Monday, November 18, 2013

Backup School

Hello dear precious readers, who have all wandered away by now from the lack of posts in ... gulp. Three months! That's terrible, even for me. I'm sure you were wondering if I'm still alive. Let me assure you we are all alive and well. The tiny dictator resting on my lap now has three teeth (I see a fourth poking its way through!)and eats baby food twice a day. I've found the trick to get him to eat stuff is to keep it simple. He didn't like a mush of rice and fish and pureed dakon, but individually they were ok. Also, he likes orange foods the most. don't ask me why. The one experiment with avacado was fun for him but a messy disaster for me! dear lord.
How is he sleeping? he still wakes up about twice in the middle of the night to nurse, and occasionally deigns to sleep in his crib ... but mostly rejects it in favor of our bed which is getting more cramped by the day.
He can crawl on his belly forwards now! before he would slither backwards, getting farther and farther away from the toy he was aiming at, and cry in frustration. but now he can slither forwards, all over the living room, aiming for the most dangerous things he can find. electrical outlets, loose cords, cally's tail... babyproofing has been a somewhat organic process. He crawls over to something, I snatch it away and replace it, Indiana-Jones style, with something safe to play with.
That being said I've really noticed my standards starting to slip on what he's allowed to put in his mouth...

Now that he's becoming a more self-entertaining baby, I've started the long grueling torturous process of looking for daycare.
Tokyo has many thousands, tens of thousands, of daycare facilities.
bad news, they only take care of about 20 babies each, and are consequently all filled to the brim. I went to the Nerima city office to apply for the government run facilities ( you only have to apply one time and your application is good for up to six months at ten different nurseries), and they gave me a packet and a look of pity.

Apparently by being born in March, Ray is at a disadvantage. Most babies are enrolled in daycare the soonest April after being born, just because the 0 year classes are the only ones with openings, and those who are already in care can just stay at that nursery. The school year in Japan starts in April. But Ray was born on March 15, so to put him in the 0 year class I would have had to enroll him in daycare when he was 2 weeks old! harsh.

Due to other circumstances we have to move from our current apartment, so in the throes of my desperation I was scouring the internet for any daycares at all in Tokyo that have openings in the 1 year old class, thinking we could move to that neighborhood if we had to. Argh but it was so frustrating, the only way to get information about an opening was to call an individual facility. And like I said, there are thousands of them. You can only call so many and hear 'no' so many times before it becomes taxing on you mentally. But no fear, dear readers! Last week I acheived the impossible and ... found one!

So how did I do it? I toured our neighborhood, and found fifteen within a walking distance of our closest few stations. Most were government run, but a few were private. Of the private ones, almost all were listed on a paper given out by the city office to help parents who don't get into the public daycares. But one afternoon walking home from the real estate agent listing office, I found a center that wasn't on the list. It looked very nice, so I scheduled an appointment to tour the facilities... and as luck would have it, they still have a few openings for next April! I snagged it up ASAP and danced around.
(here's the link so you don't think I signed him up for a ghetto daycare! heh.)

We're still applying for the government run facilities because A. they're subsidized and cheaper and B. have been around for longer and might be better experienced. But anyways, at least I have a daycare lined up for him. His
'backup school'. (you have to have a backup school for nursery these days?? )

Ray is 8 months now and seems pretty happy to play with other babies, I think he's ready for daycare now (as am I, as am I), but I guess we'll wait until April. Not that I mind terribly, I've become pretty attached to the little guy ;)

In other news, the in-laws have retired and moved to Nagano for good to live with grandma. They do some farming for their own food and end up with of lots extra vegetables! Takeshi is always fishing and catching more than we can fit in the freezer, so last week we went up there and took a soak in a lovely onsen and exchanged fresh fish for fresh veggies. This weeks's catch exchanged for a box of daikon, shungiku, carrots, potatoes of the sweet and ordinary variety, radishes, the last of the broccoli and another leafy veggie that is good in soup.
CSA, eat your heart out ;)

Also we bought an enormous box of apples, that we picked by hand. I think we went overboard because we ended up with 8 kilos (that's the weight of the baby!) but god damn, I thought when I ate a delicious succulent juicy sweet one, how about THEM apples.

Is this a primative arrangement? certainly, but I think it's a fantastic system. The only downside is Nagano dips to below freezing tempuratures at night in the winter, and they only have insulation in two rooms of the whole house, these being the living room and the kitchen. We want to go again .. if they'll let us sleep in the living room :)