Little Joel Beansprout makes his big debut tomorrow at the Santa Cruz Ladies' and Maternity Clinic, about 1:00 or 2:00 pm Japan time. I'll check in to the hospital at 10:00, Stephen will then take Matthew to our friend's home for the day, grab some lunch on the way back, and be back with me before Joel's appearance. Wow! Exciting times in the Munday household!
Stephen had Monday and Tuesday off, which was really nice (we got a lot done in preparation and had some fun family time, too), is back at work today, and will be off from tomorrow for a week or so (my parents arrive on May 8). I'll be in the hospital about a week.
Matthew and I will pick Stephen up from work this evening and go out to eat at Kobeya, one of our favorite eateries and where Stephen and I had a meal the night before I went in to the hospital to have Matthew (it's tradition!).
Big Brother Matthew and I went to the playground this morning and as always, I was impressed with how the Bean treated the little babies in their strollers. He's always so interested and wants to coo at them; he's got a special Matthew voice that he uses with wee ones and I know he'll be a wonderful big bro.
We're all so excited to meet little JSM!
I guess it's safer than wolves!
Stephen and Matthew took a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon/early evening while I got dinner made (my last meal to cook for a while!), and apparently Matthew found the mosquitoes swirling around their heads really hilarious.
Ah, the innocence of the young. Pretty soon he'll be smooshilating them like the rest of us "wiser" folk do.
The other day when we went to have Matthew's 2 year photos taken at the studio we (well, Matthew) were flattered to be asked whether it would be OK for them to use one of his little poses in their next promotional flier. No problem at all. Our only condition was that they should send us some copies for our family peeps around the world.
So, here is the finished product. Can you spot the big M?
Here is his little bit blown up:
The lady looking down adoringly at him is the one who took his photo that day. Her quote reads, "Little fireman, you set a fire in my heart!" Clearly, he has won over at least one admirer. Watch out, Matthew!
If we ask Matthew if he can say "Joel" or where the baby is, he points to or pats my tummy. And sometimes he says "Go" for his little bro's name.
Just a quick plug here for a site you may not have heard of called RetailMeNot: I needed to upgrade Norton a couple of days ago as our subscription was running out and we did not want to leave the computer unprotected. Anyway, a quick search at the aforementioned site revealed a number of different money-off coupon codes, one of which I used to save 10% off the purchase price.
Matthew is finally coming out of the other side of the illness he had last week. He is still a bit fragile, but more and more of his previous self is showing itself again, so we decided to head down to the harbor today for some run around time. This might be the last visit to the park down there before Joel is born, so it was a bit of a special time for that reason as well.
We also saw a beautiful classic yacht that we had seen moored there before called the Westward. Using the amazing powers of Google, we found the blog of the owners, who are currently cruising the exotic Pacific, including stopping in our very own humble Nishinomiya. Actually, this is a great base from which to launch out to all kinds of touristy places, like Kyoto and Nara, so I can see why they chose to make a stop here. The blog about the sails of the Westward is very interesting, so rather than writing more here, I will just link to them and you can read more on their site, and you can see more about the history of this yacht here.
Today is my little sister's big day, so happy birthday, Sharon! My good friend from college, Kelly, also celebrates her birthday today, so happy birthday to Kelly as well!
I woke up a few times in the night with abdominal pain (though no regular contractions yet) and had to walk around, so I was wondering if Joel would be sharing their day, too.
Joel-bun, stay in there a little longer to bake!
Not long now! Joel turned 38 weeks old today and he'll be born at 38 weeks and 5 days. He's getting stronger and stronger every day, with lots of kicks and knee thrusts that serve to let me know he's certainly still hanging around in my non-woomy womb. I'm now on my fourth bottle of Tums and still going...even drinking water gives me heartburn so I'm really really ready for Joel to be birthed on Thursday. Can't wait to give him proper cuddles and not just pats on his little in-utero bum.
Just sitting around chatting (OK, yes, I admit, worrying) with Stephen about the upcoming C-section next Thursday, and I was wondering if Shiota Sensei is really old enough to be cutting me open and taking the baby out? Does she really know what she's doing? I mean she's nice and all, but we're talking about taking a knife to my stomach! Stephen confidently assured me she is about the same age as him, but I still think of hubby as a sweet young thing so that wasn't really encouraging.
