Vivian Moves to America, Pt. I

Our baby is going to be completely traumatized. Her whole world has been turned upside down, and it’s going to get even crazier before it gets better again.

First, on Sunday, we sold some of her favorite things. Mainly the Jumperoo and the swing, but a few smaller things as well. I am planning for it to take 3-4 months before we see our household goods again, and by then these items will be totally outgrown (because, giant baby) and/or no longer needed. They are too bulky to try to get them back to the States by any other method. So we let them go to other very nice Navy people. Now, the Jumperoo is too critical a piece of equipment to do without, and Vivian still has good jumping days ahead of her, so it will be replaced as soon as possible. The swing was our number one nap spot, but … I think the universe is saying, it’s time we break the habit.


Then, after we sold some of her things, the rest of her things got packed away into great big boxes over the space of two very long, very busy, very loud days. Some of the boxes are a bit silly.


Vivian found it fascinating…

IMG_2082…and ultimately a bit stressful.

IMG_2096Like I said, they were a couple of long days – for all of us. I have to say, she was quite a trooper; the pack out went much more smoothly than I expected. The second pack out day, yesterday, she and I basically “hid out” and played most of the day in the former guest bedroom, with the doors closed to preserve the air conditioning while the rest of the house sweltered.


Naps have been particularly challenging. Not just because the number-one-nap-spot got carried off in a RAV4, but also because of all the commotion. Both pack out mornings I took her for walking naps in her stroller, despite the mid-July heat, while B stayed at the house with the movers.

IMG_2086(The muslin blankie canopy is effective at keeping her from getting sunburned.)

She got some car naps as well, but sleep has been hard to come by. She’s still only capable of being awake for about 2 hours before she mutates from an adorable cherub into a vicious crankybeast. Today, which was the post-pack-out cleaning / inspection / errands day, was maybe the roughest for naps, since every time she got in the car, she’d fall asleep – for 10 minutes. By the time we got back to the Navy Lodge this afternoon, Vivian was rather agitated and, upon coaxing, crashed hard.


So that’s the abbreviated version of the moving-out side of our giant transoceanic homecoming move. My biggest concern the whole time was whether and where the baby would sleep. Also, none of our things got broken and we have a gazillion pounds of luggage to try to haul through the airport. The upcoming travel itself has been a bit of a nightmare, but that’s for the next post.

I know Vivian won’t remember her time in Japan, but right now it’s all she’s known. It must be so profoundly confusing for her. Or, you know, maybe not. Maybe I’m projecting too much, and she’s just living in the moment wherever we might take her. Maybe her contentedness is entirely dependent only on how well-rested she is or is not.

Here is a picture of Vivian in an empty room playing with a zebra rattle. Is it cute, or sad, or both?


Tomorrow night, we fly out. Now THAT will be a looooonnng day.

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Vivian’s 6 month birthday is next Tuesday, but she went for her 6-month-checkup today. (We’ll be busy with packing out our house on Tuesday! Aaahh!)

This goliath baby is 28 inches long and weighs just a tad over 21 lbs. 99th-plus percentile for her age in both, and somewhere around 90th percentile for weight-for-height.

Hmm, I suppose maybe she’s a leeeetle bit chunky.

That’s okay.

It looks good on her.

Vivian, you don’t have to conform to society’s standards.

The doctor (who was the same idiot we saw last time, but who we never have to see again because we’re moving hooray!) said when she starts crawling and being increasingly physical, her weight gain will probably slow down. It makes me wonder if maybe she’s at the 90th percentile weight-for-height because other babies who are her height are already old enough to be crawling / walking / burning more calories. Is that a stretch? Hm.

Anyway, nothing much noteworthy happened at her appointment. According to their checklist, she is on target for all her skills. She got her 6 month vaccinations, as evidenced by the bandaids on her thighs. And she grinned at everybody she saw up until the shots, and then was happy again 5 minutes afterward.

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Eek. Sorry it’s been a little while since your last “Viv fix.” Here is a cute video to tide you over!

