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This event snuck up on me, quite a feat given that it is only an all-day, worldwide series of concerts in support of a favourite cause, environmental awareness.  I just happened to find it while flipping through the TV channels this evening.  I must not be reading/watching the right news sources. Anyway, much like New Year’s countdowns, things started in Australia (Aussie Stadium in Sydney) and Japan (Makuhari Messe in Chiba).  In Canada, a continuous live feed from each site was shown on 2 of our cable music video channels. The broadcast from Japan wasn’t subtitled, but I could understand the announcements and stage patter in Japanese. The performers were a mixture of local groups and high-profile foreign names(read: American, like Linkin Park) . I found the mostly acoustic Sydney lineup more appealing than the mostly hard-edged Japan roster, but most of the acts were unfamiliar, and I had to go to bed before the one I did know (Crowded House) took to the stage – showing my age on all counts …  Music aside, the commercial breaks provided useful tips for reducing one’s environmental footprint with simple changes to everyday life, like:

  • Carpooling
  • Buying 100% recycled paper towels rather than white ones
  • Turning off computer monitors when not in use

I’ve never been to nor, prior to tonight, heard of Makuhari  Messe, but here are a couple of links about it:

http://www.m-messe.co.jp/index_e.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makuhari_Messe

Tonji-kun keeps growing:

  • Physical
    • Height – he is taller, and able to reach items on countertops. Dorami-chan‘s usable kitchen cupboard and drawer space has shrunk further! We will need to install some hanging cabinets out of his range. 18-month-sized clothes fit him perfectly.
    • Teeth – he doesn’t open his mouth wide, but there must be some molars coming in at the back (see Sleep below).
  • Motor :
    • He is more comfortable using a (baby) fork and spoon.
    • He can climb into and out of his baby chair.
    • Lately he does a “happy dance” when pleased.
    • He has tried standing on one leg (cheating a bit with hands on the table); we think he is emulating the skating of the hockey players he sees on TV.
  • Language
    • Speech:
      • Ban ban ban (Boom boom boom)!” – when he sees a picture of hanabi (fireworks).
      • Ma (uma = horse)” – he will say this when we start down a road we frequent that eventually passes by horse stables.
    • Signs – some new ones:
      • oishii (delicious) – open hand touches the back of the head
      • sakana (fish) – hands palms together, making a S-shaped swerving motion
    • Comprehension:
      • When asked, he can point out:
        • shingo (traffic light)
        • shimauma (zebra)
        • kirin (giraffe)
        • kutsushita (socks)
        • tebukuro (mittens)
        • saru (monkey)
        • ari (ant)
        • megane (eyeglasses)
        • face parts: mem-me (eyes), mimi (ear), hana (nose) – he will squeeze mine and expect to hear a “beep”.
      • Body parts: dressing and undressing is less of a battle when I ask him for his right/left arm/leg.
      • His full name – when his full name is called, he will raise his arm – only part way, though, so it looks like a Nazi salute (we’ll have to work with him on that!).
      • Negotiation – Dorami-chan was able to make a deal with him to keep wearing his hated mittens in exchange for pulling his sled one more time around our local park. As soon as she stopped, off came the mittens!
    • English – We use only Japanese when speaking to him, but he attends a couple of English-language playgroups, and has regular playdates with a couple of English-speaking buddies. And there are all those hockey broadcasts on television …
  • Social:
    • When I return from work, he comes to the door and bows “Okaerinasai (Welcome home)”.
    • At bedtime, from inside his crib he will pass me one or more of his stuffed animals so I won’t feel lonely.
    • He has met the babysitter Dorami-chan recruited, and behaves himself around her.
    • Dorami-chan brought him to one of my recreational league hockey games, where he was able to get right up close to the boards (they were the only specators in the arena). He pounded the protective glass with both hands like a veteran fan.
  • Toys:
    • Sled – it’s going to be a long winter – he enjoys riding in this, but likes walking around on his own better.
    • Shoehorn – Ours is the long kind – he enjoys using it like a walking stick, or a snow shovel.
    • Box – We finally finished the case of tortilla chips left over from Halloween – he has been very imaginitive with the empty box.
    • Hand puppet – He has figured out how these work
    • “Spot” – He got this stuffed toy dog from Jii-jii (Grampa) a couple of weeks ago. It is as big as he is, but he drags it around the house and knows it by name.
  • Food:

    • He is pretty much weaned off breast milk now. He eats most everything, but not beans yet — he isn’t giving Dorami-chan and me competition for the natto (fermented soybeans)!
    • He “drinks” wine and beer – he will put my glass to his lips and tilt it a bit, then sign “Oishii (delicious)”.
    • He likes nori (roasted dried seaweed) and wakame (kelp). When given the mini-onigiri (rice balls) Dorami-chan makes for his snack, he will peel off the nori wrapping and eat it first!
  • Sleep:
    • When tired, he will say “Nen-ne (beddy-bye)”, climb into bed and pull the covers around himself.
    • He has slept through the night on a number of occasions, but with teething he has had some miserable nights, too.