Then I got into the BBC news tonight and saw this couple in the UK just gave birth to identical triplets, a very rare occurrence indeed. Wow. But actually, you know what, that wasn't what impressed me the most. The new parents, in their early twenties, look really, really youthful to me, like adolescents.
And why the heck do all the cops in Japan look like they're in high school? Are they really in charge of keeping everybody safe? I mean, come on.
Am I turning into an old fart right before my very own eyes?
Even the picture at the top of our blog is back! (Wonder where it was hiding for about a week???)
Phew. What a whirlwind of a few days. Again, I'm just so glad it was this week and not next week!
Matthew went to bed last night about 8:15ish, and we had to go in and wake him up this morning at 10:00! That's a record sleep for him, for sure.
He had a really puffy face this morning, I think because he cried so much yesterday when he was getting the IVs and he was just exhausted. His eyes could barely open but he did manage to drink some water and eat a bit of breakfast (even with a temperature, though it was lower than yesterday)! Yea!
We took him to the ENT as instructed (he got upset when we drove past the pediatrician's office!) and he cried his head off again when the doc poked and prodded, but there was so sign of any ear infections. Woo-hoo! And afterwards, at the pediatrician's again (she called us this morning to remind us to make sure we got our bums in there again today after we went to the ENT), his temperature had gone down to normal, and we told her he was drinking again, so he wasn't given any more IVs. What a relief for everyone and especially for Matthew.
Stephen's back at work, Matthew's just had a bit of cheese toast, a couple of bites of banana, some of the rice from my 7-11 sushi, and half a cup of milk and he's in bed for his nap, exhausted but healthy again.
Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes, everyone! God really used the IVs last night to bring Matthew back to good health today (he didn't even have the energy to stand up yesterday afternoon). The bean was even a bit cheeky after we got home about lunchtime today (though still floppy and tired), so I know he's on the road to full recovery.
Matthew's been refusing to eat or drink for much of the day today, so after dry diapers and a bit of semi-delirium this afternoon, his fever going up and down, and his eyes looking really strange, Stephen and I took him to the doc this evening (she stays open till 7:30 pm after a long break in the middle of the day). Matthew ended up having almost two hours worth of IVs (400 mL total), with a soaring temperature reaching 40.4 C (104.7 F) via axillary thermometer at one point. It took five of us adults to hold him down (well, four adults pinned him and the doctor gave him the IV) and I've never heard him scream like that, and for so long. My mommy heart was hurting, too, and as I held him down I cried a bit and hoped my snot didn't drip on everything as I couldn't leave to go get a tissue! Stephen was very strong and even sang Matthew some songs, and after I calmed down I joined him.
It looks like the bean might have an ear infection in his right ear as well, so we have to take him to the ENT doc in the morning and then go back to the pediatrician after that for another IV.
I'm sad that Matthew feels so puny but I'm relieved it's happening this week and not next!
Now that it's 9:15 pm, it's time for some dinner and a few relaxing moments before hitting the hay. Matthew's in Snooze Land after an exhausting day.
The things mothers will do for their sick kids.
If I have to put in the koala DVD one more time, I'm going to start sending hate mail to those cute little fuzzy mammals Down Under. (Did you know that their name literally means "the animals that don't drink water" because they get all the liquids they need from what they eat? And did you know that once the babies are weaned from breast milk at six months then they chow down on their mama's doo doo until they can devour proper adult lala cuisine? The poo has all the nutrition they need. And all the flavor you could ever hope for. You can learn lots of fun tidbits of info like that from kids' DVDs, and the beans will grow up to be Einsteins, too, just from watching over and over and over and over and over...)
Matthew's temp is back up to 39.5 C (over 103 F), poor bean, so that's the only reason I put up with the cutesy ditsy female narrator and the authoritative dominating know-it-all male narrator (all in Japanese) on the lala DVD. Maybe I should encourage them to jump in the lake! And the video shots of the animals are mostly in confined concrete zoo cages and that drives me up the wall. Poor kids. They feel the need, the need to roam free.
