Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sticks and leaves

After Daddy time in the morning, Rich headed off to work and Max and I got ourselves out of the house and down to the subway to catch a train to visit Max's friend Taiga (and my friend Sayuri). Max and Taiga have known each other almost a year now and it's a real pleasure to see them enjoy each other's company.  After eating at a lovely cafe in their neighborhood, we walked to the local park to enjoy the first bit of sun in a week.  

After some see-sawing, balancing on logs and general running around, Max grabbed a stick and proceeded to explore the fences, flower beds, trees and general dirt. The highlight of playtime was some good old-fashioned playing with sticks in the leaves.   

How much is that sushi in the window?

Hi everyone.  Max here. Just wanted to show you my new haircut. Here I am on my way to visit my friend Taiga in Musashi-Koyama. It's not far from my house.  Just 15 minutes on the subway. 

Check out the sushi in the window.  Not that I would eat it. I don't eat anything new these days. I don't even eat my old favorites like pasta and cheese.  I'll take some m'n'ms anytime, however.  

Just please don't make me brush my teeth.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It's about time for a new post.  Let's see, what can I say....  Well, we have a new billboard outside. The spiderwoman is finally gone and replaced by a ghostly and very pale blond woman in a very low cut top.  

I haven't been practicing the guitar. : -(   I've been researching preschools since we heard that Max's school is closing in June.  This is sad.  It's such a sweet place.  I may as well be in New York with the intensity of the preschool competition around here.  And then there is the cost. The going rate for the best/popular international schools is about $21,000/year plus registration, building and maintenance fees that range between $2,000 and $9,000. This is for a 30 hour/week program. Can you believe it? I suppose that in many instances the company is footing the bill. But not always.  So we are debating Montessori vs. a couple of other places. Perhaps we should just drop him into a Japanese daycare program.  Much cheaper. Ah, but we must nurture his creativity and individuality and give him the optimal setting for development and socialization. Yadda yadda.

Oh, and Rich is working like a dog.  Another crazy, time-sensitive, crisis management project that is putting him and his colleagues through 14 hour weekdays and weekends. This Thursday I'll host a PwC wives get-together/support meeting at my apartment. We'll probably order fattening take-out, drink a lot of wine and be amused by Max's antics.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Guitar lessons

I bought a guitar last weekend and had a lesson on Wednesday.  It was a trial lesson.  The teacher is Japanese but his English is pretty good.  I have to decide if I'll commit to 5 lessons with this guy and then see how that goes.  Since I have totally boring taste, I'll probably be working on some folk tunes a la Simon and Garfunkel although the teacher has suggested some Bob Marley and seems to be into blues.

I bought an acoustic guitar in a part of Tokyo called Ochanomizu (it means tea water).  It's a fun place to visit as the main street is lined with music and instrument shops.  You can also get some good deals there.  According to a website I found, it's where "broke-ass students" go to buy a guitar.

Turns out you can download a lot of the chord scores on the internet for free but my main challenge will be finding some sheet music that I can master. Rich and I found a place in Shibuya by accident the other weekend that had a good selection.  The difficult part is that all the artist names are written in Katakana and, well, I've got some more studying to do in that department.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Max milestones

I think I'll take a cue from Kelly (giving you a plug there, girlfriend) and start doing a better job recording some Max milestones.  And I'll try to be more disciplined about making entries more regularly.  

To be honest, the start of this year has been pretty miserable for me.  I've been sick a good deal of January and February, Rich was sick and Max has had recurrent colds.  So we've been home a lot listening to Max expand his vocabulary and play more imaginatively by himself.  Lately, he is enjoying playing with a die-cast model combine harvester, reading and re-reading Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry, and of course, playing with his trains where one of them inevitably falls into a "muddy ditch".  He also likes to play "Where's my Mommy/Where's my Baby?" with his toy animals.  We have a cow and calf and pig and piglets so you get the picture.  

He continues to be a very picky and light eater.  He subsists on milk, brown rice, pasta, peanut butter, corn bread, macaroni and cheese, dry cereal, bananas, apples, cheese toast, z bars, an occasional yogurt or waffle. He will sporadically eat couscous or quinoa - if nothing else is visible in it.  He is nuts about chocolate, rarely turns down a cookie, likes strawberry ice cream and oddly, his favorite cheese is parmigian, which he eats by the chunk.

Red is his favorite color.  He has unfortunately learned to say "dammit" (this is my fault).  And we can thank Grandpa Joe for a new word - "Jeeeeesus" - which he boisterously repeated after a skype call.  On the sweeter side, Max will tell you "I live Tokyo 1010!" and is all about "love" these days.  He "wuvs" his parents, his carses, truckses, cowses, chocolate milk, ice cream, candy and dessert.  He loves older kids, especially boys and likes to play in a small patch of wooded area in our neighborhood park - that he calls the "jungle".  


Dinner conversation

Heather: Max, sit down in your chair on your bum or your knees.
Max: (coyly) I like you.
Heather: Please sit down, Max.
Max: (leaning out of his chair and attempting to nuzzle me with his head) I love you.
Heather: Max, you need to sit down and have one more bite of spaghetti.
Max: You're cute.

Has this sort of conversation happened to anyone else out there?  When you start to scold your child they counter with "l love yous"?  This back and forth gets repeated often these days.  Like when I am hell-bent on having Max take off his own shoes when he comes into the house - rather than lying down and sticking his feet in the air in my direction.  

That being said, the potty-training is going ok.  Of course he is endlessly amused by strutting around and making psssssing sounds throughout the day.  He also does this funny straddle the toilet seat thing that they must have taught him in pre-school.  He literally leans toward the toilet and grips the seat and balances over it.  But we'll get there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New videos posted

Check out some new videos.  Just click on the images along the right side of the blog.   

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grammy's sweater vest

This is Max in the sweater vest Grammy knitted for him.  It has a long train track on the other side and you can make out the railroad crossing sign.  He is seen here eating cookies and playing with a fave toys of late - the red-eyed tree frog and his many cousins.