Tomoe’s Ups and Downs

You know what?  It just doesn’t stop.  After she got over pneumonia, Tomoe got sick again.

This time, it’s bronchitis.  Last week, the doctor gave her that diagnosis, and I thought he was pretty much correct.  I’ve been through bronchitis 3 times, so I know what it’s like.  The cough she had was horrible sounding.  Well, it seems she got over it pretty quickly, then got sick again today.  High fever all day after seeming pretty healthy for the first time in more than 2 months.  I guess it was just too good to last.  She doesn’t seem to be coughing much, but it’s mainly just a runny nose and sore throat.

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Drinking outside the clinic.

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She seems to do okay with bottles like this, though cups are still difficult. She prefers a straw, though.

Another thing she’s doing that isn’t making life easy is defiance.  She’s trying to touch and grab everything she can, and when it’s something she shouldn’t have, we take it away and she talks back at us angrily.  She’s not using words, but she sure is angry.  She’s not at the age where she learns limits, though.  She keeps trying and trying to do things she shouldn’t be doing.

On the upside, she is attempting more words.  Her “hello” is now “he-o” and her “bye-bye” is now “dye-dye.”  Not bad.  She learned “choudai” which is Japanese for “give” so she’s saying “Please give to me.”  However, she often refuses to say it and cries instead.

She’s also been very affectionate at times.  One example is when I was getting ready to take her to the nursery yesterday, she climbed up on my lap and gave me a big hug.  When we got to the nursery, she didn’t want to let go of me and started crying.  She didn’t want me to leave.  She understands she’s staying, though.

Tomoe can do something my mom probably can’t do. She can turn on and unlock my iPhone.  Sorry, mom.  I’m joking!

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 is coming home!

Tomorrow morning, we’re going to pick up Tomoe from the hospital.  She’s coming home!

Lately, she’s been doing pretty good.  She’s acting very normally and seems to be getting over her pneumonia.  My wife is working tomorrow, so I get to spend the day with Tomoe.  It’ll be great to see her back.

During our visits with her, she started out being a little cranky, but as her stay got longer, she was laughing more with us.  She was getting her happy personality back.  But this also meant that when we left her, she started crying.  On Monday, she cried so hard when we said good bye and left.  It’s hard to do that!  Well, no more.  She’s home tomorrow!

Adventures at the Hospital

The last few days have been a blur.  So much has happened.

I should begin by saying that April had been one of the more difficult months for us, because Tomoe had caught a cold twice in the first half of the month, requiring us to take a lot of extra care of her.  She’d been to the doctor several times, had to stay at home with a very expensive babysitter on the weekends, and stay at a clinic’s nursery on weekdays that she had a fever.  Other times, she went to her regular nursery.  Halfway through the month, she was finally healthy again.  It was great to see her like that.  But then, on April 26th, we went to Costco in a rental car, and this is where the saga begins.

We’re not sure how she got sick, but after spending the day out shopping, Tomoe developed a fever.  She’d spent some time in the car, unfortunately, part of it in the sun.  We thought she was just overheated and dehydrated. But we kept her drinking.  However, she felt better the next morning, though still had a slight fever.  We were going to call a babysitter, but her temperature dropped, and she was fine to go to the nursery.  It was too late for her to be picked up, so I had to take her myself.  They called us shortly after I left her there to tell us that her temperature had gone up to 37.7 degrees.  If it went above 38, we’d have to pick her up.  However, it dropped back down to normal. That night, however, her temperature went back up.  It was very high.  We called my wife’s mom, and she agreed to come and take care of her for the day.

So, on Sunday, when I finished work, my wife emailed me to meet them at Tsujido, because Tomoe had to be taken to the hospital.  She then emailed me to ask me to go to the hospital ER, where I met my wife and her mother.  The reason they went to the emergency room is because that’s the only place that’s open on a Sunday.  They gave her medicine for her cold and fever, and we went out for dinner.  Then we went home.

Monday morning came, and her fever was a bit high.  We cancelled her nursery, but since it was a holiday, both the clinic’s nursery and the babysitters were closed.  We had a problem.  However, her temperature went down, and she was fine to go to the nursery.  So, before I went to work, I dropped her off.  Around 3pm, my wife got a call to pick her up.  She was near the end of her shift, so she could as soon as she finished work.  Tomoe’s temperature was above 38 degrees.

Tuesday is my wife’s day off, so there was no problem.  She still had a fever, but seemed mostly okay.  Then came Wednesday.  We both had to work again, so I took her to the clinic’s nursery, where we got a diagnosis of an ear infection.  It’s Tomoe’s first ear infection, which is a kind of rite of passage for children, in a way.  I used to have them regularly when I was a child, so I understand how it feels.  Unfortunately, this was when I started feeling sick, too.  Tomoe gave me her cold! I decided to cancel my lessons on Thursday (not my regular job, but an extra one), so I could take care of her for the day.  It turned out to be the best decision I could make.

