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How to Train Your (Little) Dragon

30 Apr

a couple of weeks ago, my family took a trip to ikea.  if you are a parent of young kids, ikea is probably one of your favourite places to bring your kids.  they not only have babysitting service (for older kids), but their washrooms even come with diapers and kiddy toilets for babies and kids.

my daughter has been throwing tantrums lately and her whining and crying has gotten so much worse than before, that her dad and I are afraid to take her outside.  whenever we go out, she often “acts out” in public and in all honestly, it’s darn embarrassing!

so, at ikea… she decided to go on this full-on tantrum. first, she lied down on the floor… and she waved her legs and arms as if she was making a snow angel.  then, she flipped over and started to ‘swim’ on the ground, as if she was in a swimming pool.  all this, while screaming and crying at the top of her lungs.

everyone’s watching.  i’m tempted to pick her up and soothe her to escape from the embarrassment.  however, i don’t want to encourage this kind of behaviour and i know that picking her up and soothing her is exactly what she’s asking for.  so, i didn’t give in.  i kept calm and asked her to stop and of course, she didn’t even hear me.  i told her very firmly to get up.  after repeating myself for awhile, i told her i’m going home and she can follow me if she wants to.  then, i turned and walked away.  meanwhile, everyone’s eyes were on us.  i prayed that she would follow me and if she does, i was willing to hug her and comfort her.

less than a minute later, i turned around and i saw her get up.  she stopped crying.  she looked at me and smirked.  then, she ran the other away.

OH MY….. i was beyond mad.  how can this be?  she’s only 16 months, not even 2 years old and she is already acting like this??  what is wrong with her??

i eventually ran after her and held her tightly, which caused her to begin her cries again. she tried her hardest to squirm out of my arms.  eventually, ikea ice cream was able to calm her down.

yes, one thing after another.

toddlers from 13 months to 18 months are very cute and they will make you laugh and smile.  i have often heard many parents say, “awww, that’s a good age!”  it is, in a way that they are starting to experiment with new things and imitate you.  they learn so much and they will show off what they’ve learned and it will melt your heart.  however, because they are getting smarter… they will test you.  they will push you to your limits, little by little, until you throw in the towel.  after a ‘battle’ with your child, you are mentally, emotionally and often times physically exhausted!

oftentimes, i think… are all kids around this age this difficult?  or is it just my child?  am i doing things wrong?  if i become a strict and disciplining mom, would this trouble go away?

one thing i would hate is to have a spoiled, undisciplined and bad-mannered child.  i do not want to be a helicopter mom or a ‘yes’ mom, who spoils their kid.

after much thought and much observation of my daughter, i have learned that she was ready to understand her limits and ready to be disciplined.  at first, i had a talk with my husband to make sure he was on board with me.  when i discipline, he was not to interfere or to comfort her saying daddy will make it all better.  i got his agreement.

the next day, later at night, her tantrums began again.  nothing i did was satisfying to her and she wanted more and more.  she wanted to watch tv, eat while lying down and even then, she wanted me to turn on a different video every minute.  anything other than that, she ran around crying and screaming.  so for the first time, i turned off the tv, took away her food and told her until she behaves, she wasn’t going to get anything.  she understood everything i had said and so her screaming got louder and she cried so hard that her cries were silent.  she was very angry and she tried and tried to get her way.  i didn’t give in, nor did her dad.  then, she wanted to be held.  i walked away a couple of times saying that she needed to calm down first.  after a while, i held her and explained once again, why it’s not good to behave the way she did.  shortly after, she was calm.

omg.  after that incident, she became an angel.  she behaved so well the rest of the night and she even went to bed without a fuss and fell asleep within 10 minutes.  no resistance, no crying.  she tossed and turned, trying to fall asleep and she fell asleep all by herself.

the next day, she listened to us much more than she ever has.  for the first time, when you told her no, she actually listened.  then, monday began and once grandma spent a day with her… back to square one.  i had to be firm with her once again on monday night and tried to set boundaries again.  she must have been so confused, but i was hoping that she would learn some consistency, at least with me.

anyways, after this crazy experience, i thought… perhaps, it’s time to send her to a good daycare or nursery school.  maybe being with grandma isn’t helping her to learn limitations, manners and independence.  i felt that she’s now entering to an age, where she needs to learn acceptable social behaviours and independence.  perhaps, i’ll need some professional help – someone who is educated in teaching her these things, in the most constructive way.

thus, started my search for a good nursery school, once again.  we found a great private school.  yes, it’s gonna cost us an arm and a leg, but i feel like it’s going to be worth every penny.  from their curriculum, the teachers, the facilities, their teaching beliefs to organic lunches and snacks… it would be worth it.

i guess our next step is… can we afford it (for years to come, since the price will only increase as she moves up to higher grades)?  is she ready to go and spend a whole day without grandma or mom?  if she goes to this school, she has to wean her pacifier; can she do this?

much discussion and decision making will take place in the next few weeks.  on top of packing and getting ready for a new house… the work never ends!

