Friday, December 26, 2008

Benjamin's recent cute habit (tilting his head)

One of Benjamin's recent habits is to tilt his head when he gets curious about something and tries to see that object from different perspective (well, that is at least what I guess).

When he does that, he looks so cute --- he looks as if he is wondering about something, and/or he is determined to find out what this most mysterious object in front of him can ever be! (That object is usually something like a moving ceiling fan or a flickering of sunlight coming through the window. ;-)

He also tilts his head when I initiate it - he copies me when I tilt my head as if wondering about something. In those times he looks as though he is wondering what his Mom is thinking or wondering about, which makes me laugh and smile.

Enjoy the film clip ;-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

video clip of "Nanny Feeds Benjamin"

One of the video clips I recorded while Christine - Benjamin's Nanny - was staying with us for about two weeks just before the Christmas.

I believe this makes a nice Chirstmas present for Christine --- enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brunch at Birdhouse Restaurant (in the McCormicks Creek State Park)

Last Sunday (Dec. 7th) we drove up north to the McCormicks Creek State Park, the oldest state park in Indiana, and had a brunch at the "Birdhouse Restaurant" in Canyon Inn, one of the bed & breakfasts in the park.

The outlook of Canyon Inn

The Birdhouse Restaurant is so called because there are a lot of birdfeeders are hung around the restaurant and you can see many different kinds of birds coming to feed from the feeders through the windows.

Benjamin looks so small compared to the big table of the restaurant! And he also looks like a tiny bird perching on the table --- just like those birds around the restaurant! :-)

At the end of the brunch, Benjamin got a priveledge of being held by Daddy so that he could look out at the landscape through the window. He seemed to be enjoying it a lot.

It had snowed quite a bit the day before, so we (especially Christine and Benjamin) got to enjoy the wintery, snowy landscapes, as well as the birds and the state park itself. I must say, Christine has been quite lucky with the weather during her stay!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Benjamin is 7 months old

Benjamin turned 7 months old on the 17th of November.

Here are some (well, a lot of) photos of him during his 7th month of his life: please visit my other photo album site

(Please type in "guest" for User Name and "shootingstar" for Password.)

Hope you will enjoy them!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dad's Roller Coaster (video)

Just a short video clip, in which Benjamin gets a ride on "Dad's Roller Coaster". Quite an exciting one, it seems...
enjoy! ^^

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dad feeds Benjamin (video)

I almost erased this video clip by accident, but thank goodness, I stopped recording something else on top of it just in time to save the funniest part.

In this video clip, Amar (Dad) is feeding Benjamin.
For some reason, Amar is acting funny in this video - he seems teasing Benjamin by not giving him the spoon straight away at the beginning, and then when I ask him to give him a training bottle, he starts examining it opening the cap, closing it, and opening and closing it again, and AGAIN@@

Enjoy ^^

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Benjamin sits and plays now

Just after I wrote the last post ("Benjamin started sitting by himself"), I noticed that Benjamin had been sitting (much more upright now!) and playing very happily for a long time. And I couldn't resist taking yet another video of him sitting and playing by himself!

So here it is. Enjoy! ^^

The Day Benjamin started sitting by himself

Here is another video clip.
I took this short video for a record of Benjamin's starting sitting by himself.
It happened to be the Halloween day (Oct. 31st), so he is wearing a halloween outfit (Little Pumpkin).

This is just when he started being able to support his upper body with his hands while sitting by himself, so his back is not upright yet --- at this point he could only sit upright for a moment or two.

About a week later, though, he started being able to sit upright for quite a long time --- more than 5 minutes at a time, and now he can sit and play by himself for a very long time very happily.^^

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Benjamin on a swing!

Last week, when I took him to a park for our usual walk, I let him sit in a swing fin the park or the first time.
He loved it!! (as his big smile in these photos learly shows ...)
Please take a look at a video clip too.
(The first half was recorded by myself, and the second half was recorded by Hiromi, a friend of mine who is a Mom to a 1-year-old girl, Maya. We are talking in Japanese --- sorry about that, to those who cannot understand Japanese! ;-) But we are just saying something like, "Wow--- Taku-chan (=Benjamin) loves a swing, don't you! Yes, you sure do!" "Wow --- Maya already can wave her hand, and can even do "High-Five!" and things like that. ^^) Hope you will enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Benjamin is 6 months old (with a video clip)

Benjamin turned 6 months old on the 17th of October.

