Monday, 30 May 2005

So about having babies...

This blog is in serious trouble of becoming just about Marcus, but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll post if I want to, and anyway, we’re still in Japan so it is sort of being about Japan so hopefully the JapanBloggers ring won’t kick me off for not being Japanese-y enough.

So the little chap came home after a week at the hospital. This is the standard time that all new mothers and babies get to stay in hospital as the authorities rightly feel that new mother might just be a little overwhelmed and/or shagged out so feel it best she gets a bit of rest. They do also take the babies away to sleep in a different room at night but do allow mothers to go and breast-feed – so why they just don’t let them sleep in the same room is, well, odd.

Both Marcus and the Guru made good progress after the birth, though getting him to eat was, for some reason, pretty hard work, seemed that he preferred sleeping. Oh well, that will soon pass, and it did so no worries there. Luckily the time he came home was the Golden Week holiday so I got to spend a whole week with him and the Guru after they came home. Before he was born I had had stern words with him that he was not to appear before May 7th as I very much wanted a holiday and a week of doing nothing, but in retrospect it was much better that he came early as I got to spend the time with him, help the Guru so she could get some sleep and learn all the stuff you need to learn in order not to inadvertently drop/maim/hurt in other stupid way your offspring.

Rule number one about having a baby in Japan is this: you are not allowed, on pain of death, to take your baby outside until it is one month old. No questions, no quibbles, no going out before he or she is a month old. Except of course going from the hospital to home (as you are not allowed to give birth at home – hmm, I guess that would be rule number one...ok, the above is rule number two. And, of course, that all pregnant women must wear pinafore dresses and ankle socks, no trousers thank you – that would probably be rule number one. OK, amongst the rules for being pregnant in Japan are such diverse elements as...Oh fuck it I’ll start again!).

No, the one-month thing is an odd one, as every Japanese person (with a baby that I have met) will absolutely not budge on this one. The Guru and I have our Doctor Sears book of which we will take everything as gospel in the bringing up of kids. Every word of it is the literal truth, except the paragraph that says it is ok to take your newborn out of the house after a week or so, this paragraph is obviously wrong, why, I don’t know, but it is. I think it stems from the tradition of visiting your local shrine one month after the baby is born to do the blessing thing. Back in the old days, when large numbers of kids didn’t make it through the first month or so, I can see why this would be a time for rejoicing and general ‘he’s made it this far so hopefully he’s going to be alright’, but in this day and age, with all the medical technology at one’s disposal, it all seems a little unnecessary to me – but who am I to argue with thousands of years of Japanese tradition? (Don’t answer that).

So our trip to the shrine was meant to be the weekend just gone, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. Youngster’s one-month check up was on Tuesday so I, being dutiful, took the day off work and trooped along with the Guru to the hospital to do the necessaries. I had to be there as well, actually, as the Guru was to have her check up as well and someone needed to be on hand to hold the baby – we could have asked m-i-l if she would do it, but relations were a little strained after the 10 days she spent with us looking after the Guru and Marcus.

Anyway the eating problems mentioned earlier hadn’t abated and the youngster seemed to be bringing his milk back up with a touch more regularity, and volume, that seemed necessary. A few questions and a wee prod by the Doc and it was decided that he (Marcus) ought to be admitted for observation and the like. So, observation and tests done (including the unpleasant barium and x-ray one) and the upshot is that the bit between his throat and stomach isn’t quite working properly, meaning that liquids, like milk, have a tendency to flow back up if we’re not too careful. Not panic inducingly bad news, but not great. The good news is that he is still eating and taking milk in as his nappies are full of both kinds of deposits, but just not really enough. So now he and the Guru are onto a strict ‘not too much milk but little and often’ diet, which just means that he’s going to be hungry most of the time, well, until he moves onto solid food, which should have a greater degree on stay-downness, apparently.

Anyway they are still in hospital for more monitoring as this doctor ordered regime now seems to be making the young ‘un lose weight, not a good thing for a one month old, but hey, this is Japan and the Doc is always right, right?

Happy birthday... this blog, which will be two years old tomorrow. Yaay. Cards, presents and donations gratefully received.

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