29 May 2014

Lost at the Park

A few weeks ago on April 26th, I had the most harrowing experience.

I lost Reia.

What she was wearing on that day
One Saturday, I took the girls to a Hula event at a park about 45 minutes away from our house. Jun stayed at home. The hula event was fun and we ate yummy Hawaiian food and enjoyed the hula performances. Reia was fed up with following me around everywhere and wanted to do her own thing. So while we were supposed to be having lunch, she decided that she was going to play on the playground by herself. She started walking away and I followed her to keep an eye on her. She played on the playground and I watched from a distance and finished off my Smile Kebab. Aila was getting fussy and needed feeding so when a bench opened up, I took the opportunity, sat down and fed her for 5 minutes. The bench was to the side of the playground and during those 5 minutes, I lost visual of Reia.

In my gut I knew I needed to find where she was but didn't act and waited until Aila was done. I got up, anxious to find her and spent a few minutes scouring the playground. She wasn't there. I kept my cool and didn't start shouting out her name because to me that would mean that this was serious and she was really gone. I stayed optimistic and looked in other places in the park. It wasn't a big park, but was big enough and filled with enough people for a small person to get lost. I asked a friend who was there if he had seen her. He hadn't but said he would ask his wife, who was one of the coordinators, if she or anyone else had. I frantically circled around the park twice pushing Aila in the pram as I went. After 30 minutes of her being missing, fear started to sink in. My mind started racing. What if she had been taken? Japan is generally a safe area, but it only takes one person to do something stupid. What if that person had seen Reia was alone and targeted her? What if Reia wandered out of the park and crossed the street? I would never find her! Where is she?! Is she safe?! Please Heavenly Father, keep her safe!! Please!!! I had kept my cool for long enough and decided to call Jun.
"... I lost Reia"
As those words tumbled out of my mouth, I felt the hopelessness and fear engulf me. I broke down. Through sobs and gasps I listened as Jun told me that he was on his way and to ask for help. He said he would call the same friend to help me too. After we hung up, I had a sink or swim moment. What do I do now? Stay here and cry? No. Breaking down and giving up wasn't an option. If I give up, Reia could be gone forever. I couldn't bare the thought of that. My baby taken away from me. Not being able to see her grow up. Feeling sorry for all the times I reprimanded her. Desperately wanting to hold her again. I couldn't give up but had looked everywhere. What else could I do? All I knew was that I wasn't leaving that park without her.

I decided to go back to the playground one more time. This time I shouted her name out loud even though I knew she wasn't there. It felt hopeless. The park was full of noise. Kids screaming, people laughing, Hawaiian music playing, hula dancers chanting, food vendors shouting out menu items. What if she was there and just couldn't hear me? I blocked out all the noise and strained my ears for the sound of Reia's voice... but there was nothing.

Next I decided to check with my friend's wife if she or anyone had seen her. I had taken photos of her about 30 minutes before she went missing and was armed with them, ready to show them to anyone and everyone if necessary. I was almost to the booth, when I happened to look to my left under some trees. There in the shade on a ramp behind a boy, I saw a quarter of a forehead and I knew. It was her!! I didn't need to see anything else. I knew from her pigtail, hair and skin that that was my girl! My heart started beating again and I raced over and called her name in both relief and anger. She heard me but couldn't see me and started to cry. I could tell she had been looking for me. As I got closer, she saw me and ran to me. We both hugged and cried. She told me that her knee hurt and wanted a plaster. She must've fallen over somewhere. I asked her where she went and apparently, she saw the dolphin bouncy castle in the distance and walked off in that direction. Some time after that she made her way to the other side of the park in the opposite direction and played on the ramp. I taught her right there on the spot not to ever run away from me again and that if she ever does get lost, to call out "Mummy, where are you?" in a loud voice. I wasn't sure if she understood what I was saying to her, but the next day when we were grocery shopping, she lost sight of me. I could see her but she couldn't see me. She shouted out "Mummy! Where are you!?" A sense of relief washed over me. She understood! At least this way, she will be more confident in how to act during times like these.

I learnt a valuable lesson that day. Never ever ever take your kids for granted. One day they're there, and the next they could be gone. Never assume that your child won't run off or won't get lost. Teach them early what to do if they get in situations like that. Teach them how to seek help. Teach them how to say their name, your name, a phone number, anything to help reunite them with their families. I also learnt not to be afraid to look like that crazy lady screaming her head off for her lost children. It could be a matter of life and death, you never know!

The next time I go to a big event with lots of people, I will give her a tag or badge to wear with mine and Jun's information on it. Another idea is a temporary tattoo. I was so so so happy to take her home with me instead of going to the police station to report a missing child.

I hope I don't have to experience that ever again.

28 May 2014

To Build (or Break) a Child

I loved this little post by handsfreemama. She talks about how damaging our words can be to our kids even though we have the best intentions. It is a good reminder to me to let the small things slide and love my girls for who they are and not what they do.

