Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I haven't been blogging, because Ichigo and I are ON VACATION!!
We haven't gone anywhere glamorous, but we're enjoying ourselves immensely.
We're being spoiled at grandma and grandpa's house for almost 2 weeks!

What are you guys talking about!?

I love seeing my mom and step-dad interact with Ichigo. They find joy in the smallest things, and they really inspire me to enjoy my time with Ichigo more.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ichigo's First Email

One of my close friends is returning to Tokyo tomorrow after a trip to China. Thinking about all the people I love who are in Japan, and the situation with the nuclear reactors makes me feel so scared. I'm praying every day for those who are suffering, and for the safety of those I love.
Today I was holding Ichigo, and she started trying to bang on my computer. So, I decided to let her have at it. She is always watching Kuma and I type away, so it was funny to see what she could do. I opened up an email and let her type something to her papa.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Heavy Hearts and a Hint of Spring

There is just more and more sad news coming from Japan. It's hard to believe how many confirmed dead there are, and how many more are predicted. We've been in a funk around here from all the tragic videos and photos we've seen. So, yesterday I suggested that we get out of the house and go for a walk as a family.
It wasn't too cold, so we decided to try putting Ichigo in her stroller. In the past 6 months, we've only used her stroller 6 or 7 times, so it's a big event for us when we put her in it!

Ichigo and Kuma.

A beautiful, old church.

We found a great playscape area near Harvard. I can't wait to go back once the weather is warmer and let Ichigo play in the sand. I didn't take any pictures of it though, because I didn't want to look creepy! The park also had some historical monuments. This is my first time living in New England, so I hadn't really given much thought to how many important events in US history have taken place here.

We like history and sleeping babies.

I am happy to say that Ichigo actually fell asleep in her stroller. I think it might have been the first time. She falls asleep easily in our ergo carrier. We have a lot of nap issues, so my husband often wears her for her nap. It's good to know that we now have another transportation option when we want to go for a long walk. We love wearing Ichigo, but when we're out for 3 or 4 hours, our backs get TIRED!

And we're home.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Baby Burgers and Broccoli

Ichigo and I have been enjoying baby-led weaning for about a week and a half now. It has been a really positive experience for us. She enjoys everything I have given her, and I love watching her explore new colors, textures and tastes. I love garlic and strong spices, so I want to start adding more flavors to her food.
I decided to make her some ginger and garlic broccoli and mini turkey burgers tonight.
I steamed the broccoli for about 7 minutes, then I sauteed minced garlic and ginger for a few minutes in a little olive oil, added in the broccoli and continued to saute it for another 2 minutes or so.

After that I made mini turkey burgers with a few shakes of cumin and minced garlic mixed in. I shaped the burgers like fat fingers, so that Ichigo would be able to pick them up.
I had no idea how much Ichigo was going to love her "spiced up" food! I gave her the broccoli first and she just sucked and sucked on it. She was in heaven. Once she finally got around to trying the turkey burgers, it just got funnier. She was sucking and gnawing on them. It was a flavor explosion in her tiny mouth. It is just so much fun to watch her eat!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Praying for those in Japan

What horrible news to wake up to this morning. A giant earthquake and tsunami in Japan! I was so worried about all of our friends in Tokyo, but they all posted messages on facebook to let us know that they were safe.
Earthquakes were a normal part of life when we were living in Japan, but they became much scarier once Ichigo was born. When we would feel shaking, we would yell, "Protect the baby!" Thankfully, we never experienced one anywhere near this magnitude.
It's hard to believe the devastation that the tsunami waves in north eastern Japan have caused. I'm praying for those who are suffering there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Recently I had been thinking about the lullabies I sing to Ichigo, and then I stumbled upon a beautifully written post on The lost art of lullaby by Dreaming Aloud. When Ichigo was a newborn and I struggled to put her to sleep at night, I would walk and pat her back and sing and sing... and sing.

I remember my mother singing to me as a child, and many of the songs that she sang are the same ones I sing to Ichigo today. I hope that one day Ichigo will sing these songs to her own children.

