got back on the train. I mailed Y to ask if he wanted me to take the bullet if he was having a hard time back home, but there was no reply, so when Omiya came and went, I decided just to stay on the train I was on. I did have a seat, but I had given it up to some old grannies who took it in turns pushing each other on to the seat that all of them claimed to "not need" until the weakest one just got shoved in. Y mailed back and said sorry but they were at the park because the children were being "norty" and he hadn't seen my mails. At the park at 5p.m..weird, it's the childrens' dinner time. Ah yes, the hungry naughty hour. Why should he know about that?

When I got home, they were all in the bath. Y buzzed me and asked me to take L out and get him ready for bed. Urghhh, I was exhausted, but ok, will do. After they were all out of the bath, I heard Y mutter, "thank God"...

It turns out that they went to the park in the morning. Park had a yaki-soba stall, so Y had bought some for him and the children -yum, grease...then they had come home and they (probably only Y) were too full for lunch, so Y had decided that 3p.m. might be a good time to feed them the fish that I had left. This was the time that I had told him to give them a snack...lunch is usually around 11:30

Then, they were grizzly at around 4p.m. (dinner usually at 4:30-5), and L had a dirty nappy, but instead of changing nappy, Y forgot and they headed out to the park...again...They came home at 5:30 and Y changed L's nappy only to find the meanest nappy rash ever (erm, two hours sitting in poo?).

At one time, I would have been stressed out at this. Angry even. But I realised something a while ago, and that was that I only know what to do with the children because I have been through this trial and error. I have learned that they get grizzly when they are hungry. I have learned not to give them stuff from park stalls. I have learned to check nappies and change any dirty ones straight away. I have learned that the later dinner is, the later bath, bedtime is, and the grizzlier the children AND me. I have learned these things, but STILL I break some of them. I sometimes start chatting to my family on messenger at 6p.m., when I should be getting in the bath with the children. I know what will happen, but I do it anyway. So while I wrote everything down for Y re. the childrens' routine, I know that you don't think about the consequences until you have to deal with them. So I told Y to take it easy and I went about getting the children ready for bed.

I think this kind of day is really great for Y, but I also had the chance to put myself in his place. I travelled a lot further than he usually does, and I walked quite a bit, but I sat on my butt and didn't work or think about much for four hours, then came home. And I have to say, when I walked through the door, the last thing I felt like doing was helping with the children.

So was a tiring, but pretty nice day, and the weather is really picking up - Yay! Spring!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sagittarian and Hair

It makes more sense if you read the book photos from the bottom...sorry for the cricked necks :(


























































































































































While sorting out the storage room shelves today, I came across a little horoscope book that my sister sent me many moons ago. It is mostly a humourous book, but a lot of it rings true (or some of it at least DID). Here are some pics. I will leave it up to your imagination to guess which are true.

And a slight, but fun dilemma is what to do with my hair on Sunday. I had planned to go with a just less than shoulder length bob, but as time goes by, it seems to be getting shorter and shorter in my mind..Hmm, this is often the case with me. I get bored/fed up with my long hair. There are some days when it looks ok. Some days I might even go as far as to say it looks nice, but I have to say that I am definitely fed up with the length. When I go for a crop, I often regret it and it's a circle of cut short, grow long, cut short, grow long again, etc. etc. It sounds strange, but in some ways, I feel as if my hair is in the way, dragging me down, that kind of thing. And although my hair is fine-ish, I have a lot of it, and the brushing is getting to be a bit of a pain. So in my search for different hairstyle images on the net, I have come to some conclusions. Firstly, there are a lot of celebrity hairstyle websites. Secondly, a lot of these celebrities have long hair. Thirdly, the celebrities that DO have short hair, fit into a definite category, personality-wise. Mostly they carry themselves well. They have CONFIDENCE. Which is interesting to me (stop reading if it's not interesting to you), as that suggests a bold step and then it comes back to the whole hair and femininity point.

I recently heard a story (thanks Joanne) about a woman who cut her long hair into a bob and her boyfriend went mad at her. She "had to" grow it back. Men are weird about hair...I read in one of those Men are from Mars follow-ups, that men are conditioned to like long and blonde hair above all. Found that very odd. I have to say, I see a lot of women with long hair around (and of course lots of lighter colours), BUT, I think short hair is a lot more common here than back in the U.K. I'm not sure whether this is down to hair type, because I think Asian hair looks fantastic short. And I kind of doubt that it's a confidence thing? Anyway, I am rambling.

