Will & Tracy

This is our blog

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


My mom has since given up on telling me to chill out whenever I get stressed, she just pauses and tells me "go have another drink" - its like she knows I've had one and that one is just not cutting it. Enabler? Well, that is another story.

So yeah, I'm still breastfeeding...when Finn hit about7 1/2 months I thought, self, it is time to start weaning... I had a couple tins of formula and so over the course of the last couple months, I've slowly introduced Finn to formula. He didn't buy into my plan at first ...that is until Dad and I came up with the "Banana smoothies" for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Damn - we are brilliant or so I thought. Finn actually liked them so much that by the 8 1/2 month mark, he was not really interested in breastfeeding during the day. I was actually a little sad...

Since I never really worried about formula before (or how or where to get it) and I was doing the slow introduction, I wasn't really paying attention to how fast I was going through this stuff. Well, that is until 3 weeks ago when Auntie Katy and Coco brought the last tin and gasp....I was going through it quickly. I STILL don't panic because hey, we only have a few weeks until we head back to the US - and hey, I live in Japan now (not China) and they have safe formula here. Even Will's office manager told him EXACTLY what she used and translated the tin and all was good. That is until Finn starting having GI issues.... What? huh? I didn't have to worry about constipation or diarrhea while I was breastfeeding...Could God give me a freakin' break?

I panic, but not too much because I tell my friend in the US to please express ship some formula - I'm desperate - but obviously my desperation didn't come across well enough because she sent it international priority which wouldn't arrive for a week. Yoga breathing is kicking in at this point as I scrounge to find a small sample tin that someone randomly gave me 2 years ago - thank goodness - but wait - its SOY formula. Since I'm certifiable at this point, I remember reading online (the dangers of reading too much online baby info has yet to be quantified) about how giving too much soy can cause issues, but I figure I'll pump more, ration the formula, dilute it - I can make it for a few more days and EUREKA - my friend in CHINA (yes, China) can buy US formula in Shanghai (available there but not in Osaka!) and then have Will's boss bring it with him next week. Fabulous - only 4 day of rationing formula and by now Finn's poops have returned to "soft serve" consistency!

Damnit - I just ran out of wine...but I digress...

Then I find out Thursday afternoon that Will's boss is not coming on Monday, but Wednesday. I'm telling you folks, this would have caused the Old Tracy to go ballistic, but once again, I took a deep breath and realized between my milk and my SMALL tin of soy we were still gonna make it. (insert Laverne and Shirley them playing in the background). But as a back-up I had my friend go and buy a can of formula so Will's boss can bring it with him to Osaka on Wednesday.

Come Tuesday morning, I'm chill - formula is going to make it all the way through Wednesday! I rock... until about 10am when my husband forwards me a message with the title "I messed up." Do you really want to read an email with that title? I didn't. Yeah- his boss left the tin of formula that my friend purchased in Shanghai on the table in his locked apartment. Will, the trooper knowing his wife is hanging on by an ever thinning thread (read: Tracy needs a break from Asia).... called his stepmom to have her assistant at work go buy and pick up and fed ex overnight - internationally mind you - a $25 can of formula. Hold that thought...

Just have Shanghai overnight the can of formula Tom left at his apart... wait ...its locked... ok - go buy another 200% marked up can of international formula - still cheaper than sending it from the US. Done.... and to the Chinese post office.... and ... what?? come again?? Beijing has yet to lift the ban on shipping powdered anything since the Olympics? I'm not sending crack or Anthrax just some damn formula - sealed..container...baby on the label....

This is where the third glass of wine would have come in handy..but aaaah the blog is an amazing cathartic resource in itself and I feel better already .....

got milk?


So Will and I have enjoyed our local Pizza delivery service about once a week - we think it is magically delicious that we can find a Canadian here in Osaka that knows her pie. Yes, it is true, you know you have been in Asia too long when you *think* you have found:

1. Good BBQ - Bubbas in Shanghai
2. Fabulous Mexican food - El Panchos in Osaka
3. Cheesy yummy pizza - Shanghai and Osaka

Thank goodness most of y'all will not have the opportunity to burst our little dreamworld over here.

That said - Saturday was a nice day - Dad took the kiddo to the company picnic and Mommy had some glorious time to herself of which she did very little because she couldn't remember what that was. So instead of doing anything useful like coming up with a gourmet dinner to repay her wonderful husband with... she, uh, I said "lets have Pizza night" - Dad agreed and called our said cheesy yummy pizza restaurant.

