Mar 27, 2009

3 years health-check

Aryaa went for her 3 years health-check with her mother yesterday.

Japan has universal health care, almost all the general treatments are covered by insurance. Adults have to pay 30% of the total cost whereas any treatment or care is free in case of children.

Comprehensive health-check of children is compulsory. It is done at the age of 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 years and 3 years. A letter with all the required documents, which are to be filled and taken to the venue, comes from the city/ward office. I really admire the perfect arrangements they make for such health-checks and other cares children need. There is a big debate in America about the universal health care. It is true that the success of universal health care depends on many things like the culture, political system etc., but looking at Japan, it seems immensely successful. I think every country should have some sort of universal health care. If it's not possible for all, it must be there for children.

Looking at the report, it seems everything is fine. Aryaa is growing normally; active and healthy. She is tall, her height is slightly more than the upper limit of the range being used here for her age.

Mar 23, 2009

Telling stories, it's not easy!

Everyday before sleeping, Aryaa makes us read her picture books for her. And after switching off the lights, we have to tell her some stories.

Reading her picture books is not a big deal. They have a lot of pictures and very few words, that too in simple Japanese. After reading for so many times, I can recite almost all of those books:) But coining a good story for a child seems really difficult. I have written some stories/poems etc. (for adults) and used to think that writing for children would be easy. But it is not easy! It might be one the most difficult among all the genres.

"INUNO HANASI SITE--" (Tell me a story of dog--), she requested once. While walking towards the nearest Children Park in the morning, she was very much amused by a cute little dog with one lady. Afterward she had asked me why we didn't have any dogs. I had told her that we had one in our home in Nepal and it was very lovely, etc. So she wanted to hear about that dog.

"That dog is very lovely" I started. "His name is PHUCHCHE. It likes to play with all the family members.---"

"SOREKARA INU DOKO ITTA NO" (Where did it go after that?) She wasn't satisfied with the "description" and wanted a "real story".

"Well, it said 'bye! bye!' to all and left for the nearby mountain." I was too tired and wasn't able to imagine anything good. I was trying hard not to fall asleep myself. "The mountain was steep and very high. The dog was already very tired after climbing only the half. So he rested for some time and started again. At last, after 2 hours he was at the top." Not knowing how to go ahead, I stopped here briefly.

"There was a temple at the top" I started again. "There was a priest there, and inside there was god too." I don't know why I didn't use the word 'idol' instead of 'god'.

"What was god doing?" She suddenly asked.
"Hmmmm--- He was reading a book!" I replied and became ready for another question like 'What books does god read?'.
"And where did the dog go from there?" She was more interested in the dog's journey than god's books!
"Well, he climbed down, went back home, had dinner and slept." Fearing another dead end, I opted for a 'safe-landing'.
"CHIGAU--!!!! SOREKARA INU DOKO ITTANO!?"(No---! Where did the dog go from there!?), She was in no mood to let this dog return back and sleep! He had to keep on moving!

"Well then this dog looked at the city below from the top of the mountain. 'Ah, the city looks too crowded now!' he talked to himself and moved from there. He reached a big jungle. It was little bit dark there, he was afraid at first but the little monkey there was very friendly. They played together. Monkey kid taught him swing. Then he said 'bye' to monkey and started again. In another big jungle he listened some birds singing. You know, those small birds have so sweet voice! They were singing 'HINA MATSURI' songs. After the birds finished singing, this dog went to another mountain----"

In this way after seven mountains and eight jungles, my dog was about to reach the big sea and swim but Aryaa was already asleep.

I was wondering why didn't this dog reach sea earlier? Why did he have to cross so many jungles and mountains to reach sea? Is it because I come from a landlocked country with many mountains:)

Children seem to have very fertile imagination. You just have to give them a stream of events (they can even be random and impossible) and they create/imagine the story themselves. But even imagining events continuously is not easy, especially when the child doesn't sleep at least 45 minutes after switching the lights off. And sometimes my limited Japanese language skills give trouble too. It is the only language she understands.