So the bob, which in itself contains loads of different styles, is the way I am going, having had "boy short" hair a few times, and looking like, er, a boy. I LOVE the feel of short hair, especially on the back of my neck though, so it's probably going to be a chin length one. I imagine it will be pretty wavy, as usual, but that's what straighteners are for :) Time for a change!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday again?!?!

I can't believe I wrote that last post on Monday! Time really does fly. Well my new cleaning plan worked until Saturday, and that was just to wipe down the stairs, so I got that done today instead and finished today's jobs by about 11:30 Then L and I had lunch and now he is napping upstairs. He can usually get by without a nap, but I kind of want to prepare him for the hoikuen, when he will be put down for a nap after lunch. It usually takes him about 5 minutes of chattering and playing with his activity centre, and then he sleeps until I have to get him up at 2:30 to go and pick H up, so he is better off for a little snooze anyway. Not sure how H will take the napping, as we have had a deal since she was two that she was "too big for a nap" Her words, not mine, but I didn't mind because she sleeps so well at night anyway.

Last week was a bit of a blur. I think it was mainly down to my tooth situation, which I can't even really say was toothache. More of a very uncomfortable pressure and due to the temp. filling, I couldn't close my mouth properly and woke up more than a few times grinding my teeth which probably didn't help matters. So the weekend started off with a horrible congestion headache. I tend to worry and stress quite a bit, but have tried not to let little things get to me lately, after seeing what stress can do to your body, but I think the tooth is what set it all off. I couldn't even do yoga to try to settle down, because whenever I bent my head, even a little, I felt as if my head would explode. On the up side, I have now made very good friends with "Pablon" meds. for decongestion/runny noses/hayfever, etc. I am always really happy to find Japanese medicine that works, so hooray for Pablon!

Today I'm feeling much better and hoping that I can hold out for the dentist until 20th. They are so booked up, but I would really rather go there because the dentist is so great (and that's big for me to say, because I HATE going to the dentist!). I have my hairdresser appointment on Sunday, and am still a bit hesitant over what to have done. I want my highlights topped up so am travelling to Tokyo in the hope of not getting a burnt scalp and orange hair, but still not sure about the cut...I had originally wanted it chopped off into a short bob, but am kind of liking my locks this week. This is fairly typical for me, but I am also bored, and want something that doesn't take an hour to straighten! So, we'll see how the mood takes me on the day :) Then hubby is working on holiday weekend, so it's just me and the little ones. H finishes kindie on 15th, so there will be 3 weeks until start of term at daycare. Lots of activities to plan!

Then the last weekend of the month, the plumber is coming round to give us a quote on a dishwasher. Y took the one from MIL's house. There is only MIL and SIL, and they both work full-time, so there are not really all that many dishes to wash. They apparently never used it. I was reluctant at first, but said we could give it a try. It's a counter-top one, so it's pretty dominating on our little counter, and it doesn't really hold a lot. Or rather, it doesn't hold anything big. If we ate a more Japanese diet, with lots of little dishes and bowls, then I think it would work just fine. Unfortunately, it also doesn't have space for any pots and pans, so I am still washing up at least 3 times a day. On the up side (you will notice I am saying that a lot ;) ), I have found out from having the counter top one, what it is that we need. The drawer type built-in dishwashers that are popular here have lots of problems, according to the neighbours, and they also don't really hold a lot, so we are looking at front open big ones. Miele is my brand of choice, as the running costs are really low (around 8-11 yen per wash) and they hold a lot more than the drawer type. So the plumber will come round, climb under the floor storage compartment and have a look around. Y has informed me that he too will be "going underground" to take photos...he was very excited about this possibility. I will be sitting in the living room with my claustrophobia to keep me company.

And alas, MIL is stopping her "financial assistance" as of the new tax year...arghhhh! So I am going to have to tweak the budget even more, and hope that my employer gets new contracts for me to teach. I have also been thinking that it's time to try to get some pre-schooler students to teach at home, so am researching how much people charge in the area, making up a curriculum and then advertising for students. Any advice on this will be greatly appreciated!

Well, time for my 2 o'clock coffee and Gray's Anatomy before out again for H!

Monday, March 1, 2010

New day, new month, new doc.

I'm not sure where exactly I heard it, but someone on t.v. the other day said that it's never too late for a new start. So I figured in the spirit of a new month, season, week, etc., that I would forget everything bad that may have happened recently and start this week as I hope to go on. Monday is as good as any day to do so.

