Once Upon a Tanbo


Posted on: November 17, 2008

If I was described by a letter lately it would have to be the letter “Z”
I have been so utterly tired the last couple weeks. Yes I realize that it is for a good reason, but wow its really amazing just how exhausted I’ve become. Of course you think with all the exhaustion I’d be sleeping like a log but I have been tossing and turning recently as well.

Once I get to sleep its AWESOME but until I do its been 2-3 hours of insomniac tossing and turning followed be intermittent cramps and (TMI) gas pains. >_<

Yah – but you all didn’t come here to listen to me talk about this right?

So we, or well Ryohei, told his parents last night that I’m pregnant. It went pretty much as we expected.. surprise and worry. I’ve mentioned before his parents are slightly pessimestic, supposedly an inaka thing. But I think they were happy for us? Probably a shock to be told you will be grandparents, this baby is the first on both sides, not just siblings but cousins as well… I’m not sure how my party loving mom will take the news she’s becoming a grandmother, but I’m waiting a little while to spill the beans to her, because I fear not a soul will be left who doesn’t know afterwards.

Also, Ryohei told his parents that we’ll most likely be speaking English with the baby at home, and their first worry was that they won’t be able to communicate with the grand baby. But Ryohei assured them it would be fine and that if the baby couldn’t speak English it wouldn’t be able to communicate with my family (Yay! Good points for him!)

Anyways we’ve come to the conclusion we’ll be staying with them for a bit longer than we earlier planned. Ryohei and I were planning to get our own apartment in July, but since the baby is due mid-late July I think that would just be too much – plus August is the worst month of the year in Japan and I’m not sure how excited I am about doing all chores/taking care of a newborn etc during that time.

Not sure exactly how the logistics will work out, but we’ll probably start renting the apartment from September and Ryohei and his Dad/work buddies will move us in during the weekend(s) and we’ll start living there from end of Sept/beginning of Oct.

We will NOT NOT NOT be living with inlaws any longer than that… (famous last words – but both Ryohei and I are firmly agreed on that)

I’m going in for my first scan on December 3rd! Hopefully the baby will be big enough to see the heartbeat by then. It still doesn’t feel real so it would be really nice to have some “proof.”

There is a LOT going on the next three weeks… heres hoping energy levels keep up with me! After the first weekend of Dec. things are pretty low key for the next couple months!

PS – I had my first case of preggie brain!! I was taking Ryohei’s lap top in for repairs yesterday and left it on the TRAIN!!! Thankfully the last stop was only one away and someone turned it in, but it was an AWFUL feeling. I really need to be more careful….

EDIT: After recieving Sarah’s comment I’ve decided to explain some of the reasoning behind our choice to live with the inlaws since its obviously not something that most sane foreign wives would choose of their own will. Before I found out I was pregnant, we had planned to have Ryohei live with his parents from April until end of June and both of us would get an apartment in Nagaoka (about 1 hour drive from his parents) in July.

However on finding out our happy (but unexpectedly fast news) we reconsidered moving for a few reasons.

So far my realtionship with the in-laws is pretty good. They have been pretty hands off so far. No real issues yet and I usually try not to write people off without a chance since they are jellybeans obachan and ojichan. But the situation is favorable for a few reasons.

1. I really don’t feel comfortable moving into a new apartment in a city where I know no one. All the baby message boards and advice pages say if you have family or a support network nearby to take advantage of it especially in the first month or two after a new baby. Since this is my first and I have no idea what to expect it would be nice to have someone who has done it before around…

2. Thankfully – my in-laws both work pretty much full time, which means that I will have some space as well. If MIL was a housewife this would have totally been strike agaisnt going there, but knowing that mostly when they are home Ryohei will be there as well is encouranging. Ryohei thinks some Japanese stuff is “crock” and he’s very open with them on if they are crossing a line or not.

3. Since the in-laws pretty much will let us stay rent free those two extra months will really help us in saving up not only for appliances and stuff when we move but also for me to buy a ticket for the baby and I to go to America from around Thanksgiving to Christmas next year. It wouldn’t be affordable any other way and for this reason alone I would put up with 1 month and a halfs worth of annoyance. I haven’t had Christmas at home since I came to Japan and I would love to have Babies 1st Christmas with my parents, grandparents, brothers etc…

Anyways… thats our thoughts for now. Theres still a long long time between then and now and if we find a MUST HAVE apartment that won’t be around later than maybe the sacrfice will be worth it.

Once it starts cooling down the baby will about 6 weeks or so and I think I’ll be getting a hold on things and able to go it alone. Once we move though, we will be pretty far from PIL so we probably will only be seeing them one weekend a month or so…

Hmm… anyways

Any other parent in law horror stories?


16 Responses to "ZZZZZzzz"


Just my two cents, but I would highly recommend moving into your own apartment before you have the baby. Otherwise you are going to get all kinds of crazy advice from your MIL and all her friends. Almost all expats have had the same experience (you should hear the stories!).

