Oh my gosh, all the kisses! And your kisses are proper kisses now, complete with pouty kissy lips and loud smack noises. You like to send them across the room, over FaceTime and most of all you like to plant real kisses on our lips. They’re the best kisses in the world and they make us so happy.
When you see one of us or you want our attention, you run up to us, look us straight in the face, and strongly declare “hi”. When you leave or someone else leaves, you wave and clearly say “bye-bye”. Even during a panicked screaming and crying episode at the doctor’s, through your tears and screams, you waved and said “bye-bye” several times.
You love playing ‘inai inai baa’. You do it anywhere and everywhere, mostly behind your hands. Papa used to hide behind the wall in the kitchen and play peekaboo when you were in your high chair during dinner. Now, you hide behind the wall, jump out and yell “baa” and smile from ear to ear.
For a while now, you’ve had some bad itchy eczema on your arms, legs, and belly. I’ve been trying to take over your belly scratching, because you scratch so hard it makes your skin bleed. Apparently, it feels good when I rub your belly, because it makes you relaxed and smile so adorably. Also, you’ve been requesting more belly rubs and tickles.
You can open doors! Your twelfth tooth is coming through. You love lining up your cars and little Duplo men. You can finally go forwards on your ride-on crocodile. You still like to bang your head on things, seemingly to test how hard they are? It looks and sounds very painful, and I hope you stop doing that soon. You enjoy walking hand-in-hand much more these days, and do it quite a lot and sometimes even request it with your hand in the air.
You’re pretty good at jumping, you like to jump and yell at the same time (probably trying to yell “jump” like us). You do your best jumping on trampolines, of course, so do we. There’s a nice trampoline park here in Derby which hosts toddler mornings, we’ve only been once but we all loved it so we’ll be back, a lot!
You are a total copycat. It can come in handy, like when we want you to hold on to your buggy when you walk next to it. It can also be adorable, like when I’m snapping my fingers to the beat of the music and your little fingers try to do the same. You have learned how to fist bump, jump, and even crow like a rooster all by observing and imitating. You surprised us when you wanted me to bump my drink into your water bottle and you said something that sounded a lot like “cheers”. Which you seem to have been copying from memory.
We visited the Netherlands for Christmas and New Year’s again. We got sick like last year, but thankfully not nearly as bad this time. You did have a fever for a few nights, but you handled it well and didn’t need any doctor or medication to get over it. Traveling with you was hard. Our trip included a bus trip, a long walk, two train trips, a flight, a car ride, and an insane amount of waiting in lines. And you’re just not down with that. Neither are we, but we are adults and it’s easier for us to endure.
It was so hard for you to be contained in the buggy or Ergo carrier for that long. You just wanted to run around and go explore. Honestly, so did we. Now, I’m quite anxious about our trip to Japan in two months. We’ve decided that after that we won’t be taking trips abroad anymore, not until you’re quite a lot older, and able to wait in lines and easily entertained by inflight entertainment.
Our trip to the Netherlands was fun, though. We saw lots of family, even your uncle Hiromasa, who recently moved back to Germany, stopped by for a quick visit. We celebrated Christmas in the Efteling and had Christmas dinner at McDonald’s. We celebrated New Year’s with oliebollen and fireworks. You love animals and you had so much fun playing with Chantal’s little dog and feeding animals at a petting zoo. You also played at a local play zone, jumped on trampolines for the first time, ate way too many Dutch treats and drank a lot of Fristi.
We learned that going to restaurants with you is not a good idea anymore. When you were younger it wasn’t a problem, but now expecting you to sit still for more than 15 minutes is really unrealistic. Obviously, that’s way too tall an order for you. No worries, we’ll take you to our favorite restaurants when you’re older and more able to enjoy it.
You call food “nyum nyum”. When you’re hungry, you’ll walk to the living room gate point at the kitchen and say “nyum nyum”. This means you want me to go get a snack with you. When you like something you ate or drank, you will wave (attempting to make the Dutch gesture for delicious) and say “mmm” or “nyum nyum”. When all the food has been consumed, you say “up” which means ‘op’ [Dutch for ‘all gone’].
You say “oh no”, “no”, but apparently “da” means ‘no’ most of the time. You say “day-sum” when you’re trying to say “deze” [Dutch for ‘this’]. You’re finally calling me “mama,” but then again you’re calling most everyone that these days. You used to call both of us “papa”, but now you have stopped saying that altogether. You also say “ahma” when you’re trying to say “oma” [Dutch for ‘grandma’] which makes both your Dutch and Japanese oma happy.
