I Committed a Horrendous Crime This Morning

All I wanted was to go about my morning simply and peacefully- my head low, keep to myself, keep out of trouble. Go through our regular routine – feed the kids breakfast, change clothes, brush teeth, off to school. But noOooOooOo, we would have none of that nonsense. Nope, absolutely not. There was no way. It was just too much to ask.

T (now 5) decided he wanted to get a haircut (who do they think they are with their little tiny brains having their own little tiny desires…well, actually in T’s case, whatever desires he has, he makes them HUGE. He makes them KNOWN. He has steadily honed his skill of pestering and prodding and aggravating and infuriating until he breaks you…). One of my husband’s good friends (we call him Samchon – “uncle” in Korean) showed up to church on Sunday with a brand spankin new haircut, and T decided he wanted one just like it. I specifically explained to T that it was still too early (too cold; not yet “Spring” enough on this snow covered 23rd day of March…God, I hate the weather) to have the sides of his hair shaved and the top of it long and flowing off to the side. I asked him to wait. No, he wanted it now. I said let’s do it after school. He said I said that yesterday. I said I don’t have any experience cutting hair; let’s go to the shop later today. He said he wanted me to cut it. Sigh. This is the boy I exploded at a few days ago for being obnoxious and defiant telling me he hated my lunch and wasn’t going to eat it (I made him eat it). I still feel bad. I mean there are ways to get your message across and elicit change without losing your cool (So I hear. Any and all instructions welcome below!). So I gazed at his adorable little face (my face) and his skinny little body (when did he get so tall and skinny?) and I nodded ok. He gave me his word that he would accept a compromise of just a trim today and a more thorough, shorter cut in 2 or 3 weeks. We had 30 minutes until we had to be out of the house. We shook on it. My fate was sealed.

So, listen guys. I personally think I did a hell of a job. My first time cutting a boy’s hair! It looks half decent, no? It did take me the full 30 minutes – maybe a bit more. We were closing in on being late for school and the kids hadn’t eaten breakfast. Aiyaiyai what are you thinking, Diane, just WHAT are you thinking, really? I guess I felt like a challenge?! A little race against the clock to really get the blood pumping and start the morning off right?! *Eyeroll. I was almost done. A little snip here, buzz there, comb this bit out, even that bit out. Aaaaand….. THERE! Done! Good enough. T had been smiling the entire time – very fidgety, but he made it through. He was excited.

He walked to the mirror. Of course this wouldn’t be Parenthood if he smiled and said, “Thanks, Mom, great job!” He LOATHED it. He screamed at the top of his lungs and proceeded to wail and wail as if I had just burned all of his toys.

I should have known.

I should have known.

The rest of the morning is a blur of tears and screams and threats and bribes and questioning my choice to become a parent. I thought 5 year olds were past tantrums. To be fair, though, I realize full grown adults can also have the same reaction about a haircut gone wrong. I’m sure he’s not the first person, young or old, to swear they would never leave the house until their hair grew out.

We did finally get to school. Only 90 minutes late. Ironically, I have to go to T’s school at 1:30 to watch him receive his Student of the Month certificate.

My daughter literally just looked at the hair scissors and said to me, “I want to do a haircut Umma!” Lord help me.



Oh, heeeeeeey guys…….

Whatdya know – Thursday came and went and then Friday came and went and…I completely forgot to write!

To those of you who missed meals and stayed up all night worrying about why I didn’t write and what on earth had become of me, my sincerest apologies! Rest assured; everything is a-ok. Just got a little busy/absent-minded.

Life is going well. We are chugging right along. T is playing nice with his friends at school and also doing much better with his sister at home. Their friendship is blossoming as she becomes more and more active and (attempts to be) verbal. She is googoogagaing and oobeedoobeeing her heart out and it is just the cutest thing; I go right along with her and act as if I know just exactly what she is talking about. You know the lines: “Oh, is that so?”, “Ya don’t say?”, “How fascinating!”

Just today, the offspring were having the time of their lives playing and laughing in the tub. Amazing what a bunch of running water and bubbles can do. It gives me the warm fuzzies to see them getting along. After their bath, as we were getting ready for bed, Brother toted Sister around here and there and they exchanged 8 or 10 hugs.

Ooh! I should mention we had a nice little lunch out with Shin Haraboji (Paternal Grandfather in Korean) and Appa (Father) today. Port of Call buffet in Hackensack. Delicious. If you live in NJ and haven’t checked it out, put it on your list! And no, they have not paid me to tell you that.

Apologies again for being scatterbrained. Will be back on schedule next week! A fabulous weekend to you! Ta ta!

