Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Naptime is a Go

I am just about bursting with happiness and job satisfaction right now. Nutmeg appears to be sleeping in her crib, and this would mark the third day in a row she has fallen asleep for her nap in her crib, alone. Sure, a lot of parents -- most, even -- achieve this a long time before 14 months. But we did this without letting her cry -- ever. I can't describe the relief and yes, validation I feel right now. In recent months, as Nutmeg learned how to stay awake through even a marathon nursing session, I began to wonder if we were doing the wrong thing with attachment parenting, if maybe Dr. Sears was some evil cult leader determined to make sure millions of babies grow up as lifetime insomniacs, denied by their parents the opportunity to learn how to soothe themselves as an early age. But for the past three days, I've laid her down in the crib with her pacifier, covered her with a blanket, and walked out. Yes, I had to go back a few times, return her pacifier if she flung it across the room, maybe pick her up and rock her a little, but then I put her back, lay her back down, and left again. And eventually ... blessed silence.

As if that wasn't enough, there is the sleeping through the night too, although last night she woke up and was so insistent that she wanted to nurse that I gave in and let her. She just seemed really thirsty. Hopefully this won't take us back to square one -- we'll see on that tonight.

Today we visited our first preschool, a trilingual Montessouri school that takes kids starting at 18 months. I have many, many things to say about it, but my house is very messy and the Sharebear is coming tomorrow, so that will have to wait.

Monday, June 27, 2005


"Cold water!"

Let the trumpet fanfare begin

Nutmeg slept through the night for the last two nights. The first time, we were camping and she was snuggled up in her own little snowsuit/sleepingbag thing, so I chalked it up to deep sleep induced by fresh air and a chilly tent. But last night, upon our return, she also didn't wake up until about 5:30 in the morning. Wow. Fingers crossed that she keeps this up.

In even more important news, Nutmeg had the best time ever camping. Which means we had the best time ever. We finally got her little inflatible boat out on the water, and in true Nutmeg style, she looooved it. Watching this little girl grin while floating all on her own in a lake, watching her lean over the side to splash and seeing her fight being removed from the lake even as her lips turned blue with cold, my job as a parent suddenly crystalized for me. My job is to prevent anyone in the world from dimming this light burning in her. I've never met a person with such a verve for life, so open to joy and experience. She sat in the shallows, letting cold waves smack her in the chest, and she didn't even wince. She just reached down and grabbed fistfuls of pebbles and the slowly dropped them back into the water. And when we dragged her ashore and dried her off, she still sat in that boat -- on the beach, at the campsite. I'm thinking about reinflating it so she can sit in it in the living room. And when she does all this, we just kiss her all over her face and tell her, "I love you!" and we have never said a truer thing.
Photos coming soon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I think I mentioned before I'm reading this book by a Waldorf teacher. Now, I originally shied away from the Waldorf thing as unbridled snobbishness when I heard a) rich women discussing the expensive Waldorf schools they planned to send their kids to and b) that you were supposed to throw out all mass-produced, plastic toys and give your kids only hand-made, all-natural $100 dolls, oaken "play stands" and big pieces of silk. It intrigued me, but it all sounded too snobby.

But there are a lot of things in this book that really resonate with me, and other notions that are just so new to me I don't know what to think. The author talks about the tragedy of modern kids not knowing how to play imaginatively, which is something I agree with. She goes beyond what seemed obvious to me -- don't plop your kids in front of videos, video games and the computer all day -- to say some things I hadn't thought of: that even your baby needs to be left alone sometimes -- lots of time according to her -- to explore her world; that you should give kids dolls and other toys that are mostly blank -- a doll without much facial expression for example -- so that they can fill in the rest with their imaginations. No problem there -- Barbie has pretty much no expression, right?

Actually, she's probably not giving kids enough credit there. My best friend Hollie and I used to play all kinds of elaborate pretend games with our dolls, which were mostly Barbies with a few international villagers thrown in despite their shockingly different scale. We pretty much disregarded what they looked like. We liked to play orphanage, since the movie and broadway musical "Annie" was big then, and it didn't really bother us that our "orphans" were all blond and awfully stacked for their age.