You are still utterly obsessed with cars and balls. You say the Dutch words for these items, “auto” and “bal” literally all the time. You have started saying “balloh” when referring to ‘balloons’. But anything else round, like circles, wheels, oranges and more, is still called “bal”. When Papa and you play with your cars by riding them off the slide, he often makes a “toot toot toot-pause-taah” sound, so now you’ve perfected that yourself and do it during play or when to announce that you want to play.
Every time you see a star shape your hands start twisting making the “twinkle twinkle little star” song gesture you learned at play group a long time ago. You do it when you see stars or want something shaped like a star or when you hear the melody of the song. I’ve tried teaching you the Dutch word “ster” and you have tried copying me, but for now it sounds more like “tehr”.
“Atchi” is still for when things are hot, like a cup of tea or an oven that’s on, but you also use it when you sense something is cold, like ice cream. Either way, you try to blow to make it less hot or cold. You’re really blowing these days, you even managed to blow party horns hard enough for the paper tube to unroll and inflate. You haven’t been able to make the horn-like noise, but you have been able to create sounds by blowing on flutes and recorders for a really long time already. You tried blowing out the candles on Yasmin’s birthday cake. So I have high hopes for your second birthday!
You killed our TV. You’ve been pretty good at throwing things, and Papa, a huge baseball fan, likes to foster that talent and encourages you to throw balls. But to you it doesn’t matter if you’re throwing soft squishy balls or something like metal toy cars. To the TV the difference does matter. Last week, you threw a little car at the TV, the glass cracked into a nice star and the machine stopped working. Thank goodness for contents insurance. We hope to have a new TV by the end of this week, and we hope even more to keep you and your throwing skills away from it.
We got a new bed, a super king size bed (which is the equivalent of a king size bed in the US), and we invested in a much better mattress. So now lying down in bed is much more comfortable without those springs poking into our sides, and we have a lot more space! Maybe even enough for a future sibling? Well, I hope to get my cycle back someday soon and to get working on a little brother or sister for you. You’re still nursing quite a lot (which is why my cycle hasn’t returned), some days more than others. When we’re out an about, there’s lots to distract you, so you hardly nurse if at all. When we’re home you nurse a few times during the day. You love your milk in the evening and of course during the night, so I’m pretty sure those are the last feeds to go when you eventually decide to self-wean. These days you seem to have a preference for a certain boob while you nurse and you request to change to the other side by latching off, saying “bye-bye” while waving and then poking the other boob while saying “this this”. And this can happen multiple times within one nursing session.
You have started eating more and more, you especially loved food in the Netherlands. At home you love fruit, potatoes and rice the most. To signal you want some food you see you either point at it and say “this this” or “Babel”, or you make eye-contact and open your mouth really wide. You also do the latter when I show up with a peeled mandarin or your vitamins, or when we need to brush your teeth. Thanks, it makes things lots easier! You also like to receive food straight from my mouth or you like to give me food like that, we’re basically just like a mama and baby bird.
You also still love homemade vegetable and fruit juice. You often drink it from an open cup, which you’re quite good at, only problem is when you’ve had enough you like to dump out the rest of your drink on the table or floor. So we still need to keep a close eye on you while you drink from open cups, not because we’re afraid of an accidental spill, rather we’re afraid of a deliberate emptying of the cup. You’ll figure it out soon enough, though. It’s really fun to see your skills develop.
Bigger boys seem to find you adorable (who can blame them?) and you love it when they play with you. At a Dutch McDonald’s, a boy about 9 years old spent a very long time playing kick the balloon with you. He shortly interrupted play to put in his order with his parents but then came straight back to play with you. When he finally had to go to have dinner, we heard him exclaim to his family how adorable you are.
At a sports store here in Derby, we had put you in a large basket of balls (since you’re obsessed with balls these days) and a boy about 7 years old quickly spotted you and you two played for a while throwing and catching balls. It was really endearing to see how the larger boy spoke to you and how gentle he was with you.
At Markeaton park, you were playing in the large wooden truck (you’re also obsessed with all kinds of cars) and a boy about 4 years old, climbed in with you and pretended to chauffeur you around. He also enjoyed letting you play with a key he brought along and even went to get a padlock for you two to play with.