Dragon Snow Angel

He KNOWS Me.

8 Feb

these days, i tend to gaze at my daughter much more often and longer than usual. i don’t just look at her, like i look at a traffic light before crossing the road. i ‘look’ at her and try my hardest to remember that moment and in that moment, something magical happens – it feels like that time stops for a couple of seconds and everything moves in slow motion. just like in the movies, my daughter remains in focus and everything else becomes blurred. i’ve never experienced it before, until now. this moment passes by so fast, it almost feels like water slipping through my fingers. i want to capture it, if i can.

tonight, while putting miss ej to sleep, it happened again. time stopped and i took a good look at her. her tiny body, arms, legs and fingers… as i looked at her, i said to my myself, this is my ej. i ‘know’ that this is my little girl.

i know her. i’ve known her from the time she was in my womb. her movements, her hiccups and her stretches, i recognized them from the time when she was in my belly. after she was born, i learned to read her and understand her. now, i can tell what she wants from her expressions and her grunts.

and this wonderful experience reminded me how god ‘knows’ me, even more than how i know my daughter.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

i know that this is in the context of god speaking to jeremiah, but i want to believe that it applies to me too. i know that he formed me and made me the person i am and knowing this, i can’t be more secure.

i hope that one day, ej recognizes that she is also made, formed and ‘known’ by god and i wish i could exemplify the extent of god’s love and care to her.

“This is what the LORD says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.” (Isaiah 44:2)

there is no reason to be afraid. he’s got my back.

My Favourite Things…

20 Jan

today, i had a chance to look at some of the pictures that i took in the past month or so.  looking back at these pictures, it reminded of me some of my favourite moments with my family.

here are some;

i love seeing father and daughter play together.  it’s such a special relationship and it warms my heart to see them together.  seeing them play, laugh and have fun is one of my favourite things.

            

like many women out there, i’m also a fan of shoes.  i adore shoes.  for myself and also for my daughter.  i have a whole collection of shoes for my daughter and for most of them, she only wore them once or twice but they are too cute.  my husband thinks i buy way too many shoes for our daughter, but i really can’t resist…  they are one of my favourites!

          

spending quality time with my husband, eating yummy food with some bubbly is one of my favourites.  ok, we don’t eat or drink like this all the time.  this was from our new year’s eve celebration.

last, but not least… my daughter and her long, curly eye lashes.  she has the longest and curled-up lashes i’ve ever seen and i don’t know where she got them from!  anyways, it’s definitely one of my favourite things…

speaking of favourites, my daughter also has some of her own favourites.

                     

before she turned one, she just loved going through tunnels.  not so much anymore.  she also likes this mini trampoline and she still does.  she’s very active and anything that gets her going… are her favourite things (thus far).

                      

my daughter is obsessed with letters and books.  every so often, she gets up in the middle of the night and requests that i read her some books.  she will grab a book and bring it to me and start flipping pages in the dark, at 3 a.m.  i think she has a bit of an obsessive personality… when she likes something, that’s all she does, all day long.  the second picture shows one of her favourite toys.  she becomes obsessed with closing these pop up animals.  she has to make sure that everything is closed, otherwise, she can’t move on.  it’s kinda cute now, but probably not so much, if she continues to be like this.

             

i guess this is both my daughter’s and my favourite thing – hanging out at indigo bookstore.  miss ej has lots of fun playing with different toys and i get to have my starbucks and shop around.  win-win.

ok, i almost forgot to put my hubby’s favourites.  he’s a simple guy, so he doesn’t have too many favourites, but here are a few;                

yes, it is in order… first, ufc.  second, nba.  third, macbook air (and steve jobs).  miss ej must get her obsessiveness from her dad, because my husband can spend many hours watching or utilizing these things.  these are his all time favourites.

however, i have to admit.  i know that these two people in the below picture trump everything.  as much as my husband loves jesus, he loves us just as much.  my daughter and i are so thankful and very lucky to have him as husband and dad.

