16 Weeks

Well, since I'll be 17 weeks tomorrow, I thought I should go ahead and do a quick 16-week post. Apparently Baby Munday #2 is the size of an avocado and is growing fingernails!

From about week 13 up to now, I've been feeling little twitches, but two days ago I really felt much stronger movements as I was lying in bed trying to wake up from a quick nap. That sure startled me and I did wake up very quickly after that! Since then I've felt strong movements several times and it's all starting to seem like reality now.

Teacher Sentenced

The UK teacher in Sudan, Gillian Gibbons, whose story I wrote about yesterday, has been sentenced to fifteen days in jail as a result of her students' decision to name a class teddy bear "Muhammad."

I'm hopping mad and wishing I could do something.

Sometimes you just need a good strong shot of something...

...in the arm. (Yeah, you were thinking of something in a glass, weren't you?)

You know you're spending a lot of time with a toddler attached at the hip when it's pretty darn exciting just to go to the doc by yourself in the evening for a flu vaccine. Woo-hoo! Beam me up, Orita Sensei!

There were tons of high schoolers there waiting for their flu shots, too, and Stephen thinks it's so that they won't get sick and miss their all-important exams.

It was a lovely evening for a walk: nice breeze, brisk air, autumnal scents. I even stopped by the co-op on the way back for a few groceries, and wow, it was amazing going to the ladies room all by my lonesome! I could have peace on the potty, not worrying about little hands touching dirty handles in the stall and drain holes in the floor. (What is the deal with boy toddlers' fascination with drains???)

I didn't have to dig in my backpack to whip out any healthy snacks in the checkout lane to avoid gum, candy, and magazines from disappearing off the racks.

And the best part of all: I came home to a nice warm house, a huggy hubby (he really missed me!), and a happy bean. Life is good (and hopefully flu free).

What's in a Name?

Gillian Gibbons, a teacher from Liverpool, has been teaching at a private school in Sudan. After allowing her elementary-aged students to choose the name of the class teddy bear ("Muhammad"), outraged parents contacted the Sudanese government.

Ms. Gibbons now faces imprisonment, fines, and/or lashes for "insulting Islam."

I'm not a very political person, but as a former teacher I really feel for Ms. Gibbons, who was only trying to give her students some choice (and as every trained teacher in the West is taught, choice is good in the classroom).

I'm praying for her safe release!

Who needs toys...

...when you've got egg cartons?

A New Friend

Andi (from Canada) came over for dinner last night, and it was the first time she'd met Matthew and Stephen. She and I met at the grocery store a while back, but this is the first time we'd been able to get together, and we had so much fun getting to know her (especially Matthew--she's great with kids). Looking forward to hanging out with Andi more!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is obviously not a holiday in Japan (no Pilgrims or Native Americans here as far as I know, though apparently Japanese and Native Americans are originally descended from Mongolians), so no day off from work, but we did celebrate with our friends Chikara and Sarah and their four girls on Saturday. It was a lovely spread! Sarah had gone all out and brought out her best china, and the food was so yummy. I think Matthew must've been pretty tired afterwards, because he took a five-hour nap the next day (and he's fighting a cold with wheezing, too, poor little blokey).

We have much to be grateful about, and Saturday was a great day of celebration. It was fun to join our friends' traditions and to go around the table before eating, each person saying something they are thankful for. Matthew didn't voice his opinion, but he sure did dig those bread rolls.

This Is Your Brain on Hormones

I'm not a high-maintenance girl, but I do dab a pea-sized amount of gel into the ends of my hair when I get out of the shower to stop my naturally wavy locks from flying away.

So this morning I get out of the shower, open a bottle, slather a huge amount into my palm, rub it together with my other hand, and smear it all over my head, only to discover it was body lotion and my once-clean hair was a grease pit.

I'm sure Stephen was wondering why he heard the shower go twice.

Fall Has Fallen

Picnic lunch by the Shukugawa River on Sunday (this is a famous place for cherry blossoms, too)...