And I'm feeling the need, the need to head to my bed.
While grocery shopping last night I saw a guy wearing a black T-shirt with big white letters across the chest that read, SPIRIT SPEAKS. A truer word was never written, though I don't suppose he meant anything by it or even knew what it said.
I went in to check on Matthew at 9:30 and he woke up fully, looking like he'd been to a drunken party all night with a few fights thrown in for good measure, but with a lower fever than the last two days. Phew.
Genki is the Japanese word for "healthy" or "full of life and vigor". We were so surprised last night in the car on the way back home from the hospital when Stephen was saying, "Oh, poor Matthew, he's not very genki right now."
Lo and behold, little Maffa pipes up from the back seat and yells out, "Genki!" Perfect timing. Perfectly pronounced. Perfectly executed. Ten out of ten from the perfectly unbiased parental judges.
How ironic! He'd been listless all day, had just been to a doc because of a high fever and other symptoms, but he chose that moment to show off his Japanese skills and to enunciate a word that means strong and well!
I guess all this getting up in the night is preparation for Joel's arrival--Matthew's just getting us ready. Very helpful.
We ended up in the "emergency room" last night for M's fever, which the medicine from the pediatrician didn't touch. It was still well over 103 F (39 C) and not budging, and poor Matthew was suffering. Not eating. Not really drinking. Not happy. (He even turned up his nose at ice cream, which is totally unlike him!)
I say "emergency room" in quotes because when we got to the big prefectural hospital in Nishinomiya that is supposed to have what we would call an emergency room and where you are supposed to go with your kids after hours, the guys at a desk in a back room (which we had to reach using an obscure side door because the front main doors were all locked and the lobby was dark) told us that there was no pediatrician on duty. Stephen and I were trying to maintain an even keel, but we questioned them repeatedly: Are you sure there is no doctor here who could see our son?
They gave us a map to a small office a few miles away. I questioned them again. What if there was a really big emergency and we brought our son to this massive serving-the-whole-area hospital and no doc was available?
The "emergency" doctors move around to different locales and I guess you're just supposed to automatically know this and know where they are at all times. Nice.
I guess if there was a really big emergency (hopefully this never happens) we just call an ambulance and wait while they drive 5 km an hour through 15 gazillion red lights and tons of traffic.
OK, maybe you can see we weren't really impressed.
So we got to the pediatrician's after-hours office and waited a little while (not too long, though), saw the doc, who said it could be measles until we pointed out in Matthew's little medical history book that he's had the vaccination for that already, really accomplished nothing except learning that it was probably just viral and would go away, and were back home in a couple of hours and Maffa was in bed by 10:15 or so.
He was up again for a while after 1:00 am with more of the raging fever, crying and miserable, poor little bean. The only thing he would touch was milk, which promptly ended up gracing my pajamas and Matthew's (in a form you don't want to know about). We watched some footie on the telly (Melbourne and Osaka) and that seemed to distract him for a while, and after the Calpol kicked in he seemed ready for bed again. It's 9:00 and he's just starting to wake up (that's the latest he's ever slept!) so I'll keep you posted.
Only one week from today and Joel will be arriving to check out this big world we live in!
The Bean's feeling a bit under the weather today and had a temp last night of 103 F (39.6 C), didn't sleep as well as he usually does, has a sore throat and another symptom you probably don't want to know about.
His temp dropped down to 101 (38.3 C) this morning so we thought he was getting better, but then about 10:00 am it rose to 39.1 C (102 F) and by the time I got him to the pediatrician's office it was 39.7 (103.5 F). He's just been kind of sitting around listlessly this morning, not smiling much, not really wanting to eat or drink much, and his eyes have that glassy look that says, "I don't feel well, Mama." I've been holding him in my lap a lot and cuddling, which is very unlike the on-the-go Bean.
Anyway, I prayed that the doc's office wouldn't be crowded, and we ended up being the only ones there (the mommy and child ahead of us were just leaving)! Usually the parking lot is full and you have to wait ages (they don't take appointments). Thanks, Papa!