Some of my favorite lullabies are Michael Row your Boat Ashore, You Are My Sunshine, Hush Little Baby, I love you Ichigo, Sea of Love, Jesus Loves Me, and Brahm's Lullaby.
Do you sing lullabies to your children? What are your favorites?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing and Tooth Brushing

No Car=Slow

Yesterday, my husband, Ichigo and I went to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. We walked about 5 minutes to the train station, took the subway for about 10 minutes, and then walked another 15 minutes to the shopping center.
You know what? No Car=Slow. Maybe that's a good thing. But it can also be a big, old pain in the behind. I am proud to have lived car-free for so long, but I think I'm ready for a car-lite existence. I guess we'll see what happens this year.
We found some good stuff like brown rice pasta and a few organic veggies at TJ's for Ichigo to eat this week. But we also discovered that that particular Trader Joe's doesn't sell alcohol!! The main reason that we went on our trek was to get cheap wine. But we were DENIED! We were cheered up a bit when we got great deals by buying in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods. I also found organic burdock root for Ichigo to try this week. Burdock root is really common in Japan, and one of my very favorite vegetables, so I can't wait to see what Ichigo thinks.

10 Differences in Pregnancy and Parenting in Japan and the US from the Viewpoint of a Natural Mama

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I lived in Japan for 5 and a half years. My daughter was born in Tokyo in August, 2010. In December, 2010 my family and I moved back to the US.
Here are 10 differences in pregnancy and parenting in Japan and the US from the viewpoint of a natural mama.

1) Traditionally, women in Japan return to their hometown to give birth, and then stay with their parents after the birth.
Before having a baby, I always found the tradition of “satogaeri”, or returning to your hometown to give birth, to be quite odd. After giving birth, I wish that I’d been able to do the same! “Satogaeri” gives mamas much needed support after giving birth. I didn’t have anyone to mother me when I came home from the hospital, and I really, really could have used that. My husband did a great job as a new papa, but he couldn’t really give the emotional support and empathy that I needed. I was so very overwhelmed by motherhood, and I didn’t have anyone around me who knew that feeling, and could reassure me.
Unfortunately, it is often only the mother who returns to her hometown. Her husband will stay at their home and continue working, missing out on important early bonding time. I wish that more fathers in Japan would take advantage of paternity leave and “satogaeri” with their wives!

2) Midwives attend all births in Japan.
In Japan, midwives work on their own at midwife-run birth centers, as well as at hospitals with doctors. I was planning to give birth at a birthing center, but because I was in the 41st week and my labor was not progressing after a day and a half, I was transferred to a hospital. At the hospital a doctor checked me when I first arrived, and then I didn’t see another doctor until my daughter was about to come out! Midwives attended me throughout my labor, and my 7 day hospital stay. I love midwives!

3) Modern cloth diapers are not yet widely available in Japan.I checked out the cloth diapers available in Japan, but sadly, I was not impressed. I didn’t see fitted diapers, the covers seemed far from waterproof and there were definitely no all-in-ones! We ordered our diapers from the US and had them sent over. That was not the most eco-friendly choice, but I made up for it by hanging them all to dry, and also buying used diapers from other foreign moms in Japan. Now that I am in Boston, I love going to my local cloth diaper shop, Diaper Lab in Somerville, Massachusetts!

4) It is standard to line dry all of your family’s laundry in Japan.ALL my laundry was line dried for the 5 and a half years that I lived in Japan. It was a lot of work, but I got used to it. Then I added newborn diapers to the routine. I love cloth diapering, but in my exhausted, new mama haze, hanging up cloth diapers and wipes to dry was not a favorite task of mine. I was often doing it with my daughter sleeping inside a stretchy wrap on my chest.

5) Babywearing mamas and papas are everywhere in Tokyo.

Living in Tokyo, I saw a strange phenomenon. Everywhere I went mamas had their babies strapped to their chests or backs! I grew up in Michigan, where most people’s lives are very car-centered. I remember seeing babies in car seats, shopping carts and strollers, but not in baby carriers!
When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to wear my daughter. My husband and I tried out our stretchy wrap when Ichigo was just 2 days old. Ichigo is the kind of baby who’s not too interested in being put down. Having a baby carrier was essential! I’ve never had a very strong back and I was wearing Ichigo for hours every day, so I decided that I needed a soft-structured carrier when Ichigo was about a month old. After I ordered one online, I dreamt about it every night until it arrived. My SSC did not disappoint. My husband and I agree that our carrier was the best piece of baby gear that we bought!
Since I’ve returned to the US, I’ve been attending meetings of the Boston Babywearers group (awesome!), but I have only seen a handful of people wearing their babies when I’m out and about. I hope I’ll see more once it warms up!