I was woken at 4a.m. by a crying H, who upon closer investigation was sitting on her potty in her room crying because her trousers were wet. She had been sleeping curled at the bottom of her bed, so well away from the waterproof pad placed carefully under a blanket (it's a bit cold otherwise) and her sheet. I stripped the bed, threw the sheets down the stairs, cleaned her up a bit and put some dry trousers on her, then took her into our bed. She wriggled for at least an hour, and I found that she was the best hot water bottle I had ever had, and she returned the favour by resting her cold feet on my stomach. At 8a.m., I awoke with a start, left a very asleep H and went to get L up from his cot where he was singing and playing with his activity centre. After deliberating about what to do with H re. kindergarten, I decided to wake her up and we had a very speedy washing, dressing and breakfasting and got out of the door at 9a.m. I apologised to the teacher for a. being late, b. forgetting her pumps and as I got in the car, I realised that I had also forgotten to pack her hat..

L and I drove to Yamaya, an off license that has lots of very reasonably priced imported goods, to pick up cereal, tinned toms., and some little wholewheat crackers that I get for the children (and they LOVE), Dar Vida. But horror of horrors...no Dar Vida :( Now this same thing happened with the Weetabix, which I now get from FBC, so I am hoping they are just out of stock, although I fear that that's it on the Dar Vida front..I finished up getting some Cracottes instead, although the Dar Vida are excellent for on the go snacks because they are all packaged up in 8 cracker packs that I can just slip in my handbag.

Anyway...I came home, and put my NEW housework plan into practice, even though I really did NOT feel like it. I hung out the laundry and blitzed the playroom, living room and kitchen. I found that giving L the hoover while I dust, keeps him quiet and he managed to actually do some cleaning with it! When it was my turn, he wasn't so impressed, but he didn't really throw as big a tantrum as usual, so I am thankful for small mercies.

Then I put him in the cot for a nap after lunch. While I was tidying upstairs, he woke up SCREAMING about 45 minutes after I had put him down. Fortunately, or unfortunately it was time to pick H up anyway. I put him in the car, literally kicking and screaming at this point, so I was a bit worried that he might actually be poorly. My plan had been to take both of the children to my usual pediatrician in Maebashi (bit of a drive, but she knows us well and speaks English). After waiting in line to pick H up with a SCREAMING L, I decided that maybe a long drive was not such a good idea. So I drove to the nearest doctor. I had been there once before, so I knew there would be no form filling in and confusing medical kanji to be flummoxed by. As soon as we got into the waiting room, and the children saw the little play corner, L totally stopped crying...typical. This always happens, so you'd think I would have learned, but no. He cries so hard and for so long, that I convince myself he is on the brink of death, suffering from meningitis or some equally life-threatening illness. Then quick as a flash, he is fine.

Anyway, the doctor was lovely. I told her that they had both had colds, and that since yesterday L's eyes were really gunky, and that H had complained of itchy eyes too. She examined them both really kindly and efficiently and didn't speak to me like I was an idiot, which is always good, but also didn't jabber off a whole load of difficult language. So I was pleasantly surprised when I managed to understand that they had hayfever, and that L's had developed into an infection from him rubbing his eyes constantly and had worsened due to his cold. She gave us some eye drops, and some meds. I have to admit, this is the hardest to understand..what to give, who and when, etc. but it is all clear now. I think I will go there all the time from now on. To be honest, I think the Maebashi doc. is a bit crap. She constantly gives antibiotics and steroid creams, and would never really consider hayfever even when I mentioned it once. I suppose I was all flustered about not being able to understand the language, but at the end of the day, I can describe the symptoms and pretty much understand the diagnosis, and shouldn't worry as long as the doctor examines the children, right? So this was the best new thing for today :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

I love Daiso!
























This morning, I planned on going to the supermarket after dropping H off to get some fruit. We have a man cold in the house everyone, lemons, oranges, kiwi fruit and bananas at the ready! But, the strangest thing...I found myself walking L towards the Daiso (100 yen shop) adjacent to Fressay. I had a vague idea of looking for plant pots, but mainly I was there to browse. Now Daiso has slowly began to creep into my good books. It all started when I found Bicarbonate of Soda cleaning spray, quickly followed by a Baking soda variety. It all helps that they have started putting english on pretty much everything. Although I could probably work it out in japanese, seeing it in english has been a big help to me. I almost feel guilty when I laugh at the janglish, because I am truly grateful whenever companies try to be more accessible language wise. Who am I to laugh at their english? You certainly wouldn't see any japanese in the pound shop in the U.K....(but you have to laugh at number 3 in the pic...)

