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Steve was going crazy trying to take care of Michelle and work at the same time. Unlike the boys, Michelle does not sit still on Daddy's lap while he pecks at the keyboard. No, to her, pecking looks like fun and she wants to do it, too. If not that, then how about that mouse or those interesting papers that crumple and fit into the mouth so easily. Those hands never stop moving.

And she doesn't sleep very much either, perhaps a grand total of an hour or so during the day in the form of 10-20-minute naps.

Result? Steve wasn't getting any work done at all. So, Yoko asked her aunt, Chieko, to come a couple of times a week to take care of Michelle while Steve tried to cram a week's worth of work into a few hours.

Boy, did Chieko have her eyes opened. She thought that Michelle would be like other babies, spending most of their time sleeping and eating. She expected to spend most of her time doing other things. Well, for the first several weeks, Chieko tried everything to get Michelle to take a real nap. Nothing worked. And Chieko would go home exhausted from a whole day spent trying to keep up with something that couldn't even walk. And when it came time for feedings, Chieko couldn't believe how much that little thing could pack away, finding herself going back to the kitchen at least a couple more times for refills, giving up only when supplies ran out.

Having spent the past 6 months struggling with same issues, Steve could only laugh. Still, he is grateful that Chieko can come those two days a week. Thank you, Chieko!

Yoko's mother, Teruko, Yoko's aunt (and mother's sister) Chieko, and Michelle.

 We got the keyboard for Calvin and Brian some months ago, and have been looking for a teacher to give them lessons. Meanwhile, Michelle has discovered it, and loves banging on the keys, pushing all the buttons, and making all kinds of funny noises.

Not so much a picture of Michelle, but look how much weight I've lost. This was take shortly after the second round of that horrible winter flu which kept me flat on my back for a week each time.

With Calvin going into to elementary school and needing a desk at which to study, we decided to get new furniture for the boy's room, including bunk beds. Just at that time, a new store opened on Rokko Island featuring Danish modular furniture. We spend several hours over several days looking at various plans and options. Meanwhile, Michelle was having a blast in the showroom with the colorful furniture (called, naturally, Color 4 Kids). Even after everything was built, Michelle liked to crawl into the boy's room and 'play' with the colorful items.

There's a story behind this stroller, too. For Calvin and Brian, we had an Aprica fold-up stroller. Steve didn't like it because the handle was too low and pushing it gave him a backache.

When Michelle came along, we hauled the stroller out of the closet, but it was too dirty and all the joints were loose, making it difficult to push and turn.

With perfect timing, a friend started importing these baby joggers from Oregon. He left three styles at our place for a week, and after trying them all, we chose this one with 12" wheels. Michelle loves it.

I love it, too. the handle is at the right height, and the big wheels and stiff frame make it easy to push over rough or broken ground (like we now have everywhere in Kobe, thanks to the earthquake).

It is also hit with the Japanese, who view it as a high-tech, high-fashion baby stroller. I'm constantly being stopped by people who want to know where they can get one.

A happy Michelle, playing in the park's sandbox.

I suppose if you need all four extremities for locomotion, your luggage goes in the mouth...

Note Calvin in the background getting in a little Mariobics.

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