Brush Your Teeth song

When I take his pacifier, he demands and cries more and more these days... Sigh...
When I take his pacifier, he demands and cries more and more these days… Sigh…

Luca: 15 months old

As you can see, Luca is having more teeth. 4 teeth on the bottom and 4 teeth on the top.
I am trying to brush his teeth every night but as he gets older, he hates me brushing teeth. He just refuses it. I know forcing is not a good idea but I get frustrated more and more each day and started to research if there is any trick out there to help me or him to brush his teeth. There were several but this song I found seems to work.

Brush Your Teeth Song by Tokyo Heidi

This song is so catchy and easy to remember the lyrics. I am a big fan of mid-tones in a song. I just love how they sound and this song has it as well. I have such a bad memory but this song is really easy to remember. I sing this song even though I am alone in an elevator or a shower room. haha

So I started to show this Youtube to him after I hand the tooth brush (I know he won’t brush his teeth correctly but I’m telling myself “no forcing, no forcing”… I just want him to like brushing his teeth and I’m hoping eventually he will learn how important that is). From the first night, he was so interested to the song although I am not sure if he understands the lyrics yet but I think the illustration itself maybe catchy to him too. So he did started to brush his teeth. No more fighting, no more crying, no more punching my face. He was actually smiling and watching the video and brushing his teeth! Success!

Now, after a few nights, everything was going well but another question was raised… Should I let him watch a video before he goes to bed…? Urgh.. obvious question, obvious answer… Nope!.. lol So… I started to sing for him with this tone-deaf voice without the video. Tonight was the first night to try and sing it for him. The effect wasn’t same, of course. He again fought against me. 😦 I usually don’t put the yummy tooth paste but tonight I had to. So after I put some on the brush, it started working again. I think I need to get some Toms’ tooth paste or something which should be much safer to his body.

Anyway, I don’t know how long my tone-deaf singing with a tooth paste will last and be effective but hopefully he will start liking it…

Aw, I found an English version of this song.

Luca, I hope you won’t get cavities much! If you struggle with cavities later on your future, I have to show this blog to you and show how difficult it is to make you brush your teeth!! lol

Much Love,
Your Mama

 

Papa had a heart issue


Luca: 14 months old

This just happened last Saturday. He was complaining he has been having a headache over a month now. So his PCP gave him Flonase to take care of the headache. He had the first take on last Saturday followed by 2 cups of coffee. This combination gave him a similar to a stroke. His heart rate went up to 200 for a moment and went down to 140-160. Once he sat down and rest, his heart rate became normal but as soon as he got up and started to walk just to go to a bathroom, his heart rate went back to 180 or so. We went to ER three times over the weekend and finally he was accepted to admit at the Keiser on Sunset Blvd. I thought he would be better to be admitted and be monitored. We were scared, Luca. 

Your Papa takes care of you so well and I don’t know what to do without him. He is a strict person but very warm, thoughtful and fun person as well. He might be tough on you but he won’t forget to make you laugh after you cry. 

After this what happened to your Papa, I thought you and I should NOT take your Papa for granted. We should always show our love to him (or anyone you care!) and our appreciation. You never know when God needs him (or any of us) and bring him back to heaven. I hope it’s not anytime soon. 

Much love,
Your mama

Breastfeeding is coming to the end! ðŸ˜­


Luca: 14 months old

It has been over 14 months that I have been breastfeeding you. Day and night. Starting from every 2 hours since you were born which means even though it was 2 or 3 in the morning when you cried, I breastfed you. I pumped at work twice so then your Papa could feed you during my work hours. And now it dropped down to every 8-9 hours to feed. I still pump at work once at lunch time. Pumping is not easy thing to do especially when my work is busy. But at the same time, I can take a rest in the private Nursing room that my company provides us. I can hide for 30 min and spend a time for reading, watching videos or chit chatting with other moms in the room. It’s relaxing time for mama. 