Speaking of which, I know the star of that movie's roommate's brother. In fact, he reads this blog. Hi Howii! I won't type her name in case she's Googling herself, because i don't want her to think i'm not TOTALLY COOL about how she was the awesomest actress and singer and dancer ever when she was about 12. It's no big deal at all, really. I probably don't even have my closet-door sized poster of her anymore, or at least it's packed way at the bottom of my mom's basement.

Anyway, I also like how this author -- and apparently Waldorf in general -- doesn't recommend teaching academics in kindergarten. How are kids ever supposed to love learning if we suck the joy out of it by sitting them down in desks and making them study phonics right from the get-go? And let's not even get into standardized testing.

All this makes me wonder if we will ever find a public school we can live with for Nutmeg. The whole idea of private schools runs counter to my democratic beliefs and the way I was brought up. Yet I have to say I wasn't served very well by public schools, and I don't know if Nutmeg will be either. Of course that's not to say that just because some school costs a lot of money or is a charter school or something it's good. I know several people who have been teaching in private schools because they didn't have the credentials to teach in a public school. I'm just saying, I want to evaluate all the options for Nutmeg. Especially since it's becoming obvious to us that she is a gifted child. Ugh, I hate sounding like that mom. "My gifted child," blah blah blah. But we started writing down all the words she says today and got close to 100. She's correctly identifying some of the colors. I was reading "What to Expect in the Toddler Years" the other day, and it said that by the end of the 14th month, your toddler "may even be able to use six words." Six.

"Man, let's not let anyone find out about this kid," I told Epu after I read that. "The government's going to take her away from us. For the NSA."

However, if she's going to be a top-notch security analyst, she's going to have to work on her walking.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I got to go on the merry go round

Can I BE wearing any more colors? Ready for the beach.

It has a name

Took Nutmeg to Ocean Beach today with Keith, Kay and Eliot. After Nutmeg had felt the ocean once, she kept crawling toward the surf at top speed, saying, "cold water!" It was a beautiful day and her exhuberance was so touching, but after an hour or so we were all pretty tired of chasing her across the beach. And we were all very sandy and our pants were wet. I didn't realize it would be warm enough to wade, or I wouldn't have worn boot cut jeans that are a little too long anyway!

Today while coloring, Nutmeg said to me, "name." She wanted me to write her name, something her daddy had done with her before. Yet she never uses her name to refer to herself and rarely tries to say it. If she points to herself, she'll say, "Baby." At the beach today, Kay wrote her name in the sand for her. "Name," Nutmeg said again. The other thing she asks for a lot when we're coloring is for us to draw a bunny. She'll say, "hop hop." Then we draw one, and then she scribbles all over it happily.

And on Wednesday, Nutmeg told Epu she wanted to go on the merry go round before they left the house. He said, "let's go out," planning -- he claims -- to take her to 24 Hour Fitness, where they have babysitters on weekdays. She said, "Up, down, round round. Go go," he tells me. So of course, they went on the merry go round instead.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kiss of the Spider Baby

Got this from BabyCenter today, and it does soothe my hurt feelings a bit:

"Even the most mild-mannered 13-month-olds will experiment with ... how shall we say it? ... undesirable behavior. If your normally happy-go-lucky toddler suddenly starts screaming, yelling, biting, and hitting, you can take some solace in knowing that his development is right on track."

Nutmeg bit me on the arm twice yesterday while I was trying to rock her to sleep. I was already stressed since I was supposed to be working, and my back hurt from trying to lull her into a nap. And then that. It was the first time since the early rough patch -- about 4 weeks to 10 weeks of age -- when I started to feel angry and resentful toward my little baby.

Because what do you do? You can't bite her back or smack her, and as I sternly said "No!" to her, she actually threw her head back and laughed! Is this my baby?

The Baby Center email says "traditional discipline tactics don't work very well for this age group." They suggest making sure you get to take a break from your baby.

Well, I don't have any baby-free time scheduled, except for work release, but I can escape with my new IPOD MINI!!! I got it free from CitiBank for setting up a checking account with online bill pay. V. excited. First thing I did after installing the software was download this morning's Wall St. Journal. THAT'S RIGHT! Life doesn't get any wilder or hedonistic than this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

They're so tasty

Nutmeg is big into coloring with crayons now, much to her artist daddy's delight. Yesterday she was sitting in her high chair, with her paper taped to the tray, and she had dropped all her crayons. She reached for the big Crayola box on the table (a present from Epu's old girlfriend back in college) and said, "More please crans."

