child nappingMy daughter was sick last night. All over the futon, all over herself. It was certainly not something that I wanted to deal with in the middle of the night–especially knowing that there was no spare futon, and that I would end up sleeping on the hard floor.

I started off by giving her a shower, washing her hair, changing her pajamas. I’m at expert at this, after all.  Due to a bout of RSV when she was three months old, my daughter has asthma.  Her airways over react to any stimuli.

Coughing to the point of being sick used to happen daily, but it’s been over a year since the last episode.  My daughter had forgotten about it, forgotten the routine.  I had not. As I washed her up, she complained about how hard I was scrubbing, how these pajamas were too big, how the pillow was too hard.

When she was smaller, she used to only cry when I washed her.

It struck me how grown up she has become.

Recently, she was named group leader for her four-person group at school. (In Japan, it is very common for teachers to assign groups. They work together to distribute lunch and to clean up, as well as  class work.) She takes this responsibility very seriously. Actually, a bit too seriously!  She is stressed out about it. I can see how she is maturing and learning about what it means to be in change of others.

There are some things you can control, other things you cannot.

Later, after she was cleaned and changed, we both cuddled onto a futon meant for one. She rested her head in the crook of my arm and went to sleep, snoring softly. Such a big girl. Still such a little girl. So unaware of the joys and the trials that are awaiting her.

I rested my head on hers, encircling her in my longer, stronger, more experienced arms. While I still can, while she’ll still let me.

Please share moments when you feel how much your children have grown.


This is an original post by the author to World Moms Blog. 

Photo credit: John Finn under a Flickr Creative Commons license.

Melanie Oda (Japan)

If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety. She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother. You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.

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