Monday, November 14, 2011

You know, one nice thing about being a slacker blogger who doesn't have many--um...any?--readers is that you don't have to apologize for the ridiculous time gaps between posts. Hee.

I don't know what happened. We got back from our extended stay in Okinawa and.... Okay, yeah, it's coming back to me a little bit. I recently read that a lot of kids start acting out around the half-year mark and R was about two and a half when we got back to Tokyo. And boy did she start acting out. I've blocked out most of it and I don't want to try to recall any more. But I do remember not having any desire to blog. Things got better after a few months though, and now, I have to say our relationship is fantastic. She's turning three this month, so--fingers crossed--we should have at least a six-month grace period before everything falls apart all over again: just about the time she starts kindergarten. Yippee.

For me, sharing one's life with a communicative kid is immeasurably better than with a cuddly unreasonable baby. I love the conversations I have with R. She actually points out things I, in my typical dazed way, tend to overlook. She helps me out, like when I'm stuck on the toilet and, too late, realize A used up all the stinkin' toilet paper but didn't put in a new roll. When it's bed time, and she's refusing to put on her PJs, I can actually say, "Fine. Then you put them on when you feel like it. Good night," and then leave the room.

R is being this amazing kid right now and I'm just holding my breath, waiting for everything to blow up in my face, cause that's the way I am. But I'm definitely not taking anything for granted or failing to enjoy the good times while they last. Sure, R has her quirks. She still refuses to really play at the park unless it's after dark--but she's now reluctantly able to share the playground with other children, though not too many. She still asks to be carried, a lot. She hardly walks--again, unless, it's dark (I don't know, I guess she feels safer, somehow, when she's less visible?). She has the appetite of a cow and it's a pain having to hear "I'm hun-gee" 263 times a day, let alone trying to appease that little stomach of hers. And right now, she has this annoying thing where she asks "What xyz saying?" every other second. You know how some kids ask "Why?" constantly? It's kind of like that. So, say we're about to leave the house and have to leave Edward the Dog behind, the ensuing conversation will go something like this:

R: What Eddie saying?
Me: He's saying, "Oh, I wish I could come with you guys."
R: What Ruka say?
Me: Sorry, Eddie, you can't come.
R: What Eddie say?
Me: Why not?
R: What Momma say?
Me: Because dogs aren't allowed into the supermarket.
R: What Eddie say?

Okay, you get the idea. It's hair-tearingly exhaustive conversation and is very, very difficult to put a halt to. Believe me, I've tried all sorts of distractions and commands, but once she's determined to know what everyone's saying, she'll just keep on asking. R used to love hearing me read books to her before bedtime, but now she just can't stop interrupting me, wanting to know what every person, creature, and thing on every page is saying. AND she asks "Why?" all the time, too, but in super-annoying ways:

R: Can we go to the playground?
Me: Sure.
R: Why?

R: I did it, mom. Say, "Good job."
Me: Good job, sweetie.
R: Why?

As I mentioned, R's birthday is coming up and the twinges of stress I feel here and there over getting her the cake she's asked for and trying to decide what present to buy her are huge foreshadowing for all the birthdays to come. Right now, she's little enough that as long as her cake is green (her favorite color), truly nothing else matters. But dear god, what happens when there are teeny, noisy little friends running around? When there is peer pressure to have a fun party, a gorgeous cake, the right presents, etc.? I know some parents enjoy that sort of thing, BUT I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. I'm already caving and deciding not to try to make R's cake myself, since I definitely do not cook pretty. I figure, living in Japan, it should be fairly easy to buy a green matcha cake, add a mountain of raspberries (her favorite fruit) on top, maybe stick in a plastic Santa (she saw a Christmas cake catalogue and was inspired), and--voila--you have R's dream birthday cake.

Well, for it to be totally perfect, there would have to be Jiji somewhere on the cake as well. Jiji is the little black cat in the Ghibli animated movie, Kiki's Delivery Service, currently R's favorite movie. But I...I know R is too young to conceive that a cake could actually be shaped like a cat or even feature a cake somewhere on its surface, so I'm going to be a mean mom and not even go there. Sort of the way, when she asks about a candy she's spotted in a store, a candy she's never tried before, I just shrug and feign ignorance, like, "Wow, I don't know what that is, either. Interesting, huh? Oh, hey, look, Miffy-shaped nori!!!" Is this terrible of me? I figure I've got YEARS of themed birthdays in my future and am in no rush to get there before it's absolutely necessary.