I always thought breastfeeding was such a special activity to create a bond between mom and her child. And I’m super happy that I was able (still am!) to do for this long. Most of moms either couldn’t do or just quit because it’s not easy thing to do but I made this far! I just love looking at your face when you drink from me with your serious face. And I love the reaction when I say “it’s oppai (breastfeed in Japanese. Literally it means breast though) time!!” You express your joy and give me a big smile with the “milk” sign language (and jump on me)! You give ME a joy by looking at your smile!! Sometimes you bite, chew and pull me with your teeth (and it really hurts!!) and I wish you are able to learn not to do it but I guess you are having fun from my reaction (this is not right!). So when I see that, I stop feeding you. I hope you will learn one day very soon. 

But slowly but surely, my amount of milk is getting low at pumping time. I’m giving a try on the herbal tea which can produce more milk for this week but in terms of pumping, it may be a time to stop. I have a bittersweet feeling about this. I’m happy to quit so then I have more time for myself at lunch time but I’m super sad to quit because this is one of the signs that the breastfeeding session will be over soon. I know I can create more bonding time with you in different ways but I feel so melancholy. But I have to accept the fact that you are growing!! You are not a baby anymore. Time always goes really fast and takes away of fun stuff sometimes like this. But I guess we all need to grow and so are you, Luca! 

I’m very happy that you haven’t gotten any sickness so far. I believe this is because of my breastfeeding. Cheers to that!! 👍🏻😄😄😄👍🏻


Much love,
Your Mama

Happy Father’s Day! 

After playing tennis, we stopped by Souplantation for late lunch. Your Papa wanted to have a kiss from you and you refused!! What a great gift, buddy! lol
Finally, we got to play tennis after a year!!
I feel great even though I lost to your Papa!

Luca: 1 year old and a month
This is your Papa’s 2nd Father’s Day. He has been taking care of you by himself because I have to go to my work full time since July 2015. I know it is not easy job to do by himself but he is doing it! He is a smart and very organized Papa so it didn’t take too long to figure out what works for both of you guys even though he had a dr appointment here and there. 

My Dad and I in Sedona, Arizona in October 2012.

Celebrating Father’s Day, I can not forget to show my appreciation to my dad even though he is no longer with us. He was a smart, funny, motivated and talented person. He was a very strict person too. But what I remember about him was how very active, multi talented person he was. He played golf, fishing, soccer, played a guitar, and a base and sing. Until he got sick at the end of his life, he kept playing and singing in his country western band “Drifting Daddies” with his friends that he hang out with since his high school era. He retired from his company when he was 63 (I think…) and since then he lived with his hobbies. He worked hard, he played hard. That was his life style and I admire that so much.

My dad used to tell me I was his avatar. I am doing something he wanted to do when he was younger. To live in foreign country and be independent. But instead he chose his career and his family. When I proposed to join the exchange student program, he (and my mom) was hesitated to let me go but he saw how serious I was about my dream, he let me go. The first plan to stay in US was just a year. And later on I wanted to go back and become makeup artist or hair stylist. The plan was just for a couple years. And now I am still here after 20+ years. My dad used to say “come back now. You spent plenty of time to make your dream come true. Now it’s time to spend with your family. ” I refused him and started to live my own financially after graduating my college. I don’t regret my decision but I regret that I didn’t get to spend enough time with him when I could have. 

I love my dad who inspired and changed my life. Even though we were so far apart between Japand and US, he still supported me as a mentor. I wish he was here and was able to meet you. I’m pretty sure he would give you different spectrum of life. 

Much love,
Your mama

May and June Baby Birthday part

Where are you going? It ‘s time to take a picture!
Every parents try to put their babies in the area so then we can take a picture or two… but you just don’t care and just smiling at some adults…
Ellis and Luca. Ellis was one of the few babies who already knows how to walk.

Luca: 12 months old and 1 week

Parents I know from mommy and me class at Pump Station Santa Monica invited us for May and June Baby Birthday party at Douglas Park on Memorial Day. I was looking forward to seeing every moms and their babies how they are now. I expected to see those babies are already walking but they were still at crawling stage although every babies are different. I still thought if Luca meets other babies, he would get excited and play with them. 