Never a Dull Moment

Just went in to gather Matthew from his no-fun zone (aka playpen with no toys in it) in the spare room after his three-minute stint, and found a very happy toddler with nothing on from the waist down! He had taken his trousers off just before he did his jail time, so I left him that way, and I guess he didn't like wearing his diaper either.

Even in a no-fun zone, kids can always find their own fun.

(He did a poo right after this incident, so I'm glad I caught him in time! That could've been a very big mess.)

Baby's 15 Weeks Old

Now the size of an apple, 4 inches long, and bringing in amniotic fluid through his/her nose and upper respiratory tract, the baby can also sense light and is moving around quite a bit. I'm very occasionally sensing teeny movements, and starting to feel a bit less queasy than before.

Little Baby's growing up big and strong!

Red Priest Video Clip

I've been asked about Red Priest music (and I did get tickets for the concert, by the way!), so if you want to see a short clip, look no further than YouTube.

They're Coming! They're Coming!

I blogged about Red Priest (an eclectic Baroque quartet) the other day, saying how I'd seen them on Japanese TV and fallen in love.

Immediately I e-mailed their manager, Maureen, asking if they had any DVDs of their concerts available, and unfortunately they don't (planning one to be released next fall), BUT...

They are coming to Nishinomiya on December 8 and 9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Apparently they're touring Japan from December 2, and will be at the Hyogo Prefectural Arts Center on the 8th and 9th. The 9th is already sold out, so I'll be working the phones today to try to get tickets for the 8th. Fun fun fun!!!!

"Coincidence"?

Yesterday morning Matthew and I had walked down our hill to do a few errands (post office, grocery store), and I was pushing him back up when we saw one of our neighbors from our building pushing her 2.5-year-old son down the hill heading for the station. I've only met her twice before, and don't know her that well, but she asked right away if I was having a baby. I guess it really shows now!

Anyway, it turns out she's pregnant and due around the same time I am (I'm May 13 and she's May 4). When I asked her where she's popping her sprog, she said the exact same small clinic where we're having ours! Small world.

Because I have to have another C-section, the docs want to deliver a bit earlier than my due date, so it's very possible she and I will end up in the clinic at the same time, and when you go into Japanese hospital you always have plenty of time to meet and greet the other patients.

I'm looking forward to getting to know her better, and I think Matthew could have some more fun playmates. He's a social bean so I know he won't have any problem with this!

Sleeping Bean

Matthew during his after-lunch DVD time today.

Red Priest - I want I want I want...

OK, this is not really aimed at anyone other than Stephen (hubby hint), but I WANT a Red Priest CD (Christmas? Thanksgiving? Now?).

It was a bit of a weird morning for Matthew and me. The other day we had gotten a letter from the city saying Matthew needed his second polio vaccine, so I didn't even bother to look in his vaccine history book. We got to the city vaccine center, about fifteen minutes early, and of course there were already a million other mothers lined up with their kids, waiting for the stations to open. I waited in line to turn in the questionnaire (does your kid have allergies? has your kid ever reacted to a vaccine before? has your kid had a major illness recently? what's your kid's favorite color? does he pick his nose in public? etc.) and his vaccine history book, and the lady started looking everything over. She got a confused look on her face, told me he'd already had the second part of the vaccine, and took my paperwork over to a head honcho waiting in the wings (a man, of course). He looked over my stuff and showed me in the book that Matthew had gotten his vaccine book stamped on June 13, and that he didn't need the vaccine today, he'd already had it. What? So why did the city send me the paperwork and tell me to show up? And why did I not check his book? And worst of all, why the heck didn't I remember? June's not that long ago, really. And you know what? Even after seeing the stamp in Matthew's book, I still have absolutely no recollection of ever taking him for it.

So I felt kinda dumb in front of all those other mothers, who were ALL staring (at least it felt that way). I thought they and the head honcho dude probably thought I was a dumb gaijin who didn't know anything, whereas in actuality I'm just a mommy of a toddler who's already had a gajillion vaccines. I just kind of stammered something in response, and we booked it on out of there.

