That Song Reminds Me of My Mom

There’s a lovely little song that comes on on our baby swing.

It hasn’t a name that I know of. To me, it’s just “My Favorite Baby Swing Song”. It’s childish, unsophisticated, and about 30 seconds long. It plays in that familiar, tinkling music box kind of a way.

Songs have a way of engraving certain memories on our hearts. Imprinting specific experiences in our minds. This little lullaby brings me back to when I was a first time mom. The first few blissful, yet frightening months. Ecstatic to have a beautiful new blessing in my life, yet constantly worried about what I may be doing wrong. That time period is all a bit fuzzy in my mind, mainly because I was half asleep for most of it.

I do, however, remember clearly something beautiful my mother did then. She packed her bags and stayed at our apartment for a few weeks to help me take care of the baby (as perhaps many other mothers and mothers in law out there do). She happily giggled and cooed with him. She readily woke up to comfort him, so that I could sleep. What made this time truly beautiful, though, is the way she so obviously trusted in my ability as a mother. The way she never second guessed anything I said about myself or my baby. The way she quietly, gracefully supported me.

My mother wasn’t much of a “talker”. She said what needed to be said, but she didn’t go on for very long. I spent a lot of time in silence with her. This is one thing that stands out in my mind about her. The way I felt comforted, encouraged, and loved throughout the silence. She made it clear throughout the years how much she adored me and how in her eyes, I could do no wrong. Certain things changed about her as she started showing more signs of Huntington’s Disease, but in the moments in which she had complete clarity and her true self could shine through, I felt the same unconditional love and support. I held on for dear life to the real her, as I know she was doing.

It wasn’t Huntington’s Disease that took her life in the end. It was an even crueler being: Cancer. That’s a story for another day.

Every time I hear this playful, gentle lullaby, bittersweet nostalgia envelops me. I’ll have to record it somewhere so that I can listen to it after our baby swing days are gone. My mother left a void in my heart and in my life, but I refuse to let it taint my faith, my hope and my happiness and excitement for the future. She may not be around physically anymore, but she lives on through me. Now, when I hold my second blessing, my little girl, I hold her not just for myself, but also for my mama.

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Memorable Moments from T’s 2nd Year

A few choice phrases, conversations and moments from my silly little monkey of a child’s past year of life (my best attempt at chronological order):

1. “Stop tinkling me!” > Stop tickling me

2. That time I lost my engagement ring and late mother’s ring after leaving them on the bathroom counter to wash my hands. T, when I asked him if he touched them, very clearly motioned to me that he put them in the toilet. “Did you flush it?” Nod. Me: My life is over!!! Thankfully, he was completely confused and didn’t know what I was asking or what he was saying. Found the rings 3 days later in my purse…

3. His favorite word being “hippopamulus” (Can you guess what that is?)

4. That time (ok, it was definitely not just one time) I sat on the bathroom floor (we don’t have a lot of rooms in our apartment) eating a late dinner cause I couldn’t find the time during normal hours #dontwakethenewbaby

5. Asking T if he wants something or not (as in “Are you going to drink this water or not?”) and when his answer is no, him saying “or not” #raisingbilingualkids

6. “What’s him happenings?” > What’s happening to him? (usually referring to a character in a book)

7. That week T demanded that we start a tradition of washing dishes together every night – side by side; soap and water flying. Cutest and most annoying part of each day

8. The way he said ‘fyu instead of “if you” i.e. “You can have a piece of my cracker ‘fyu want to!”

9. That time he decided his sleep companion for the night should be his new Avengers light up sneakers

10. “I’m poopenings!” > Does this one need a translation?

11. “My kochu (male private part in Korean) is happening!” > You can also probably guess

12. Him thinking five is the biggest number in the world. “It was five ouchie! Not one ouchie! FIVE ouchie!” (his answer when we were recalling a burn incident and I asked him if it was ouchie. Pretty traumatic day! I’ll explain more sometime. He’s completely healed, though; not to worry.)

13. Mom: “T, did you just pee here on this blanket?”
Son: “No”
-pause-
“T! It’s wet right here. Did. You. Pee. On. This. Blanket?”
“….yes.”
“When?”
“…..Tuesday?” *facepalm

14. That time I hid the goody bags I prepared for his sister’s birthday party in a very tricky place since he’s SO good at finding (and destroying/devouring) things he’s not supposed to…and then I couldn’t find them myself

15. “Mommy, your arm is so nice” This is while we’re cuddling and he’s soothing himself to sleep by rubbing my upper arms. He still does this….no clue…

16. And my very favorite: “Mommy, I love you soooo much!” This warms my heart like no other

Looking forward to all the funny, aggravating, and heartwarming experiences to come in year THREE!

Happy Birthday, Little (not so little) Prince

My son’s 3rd birthday just passed, so I see it only fitting to dedicate a post to my baby boy! 3 is such a funny age. They seem like both babies and big kids at the same time. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those transition ages in which he goes through a great many changes in a short period of time.

T is many things. He is studious (well, as studious as one can be at 3. And I’m not making this up! Ask his teachers!), compassionate, handsome (thank you, husband!), headstrong, and passionate. He’s got some huuuge feelings in that tiny little body of his. Big, powerful feelings that he sometimes doesn’t know what to do with. I see the same temper in him that I have (which I didn’t even KNOW I had until I had little people come into my life and test me in ways I never could have foreseen!) I try not to put him in a box just yet, though. He is, after all, only starting out in this game of life and has years and years to go in which he will change and grow. Who he is now is certainly not an immediate indicator of who he will be when he gets older. My job (both an honor and a terror at the same time) is to nurture, support and love him every joyful and every challenging step of the way.