Anyway, today's browse turned out to be more of a shopping spree. I succumbed to the 'get it, it's only 100 yen' voice in my head, and ended up spending almost 3000 yen...BUT I have to say, apart from the yoghurt raisins (which turned out to be chocolate flavoured like yoghurt), I am happy with all of my purchases. I bought some little plants for the window sills, some plant pots to re-pot my potbound ones, some tupperware for the fridge, pipe cleaners for the children, cleaning cloths, measuring jug, and some lovely little teacups and plates. We went shopping a while ago for kitchenware in Ikea. While I have lots of good things to say about Ikea, love their designs and furniture, the plates that we bought from there are ALL chipped. I think the first ones chipped about a week after we had bought them. So instead of driving 3 hours to get more that will probably also chip, I wanted to find some more local alternatives. My one complaint about the things I find here is that they are either cheap and tacky designs, or very plain and pricey. I was very surprised to find that the Daiso designs were quite pretty without looking cheap and nasty, not to mention at least 500 yen cheaper than the ones we had!

So today I am thankful for our local Daiso - YAY!
pics :
1. chipped Ikea plate
2. Daiso plate
3. Daiso cup and saucer (100 yen set ;))
4. Daiso english found on a tupperware box (food container)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My life as a pig
















So for some reason, I can't stop eating this week. You name it, it has probably been in my mouth. Although I have to stop myself shopping when I'm hungry, so thank goodness there is no crap in the house. I had thought it was pre-menstrual, but looking at the calendar, I think I have at least a week or two before P-day. Who knows WHAT it is, but I hope it stops soon. I did well by planning my meals for the week. I ended up spending about 5,000 this week on the shopping, which is a few thousand less than usual and I'm pretty sure that's down to the planning. It also meant that I cooked a few more interesting things this week, because I had to sit down and think about it in advance. This week saw chicken stewed with winter veg., cottage pie, marinaded pork chops with vegetable croquettes, veg. and meat lasagne, chicken kiev, and salmon and broccoli tagliatelle. Comfort food was the main theme, but I am amazed at how the kiev turned out. I thought it would be a big mess, but apart from being a bit fiddly, it's sooooo easy, and wasn't at all dry.


This Thursday, Y had to work overtime until 10p.m. on the 24 hour hotline shift, so the gym was out, then Friday is their closing day, and then today? Well, we ventured to Costco in Iruma. My first plan was to take the train to Omiya (love LOFT), but Y pointed out that maybe over an hour on the train would see the children getting restless and turn out to be super stressful. So not wanting to disappoint H on my suggestion of taking the train, we drove to Takasaki station, parked the car and rode the train four stations, then came back on another one. She was so excited bless her. And L spent the whole journey saying, "choo choo". Then we got back in the car and drove to Costco (Y's idea), which was a close to 2 hour drive. I drove while the children slept. Partly because I can't sleep/rest/stop my fingers from turning bright white while Y is driving, and partly because being a passenger bores me.

L continued to sleep in the pushchair for about an hour after we ventured inside the warehouse that seems to get bigger the longer you are in it. H, however, was a big big grizzly pain. I want to pick up, race around, and get out as soon as possible! But hubby, nope, he likes to browssssssse... So crowded, there I am having huge trolley battles with middle aged women who pretend not to see me, while trying to placate my 3 year old who thinks Costco is suddenly the most boring place on earth.

Phew, three hours later, we emerge 30,000 yen less wealthy (how did THAT happen?!?!?!) and more than ready to go home. Again, out of fear for our lives, I drive home, let Y bath the children, fawn at them in their cute oversized p.j.s, wish I'd read the label on the cute p.j.s I bought for me, which although an L, are definitely a Japanese L as opposed to a western L...so glad I didn't plump for the M.

