baby diaries: nostalgia

Was washing a couple of days ago the small bottle you used when you were less than two months. Will be using it for your water after meals (of course with new nipple and cap). I’m amazed how small it was. And with it came the nostalgia. So many things have happened since then; how much you’ve grown since then albeit it’s been only six months!

Would probably feel the nostalgia from from now on, every now and then. But Mommy hopes that as you grow up, you’d share the nostalgia with me, with Mommy and Daddy. That we’d both happily look back the yesteryears, over wine, over a cup of tea or coffee or even simply on our couch in our future (hopefully) sunroom.

I pray you’d grow close to your parents, Yui; have a great bond with your Mom and Dad. And that there’ll never be angry words between us. Only love, respect, kindness and joy.

Grow well our beauty.

the baby’s first hanami (cherry blossoms viewing)

A spring-y outfit for…


…Yui’s first hanami!


This variant blooms days earlier than the white variant so they’re in full bloom earlier this week whilst the white ones will be in full bloom this weekend or early next week.



With the Sakura frenzy, everything now is sakura-inspired. From food products to wines, to toiletries to home cleaning agents. And we try everything too, not only for the novelty of it but because it tastes good (food and wine). Our favourite so far is sakura yogurt.

And look there’s sakura udon too!


The taste? Very very slight sakura taste discerned only by an udon lover.

Japan Spring, you’re so lovely it’s such a waste to while the day inside the house!

Steam cooked shrimp and scallops

Thought of following Yui’s way and go for the healthier option – steaming our dish for dinner.

I wanted to achieve this.


But I can’t read the instructions. I can read at least that it takes 10 minutes to cook it. And that aside from the scallops and shrimp, there’s mayonnaise and curry flavor on it. Am not too keen on curry so I bought this instead:


The cooking paper was easy to find thanks to Mayumi being around.

I thought of adding mushrooms too.


End result.


Total time from preps up to the steamer’s “ting” is 20 minutes. Loved it how Hubs loved the resulting taste. πŸ˜€
Experiment, a success!

Lessons learnt for next time though: I want bigger scallops, the ones that I really like and will use fresh shrimp next time, not frozen ones.

baby diaries: Happy half birthday baby

Six months flew by so fast, anak. Seemed like it was only yesterday when I kissed your red lips for the first time in the operating room, right after the doctors took you out of Mommy’s tummy. Well, Mom would probably say that “seemed like only yesterday” a number of times from now.

But really, you grow so fast. Your Dad and I marvelled the week your hair finally grew back when the week before that you were still bald. You grow up so fast and of course your Mom and Dad are happy and relieved.

Today, we had your half birthday photoshoot. Dad and Mom are so proud and happy to see you laughing a lot with the photo shop crew. Just three months ago, it was to only me and your Dad that you laughed with. Your horizons are expanding.

And soon, it’ll expand even more. Soon, you’ll be going to daycare. Someone else other than Mom and Dad would be taking care of you. It gives my heart a twinge baby, a little sad even, knowing you’d probably establish a bond with your new caregiver, knowing she’ll witness some of your firsts. But your going to daycare is for your own good as well as for Mom’s own good.

You’ll get to learn early on about your Japanese heritage that has a culture so rich and varied which Mom wishes you will uphold and continue for your children and children’s children. If you would be with Mom at home, you would be missing a lot. That and more other reasons besides. Expand your horizons baby.

Mommy needs to take some time for herself too. And pursue her dreams while taking care of you and Daddy. So that Mom can be a better Mom. There’s this line in MomME Circle, a website celebrating purposeful moms, that sums up why Mom has to go back to work and what Mom yearns to teach you.

She works towards living a brilliant, thriving life because she wants to set a good example for her kids. She knows they are watching and this is what she wants them to learn: to believe in themselves, to know that dreams can come true, and to live purposeful, inspiring lives.

Your Dad is making a lot of effort as well, by the day, in becoming a better dad. Earlier at the Church, Dad, who was then carrying you was swaying and making some small dance steps so that you’d continue in your slumber. Yes there were lots of people around and behind him yet Dad didn’t mind them. This from your Dad who’s shy.

Mom and Dad are not perfect honey. Imperfect though we are, we love you so much and would do our best to give you everything that’s best for you.

Grow well Yui. And may you grow up with a kind heart and a confident spirit. That and many other well wishes besides.

Mom and Dad

Happy half Birthday!


my first DIY baby food

From the onset, I wanted and planned to prepare homemade baby food for Yui. It’s healthier and you can be rest assured there are no dubious additives. Also, a lot of the powdered baby food here are mixtures of two or more vegetables and fruits. I wanted to feed Yui one type at a time to make sure she’s not allergic to a certain food hence homemade is the way to go.