She truly seems to get more physically adept every day. It’s pretty amazing.

If you aren’t familiar with Rody, it’s a character / toy originally from Italy, apparently warmly embraced here in Japan. My mom bought this wobbly Rody for Viv when she was still less than a month old, and today was the day he finally came out of the packaging. So this video is basically their first session playing together.

I’ll try to get a wordier post up soon. Big news to be covered: we’re moving back to the States! In about 2 weeks!! Holy cow I have so much to do!!!

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Viv on Video: Baby Strength Training

B was playing with Vivian while I made dinner tonight, and she seemed to be getting upset if she wasn’t standing. The following is one of her favorite games right now.

This week’s edition (for month-4-week-3) of the weekly Babycenter emails suggests we can start gently pulling the baby by her hands into a sitting position at this age. Er, I believe we’re a little ahead of schedule.

I keep trying to tell her that she’s not old enough for this kind of thing, but she just won’t hear it. Also? In this video, she’s wearing 12-month sized clothes. Since obviously she is a Mutant SuperBaby.

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Sitting (A Work in Progress)

Oh, you know, just sitting here on the sofa. Hangin’ out.

No, she certainly can’t get into a seated position on her own, and yeah, she definitely has to be supervised (especially on the sofa!) because she’ll topple over before long. But Vivian has got the “tripod” sitting position just about mastered, and she’s gained enough confidence that she’ll lift her hands for a moment to grab something. Like her rainbow blankie, in the picture.

The problem she’s been having is that she wants to straighten her legs, because we’ve been practicing with pulling her up into a sitting and then standing position. She apparently loves standing, so she wants to do it on her own. Unfortunately, when she tries to do it on her own from her tripod sit, she just does a face plant. I’d get it on video, but I’m too preoccupied trying to keep her from hurting her adorable face.

Coordination issues aside, this baby has tremendous core strength. Way to go, baby girl.

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Catching Up on Month Four + “Pthbbbt”

Ack! It’s been a little while since I posted, huh? Sorry about that. Let’s get caught up here… In the last two weeks, Vivian improved her solids-consumption techniques drastically, though she’s certainly no pro just yet. She ate three additional new foods: bananas, avocados, and ‘kabocha,’ or Japanese pumpkin (a winter squash, think butternut or acorn squash). Both of her bottom front teeth broke through the gum, so now it hurts when she bites us but she seems much less miserable; I have not yet been able to get a photo of the teeth. She continues to be lousy at sleeping, and it continues to make me pretty irritable all night every night. She rolled from her back to her tummy for the first time, this Thursday, though it seemed to have been quite by accident and has not yet been repeated.


Also? She met her grandfather for the first time! My dad came to visit, for four days tacked onto the tail end of a business trip in Japan. It’s pretty awful, being so far away from family that at four months old, this is only the second of her family she’s met, besides her own mom & dad. At least we live in the age of Skype…


As you can see, Viv and grandpa were instant besties. We took a trip to a lovely, quiet little beach out on Hirado island. Vivian got to put her feet in the ocean for the very first time. I think she was amused.


Now, in the silliness department, she has been working on a new, uh, communication skill. In other words, she’s discovered a new sound she can make, and spent much of the day perfecting it. This first video is from early this afternoon.

And this second one is from later in the evening.

Quite a drastic improvement for only a few hours, right? Well, there was an awful lot of practicing during that time. The best part about it is, now her comedy repertoire has expanded to include fart jokes.

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Starting Solids

It was a big day: Vivian had her first “solid” “meal” today. In other words, she swallowed a couple of teaspoons’ worth of rice mush, and smeared an equal or greater amount around on her face. Whee!

We attempted to capture the grand occasion on video, with only moderate success. She is overly fond of the camera, you see, so whatever amazing thing she’s in the process of doing when you start filming, as soon as she realizes you’re filming, she quits doing that thing. So the majority of her actually ingesting any food was not caught on camera. But you can get the gist.

