Happy 4 month birthday!

Today, Tomoe is 4 months old.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 months since she was born.  So much has happened since then.  She’s gone from a sleeping, pooping, peeing and eating machine with no personality to a little girl with a lot of personality.

Lately, she’s been getting quite good at pushing up with her arms, so she can hold her head up much more easily while on her stomach.  This is very important for when she learns to crawl.  She’s also almost rolling over.  She gets about half way before flopping back down on her back.

She’s getting really good at tummy time.

She’s getting more and more interactive these days, as well.  She looks at and follows everything.  She’s tracking left, right, up and down with her eyes, so that’s great.  She’s been manipulating things with her hands, though quite clumsily.  She reaches for toys and holds them while looking at them.  She has one toy that plays music that she especially loves.  She smiles quite a bit for it.

On the topic of smiles, her laugh has finally become more like a laugh.  When she laughed before, it wasn’t really a laughing sound, but now she has a much more natural laugh.  One thing that makes her laugh is if I copy her laugh.  She loves it.

Her eye colour has changed a lot now.  2 weeks ago, it was mostly blue with some hazel mixed in.  Now, it’s mostly hazel, though some blue still shows through.

Lately, Tomoe’s been sleeping a lot.  So, here are some sleeping pictures.

Close up. You can see her hair’s been thinning.

Great pose in her bed.

Sleeping in the bouncer with a new toy by her head.

She fell asleep with her new pacifier in her mouth.


The Bouncer

Last time, I mentioned how Tomoe would always find a way to fall off the sofa.  Also, the bed she sleeps in, which is on our bed, is getting too small for her.  Or rather, she’s getting too big for it.  It’s only designed for up to 4 months old.  Take a look below.

Sleeping in her bed.

I don’t fit anymore!!

Well, our solution to falling off the sofa doesn’t solve our bed problem, but that’s another matter.  Our solution to the bed problem is a baby bouncer.  And boy does it ever work well!  Tomoe sleeps well in it during the day, she can’t fall out of it, and we can hang toys from a bar above her to play with.  It’s become a very valuable daytime bed/chair.  When she gets older, we can attach a table to it, and she’ll be able to eat and play on it.

Tomoe’s in her comfy new bouncer.

Sleeping peacefully in the bouncer with some toys hanging above.

I love this thing!  Now we don’t have to worry about her falling off the sofa while we’re busy.

There are some other things going on in Tomoe’s life.  For one thing, my wife has started a part-time job.  I get to take care of the baby while she’s at work.  So far, things are going well.

Tomoe’s started losing some of her hair.  This is normal, as many babies lose a lot of the hair they’re born with.  It grows back.  She’s getting a strange ring-shaped baldness pattern.

Playing is becoming much more active.  Not only is she paying more attention to toys, she’s reaching out to grab them.  This is a very important part of her development.  Her hand-eye coordination is improving now.  She’s also laughing quite a bit more now.  The greatest discovery was today.  She thinks my sneeze is funny.  So, I did a few fake sneezes, and she laughed a lot.  She’s a very happy baby.

4 months is coming up quickly!  We should soon see her able to do pushups, roll over and more.

Babies are their own worst enemy

Tomoe’s becoming a bit of a problem for herself.  She moves around a lot.  While she can’t yet roll over, she can scoot herself around on the sofa by kicking her legs.  We have a couple of sofas, one is a white vinyl sofa, while the other is actually a mattress that folds up like a small sofa.  On the white sofa, our main sofa, she’ll be propped up by a pillow, which she then promptly slides down as she kicks.  She’ll twist around a bit and manage to put herself into a position that could cause her to fall head first on the floor.  On the other sofa, she turns herself around 90 degrees, and then slides down feet first onto the floor.  The sofa is becoming dangerous for her if she isn’t watched.  So, I made her a little bed out of some of my clothes and her blanket and put it on the floor on a cork mat.  At least now she can’t fall off anything.

The Tongue

It’s the tongue!!