We moved to Japan when Emi was 8 months and lived with my in-laws for four months. They were not supportive of the fact that she went to sleep on her own and that we taught her a few baby signs (please, more, all done). About a month after we had moved, Emi started teething. She woke up in the middle of the night screaming with a fever and I just knew it was teething even though she didn’t have any teeth, yet. I had Infant’s Tylenol so I gave it to her and rocked her back to sleep but she’d wake up two hours later screaming and we’d do it all over again. My in-laws told Chikara that we should take her to the hospital right away but I KNEW she was fine so I resisted. Finally she fell asleep for good and the next day she was pretty quiet but still alert, etc. After I had put her down for her nap and my MIL and I were having lunch, she asked me if I had heard of “something” disease (I forget the name). I hadn’t and she proceeded to tell me that she was worried that Emi’s brain was growing faster than her head since we “made” her learn so much and that was why she was screaming all night and had a fever. It took all my energy not to laugh out loud. I politely told her I didn’t think that was the case and I was rewarded the next day when Emi’s first broke through. I’m pretty tough so I didn’t let it get to me and Chikara and I had a good laugh about it later but the constant advice can be daunting if it goes on and on.

Even if you can’t get the house all in order, as long as you have AC then you’ll be fine for awhile!

Take care of yourself!

Sarah – Thanks!! And I remember you posting somewhere else about that “advice” about Emi’s brain expanding!

I should probably edit my post to explain the reasoning WHY we decided to this because you’re right it sounds a bit loony to be choosing it at my own free will! (lol)

We lived with my in-laws on purpose, too. We decided it was financially safer to stay with them, even though we knew it could be tough, until Chikara had a steady job and we could decide where to live. Only the first two months were hard and then my in-laws realized nothing they were saying was making a difference. I think the biggest help for me was that Chikara was ALWAYS on my side. Always. I still appreciate that about him!

I only mentioned it just in case living on your own was an option. I read all the comments when you posted about your indecision about moving/getting pregnant now or later and I know that was tough for you. I’m proud of you for keeping on blogging!

Ohhh in-laws! Asian in-laws can be pretty nutsy. I think it is mostly because different cultures have really really different ideas about childrearing and childbirth. Its all cool and the differences don’t seem that huge … until the babies arrive, and then it really brings out the differences! I don’t have parents in law anymore, but my SIL and BIL came and visited when D was about 1 week old and I just about went NUTS! First it was that we weren’t giving the baby enough baths. Then he wasn’t wearing enough clothes. Then she decided he must be in pain because he was crying — as newborns do — rather than tired/hungry. For me, as a new mom, it was pretty upsetting to hear that I was doing all these things wrong, I felt like she was calling me a big old failure pretty much. You’re emotional enough as it is just after giving birth, and hearing all that criticism is pretty hard. I feel like I still have a bit of left over resentment towards my SIL for all of the unwanted advice. I guess it really depends on your relationship, but from what you’ve said about your inlaws in the past, I would think really hard about how you’d feel if you had to deal with “advice” or cultural differences about child rearing. I also know that when I’d just given birth, I felt very private and really wanted my space and it would have driven me NUTS to have in-laws or even my own parents living with me! If possible, I would maybe revisit the idea in a couple month or so when you’re a bit further along in your pregnancy and might have defined some ideas about what you’d like out of the birth/newborn stage you know?

But hey, I understand that sometimes you don’t really have a choice either and you just have to suck it up and do things in a non-ideal way. I am sure that whatever ends up happening you’ll cope! I’m just throwing my own experience out there, in case it was relevant… or at the very least, amusing! πŸ˜›

And girl … you are so lucky you live in Japan with that laptop incident. In most places you’d never have seen it again!

I just saw your edit! LOL … I think MIL and PIL (but MIL moreso) still working will make a huge difference. That way at least you’ll have the majority of the day in-law free. I was definitely thinking of a typical house-wifey older woman type MIL, but come to think of it, Ryohei’s parents probably aren’t all that old, which is nice. If my MIL was still alive she’d be in her 70s, and my FIL died last year at 86.

My husband is pretty good about the Chinese superstition/tradition stuff too. We ignore a lot of it, but he is strangely adamant on certain things for some reason. Like cold water. And bare feet. And the wind. Also he is absolutely positive that I get headaches now because I used to go to sleep with wet hair as a child.

When K was a baby, even just visiting the in-laws would drive me insane, some of the things they would say and do(still happens to a degree now, but I am more relaxed as a mum that I can ignore a lot of it, haha), but I think I am a super tense person to start with anyway, so I was very protective of K! I think the first few months are HARD no matter where you are, as you try to learn to adjust to a totally new life with baby, and I think having people around you is definately a good thing, as long as they respect your wishes/way of doing things.