It is still not easy for me but let me tell you I am getting better at it, though slowly. I have already tried some new heroes like tiger, lion, bird. I hope I will soon be able to have a human hero:)

Mar 19, 2009

Foods That Help Oral Health

Image Source

Oranges, kiwis, strawberries, limes, and peppers

There are several different types of bacteria in your child's mouth, and some of them can cause gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease, says Melvin Pierson, DDS, a spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. Vitamin C in fruits such as oranges, limes, kiwis, cantaloupe, papaya, and strawberries helps kill these bacteria, and it also promotes a healthy supply of collagen in the gums. Other good vegetable sources: red, yellow, and orange peppers; tomatoes; and sweet potatoes. However, dentists say that kids should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing their teeth after having citrus foods or drinks. That's because citric acid in the fruit can temporarily weaken tooth enamel and leave teeth vulnerable to erosion caused by brushing.

Milk, yogurt, and cheese

Starchy carbohydrates like bread, white potatoes, and pasta break down into sugar. This sugar feeds other types of bacteria in your child's mouth that produce cavity-causing acid. When your child drinks milk or eats yogurt or cheese -- which are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and phosphate -- it raises the pH level in his mouth, lowers acid levels, and reduces the risk of tooth decay, says Ray J. Jurado, DDS, director of pediatric dentistry at Children's Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. Calcium is also beneficial in several other ways: It mixes with plaque and sticks to teeth, further protecting them from lingering acid; it repairs damaged enamel; and it strengthens the bones around your child's teeth, making them more resistant to periodontal disease later in life.

Raw carrots, celery, cauliflower, green beans, and snap peas

Crisp veggies are "chewing foods" that mechanically clean your child's teeth and gums. "These foods naturally scrape away plaque that builds up between meals or that kids miss when brushing," says family dentist Jimmy Wu, DDS, of San Diego. Encourage your child to eat slowly and to completely chew each crunchy mouthful.

Sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, and nuts

Nuts and seeds contain natural fats that coat teeth and help shield against bacteria, says Dr. Wu. The oils in the seeds help strengthen enamel, making teeth more resistant to cavities, and most seeds also contain calcium. Kids older than 4 can eat trail mix as a healthy snack.

Sugarless gum

The next time your child begs for a pack in the checkout line, you can say yes. Saliva loosens plaque, increases the number of natural antibodies in the mouth, and keep gums hydrated. Chewing any food stimulates saliva production, but chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can help prevent tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). In fact, the ADA recently gave its Seal of Acceptance to Orbit, Extra, and Eclipse gums after Wrigley conducted studies demonstrating its brands' benefits. However, kids shouldn't chew gum until at least age 4, when you can trust them not to swallow it.


Mar 15, 2009


Happy birthday to Aryaa!!!

Aryaa's third birthday was on Friday. I was too tired to write on that night and couldn't manage time till now.
We were in Nepal for Aryaa's first birthday. It was our first visit to Nepal after Aryaa's birth. Aryaa had cold and fever for most of the time of our two weeks stay and she wasn't eating much. It might be the sudden change of the environment/weather, from Nagoya to Kathmandu and after few days to Pokhara. She was looking very weak and pale on her birthday.

It was celebrated with TIKA and incense instead of birthday cake and candles. AMA had made a PUJA (a brief religious ceremony) to pray for Aryaa's health and long life.

Her second birthday last year was celebrated in a Nepali-Indian Restaurant with some of our friends. This year we had a small gathering in our own apartment.

Aryaa enjoyed it very much. She is very happy in group. She was so excited to blow off the candles and cut the cake. She fed cake to all of us, one by one; but she herself doesn't like cakes. She was happy with a chocolate:)

It was a good chance for us too, to talk and laugh heartily. Aryaa was busy with her birthday gifts. She was also talking with us (in Japanese), running here and there showing this and that to her uncles and aunts. She didn't show any irritation to our non-stop talking in Nepali this time.

Mar 11, 2009


"KYOU NOUGYOU SENTA ITTAN DA YO!" (We went to agriculture center today!) Aryaa told when I was back to home yesterday evening. I had already read the previous days' message from her teachers, they were taking kids to agriculture center. It must be a farm at the outskirts of Nagoya.