That's 3 words. Oh yeah.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Daddy's all about the Benjamins

In Golden Gate Park

Flower Child

We took Nutmeg to Haight Street Fair today with Keith, Kay and Eliot. The weather was beautiful and she enjoyed it. Then we all went to the playground and went on the merry-go-round. Hours later, at home, Nutmeg was still telling us, "roun, roun, up-down!" Yeah, she likes it.

Then tonight we had a Chinese guest reporter from work come over for dinner. She was really nice and I totally regret not inviting her sooner, because she said she had not really gotten to know many people in her four months here, and now she is leaving in two weeks. She did, however, fill my head with all kinds of ideas about writing for the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times in China. Bad mommy, bad mommy. Actually, it would be so good for Nutmeg. But the grandparents would not be happy, not at all. Fortunately for them I'm not very hardworking these days, so none of that is likely to happen.
pretty baby in a dress Grammy and Grampy bought in Mexico before Nutmeg was born

Saturday, June 11, 2005

"glasses!" (When she saw this bow on her head in the mirror, Nutmeg also said, "hop, hop" because she thought it was bunny ears.)


hey i finally figured out how to post a photo

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nutmeg is making 2 word phrases: "more nana" is a favorite. And in the middle of the night, while kneeling and grimacing and howling, "more nana please!"

sigh. we're making progress on the night weaning; it's down to a couple minutes of crying from 15 minutes or so. but these are still some rough nights.

on the plus side, she loves brushing her own teeth with the little fingertip toothbrush, all the while declaiming, "buh tee, buh tee!" If Nutmeg wrote, everything would have about five exclaimation points at the end.

we went to the pharmacy to pick up a new inhaler for me, and when the pharmacist in her white coat started talking to us, Nutmeg freaked out. she did the same thing when i took her along to my doctor last week. ever since the trauma of having her blood drawn, every whitecoat is a murderous villain, as far as she's concerned. ooh, i just can't wait for her next doctor's visit in september.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

the word of the day is "lactivism."

before i recycle my soap box, i gotta say, here's another symptom of how screwed up our society is. people are so unnerved by the site of a woman using her breast to feed a baby. as if this is some radical, perverted new use of the breast.

well, thank god for northern california. i've been pulling out my boobs in public for 13 months now, and the only negative reaction i ever got was from a kid, probably about 10, who giggled and said, "she's breastfeedin' in front of everyone." and even then, aren't you impressed he said "breastfeedin'" instead of "look, boobies!"?

I do have to ask, though: Where are all my beads???

Monday, June 06, 2005

As I was saying. I just read this while taking a potty break:

"the United States has one of the lowest rates of casual touch in the world -- about 2 times an hour -- compared with Puerto Ricans, who have one of the highest rates, about 180 times an hour. ... French parents touch their children three times more often than American parents." ("You Are Your Child's First Teacher," by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. Otherwise turning out to be kind of a disorganized hippy blah-fest, btw.)

So it's not the all of Western culture who are turning our kids into lawless Lolita meth-freak pit-bull-fighting gang bangers with our Fisher Price Aquarium Wonders Bouncy Seats (TM). Just us.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

My good friend Kori recently wrote in her blog that when her baby shows up next month she's not going to do attachment parenting. I jokingly told her that I'll be happy to send her Babylu care packages in reform school once she's done totally messing her up with some "other" brand of parenting. But seriously, it got me thinking about why we chose the AP route, and whether it is working for us. And why mothers get so defensive and angry when faced with people making different parenting choices than they made.

Attachment parenting, touted in its current incarnation by Dr. Sears (not Dr. Barry Sears, that's the Zone Diet guy), means following your instincts and the baby's expressions of need. The idea is, if you are a lactating mother, your baby's cry causes your milk to start flowing, no matter what the clock says. So you answer your baby's cries by feeding her, or filling whatever other need she has right then.

This parenting philosophy is diametrically opposed to the other school of thought, with its very own doctor, Dr. Ferber. At the other end of the spectrum, parents feed babies on a schedule, put babies down to sleep and wake them on a schedule, no matter how the baby reacts to what's happening to him, and no matter what the parent feels at that time.