There was a baby department store kind of close by where I needed to get a few things, so we stopped for a few minutes, then headed home and stopped at our local Kansai Su-pa grocery store en route. I told Matthew that after we got a few things, he could play on the playground out front for a while before lunch. Well, Matthew's a pretty good kid, but he does have his moments, and decided that that moment was one he needed to seize. He had an all-out temper tantrum when I tried to put him in the cart, so the little bean did NOT get his playtime out front as anticipated.

By the time we got home and I was getting lunch together, I was feeling pretty preggo and hormonal, so turned on the tube as a distraction. Every day at 11:30 one of the stations plays some kind of mini-classical music concert that Matthew likes to watch while I make lunch. Today was Red Priest, and I fell IN LOVE. They're an eclectic rocky Baroque quartet from the UK, and soon I was humming along to Vivaldi and forgetting all about tantrums. What tantrums?

Just give me some more of that music...and ASAP, darn it.

Blessing

Japan has a shichi-go-san (seven-five-three) ceremony for kids at Shinto shrines (for when boys are three and five years old and girls are three and seven years old). Christian groups around Japan want to bless the kids with prayer to the one Creator God instead, so yesterday at our little Sunday meeting they asked the kids (of any age) and their parents to come forward for this blessing. Actually, our group is so small that the only one in the room not in the photo was the pastor's wife, who was taking the picture (and trying to get everybody to look in the same direction, which was not an easy feat).

CHOCOLATE!!!

According to a Japanese TV show we just saw, if you eat chocolate when you're pregnant your baby is more likely to smile.

Bring on the Cadbury's Dairy Milk!

14 Weeks!

The littlest Munday is growing like a weed--now the size of a lemon, the face can make all kinds of expressions, and apparently he/she is wee-weeing into the amniotic fluid already. It hardly seems real that I'm pregnant (even though I'm already showing a teensy bit), but the continued queasiness bears witness to the fact. I'm feeling well overall, and enjoying feeling teeny-tiny movements occasionally (already). We're already talking to the baby and trying to get Matthew gradually used to the idea of a baby hanging around in my tummy. A good friend in the UK (thanks, Emma!) gave us the idea of showing Matthew loads of babies in magazines, books, and real life, so I've already started doing that.

Ultrasound scans to come to the blog...someday...

20 Months Today!

  • Likes 7-11 signs (and said "seven" on Oct. 20 when we told him the name of the store--sounded more like "seh-uhn").
  • Drew a picture with crayons for the first time (with Grandma's help to show him how, and then he did it by himself).
  • Makes a telephone noise with his lips and loves when we repeat the same thing. Can go back and forth for ages.
  • Likes when Daddy flips him upside down so he can do a handstand (with help, of course). This always makes me a bit nervous, especially when he's just eaten!
  • Says "sheedoh" and "ahdeedah" a lot, though we're not sure what they mean exactly.
  • Says "nigh nigh," and if you say it to him at night he starts walking towards his bedroom.
  • Waves to buses and trucks.
  • Loves cardboard boxes like there's no tomorrow. Who needs toys?
  • When we put on music, Matthew rushes over to us with his arms outstretched wanting a dance. So sweet!
  • If you ask him where his tummy is, he'll lift up his shirt and point to his belly button.
  • Taking after his Pop Melton (who's got an unabashed thing for Julie Andrews), Matthew's got a thing for The Sound of Music soundtrack and loves to dance to Do Re Mi. (Stephen didn't even know we had this soundtrack and doesn't want me to admit to it. Anyway.)
  • Matthew's favorite book (and one of Stephen's when he was young) is The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
  • "Sheeda" is "cereal" and "ahsheetah" is "caterpillar." "Cheettah" is any kind of big moving vehicle (train, bus, truck).
  • The other night I was folding clothes, and noticed one of the folded dishcloths had disappeared. I looked over at Matthew, and he was wiping the dining room table with it, like he's seen me do countless times. Cute!
  • Brings me bits of fluff from the carpet (and old cereal boxes we've given him that he's torn up) held between two fingers.
  • Just the other evening Stephen was saying to Matthew, "There's a baby in Mommy's tummy!" Matthew immediately lifted up his shirt and inspected his own tummy. (This reminds me of a friend who's pregnant. She said he two-year-old daughter thinks there's a baby in her own tummy, and she's given him the name of her daddy. Cute.)

