Thursday, July 7, 2005

Baby Days

As the weeks passed, Kenji grew bigger and bigger...at first sleeping soundly and waking basically just to feed. He was a very good baby, no colic...didn't cry much at all, we really had it very easy for the first baby...thank goodness.

I easily fell into a housewife routine, cleaning, cooking, feeding, washing...etc., all the fun things in life!  Kenji laughed very early...he was like one month old and I swear he giggled! Tom enjoyed coming home and learning to play a little with him.

Remember Tom was a child during World War II, so his childhood was cut short even more so by his Father's death when he was ten years old.  Since there were very few children that he had ever interacted with I had to teach him in my limited way how to act with a baby.  One thing though he could not abide babytalk...you know like gagag..dadaddda...he insisted that we speak normally to our children.  To this day, the both of them have great vocabularies...wonder if it's due in part to that?

The picture above is of Kenji at three months old..the doctor told me that he was the size of a six month old.  We still tried to travel a bit around the country even with a baby.  Our little grey Volkswagon bug took many a day trip to tourist spots close by Tokyo.

One such trip was to visit his Dad's grave, he wanted to introduce his son to his father.  If memory serves me correctly the gravesite was quite near Tamagawa and was up in a hilly area.  Because everyone there is cremated the gravesites themselves are very small..with tall markers that also have ledges on them, so that you can leave small items that your loved one's spirit would enjoy.  It was a very emotional moment for Tom..he had loved his father very much as a child.

In the Shinto religion there are certain years that are important after a relative dies.  It just so happened that we were there for the 21st year after the death of his Dad.  So Oba-san planned a Shinto ceremony at her house in Tamagawa, she had a little shrine set up complete with pictures, sand & incense.  A Shinto priest arrived to perform the ceremony for the soul...it was a very moving experience even for me, a back sliding Methodist.  Oba-san had invited some of her late husband's relatives and also some of hers that we had not yet met.....none of them spoke English so I could only understand a small portion of the conversation that was taking place at the long low table that was set in the tatami room.

I knew from what Tom had told me that his Mother had not been treated well after his Dad died by his father's family.  Their marriage had been an arranged one, like a contract between two families with no love lost.  I tell you though, that woman loved her son you could see the love in her eyes.  She also was an excellent cook, and that particular day of the ceremony she had outdone herself for her guests.  One of Tom's cousins who attended was evidently very talented at origami...he proceeded to make all kinds of little paper creatures for me, with Kenji trying to gleefully grab them all in his little hands.

 

 

7 comments:

gdireneoe said...

We never did baby talk either.  Subsequently, all my children are above average in everything academic.  BRAGBRAGBRAG!  My babies were off the charts...and they still are!          C.
http://journals.aol.com/gdireneoe/thedailies

demandnlilchit said...

Kenji was an adorable baby! I am also enjoying learning more about other cultures.

judithheartsong said...

I always enjoy your stories:):):) judi

astaryth said...

Lovely story... as always! Kenji was an adorable child.
http://journals.aol.com/astaryth/AdventuresofanEclecticMind

yaya1 said...

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yaya1 said...

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lurkynat said...

dear Sandi, interesting story indeed...
I'm a touch confused.
Kenji is your son correct?
What became of his father?
Was Tom his father?
natalie