So for tonight, I will give the gym a miss, and am about to turn in for the night too. A long day, rounded up with two glasses of Chianti. I will sleep very very well :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things I love Thursday

Well here is my balance for the F off Friday. Not sure that I will be able to keep either up for any length of time, but wanted to at least do one of each within one week :) So here are some things that I love about this week:

  • that my appendix has stopped giving me trouble and allowed me to feel loads more grateful for the little things that I take as given
  • that my weight today was 61.4kg after having a week with no exercise
  • getting the laundry done for the past two days despite the rain (thanks to the drying rack in the spare room
  • that I managed to get presents sent off to both my mother and younger sister for their birthdays this week
  • that my mother printed out the photos from the shichi go san and told me she shows them to all and is "proud to tell people that they are her grandchildren"
  • that I can fit into my new Zara size 8 jeans (even though I will have to turn them up because they are too long thanks to all those tall skinny spanish chicas)
  • that L is FINALLY starting to apologise again and understands the meaning of the naughty step :)

Wow, that felt pretty good. And I have loads more probably! I know appendicitis is not the most serious of conditions, but everytime I have got it, I worry that it will burst and I will drop dead. So it kind of makes me appreciate EVERYTHING!

Off to bed, night night all!


Friday, February 5, 2010

F Off Friday

Inspired by Sarah's idea, I have decided to do an F Off Friday, and will be stealing Lulu's Things I love Thursday to strike a good balance when Thursday comes around again. Yin and Yang and all that jazz. So these are things that have F'd me off this week. In the interests of positivity, I am keeping this list to a maximum of 4 things:

1. Being accused of trying to get something for nothing from an internet seller who wanted to make me get nothing for something.

2. Going down with appendicitis again and making myself homesick because of it

3. H throwing up after dinner because MILs "snack" after nursery today was one banana, one satsuma and a whole load of bread.

4. Going out to the loo and coming back to my nice folded laundry pile being thrown around the living room by my children

Ah, ok, that wasn't so bad. I feel better to get it off my chest and now I can concentrate on having a good weekend :)

Today

Ok, so this is not my scan, but you get the idea..and then can zoom and go through organs and stuff while you look at it..pretty cool, eh?








My day, in short:

Overslept, got the children up (they were awake and throwing soft toys around the room)

Came downstairs, went to make hubby's bento, and then he offered to do it himself x

Got the children dressed, fed and out of the door in 50 minutes (record ;))

Dropped H off at nursery, then drove to the hospital with the seat reclined so as not to hurt poorly tummy

Got to hospital and made appointment to see 外貨 doc. ("external medicine", will never think it normal that surgery is classed as that)

Met hubby in the nick of time, as I was struggling to fill in form with kanji characters so small they looked like dark boxes

Sat and waited for about an hour or so before going in to see the doc., during which time, got e-mail from annoying woman who had offered to sell "barely worn" clothes on tell and sell and then got arsey with me because I had (very politely) asked her to photograph items and tell me the sizes...her verbal attack ended with suggesting I search for clothing at the Salvation Army..nice

Got in to see the doc., who was very nice, and wrote down lots of English for me, albeit rather advanced medical vocab., but got me to understand it too

Went off to get my blood checked and have a syringe of Heparin strapped to my forearm in preparation for giving me drugs to make the CT scan clearer

Went back to 外貨 to wait for the CT people to tell me they were ready

Got into CT room with old biddy nurse who told me I had to take my bra off as it had a wire, and then tried to "help" me to pull bra out from under my clothes while trying not to rip out big syringe strapped on my forearm, assisted by my husband..

Once bra straps were out, got told to get out of CT room as there was an emergency and made to walk into CT room prep. area (about one tatami mat size) with hubby, sleeping baby in a pushchair and sat in there for a good five or ten minutes

Led back into CT room, where hubby was made to stay, even though I said I would be able to understand, although it was slightly amusing to see him wearing a baby pink lead apron...

Had a long explanation, my trousers pulled down to my knees, and the biggest lot of drugs I've ever seen pumped into my body, plus a very icky warm feeling all over while the CT scanned my torso. Have to say, was very impressed with the breathe in and breathe out cute little face lights on the top of the CT. Very easy to understand..no need for hubby..

Went back to the doc to wait for the CT results, which they said would take between 30 minutes to an hour. Went off for lunch (well hubby ate, I picked at his side salad)

Went back to the doc who showed us the CT results on a very very cool screen on his desk. Got to see my innards, lots of fun..and told that my appendix is in an unusual location (bent under and towards my back), so a usual 15 minute operation may take an hour if I had to have it removed, as it would be easy to damage my intestines. Made sure that this could be done, if needed, without the intestine damage..and also that if doc. insisted no surgery, that I would not die from sudden peritonitis.