The situation where the opposing schools are most easily contrasted is bedtime. When bedtime comes, most babies cry if you lay them down in their crib and leave them there. Dr. Sears tells you to rock and nurse that baby into a deep sleep, then either carefully lay her down or take her to bed with you. Dr. Ferber tells you to shut the door and walk away. Yes, you can check on your baby periodically, but you're supposed to let her cry herself to sleep. My disclaimer here: I haven't actually read Dr. Ferber, but I'm going to go ahead and burn it like the intolerant liberal bigot I am.

Anyway, which camp you are in affects not just bedtime, but pretty much your whole relationship with your child. And of course it's a spectrum, with most people falling somewhere between the two extremes. So that's the intro. Here's my story.

The first time I heard about co-sleeping, that is, having your baby sleep with you in bed, was during my brief stint in Sunday School. We learned that story about two Biblical hos fighting over one baby because one of them had rolled over her baby in her sleep and killed it. So when I grew up and found out there was controversy over people sleeping alongside their infants, I thought, that's a terrible idea! It said right there in the Bible that your baby will die if you do that! And also, what if you spill your seed in bed next to your baby, and God strikes you down for that, and accidentally strikes your baby too?

But then a couple of my cousins had babies, and they told me they were co-sleeping and attatchment parenting. I read a little bit about it, but what really got me thinking was a book written by a relative of mine, Deborah Blum. It's called, "Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlowe and the Science of Affection," and it's all about this University of Wisconsin psychologist who did all kinds of experiments on the nature of mother's love on monkeys. Most of the experiments were cruel, and it's a difficult read for an emotional expectant mother. Yet I heartily recommend it to any parent to be.

One thing Harlowe observed was that a baby monkeys that hadn't had the chance to bond with a mother figure -- even a fake monkey mama made of cloth would do -- couldn't function in monkey society. The baby grew up to be an emotional wreck. Expose this monkey to something new and scary -- they used wind-up toys -- and he would cower in the corner. But show the same scary toy to a baby monkey who is happily clinging on to his mommy, and he'll hop off mom to check it out.

Maybe more importantly than the monkey stuff, the book goes over some of the history behind the beliefs about parenting popular in the 40s, when Harlowe started working, some of which persist today. It explains that once germs were discovered, people began to see the way mothers cuddle their babies as a threat to public health. We're all covered with germs, so why should we put our foul mitts on our vulnerable infants? Parents were banned from children's hospitals, because it was thought they'd just bring in germs. But then the nurses started to notice that the babies kept dying. The only long-term patient that had a fighting chance in a hospital was one that became the nurses' pet and got cuddled a lot. At the same time, psychiatry was blooming as a science, and a bunch of men started writing books about how children should be raised. Of course, everything mothers had been doing since the beginning of time, like rocking their babies to sleep, was declared harmful and wrong.

I started to notice how the norms in today's Western society regarding baby rearing differ from almost every other place and time. Three years ago, I happened to be in a hotel room in Seattle with a Taiwanese friend, watching an old episode of "Mad About You," in which Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are sitting outside their baby (Mabel!)'s bedroom door in agony, waiting for her to cry herself to sleep. My Taiwanese friend asked me to explain what they were doing, and when I told him what little I'd heard about the cry-it-out approach (I think I learned about it originally from this very show, come to think of it), he was appalled.

By the way, there's a little clock counting down the half hour in the corner of the screen during this episode, and at the end, when the baby finally falls silent, Helen Hunt says, "Turn back the clock." She's sorry she did it.

Epu bought me the "Little House on the Prairie" books for Christmas that year, and I noticed that in the Ingalls house, baby Carrie slept in Ma and Pa's bed. Laura and Mary shared their bed until Mary went off to the school for the blind, at which point Carrie took her place.

When we got pregnant, I read more about attachment parenting, and Epu and I decided that this was for us. I was still scared about sleeping with the baby in bed though, even though I had learned that it is very rare for an infant to be smothered in the parents' bed -- unless the parents are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A co-worker gave me a book called "The Family Bed," in which I learned that sleeping one person to a bed is a historical rarity. Of course, you need a home that is heated 24-hours-a-day for it to even be possible to leave an infant all by itself in a crib.

