News and Views from the Oshika Gang

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I Wonder If I’m Growing…. January 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — oshikagang @ 11:57 pm

Johnny’s latest tear-jerker (for me, anyway)…
It’s only about a minute and a half, don’t worry!



Filed under: Uncategorized — oshikagang @ 7:37 pm

I know that it’s cliche, and that every parent says it, but they just grow up so fast! As you’ve seen, Aili has lost that ‘baby look’ and now looks like a little girl! She’s also keen to communicate, and learns more complex concepts with astonishing speed.

Signing is going well. I would say she’s very confident with 20 – 30 signs, and is primarily limited by my own limited sign vocabulary! Most of the signs are nouns such as ‘puppydog’, ‘butterfly’, or ‘car’, but she can also tell me when she’s hungry, thirsty, or wants a nap (my favourite sign of all!) She can tell me what she wants more of, and tells me she hears something, or is going to have a bath. It’s also convenient that she can clearly tell me with head nodding or shaking if she wants something or not.
Now that she understands the concept that those wacky gestures that mommy does actually mean something, she picks up new signs within a day or so. She’s also expanding the meaning of signs that she knows to encompass other concepts. For example, she now uses the ‘more’ sign to indicate if she wants something. To you and me, this might seem obvious, but for a one year old, it strikes me as both a creative and abstract conceptual stretch. Sometimes she wants to communicate something and will actually make up her own sign to try to get her point across, which can be quite frustrating for both of us!

Aili’s also making efforts to talk! She can tell you what a dog, cat, or cow says, she’ll say ‘Hi’ to you, ask to be picked ‘up’, and when you show her a picture of herself she can identify that it’s ‘Ai’. I’ve also heard efforts to say ‘yes’, ‘fish’, ‘yeah’, ‘tree’, and for the life of her she can’t figure out how to make the ‘zzzz’ sound for ‘zipper’. She also tries hard to say words that start with ‘ba’: ‘bear’, ‘butterfly’, ‘bird’. Upon reflection, it must be difficult to try to use your lips and tongue to intentionally make sounds that are unfamiliar. She really has to learn by trial and error, and I’ve witness clear efforts on her part to mimic the sounds that I make.
For some reason, although lots of the toddler development websites say that they might be using ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ accurately, Aili does no such thing. She sometimes calls me ‘meme’ or ‘mahme’, but usually it’s just a random part of her babbling. She does know the signs for both mommy and daddy, and in just the last day or so has started using them accurately.

Her walking is getting more confident, as are her fine motor skills. She now delights in presenting me with miniscule fluffs and lint balls she’s found on the carpet. She covers a lot of ground, and I frequently find things in the kitchen that originally came from the bathroom, things in her bedroom that are from the loft, and things in the dining room that she found by the front door.

Her favourite thing to do, other than toddling around and shrieking with delight, is to bring you a book, climb into your lap, turn around and snuggle up to you, and read a story. She loves to identify the things she sees on the pages. She’s also very much into kissing, and will kiss anyone and everything: the cat, the dog, her favourite stuffed animals, and even another kid she took a liking to at Crazy Crawlers last Monday! This morning she gave Leo a kiss with her stuffed animal, which was the first time she’s showed the creativity to manipulate a toy to perform a very human action.

She also watches what we do very closely, and mimics our actions. They may not make sense to her, or seem comical coming from such a tiny person, but she only needs to see it once and it’s a part of her repertoire. For example, she now associates balloons with scissors because she saw me pop one once, and she knows that I somehow attach that long blue cord to Leo, so now she tries to touch him with the end of the leash. She doesn’t understand which end, or that it actually clips to his collar, but the two things are associated, so she tries hard to mimic me.

A new behaviour that we’re seeing recently is a lot of clinginess. She wants to be held, and she wants to be entertained. If I don’t comply, I get a performance of of the world’s fakest crying in combination with an awful sound that I call the ‘Howler Monkey’. You can only imagine. Well, not only is the time consuming and annoying when you’re trying to get something else done, but it’s going to be absolutely impossible in a few short months when Junior arrives! I’m now making a concerted effort to discourage this behaviour, which involves putting her in the loft where she’s safe, not playing with her, and going about my business until she goes to play on her own. Only then do I come upstairs to play with her.

Our responsibility as parents starts so early. Someone wise I know once told me that our job as parents is to spend every day from the moment they’re born teaching them to become independent from us. I’ve been surprised how early and how often we’ve had to consciously make parenting choices to shape her behaviour. Just a few examples include: sleeping in her crib, sleeping through the night, eating behaviours, weird attachment behaviours surrounding stuffed toys, and now playing independently.

Well, enough of my blathering on. I’ll find some more pictures for you, and have a fantastic video that Johnny made. I’ll post them soon.


