Quality Time with the Kids ー 子供と充実した時間

One of the perks of being your own boss is being able to spend more time with the kids. 

When I was in Tokyo, I didn’t get home until after 7:00, which after eating dinner left very little time to do anything else with the kids. 

Now, I’m at home when the kids get back and can do lots more things with them. I’ve started teaching my daughter phonics again – after an 18-month hiatus. And recently, I also discovered this great app called Epic, which has thousands of picture books in English. My older two love it when I read stories to them on my iPad. 

個人事業主として一つの役得は子供と過ごせる時間。

東京に住んでいた時は毎晩7時以降帰ってしまい、一緒に晩御飯した後に他にほとんど何もする時間がなかった。

今は、子供が帰ったら、既に家にいるから、一緒に色々できている。最近は長女に英語のフォニックス(単語の読み方)を教えるのを1年半ぶりに再スタート。また、Epicという数万冊の絵本を持つアプリも発見して、子供達に毎晩英語の読み聞かせをしてる。子供も私も大喜び。

Daddy, do you know what this is called? – ダディ、これは何と言うか、わかる?

Me: Hmmm, it’s called a starfish!

Daughter (aged 7): No, it’s called art. 

私: ヒトデでしょう。

娘(7歳):いや、美術だよ。

Sometimes it’s best to just watch

It’s tempting as a parent to try to solve all the problems that our children are faced with. I know that’s my first instinct. 

Today at the park, I sat and watched as my son struggled with a tyre about half his height. I knew he wanted to transport it from point A to point B somewhere. I thought to myself, “How’s he going to do this?”

Eventually, he got the tyre up on its side and rolled it as you can see in this picture. I was quite impressed that a 2-year-old realised this was the best way to move a tyre.

  
It would have been cruel of me to make him build the construction that he wanted to put together though. So I let him instruct me. This is what he built. A slightly older kid actually copied him (you can see a similar structure in the background). 

  
If he doesn’t turn out to be a famous rugby player, influenced by his current hero Goromaru Ayumu, I think he would make a great foreman. Especially if he is happy to lead by example!

The little things 

  
Yakisoba (stir-fried noodles) is not the most delectable of culinary delights, but my two-year-old son made my heart glow this evening when he said:

パパとねえねが作った焼きそば大好き!

(I love the noodles that you and my big sister made!)


Active against passive smoking 受動喫煙に反対

  
Saw this in the park near the maternity hospital where my third child was born yesterday. 

I had to take my daughter out of school for the day because nobody was going to be home to let her in. While my wife and new baby were sleeping, I took her over to the park. 

Park signs usually just say “please don’t smoke near the playground equipment”. I have been known in my time to tell people off for smoking near my children. But this is the first time for me to see this kind of sign in any park in Japan. 

This handwritten effort signed by the Omori Townscape Maintenance Department looks like it was instigated by parent power.

It says:

In order to protect children from passive smoking, please refrain from smoking.

I’d like to see more of these signs in parks around Japan, and not just a handwritten one cobbled together by the local maintenance department!

昨日、3番目の子が生まれた産院近くの公園で手書き看板を見ました。

誰も家にいなかったから、長女を学校から早退させなければならなくて、出産後、妻との新しい赤ちゃんが眠っている間に、お昼そうして公園に長女を連れて行きました。

公園にある看板は通常「遊具の近くに喫煙しないでください」という風に書いてあります。時々自分の子供の近くに喫煙の人を発見したら注意することがありますが、今回初めて、この様な看板を見ました。

これから、日本の公園でこの様な看板をもっと見たいなあと思います。その上、手書きの「維持課」からではなく、もうちょっときちんとしたところから、もっと公式的な感じだったらさらに良いのではないかと思います。

Feels like I ran a full marathon!

Today my wife went into hospital ahead of a special delivery tomorrow: yes, that’s right… Child number three!

Finally, the kids are asleep. And I feel like I ran an ultramarathon today, when my Fitbit tells me I walked a measly 9 kilometres (12,000 steps).

While my wife was getting settled in and hooked up to the baby monitor, I took the kids over the road to Denny’s. Denny’s is no longer what it was. I think they are trying to go upmarket, positioning themselves above Gusto and Jonathan’s, somewhere around Royal Host. Not that I’m a connoisseur of Japanese family restaurants. But I was surprised at having to pay more than double what we pay at Gusto for my son’s meal. 

I don’t know how my wife even managed it all those times when I went on business trips. I felt like I was being pulled in every direction. My two terrors tag-teamed me – deciding to take turns in playing up, and often giving me the double whammy of misbehaving simultaneously! It took me ten minutes just to get the kids to choose what they wanted off the menu, and even longer to choose my own!

It turned out that they were hungry. As soon as the food came, they were good as gold. For a while anyway. 

 

“You’re gonna regret letting me drink orange juice!”
  
This little madam drinks Darjeeling.
 
My wife said to me this evening: 

I’ll take the physical pain, you take the psychological pain. We should share the pain, right?  

She is the one that’s really going to run a proverbial ultramarathon tomorrow. And the nurses have promised to dutifully wake her up once an hour through the night tonight. 
But for my part, hopefully I will survive the eight to ten days until my wife gets out of the hospital! Then we can both share the joy and the pain of raising three lively… I mean… lovely kids.
I think I’m going to enjoy this paternity leave! 🙂