His developmental milestones that I have observed are:
- He finally started to roll over. So far, just from tummy to back. It seems he is not very interested in rolling over --- he is more interested in standing up, it seems.

- He has been practicing (or so it seems) standing up a lot in the past couple of weeks. He is now able to hold himself with just his toes and his hands on the ground. (See the video clip below.)

- He can sit by himself for about 2-3 minutes

- He is becoming more and more mobile (though he can only rotate and move backwards when he is apparently trying to move forwards). Lately, he moves from one corner of the lounge (the biggest room in the house) to the other corner of the room in a matter of 1 or 2 minutes! The other day he was almost getting himself into the bathroom near the lounge against (or without) his intention, and he gave a wimpering noise to draw my attention. This is one of the most hilarious episodes of his in the past few weeks ;-)

- He started showing interest and liking in music and Mom's singing. Whenever I start singing for him, he instantly looks up at me and gives me a big smile. How adorable and flattering! ^^ I know it is only him in this big world who finds such a delight in my singing...

- We (Amar, Benjamin and myself) started going to a Baby Sign Language class offered by the city. It is a 6-class series, and during the class we mostly sings and dances with signs. It's fun, but I guess we need to make a bit more efforts to learn and use more signs, not only going to the classes, in order for Benjamin to be actually able to learn some signs. But learning signs would do good for all of us, as it may help the baby to express himself while he can understand what we say but cannot talk himself yet (usually 1-2 years old).

- He started to sleep much longer and better through the night. Now he hardly wakes up during the night, and he sleeps from 8PM till 6 or 7AM everyday. What a bliss! (Though, at the same time, I do miss these night-time nursing sessions... ;-)

There are more photos of him on my PhotoAlbum site. Please visit "Photos of Benjamin 6 Months Old" and type "guest" for UserName and "shootingstar" for password.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Solid Food

Benjamin is turning 6 months old next week. I had been waiting for his 6-month-old birthday to start solid foods, but since Benjamin had been showing so much curiosity and interest in what we(adults) eat every time we are having a meal and some snack, I decided that it is time for him to try his first solid food.

His first solid food was a Japanese rice porridge, which is a traditional and most popular choice for a baby's first solid food in Japan.

So --- how did he like it?  

Well, I must say, he LOVED it!!!  

The instant I brought a small plate with this rice porridge to him, he seemed as though he was already anticipating that he was at last (!) going to be fed with "a real stuff" (as Amar put it), and he leaned toward me and the spoon I held for him. ^^;
And after the first mouthful, he didn't stop begging for more!

It has past already 6 days since the start of solid foods, so from tomorrow I am going to introduce another food.  Maybe some grated apple or mashed avocado...  
Solid food is quite a fun, I found! :-) 

Very curious...

He is trying to put the spoon head in his mouth, but it seems the spoon is too long...??

Finally, he managed to put it in his mouth...

"Ooogh!  What's this?"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Birthday and Childproofing the House

Last Wednesday (September 3rd) was my 38th birthday.

It turned out to be a really special day and week, thanks to Amar's special treats on the preceding Sunday as well as on my birthday.

He had a surprise gift for me on the morning of my birthday --- a cooking book called Breakfast, Lunch, Tea from Rose Bakery (see top photo). I have been very curious about this book since I heard about it from a friend who is a very good cook and lives in London.  (Rose Bakery is a popular cafe restaurant in Paris and in London.)  

Yesterday, I have already tried one recipe from the book --- Apple & Blackberry Crumble, which proved to be very delicious ^^

This gift was a surprise to me, because I thought I had already had a special treat for my birthday on Sunday: he devoted his Sunday to me (and to Benjamin), doing all the things I had on my list of "Things I would like Amar to do" ;-), such as childproofing the house, going shopping with me for Benjamin, and cooking dinner for me.

And he did all of the things on the list, too!

He first started his Sunday with installing locks to the every cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and bathroom that contain any kind of hazardous items.