Sounds like a cheap horror movie, doesn’t it?  But it isn’t.  Tomoe’s been extremely active lately, and she’s been sticking her tongue out a lot.  It’s normal, as she’s discovering how to use her body.  Before, she was playing around with her hands and watching them.  Now, it’s her tongue.

That’s not all that’s been developing recently.  Tomoe’s becoming mobile!  She nearly turned herself over this week, making it onto her side, but not quite onto her stomach.  She’s also been pushing herself around with her feet while she’s on her back.  We have a small sofa that unfolds into a mattress that she’s been lying on, but she’s nearly pushed herself onto the floor head first.  So, we tried putting her on the floor, on a cork mat used to prevent damage to the floor from our trampoline.  Well, she turned herself around by 90 degrees.

On her stomach for tummy time, she’s beginning to push up with her arms.  She doesn’t quite get it, though.  She can keep her head high despite not mastering the push-up.  But that’s okay, as it’s expected to happen by 4 months old.

She’s getting good at sitting up with support, and enjoys it far more than lying down.  She can take her own weight on her feet, as well.  Of course, she can’t stand, but her legs are pretty strong now.  She has a powerful kick!

She’s been extremely vocal, too.  She often talks by herself, experimenting with different sounds.  She’s done raspberry sounds, and can often say things like “ba,” “ma,” “buuu,” “mom,” “aaa-uuu,” and so on.  It sounds cute, but there are times when she gets irritable and won’t stop complaining.  It’s most likely discomfort from gas, as she isn’t hungry nor does she need a diaper change.  She’s just noisy!  All day, all the time.  It’s easy to get frustrated, but we have to be patient.

Her sleeping habits are becoming more routine.  She sleeps through the night quite often and has a couple naps during the day.  But sometimes, she suddenly wakes up because she’s hungry.  We need to break the habit of a nighttime feeding.

She’s finally becoming more interested in toys.  She has one rattle-like toy that has bells in it that she will hold if given to her.  She’ll look at it a lot, but not play with it.

It’s an exciting time for Tomoe’s development right now.  So much is happening, and she’s changing so fast!  I can’t believe she’s probably around 8 kg now.  Coming soon is her 4 month checkup and immunizations.

Tomoe, 100 days old

Today, Tomoe is 100 days old.  This is an important day in Japan, and a big meal is prepared for 100 day old babies to ensure that they will never have to go hungry in their entire lives.  We had our big meal on Monday with the family, as I’d already posted about.

At this stage of a baby’s development, a lot is happening.  Babies are very actively moving their arms and legs around.  Tomoe does that a lot.  She also kicks pretty hard now.  Another thing she really enjoys is being held upright with her feet on the floor or on my wife or I.  She pushes down so that she’s kind of standing.  It makes her give a big smile.  Babies are also supposed to start getting interested in toys, especially holding or hitting them.  Tomoe will hold a toy and stare at it, but that’s about it.

Babies also like to touch things and feel them.  Tomoe is always trying to grab onto something.  It doesn’t matter what, she holds on tight.  It gets slightly painful when she digs her fingernails into my hand or arm, too.  When she does hold something, she always tries to move it to her mouth.  This is also quite normal.  She usually tries sucking on her bib or clothes.  Another thing she loves to feel is being blown on.  We just blow at her hair, and she makes a gasping sound and a very happy looking face.

Tomoe is incredibly alert.  She’s always looking around at things, and when we’re walking around the apartment, she’ll follow us with her eyes.  She’s also unbelievably vocal.  She makes a lot of sounds.  Although she doesn’t have a big laugh yet, which normally happens within the next couple of weeks, she does make a quick laugh sometimes.

We’ve been giving her a lot of tummy time, as well.  This is helping her strengthen her neck, shoulders, back and arms.  By the time she’s 4 months old, she should be able to hold herself up with her arms and also roll herself over.  She’s almost done that once, only making it halfway.

As far as language development goes, we’ve been talking to her, showing her things and telling her what they are.  She may not understand, but she’s learning how we speak, and will eventually try to mimic the sounds.

Finally, here are some pictures.  Being her 100th day, we did find a couple of very lucky things.  Scroll down to the last 2 pictures, and you’ll see.

