May 31, 2009

"So late!"

Let me continue basically in the same theme of my last post (I may continue in my next post too).

Talking about having children, let me share you a bad experience. I think many of you may also have had similar experience.

After marriage, we (two) decided to wait a few years before having a child. We thought of having some stability and maturity first. But it didn't seem to be 'our matter' only. After a year, people started talking about our not planning child. Some of them even started suspecting that one (or both) of us must be having some 'problem' and for that we were unable to have a child. Even some of our closest relatives started talking that way. I knew our society sneaks and gossips too much on someone's private life but didn't know it was this much intense.

Our society is obsessed with having child, and that too very early after marriage. I don't think our education has much changed that as some of my very educated friends didn't 'wait'. I think a couple of years without children will be better to create a good bonding between the husband and wife. That is even more necessary in our society where arranged marriage is still the norm and to-be-spouses don't know each other before marriage. Having a child is not a bad thing but with it come all the necessities and tensions too. So it doesn't harm to wait a couple of years and have a good talk between the "two".

We had Aryaa around 5 years after our marriage. For our family, it was "so late!" a relief..

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May 22, 2009

Is second child necessary?

I am back (a little bit drunk) from a party. Our department chief has resigned and the party was for his farewell. But they changed it into a combined 'big' party, adding welcome to the new department chief and new staffs who joined our department this (financial) year, in the same party.

Normally, only the people from the related department gather in such parties but as department chief was leaving, the GM himself and other big stakeholders too were present.

I looked for one of the farthest seats from the GM, it is always dangerous to sit near the 'big' boss:) It was same in University parties too, everybody wanted to be as far from the professor as possible.

But I was late, all the 'best' seats were already occupied and I was near the boss. It still wasn't the most 'dangerous' as there were two vacant seats between me and the boss, waiting for two 'unfortunate' guys:)

As the party started, I saw it was Banno San (Mr. Banno) next to me. I meet him almost every afternoon but we have very brief talks each time. He is around 55 (my guess).

"I heard you have a child. How old?" After getting little bit drunk, Banno San started talking about family.
"3 years." I replied.
"It's the most lovely age--"
"But it's also the most difficult age to care--"
"Boy or girl?"
"Girl--"
"Then it's even more lovely--"
"Is that so---?"
We shared another round of drink here.

"What about second child? Any plans--?" Banno san was back again a after a few minutes.
"It's difficult to say. One is enough to make us tired to hell. And there are many other things too to think about---"
"Don't say like that. It's better to give your daughter a friend in your home too." Banno San got serious "It is my experience too. I have two daughters. I think any parents should have at least two children---"
"-------------" I couldn't reply to Banno San here.

It's not only Banno San. My Professor's wife always says to us the same thing every time we meet them. Other intimate friends also say the same.

In weekends and holidays, Aryaa seems suffocated to stay indoors. We take her to children parks as much as we can but it is not possible to be outside the whole day and everyday. So sometimes we too think that a sibling would sure bring her more happiness.

But life is not so easy and 'linear'. There are many things to think about before planning another child.

I sometimes think this problem will not seem so big once we are back to Nepal. We still have a semi-joint family and even if we get separated, we will be living near to each other and children will always have intimate playmates inside the 'family' too.

Personally, after seeing Sobita going through all the pain during pregnancy and delivery, I don't want that to repeat again. I think the right to decide whether to have children or not and when to have belongs to the females only as they are the one who have to bear all the burden.

Hidden beneath all the fun and laughing, this party for me became "Is second child necessary?".

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May 15, 2009

Names, Linear Combination, Random Combination

I had read somewhere that children don't learn words like 'I', 'me' and 'mine' until very late (I forgot the exact age). From my experience I can say that it is true at least until the age of 3. Aryaa still uses 'Aryaa' instead of 'I'. She says "Aryaa wants to drink water" "Aryaa is sleepy" "Aryaa doesn't want to go to kindergarten today" "Aryaa hates milk" etc. I have seen the same with other kids too. The mystic Osho has said that this is the proof that childhood is innocent and selfless.

Anyway, I will certainly write when she starts using words like 'I', 'me' and 'mine'. It's an interesting to observe such things.