As we are getting babyFinn ready for bed, the intercom buzzes and I run to answer it and low and behold someone starts speaking in Japanese... I respond...Pizza? and start buzzing her in only for her to start speaking in English - oh where are you from? I oblige and say the US because yeah, whatever, I want my pizza. She said in broken English "Oh, I'm Jehovah Witness, do you know about Jehovah." Oh I *know* about Jehovah, but the last thing I wanted to do was listen to a Jehovah Witness in broken English try to convert me. Pizza - yes very interested in finding out more, but Jehovah, not while I'm waiting for my pizza. I know, I KNOW...I did a double whammy this time....Not only is my Catholic guilt kicking in, but my Japanese etiquette guilt brought an even larger twang to the pit of my stomach.

WWTJD? What would the Japanese do?

Sound bites

I swear - I do have moments of creativity and thus I desperately try to make time to blog...but choosing nap, laundry, sound bite on facebook, keeping up with my beautiful baby boy out and oh yeah, making it out of the house on occasion.... the blog has sadly lost its luster... I guess I shouldn't be like the NY Times and poll to see if people would be willing to pay me to read my blog? ;) HA!

So as we gear up to head back to the US for a late summer recess, I will try to get everyone up to speed on our latest happenings...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


So I live in fear of R2D2...well at least that is what I am calling the baby monitor. I feel at this point the monitor takes on a life of its own. I used to like it when it seemed to give me advanced warning of when the kid is going to wake up. I swear I have woken up to a click and a string of lights and ....silence...only to hear the kid about 5-10 minutes later. Lately however, it seems R2 is pulling a fast one so I sit and stare at the monitor and hope and pray that it wasn't really a peep, beep or click. Or when it is a peep, per our sleep training instructions, we are to wait 5-10 minutes before going in....and boy R2 is really annoying during that time - like "pay attention to me." Please Obi-mama, you're my only hope." Now when I return to bed, uh, couch, I pray to R2 that he will stay silent for the rest of the evening. Sometimes he listens, sometimes well, I'm starting to think R2 and the kid are in cahoots with each other to see how long it will take for mama to go crazy with 2-3 hour sleep stretches. They don't realize - it is not that much longer.

With our apartment being as small as it is, I'm not really sure why R2D2 is still around, but even Luke couldn't part with him, so on we go with our dysfunctional relationship. I mean really, if I'm on the couch and the kid really needs me, I'm thinking I will hear him 20 feet away - concrete walls or not. The other evening we actually thought we heard the kid and turned off the TV and looked at R2 for the answer versus actually going down our creaky hallway to check on him and risk waking him up. Silly baby on the TV and we thought that our perfect child was up again! Thanks R2.

Can't blog when the kid is eating the power cord...

You know this right...otherwise I'll get another "stellar parenting" award, aka "grief" like when I was too busy videotaping my kid knocking his chin on his walker...or swinging him on a swing with no safety strap. Right now I'm letting him play with paper...yes paper that is probably dirty because otherwise he is ...you guessed...trying to put any type of electronic gadget into his mouth. It is fun to watch him crinkle it, then startle himself because the noise freaks him out...and hey, that "toy" was free! Did I tell you that he likes plastic bags too? Gasps... don't worry... I supervise when he puts them over his head (JUST KIDDING).

Friday, May 08, 2009

Keepin it real

Well gosh, the last time I had this long of a hiatus from my blog I was pregnant.... well, sorry to disappoint, I've just been extraordinarily busy with my day job, being hostess with the mostess, travel agent and and and.... well... that damn Facebook killed this blog writing star. I will have to start over with my fan base because I know no one is reading this now when they got the Chin Choppa video to watch over and over on Facebook. It is amazing watching that monster grow...I mean of course Facebook, not babyFinn. I admit with my limited attention span nowadays, a quick blurb and the ability to say "like it" keeps me in the loop with everyone much faster than coming up with Japanese potty humor to share.

I shouldn't say Facebook is all bad since it helps me stay "in touch" (that means sane) with my friends who remind me almost daily to take a chill pill and stop reading so many books on how to properly bring up your child. It is amazing what happens to your "confidence" level (aka freaky parent factor) when you and your husband are basically making it up as you go along. Thank goodness Will doesn't read those books!

So my second Mother's Day is around the corner and true to my blog a year ago - it will be a little crazier at the Claxton house this year - how much crazy will be is anyone's guess! Mommy is going to get her first Japanese haircut (peace be with me) and so more blog inspiration could be on its way.

Happy Mother's Day to every mom out there - I truly appreciate everyone's help, advice, controlled laughter and snickers.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Most disgusting baby product...