Maffa got seen by Dr. Oriyama (very nice lady whose office is really close to us), we hopped next door to the pharmacy, and we were headed back home in 25 minutes. And Matthew got TWO sets of stickers (bullet train and monkeys), a quick snack, and lots of attention, so he perked up a bit. (He screamed bloody murder and tried to hit me, the doc, and the nurse when Oriyama Sensei listened to his chest and looked in his throat and ears, though. Not his favorite thing.)
The next door neighbor came over to hold Matthew down while I gave him his suppository to bring the fever down (thank you, thank you, thank you, Mrs. Kusano!), so I don't know if she'll be in Matthew's good books anymore or not, but he was happy to cuddle with me during his favorite TV show afterwards.
He's gone down for his afternoon nap a bit early and I'm headed for one myself. Who cares about the dishes? Not me! They can just stew a bit longer.
Today was my last pregnancy checkup, so next time I go to the clinic it will be for the delivery! I wasn't dilated at all so it looks like Joel is content to stay put for now. I check in on Thursday, May 1, at 10:00 a.m. and the C-section will be about 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. We asked for the grand tour today, and though all the rooms were full and we couldn't see one, we did get to see the delivery room. It looks more homey and less sterile and hospital-like than the one Matthew was born in, so that's a bonus. Everything's good!
When it's been Matthew's DVD time lately, he's been asking for the "lala" DVD. Up until yesterday I thought he was saying "yellow" and I wasn't sure what he was referring to (though one of his Baby Einstein DVDs has a yellow kangaroo on the front). I finally figured it out: He was wanting to watch his animal DVD that has a koala on the front cover!
Today you're full term (37 weeks)! (That doesn't mean you should try to appear before May 1, though. Don't get any ideas!)
If you haven't seen Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, now's your chance! We rented it this past week and thoroughly enjoyed the comedy and twists. I've been disappointed with a couple of Allen movies lately (Match Point and Crimes and Misdemeanors), but if you're looking for funny ones, rent the first one I mentioned along with Radio Days and Small Time Crooks, and sit back for some belly laughs.
Oh, and don't forget the popcorn (or the creme brulee from Tsumagari).
Yesterday was the first time I felt Joel having hiccups, and he had them twice in one day! Matthew used to get them a few times every day while in utero. Joel's had them again today (once so far) and it's such a cute feeling.
The problem was that I didn't feel the earth move under my feet...
This morning around 1 a.m. as I woke up and shuffled down the hall to um, do what I needed to do, I also stopped in the kitchen for a drink of water on the way back to bed. My heart skipped several beats as the door to our guest room started rattling. I knew I hadn't gained THAT much weight with this pregnancy (actually, I've gained exactly the same amount I did with Matthew) and that we didn't have any guests who could possibly be turning over on the air bed, but I rushed back to bed without my drink, trying to figure out (with a fuzzy 1 a.m. head) what the heck had happened. Stephen started calling for me, wanting to know if I was OK--the earthquake had woken him up and he was worried that it might get more violent.
It never did get any bigger, but phew, I'm glad the door noises weren't because I was big!
Two weeks from today, baby...
I'm getting really excited and looking forward to meeting this new member of the Munday family. I can already tell that he's cute as a bug's ear! Little toes and fingers to kiss...awww...
It's been a bit of a weird day. I wasn't feeling great this morning (dizzy, exhausted, just plain not myself) so Stephen came back about 10:00 to do work from home and take care of Matthew for a few hours before heading back to work for a 2:00 meeting. I even felt so freakish I asked Stephen to take me to the local co-op grocery store so I could get my blood pressure checked (they have a machine in the lobby, a bit like the scales in Publix entrances, but who the heck wants every shopper in the store to see your weight as they walk past?). My BP was a tad low for me but still in the respectable range, so nothing wrong there. (And as I strapped my arm into the machine, I didn't care who knew.)