After that, we went out for shopping at a second-hand store for babies and moms called "Once Upon a Child", looking for Benjamin's clothes (he has already outgrown so many clothes and now he can wear only those for 6-months-old babies, though he is still 4 months old...^_^;), and some items useful for childproofing the house.

Though we didn't really find any useful items for childproofing in that shop, we got some nice clothes for Benjamin, and a baby's chair called "Bumbo Seat". (The Bumbo Seat was not a used item --- they sell some new items as well, apparently.)

Bumbo Seats are meant for babies who has just gained their head control but cannot sit by themselves unassisted --- the bumbo seat provides a minimum assistance and thereby babies can learn to balance their body to sit on their own eventually.

Benjamin looks so cute sitting in this bumbo seat! 

My sister Tomoko also had bought a bumbo seat for her son Yu-chan, and he looks just as cute, too! ^^

We have also bought a foam mat for children's nursery --- they are very useful to protect Benjamin from injury in case he falls down (well, when he starts crawling and walking, you know), and of course protecting the hardwood floor from babies' activities.

Benjamin looks very small (and cute) after we put out this mat ^^:

Benjamin seems to quite enjoy this new mat.^^

*I will upload more photos of Benjamin sitting in his Bumbo Seat on my photo album website.

The first tomato in our backyard (and a battle with a deer family)

We planted some tomato plants in our backyard for the first time this summer, and after almost three months of waiting and taking care of them (with watering them every day, adding stakes, etc.), we finally got the first tomato to harvest two days ago!

This is the tomato we harvested:

And this is the tomato cut up and thrown into a salad:

Hmm....It was DELICIOUS! we must say!!

It was not without any problem, however, that we managed to harvest this tomato: we had to compete with a deer family that pays frequent visits to our backyard, and that now turned out to eat even our tomatoes, not only flowers and flower buds!!!

So, as soon as we noticed that a deer was eating our tomatoes which had just started ripening, I did some *serious* research on the web and asking a gardener friend for advice.  

I first sprayed a deer repellent called "Liquid Fence" (which is biodegradable, made of seaweed and egg) on the leaves and stems of the tomato plants, and then, following an advice from the gardener friend, we put a transparent fishing line at about 4 feet high and about 2 feet away from the tomato plants.  According to the friend, given that deer always come out at the dawn and the dusk, they cannot see the transparent fishing line, and thus when they try to reach for tomatoes their body touches the fishing line and then they freak out and ran away.

Amar was at first a bit dubious about this idea, but he did it anyway because it was the simplest and quickest solution at hand, and also because it happened to be my birthday (!) --- so he wanted to please me rather than frustrate me. ^^

The fishing lines installed around the tomato plants look like this:

So far it seems working well, and we managed to protect the only tomato left which was ripening then, and harvest it two days later (as you saw above).

There are still about 20 to 30 tomatoes which are to ripen from now on, so we really hope that this simple device will work until the end of the season!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baby Massage

I started giving Benjamin an infant massage regularly (a few times a week) since last month.
He seems to enjoy the massage quite a lot, especially an undivided attention as well as the loving touch.

Though not always, it seems to help him to sleep better too.

Here are some photos of Benjamin in his birthday suits, prior to or after the massage sessions.

  If you are interested, please check out my photo album as well. Please click here.
  (You need to enter the user name [guest] and password [shootingstar] to access to this site.)  
  *If you cannot jump to the page of "Ben 4 months old" of my photo album site, please click here and then click "Ben 4 months old" that appears on the top corner of my home page.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Benjamin is 4 months old

Benjamin turns 17th week old tomorrow, August 14th, Thursday. (His date of birth is April 17th, but if we count his age by week, he is 4 month old from tomorrow.)
His weight: 8kg (=17.6lb.) (average: 6.4kg=15.5lb.)
His height: 74cm (=29 inches) (average: 64cm=24inches)

His development in the past month
The entries with * mark are developmental landmarks which babies should be able to do
** ones are those which babies will probably be able to do
*** ones are those which babies may possibly be able to do
**** ones are may even be able to do
by the end of the third month.
 (according to the books "What To Expect: The First Year" and W. Sears' "The Baby Book")

Between his 13th week to 16th week, he started to be able to:
* on stomach, lift his head almost 90 degrees (B started it since 3 and 1/2 months old)

** follow an object in an arc about 6 inches above the face for 180 degrees
** bring his both hands together, and play with his own hands
(Michiko's note: According to another book, these two landmarks above imply that the bridge between the right-sphere and the left-sphere of his brain has been established.  How exciting!) 
** laugh out loud and squeal in delight (B does it quite often and we can't even stop him!)

