Ramblings of a 30 something

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I love kids who can't pronounce things clearly. My current favorite kid is at E's hoikuen. He can't pronounce the "-sei" sound for "sensei", which makes it even more funny that his name is Taisei.

So instead of calling me sensei (teacher), he calls me shensei. He calls himself Taishei.


E has been giving me back a fair number of things recently that I've said to her. She is always wondering where our neighbor is, what he might be doing, why he's where he is. I have often responded that I don't know where he is and that it's not really my business to keep up with him. I guess it should come as no surprise when I asked her something that I don't really even recall and she answered, "It's not your business."

At times endearing and at times heartbreaking, she says what she thinks. When we've been out and she's tired, she will often ask for her binky when we get in the car. Some time ago she was still permitted to use her binky when we drove, but those days are gone. When the question is asked, I know that I'm in for a spate of tears when I tell her that I don't have it--it's at home. And, I respond with nervous/tired laughter when I tell her this as I try to brace myself for her response.

This past weekend we had been out for some time. The usual question reared its head when it was time to set out for home. I calmly said that I didn't have it and that we don't use it for riding in the car anymore. I expected tears, protests, and lots of whining. In return I heard, "Thank you for not laughing at me."

What can you say when your heart is in your throat?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hate to ruin the surprise....

Currently in the postal system are pics to my parents from E's pics for Shichi-Go-San While the date is not observed until November, we've been seeing ads for some time about getting pictures done. I was itching to do it because

a) my daughter is lovely
b) I can live out my fantasy to dress up through her
c) it needs to be done, and why do it under duress if you don't have to?

Feast your eyes on my 3 year old!

First day back at school.

Today was my first day back teaching at my regular job. I was substituting today for a teacher who hasn't returned from holidays yet, and it was my first time with these particular students: 3 little girls, aged 4.

I realized how incredibly rusty I was and my Japanese team teacher did a lot (read MOST) of the teaching today. I had gotten their snack together and asked about what song we needed to sing before we ate. I started in on a song and I realized part of the way through that that wasn't it. So, it was a game then of making up songs until the light bulb would eventually dawn in my brain. I kept asking, "Are you sure that's not it?" as I tried to recall what we did sing. Eventually it came to me. All's well that ends well.

Now I'm trying to sort out what I'm doing at E's daycare for tomorrow's classes. With school back in session, I should have my normal number of kids there and all classes rather than combining the two older classes because so many of the kids have been away. Slowly it will come to me....any recommendations for a website with a dismembered teddy bear so that I don't have to make my own?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Trading up.

Recently E has started a lot of sentences with, "When I get bigger, I'm gonna....." It might be that she's going to eat spicy curry rice, drive a car, or grow big breasts.

The funniest one lately was in regards to trying to give her an incentive to giving up her pacifier. I told her that maybe we could think of something that she'd like to trade for her binky, trying the replacement tack with negotiations. She said that when she got bigger she'd trade her binky.

So, when I pressed further about what concrete thing I might be able to trade with her, then came her response:

"When I get bigger, I'm gonna trade my binky for a BIG BINKY. A HUGE (pronounced hooj) BINKY!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unscheduled Fun.

Today was a day that I had many thoughts of how to fill. However, the idea of filling up the day and being productive or whatever didn't win out. Since I am living in Japan and my friends and family are all 13 hours behind me, mornings are usually the only time that I can make those vital connections. Yes, I could have gone to see my doctor for a prescription refill that is not especially dire at the moment on his Thursday in the office. But, I wanted to call a friend, and so I did.

Life is not always planned or scripted. Yes, we all have things that need to be done and even jobs (gasp!) that require us to show up at certain times and to be available to only them. I often spend far too much time trying to make life efficient or figuring out the best schedule to accomplish many things in the least amount of time or mileage. For all that time spent, I have yet to ever feel that I've really mastered it.

Recently I was talking with a mom from playgroup, and she was asking me about how much I worked and when. I confessed that I often worried about the timing and how E misses out on naps on those days and we end up in tears and screams while I'm trying to get dinner ready. Between that and thinking about preschool starting next year, I often wonder if I've done/am doing the right thing. She told me that like her, I think too much. Now, while things could have gone downhill quickly, and I could have uttered that oft fatigued phrase, "You don't know me!", you can't deny it.

I often wonder if a study could be performed on my DNA, how much more closely related I am to cows than the average human. Something in my ruminations absolutely feels bovine at times. The ability to stand and stare while chewing on something over and over, or alternately in my case- sit and stare- gives me pause. Some people I admire for their ability to get stuff done. And by stuff, I mean, it seems that they can cram an entire week's worth of life in one day. I, on the other hand, am feeling pretty impressed that I had a phone call, laundry, and have aired out the futons today. I took E to the agricultural center where we took along some sandwiches for lunch and checked out some animals. As I type, E is napping and I've got curry on the stove for tonight's dinner. And, I want to say, "See! I'm not such a loser! Yes, I spent far too much time wondering how to use up lots of veggies and am wondering what to make for tomorrow night's dinner, but hey, I'm functioning!" I was able to break out of my ruminations long enough to MOVE and do something, anything.

So, yes, I do think too much. I am thinking about the resume I updated last night and the cover letter I drafted. Yet another painful task for me to see my paltry set of experiences pasted on a standard size of paper, wondering if I can sell myself to someone having an off day. I think there must be a place for me....somewhere. But, despite my hesitations, reservations, and ruminations, I was able to experience the wonder of newly hatched chicks at the agricultural center and tried to impart some of that wonder to my daughter. Watching the chicks- wet, eyes closed, and stumbling- it was peaceful. Other eggs on exhibit showed signs of their inhabitant's efforts to get on with their living. I peered in close to watch an egg with a small hole begin to futher deteriorate as its shell was being outgrown. E can't have the patience to stay around and watch the progress, but I flung a small wish heavenward hoping that the chick would be strong enough to endure that process and then the beaks of it's roommates in the bin.

Rumination replaced by wonder, if only for a short time....it was a good day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer Festival

We attended a summer festival about a week ago. E is usually quite the kid who loves to dance, but she just couldn't seem to get involved with the dancing going on there.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dreams Deferred.

I recall this poem by Langston Hughes, and I am thinking a little more about it in relation to my own life. And, I'm thinking of my big brother who is embarking on a goal in life that he's making a reality.

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-- And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sunday, August 03, 2008


If I were a 3 year old, I would be put in time out. I have been having a whole series of "I hate Japan/my life/my limitations/my English teaching suckiness" days. Naps help, but I wake up to find my life exactly as it was, and I'm not really sure what to do about it.

I want to alternately scream and cry and then find a way to get a life. The getting a life part seems especially hard for me. But, having a nap and putting off preparing for what little work I'm doing this summer is not really helping.

Save me!