btw… an update (from my past post).

so i ended up applying to a position at a highly reputable company.  i got a call the next morning.  i had a phone interview on the same day, in the afternoon.  an in person interview occurred the day after, at 8:30 a.m.  i had three sets of gruelling interviews with 6 different people, in a span of 2 hours.  i ended up getting an offer at the end of my interview.  this was the fastest offer i’ve ever received.  i still have not made my decision, more so because this happened unexpectedly and way too fast.  i have not had much time to think or pray about it.  i usually take a long time (months) to make a decision, especially an important one such as this…  at this point, i’m not leaning to any decision and i can definitely go either way.  i’ll be praying and seeking god’s direction over the weekend and plan to talk it over with the family.  currently, i’m excited for a new opportunity and to be working again, yet, feel guilty to leave my daughter behind.  if i do go back to work, my comfort is that my mom will be taking care of my daughter and she doesn’t have to be left at a daycare all day long.  however, i do want to stay with her and watch her grow.  i think by early next week, i will have some answers.  to be continued…

Miss EJ’s Dol (1st Birthday Party) Pictures

4 Jan

here are some pictures (of the decorations) from miss ej’s first birthday party.

no, the decorations were not done by me.  we hired a party stylist, who is very talented and well-knowledged in ‘dol’ (korean traditional 1st birthday).

i’m so glad that we hired the party stylist.  she made this day much easier and extra special!

head table

another shot of the head table

head table banner & cake

birthday cake (sugar cake & cupcakes)

absolutely loved the cake – the cupcakes were not only pretty but also tasty!

photo table

another shot of the photo table

doljabi event:  doljabi is an event that occurs on a child’s first birthday.  the child is placed in front of a table with a display of symbolic items like pens, books, rice, money, and so forth. Korean parents believe that their child’s fate will be dictated by whatever he or she picks up at the doljabi. A child who grabs a pen, for example, will become a scholar, while a child who grabs a bundle of string will have a long life. This event is usually eagerly watched by the crowd.

miss ej chose the microphone, which means that she will become a singer or announcer or mc or any type of career that uses a microphone.  perhaps, she will become a great speaker, speaking to a crowd about god and his amazing grace! 🙂

these are not all the pictures from the party, but unfortunately, i don’t plan on posting pictures of miss ej or guests, so i don’t have many pictures that i can post.

oh! if anyone wants any info, such as the party stylist’s contact info or restaurant info, please click ‘contact me’ and send me a note.

The ‘Dreaded’ Sleep Training and How We Did It

29 Dec

merry christmas and happy new year!

unlike last year’s christmas, which we spent at mt. sinai hospital getting phototherapy treatment for miss ej, this year’s christmas was… just perfect!

we spent christmas day at my in-laws with 10+ relatives, eating loads of food and drinking merrily. miss ej usually finds difficulty adjusting to a new environment/house. the last time we went to my in-laws, miss ej cried for hours, non-stop. surprisingly, this time around, she was an angel. she spent hours chasing after their 2 cats, which are the apples of my father-in-law’s eyes. she even tried to use one of the cats as a pillow, putting her head down on the cat’s prone body. she must have ran/walked around the house at least 20 times.

i’m allergic to cats and i was worried that miss ej would be too, but she wasn’t and she loved them! i’m worried that when she grows up, she will ask to own a cat one day. i was also worried for her sleep because she usually needs our bed in order to fall asleep and she has a hard time falling asleep when there are a lot of people or noise. so, i didn’t even bother to try putting her to sleep, even when she showed signs of fatigue. however, her dad, without even consulting me, took miss ej to her grandfather’s bed and tried to put her to sleep. eventually, i lied down with them, not believing that she would actually fall asleep. however, to my surprise, 15 minutes later, miss ej was deep asleep. it was unbelievable! 🙂

we came home really late and although miss ej awoke from her deep sleep, she didn’t shed a single tear, said goodbye to her grandparents and then sat in her carseat quietly, all the way home. i ended up falling asleep because she was so quiet.

speaking of sleep, a couple of weeks ago, my husband and i decided to ‘try’ sleep training miss ej. as i have mentioned in a previous post, miss ej has been co-sleeping with us ever since she was 4-5 months old. now that she’s a year old, we knew sleep training her wouldn’t be so easy, so we decided to try it out during my husband’s 1 week vacation, which is this week. we were dreading the day. ideally, we wanted to start from monday, but things got busy that we forgot. then, wednesday came along and i felt the pressure… i felt like it was going to be now or never. when i discussed my concerns to mr. jq, he felt the same way and all of a sudden, we were extremely fearful and anxious. ok, we were scared to our wit’s end!