I figure vegetables and fruits would be fairly easy to prepare. You can just either steam or bake them then mash them or purΓ©e using a blender. The rice though was a puzzle for me. Do I cook it first before mashing/putting on the blender or have it milled first before cooking? If the latter, do I mill it myself (buy a rice miller or blender with milling blade) or have it milled somewhere (but where?)? So I compromised and told myself to have it instant with the rice cereal.

Rice cereal and wheat bread cereal. Tried it with milk but Yui doesn’t like it. She preferred water on her cereal. Very Japanese palate. πŸ™‚ I tasted these by the way and they really taste just like rice and bread. Very simple taste. 20130316-234829.jpg

I wanted Yui to try brown rice but I couldn’t find one here. So I had it imported, through a friend. I wanted Gerber but apparently powdered Gerber is not anymore available in the Philippines. Did Yui like it? She did! Yui also has a Filipino palate, thankfully. 20130316-235239.jpg Segue: notice that the Japanese boxes say for 5 months whilst the Cerelac one says for 6 months. Read the label and saw that Philippine paediatricians recommend breastmilk feeding wholly for six months. Of course it’s the same here. However it’s recommended to start at around 4 to 6 months just for training the baby to get the hang of eating and not really for nutrition. Nutrition is still wholly dependent on breast milk or formula. When we had the required four months check up at the government health clinic, we also had a seminar on feeding solids for baby as midwives/doctors believe we would be starting solids in a few weeks or so. Plus, starting solids when Yui is 5 months works for me since Yui will hopefully start daycare come April. I want to be the one feeding Yui’s first foods and not her daycare nurse.

Whew, quite a long segue. Anyways.

I talked with my Japanese friend last Friday however and she was able to personally mash her baby’s rice cereal. It can be done! Will definitely try it when Yui’s boxes of cereals have all been consumed. So, having had done with rice cereal, wheat bread cereal and brown rice cereal, it’s time for Yui to be on vegetables and fruits.

First on the menu, sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes steaming. IMG_2384

I also bought a blender specially designed for making baby food. (The steamer was also the smallest one we could find). 20130317-000620.jpg

But sweet potatoes, once cooked, is really soft hence mashing it using this is enough. Mashing took just a couple of minutes or so. IMG_2398

Sweet potato is really dry once it cools down. Hence I added cooled down boiled water to achieve consistency that’s similar to cereal. IMG_2385

Did our baby like it? Sure bet! We had a very very eager eater straining on her straps to get closer to the spoon. She absolutely loved it.


This being the first time, I only prepared one batch. Will try next time to make more and store the rest.

Sure it’s more troublesome what with more dishes to be washed and the steamer to boot. But seeing Yui eagerly take a spoonful (and sometimes even complaining when it took too long for me to give her another spoonful), it sure is worth all the effort. That, and the fact that you know you’re feeding your baby only the healthy stuff.

do you still sterilise your baby’s milk bottle?

Even when I already knew what to do in sterilising milk bottles (I after all had been using Pigeon bottles already), when I bought another brand of bottles (Yui still preferred Pigeon bottles. But I digress), I read their instructions on how to sterilise bottles. It said to sterilise the bottle when using the first time. And then wash with soap and warm water on subsequent use. No sterilisation needed. I ignored this since after all, they sell some steriliser products. And I couldn’t wave away what I’ve been used to doing.

Then my bestfriend in the US mentioned how pediatricians in the US advise the very thing that I read in the bottle washing instructions. She still sterilise anyway. It’s already an engrained practice. Hard to convince yourself otherwise.

And then I read this article in Parents Magazine which tells about the most outdated pieces of baby advice. Yes, bottle sterilising is on the list.


We’d save on water and gas surely, if we follow this since the water I wash the bottle with is already warm. But I still am not sure if I can force myself to follow this. Will surely ask Yui’s paediatrician the next time we go for our well-baby appointment to hear about the latest on the Japanese paediatrics.
Asked our paediatrician about Japanese paediatrics’ take on bottle sterilisation in Yui’s recent 6~7 months old well-baby check and they basically concur with that of American paediatrics. As long as bottle is well-scrubbed with nary a spot of milk curd in it, it’s fine not to sterilise the milk bottle. He reminded me as well that of course, you have to make sure that your hands are clean when cleaning the bottles and when preparing milk.
Our warm tap water is set at 39deg C. Coupled with our paediatrician’s advise, using this temperature when washing the bottles, I’m somehow more comfortable with the thought of not sterilising the milk bottles anymore.

today’s cute finds at Babies R Us

Met with a colleague friend earlier who also have a baby who’s just days younger than Yui. The afternoon’s agenda: show her Babies R Us location in our area. Told her when we met last week that the store has lots of super cute yet affordable bibs that I haven’t found yet in other stores (my bestfriend in US who has twins said cover-all bibs aren’t available in the US; at least she hasn’t found any in her area). Me mentioning the bibs was just right on time because my colleague friend also needs to buy quite a number of new bibs for her daughter who is soon to start daycare on April 1st.

