A Conversation with a Toddler

Tomoe’s been developing her speaking skills at a very fast pace.  She says more everyday it seems.  This was a recent conversation I had with her.

Me: Are you hungry?

Tomoe: Un (yes) *nod*

Me: Yes?

Tomoe: Es *nod*

Me: Do you want banana?

Tomoe: Un. *nod*  Banana.

Later on, after she was finished her banana…

Me: Do you want yoghurt?

Tomoe: Dodurt.

As you can see, it wasn’t a complex conversation, but it was two-way communication.  She’s been doing that quite a bit lately.  Other things she’s been saying:

  • No.
  • Dame (no in Japanese)

That’s right, she’s saying no.  Other questions and commands she’s understanding:

  • Can you put this in the garbage?
  • Can you put it back?
  • Do you need your diaper changed?
  • Can I have it?
  • It’s bedtime (and then she says “nigh-nigh” and waves)

Can more complex conversations be coming soon?


Skill up!

When people in Japan talk about improving their skills, they usually say “skill up.” Well, Tomoe has really skilled up a lot!

Since her stay at the hospital, she’s shown us some big advances in ability.

One of the first things she showed us is that she can now pretend.  She used her fingers to pretend to pick up food and put it in her mouth.  Then she pretended to chew.  She does that often these days.

She also picked up a small metal box and used her finger to press “buttons.” She put it to her ear and started talking.  So, we got her a toy cell phone, and she enjoys holding it to her ear and talking all the time.  She loves her phone.

Hello!  Who's speaking?

Hello! Who’s speaking? She’s holding her mom’s phone.

In addition, whenever she’s asked “Where’s moshi moshi?” she’ll find her phone.  “Moshi moshi” is hello on the phone in Japanese.

Some more useful skills include putting a bottle upright after knocking it down.  She places it on the table very nicely.

She’s also learning to let us know when she’s pooped.  She’ll be rather irritable when she’s pooped.  I think potty training may start soon!

As far as communication goes, she’s more frequently saying “mama” and “dada.”  She’s also shaking her head “no” when she doesn’t want something.  She points all the time now at anything she wants us to look at.  When she looks at books, she repeatedly points at pictures and I tell her what they are.  She seems to enjoy that a lot.  Mimicking is also a big skill she’s improving.  She’s copying so many things, mostly actions, but occasionally sounds.

And finally, this was a very big surprise.  We got her a very cheap toy that’s like a tablet with iron filings and a pen with a magnet.  Now she can learn to hold a pen.  But she surprised us.  She held the pen like a natural.  It seems she has very good dexterity and fine control with her fingers.

Look at how naturally she holds the pen.

Look at how naturally she holds the pen.

Now, on to some other news.  Tomoe has still been sick.  Last week, she had diarrhea one day with a very high fever.  But when her diarrhea finished, her fever was gone.  However, we found out this week that she has adenovirus.  She can’t go to her regular nursery for a while.  However, she has boundless energy.  I don’t get it.  She still gets diarrhea, though.

Tomoe and the nursery

My wife has begun a new job, which means that Tomoe has to spend the day at a nursery.  This is a really big step for her.  Last week, she went for a day while my wife went to her job interview.  She loved it there, and was quite happy.  Then she cried when she came home.  I guess it was very exciting for her.

My wife has said to me that the attitude in Japan toward children being left in a nursery is the equivalent of saying, “Awww, poor kid.”  It’s not that way at all!  There are some great benefits for both Tomoe and us.  For Tomoe, she can meet other kids her age 5 days a week.  She can learn and gain social skills that we can’t teach her at home.  She needs to interact with others outside our family.  It should help her get over separation anxiety.  She doesn’t exhibit shyness much at all, so that’s not a problem. One drawback is that her English development will be slow.  She’ll likely speak more Japanese than English later this year.

As for my wife, she can finally have something to do other than staying home and taking care of Tomoe.  I’ve heard the same comment from many mothers of babies and toddlers, they’re bored.  My wife is the same.  She needs something to do, and she needs to be able to spend some time away from Tomoe.

My life changes a bit, too.  Once a week, I have to take her to the nursery because of a different schedule for only that one day.  I also have more free time while both my wife and Tomoe are out before I go to work.  It’ll give me the opportunity to work on my blogs and writing during the daytime when I’m more awake.

One amazing thing about this nursery is that it’s 24 hours.  They take care of kids overnight, too.  I’d never heard of that before.  Absolutely invaluable for those of us with evening jobs.

In other news, Tomoe continues to be extremely mobile.  She’s nearly able to run now.  She loves walking around the apartment carrying things with her.  She loves playing with forks and spoons, often hitting them on plates and in bowls.  She’s learning how to use them, though she can’t feed herself yet.  She also understands that some things fit together, like velcro and keys with keyholes.  She’s always trying to press the button on my iPhone, as well.