Tonji-kun continues to exhaust and amaze us. Here are some new developments:

  • Mobility – The older boys (and girls) at Japanese playgroup seem to have inspired him. He can spin around now, and walks with confidence and speed along a narrow bench, humouring his anxious father by letting him hold his hand. Another increase in height has brought the edges of countertops into his range.
  • Speech – not a whole lot new here:
    • Non-no” – Dorami-chan thinks this came from her asking him about riding his rocking horse: “Noru no (Are you going to ride)?” To him it means: “I want to play”, “I want that to play with”, or “Make this thing play”.
    • Baa” – his book of “Inai-inai-baa” (Japanese for Peek-a-boo).
    • Nen-ne” – sleep or bedtime (“Neru” = “to sleep” in Japanese)
    • Ma” – horse (“uma” in Japanese)
    • Shrieking – has diminished considerably in frequency, but not volume!
  • Signs – progress here is limited by his parents’ ignorance:
    • “Apple”, “water”, “milk”, “book”
  • Comprehension – non-random actions are evidence of processing going on in his head:
    • When he comes across the picture of an animal in his book, he will point to his stuffed toy version (if he has one).
    • When asked to turn the lights on or off, he will ask to be picked up, then will flick the lightswitch.
    • When asked to sit in his “high” (actually low) chair to eat, he will clamber in.
    • When we say, “Banzai!” he raises his arms, making it easier to pull off his shirt.
    • When asked to sleep, he will gather the covers around himself and put his head on the pillow.
  • Diet
    • He has quite an appetite — he has his own dinner at 5pm, then joins his parents for some of theirs at 6-7pm. Sounds like somebody …
    • He can use a regular cup or bowl, a skill he demonstrates regularly at bathtime, much to the consternation of his father. Luckily it is usually at the start of his bath, when the bathwater is relatively clean. He punctuates each gulp with a satisfied “Ahhhhh”.
  • Social
    • Bows to say “Konnichiwa (hello)” and “Arigato (thank you)”. A real Japanese!
    • Claps and says “Ahhhh-ah” at eerily appropriate times during hockey games.
    • Affectionate, but his clumsy hugs are more like football tackles.
    • Easily impressed — Says “Oooh” and “Woah” a lot.
    • Has developed a “diabolical mad scientist laugh” – hearty, head thrown back, mouth wide open.
  • Play
    • He loves the outdoors, the wind on his face.
    • Swimming – always comfortable in the water, and able to blow bubbles now.
    • Dancing – will bop along to any kind of music
    • Brave – goes down the playground slide head first.
    • Itai no itai no tondeike“- Dorami-chan has made getting an “owie” into a game where she gathers up the hurt by rubbing the injured area, then throws it into the air, or more recently at me. Great. But this works — soon he is laughing. Tell the pain management folks.
    • Always has eyes for the TV remote control. What a guy.
  • Memory – when watching an NHK video of Japanese children’s songs, he recognized the drawing style of the artist who did the animation, who also illustrated one of his storybooks
  • Sleep – the biggest change — for all of us! He is sleeping on his own in his crib now, and falls asleep without bedtime breastfeeding. He is then generally good until morning, although he half awakes a couple of times a night. Everybody is a bit better rested — all the more energy to expend during the day!

Over the last couple of weeks, Tonji-kun has become more directive in his play. He puts toys of his choice in the bath while the tub is filling, and now, instead of using the shower curtain for “inai-inai-baa (peek a boo)” (thank goodness – that moldy thing needs a wash or replacement), he asks me to sit forward so he can stand behind my back and tap my shoulder when he wants to be “found”.

During the summer, towelling off and dressing for bed would occur during Edmonton’s long northern twilight, but now with the evening darkness that signals approaching winter, I need to turn on the bedside light to see, which casts shadows on the wall. The other night I did a bit of puppetry for Tonji-kun with hand shadows. He seemed to enjoy the show, and to my surprise he has remembered and requested it every night since, asking for “Wan wan” (his word for “dog” is a dog’s bark in Japanese) – a dog is the only hand shadow I know (and Dorami-chan says the Japanese would call my pointy-eared dog a fox) . If this goes on, I will need to expand my repertoire!

http://www.20kweb.com/hand_shadows.html

http://www.centres.ex.ac.uk/bill.douglas/Schools/shadows/shadows2.htm

http://www.kellys.com/ashley/shadow.html