"YAGI MO IMASITA YO!" (There were goats too!)---- She was very happy by seeing goats and other animals.

As all children do, she loves small animals. But what she can normally see are cats and dogs only, that too other people's pets. There are some stray cats too in our neighborhood. We don't have any pets, it is not allowed in the building we live and we wouldn't be able to afford too. There are two rabbits in her kindergarten. Aryaa likes very much to have her palm licked by those lovely rabbits.

A few days back, they were taken to a picnic too, to a nearby park. We were told to prepare Aryaa's BENTOU (lunch box) for that day. Normally, all the kids have their lunch in the kindergarten.

Here is one of the photos from our visit to Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in October. There is a section in the zoo where some small animals are kept. Children can play with them, feed them grass etc. Aryaa enjoyed playing there. It was very hard to persuade her to leave when the zoo was about to be closed.

Mar 6, 2009

With kid, time flies--

They say time flies. It certainly flies. At least it seems when you look back to your past days.

And time flies faster when you are raising a child. It seems just a moment ago that I was waiting outside the delivery room. I could hear Sobita screaming and was feeling hopeless and bitter that I could do nothing to help her. Then came the tender crying of a new born baby and one of the two lights above the door of the delivery room was switched on, showing the birth of our Aryaa.

I looked towards the sky and thanked God!

I could look her through the glass only; she was kept in the special room for newborns. I could touch her the next day. She was longer (taller) and weighed more than average newborns. Now too, she looks taller than kids of her age. But she looks little bit lean. We were worried and went to consult with doctor once. We were told not to worry as she was healthy and active.

And her third birth day is after a few days.

Three years flew away so fast. It was a beautiful journey with Aryaa, a very rewarding one. You just feel bliss and blessed with child. Our three years were with her completely and for her completely.

Aryaa's kindergarten had this month’s TANJOUKAI(birth day ceremony) a few days back. They have this once a month, when they celebrate birthdays of all the children born in that month.

We got a short letter with a photograph pasted on it from the kindergarten. We had got the similar one last year too. Teachers of Aryaa’s class (group) which is named AHIRU GUMI (Duck group) have written about Aryaa, her health, her behavior etc. They have written that Aryaa likes to do everything in her own pace and doesn’t like to be ordered too much. We have the same feeling. When she doesn’t like something, there is no way we can make her like it. Same is with food, when she doesn’t like some foods; she just ignores and doesn’t look at them at all.

Her height has increased by 11.5 centimeters and weight by 3 kgs since her last birthday. We haven’t measured recently but that was in the letter we received.

Here are the two photos.

Last Year

This Year

Mar 3, 2009

Kids Prefer Veggies With Cool Names

LiveScience Staff livescience Staff Mon Mar 2, 12:45 pm ET

Kids won't eat their vegetables? Rename them, scientists say.

In a new study, 186 four-year-olds were given regular carrots and, on other lunch days, they were given the same vegetables renamed X-ray Vision Carrots. On the latter days, they ate nearly twice as many.

The study suggests the influence of these names might persist.

Children continued to eat about 50 percent more carrots even on the days when they were no longer labeled as anything special.

The research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was presented today at the annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association in Washington, DC.

"Cool names can make for cool foods," says lead author Brian Wansink of Cornell University. "Whether it be 'power peas' or 'dinosaur broccoli trees,' giving a food a fun name makes kids think it will be more fun to eat. And it seems to keep working - even the next day," Wansink said.

Similar results have been found with adults. A restaurant study showed that when the Seafood Filet was changed to Succulent Italian Seafood Filet, sales increased 28 percent and taste rating increased by 12 percent. "Same food, but different expectations, and a different experience," said Wansink, author of "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think."

The veggie study was conducted in pre-schools, but the researchers believe the same naming tricks can work with children at home.

"I've been using this with my kids," said researcher Collin Payne, "Whatever sparks their imagination seems to spark their appetite."

(From Yahoo! News)