FWIW, we speak basically English at home with K, but when we are at the PILs, we use Japanese and some English that PILs understand…we already had trained R, our dog, in English so the PILs know some words well (sit, please, beg.., haha.) At the moment, she seems to be able to understand both J and E. Sometimes if we are at home and she says the J word, I repeat with the E word, like at the moment she is saying “ashi” all the time for foot. But I think we are taking a relaxed approach to language (not what I had thought I would do before K was born) but hopefully she will grow up to know both languages, and want to speak in both. fingers crossed.

Sarah – Aww thanks. I’m starting to realize that when it comes to pregnancy/child raising/life big decisions there will be critism and support no matter what choice you make. I think I just need to start growing a thicker skin to a lot of things. I’ve always been the type to try and “please everyone” but in the last year or so I’ve tried to work on keeping myself and the immediate family happy. Theres still a lot of time – thankfully- to work things out! Considering all the experience you have I really appreciate your comments and hope you’ll contiune to read and advise in the future!

Jess – YES. MIL working is pretty key to the whole plan. I think my MIL is mid-50s and FIL is about 60 or… they have a huge house which they built from scratch so apparently they are still paying it off. Interestingly enough my MIL worked all during when Ryohei was little so her mother was pretty much the one that raised him. So his family is a bit different from the typical countryside Japanese family.

I get stuff about wet hair from Ryohei all the time, how I will catch a cold or whatever if its wet. I agree in the winter its probably not smart to walk around with wet hair but living pretty much all my life in sothern california its taking getting used to. And I wil not not not dry my hair is summer here… uggg I hate Japanese summer. Apparently Niigata is worse that where we are living now too 😦

TJ – Ohh!! Well next week you’ll have to tell me a lot of stories in person when I invade your house mwahaha. Really amused that the English your PIL know is from dog training! Also interesting how kids process the two languages… it will be interesting to see K in action πŸ˜‰

Just remember that you are the mom and you know your child best. If you get advice you don’t like, go with your gut. Smile and nod.

It will be stressful with people giving you unsolicited advice all the time. I stressed out about stuff all the time that I didn’t need to because I thought my baby wasn’t “normal.” But even though I do things differently than some (I am pretty crunchy and tend toward agreeing with Sarah’s inlaws) my baby has turned out pretty darn good. Mothering instincts will lead the way. πŸ™‚

It will be nice for you to get meals made by your inlaws, that will definitely help with the adjustment. Just make sure you get internet there so you don’t go stir crazy because I think the chances of them letting you out of the house before you move are slim to none!

Medea – Yah I don’t think the mother instincts have kicked in too much yet – pretty much all last night I lay in bed thinking about all the things that were coming up the next year and… phew.. its a lot.

I think that free meals is another plus, I actually really enjoy cooking but I love the healthy and good stuff his parents make. And well.. to be honest I spent the whole month of August this year wishing I didn’t have to leave the house (lol) Although maybe I’ll be eating my words.

From what I’ve heard from Ryohei my in laws were pretty hands off and relaxed when raising him and his brother so maybe I just got an unusual set of in-laws. I’ll be able to test the waters when I visit over golden week and see how much unsolicated advice I get about being pregnant haha.

And I think your kid is great too! He seems like a happy and smart little guy.

If you do end up living with your grandparents then hopefully they will be pretty hands off and that they don’t try to control how you raise your baby… because that’s what he/she is, yours and Ryohei’s.

I admire your courage to live with your PIL’s though… I know that there is no way I would ever live with them. MIL drives me barmy as it is, I would hate her telling me what to do with my own child. Although saying that, bringing home a newborn baby with no one to turn to is also a really scary thought!

Lots of decisions for you to make. Luckily you still have 8 months to make them, hey!

If you do end up living with your grandparents then hopefully they will be pretty hands off and that they don’t try to control how you raise your baby… because that’s what he/she is, yours and Ryohei’s.

I admire your courage to live with your PIL’s though… I know that there is no way I would ever live with them. MIL drives me barmy as it is, I would hate her telling me what to do with my own child. Although saying that, bringing home a newborn baby with no one to turn to is also a really scary thought!

Lots of decisions for you to make. Luckily you still have 8 months to make them, hey!

Sorry I missed a few of your posts Sarah!!!! Wow.. Congrats!!!! You must be excited, don’t worry living with your in-laws (or outlaws) will be only temporary = )

Sorry I missed a few of your posts Sarah!!!! Wow.. Congrats!!!! You must be excited, don’t worry living with your in-laws (or outlaws) will be only temporary = )

Nay – See the thing is I don’t hate my MIL and she hasn’t ever done anything to annoy me yet (she’s po’d Ryohei a few times but everything directed toward me has been good) so hopefully things will continue in that way!

I think in your situation though you already have your house and everything all set up etc…

Girl Japan – Ack! I just missed your post! Thanks!!

Yah, like I’ve said (so far) no issues with my in-laws so as long as its only a month or two I’m not forcasting the break out of WW3.

Tag you’re it! I tagged ya! : )

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