Got meds., dropped Y off at work, picked H up from Grammy's, came home feeling much more reassured and glad that I had gone, even though it had taken four and a half hours and cost me 12,000 yen

Now 8p.m., children are in bed, I have my feet up typing this and all drugged up while hubby works the helpline shift until 10p.m. Am feeling very lucky :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Health is underrated

I haven't blogged for a while because I've been poorly with a head cold. Both of the children have been ill too, but L the worst. He was diagnosed with an ear infection, and then just over a week later, with a throat infection. It makes me feel ashamed that they both get sick so often. They are both dressed warmly, eat healthily and well, sleep lots and drink lots of water. So I suppose really I shouldn't blame myself. Gah, this parenting lark is a lot of guilt! Anyway, L is still like a bear with a sore head, but at least he managed to eat all of his dinner today, so it seems that he is getting better. H just has a runny nose, but is back at kindie and seems fine. Tonight I made some scrummy mini burgers with onion, garlic and herbs inside, steamed veggies and oven chipped potatoes. Yum yum!

So I haven't been to the gym since last Thursday. Friday was their day off, and then Saturday was when the cold really hit..along with my period, yippee!! And then yesterday, I had the most awful heartburn, that turned into severe stomach cramps. I was worried it was appendicitis again (yes, have had it twice and been treated with antibiotic drip for it both times) and wish they would have just cut it out. But then wondered if it might be another ulcer :( Last week had been quite stressful with everyone ill at home, plus the housework, cooking, etc., so could just be the stress had been playing around inside again. I have to say, when I am ill, I always think that life is so amazing. Worrying about being deadly poorly, or just feeling a bit unhealthy makes me realise how much I take my health for granted.

So tonight, with some fluttering stomach cramps but nothing too serious, I am off to the gym. It is a big stress reliever for me, so I'm hoping that I can get rid of the cramps with some light exercise and some good rest. Of course, my 62kg has now become 62.6, but that is just one of those things! New week, new goal :) Plenty of time for that. Ooh, and a new little shopping centre opened in Maebashi. Have to say that on the whole it is crap with a capital c, but there was a visiting Zara seconds sale, so I bought myself some lovely new tops. Most of them just had a little hole in the collar where the tag had ripped through, and at 70% off I had to grab my chance! Trouble is, some of them are a little snug, so more motivation to lose the inches! Better get my coat :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

62 :))

Today is a happy happy day! I know you shouldn't weigh yourself everyday, but I DO, damn it! Yesterday morning, the scales read 62.4kg and this morning, they were 62!!! Woohoo! That was my weekly goal, and it's only Tuesday! I know a lot can happen in a week, and it may well be up again by the end of it, but I am revelling! I worked hard and I am allowed to revel (revell?!?), ok?!

Today I visited Natasha, a Canadian friend in Maebashi. It's been a couple of weeks since we last met up, so it's kind of unusual, as we usually only have time to get together every month or two months! Her daughter was at daycare, so it was just us and our boys, and Natasha's cat, Sakura, who Luka is always taken with :) It was nice to get out and have a good chat for a couple of hours. Plus her house is so warm compared to ours right now...bloody freeeeezing! And as always, got some good news from her. Apparently, there are plans for an Ikea to be built in Maebashi. In GUNMA for goodness sake. For anyone that doesn't know, I am an Ikea freak. Love the designs, the value, the food, just wandering around, etc. etc. So the thought of not having to pay for the highway and to just be able to nip in for lunch, is a little more than I can bear right now.

And aside from that, it was announced that a "large American warehouse" would open up in the same complex...erm, Costco anyone? Anybody, info?!?!?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

ぶるぶる~

So there are some of those ぶるぶる machines at my gym, similar to this one: http://www.dayfit.jp/ They is no extra charge to use them, but as there are only two machines, they are limited to 10 minutes per person, per day. There is what seemed a bit like a complicated system to use them, so I have never bothered in the past. After spending a while curiously watching people wiggling away on them (not in a pervy way you understand..), I decided that I should give it a go. I asked one of the staff members, a.k.a. super smily and helpful boy, how to go about reserving my 10 minutes. It turns out that it is pretty simple. Even for me. All you have to do, is find an available time slot on the clipboard at the desk, then write your gender (?) and your locker key number in the slot. That's it...I am a big chicken.