Anyway, we came home and I slept like a baby for about an hour while Stephen tapped away on the compootator and Matthew did whatever Matthew does (which usually means playing the "Greensleeves" button on his electronic keyboard a million times, whacking up the tempo and bopping like a little dancing bean). I guess today was no different, because when I woke up I told Stephen about one of my weird dreams: I was holding a remote control and pressing the mute button over and over, but the noise just wouldn't go away.
Here's the big announcement: Joel's middle name is...drum roll, please...Stephen! Both boys are even-Stephen now; Matthew has Stephen's middle name (James) as his middle name.
And yes, the youngest Munday now has his own cyber-space address, as all pre-newborns need. It's his first name, plus middle initial, plus last name, at gmail.com. So go ahead! Send him a message. I know he'll love it.
(Addition: Forgot to mention that Stephen and I had been thinking of "Stephen" as a middle name, but not really seriously, until recently when my sister Sharon mentioned using it, and at the same time, Stephen was Skyping with our friend Richard who said the same thing! We started thinking a bit more about it after that.)
Sunday night was rainy and Monday dawned cloudy, but cleared up enough for us to meet our friends at the park for playtime and obento lunchies. The sakura (cherry tree) blossoms were still a bit out and lots of pink sakura snow blessed the ground. When breezes came the air was alive with dancing petals!
I didn't get all the pictures I wanted (didn't even get one of the third family we were with) because I was chasing the Active Explorer Bean all over the place (as you can see from the picture above, he doesn't stay still very long). The kids had fun, though, even though they pretty much did their own thing (Matthew picking up rocks and running around, Yuta kicking a ball, and Chiaki swinging the morning away).
Apparently both of Joel's kidneys had some fluid build-up (as of our appointment on Saturday), but the doctor said he couldn't be sure there was a problem or not until after the birth, and then we'd know more.
Yesterday afternoon at a praise gathering, though, some friends of ours prayed for Joel and I'm trusting that everything is OK. (But I'm not always a faith-filled person, so if I have some doubts in an hour or so from now, or even in the next thirty seconds, don't hold it against me, OK?)
About once a month or so I get a hankering for McDonald's ice cream, and April's fix came in the form of about twenty-five tablespoons of sugar and artificial flavors (aka caramel Oreo McFlurry). Coming back from our friend's brand-new condo on the edge of a hill (gorgeous digs, gorgeous scenery) in Ashiya, the next town over, I remembered that there was a Mickey D's on the way home (convenient, hey).
Japan is known for its red lights (as in the ones for traffic), so I had ample time to savor my sugar.
But there was a certain Little Person in the backseat who was not happy that I wasn't sharing (he's never had a McFlurry but I guess thought it looked interesting). As I scooped each mouthful into my own gob, toddler hands were flying into the baby sign for "more" as the Bean shouted the same word pretty frantically.
Bummer, hey. Our Corolla is small but not quite small enough for me to reach into the backseat with a loaded spoon to share.
I dread to think how often we'll hear the words once Matthew learns "ice cream."
For someone who hardly lets anything in his mouth other than the occasional piece of carpet fuzz or atom of dirt, Matthew astounded us yesterday when we weighed him and found out he's a whopping 13 kg (28.7 pounds or 2 stones)! He's left the poodle in the dust.
Apparently, according to this chart, he's smack-dab average for weight and above average for height (Matthew's about 90 cm or 35.4 inches tall).
Spring is here: the birds are singing, cherry trees are blooming, babies are hatching, and my wedding rings don't fit anymore! (Only 3 weeks and 2 days till May 1, not that anybody's counting!)
At our last appointment, Shiota Sensei showed us a black spot on the ultrasound screen that was some fluid built up in one of Joel's kidneys. She said it's not a problem at this point, but it's something we need to watch. Apparently it's a good sign that it wasn't in both of his kidneys. He also had a full bladder, which I assume could lead to the build-up.
If any of you nurses/midwives out there have any encouragement for us about this, let us know. We're not really worried, just need to check again on Saturday at my next appointment.
We got a new camera! Yea!
With Joel's birth coming up, we were a bit concerned about our four-year-old camera working properly at such a crucial time, and then I went and dropped it on concrete twice on Saturday (once in the case and once on its own). Yikes. (I must have been really bowled over by that dog on the ladder.)