Then I read on about research suggesting that co-sleeping could actually prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Dr. Sears believes that babies regulate their nighttime breathing to their mothers' breathing, and that each time the mother exhales, the tickle of breath on baby's head reminds him to breathe.

That convinced me to give co-sleeping a try. I have to say, it was not easy for me in the early months. Of course I liked having Nutmeg close at hand for nursing -- I can't imagine getting up and walking to another room in the middle of the night, much less going through all the trouble bottle feeders have to go through. But I was nervous about a pillow or blanket getting over her face, so Epu and I would make sure to sleep with an arm between our pillows and her head. I ended up with a lot of neck cramps. Next time I'm just going to buy one of those Snuggle Nest things.

The other aspects of attachment parenting felt very natural. I wore Nutmeg in the Baby Bjorn for five hours a day or more, and she would doze away contentedly, her fist clenched around my finger if I had a free hand. I read in the paper about how in Kenya, women were appalled when strollers went on sale at the depatment store, because they felt babies would be harmed by being left all alone to sit in a stroller instead of being strapped to the mother's body. Did I still use my stroller with the handy car seat attatched to it? Yes, I did. For one thing, I needed the basket to carry my groceries. For another, my back would get tired if I carried Nutmeg all day.

Now that Nutmeg is 13 months old, it seems as though AP is working out great for us. Of course, there's no way to truly compare her to what she would have been like without it. She's extremely self-confident. She'll plunge into a crowded room at a party to seek out new toys to play with, and she won't look for me or Epu for a couple of hours. Although we're still breastfeeding, she's allowed me to cut down on the number of daytime feedings and shift her diet to about 70% solids. She's getting to enjoy spending time with the Nanny. And as regular readers here know, I would not be exaggerating if I called her brilliant. Dr. Sears believes that babies learn to talk better and earlier if worn in a sling or other carrier, because the baby is right there in between mom and whoever she's talking to, all day. Did this help Nutmeg become baby fillibuster? Who knows. I was extremely chatty myself at her age. Of course, my mom wore me in a sling sometimes too.

Do I ever have doubts? About some things. I don't doubt the whole ap philosphy for a minute. It makes too much sense scientifically, anthropologically, historically. Like everything else is turning out to be, mothering is all about chemistry. The more time you spend touching your baby, thinking about your baby, nursing your baby, the more oxytocin and other mothering hormones you have, and the more you are driven to do these things. That's what I mean when I say that ap is doing what comes naturally. Other parenting techniques that stress discipline teach you to ignore what your chemistry is pushing you to do, and once you ignore that for long enough, the hormone levels drop, and the messages stop coming. I'm not saying that my instincts tell me whether or not I should use the big blue snotsucking bulb on Nutmeg or just turn on the steamer and hope that clears it up when she has a cold. Obviously there were plenty of things that we had to learn how to do and continue to learn. But my instincts do tell me what to do when she cries.

My doubts linger in that area where so many parents struggle: sleep. At 13 months, Nutmeg still wakes up twice at night, which many parents find shocking. On this topic, Dr. Sears just advises reminding yourself that it's a relatively short time in your baby's life when she needs this kind of round-the-clock nurturing. But I'm getting tired of it, as you might imagine. Dr. Sears also says that any practice that is wearing you out or causing you to resent your baby should end. So we're working on "night weaning" Nutmeg now. We've found that she'll settle without nursing at the first waking, if I just move her from her crib to our bed. For the second wake-up, which comes around 2 a.m., I'm going to let Epu cuddle her back to sleep while I sleep on the couch. The idea is that if she figures out that she won't be getting any more nanas at night, after about a week she'll stop waking up then. We'll let you know how it goes.

I was also jealous to find out that Nutmeg goes to sleep within a few minutes of being laid down in the crib when the Nanny is here. I have tried this, and she does not go to sleep by herself for me, not even after many, many minutes. Either she cries and cries, or she chatters and looks at the books I leave in her crib for her, but she dosn't sleep. In fact, now that nursing doesn't always send her straight to unconsciousness the way it used to, it's getting harder to get her down for naps and at bedtime. We might try "The No Cry Sleep Solution," a book that's endorsed by Dr. Sears.

