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「実は、はじめてえいとが声をあげて笑ったのは、主人があやしてくれた時なんです。私は息子を里帰りして出産し、生まれてからも数ヶ月実家にいました。主人は二週間に一度は実家の滋賀県まで通ってくれていました。生まれてすぐは、私も慣れない育児にとまどいながら、日々の家事に追われてしまっていたんでしょうね。もちろん、えいとと沢山ふれあってはいたのですが、主人が引き出したのを目の当たりにして、考えさせられるものがありました。」と二ノ宮さん。その傍らには取材中、えいとくんがぐずり始めても決してたじろぐことなくわが子を抱き上げ、その要求が "抱っこ"であることを悟る新井さん。曰く「ずっと同じ体勢でいるから、そろそろ飽きてきたタイミングかなって」。ママに促されることもなく、そうしたリアクションが自然にできるほどパパの育児が当たり前のこととして身に付いて日常と化しています。新たな命の誕生でにぎやかになった一家にとって、キュートなワンちゃんのミュウも大切なメンバー。「妻がもともと10年ほど前から飼っていチワワなんです。えいとはミュウという生き物に興味津々で遊びたがるのですが、反対にミュウはどちらかというと嫌がっている(笑)。おもちゃをがんがん叩きつけたりモノをよく落としたり、やんちゃでうるさいから当然ですよね。えいとが生まれる前の平穏なひとときが少なくなったので。以前にえいとが(加減がわからず)ミュウを力づくでぎゅーー!っとつかんでしまって、びっくりさせてしまったこともありましたしね」と新井さん。1年の交際期間を経て結婚したおふたり。夫婦、ペットに加え、親子という人間関係が加わって、ますます家族の絆を感じる大事な子育て期への突入です。

“As a matter of fact, it was when my husband soothed Eito that he laughed out loud. I had gone to my parent's home to give birth and stayed there for a few months. My husband had visited Shiga prefecture, where my parental home is, at least once every two weeks. Soon after the birth, I had been at a loss with baby care, something I had not been accustomed to, and had been finding it extremely hard to keep up with day-to-day housekeeping. To be sure, I spent plenty of time with Eito, but seeing what my husband had done was impressive,” says Mrs. Ninomiya. In addition, Eito began to fret during the interview, but Mr. Arai unhesitatingly took the baby into his arms, realizing that what the baby demanded was a cuddle. For a family, Mew, a cute doggie, is also an important member. “It is a Chihuahua that my wife has been keeping for about 10 years. Eito seems eager to play with Mew, but Mew, on the contrary, is rather reluctant (laughs). It is understandable, since he noisily flings his toys around and often drops things close by, and is mischievous and noisy. The other day, it happened more than once that Eito grabbed Mew with all his might, not knowing his strength, and frightened the dog,” says Mr. Arai. To a couple and a pet has been added a parent-child relationship, and they have entered an important period of childrearing that will make familial ties felt more and more.

長身のふたりが足並みを揃えてベビーカーを押している。その様子から、ゆったりとした時間が家族に流れていることが伝わってきます。家にほど近く、心地よい風が吹き抜ける緑道でのそぞろ歩き。こうした普段のお散歩コースはもちろん、帰省時の新幹線車内、BBQが開かれる知人宅、音楽フェスの会場etc. ふたりは今、えいとくんをどんどん外の世界に連れ出して彼の感性を育みながら、家族の時間をおおいに楽しんでいます。昨年の10月、長男の出産を控え、新井さんは予定日に照準を合わせ休暇を申請。二ノ宮さんの実家は滋賀県のため行ったり来たりを繰り返すのが難しい中、予定日の翌日というほぼオンタイムに赤ちゃんとのご対面、分娩室で出産に立ち会うことができました。企業やブランドなど、さまざまなPRを手掛け多忙を極める新井さんにとって、息子さんの誕生は一大転機に。「最近はできるだけ早く帰宅するようにしているんですよ。こういう業界だとどうしても繁忙期は仕事が過密になりますが、作業効率を上げるようにして家族の時間を作るように努力しているつもりです」。一方の二ノ宮さんも、ブランドのディレクションやモデル業など仕事のペースを大幅にスローダウン。家族中心のライフスタイルを垣間見ることができるインスタグラムの投稿に、数多くのフォロワーからも高い共感を得ている今日この頃。生後半年で9.5㎏、すくすくと成長している愛息について「親譲りで体が大きいからなのか、いろんな意味で安定していますね。おっぱいもしっかり飲むし、よく眠るし、体力がとてもあるんですよ。妊娠した時から、男の子が生まれるような気がしていたんです(笑)」と二ノ宮さん。夫に次ぐ二番目の男子登場に頼もしさを感じているご様子。友達から恋人へと発展、運命的に結ばれた新井さんと二ノ宮さんにとって、えいとくんとの出会いも必然だったようです。

A tall couple is walking in step, pushing a stroller, enjoying a relaxing time. They are having a stroll in a greenway close to their home, where a pleasant breeze is blowing. The couple is now greatly enjoying family time, more and more often taking out baby Eito with them to the outside world to nurture his senses. Such places include Shinkansen cars during their homecoming visits, the houses of acquaintances where barbecue parties are held, venues of music festivals, let alone such usual strolling paths. Last October, when the birth of his eldest son was imminent, Mr. Arai applied for a vacation, timing it to coincide with the expected birth date. Because Mrs. Ninomiya's parental home was in Shiga Prefecture, Mr. Arai had a hard time repeatedly traveling there and back. Still, he managed to attend the birth in the delivery room, which was almost on time—a day later than the expected date—and saw the baby. For Mr. Arai, who manages PR for various corporations and brands and has an extremely busy schedule, the birth of his sun has become a major turning point. “Recently, I have made it a point to come home as early as possible. With a business world like this, like it or not, in a busy period my work schedule becomes crowded. However, I believe I make every effort to raise the efficiency of my work in order to create family time.” For her part, Mrs. Ninomiya, too, has greatly reduced the pace of her work, which concerns brand directions, modeling, and the like. These days, she makes postings on Instagram, which give a glimpse of her family-centered lifestyle. These evoke highly empathetic responses from her numerous followers. Mrs. Ninomiya says about her beloved son, who is growing rapidly and weighs 9.5 kg (20.94 lbs.) at the age of 6 months: “Perhaps, because he takes after his father and has a big build, he has become stable in many senses. He nurses vigorously, sleeps well, and is very strong. From the time I became pregnant, I felt that it was going to be a boy (laughs).” She has a feeling of security at the arrival of a second male after her husband. It seems that for Mr. Arai and Mrs. Ninomiya, who progressed from being friends to lovers and are bound by destiny, the meeting with baby Eito was inevitable.

May. 2016


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