we must have discussed a million pros and cons. the good outweighing the bad. the bad outweighing the good. we thought about every possible scenario and examples of other kids. i purposely didn’t go to google search because i knew it will only make me more confused. finally, the decision was made. thank god for my husband who possesses the ability to make a decision (more often good than bad). so we decided to start sleep training and we chose the most debatable ‘cry it out’ (CIO) method, which is also known for its cruelty.

for those who do not know CIO, this is the method we used;

1. bed time routine – bath, read a book, pray together, hug, kiss and say good night and we love you.

2. put the baby in the crib and leave the room. the baby will cry – miss ej cried hard (as hard as she could).

3. you let your baby cry (it out) for about 5 minutes – miss ej wailed.

4. after 5 minutes, go to your baby, say comforting words (without making it sound sad or guilty) and without picking up the baby – miss ej wanted to be picked up and she cried so much that she was shaking a bit. it was incredibly hard to witness and i also cried a bit. i know i wasn’t supposed to show any sadness or guilt, but i ended up putting my face against her crib so that she can touch my face with her fingers. she poked and stroked my face, begging me to hold her. i told her i was sorry and i love her but it’s her bed time and she needs to go to sleep. i repeated those words many times before leaving the room. it was the toughest thing i ever had to do.

5. leave after a couple of minutes. the baby will continue to cry or cry harder because you left again – i stayed with her for about 3 minutes and then left the room. yes, she screamed and cried the whole time.

6. this time, go to your baby after 10 minutes and repeat stage 4 (for each subsequent time, add 10 mins and stay with your baby a little less each time) – i didn’t have nerve to go through it again, so this time, my husband went and did what he had to do. i don’t honestly know what he actually did and i didn’t want to know. mr. jq stayed with her for a minute or so. he left fairly quick and she continued to cry hard.

we repeated stage 6 once. we waited about 2 minutes and we noticed that miss ej’s cries became weaker and in 5 minutes or so it died down. i urged my husband to go in and check but he waited until 20 minutes were up and went to see miss ej. apparently, she was trembling a little and sniffling as she was falling asleep. all in all, she was asleep.

sleep training day 1 was successful and it surpassed my expectations by far. i was thinking it would take hours and i would experience continual wake up cries, but it only took less than 30 minutes and she got up only twice, once at 4 am and once around 7 am. at 4 am, she was standing up in her crib, so i held her for a couple of seconds and put her back in her crib. she didn’t cry or get up. she went to sleep right away. at 7 am, my husband simply looked at her as she was lying down and was still sleeping. at 8:30 am, miss ej got up, cried for us and we all got up and had breakfast.

my husband’s and my biggest fear with this method was the damage it might cause (if any) to a baby. would she feel abandoned? will she develop some kind of phobia? will she hate us? will she develop high blood pressure for crying so hard? would it affect her heart as her heart rate will increase for a long period of time?

maybe it did cause some of these things. we don’t know as we have no way of gauging it, but we decided to observe miss ej carefully the next day, which was today. she seemed fine and we didn’t notice any changes. it felt like it never happened so we were relieved.

today was sleep training day 2. i’m happy to say it went well, even better than yesterday.

today, we only got to stage 5, i mentioned above. she was asleep in 10 minutes. i never thought she would do so well. my husband said to me, “why didn’t we do this before?”

hopefully, we will only get to stage 1 tomorrow.

and i really hope and wish that she or we (me and my husband) will not regress (especially, when she gets sick or is teething).

i also hope that this post doesn’t come across as i’m bragging or i’ve experienced a complete success. i know that there are many more trials and difficulties ahead for us. every baby is different and every parent is different. there are different ways to sleep with or without your baby. i’m simply writing about what we (my husband and i) decided to do. we decided on co-sleeping until age 1, then tried the CIO method after the 1st birthday. personally, i’m happy with our decision and if i ever have a second baby, i would choose this option again.

i’m a proponent of co-sleeping. i still am, even more so now because i feel that co-sleeping allowed her to feel secure enough to sleep on her own, when the timing was right. i feel like for miss ej, age 1 was the correct time because i sensed that she understood a lot of things like cause and effect, the meaning of ‘no’ and good and bad (up to a certain point).

mind you, we tried a couple of times previously and it was not successful. perhaps, the timing wasn’t right or it was because we didn’t follow the ‘correct’ method (we never left the room, when we tried previously) or maybe it’s a combination of both. i don’t know.

what i know is that the decision to not co-sleep when the baby is no longer a baby, but a toddler, is up to the parent (and the child) and the timing depends on the child. in another words, there is no correct way and it’s really dependent on you and your child. i’ve said that i will choose this method again with my second child, but who knows, it might be out the window with my second.