Tomoe had a fever all day on Thursday.  She was irritable, didn’t want to sit with me, and spent some time throwing things around.  Not a happy camper.  She ate a small breakfast, slept a long time in the afternoon, then had a full lunch. That was a good sign, because she usually doesn’t want to eat much while she has a high fever.  I kept her hydrated throughout the day.  Then I found that her temperature had gone up to 39.6 degrees.  Very high!  I fed her dinner, which she ate half of, and then tried to get her to sleep.  She slept for a while, until my wife came home.

That’s when all hell broke loose.  While we were getting her fever medicine ready, she started convulsing.  Her entire body was seizing.  Her eyes were closed, she was drooling with her mouth foaming, and her arms and legs were jerking around rhythmically.  This was the most frightening moment in my life.  The 2011 Tohoku earthquake was nothing compared to this! The seizure, which we discovered was a febrile seizure brought on by her fever, lasted around 2 to 3 minutes.  Not life-threatening, but still scary.  It seems this is very common, and is kind of like the brain resetting.

When the seizure stopped, she wheezed a lot.  She was not breathing smoothly, and her whole body was limp.  We called a taxi to take us to the local ER.  During this taxi ride, she began whining a bit.  She was quietly crying, and every shift in position made her cry more.  When we arrived at the ER, we discovered that they close at 11pm!  It was after midnight at this time, so we called the taxi company again to take us home.  The entire taxi ride, she was crying loudly, grabbing and holding on to anything she could.  Her arms and legs were jerking around again, but this was different.  She was in pain.  Her earache must have been very intense at that time.  We were going to try give her the fever medicine when we got home, but she refused to open her mouth.  She wasn’t very aware of what was going on around her.  In fact, as I held her, she was unresponsive to any visual or audio stimuli.  She was behaving very strangely.  I told my wife we needed to get an ambulance.  Her behaviour was too strange.

While we were waiting for the ambulance, she opened her eyes and stared up at the sky.  She didn’t seem to notice anything, though.  It was like she was in some kind of catatonic state.  When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics asked a lot of questions, and we were on our way to the hospital.  It was my first ride in an ambulance.

At the hospital, she was still unresponsive.  They took her into a room at the ER, and we told the doctor everything about the day.  We then went out and waited.  It was after 1 am at this time.  We waited for about an hour, when they called us into the room.  The doctor didn’t have a diagnosis, but he suspected meningitis, mainly because of her behaviour.  But they’d have to do a CT scan first.  So, we went back out and waited again.  Then, another hour later, we were called in with some good news.  Her brain was normal.  Then the bad news.  A chest X-ray revealed that she probably had pneumonia.  They would also still have to do a spinal tap to check on her spinal fluids.  Another hour of waiting, and it’s after 4 am.

We spent the rest of that time in the room with Tomoe, who was awake and alert.  She was seeing us and reacting to us, so she was fully aware.  We checked her in to the hospital, and followed them up to the pediatrics floor.  We waited as she was taken care of, and then they explained to us about her stay at the hospital. She would stay until about May 8th or 9th.  Her prognosis was good, thankfully.  We then went home, arrived at around 7 am yesterday morning, and finally went to sleep around 8 am.

We woke up in the afternoon and went to see Tomoe at the hospital.  We visited her for about 3 hours.  She was awake, alert, though somewhat irritable.  I did get her to smile and laugh, though.  I was very glad she still had her sense of humour.  We fed her dinner, as well.  One thing that she kept doing was taking her vital monitor sensor off.  Very difficult to keep it on.  But the good news is, she’ll be fine in a few days.

So, here are some pictures I’ve taken of Tomoe over the past 3 weeks.  This should lighten up the mood.

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Sleepy when out for a walk.

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Wonderful sleeping position. And so pink!

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Ready to go out! She’s standing at the window looking outside.

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Escalator ride! This was on Sunday after her trip to the ER.

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Eating potatoes at the restaurant on Sunday. She loves potatoes.

In other news, Tomoe’s been developing very well.  She’s very generous!  She loves giving things to people.  She’ll pick something up and give it to us.  Also, when she’s thirsty, she’ll pick up her drink straw bottle and give it to us.

When it’s time to eat, she’ll get into her chair all by herself and sit patiently.  She’s very good!

She’s also figuring out a few more things.  Yesterday, she showed us that she knows how lids go on dishes.  She picked up a lid and tried to put it on the dish she was eating out of.  On Sunday, she figured out how blocks go together, like Lego.  She tried putting them together, but didn’t have them lined up properly.  But she’s trying!  Also, she knows how a key goes into a lock to unlock a door.  She does it very well with one of her toys.  Another thing she’s doing is pointing at things, especially when I tell her what they are.