So my biggest frustration with Dr. Sears is he doesn't tell me how long all this is supposed to go on. I've read internet posts by moms who say their 7-year-old still doesn't sleep through the night, and she wishes she'd done her the kindness of teaching her to soothe herself to sleep as an infant. And everyone who co-slept says it's hard to get a toddler or preschooler to sleep in his own bed. So I expect we'll be cosleeping for awhile, which is cool with us. We like it, and since Nutmeg does not join us in bed until we've already had our own cuddle time, it hasn't negatively affected our relationship at all.

In the end I don't think ap is about any one thing you do -- you don't have to co-sleep, you don't have to nurse, you don' t have to give away your stroller. It's about how you structure your family life. An ap family has the children right there in the middle of your life, in your bedroom, in your conversations, in your arms. A more conventional family, in today's world, maintains more of a separation between the parents as a couple and the children. They are in their own bedrooms, etc. And I just think that modern life already separates the family members more than is healthy. Soon enough Nutmeg will be going off to preschool, she's already spening two days a week with the Nanny. Her teachers will have more time with her than I will, and she will have media tailored to her age group, after-school activities, her peers. I don't want to be one of those families where holidays and family vacations are a bitch because the kids and the adults don't even know each other. My family wasn't like that growing up, but I think a lot of my peers' were.

And one final wild speculation before I post this long rant. I don't know how long Nutmeg will keep letting me cuddle her. But I remember when I got my first boyfriend at the age of 15, I was starved for human touch. The years between when it became uncool to sit on mommy's lap and when I learned to kiss and all that were like this no man's land. And I really think the lack of physical contact between parents and kids in our society drives kids to sexualize themselves at an earlier age. I've never read any research on this topic, but that's the way I felt as a teen. And I got hugged as much as any other teen, maybe more, but because that's just not done much in our society, I wasn't going out of my way to snuggle up to mom and dad. So when boys came along, it was like, thank god.

That's it.

Friday, June 03, 2005
Each year, there are less than a half dozen cases of children 8 or younger who commit murder, experts say. In 2002, the most recent year available, there were just three, the FBI reports.

Each year??? I never would have guessed that there are child murderers claiming victims every year. People, keep an eye on these little creatures you're welcoming out of your womb and into your home! They're deadly!

Seriously, though, very sad story. Funny thing is, when it was proposed on "Desperate Housewives" that Zach had killed his baby sister as a young child, I thought, yeah, right. Who would ever believe that?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oxytocin makes you feel more trusting. Which could explain why we let our birth plans fall by the wayside and throw ourselves into our doctors' hands when we're in labor. And could really explain why doctors and nurses love to push that pitocin, which for those of you who have never given birth, is synthetic oxytocin.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sigh. My formerly "good sleeper" is suddenly Miss Sucks Two Hours Out of Your Day Every Time She needs to take a nap or go down for the Night. It's 9 p.m. Wed night and i'm sitting on the bed next to her, not yet ready to move and risk waking her. It seems that she's learned to power through the breastfeeding sleepiness, so she'll nurse and then pop right back up for "more books" or "play!" And it's Wed night, night before the nanny comes, so I've got to prepare all of her food for tomorrow and label it in our ongoing battle to stop the nanny from buying a bunch of crappy food at the expensive corner store and charging us for it.

Should I even get into our latest Nanny challenges? I don't want to make this blog even more boring than it is by turning it into a 24 hour Nanny bitchfest. OK, just a little bit. Her former employer reposted her ad on Craigslist advertising her as looking for "full time work." I emailed her to ask why on earth she was reposting this, and got a call from the Nanny 10 minutes later explaining that yes, she would like to find Mon-Wed work so she could keep working for me, but she is also looking for full time. Yes, nice committment. The Sharebear's mom is also pretty ticked.

OK, a few quick nice things and then i have to go cook and clean until i fall unconscious onto the kitchen floor. New words from Nutmeg: "noodle," "I know." she's saying a couple 2 word combos: "more please," and she'll say " "bye..." and then add someone's name after a long pause. and she's making adorable attempts at a few hard words: "pajamas" is "chiba," and i can't even describe her attempts at "hippopotamus" and "cucumber."