My Current Parenting Struggles – Top 5

19 Dec

motherhood is a wonderful experience, but it is also an experience that brings numerous struggles. i often say, “one thing after another”. you think you’ve overcome one thing, then there is another one awaiting.

the first 3 months were the toughest time for me. my girl wanted to be held, nursed and wanted to sleep in a particular way. until this day, i am in awe of those moms who are able to nurse their baby in public (with a cover over their shoulder). it was very difficult to nurse my daughter away from home, because she didn’t like to be covered and wanted my full attention while nursing. for some reason, whenever i looked away, she immediately stopped suckling and cried.

now that she is one year old, i no longer have theses struggles that i mentioned above. however, i must have traded those struggles for others and here are my top 5;

1. weaning the pacifier

when my girl was born, i made up my mind that i would not let my baby use a pacifier. however, my girl loved to suckle. before introducing her to a pacifier, she wanted to be nursed continuously. she obviously had a need to suckle and it seemed like her suckling needs were much greater than most babies. so i gave in and it made my life much easier. however, she became very dependent on her pacifier and it was in her mouth all the time! when she was awake, asleep and even when she ate. she would take a spoonful of her food, then suck on her pacifier. this repeated throughout the entire meal. i tried to take it away but she screamed and cried until she got it back. she even has a name for it; it’s “mamamamama”. she says this word a lot more than umma (mom in korean) and abba (dad in korean). not only that, her pacifier is in most of her pictures. you can’t hardly see her lips in any of her pictures.

i researched “how to wean pacifier” and read many mom’s blogs talking about their success stories of weaning the pacifier. many used a “cold-turkey” method and surprisingly, it often led to successful results! well, not for me. i tried. i tried to get her to use it only during her naps and sleep time. i almost succeeded… until, she got sick and it went back to square one!

none of the kids in her class use pacifiers. often times, the kids in her class pop my girl’s pacifier out of her mouth. i think it’s because they find it very interesting that my girl has it in her mouth all the time. most kids are usually limited in their pacifier usage… their pacifiers are kept inside their crib to be used only for nap and sleep time. today, a mom glanced at my girl and said to her baby daughter, “you only use your pacifier in your crib, right?”.

2. co-sleeping vs sleep training

some of my friends know that i am a proponent of co-sleeping. i believe that co-sleep allows a child to feel safe and secure and in turn, enhances their self-esteem (i hope). my husband and i decided to co-sleep and placed her crib right beside our bed.

i’ve tried different sleep training methods early on, until my girl was about 5 months old. it worked well until she started to have teething pain during the night. around 6th month, she was up 4-5 times throughout the night and i ended up bringing her into our bed. she was much happier and slept better (even with the teething pain).

when we started to co-sleep, we were all happy. the baby slept well and i slept well.

then… my girl started to crawl and walk. she crawled up to our bed, crawled over us and ended up sleeping in our bed. this repeated and eventually, the 3 of us slept together in a cramped queen size bed.

one night, i got up from my sleep because i was certain that my nose was broken. i heard a crack and tears were rolling down uncontrollably. i woke up my husband and said, i think my nose is broken. thank god, it wasn’t, but all this happened because my girl dropped her head on top of my nose while sleeping. incidents like this happened quite a bit.

so, i began to think… perhaps, she is too old to co-sleep and it’s time to sleep train. OMG…

i heard that the older they are, the harder it is to sleep train. i don’t know where to start…

one day, we put up the side of her crib which was down, previously. so, she was trapped inside her crib for the first time. we were still in the same room, right beside her. she cried and cried, wanting to come out of her crib. we ignored but still kept our eyes on her. maybe 5 minutes passed. her cries got stronger, became more like wailing. she became more and more angry and then… she threw up.

we had to change her crib sheets, wash and change her. she ended up sleeping with us in our bed, once again… she won.

me and my husband have no idea how to resolve this issue. we do not even know where to start. it’s scary to even think about it.