Before becoming a mom I thought the easy answer would be to say cleaning cloth poopy diapers...and why would anyone do that? Environmental concerns? How much hot water are you wasting cleaning...wait...no need to bring up that argument - lets just say up until a week or so ago I think I was still voting cloth diapers as #1...that is until I thought I'd give Finn a go at a frozen banana in a "baby safe feeder." Needless to say - he LOVES the thing - damn functional inventions. When I read up on what these thingys were called (this of course was a gift because I sure didn't know what it was), I find out it was invented by a dad whose kid almost died choking on a teething biscuit. Fair enough - but did this Dad have clean-up duty when this kid was finished with whatever was in the netting? I'm thinking not.

My other question is how many times can Finn drop it and I give it back to him with a quick water rinse? My answer - each day I let him drop it at least one additional time and/or he finishes it. But lets be honest -today I just gave it back to him without the water rinse - hey it only hit the chair beneath him and not the floor. People - before you give me grief - can we just keep in mind that statistic on how much dirt we eat in our lifetime without really trying?

I truly have mixed feelings about this...this....*feeder.* The bonus is the kid can be totally entertained for a good bit of time with this thing (minus me picking it when he drops it) but he makes a royal mess of his hands, face, legs, cloths not to mention what goo-y remnants of the no longer frozen banana that is left inside/squished through the netting. So when thinking about baby being self-entertained (and thus freeing up mommy to do something else) versus the time I spend cleaning him and this gadget up afterward, am I really saving time here? I'm thinking the delta T here is negitivo - not to mention the gag reflex that kicked in the first time I had to clean this thing since what is left is about the same consistancy as his poopy diapers. In the end, I will probably keep using it - I mean really - if I get disgusted by this I have no business raising a boy.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ancient Japanese Secret: Sake cures all!

Just to let everyone in on a little secret - "Baby" (aka Will) and "Sweetie" (aka Tracy) do argue - not that often, but now that I'm thinking about it it is usually in the morning after "Sweetie" has just woken up - hmmm pattern? And I always thought "Sweetie" was a morning person. So after arguing with Will yesterday morning about getting something translated incorrectly, we both realized how out of "control" we felt living in Japan (Sweetie especially feels this way) - we rely much more so on our Japanese friends and colleagues than we ever did in China. Case in point - Will's goal (only recently fulfilled) was to be able to make a copy at work without asking for help - me on the other hand was wanting to be able to take Finn to the doctor for his vaccinations by myself (and have the paperwork translated in advance). Of course, after announcing my upcoming independent adventure to the all Japanese hospital, our friend Toshi agreed but added "okay you can go by yourself, but I'll still follow you just in case." :) I smiled and of course was eternally grateful that he came with Finn and me to the hospital because - yeah of course there were more questions that I would have needed his help with anyway.

I really wasn't so into the independence thing as much as wanting to give Toshi and Kimiko a break from being everyone's Japanese Tour Guide! Seriously - after having all of our visitors come and go - Will, Finn and I are pooped and finally on the mend (Will and I have both been battling a flu bug the last few weeks). So it is amazing to me that Toshi and Kimiko still have all the energy they do. The other day I called Toshi the "Engergizer Bunny." But then had to explain to him that was a compliment (Oh our American commercial culture).

So on our train ride back from the hospital yesterday, Toshi was giving me more tour guide tips on where to go and how to get there. I finally said - Toshi - how do you and Kimiko do it - stay young with all this energy? Is it a lot of walking (exercise) and a lot of alcohol or what? He said "Oh no - no - only a 'reasonable' amount of alcohol is needed." I bite and say - okay - what is reasonable - give me your Ancient Japanese Secret already...

"Well - each evening - I decide what is reasonable. "


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Part II - The Lords of the Underworld Awaken

See Part I in the previous blog....

Since I didn't have the greatest night sleep last night (where did the sleeping 7 hours a night babyFinn go to?) - and since Will has morning duty with the kiddo, I was trying sleeping in a bit, I had cracked open my eye and saw it was 6:45am and thought - oh good, I can get at least another 30 minutes of snooze time in (yes 715am is sleeping in - shut up) .... then a few minutes later my bed starts shaking slightly and I think "I wish Will would be more careful about trying to 'sneak in' to get something from the room." I crack open my eye again...you know... enough to give him a dirty look (ok a sweet dirty look)... and realize he is not there and the bed is still shaking a bit. Arrhhh?? I'm awake now and wonder if what I'm thinking is what I'm feeling.

I get up and find Will and Finn in the kitchen. I asked - "did you feel that?" - and he said - "oh well, I thought you just hit the wall getting out of bed and that was why the spoons/pot on the wall swayed." What, have I become some kind of super hero that I can make the walls shake now? So I'm thinking maybe "bring it on" in the last blog was not the best choice of words if I was not really wanting to challenge the lords of the underworld, but I still didn't want to believe it.