I have found lately that Reia is always wanting my attention when I am playing with Aila. Sometimes it can get frustrating as she is bigger and stronger and can sometimes hurt Aila unintentionally. For example, she knows that Aila likes to play under the blankets so she puts blankets and things over her head, covering her eyes. Of course Aila can't see and is left in the dark and will usually topple over and hit her head. Meanwhile, Reia thinks it's funny. My reactions to times like these could be better.

Sometimes I am just over saying the same thing over and over again that eventually I raise my voice or give her that disapproving look. Her face when I do this is full of hurt and regret. You can tell she only wants to please me and can't wait to make up and hug. As Mums, I guess we just assume that our kids know that we love them unconditionally. But how we react sometimes may not always reflect that.

A good reminder to be better.

"I love you just the way you are, exactly as you are."

21 May 2014

Aila is 10 Months

Big things this month!

Her first tooth cut through! Her bottom left tooth (same as Reia). She was crying sooo much the night before and looked like she was in pain. I was exhausted and was at my breaking point. Luckily Jun came home and rescued both of us. But it was no wonder that she was so upset! She has been teething for months now but there was never a tooth. You could see it through her gums but it took so long to pop through! Even now it hasn't moved much since it first cut through. Her 2nd tooth is nearly out but hasn't cut yet.

She is slowly figuring out how to put herself to sleep! Finally I see some progress! One time I was lying on my stomach and she crawled on to my legs and fell asleep lol. To wake me up, however, she likes to slap my face and poke at my eyes for them to open haha. It definitely is more effective than an alarm clock!

She can crawl!! Her first time was when she went for a red plastic ball. She isn't that fast but when she want's to go super fast (which is still slow) she'll use one foot and one knee and scuttlte! Reia did that too :) Sometimes she stands on her hands and feet and props her bum into the air hehe. She has also started standing with the support of furniture and stuff! Our couch has no legs, so it is hard for her to prop herself upright on that. But give her a box or a table and she's good!

She likes being hand fed rather than spoon fed. I find I have more control that way as well. She has been really picky lately and I think it's because of a tummy bug. For a couple weeks now, she hasn't had a big appetite and has had diarrhea too. She seems to be fine but has all these symptoms that aren't going away :(  

She likes to play peekaboo behind the curtains. If I say, "Where's Aila?" she goes still with excitement and anticipates me pulling back the curtain. If I take too long, she'll try do it herself. She gives the biggest, warmest smile when she is found :) She also likes This Little Piggy, Ring Around the Rosy Like a Teddy Bear, and Pat-A-Cake. 

Loves having a bath. She will slowly make her way towards the bathroom to play on the Hello Kitty shower mat when I am not looking.

Now matter where I stick her, she manages to find a tissue and eat it, new or used. It amazes me.

When she smiles she scrunches up her nose >-<
Loves playing under blankets
Can pull her hair back in a ponytail
Recognizes Daddy and smiles
Loves watching TV and will scoot right up to it
She is slowly losing weight but not enough to give my arms a break! 

We love our 10 monther and will be treasuring our last 2 months with before she turns 1.

More next month!


19 May 2014

Pearls of Wisdom

I am writing this post because lately, my memory has been shocking and I don't want forget these pearls of wisdom!

Juns parents stayed over last night on their way to the Tokyo Temple. Then today after lunch, Jun's Mum and I had a good chat about health and how I want to eliminate sugar from my diet. The conversation lead to parenting and she told me from her own experience what she had learnt as a Mother. She spoke in Japanese, and if you've heard my Japanese you'll know it's not the best, BUT I understood what she was trying to say to me and I want to post it here so that I will never forget it.

She said that your children are always looking at the world from behind your back. They are always watching what we (their parents) are doing whether we think they are or not. If they see us cleaning up or serving others, they will think that cleaning up and serving others are good things. They learn from our example. She then shared an experience she had with Jun. When Jun was on his mission in Oakland, California, he sent them a letter. Inside it he wrote that growing up, he always saw his parents constantly doing things for others, going to church, the temple, firesides etc. They were always busy doing something for other people and Jun used to think, "Why can't they spend more time with their own children instead of helping others?" He didn't understand why they always gave their time away to other people. But when he was on his mission, there was a time when him and his companion contemplated about going to visit an elderly woman. That woman had been hoping for the missionaries to visit that day, and they came. She was ecstatic that they came and kept on thanking them over and over again. In that moment, Jun understood why his parents did what they did and why it was so important to serve others. Upon receiving that letter, Jun's Mum cried and cried because she was so happy that he felt that way. It was such a relief knowing that she hadn't screwed it up and that he had learnt from their example that doing good unto others is not only a nice thing to do, but is important. Jun is now that kind of person. He is always willing to help people and has such a big heart. 

So I guess what I want to remember is that my children are watching me and it is important to not tell them what to do, but to teach by example. I know that it sounds basic, but it hit me today that I need to be better. You can't force someone to do something, you can only show them the best way to do it and have them learn for themselves. So in areas like FHE, praying, scriptures, manners, sharing, being nice etc. I need to make sure that I am doing those things myself first.

Thanks Okaasan :)