*** hold head steady when held upright (B started it since 2 and 1/2 months old) 
      (Michiko's note: Benjamin has always had a very strong head!)
*** on stomach, raise his chest, supported by arms

*** grasp a rattle and hold it for a while

**** bear some weight on legs when held upright (B started it since 2 and 3/4 months old)
**** reach for an object (3 and 2/3 months old)

**** roll over from tummy to back (!)
(Michiko's note: Actually, Benjamin did it for the first time just today! He did it twice by accident --- and funnily enough, he didn't seem proud or anything at all but just confused, because he in fact wanted to go to the other side to reach for a toy when he accidentally rolled over to his right side. ^^)
**** say ah-goo or similar vowel-consonant combination
(Michiko's note: Benjamin has been saying "Ma----m!" a lot since 2 and 1/2 months old, particularly when he cries for Mom's breast. It really sounds like "Mo---m!")

Other observation:

- Benjamin started to sleep in longer stretches (3 to 4 hours) through the night. 
- The other night, he slept without waking up for feeding at all for 7.5 hours (from 11 pm to 6:30am) for the first time!  (But this happened only once so far.)
- However, he also started to wake up with a sudden shrill cry just after falling asleep in the night, and when he wakes up and starts crying like that, it is REALLY hard to sooth and help him stop crying.  He constantly wants to nurse but then he spits up so much after such a long nursing.  So we try to distract him, but he cries really hard as if the end of the world (maybe so IS it for him ^^;).  But last night and the night before, Amar took over my place and he did an amazing job to put him sleep, being so patient even with his long, intense crying.  

Michiko's note: According to a baby book written by a Japanese author, this kind of night waking/crying sometimes happen particularly with 5 and 6 months old babies, perhaps as a consequence of their gaining short memory (= ability to remember what have happened during the daytime): some scary feeling or things experienced earlier that come back to their little mind in their dream may cause their awakenings and crying.

So, Benjamin's night cry may be a result of his starting gaining some short memories... then it is not necessarily a bad thing.  (Although such cries are supposedly for 5 to 6 months old babies..)

- He loves to see himself in the mirror. I don't know if he knows it's himself, but he instantly smiles and starts cooing/talking to the other person in the mirror even when he has been crying hard.

- He started to show a lot of interest in toys, including cuddly toys such as a green frog and a teddy bear.

Dad's lap is his favorite play gym...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Playdate Dinner

Yesterday, we were invited by Hiromi and Todd, whose 9-month-old daughter Maya is Benjamin's new playdate, for a Sunday dinner. It was a good fun evening!

Please check out the photos on my photo album site (click here).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stay at Story Inn

Last week, we made a small family trip to celebrate Benjamin's 3-month old birthday (July 17th). We went to Story Inn and stayed there overnight in one of their several cottage houses.

(Please click here for more pictures.  (User Name: guest, Password: shootingstar).  You can also jump to other pages such as Summer Solstice Party, Benjamin's First Play Date,  and Benjamin's 100th day birthday, from there for more photos that I recently added.)

The cottage we chose, the "Carriage House", had a huge hot tub indoor, and we thoroughly enjoyed soaking ourselves in the big hot tub in the night.  (But the only turn off was the smell of chlorine which was used in the tub.  Maybe next time we choose the house with an outdoor tub...  but in any case, the treat of the hot tub bath was certainly worth while of putting up with the smell, after all!)

  Another nice feature of the Carriage House was this swing in front of the house.  We enjoyed swinging together --- all three of us together.  
Benjamin apparently liked it very much.  Look at his smile here ^^ 

 The cutest sailor man-style clothes he is wearing is a gift from Sonia, a friend of mine who lives in Paris.  Thank you, Sonia!  We love this pair of clothes on Benjamin very much ^^