So I had a quick blast on the treadmill while I waited for my turn. I purposefully picked the number 2 machine, because there is a screen behind both of them (so people can't see your bum jiggling), but the 2 is a little more hidden. Believe me, even on the thinnest person, it is not a pretty sight, so I wanted to spare the other customers a big fright ;)

Apparently, while jiggling away and reading the poster on the wall, you can lose 10.8cm from your waist in two months by doing this jiggling for 10 minutes per day. I also heard from my sister that 10 minutes is equal to one whole hour of gym working out...hmm...have I been wasting my time?!?! Well, at least my heart is getting the benefits from the proper workouts. So it is not entirely unpleasant. Just a bit weird. But also kind of relaxing. A bit like how you feel after a massage. And you can actually FEEL the muscles getting worked, especially my waist/hips/back, where I actually want to lose weight. So I will be measuring my progress, keeping up with the real working out of course, and am curious to know whether it really works!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shaping Up!

Usually not wanting to mention my weight, I have decided, what the hell. It's only a number after all...

Well, last week, I reached my weight goal of 63kg for the week. Well, it was actually 62.8, which although a small decrease from my goal, made me smiley for most of the day, yippee! I have a history of yo-yo-ing for most of my adult life. Being "older" now, I only remember my recent weights, although I DO remember my lightest. When I lived in Germany, went to the gym daily, worked in a pub from 4p.m. to 2.a.m. most nights and hardly ate (lot of this was due to stress caused by an unnamed individual), I was (albeit unhealthily acheived) 62kg.

Before I got pregnant the first time, I weighed 74kg..my heaviest. I gained 6kg while pregnant and then lost it all immediately (I mean seriously, I got on the scales a day after giving birth and it was gone!). I am not one of those fortunate women who enjoy pregnancy, in fact, apart from the novelty of watching my stomach bounce around, I can't stand it. I am "blessed" with wide hips, meaning all of my pregnancy weight was equally splayed out, and instead of looking blooming, I just looked, and felt, FAT. So after having H, this really motivated me to change it. I can't say that I had a huge plan, but it just kind of happened. I ate an amazingly small amount, thinking about it now. One piece of toast with honey for breakfast, an egg on rice for lunch, and a normal cooked meal for dinner. But I walked a hell of a lot. Especially compared to now. The station was a 30 minute walk from our old place, and at that time, I didn't really care much for cleaning, so Hannah and I would go out every day for a few hours. I managed to get down to 63kg.

Then after losing all that weight, I got pregnant again. But this time, I was confident that I could lose it all again, so I gave in to the extreme hunger that I felt during pregnancy. Whoever said you eat more with boys was definitely right in my case. However much I ate, I was just constantly hungry. Even my doc. wasn't concerned once he saw how much I had lost after H. I gained a whopping 12kg and was up to 75 again...This time, losing the weight was much harder. I was breastfeeding (which I couldn't manage for long with H), meaning that my body was holding on...Plus I didn't really want to eat like I had done before because I was still "providing" for L. So for the whole year and a half of breastfeeding, I managed to lose a little, but I stuck at 68.4kg. When I started weaning, I noticed I gained a little at first, but felt less hungry, so soon started to come off. Then I joined the gym in October, weaned L completely last month, and am now motivated and happy to keep on. My target weight is a little sketchy. I want to keep within the average section of the bmi chart, but my target I suppose is around 57, which means another 6kg (unless I am happy to maintain before then). A thing that is different from post H, is that I am really getting into the gym. Especially now I have started to see muscle tone. I am becoming one of those crazy fitness freaks, loving the endorphins and "feeling the burn", ha ha! ARghhhhh! Who AM I?!?!

Anyway, feeling good and starting to look good too, now all I need is new clothes...wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WIND AND BOTTOMS!

And you'll be relieved to know that I'm talking about the weather variety at least for the wind part... They are gale force today. Our recycle bins are presently sitting on the front lawn, and I am not going out there to put them back because I know they will make their way out there again anyway.

I did a load of washing, and then ambitiously stuck another load of sheets in that I have to do before returning the guest futons back to MIL. BAD idea...I brought in the first load and the clothes, although dry, were covered in "sand", a.k.a. dirt. Damn the wind. So it took me ages to shake it all out, everytime I opened the window, a whole load came in and I am now stuck with a bedroom floor covered in the stuff. Will get the hoover up there when L wakes up from his rare afternoon nap.

Yesterday was H's 3 year check-up. MIL and SIL both had the day off work, so I asked them to mind L while H and I went to the health centre alone. And very glad about that! It took almost two hours. Being weighed, measured, teeth checked, body checked, eye sight, pee, the works. Usually Y would have taken a half-day off to come with me, but after several annoying trips to the Maebashi health centre, where they tried to tell me I should speak Japanese with my children, I decided that not understanding the language well might actually be an advantage...

