This Week – May 26th 2018 – Colds and Goblin Children Antics

Colds, pleasant weather, small children antics, and fretting about work things. Continue reading

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1 year old

On Saturday (29/10), Mr K finally turned one.

I seemed to run the full gamut of emotions in the lead-up to the big milestone, golden fuzzy warm nostalgia all the way down to bleak, dissolve-into-tears mess with no idea how the hell I’d made it this far and certain that I couldn’t manage it for much longer. Extreme, yes, but the year has encompassed both those feelings and all that lies between, so why not?

And here we are. 

Mr K is 12 months old, but we should really say one year now. I don’t know if I can still call him a baby? He still acts very much like a baby, though. He babbles at length, crawls everywhere, and finds inane objects utterly interesting. He stands up a lot but only when holding something, and he has taken a strong liking to opening and closing things, pulling things out and putting them in different places entirely. He doesn’t walk yet, but he is determined to skip that and climb on things instead. 

The time has been, and still is, so very distorted. How can one year have passed already, yet how can it have been only one? The days are long but the year(s) are short indeed.

Enough


Mr. K likes to nap on me, head in the crock of my arm and body sprawled across my lap. He sleeps well enough on his futon at night but during the day, ideally (for him), I get to play at being his futon.

Often, I get tired of this, itching to have my hands free and wishing I had at least worked harder to use a baby carrier. In the mornings in particular, at least when we’re here together, I’ll work to get him settled in his futon instead, where he should be. In the late afternoons, though, I lose the willpower for that fight and we end up just sitting here together for as long as we can. At those times, he is content. I am what he wants, what he needs. I am enough.

Sometimes, instead of feeling resigned, I remember how this cannot last. Seven long months have somehow slipped by already, and soon he will need so much more. It won’t be long at all, really, before I’m no longer enough . I have this fear of an unspecified time in the future where, surely, he’ll realize just how useless I am, and he’ll wish I was something else. Less tall, less obstinately foreign, more inclined to blend in. Someone who just inherently knows all the kanji and the unspoken social norms, someone like the other mothers, someone who actually cares about things like character bentos and properly sewing on nametags rather than someone whose interest in these things only extends to an uneasy awareness of how not interested I am.

But none of that is happening yet. I can hope it might never be, but eh… for now, I’ll sit here and let him sleep on me for as long as he wants and enjoy being enough for him for as long as I can.

Babies and work

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Not what things really look like for us, but hey…

I don’t think I was ever going to be a stay-at-home mother for that long after Mr. K was born. I know some women do, and that’s fine. Some do it for a long time, or even indefinitely, and that’s also completely fine.

It wasn’t for me, though. There was a brief period in my mid-20s where I wondered if this was something I should aspire to and even daydreamed a bit about it, but I recognise now that this had everything to do with how much I hated my job at the time and little to do with how well suited I might or might not be to it.

Much as I love Mr. K, I wanted to return to work. My job is reasonably enjoyable, as jobs go, and I liked the balance that it brought to my life. Having a variety of things to do in a variety of places for a variety of purposes works well for me so far.

While I’m at work, Mr. K is at childcare. I do not think this is a bad thing. It gives him a chance to interact with other people outside of the family, to socialise and play in a different environment. It’s also a good chance to build up his Japanese skills, since English is what he hears most of the time when he’s here. As I outlined here, I work part-time, and this keeps a good balance between time at home and time out and about, and my husband typically has at least one day off per week as well so they can spend time together then.

Despite all of the above, though, the main reason that I returned to work is financial. We need money. I sometimes find myself wondering if I should be working full-time, imagining how much better off we would be, but I do think we’re doing the best we can for Mr. K just now and that’s what’s important.

If I had some trust fund coming in from elsewhere, I might not be working, it’s true. Still, I imagine I would probably have some other side project happening. Maybe alternative-universe-rich-me might be working on a masters degree for the hell of it, or pretending to write a novel (N.B. I do this anyhow) or an important work, or mastering Japanese to some level that is currently relegated to pipe-dream status. Maybe Mr. K would be getting the social experiences I’ve described through a private nanny, niche playgroups, and extracurricular activities instead. I don’t know.

As nice as that reality sounds, this world is the one I live in, and this is the one R and I have to work within the limitations we have, balancing the needs we have to meet with what we want and what we can manage. It’s not easy. Alternatives sometimes look better. For now, though, I work, and it’s actually not that bad.

(Image source)

Journal

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I’m not 100% sure, but I strongly suspect the notebook itself was a gift from my younger sister

I like to keep journals. It helps me to scrawl out whatever inane thoughts I’m having onto paper and just process things. I’ve tried not doing it, or finding some means of carrying it out electronically instead to reduce the risk of other people reading them. Much of what I write is just me getting things out of my system and not necessarily fair, and I don’t think there’s much that’s profoundly interesting in them to make up for it, and thus the idea of anyone else sitting down and reading them is quite horrifying.

Still, I find it the easiest way for me personally to write about the minutiae of my life, and it’s interesting for me, at least, to come back to them later and look back. Thus, I keep writing anyway.

I finished off the above-pictured notebook this week and figured I’d share some selected… highlights… from it.

Life events of interest:

  • Sleepwalked through the final trimester of my pregnancy with Mr. K
  • Worried over premature labour
  • Worried over and tried to avoid an induction, failed
  • Gave birth to Mr. K
  • Mr. K’s first and second months
  • Christmas 2015 and New Year 2016
  • WINTER (there are so many variations of “omg it’s so cold” as opening sentences)
  • Mr. K’s third month

Selected quotes:

Feeling quite accomplished currently in contrast to yesterday afternoon… I did go to Hard-Off and I did buy stuff I wanted. I got a mobile and a baby carrier!
– 15th October 2015, buying baby stuff at the secondhand store

… went to Babies R Us. R thought I called it “Baby’s Arse” because… katakana?!
– 
1st November 2015 (re: 28th October, day before Mr. K was born). The joys of Japanese.

I felt this horrible tugging inside me, and a drop, as though something critical had pulled away… bad, it was bad…
– 1st November 2015 (it was a long entry). Regarding childbirth.

May be coming out of the maternity blues hole now, but the crying still isn’t just his.
– 
28th November 2015

… it’s my fault for not “reading the atmosphere”. Between him (R) and his mother, the atmosphere can go **** itself.
– 16th January 2016. Clashes with my mother-in-law and general adjustment to life with a baby have caused some friction.

 

Cafes in Japan – Doutor, January 2016


This is a standard afternoon cake set at Doutor, made up of a chestnut milk crepe cake and my standard black coffee.

I took this photo about a week and a half ago, and that is indeed a small person across the table keeping his beady little eyes on things (and his toy lion). It was his second time at a café and he actually behaved quite well.

We were doing something of a trial run to see if he might be able to sit through me conducting an English lesson in a café. There’s a couple of students I would a) like to resume teaching when I can, both for financial reasons and emotional/mental ones, and b) like me enough (I hope?) or are keen enough to tolerate the risk of disruptions.

Work matters aside, though? I like going to cafés to read and/or write. If he is happy to chill there too, just for 45 or even 60 minutes once a week? There’s something kind of liberating about that. Hell, it would even help abett some tension R and I have been experiencing regarding who gets free time when.

I wish I could type the above paragraph without feeling guilty and finding myself with the urge to state how much I love Mr K, just to make sure nobody misunderstands me.