And finally, she’s started running, sort of.  It won’t be long until she’s running normally.

Nursery, babysitter, clinic

Tomoe’s been sick.  Last Friday, she had a fever of 38.4 degrees.  We decided to cancel her nursery on Saturday, because they won’t take her if her fever is over 37.5 degrees.  So, we got a babysitter.  Unfortunately, a babysitter is expensive.  We don’t want to do that often.

The babysitter stayed at our apartment, and she seemed pretty good.  She was very kind, asked a lot of questions, and seemed to enjoy her time with Tomoe.  On Sunday, her fever was gone, and she could go to the nursery.  She was fine on Monday, too.  Tuesday is my wife’s day off, so she stayed home.  Wednesday was another story.

Yesterday morning, Tomoe had a fever of 38.3. We immediately emailed the nursery to tell them that she wasn’t coming.  We got an appointment with a clinic in Yamato that also has a nursery.  I took Tomoe to the clinic, the doctor checked her quickly, gave me a prescription, and then I brought her up to the nursery.  They asked me to get the medicine from a pharmacy, which I did.  When I went back, I gave them the medicine, then I had more than 2 hours to kill before work.  What I liked about the nursery is that it’s much cheaper than the babysitter, and they provided me with a website, username and password.  I could actually control the camera in the nursery to watch Tomoe.  I did see her playing around a bit, then taking a nap.

Today, I’m at home with Tomoe, taking care of her.  I hope she’ll feel better on Saturday.

She’s full of surprises today

Tomoe has caught a cold.  This morning, she woke up with a 38.5 degree fever, and it’s gone down just a bit to 38.2.

We went to Yamato today to visit a clinic and have Tomoe checked out by a doctor.  That clinic is also an alternative day care for when she’s sick, but only on weekdays.  If she’s sick on the weekend, we need a babysitter.  She got some medicine, including one that should help her fever.  If she has no fever tomorrow, she can go to her regular nursery.  The medicine also makes her incredibly drowsy.  She fell asleep very quickly.

In addition to going to the clinic, we visited Yamato Park, which is near Yamato Station.  Tomoe walked around the park a lot, including pushing her stroller and trying some steps.  Well, she sure gave us a surprise.  This was surprise number one for the day.  She climbed the steps by her self!  She didn’t need any help going up, but she still can’t go down.

She loves pushing her stroller around.

She loves pushing her stroller around.

Let's try the stairs!

Let’s try the stairs!

I can do it all by myself!

I can do it all by myself!

But I need help going down the steps.  I don't want to go down, I want to go up!

But I need help going down the steps. I don’t want to go down, I want to go up!

This wasn’t the only surprise.  After we arrived home, she walked around the living room and went for her big bottle of tea.  It has a straw in it, but the cover was closed.  She picked it up and gave it to me.  She wanted a drink, so I opened it for her, and she took a drink.  It surprised me a lot.  She’s beginning to figure out things like that.

The third surprise happened only a few minutes later.  Her formula bottle was on the floor, and she found the cap for it.  She picked it up and went over to her bottle, then put the cap on the bottle.  She knew where it went.  She’d never done this before.  She’s understanding how things fit together, how to get what she wants, and more.  To top it all off, she’s been pointing at things that she wants.  Yesterday, she kept pointing at some plants.  She just wanted to touch them.  She was so happy when she touched them.

Even though Tomoe is sick, she still seems to have a lot of energy.  She’s actually been in a very good mood today.  I just hope she gets over her cold soon.

Unlucky Tomoe

Just a quick update today.  It seems that Tomoe’s had a pretty unlucky month.  First, she had a cold a month ago.  Then, she caught a stomach virus, which she got over about a week ago.  But now she has a fever.  This is the third time in a month that she’s been sick.  Her temperature was 39.7 degrees C tonight.  She has medicine for her fever, but if it’s still high tomorrow morning, she’s going to the doctor.

In other news, Tomoe has been walking better than ever.  She enjoys being chased outside, too.  I didn’t get to see it, but my wife was outside with her yesterday, and she was very excited when being chased.

She’s continued to develop her speech, as well.  Although she doesn’t say anything real, she’s actually been able to pronounce the “th” sound.  That’s one of the most difficult sounds to learn to say, and is often one of the last sounds children learn.  She can already do it.

She’s also started handing things to me.  Last night, I was going to change her diaper, and she walked over to me with a toy and gave it to me.  I was very surprised.  Usually, she has a tight grip on the toy if I try to take it, but she gave it to me.

And finally, while she’s getting her diaper changed, she actually lifts her foot up for me to put through her diaper.  She does the same with her pants.  She’s learning to be helpful!

And now, a couple pictures.

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Sleepy Tomoe cuddling with her white and purple stuffed elephant.

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Tomoe likes pushing her Jeep. Yes, that is a Jeep.