We are happy that Aiko did not get sick during this year and was able to spend it well and greet her first birthday. At the same time, we are grateful from our hearts for the warm congratulations sent us by so many people since her birth.
She is interested in so many things, curious about everything and very active. Among her activities each day, Aiko seems to especially like going for walks, having picture books read to her and taking baths. When we take a bath, she smiles happily as she holds onto the edge of the bathtub, touches the faucet with great interest and seems quite satisfied. (Of course, one of us supports her body from behind.) Afterward, we hold her and put her into the bathwater up to her shoulder and count from one up to ten or so as she warms up, and she seems very comfortable staying in the water quietly and is just so adorable. On days when we have time to bathe her, sometimes it is her father who bathes her, and other times it is her mother. Whenever she bathes together with one of us before going to bed, she seems reassured and afterward, falls right to sleep. As for childrearing, we cooperate in our respective times for feeding her baby food, taking her for walks, reading her picture books and playing with her, as well as bathing her. However, in our family, it seems to work better when her mother puts her to sleep. It would appear that she thinks of her father as a playing partner and even if her father tries to put her to sleep, her eyes grow wider with excitement. As such, we have given up on having her father put her to bed.
For us, the time that we spend with our child or caring for her amidst our official duties is a heartwarming and enjoyable time. We are indeed grateful that at times when we are unable to take care of our child due to our official duties, the officials are very cooperative and help out, and as a result, she is growing up well.
First of all, as parents our foremost wish is for Aiko to grow up to be a happy person. We want her grow up to be a person who loves others and has an open heart and is considerate of others. That is why we think that what is most important is for us, as parents, to give her all the love that she needs. Also, in all matters, we strive to take a long-range view and not focus only on each specific moment. For us as parents as well, what is important is not whether or not we are perfect in our childrearing at all times, but over the long term, whether or not we are able to calmly take a look at what we are doing.
We intend to teach her manners and various social rules in a way that brings out her potential in a good direction appropriate to her growth stages. For example, recently, she is learning little by little to smile and quietly give us things that she is holding when we say to her, "please give it to me," or "here you are." It seems that, at those times, if we say things like, "thank you," and praise her, she is happy and step by step learns to do these things naturally. Although she cannot speak in full words, we feel so much joy at times when she seems to understand what we are saying, as I have just described. Also, conversely, nowadays we are making efforts, at times when one of us hands her a toy or when somebody else does something for her, to say, "Thank you, Dad (Mom)" or "Thank you, so-and-so," so that she will be able to naturally have a feeling of "thanks." (Of course, in the future at times we will have to properly scold her) but as she goes through stages of development, we hope to guide her so she can cultivate a grateful heart, a loving heart and a heart with respect for people and life.
Furthermore, as a member of the Imperial Family, we hope for her to grow up with a broad understanding of the world. One example, for the time being, was when we took her for a walk in Jingu Gaien this autumn because we thought it would be a good opportunity for her to feel an atmosphere of the external world.
We are grateful from our hearts for the warmth with which Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress and other members of the Imperial Family have looked over Aiko as she has grown this year. We hope for the guidance of various people and to learn many things from them as we raise Aiko. That is all the more reason that we mourned with extreme sadness the recent sudden passing of His Imperial Highness Prince Takamado, who was delighted from his heart at the birth and growth of Aiko.