Of course, I took the opportunity to look around for Yui’s stuff. Bought her very cute pink, frilly ruffle skirt and shirt as well but these are my favourites in today’s purchases:

Minny Mouse Joint mat. I initially wanted a cute Hello Kitty joint mat but decided against it because the colours and design of the mat was too loud. This is just nice.


Bought this Hello Kitty hand sanitizer though.


This oversized bib with towel that has wonderfully balanced both fashion and function.


Where’s the towel? Here!


So if your baby’s burp spit up turned to full blown vomiting, you have a handy towel to wipe the vomit up.


I also bought Yui a lullaby CD by Jewel. It turned out however that Yui preferred my version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Hehe! But I bought the CD for both Yui and the Dad. Turned out my hunch was right. Hubs loved the songs in that the one hour or so playlist got played for four solid hours. @_@


Cover-all bibs for sending to US.


Didn’t buy yet the stuff needed for Yui’s daycare as we still await for instructions from the ward office and meeting with the daycare nurses. From what my friend has been telling me earlier, I’m excited for Yui. πŸ™‚

Yui’s first word?

Yui usually is sunny the moment she wakes up, brandishing a smile the moment she has an eye contact with either me or her dad. But there are times, she’s also cranky. And so on those times, we hurry to her side, cradle her and calm her down.

This afternoon, she had that cranky bout. I rushed to her and carried her in my arms to soothe her back to sleep. The moment she was in my arms, she started to calm down but was still crying and was babbling.

Agoo. Yah. Uha. Gugu. MA. Yayay. Ah. Oh. Uha. MA. Aga. Uwa. Yoyo. Wa. Ya.

Ma. She said Ma. She said Ma!!! Yey! πŸ™‚

Yui’s going to daycare!

It has been a long and tiring day. But one that’s definitely filled with blessings, (mis)adventures and laughter.

The first and biggest blessing for the day? We received our most awaited mail these days – the letter from the ward office informing us of the results of our daycare application.

Our application got accepted! And to our top choice at that (nearest daycare from our house; we applied for three centres) and one that’s a montessori! Yey! I thought montessoris here in Japan are only restricted to (super expensive) private schools. Apparently no. And our daughter is going to one. Yey! And it’s a branch that is newly built at that hence all facilities are new! Yey! And because Yui can go to daycare, I can go back to work. Yey!!

Thankful. And as hubs has been saying, like a miracle. See, we missed the first deadline of applications (by just a day!!) and so belonged to the second batch of applicants. Thinking the first batch will be prioritised, we were afraid we wouldn’t have a slot anymore and would have to resort to sub-accredited day cares or (shiver, because it’s so expensive!!!) private non-government supported day care. I don’t want to put Yui on a sub accredited day care but we also can’t afford a private one (2 million yen per year for tuition alone!!). So our best recourse while waiting – praying. It was an answered prayer indeed. πŸ™‚

And oh. This one gave us goosebumps. Usual first day of all schools here in Japan including daycares is April 1. However, since the daycare we applied for is new, it will have a different start date. Yui’s first day of school is on April 30. This day has been special to Atsushi and me before in that we decided to have our wedding day on this day. And now Yui is starting school on April 30. Very nice. πŸ™‚

a messy bath

Ever since Yui turned 2 months, when she was already too heavy for me to singlehandedly hold her in her baby tub yet still too small for those bath chairs, we had her have a bath with her Dad. We have a system going. Daddy takes a shower, goes into the tub and holds Yui while Mommy soaps and rinses the baby. Because of the cold months, we dress Yui’s first layer in the bathroom before I whisk her off to the bedroom to continue dressing Yui up. We had this system going smoothly since then.

Now, one thing I’m really happy and proud of is that Yui poops almost like clockwork. And because I know the very day she will poop, I just watch out for her soon-to-poop facial expression. The moment I see it, I put her down, ease her out from her diaper, raise her legs and then she does her thing. Not messy at all. She sometimes even “sing” while she does her thing. The only time before that she had a messy episode was when we were about to go out to see her paediatrician. Suffice it to say we were late for that appointment.

Today was supposedly Yui’s poop day but we were out for most of the day so she didn’t have her moment. Bath time came and we were happily cooing to Yui about the day’s happenings.

And then she stretched her lips; that about-to-poop expression.

Our eyes got big as we thought of the possibility. And in that split second that we hesitated and was about to coax Yui to wait, she let out what she had been holding on for the whole day.

Hubs gave me Yui and got out the tub like he has been scalded. Problem was that we were in the midst of soaping Yui. Oh the chaos and panic that ensued thereafter. And the cleaning up that had to be done after. Thankfully Yui slept right after we dressed her up so we had the time to clean.

The excitement and cleaning after certainly made us very tired later on. But we also had a good laugh after everything got settled and got cleaned.

Life with a growing baby. It gets exciting by the day! πŸ˜€

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