Fall Leaves

Today was just the right time to drive up into the hills behind Nishinomiya to see the fall leaves. Unfortunately, the road is steep, winding and narrow, so the leaves seen from the car are glimpsed for a brief moment before they are gone.

Once we got to the farm, though, there was lots of time to enjoy the different colors - in between chasing Matthew from sheep to sheep. Click through to see bigger versions of these pictures as they are really beautiful.


Sheep Rustling




Back to the sheep farm on Mt. Rokko today for a fall outing...chasing poor unsuspecting woolly animules, one of whom got revenge by waiting till Matthew leaned on him, then running away, leaving Matthew face down in some pebbles with a bloody lip and wanting a cuddle. Overall, a really good day with cool breezes and gorgeous autumn colors (panorama shot to come later).

Plunking Around

Yesterday I did some copyediting in the morning while Matthew played, and then again in the afternoon when he slept, and in the middle, as a noontime sandwich, we went to our friends' house for lunch and fun (and we had a gorgeous chicken stew that I tried to replicate today - yum).



Matthew had a blast seeing his friend Chiaki again, and her mom teaches guitar lessons, so the little pickle-bean got to do some plunking while Chiaki practiced her reading. Chiaki is going to be a big sister to her little sister who's arriving in December, so maybe Matthew can learn a few helpful hints from her on how to be the "big" sibling.

Autumn Falls Again

You know it's officially fall when you turn the toilet seat heater back on. Toasty buns are one of life's lovely comforts...

Ball Pool



I knew I should stay home and do some copyediting work this morning, but when I got a call from my friend Nobue that a local community center was hosting a "ball pool" for the kids, I knew we had to go. Matthew gets frustrated being cooped up all day, and I figured it would be more fun for both of us to just get out of the house, and then during his nap this afternoon I did some work.

Rei chan enjoyed selecting all the orange balls to put in a bucket, and very cleverly told me the color, too. Matthew's favorite activity was opening the doors of a play kitchen set and sticking his head in, then dropping small toys in, retrieving them, and then slamming the doors back. This was repeated and repeated and repeated...you get the picture.

Friendly Faces


Rei chan came to visit yesterday so her mommy could have a bit of a break, and Matthew was ecstatic to see his little friend again. It had been a while.

Celebrity Status

What would we do if we ever moved back to one of our home countries and had to endure the fate of being completely normal? (Well, I guess we'd never be completely normal.)

Everywhere Matthew and I go we run into people who out of the blue ask if that child is Matthew. And the crazy thing is, I have no idea who these people are! I guess they are friends of friends who know us, but that doesn't help me recognize them any easier.

A blond gaijin smiley boy sure does attract a lot of attention. Now I know how the Beckhams feel.

A Game for Three

We spent a lovely weekend with our good friend Andy Game (of Alpha Japan fame) and his parents, Avril and Phil, who are on an around-the-world tour for a couple of months, visiting friends all over the place. What fun they are! We did a lot of laughing and Matthew loved the extra attention, again. We're now out of visitors until next May, so let us know if you'd like to come stay!

Wuzzup

I haven't been fantastic at posting lately, but absence makes the heart grow fonder (hopefully)!

So it's been a bit of a sprint around here lately, but all fun and all good. Where do I even start?

OK, how about Baby Munday in utero? Precious already! I'm now 13 weeks and growing...Matthew thinks it's hilarious in the shower to play with my belly button (which is quickly becoming an outy as compared to its normal inny state). Maffaboo loves to play with his own belly button (ALL the time) so it's not surprising he finds other people's fascinating as well.