So anyway, Stephen hunted at a couple of stores on Saturday afternoon and found a really good one at an electronics outlet store for a good deal (last year's model). We're still playing with it and trying to figure out the settings, so when we get it up and running we'll (hopefully) have even better pics for you avid Fushigi News fans out there.
Matthew's two-year studio shots, taken March 22. (By the way, we did NOT choose the birthday border for the middle photo--it came with the package. Not exactly our taste, but the photo itself is pretty cute! It says his name in katakana under the "Happy Birthday" banner.) The studio asked to use Matthew's pictures for their promotional materials--cute blond gaijin toddler bean, hey.
Apparently, one of the best times of day for light is the early morning, so I hopped out of bed this morning at 6:30 and went on a little train ride down to Kurakuen to take pictures of the bloomin' trees along the Shukugawa River.
The morning started off cold, even with my woolly hat on, but by the time I was on my way back, things were warming up nicely. In the interim, there really was some beautiful morning light, which these photos do not really do justice to.
Today at Kitayama Dam (click on any pic for a larger view, and I'm not talking about my belly):
Joel apparently looks like this now, and I think that it must be an accurate portrayal of where his feet are because I love feeling him kick there, directly to the right of my tummy button. Matthew enjoys patting my belly but he hasn't felt his little brother move yet. Joel cheekily stops moving when Stephen reaches over, too (just like Matthew did in utero).
For the next few weeks Joel will put on more weight and fat, and I'm craving yogurt, ice cream, and fresh fruit (especially honeydew melon and pineapple) so it must be what he needs right now.
The Beansprout will be born at 38 weeks (Lord willin' and the creek don't rise) so not too long now...
Back to the cherry trees today, but this time we went to a path at the bottom of our hill near our local grocery store.
Not necessarily in order of importance: Our upstairs neighbor, Keisuke san, moved to Brazil today (without his wife--according to company policy, she will be allowed to join him after he's been there a year--don't even get me started on his company), our friend/chiropractor sold one of their puppies (a baby of the toy poodle that we used to compare Matthew's weight to) and it moved away to its new owner's home today, and tomorrow our good friends (Rei chan's family) is moving to the next town over!
As of the last post, Fushigi News has 1400 posts! Yea, us!
If you want to know what we've been up to the last week, check out Bento Yum for a springy update! I've been trying to see the cherry tree-lined Shukugawa river as much as possible, and today with Matthew it was absolutely perfect conditions: warm, sunny, with the trees doing their primal pink snow dance. Everybody and their uncle must've had the same idea, though, because it was packed with strollers out admiring the views as well. I think I saw about 1,000 cameras, but I don't think the regal trees minded one bit.
Sorry, folks, but I was chasing Matthew, keeping him from eating rocks, and stopping him from crashing the grilled-squid stalls so no new pictures for you.
Fleeting as a running Bean
No time for photos
- The big bean is now wearing size 16 cm (US size 9 and UK size 8) shoes!
- Matthew loves Japanese rice; he hoovers the stuff.
- He's been getting more and more into helping me lately: bringing me my bag or a diaper when I ask him to, cleaning up his toys a bit in the evening when it's time for his DVD, and if he sees an open door or drawer he has to close it.
- All is not rosy, however; Matthew also has his "wonderful twos" moments (or like yesterday, "wonderful twos" days), which obviously aren't so wonderful for Mama and Daddy. I have to remember that it's just a stage and this "two" shall pass! (Not that I'm wishing our lives away.)
- Matthew seems to be just as double jointed as Stephen! I've never seen legs and arms do what theirs do. Amazing.
- Matthew's about half the height of Stephen now. Stephen says he's half a Stephen but a whole Matthew.
- The musical Thomas toothbrush that Cousin Elise and Cousin Ethan sent Matthew for his birthday is getting a lot of love! We still can't figure out what the lyrics are exactly but the tune gets stuck in our heads anyway.
- Matthew's bed friend, Polar Puppy, now has to have Eskimo kisses at night as well.
- The little bean really talks up a storm, especially in the morning, but we still don't know what he's saying most of the time!