Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 32 years old. I guess I'll always feel like a baby, cause I still get wide-eyed by the beauty of the world and feel hungry to understand its complexities. I don't have any big plans. I don't feel like I need any big plans. My mommy loves me and never fails to make me feel special on every occasion. My mom sent me presents that I am excited to open tomorrow.
Now, I will give you another example of how Knox is a genius. Last night I let him have the stickers from my calendar. He put all of the like stickers on a different piece of origami paper. He put all of the random entertainment stickers, like one to denote a movie night or a party, on a separate piece, and he put the birthday and shopping stickers on one piece of purple paper and gave it to me, saying, "Here Mommy, this is your birthday one." Yeah. Crazy.
Knox is a maniac! He's a very demanding child, that's for sure. This weekend, he didn't want to play on his own at all, which makes it difficult to get anything done. Thank God he loves Peter Pan. He would watch it over and over again if I let him, and he always wants to play pirates. He picks things up and calls them his "pirate," and uses them as a sword. I managed to get a ton of stuff done AND play with him a lot, but he's always asking for more, and I'm never sure if I should be doing something differently or if this is just how it is with little kids. He never seems satisfied and that makes me sad. Even when things are good I'm always thinking of improvements, so when things are bad I get a little down. Even leaving the house to go to the Pirate Ship Beach, something he really wanted to do, was a fight because I brought my sunglasses and he didn't want to leave the house until I found his sunglasses. I looked everywhere and couldn't find them. I said, "Do you want to stay here all day and try to find them or do you want to go to the beach?" He said, "Stay here and find them." I got him and hat and said, "We're leaving." We went to the store with Judy the other day, and he said he didn't want to go in to the store. I took him in anyway, of course, and he was a wild animal. He literally fought so hard I could not get him into a cart, and he wouldn't let me hold him, and he lay on the floor screaming. It took all of my power to get his flailing body out of the store and into the car while keeping him from throwing his head in to something. He sat in the car with Judy while I got what we needed for dinner. I got him animal crackers in the store, but he screamed his head off half way home because there were no bears in the package. Despite how hard it is to be Knox's mommy, I find myself smiling a lot. Even when he's demanding or runs through mud in clean clothes I just put on, I enjoy him. I mean, sometimes he drives me so mad that I have to leave the room and drive the heels of my hands in to my forehead, but most of the time, he brings me more joy than anything else could.
On Saturday night, February 11th, 2012, Knox slept in underwear for the first time ever at my house, and he had no accidents!! I just bought a new pack of diapers and I'm wondering if I'll ever use them. This is a major milestone. So much of his potty training has been accomplished at school that his potty training almost seems to have come out of nowhere and I am shocked.
My students gave me sweets from their Valentine party for my birthday. That was thoughtful of them.
I tried to make cookies last night. There are several people I want to make cookies for, including enough for all the teachers in my staff room; about 50. Remember, this isn't America: My co-workers are happy with one small cookie each. But like I said, I TRIED to make cookies. A couple of them look cute, but as so few turned out, I haven't eaten any of them to see if they're edible. I haven't baked in over a year, I can't find all of the proper ingredients, I have to guess on the measurements, and my oven is the size of a microwave. The odds are against me. Making rollable dough good for a cookie cutter takes work. You really have to put some muscle into it. At the end of the night, I had about 10 presumably-edible cookies. I'll try again tonight with a different recipe. Plain old chocolate chip cookies shouldn't be too difficult. I hope. If that fails, I'm thinking of cutting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with my heart cookie cutter.
I'm really looking forward to having a giant, American oven again, and to Florida winter. I've been wearing my winter coat for three straight months, and the Japanese have no qualms about suffering ice cold homes and schools. One student told me that her whole house is warm, and that made the other students listening ooh and ahhhh. Central heating is an urban legend here. Time for spring, in my opinion.
I learned something cool about how Japanese people save water. Washing machines often come with a pump and hose, and when people are done in the bath, they pump the water into the washing machine. Now, now, before you cringe and eeew remember that Japanese people scrub and shower before they get into the bath, and if the home is like the onsen, they keep their hair out of the bath. I was commenting the other day that I felt wasteful if I ran an entire bath after I was already clean, and that's when I learned about this water saving technique. This is another one of those things about Japanese culture that seems like an inconvenience to us Americans, but also one of those things that makes Japan a reasonable place, willing to leave a lighter footprint on the Earth. I do look at American culture differently now, and I do think some things are unreasonable. Like trash. It's country wide that there are few trash cans around for the public. People take care of their own trash by throwing it away at home, and the inconvenience is less in the first place because people use fewer disposable plates and towels and stuff. The differences are hard to get used to, and there are lots of things culturally, especially when it comes to human interaction, that I may never gel with, but a lot of the habits make sense. I wish all we Americans made our own lunches more. Imagine this: My school doesn't even have a cafeteria.
My brain is in a different place right now. I know I said it before, and I'll say it again; I could really use some focus drugs. I only had one class today. It was at 1:30pm. Before that, I think I wrote two e-mails or something. Made coffee. Checked out my NY Times app. In other words, I did nothing. I need to mix things up! Anyway.