We had a simple, but darling little party at his daycare center (you may recall the one I raved about) with a few classmates. I made his cake (ok, out of a box. But I decorated it from scratch!) and brought over fruits, various munchies, and a bunch of helium balloons. I tell you, this way was waaay cheaper than renting a room in one of those party places. I saved myself at least $350. One day, we’ll go that route (they do look fun!), but at this age, T is happy with simple. Plus, he got to have a second tiny party! So, that makes up for it, right? We gathered with extended family (granddaddy, a handful of aunts and uncles, a couple of cousins, and a family friend) in New York. One yummy chicken dinner, one delicious ice cream cake, and five Transformer presents later, he was a happy, happy child. Thank goodness, because when he’s happy, he’s a delight. When he’s not….well, we’ll save that for another blog post.

I wish my mother were here to see it all. Sometimes, I’m floating along, everything seems hunky dory, and then it hits me. That void. I’m reminded that someone very special is missing. Yes,  I believe she is still around, just in another form. And I believe she does, in fact, see much of what we do in our daily lives. It’s still hard adjusting to not having her physically, though. A smart woman reminded me that she lives on through me and through my kids. Perhaps that’s the most important thing to remember. As they say, keep calm and carry on!

Mommy Gets to Stay This Time!

T’s daycare center had a little open house/parent teacher night today. Not like they do in older grades with structured one on one time between each teacher and each parent, but a casual presentation among all of us as one group, along with the chance to view some of our child’s completed work. T showed me some beautiful scribbles of dinosaurs and our family in the form of disproportionate half stick figures, among other masterpieces. We took lots of pictures and ate lots of snacks at the teeny tiny tables I can’t get enough of.

I love T’s daycare center. The teachers there are so dedicated and put so much heart into what they do. It’s hard leaving your children in the hands of others, especially when they’re not your friends or family. The first time we put T in daycare, he cried every day for a month! …Which means I cried every day for a month! Longer than any of the other kids, they said. Granted he was only going 3 times a week, so it took longer to adjust. That month felt like an eternity. But finally, FINALLY, he started to look forward to it every morning, and he’d have the same little cheeky grin on from the moment I left until the moment I picked him up.

After I felt more settled with the new one, we agreed to have both kiddles (I’ve been using “kiddles” my whole life. I got it from my mom. I wonder if we are the only ones…) stay at home with me. That lasted about 8 months… and then I slowly began to lose my mind… T was constantly picking on Y (part out of boredom and part out of plain facetiousness). Y was helpless (still fairly immobile back then) and I was tearing my hair out trying to get one sink full of dishes done from about 7 in the morning to 7 at night. ~All I want for Christmas is a dish-wa-sher~

Thank God my husband (Yes! There is a man in this picture!) swooped in and suggested we mix in some daycare a few hours a day. HE SAVED ME. I am in a much better place emotionally, mentally, and physically since T started daycare again. And he adjusted way faster this time! I think he cried for 3 days. Now, he LOVES it. He didn’t want to leave today after the parent teacher night. One of the other parents empathized, saying, “Every night, we have to convince C that she can’t spend the night here.”

For our family, daycare is a win win! (Those of you out there that spend years with 2, 3, 4 kids 100% at home, I applaud you! It is so hard! You are amazing!) T loves the socialization and learns impressive new skills daily, and I get a little peace and quiet (Y’s middle name is Peaceandquiet, so no problems there). Time to collect my thoughts. Time to do dishes and laundry. Time to NAP (my favorite). Life is good.

A Little Bit More About Me

These are the days, Diane.

So, what exactly goes into my days? Well, since you asked, currently my days are rather simple, rather ordinary. Nothing all too remarkable happens around here.

I’m an elementary school teacher by profession, but I have been at home since the end of the 2014 school year, at which time I was pregnant with my daughter, Y. Born in October 2014, it’s as if she came straight out of Heaven. She is lighthearted, sweet, intelligent, and joyful. Her awkward little toddle and eager giggles melt me to pieces. She’s my perfect little angel girl. (Am I allowed to rave about my own kids?)

Then there’s my son. I wouldn’t call him my perfect little angel son. But I truly love him, I do! He’s just different. He is unique. T will be 3 this month. He is smart like his sister. He’s also strong-willed, stubborn, silly, and loving. We are working on being “gentle”. He loves his baby sister, but he is still figuring out how to show it properly. Little by little, he is improving! Slowly but surely, there is less pushing and grabbing, and more hugging and sharing. It is so lovely to watch. Also, what a relief! I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle. Things were getting intense. I was “losing it” a little too often.

Lastly, I have to mention bedtime. Ever since my son was 9 months old, he’s been sharing a bed with me. We tried sleep training, but that flew out the window when I started working again, and I couldn’t bear to hear my son wailing for me when I missed him so much as it was. Bedtime has become one of my favorite parts of the day. We read stories, wash up, say our prayers, and finally, (most importantly) snuggle. No matter what kind of mischief T has gotten into during the day, no matter how overexcited or “tantrum-y” he’s been, that final hour of the day is always (ok, I can’t say ALWAYS always, but about 95% of the time) calm and peaceful. He showers me with kisses and I Love Yous and rubs my arms (that’s his thing right now. Your guess is as good as mine.) until he falls asleep. It seems bedtime brings out the best in him.

What am I saying? Every step my daughter takes and every snuggle my son gives me is remarkable.