Communication continues to develop, as well.  She doesn’t speak in anything we recognise as words yet, but she understands more and more all the time.  When we say, “night night” to her, she starts crying.  She doesn’t want to go to bed.  She’ll come when we say, “come here.”  When I say, “Can I have that, please?” she gives me what she’s holding.  She does that extremely well now.

Another thing that’s amazing is that she has a favourite Facebook game.  Whenever I start playing Angry Birds, she gets a big smile.  She loves watching the birds flying across the screen, knocking things down.  She recognises the loading screen, and gets really happy.

Sorry about no pictures this time.  It’s been a very busy few days.

Happy 13 months!

Tomoe is 13 months old today!

Recently, she’s gotten over her stomach virus, but isn’t the best sleeper. She often wakes up still. We need to think about what to do when she’s too big for her bed, too. Probably back in our bed.

She’s been communicating even more with us, but mainly just baby talk. Her walking is getting stronger, too. She’s walking around more of the apartment now.

Some things I’ve observed about her recently are that she loves to look at the clock and she’s been searching for Biscuit. I guess she won’t understand what happened.

Well, just one picture today. This was after she took a bath. Great hair!


Don’t I have great hair?

10 months and almost a milestone

Today is Tomoe’s 10 month birthday.  Just 2 more months until she’s a year old!  I can’t believe how fast the time has gone.  Soon, she won’t be a baby anymore, she’ll be a toddler.

I don’t have any pictures this time, but I do have some news.  Tomoe took 2 steps while standing up without any support.  While it’s not quite walking, it’s a step in the right direction!

More than ever, she’s reaching up whenever we walk past her, and we definitely know what she wants.  She wants to be picked up.  She’s also laughing a lot these days.  Very happy baby!  One thing that I taught her is “high 5.”  I’ve been working on it for the past week, and tonight, she finally raised her hand when I said it, and she hit my hand.  She’s learning.  This is a very important time to make sure that she hears as much language as possible, and not baby talk.  She’s been forming “words” with 2 or so different syllables, but hasn’t knowingly said anything yet.  She has accidentally said “Japan” and “yellow,” though.

Tomoe is loving books.  We try to read to her every night with one of her books, and she really enjoys it.  She also has plenty of toys to keep her occupied, and she will play on her own quite often.

Hopefully, I’ll have plenty of pictures later this week.

Now she makes Japanese curry

Before I get to the title of this post, I’ll make a couple of updates on Tomoe.

First of all, I mentioned that she’s been mimicking me when I shake my head and say “no” to her.  Well, it’s not quite mimicking.  She also shakes her head when I merely say “no.”  I don’t have to shake my head.  She seems to understand that this gesture and word go together.  She’s learning language!

Another new thing is that she immediately figured out how to use a straw when drinking.  So, she has a new way to drink!  Of course, she still uses the bottle, and will until she’s finished with formula.


She can drink with a straw!

Now, as for the title of this post, my wife affectionately refers to Tomoe’s poop as curry.  Up until recently, her poop was greenish (Thai curry) or yellowish and chunky (tuna curry).  Well, her poop has finally become a more normal brown colour, or Japanese curry.  You see, Japanese curry is brown.  Got it?  I hope I haven’t spoiled your appetite for curry.  I actually ate curry for dinner tonight.

Baby communication

Babies start off without any communication skills other than crying.  That’s the only way you know they need something.  However, as time goes on, they develop the skills required to communicate.  Before verbal communication begins, babies communicate through gestures.  They also like to mimic movements and sounds.

Tomoe’s been developing her skills quite a bit recently.  As I mentioned before, she’s recently started reaching up when she wants to be picked up.  It’s very easy to understand what she wants in that case.  She’s become really good at it.  While she’s in her bed at night, sometimes she’ll stand up and look around the corner at us.  But if I give her a smile, she smiles back.  She loves to smile, and she loves to see us smiling at her.

Mimicry hasn’t been one her her strong points, until now.  Not only is she copying movements, she’s starting to copy sounds.  One thing we’ve been trying to get her to do is wave at us when we wave at her.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t really do it.  She does move her hand a bit, though.  She’s also copied me when I opened and closed my hand.  But the biggest thing is “no.”  Just this week, she’s started copying me when I shake my head and say “no.”  She shakes her head whenever I do it.

Mimicking sounds is also very new.  She’ll blow raspberry sounds whenever I do the same.  But recently, if we say “dada,” she says “dadadadadada.”  She also copies “mama” as “mamamamamamama,” but usually when she’s tired.

Earlier this week, she surprised my wife by saying “yatta!” twice.  “Yatta” is Japanese for “yay.”

We’re not quite sure if she’s said her first word or if she’s just been mimicking sounds.  What’s your baby’s first word?