i think our only choice at this point is to put her crib in her room and try the cry it out method. we are thinking about setting aside 4-5 days during the holidays to try it out. i wonder how many times she will throw up…

3. how to parent a spirited child

while i was pregnant, i’ve looked at many different parenting books. one of them was called how to raise your spirited child. the author of this book defined a spirited child as a child who is sensitive, intense, perceptive, persistent and energetic. miss ej is definitely all of these. she has always been very sensitive, even as a newborn. she liked or disliked certain houses, she didn’t like certain soap that i used and until today, she favours certain people. some people, she refuses to even look at, but to some people/strangers, she will not hesitate to go hug or play with them. when she’s angry, i can’t get mad at her because that will make her more angry and her anger becomes uncontrollable. when she’s upset, i need to talk to her gently and give her hugs and kisses. this is the only way she will compromise or even consider listening to me. don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t cry or get angry very often. it takes a lot to get her upset.

the scary part is that when i was growing up, i behaved somewhat similar to miss ej. i wasn’t as strong and energetic as her, but i was a sensitive, persistent child. thus, i understand her to a certain degree and i know it’s important to work with her rather than just correct her.

i would love to read more about raising this type of child or even to learn from a professional. i don’t believe that miss ej has an issue and i know that spirited children are smart, loving children who have a special place in this world, accomplishing great things. i just want to help her and direct her to become all that she can be.

4. sleeping habits

miss ej slept through the night from her 2nd month, sleeping 9-10 hours straight, every night. i stopped night feeding from her 2nd month and never had to be up to feed her in middle of the night. it was a little different when she started to teeth but all in all, she’s been a good sleeper. on average, she has slept 10-11 hours a night and took 2-3 hours of naps.

ever since she turned 1 year old and started to walk on her own… everything changed. she no longer wants to take naps and getting her to fall asleep has been soooooo painful! i said to my husband, this is worse than labour and giving birth (and i had 26 hours of labour!)

she fights her sleep so much that it takes 2-3 hours of fussing and crying before she actually falls asleep. we even tried letting her play longer, thinking that she might not be tired, but it got her more tired, over-stimulated and then more fussing and crying. before she falls asleep, she has to have 2-3 crying sessions, 1-2 laughing sessions and 6-7 walking around the house sessions.

we take her to our bed several times. she gets up and gets out of the bed an equal amount of times. then, when she’s ready to go to sleep, she crawls over us several times, rubs her face (more like drops her head on top of my face) several times and kicks my face a few times… then, ends with a final cry.

it is the most frustrating thing, ever!

5. extreme attachement

i usually spend a whole day with miss ej, everyday. it’s natural that she’s attached to me. however, she has a hard time playing by herself or being alone for even 5 minutes. even when she plays, she has to make sure that i’m attached to her (physically). she make sures that i’m holding her hand or my leg is touching her back or leg or any part of her body. she cries when i go to the kitchen or go to the bathroom. she’s always been this way and i thought she would eventually grow out of it, but it hasn’t happened yet. the worst is when she refuses to stay/play with anyone else but me, not even her dad. i often take a shower when my husband comes home so that he can watch miss ej. at times, my husband had to stay in the bathroom with miss ej while i take a shower because miss ej didn’t want to be away from me, not for a second.

my daughter has numerous characteristics that are amazing. she is a healthy, happy, good hearted and affectionate child who loves to play with other kids (sharing toys and taking turns). she possesses many good characteristics (although kids’ personalities change many times) and she is a joy to be around. so, i hope people don’t misunderstand that my struggles are not due to her inadequacy, but they are struggles that most parents go through around her age.

i am writing this post, not just to complain, but i write because the struggles are part of parenting and i want to be able to look back and remember everything – the good parts as well as the bad.

Happy 1st Birthday!

18 Dec

my beautiful miss ej is one year old today!

we had a wonderful birthday celebration party with 60+ people yesterday. miss ej was tired, but nonetheless, she had tons of fun. the worst part for her was getting changed into 4-5 different outfits, but she cried only once! mr jq and i, were extremely proud of her and we had a wonderful day. one of the best days of our lives.

thank you miss ej for being our wonderful, healthy, sweet and pretty daughter. you bring so much joy into our lives. your dad’s and my life have become much more richer, meaningful and happier because of you. we love you so much.

thank you jesus for creating such a wonderful little girl, giving us an opportunity to raise her and helping/guiding us along the way. i know that i would not have survived the past year without christ.