6) Organic fruits and vegetables are not as widely available as in the US. I don’t mean to say that they aren’t available at all, but the large supermarket near me in Tokyo didn’t sell any organic fruits or vegetables. That being said, it was a lot easier to get locally grown produce.

7) Bed sharing is common in Japan.
Traditionally, and still today, it’s completely normal for parents and kids to all sleep together on the futons. When I would tell people in Japan that our daughter slept with us, no one batted an eye. I can’t say that I get the same reaction about bed sharing in the US. I have had multiple offers to buy a crib for my daughter, because people can’t imagine us raising a baby without a crib.

8) Parents bathing with children is the norm in Japan.
I have to say that it hadn’t really occurred to me to bathe with my daughter, at least not while she was a baby. However, at her one-month check up, the midwives told me that I could start bathing together with her. I was quite surprised, and even asked for confirmation (in case something was lost in translation). So, from the time my daughter was a month old, we stopped using the baby bathtub and my husband and I started taking turns bathing with her. It’s great family bonding time!

9) In Japan, none of our friends had cars. In the US, we are the only people among our friends who don’t have a car.
In Tokyo, we didn’t have a car and neither did any of our friends. It wasn’t really an issue, because the public transportation was so amazing. Now that we are living in Boston without a car, it’s a little more complicated. We live in a very walkable area and are not far from buses and trains. I think that many people can’t imagine not having a car while living in a very snowy place with a young baby. But I can attest to the fact that it is possible! I have two pieces of advice- wear your baby, and walk carefully!

10) Nursing rooms are common in Japan.

Most big department stores and malls have nursing rooms in Japan. As a first time mom trying to learn to nurse a tiny baby, I really appreciated those nursing rooms. I know that there’s a lot of debate about covering up while nursing or using a nursing room. I am in the “it’s nice to have a quiet place to nurse your baby, but not be required to go there” camp. I used nursing rooms, but I also nursed in restaurants, hospitals, trains, train platforms, etc. Now that I am in the US, and my daughter has better head and neck control, I am finding it much easier to nurse in public!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Covering up is a feminist issue

This is a fantastic video from Annie at phD in parenting (one of my favorite blogs).

I have never been confronted about breastfeeding in public, but I have usually been wearing a nursing cover. Even with a nursing cover, I knew that I surprised or made some people uncomfortable. None of my friends would suggest to me that I nurse elsewhere, but I also know that most of them have probably never watched a woman breastfeed. I can't ever remember seeing a woman breastfeed before I was pregnant. It's sad that the most natural, healthy way to feed a baby is considered something to hide by many people.
Now that my daughter is older, she doesn't like to nurse under the nursing cover. I have started trying to nurse her in public without it, but we have a new issue- distraction! She wants to look at everything and is usually too busy to nurse in public. Oh, well. I'll just keep trying!

Ichigo at 2.5 months old

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Missing Japan

These gorgeous, quirky photos make me miss Japan.

Ichigo's first foods

Little Ichigo turned 6 months old on March 1st.
I've been planning to use baby-led weaning, and let Ichigo feed herself. I love the idea of letting your child have control of their experience with food.

Sweet potato

Since she has been showing signs of readiness for solids, her papa and I gave her baked sweet potato fries at lunch time. Sweet potatoes were a big hit! Today I mixed things up and she had green beans, a carrot, and more sweet potato fries. She seemed to enjoy everything. A lot of what she does is play and exploring, but she put everything in her mouth and she is able to swallow bits without gagging.

Carrot and green beans

She also practiced drinking from a cup with some water. She loves drinking breast milk from a shot glass (but refuses bottles), so I decided to let her practice holding a little cup by herself. Most of the water was just dumped down her front unless I hold the cup with her. I think I'll continue to help her hold the cup until she seems to understand the idea a little more.
I'm so happy to be giving my daughter a healthy start with food. My husband and I both love cooking and eating. I look forward to having a new assistant in the kitchen in a couple of years!