So we wangled our way through the nine stages of the check-up and H and I actually had a good time. It's rare that we do stuff together, and we chatted, drew and played while we were waiting for each stage. I also felt very proud, because a lot of the other children were crying at having to take off their clothes to be weighed, see the doc./dentist, and I realised again how good H is. The staff were kind and impressed that H sleeps from 7p.m.-7a.m. and has a healthy diet and only dislikes pak choi, food-wise! It was a very positive experience all round. Oh, apart from H's kindie friend's granny trying to give H gum...

Afterwards, because H had been complaining of shooting pains in her bum, Y and I took her to the pediatrician, who referred us to the "bum doc." where there were about 110 people waiting...I got Y to ask the nurse how long it might be, and lucky lucky, she said they could squeeze us in because it was a child. In order not to annoy the other patients (can't say I would be annoyed if someone pushed in, would just think their situation might be worse?), we had to go and wait outside the "brain dept." and sneak in through another door. They only wanted one of us to go in with her due to lack of space apparently. As Y would be better language-wise, he went in and I went out to the car with L. I made sure that Y explained to H what was going to happen so that she wouldn't be afraid. She was apparently very good and hmmm..well I'm not really sure of the diagnosis..as always, but apparently there is some kind of mild infection, so she has cream and antibiotics and we are to go back in two weeks if there are still problems. So it was a "brave girl" day all round.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Two posts in one night?!?!?

I stole this from Once Upon A Tambo...;)


1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Bought a house, flew to the U.K. with my two children, became a kindergarten mother (yuk)

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any, so I didn't break any. I decided that there is too much pressure for me if I think about a new year being a new start. That way, if something goes wrong, I feel as if the year is doomed!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, especially the Japan Ladies! Everyone was popping them out!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What countries did you visit? U.K. and The Netherlands to visit my sister!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A job, for some extra cash, also I am ready for a little more time to myself so I can spend time with the family without feeling resentful. But to be honest, I am very lucky with what I have.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Nothing for this one. Of course, L turned one and H turned 3, but those dates are etched anyway!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Making a nice home?

9. What was your biggest failure? Ah, there is no failure. Positive thinking!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just minor aches and pains, and another appendix issue...

11. What was the best thing you bought? Definitely the house!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? H has been great this year. She has put up with a lot of changes and done really well.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Parents who don't belt up their children in the car. At all. I seriously think they should be locked up.

14. Where did most of your money go? Furniture and other house stuff at the end of the year, otherwise just average, probably mostly food. My family consume ridiculous amounts of it!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? HOUSE!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Paparazzi and Poker Face - Lady Gaga. H is a HUGE fan.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Well, I think I was a bit too self-indulgent and felt sorry for myself about being lonely. Now, I have adjusted and started to look at things from a different angle. Feels good not to whinge!
ii. thinner or fatter? 6kg thinner, yay!
iii. richer or poorer? definitely poorer...

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? economising, cleaning

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? worrying

20. How will you be spending Christmas? I'm wondering whether this year will be in the U.K., ut thinking that might be a shame seeing as Christmas Day is on a Saturday this year.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009? Ha ha, yes, with my gym..and cleaning products..I am a woman obsessed..

23. How many one-night stands? nope

24. What was your favorite TV program? Perfect Housewife (sad, I know)

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No hate, but I intensely dislike the kindie mummies..

26. What was the best book you read? This Charming Man - Marion Keyes

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? hmmm, nothing this year I don't think..

28. What did you want and get? A house!

29. What did you want and not get? A job.

30. What were your favorite films of this year? No time to watch any!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Just the usual day. I try not to build it up. Y came home and gave me a hot water bottle cover, with a ring box hidden inside - lovely white gold ring *O*

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not going down that road..remember, positive thinking!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Slim casual and slightly retro :D

34. What kept you sane? the gym

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? hmm...Josh Hartnett?

36. What political issue stirred you the most? Bah, they all rub me up the wrong way.

37. Who did you miss? My family

38. Who was the best new person you met? Have to say Sarah and Sophie!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. Don't take to heart what people tell you/advise you/suggest to you. There is no right way to live your life/raise a child/be a wife. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but that's all it is..THEIR opinion.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: TOO HARD!!!!