There’s me holding Tomoe while she sucks on her thumb. She fell asleep shortly after that.

Sleeping on the sofa. She’s done a lot of that this week.

She tried to feed herself, but no control.

It was raining a bit today, and we managed to see this rainbow on Tomoe’s 100th day.

For even more luck, we found a four leaf clover!

A big family gathering

Yesterday, my family went to my wife’s hometown of Warabi, Saitama.  It’s not really a long trip, but it is about 1 1/2 hours away by train on the north side of Tokyo.  We live south of Tokyo.  I was expecting to see my wife’s parents, sister and grandmother originally, but that’s not how it happened.  Nearly the whole family was there.  That means all her grandparents, two aunts, an uncle, a cousin and his wife and two kids, her parents and sister.  Most of them got to meet Tomoe for the first time.  A few saw her in the clinic, but only my wife’s mom, sister and grandmother had actually held her before.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the family and were quickly seated around the table where we were going to have a big lunch of sushi, tempura and pizza.  My wife introduced Tomoe to everyone.  You see, this get together was to celebrate Tomoe’s first 100 days, although that isn’t until later this week.  She was pretty popular throughout the day.  My wife’s maternal grandparents were able to finally meet Tomoe and I.  They’re very nice people, and her grandfather is a funny man.  Before he left, he shook my hand for a long time and said “ありがとう” (thank you) about 7 or 8 times.

There were two people in particular that spent a lot of time with Tomoe.  First was my wife’s dad, Tomoe’s grandpa.  He hadn’t been able to see her since she was in the clinic, so this was a big day for him to see his first grandchild.  He really enjoyed holding Tomoe, and did so several times.  Toward the end of our stay in my wife’s grandmother’s house, he went over to Tomoe and lied down next to her while she slept.  He kept patting her hand until he also fell asleep.

The other person was my wife’s cousin’s daughter.  She’s 11 years old.  Later in the day, she wanted to play with Tomoe a lot.  She seemed to enjoy it very much, and Tomoe seemed to like her, too.  She’s already got a friend in her second cousin.

Everyone left, and that left only us, my wife’s parents, sister and paternal grandmother.  My wife and her sister wanted us to get some purikura (short for print club, a kind of photo booth that allows you to alter the image with text, pictures, backgrounds or big eyes), so we went along with Tomoe and had them done up at Round One, a big amusement company with bowling alleys, sports and video games.  No, I will not post the results here.  We returned back to my in-laws’ house for a quick dinner, then back home.  But before we left, my father-in-law was very amused by something.  They found some small teddy bear (probably the dog’s toy) and noticed that Tomoe was in the same position.  Big photo opportunity!

Which one is the bear?

So, we had a long train ride back home, and Tomoe was exhausted.  She slept most of the night with a couple feeding breaks, and has been sleeping all afternoon today.  In the past two days, she has met more people than she’s ever met in her life.

Tomoe at a beach barbecue

On Sunday, my family went to a beach barbecue with a friend of mine in Kamakura.  It was at Yuigahama Beach, which I’ve posted about before.  This was Tomoe’s first chance to meet a large number of people, and she was quite popular.  Several of my coworkers were there, and they were quite interested in meeting Tomoe.  It was a good chance for her to be the centre of attention, and she seemed to have little trouble with it.  But she seemed to have a hard time with one person in particular who kept looking at her with his face very close to her.  I think she was uncomfortable.  But she seemed to have no trouble with all of the women, as well as plenty of the men.  One thing that she did that surprised me was that she started crying when she was close to the water.  She was so excited before.

Tomoe’s introduction to my world was pretty successful.  She’s known mostly just home and some shops and the neighbourhood, but this time, she got to experience the people I meet every week.  It was a very tiring experience for her, though.  She slept a lot Sunday night.  But Monday was another big day, which I’ll post about soon.

Another big thing was that my wife’s homemade karaage (Japanese style fried chicken) was very successful.

Tomoe was in the red baby carriage. Notice the hawk near the centre? There were so many hawks that day!

She was very happy!

Double happy!

Sunday night at home, having dinner.