I'm not going to the clinic where I had Matthew (it's farther away and one of the two docs left the practice recently, so the remaining doc is worn out, and I'm not having an exhausted guy cut me open in May). I had a C-section with Matthew because he was frank breech, and so I'll have to a C-section for #2 as well (I don't think they're hot on VBACs over here). The new practice I'm going to is close, only about a ten-minute drive, which will be great for the second birth because we'll have Matthew to think of then as well. I'm due May 13, but the head doc at the clinic wants to deliver two weeks early so that I won't go into labor. I'm not so keen on this idea (but you don't argue with docs in Japan), but Stephen thinks it's great because the baby will probably come during Golden Week (a week of holidays here in Japan), and then he can use his paternity leave later.

Yoshida Clinic, where I'm popping this sprog in May, is very frilly (with lots of lace and cherubs--bleck), but the four docs have been lovely. The system in Japan is much stricter than America, and the docs make you come every two weeks in your first trimester (probably lines their pockets a bit, hey). I've already had about five ultrasounds (scanned pics to come later, just as soon as we get ourselves in gear and actually scan them), and we've seen and heard the baby's heartbeat several times already. (Yes, I cry every time, it's just so darned sweet.) Every visit they give me a picture of an outline of a baby superimposed over a piece of fruit. Two weeks ago Baby was a strawberry, and just this past weekend was a lemon. Stephen joked with the doc and said that if it was the size of a watermelon we'd be in trouble. Ha ha. Easy for him to say.

I had a 4D scan this past visit, and it was so amazing to see just how fearfully and wonderfully made this little sprog is. We could see his/her face very clearly (beautiful!), hands, feet, back. Apparently a thirteen-week-old baby already has fingerprints! How awesome is that!

I'm feeling well, though we've had some colds on and off (Stephen's on at the moment with lots of hacking and coughing), but Matthew and I are both much better. I'm a bit tired (very normal for the first trimester) and still queasy pretty much 24-7, but crackers seem to help. With Matthew I craved milk and fruit, and I'm eating a lot of fruit now with this pregnancy, but don't even show me a glass of milk this time around. Ooooh gross. I'm hoping I'm getting enough calcium with all the cheese I'm scarfing. I really just want salty stuff all the time, and better yet, give it to me right now (with organic peanut butter on top, please). A dear Filipina friend sent some gorgeous homemade chicken adobo to me the other day, via her husband who picks Stephen up for work, and totally made my month. Thanks, Lisa, you're a gem!

I've got some posts about the baby saved as drafts, and someday I'll put them up and alert you to their whereabouts. I just haven't been as good this time around about doing a post every week with the baby's developments (like I did with Matthew). Sorry, Baby! It doesn't mean I love you any less, it just means I've got a toddler-bean to chase around, and I haven't got the same amount of time to sit around and muse on every little aspect of being pregnant like I did when I was preggo with Maffaboo.

Matthew is a little treasure. I just love this boy! Everywhere we go, even when we're in the car and stopped at a red light or near a bus stop, the little blond gaijin boy attracts major attention, and it's not just because he's blond. Matthew lights up the universe with his gorgeous smile and sunny personality! You can't help but smile when he smiles, and even grumpy old men in elevators are suddenly changed into cooing blobs when they glance Matthew's way. You gotta love that child! There's just no way around it.

I did catch him with his hands splashing around in the toilet the other day, and it didn't make me love him any less, but I was a bit peeved about that little escapade. :)

It's sometimes hard being a stay-at-home-mommy, but I don't envy my friends who have to go out to work full-time and be away from their kiddies. I've got bentos and copyediting (new project starting today) to keep my mind semi-pliable, and I do have a heck of a lot of fun laughing with the Bean. Our new mommy-toddler joke (because Matthew absolutely adores homemade fruit-juice jello) keeps us smiling: I say "jello" with intonation like "hello," rising at the end of the word and making it really dramatic, and we giggle and smile. Matthew's whole face crinkles up. Not exactly the in-depth complicated bantering of Yes, Prime Minister, but it works for us, at least for the moment.

I'm happy with our little growing family unit. I'm blessed beyond belief, and I love the way Ephesians 2 says it all: " Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus."


 

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