a big thank you to my wonderful friends, who have been there for me in the past year; giving me tips, encouragements and just being there for me to hear me vent. i don’t know how i could have survived without my wonderful community of friends!

oh… how can i forget… my mom, who’s been there for me from the day miss ej was born… forcing me to eat so much meeyukgook (seaweed soup), judging my milk supply… 🙂 but she has helped me so much in the past year and has been there for me every time i needed help.

last, but not least, thank you to my wonderful husband. we’ve had lots of ups and downs… lots of laughs and cries… wasn’t it all worth it? thank you for becoming a wonderful dad (you had to learn so much in the past year)!

the past year flew by… what an eventful year it has been!

i thought i would never say this, but yes, i would do it all over again. 🙂

The Count Down Begins Now!

1 Dec

my two exams in d-9.

my daughter’s first birthday party (with about 80 guests) in d-16.

i’m stressed, just thinking about it…

help me, god!!

oh… and miss ej had a blast in her gym class today.

ever since we got her a mini slide, she’s no longer obsessed with the slides in her gym class. however, she still likes the dangerously huge slide. it’s like she’s instinctively attracted to dangerous and trouble-causing objects and kids. she hardly pays attention to other kids but when she sees an older kid making trouble, she immediately follows and imitates him or her.

she tried crawling through a round tunnel today. however, her new favourite is mini-trampoline. she bounces (very slightly) and it’s the cutest thing!

she continues to dislike the parachute time. the babies in the class absolutely love this activity. one of the babies even hyperventilated, while laughing too hard! miss ej is the only one who frowns during this activity. sigh… she is so unique.

Bells and Whistles for Miss EJ & Yummy Food for Us!

28 Nov

i’m a bit busier on mondays because miss ej has a bells and whistles class (mini music class for infants).

if you are a mom… you would understand, what it is like to get ready and get your kid(s) ready in time for an appointment or class.  there could always be unexpected events which will cause delays; for instance, the kid could have an off-day and decide to nap 30 minutes prior to your appointment and we all know that waking up a kid in the middle of his/her nap is not fun.  especially when you have to dress them and put them in the carseat… or if the kid is really young… they could have a huge poop and you not only have to change their diaper, but change them into a new set of clothes too.  by the time you are done, you are already 15 minutes late.  or if the kid is a toddler or close to the toddler years, like miss ej, they could have an off day and they do all the wrong things; including running away from you, refusing to get dressed and throwing tantrums.  or… the feeding schedule could be off and the kid is hungry and trust me… feeding a baby or even a toddler is not easy.  it takes some time and you start to lose patience.

so, i’m mindful of these unexpected events as i plan ahead from 7 a.m.  i know when she eats and when she takes her nap.  i pray that she will stick to her schedule.  today, miss ej didn’t feel like taking her nap so, putting her to sleep was an ordeal…  she ended up crying and screaming for awhile, until she finally gave in and fell asleep.  miss ej needs to be up an hour prior to her class, so that she can get fed, dressed and go.  she didn’t want to get up from her nap, so she was pretty cranky when i woke her up.  interestingly and thankfully, i find these things somewhat amusing… almost like a game.  it’s physically straining at times, but i still enjoy this part and i know i’m going to miss it one day.

finally, we made it to her class on time! phew…

now, if she could only pay attention and play with other kids… that would be my dream come true… but she’s still a baby, so i know that my expectations are unrealistic.

in her class, miss ej likes to walk around the room while other kids sit still (mostly because they are not mobile yet) and play with their mums.  they shake their maracas, bells and giggle, which causes the mums to smile in return.  miss ej does none of these things… she just walks,walks and walks!  she throws things when they are given to her… like maracas and bells.  sometimes she takes the maracas or bells and licks them while she walks around the room, throughout the entire class time.  every class, the teachers/facilitators comment or ask me to sit miss ej down and help her participate.  oh, i wish i could get her to sit down and participate!

today, i tried to trick her into sitting and doing the activities, which resulted a loud…. very loud scream and cry… to be completely honest, i was embarrassed.  some mums looked at me with an annoyed/pitiful look, but i smiled back and thought to myself… ‘don’t worry, you’ll get to experience this too.’ 🙂

it would help if other kids did the same things too, but unfortunately, all the kids are much younger and none of them are mobile.  they are in their cute, immobile, 4-7 month stage…  i tried to enrol her into the higher class with older, mobile kids, but the class is completely full.