Interesting Turn of Events

So, remember how T had a scratching incident at daycare and I went in to have a little “Let’s talk about how we can work together to teach T to keep his hands to himself” meeting? The meeting went well and we decided to start using a chart to reinforce his good behavior. When he refrained from hitting, pushing, etc all day, he got a sticker which he then cashed in for a prize from me (sometimes it was a toy car and sometimes it was a trip to the ice cream shop). I have since been a lot more actively involved and consistent in guiding the interaction between him and his sister at home (The dishes can wait! I’m molding my son into a decent human being!). I’ve also borrowed this great book recommended to me by a friend called Hands are Not For Hitting and I enjoy reading this to him because it clearly, simply explains proper ways to use our hands versus improper ways to use our hands (E.g. Hands are not for hitting. Hands are for eating and drinking.). I’ve developed a mantra that I repeat to him several times a day: “Hands are for helping, not hurting.” I read somewhere (If I had a nickel for every time I said that…) that it’s good to emphasize the positive action whenever possible, so I’m always looking for a way to remind him what he SHOULD do instead of just what he should NOT do.

ANYWAY. Enough back story. At some point during the meeting, the topic of my profession (kindergarten teacher) came up and they stopped dead in their tracks and completely switched gears to tell me about their search for a part time Reading (in English) teacher. I was surprised, yet flattered, and I thanked them for the info and told them I’d give it a think. Talked to my husband and in laws, thought about transportation, babysitting, time requirement, and all the other little obligations, and eventually decided that it wasn’t the right time (or fit. Or both.). Little did I know, this place does not like taking no for an answer!

Several weeks, modified propositions (from both of the directors) and inquiries later, I have myself a job (albeit a teeny tiny one)! I don’t know why they wanted me on their staff so badly, but they pretty much bent over backwards to make it possible for me to work there. Must be my infectious personality and heart stopping good looks. I’ve decided there must be a reason the issue just kept resurfacing and never going away. Maybe it was the universe telling me this is what I’m meant to do right now. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Silver Lining

If you didn’t read my last post, T had some drama at daycare involving scratching another child. I felt all kinds of guilty and vowed to get on this whole discipline thing.

T’s teacher, the daycare director, and myself had a little meeting on Monday about how we can help T to learn the valuable lesson of using his hands for helping, not hurting. They were completely understanding and didn’t express any judgment or blame toward me or my son. We had a productive meeting and agreed on a prize system in which for every day T plays gently and properly, he gets a sticker on a chart from his teacher. He then shows me the sticker and gets to pick a prize from our special box. This has been working really well for us so far!

I came to the realization that this all may have happened for a reason. Perhaps I needed a wake up call. Since T turned 3, I had been slowly reading up on discipline and trying different strategies, but it was rather passive and only when I could “find the time” (Is that a popular excuse or what?). I’ll be honest – T has been rough with his sister from the time she started moving around.  I pretty much told myself to give him time to grow out of it and only dealt with it in a concrete way when she actually got hurt. I figured his sister could toughen up in the process (Overly sensitive kids – and adults – have their own set of problems). I finally realized that what I was really doing was avoiding and delaying this very important responsibility called disciplining! This is my first time doing this, so I’m allowed a little forgiveness, right?

I talked to several friends over the past few days and all were very helpful (What would we do without friends?). One friend who happens to have dealt with similar circumstances with her own son helped me to voice what I have been feeling about my 3 year old all along. Being physical is part of his personality and there is nothing wrong with that. We should never make our sons feel that there is something wrong with who they innately are. What we do have to do is teach them how to use their physicality in ways that will not hurt others. We have to teach them proper ways to deal with emotions and how to find positive outlets for all the energy they have.

I’ll end with a little moment I jotted down a few weeks ago and never ended up using in a post. It’s about T and I figure it’s a sweet enough moment to document:

Yesterday, I got mad at my 3 year old as we were winding down in his room, playing for a little while before I had to get my 1 year old down. I raised my voice at him, “I’m so angry at you because you ___________!” I’m not trying to hide what it was actually about. I honestly just don’t remember. (This was yesterday! Seriously, mama, where’s your brain at?) The point is, after I loudly expressed my exasperation, as if he didn’t even understand what he had done wrong, he gave me an innocent, blank stare. His first instinct in trying to restore my happiness and win back my love was to simply give me a hug. He then looked around for a moment and came back asking, “Do you want a sticker?”, holding out his prized Avengers collection. The moment he put his little arms around me, my heart stopped. My mind went blank. My anger melted away. I could literally feel it disappear.

Children will get on our nerves. They will make mistakes. They will test us, confuse us, aggravate us, and sometimes even scare us. But overall, they are innocent little beings looking for love.

My boy is just a boy! A growing, learning, figuring himself out, making mistakes boy with a heart of gold.

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”
“T! It’s wet right here. Did. You. Pee. On. This. Blanket?”
“…..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.