As Will is playing with Finn and pretty much ignoring my anxiety, I'm desparately searching on the internet for confirmation that we did in fact have an earthquake around here. No sirens went off and the gas didn't turn off (which I was told would happen if there was a major earthquake - defined as 5.0 or above for the Japanese), so that was a little bit of a relief but have I become *this* crazy? That's a rhetorical, don't answer that.

I finally found the US geological website about earthquakes (which is now of course bookmarked) and it lists all the earthquakes around the world in the last 7 days at magnitude 2.5 or above - okay - the list is pretty impressive - I had no idea how many earthquakes happen every day. But I did find one in Japan at the exact time on the clock that I felt ours. It was about 80 miles away, but it was pretty shallow (only about 6 miles deep) which is probably why we felt it. So, after many weeks of dreaming about it - the anticipated, dreaded event happened and it wasn't that bad. But to the lords of the underworld - I get it - I got it - I'm satisfied with my earthquake experience so you all can go back to sleep (unlike me) for a long while - like until after January 2011.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Part I -Disaster training- The "Oh Sh*t training for foreigners"

I realize that in every part of the world there natural disasters. In the US I've lived where there are tornados and hurricanes and yes, I still go on with every day life. Moving to China - there were more man-made potential disasters to watch out for than natural, but I went on with daily life there as well - and lived to tell the tales... Therefore, I'm not sure why I was so overly panicky about moving to Japan because as I told my husband ..."but honey, they have earthquakes thar', and then the guilt trip... 'do you really want our son to live in 'the ring of fire'." In the first couple of weeks I swore I woke up a half dozen times thinking that every little jolt was a major earthquake - instead it was probably just my husband's gas or my snoring that woke me up. This fear is compounded by the fact that the language barrier is once again high and now that I have a kid, it was even more worrisome on how to figure out how to call the police or ambulance if we needed help.

To try to alleviate this fear and to possibly meet some foreigners, I agreed to attend a disaster training class for foreigners this past weekend that my "darling husband" found online. They supposedly had a simulator there so you could actually feel what a 7.0 earthquake felt like. Great, scare the shit out of the foreigners even more.

I arrived to find about 6 in my group - great - an Italian couple who have lived in Japan for 3 years and speak Japanese (why are they even here), a single older Brit gentleman and a 25 year old woman from the US (prospective friend?? yes yes) - that is a full time teacher about an hour outside of Osaka (no no). All in the group had been in Japan at least a year or two and spoke some level of Japanese. Grrr. Oh well, at least the Japanese instructor that lived in Southern California for a while was entertaining. The class was in fact in Japanese with videos and simulators and the Japanese dude just stood behind us and translated. It was actually very high tech with full scaled models of towns, etc...so at least I wasn't sitting in a classroom all afternoon. We moved over to the simulator and first experienced the 7.0 earthquake that they had in Kobe 12 years ago - yeah it rattled my teeth, but wasn't too bad - I can handle this I thought. Then they had to start with the fear tactics - which of course worked - "The next one you will feel it an 8.4 magnitude quake .... and then added .... researchers feel that an earthquake of at least 8 will hit this area in the next 30 years! SAY WHAT! Oh yeah and that there is a fault line that runs through the center of Osaka. Are you KIDDING me? Yeah yeah - I call bullshit on all of those people that told me : " Well if you had to live anywhere in an earthquake zone wouldn't you want to be in Japan?" I mean really - what kind of reasoning is this....

So as we go from simulation to simulation, the fear is growing rather than being alleviated - they want me to make a practice phone call to the emergency number. I'm thinking "Oh, great, if they have this type of simulation for foreigners, surely they have an English speaking line that I wasn't aware of." Yeah, that would be a no. They said (and the others confirmed) that there *may* be someone who can speak a little bit of English, but don't count on it. I am making mental notes at this point to learn the words/phrases for "ambulance, fire, help and get me the hell out of this country." Please note that I do realize that I am living in foreign country - that would be Japan - and no the entire world does not revolve around English only speaking Americans. We need to get over that people. Except me in my crisis drama mode of course.

After the class, do I feel prepared to handle an Earthquake? Well... I know how to use a fire extinguisher and about 10 different ways to use a plastic grocery bag as a first aid tool. Do I think hiding under the IKEA plywood dining table is really going to save Finn and I from falling debris? No, but at least I have a two-tone plastic blanket and a book full of Japanese phone numbers as my free parting gifts - oh yeah and a completion certificate telling me that I can now handle a disaster (well at least that is what I think it says in Japanese). Actually, I really do feel a little more prepared - being in Japan is probably one of the more safer countries to be in for any natural disaster - and gosh they are so darn nice and helpful that I trust they will help in anyway they can. Bring it on...