When I put Luca in the babies’ circle, it was completely different from my expectations. Luca took a glance at babies and just walked away. 1 year old babies don’t really play each other? Or it’s just Luca that he thought it wasn’t his crowd? I am not sure but he didn’t seem to be interested. As you can see at the 1st pic, he didn’t want to be in a circle. Lol Oh well, he got some free spirits, I guess. That’s ok too. 

I was just happy that I got to see other moms and catch up a little. Some of the moms who has a boy goes through same thing as I do: boy throwing a tantrum, being aggressive when he is upset… When I see his anger, I tend to think, is it my fault? Did I or Papa show our anger at some point and he learned from us? The moms think same way as I do and I was glad to share that thought. I wasn’t alone I thought. 

I hope Luca and I can see them more often… 

Happy Birthday Luca! Part 2

Happy Birthday, Luca! I made banana pancake for your birthday! (it is a lot on plate but you and I shared)
As always… you want to grab my phone!
This sunglasses was a part of birthday gifts you received at the party. You don’t like anything on your face or head right now but hopefully you will get used to it.
Papa and I wanted to take you to the aquarium in Long Beach so here we are but we had to put something in our stomach! We were hungry and so were you! lol
With Papa
This is when the servers were singing a happy birthday song for you. You love people and you love to smile at them! That’s my boy! 😄 This world needs a lot of smiles and love, not hate!
I love this photo that you are looking up to your Papa❤️
This is my pork chop. Their stuffed pork chopped is the best!! At At Last Cafe in Long Beach
with love❤️

Bread pudding bite! We gave you such a small bite… Sorry but we didn’t want to give you too much sugar…
How was it??
Finally, we are at the aquarium! This is so pretty!
What do you see, Luca?
One of my favorites, jelly fish. So mesmerizing…

Luca: 12 months old

Solid food: almost anything! And cow milk!

I thought it was a long journey to reach this point for both of us, Mama and Papa. However, time goes really fast and the “tough” time that we didn’t know what we were doing at the beginning and thought it was tough seems to be such a long time ago and I almost forgot how tough it was. It was just a few seconds that it lasted. That’s how I feel like now. Because your smile, your hug, everything that you do with me or us is so rewarding and I love what I do for you so it doesn’t matter what it used to be now. 

I am so happy and so lucky to have you as our child. I am thanking God that he sent you to us and you are a gift and “miracle” for us. 

I love you always.
Your Mama

1st birthday party! Part 1

Happy Birthday, big boy! You looooove Thomas and Friends so the party theme is Thomas and Friends! 😄
This is my best friends, Luca! Vic, Oyie and Tim!
And Melaina! She and I work together and she is a good friend of mine also! 😄
Uhh look at the yummy cake! With Papa!
I wanted to put a birthday hat on you but apparently you didn’t like it… lol
With Mamiko and Ferdi. Ferdi and your birthdays are only 3 days apart!
You were helping me to put the bag away! You are always helpful for me, my love! 😘
Yum yum fruit cake from Angel Maid Bakery!
Your aunt and cousins were with you too.
Biiiiiiig baloons! I love these balloons. It is always to have fun, colorful balloons. And again, red, blue and navy… Thomas’s theme…

Japan Trip Day 8-9 and the End

At Negishi Shinrin Park in Yokohama. There are a lot of foreigners live in this neighborhood and it is influenced by their culture that the houses’ style is very westernized. Fancy area. This park is also influenced by the western culture. It is very wide open and you can enjoy with a lot of activities.
  
After the visit at the park, we stopped by a supermarket. Luca enjoys the escalotor ride!
 
 
My friend’s sons took care of Luca so well and they all enjoyed their companies!
 
 
Aww Luca! What are you doing in my suitcase?? lol
 

My friend took us to Shichirigahama Beach. It was warm and humid. We had some pancakes that are supposed to be popular. Mmm.. the taste was so-so. Maybe I am used to the american pancake??
  
I think my son is in love with my friend. lol Luca cries everytime when someone wants to hold him but he didn’t when she held him.
 
