Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Babysitting 2

Aunt Michiko and her daughter, Ruka, were downstairs this evening. Michiko is Yasu's wife, and they live on the second floor of the building--right next door to me. Michiko is probably getting to the point where she's trying to decide when to let me into Ruka's life. I started taking care of Miyu when she was a bit over a year old, and Ruka just had her first birthday this month. The good thing is that Ruka isn't scared of me. Miyu never was either, come to think of it. But Ruka has gone through a few periods where, if she hasn't seen me for a while, she totally forgets that she's met me before and that she liked me last time. Her short-term memory seems to be holding up a bit better these days, and I could tell that Michiko was relieved to see that Ruka was smiling at me (rather than bawling because of me).
Miyu didn't take a nap today, so she fizzled a couple of times while we were playing. By fizzled I mean that she threw a fit. She doesn't always like having to say something in two languages in order to have her requests met. Japanese, naturally, is her first response to any situation, stimulus or provocation. If I pretend like I don't understand what she's trying to say, or don't give her what she wants, she's prone to hitting the floor wailing. When she's well rested, she'll opt for the 'cute' approach and pretend that she doesn't understand what I'm asking for either. Tonight, however, her energy reserves were low. Consequently, she got rather pissed when I didn't give her the pink flashcard simply because she was demanding it in something other than English.
She rarely fizzles when it's just the two of us. We often go for long walks to the playground, and we never have any problems. She has her grandmother and mother wrapped around her little finger, so the bulk of her tirades are when they're around. Tonight was just fatigue. We spent about an hour, in between bawling sessions, shopping out near the side door. We bought groceries at the supermarket (shoe cupboard) and toiletries at the pharmacy (slipper rack). She drove us down there, and she always leaves her money in the glove compartment of her little car. I've tried to tell her that it's not safe to leave money in there, but she never listens. She loves to be busy, so I always ask her to do lots of things for me. She cooks pizza for me in the living room, and makes fantastic messes in the process (which grandma gets to pick up.) She runs up and down the hall in a huff anytime she remembers that she's forgotten something out in the dining room.

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