Ultimately, it was a learning experience for all three of us.

For posterity’s sake: I went to the trouble of getting some organic brown rice, grinding it up, cooking it on the stovetop, and adding breast milk to make it super-palatable for Baby’s taste buds. Because that’s love, right there. We toyed with the idea of giving her something more exotic for her first food – like avocado! wouldn’t that be neat! – but then rationality kicked in. Avocados are too expensive and don’t keep well enough for her to more or less accidentally eat a quarter of an ounce of one while figuring out the basics of swallowing.

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Four Months Old!

Yesterday was Vivian’s four-month-birthday. Hooray! (Yes, we are going to celebrate all of these! Until she’s 18! Alright, alright, maybe not 18. Maybe just 1.)

The last month has seemed like even more a blur than ever. Maybe it’s the sleeplessness. Maybe it’s that there haven’t been all that many changes between three months and four. There haven’t been so many new skills as just refinement of existing skills, like assisted sitting and standing, or using her hands. She is increasingly strong and coordinated, and she’s getting more vocal. Lots of ear-piercing squeals lately. She really likes bouncing in her Jumperoo these days, and is much less keen on the baths than she used to be. And of course, there’s the teething. The bottom front right incisor is coming in, so she has been very pitiful with her hands, or whatever she can get her hands on, in her mouth constantly.

She had her four-month checkup at the base clinic yesterday, which was all fine. She’s meeting all the developmental milestones according to the worksheet I had to fill out. She is 16 lbs 1 oz, and 26.5 inches long. That’s 94th and >99th percentiles, respectively. The doctor (who is not the doctor we’ve seen before) started saying how her weight was 94th percentile, and we might want to be a little bit concerned about her being chubby if the trend continues. Except then I asked about what percentile she is in for her weight-for-height, which he clearly had not taken into account, because she’s only 29th percentile there. So for as tall as she is, she’s actually a bit underweight. (Nevermind the double chin and cankles.)

Let’s say I’m unimpressed with this doctor. Vivian wasn’t a fan of him either. She was pretty cooperative for the corpsman through all the measurements and vitals, but she screamed during the doc’s exam. (To be fair, it was way past nap time.)

After that, she had to get shots. Poor baby. By that point, she seemed to be freaking out almost as much about being laid on the table as about actually getting poked. Once it was over and I picked her up, she quit crying almost immediately. Then she fell asleep while I was holding her out in the hallway. Pitiful thing. By the time I got her home and she woke up again, she was in a perfectly chipper mood.

“I am super tall! And my mouth hurts.”

The doctor authorized starting solids this month. I know there is some contention about starting at 4 months versus 6 months, but, I think she’s ready. I know I’m super duper ready. Besides, we need to bulk her up! So, tomorrow, rice cereal fun begins. I shall report back on that experience.

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Vivian has a new favorite pastime, and it is bouncing. Or at least, sitting in the bouncy seat and staring at one of us Big People with a huge grin on her face. Probably because we’re engaging in Ridiculous Antics of one sort or another.

Either way, look how happy she is! And when baby’s happy, everybody’s happy.* Big thanks to Aunt Donna and Uncle Erv for the Jumperoo. She adores it (and we enjoy our new 10 minute pauses for stretching our back muscles or visiting the restroom).

We decided about a week ago that she was big and strong enough to take it out of the box, though admittedly her toes just barely touch the floor. Still, as soon as we got it assembled, Viv was totally sold. Mere moments after being put in it the first time:

Love at first bounce


*This is only true 95% of the time. Sometimes baby is happy when she’s supposed to be asleep. If baby is happy at 3am, I am generally not also happy.

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Yet Another Cute Video of Vivian Laughing

Ok, I realize this is the third post in a row of videos of the baby laughing. But can you possibly get too much of something this adorable??

She is getting good at incorporating a squeal into the laughter, which you can tell I find amusing. B is doing “Star Jumps” off camera. At this point, Vivian is mostly into physical humor. (Sarcasm is still lost on her.)

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