on a good note, she was interested in a tambourine and played with it for 30 seconds. she also liked the mini basketball.  out of all the balls (soccer, spiky, squeaky and cartoon balls), she only wanted to play with the basketball.  her dad, who is a basketball fanatic, would have been proud of her.

me and mr. jq are pretty exhausted by end of the day, so we like to indulge ourselves with some good (and healthy) food.

last night’s dinner – salmon sashimi, yaki mandu (dumplings), sushi rolls, fish ball soup

tonight’s dinner – spicy ‘soondae’ stir fry  (i think it’s time to take out my slr and take better pictures… this one looks just like the one from my past post!)

anyhow, it went down really well with some riesling wine… 🙂

i don’t have many readers now… but if anyone wants recipes to any of the food that i posted, please leave a comment.  i’ll be happy to post it.

ok, i should get some studying done… 2 weeks left until the final exams!!

Let me introduce…

25 Nov

my family.

my husband, mr. jq. is a gentle, loving and good hearted person that i adore (most of the time). he is also the funniest guy i know. one of his greatest characteristics is his sense of humour. he’s pretty silly and corny but i guarantee, he will make you laugh. he works in the i.t. industry, currently as an i.t. recruiter. he has a weird obsession to know about every thing/topic. he will surf and research on the web for hours, even days and acquire unnecessary information, news about anything. however, as a by product, he’s one of the first people to know about the best deals and sales in town.

we got hitched 3.5 years ago. we met at church while i was overseeing that particular church. we eventually hooked up and it all began when he invited me to his birthday dinner. the rest is history… 🙂

my first and only daughter, miss ej. she was born late 2010, the year of the tiger (specifically the white tiger, which comes once every 100 years). her personality matches her year; she is fierce, strong and persistent. she will not back down until she gets what she wants, but more than anything, she loves to laugh, play and is a very affectionate child. she not only has a big personality, but she is also physically very tall (and big, but not fat!). she is currently 11 months old, but fits into 18 month old clothes perfectly. the last time i checked, she is in the 95th percentile in height and 50th percentile in weight. because she is so big, her development has been fast as well. she babbled, crawled and walked earlier than most babies. and currently, she walks well, holding our hands, and all she wants to do is walk, walk, walk.

i will admit, parenting is one of the hardest things i’ve done and taking care of a baby wasn’t easy at first, but my husband and i matured and became more patient and loving through her. the joy and love she brings to us is greater than anything we’ve experienced. we would not trade it for anything else.

my child, before miss ej, was my dog, miss r. she is a 5 lb maltese, good in nature, but very needy. ever since our daughter was born, she hasn’t been getting much attention and became even more needy.

then me…

i was born in 1977 in south korea, unlike my husband who was born in 1979, in ontario, canada. i came to canada in 1988, not knowing a word of english, but i managed to learn. 🙂

i got married at age 31, never thinking i would actually ever get married. i wanted to have a child on my own with a sperm donor, which almost caused my mum a heart attack.

i had various careers, met amazing people along the way, but some, not so amazing.

a couple of years ago, i found that i have a condition called a portal vein aneurysm which i might blog about in the future. it’s a very rare condition and just like any aneurysm, the vein could ‘pop’ in any minute and could be fatal but i’m not the type to live in fear. this condition motivates me to live every day as though it is my last day on this earth.

i’m currently on maternity leave (one month left!), studying part-time to become a certified ESL teacher. taking care of a baby full time and studying part time has been somewhat difficult but i secretly enjoy being able to use my brain and engaging in intellectual matters, not just poopy diapers and drool.

i hope to finish my studies by the end of next summer and at around this time next year, i hope to be working part-time.

i love to cook, especially for miss ej. i’m keen about making nutritious meals, yet making them taste good, like really good! 🙂 i think through the canadian food guide and make sure that my dishes have the right amount of protein, carbs, veggies and fruits. i’m proud to say, miss ej has been doing well, especially with iron and protein intakes, which are essential for babies around her age. it’s so interesting how babies will eat or not eat the same kind of food, depending on how you prepare it. miss ej hates avocados, although i’ve given it to her since she was 5 months old. however, i mix it with her rice and some veggies and then, she loves it!

so, i’ll end my post with the dish that i prepared for dinner tonight. i was rushed and made it in 10 minutes, since miss ej was in a bad mood due to fatigue and teething…

it’s a korean dish called jeayookbokguem (with tofu). a dish that goes well with korean traditional rice wine called ‘so-ju’.

oh… miss ej had tuna&veggie congee (i didn’t have a chance to take a picture).