PixPost January 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — oshikagang @ 1:44 am

As promised in my last posting, here are a bunch of photos from the last weeks of 2008, and the first days of 2009.

Why shop for Christmas presents when you can just put one of these in a bag and have the best gift ever??

The computer nerds: present and future.
Oh, how I love those two.

Little Ms. Busy. How much can a one-year-old get into in 5 minutes or less? You’d be surprised.
It might include:

– Reading a book. Sideways.

– Stealing Christmas ornaments from the tree.

– A little keyboarding practice.

– Covering a lot of ground.

– Un-filing some paperwork.

– Turning over a stool to use it as a ‘boat’.

…. And then she’s off, to find more mischief.

Leo looks concerned. Frankly, I can’t blame him.

Just hanging out with Mommy all the time is pretty dull, as you can see, so Grandpa came over to save the day. First up on deck: peekaboo!

And then a little lesson in how to hide your eyes….

Aili might not have figured out how to cover her own eyes with her hands yet (usually she uses the bathtowel or some laundry), but she DOES know how to operate the walker. Personally I think she faked ignorance, just to see him do this:

But finally she caved, and they toddled around together.

Of course, as with the rest of Vancouver, we were overwhelmed by near record-breaking snow. I think by the time it was all done, it was easily 4 feet sitting on our lawn, and the shoveled piles around our driveway are taller than me!
Our tough blue car got through it just fine (thank Goodness for AWD); unlike last year the furnace didn’t go on strike; Dad volunteered to shovel the entire time he was here; and all in all, it was magical and lovely.

A fluffly little marshmallow, all ready to go and play in the snow!

Hesitant. Not quite sure what Mommy’s so delighted about.

This is BEFORE we actually put her in contact with the snow. The pictures from after her first official snow experience are not quite so cute, and involve tears and volume.

The Freedman gals.

Dad knows how to warm up after shovelling the walk!

A few Christmas gifts.

Annabelle helped Aili open her gifts from Auntie J.

On New Year’s Day Johnny took Aili, along with the neighbours, for her first sledding adventure.

Seems that Aili is an indoor kinda gal. Just like her mommy.


Christmas 2008 – – – Welcome 2009! January 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — oshikagang @ 10:15 pm

OK, OK, OK, it’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. The truth is, there are so many pictures and they are so disorganized, I’ve been a bit reluctant to take on the job of organizing them. Eventually, a week into a new year, I can no longer avoid the task.

Christmas at the Oshika household tends to be a quiet affair, for a couple a reasons – – both stemming from Johnny and my beliefs about what Christmas is really about. We don’t think it should be about ‘stuff’, giving OR getting, and that this magical time of the year is important because it’s about being with family and the ones you love. Well, as a result of this philosophy, gift-giving is minimal: Johnny and I didn’t get gifts for each other or for Aili, and until she’s old enough to say ‘Santa Claus’, well, I don’t think he’ll be dropping by. Maybe next year. There were a few gifts exchanged, but none of the hoopla that I remember from childhood.
While we love the time to gather with our families, we both have only a few relatives, so it turned out to be a pretty quiet day. And you won’t hear a word of complaint from us!
Last year the best gift that I received was from Aili. She was five weeks old, and just started smiling. This year, she managed to outdo herself, and started walking just before Dad and J arrived. My girl is a walker now! There are still lots of falls, bumps, bruises, and the occasional tears, but crawling is definitely in the past, and I now literally hear the pitter-patter of little footsteps all around the house.

The best part of the overall vacation was the visit from my Dad and sister, who flew from Phoenix and Toronto respectively. Aili warmed up quickly, and they both loved playing with her and getting to know her better. It was so nice to see them interact with her, and I’m so glad she has a chance to get to know her Grandpa and Cool Aunt J, even though they live so far away.

New Years’ was an even quieter affair, although this year we actually went out to have dinner with friends. Woohoo! We were home by nine.

What will 2009 bring to the Oshika gang?
Well, Aili is growing and changing with each passing day. I can’t wait to see what she’s doing to do next. And of course, our little Junior will be around in about 4 and a half months. I’m approximately the size of a hippopotamus and growing quickly. Lots of little kicks inside, and our ultrasound is scheduled for a couple weeks so we can check out who’s in there and figure out what colour to paint the walls. Johnny just received a promotion at work, so with the prestige of Directorhood comes a lot more responsibility and challenge, although hopefully not longer hours. And as for me, I am hoping to schedule one last 3-person family vacation, possibly in the next few weeks. Once we have a newborn around, travel will be a whole new experience!

Unfortunately, Blogger’s photo upload seems to be broken, so it will have to be a text-only post for now. Keep checking back; I have about 30 pics for you! Will post them as soon as I can.