Well, I guess not this time. He felt the sand on his feet for the first time. I can tell he felt something he was not used to. And he didn’t like it. Come on Luca, you are growing up in beach town, Santa Monica! You should love the beach!
  

At Shichrigahama Beach, Kamakura
One of the sons loves this comic book ” Yokai Myanko (Monster Kitty Cat)”. He told me he is collecting its medals. I think he got more than hundred medals and he said he lost truck counting… Why do boys love collecting stuffs…
Luca loves any style of “pica boo” game!

 

Time to go home… It was 11 at night. Luca looks so tired in this pic… Thank you everyone for taking care of us!! We will miss you and we will be back!!
 
Luca enjoys Thomas and Friends after his 6 hours of sleep.
  

After 10 hours of flight, we are finally home! Where is Papa??
Phew… still long way to go to get out from this airport!
He loves to be in a suitcase and play around but he doesn’t like to be taken picture of it by ME… I don’t know why. He allowed my friend to take one before!!

We stayed at my best friend from high school’s house until the end of our trip: 2 nights and 3 days. She has two sons: 13 and 7 years old. They both were such nice boys and enjoyed Luca’s company. 
While I stayed there, I learned a lot how to build a good parent-child relationship through my friend. She is a Montessori based pre-school/kindergarten teacher as well as a mother. I know her since our high school and she has never changed how she is: kind, warm hearted, thoughtful, soft spoken person AND she is funny. I always enjoy her company and she is my must person to hang out when I go back to Japan. So this is a great learning opportunity for me to absorb how she deals with her sons especially when the children are cranky, or being forgetful about their homework and working on it a night before the due date when they had 2 weeks to work on. She always tries to understand their mind what they go through in their head even though she has her side to get mad or frustrated. I think it is tough to be like that when the things don’t go the way you were expecting to with your child. But I would like to keep reminding myself to listen my child what he has to say and I want him to know that I am always on his side. 

Anyway, this 10 days trip was really really good trip for me and Luca. All of my family and friends were so happy to meet Luca and he gave a lot of happiness with his smile. 

It didn’t hit me when we left Japan but it hit me hard when I was about to reach to the exit at LAX after the passport control and was about to see Luca’s papa. This great trip with Luca is about to be over! Actually it IS over! 😢😭😢

Well, we always have the next time. Hopefully next year? Hopefully with his Papa? 

I will be always hopeful for Luca. 😄

Great trip, Luca. I don’t expect you to remember all of this trip. This blog has the purpose! You did fantastic and you were a great partner and you always will be! Till next time!! 

Love you very much,
Your mama

Addition: some people in Japan are so thoughtful to a mother and her child. Most of the times, I carried Luca in my carrier in trains or buses. They always offered me a seat. Even though I was tired and really wanted to take the opportunity and sit down, I got so much stuffs with me that I had to reject the offer. I wouldn’t know where to put those stuffs if I sit down!  I felt bad to reject it though. Because I’m pretty sure they needed some guts to ask me. 

Also, I read this somewhere that Japanese culture over all isn’t so friendly to mother and her child. There is no elevator to go upstairs or there is no lamp when you have a stroller. But actually that wasn’t true. The elevator was everywhere, nursing room and diaper change table were everywhere. I even saw the milk bottle warmer machines when they have a nursing room. I was impressed. 

Waste situation in Kamakura

 
 Japan generally concerns environment and they put extra effort to protect the nature what we have left. Individually, they bring their own handkerchief when they go to public bathroom, and they bring their own chopsticks. As a country, they invented a hybrid car to reduce exhaust emission. 
As for trash, generally they started to divided recycled items from burnable trash from years ago and it used to be very simple. Like it was required to separate from glasses, and plastics. 

The city I am from, Kamakura is one of the strict cities when you separate trash. And expensive. 

The photo I added above is the schedule when you can throw what items. The schedule is very detail and confusing. For example, Monday and Thursday: burnable trash such as raw trash like veggie skin, fruits, fish, meat, leather, shoes, stationaries, CD etc. Tuesday: something you can not burn such as can, glass, metal, umbrella, dishes, cups. Once a month And burnable trash separately such as paper, newspapers, books, magazines, fabrics. Once a week. Wednesday: plastic bottles, plants.  Once a week. And it goes on and on. 