I don't remember exactly, it was around six months ago, Aryaa started 'changing' her name. She would give herself a different name each day, mostly that of one of her friends. She would say 'Aryaa is not Aryaa, Aryaa is Yuzuna' or '--Aryaa is Riku' like that. Then after a few days, she started changing her parents' 'names' too; "Aryaa is Erina, Papa is Erina's Papa, Mama is Erina's Mama" like that. You can call this a 'Linear combination':)

Then again after a few days, she started making 'Random Combination' too. In this combination, "Aryaa is Aki, Mama is Chichi's Mama, Papa is Erina's Papa"---. This 'Random Combination' has been continuing till now.

"What did Aryaa do in kindergarten today?" I asked my regular question after reaching home one evening.
"Not Aryaa, it's Maria. Sensei (teacher) calls so." 'Aryaa' while writing in Japanese Katakana becomes 'ARIYA'. Besides 'A' in Katakana (ア) looks like 'Ma'(マ) too. So it is easy to confuse this with Maria, especially for those with exposure to western names only. Later, while there to receive her, I too heard one of Aryaa's teachers calling her Maria.

But three days ago, Aryaa started calling herself 'Mary'. I am not able to guess how she learned this one.

May 8, 2009

A rainy GOLDEN WEEK

'Golden week' is over (it might be continuing for many people). In Japan, the week comprising of last few days of April and first few days of May is called the golden week. Four public holidays fall in this period. Sometimes Saturdays and Sundays fall before and after these holidays and a long vacation period is created. Even if there is no such alignment, like this year, many people use their paid leaves and get vacation longer than a week. It is the travel time for Japanese. They mostly leave for overseas or some scenic spots inside Japan. Some go to their parents' home in villages. Children seem very excited to meet their 'ojiichyan' (grandfather) and 'obaachyan' (grandmother).

It seems that Swine flu terror didn't much deter Japanese from traveling overseas; according to news, only travels to Mexico were affected.

We too had planned a two day travel to a nearby city, but had to cancel it for some reason. So our golden week travel was limited to two half-day visits to a Shinto shrine and a park in Nagoya.

This was our first visit to Atsuta Jingu(Atsuta Shrine). This place holds a very important place in Japanese history. It is believed to be built in the first century. There were a lot of visitors but it still was very peaceful inside. With many big, tall trees, it was like a small dense forest. We couldn't enter through the main entrance of the main Shrine as big construction was going around it. In fact, we even couldn't have the good view of the main Shrine. Temporary arrangements were made for praying.

Helping Aryaa wash her hands before entering the main Shrine premises. This is a very important ritual in Shinto belief, it is for 'purifying' yourself before entering the Shrine.

Hands full with small stones

Collecting yellow and red leaves

Our another 'tour', on May 1, was to a park called "Tsuruma Park". We have already been to there a few times. It used to be one of the most desired venues for Dashain and Nepali New Year programs. We didn't expect Sakura in May but much of the roses and other flowers in the garden there was also gone. A big concert was going on in one of the open concert halls in the park. Burmese people were celebrating their New Year. I didn't know Burmese New Year fell around this time . A large picture of Aung San Su Kyi was gazing down from the wall. A beautiful flower of liberty who has been detained by the cruel military junta for so long, but the fragrance couldn't be detained by the junta, it is guiding Burmese people everywhere.

Aryaa enjoyed the big Children Park there. As this park is at the center of Nagoya, children (and their parents) of all 'colors' were there, creating a true international community.

It was continuous rain after that. To stay confined in home for four days was really suffocating. It's a 'relief' that this rainy GOLDEN WEEK is over:)

May 2, 2009

'New' kindergarten-new no more

A month has already passed since Aryaa joined the new kindergarten. It's no more new. She has blended herself very well into it. She has made many intimate friends and she talks very affectionately of her teachers.

She hasn't forgotten her old kindergarten and old teachers and friends completely yet, she talks about them sometimes, but they are fading fast from her memory. Her talks now have more much more about Honoka-chyan, Aki-chyan, Junpei-kun, Okinaka-sensei and Ochiai-sensei than Riku-kun,Yudai-kun, ChiChi-chyan, Sanda-sensei and Fukui-sensei. Her best friend in the former kindergarten was a boy named Riku. In fact, she was more friends with boys than girls. When asked to tell names of her friends, she would first finish telling boys' names and only then tell girls' names:) From her talks, her best friend in this kindergarten seems to be a girl named Honoka.

This kindergarten is very near from our apartment. It can be seen from kitchen, sound of kids playing can be heard very clearly. I looked towards there many times (I am home today), hoping to have a glimpse of her playing with her friends. Kids from another gumi(group)were there. Her gumi may be listening stories inside or as the day is sunny and warm, may have been taken to a nearby park.