The rule: There is a booklet to guide you how to separate trash correctly. You have to buy specific bag to throw the trash and it costs 80 yen (75 cents) on each bag. You have to put your name on the bag so then the patrol can check and return your trash to you if you put something wrong item in it. If the weight of trash bag excesses the limit, you have to wait till the following week. 45 litter per bag. 

The goal: I just made a quick research about the reason behind it. Every year, citizens of Kamakura produces 4 tons of trash every year. Their ultimate goal is “zero waste”. To get to close to the goal, they want to reduce it 1 ton less each year. The city wants every single citizen to be smart about waste and save resources if it’s possible. That’s why they are super strict about it. 

 

This is the booklet about how to separate the wastes. This is “burnable waste” page. And they show you how to tie the bag.
  
This is “plastic” page. And the items in the orange is NOT considered a plastic.
  
How to clean soiled items.
  
This is the booklet. It was about 60 pages.
 

I think the government needs to be THIS serious about wastes nowadays considering global warming. At the individual level, you need “motivation” to separate the trash in this much details. If we have this rule in United States or even starting it small, in Los Angeles, can we do this?  There are a lot of people concern the environment so it is possible. However, we do need some “education” to follow this rule and it is a big commitment. 

Japan Trip Day 7

Luca just woke up. He slep really good last night!

   
 This is the breakfast I love! Fish, eggs, rice, miso soup… Perfect combo!

  Today was the last day at Atami. After we checked out from the ryokan inn, as we started to drive, Luca fell in sleep right away. I know he is so tired from all the activities from a day before. I hope he is enjoying it. I am not expecting to remember this trip with your memory since you are too young to remember but I hope this journal brings you back to little piece of memories.   
He slept about 1.5 hours while driving. 
  So much green in this area. Looks old town.  After we drove about 2 hours, finally we see Tokyo.     

 

Hello Tokyo Tower!
 
Now we are going to see Totem by Cirque de Soleil. Are you going to be a good boy, Luca??
  
It seems like it is sold out show. I am excited to see this show.
  
Phew! He WAS a good boy! He didn’t cry at all during the show! I was very impressed and relieved! Good thing they had 30 min intermission too. That was helpful. In the second part, he fell in sleep after he got all excited and expressed himself with “uhhh!”, “ba ba ba!”
   
Aww wow! I was excited to see this as well, life size Gundam statue. I got yo know about it through a tech website and I thought one day I wanted to see this. There were so many people to see this big man.
  
Oh Luca… you are missing out…
  

Gundam Front website
1-1-10 Aomi Koto Tokyo 135-0064

I finally saw some girls who are called “idol”. And one if them is happened to be my niece’s friend. I got excited and took this pic but I was told not to do that by a security. Oops!
  
Again, I was not supposed to take this pic but had to! I didn’t mean to take the woman in the center in my pic. I just wanted to capture those fans behind the gate how much fun they are having with the girls in yellow. They even memorized the choreograph!
  
After we watched the event, we wanted to have some lunch. Mmm, look how big the options are here compared to Los Angeles!! Urgh, I want to take this food court with me back to LA!!
  
 

Time is really moving forward fast! My family road trip is over. Now my family dropped me and Luca off at my best friend’s house. I am friend with her since high school. She has two kids, 13 and 10 years old boys. Luca can have two big brothers for 3 days. Yay!

This will be last segment of Japan trip. In two days, we are going back home to Los Angeles. How sad is this!  However, Luca seems to be sad when I mentioned his papa. We do FaceTime everyday to talk to his papa but in this couple days, he isn’t interested to talk to him. His papa was sad too and I feel really bad about it. I’m pretty sure everything will be all right and I guess it is a good thing time flies and this trip will be over soon. I don’t want you to forget about your papa, Luca! You love him so much!

Love you very much,
Your mama