Recent conversations, FB status updates and varying degrees of parent status of fellow parent friends have me wondering about the great myth of “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
I don’t know what’s in the water, but I have what seems to be a lot girlfriends who are expecting in the upcoming months. All of them are looking for the light at the end of [their] tunnel. (*I apologize for the crude joke . . .) Some have spent a blissful 6, 7, 8, or 9 months of pregnancy; others have suffered swelling, nausea, and “tummy issues” for 4, 5, or 6 months; while others have had a combination of both the sweet and the sour.
Then there are my mother-in-arms who have infants and toddlers. The tantrums, sleepless nights, crying, screaming and disciplining. And those are just the parents… Their light at the end of the tunnel comes down to wanting a semi-regular schedule, a little person they can reason with without the tears (mom's or child's) and maybe getting into the shower before 2:30 in the afternoon or eating a hot meal that does not include partially chewed-on rice and ghim rolls.
There are my parent pals who have school-aged children. The light at the end of their tunnel is blocked by soccer/basketball/t-ball/baseball practice schedules, music lessons, language school, Sunday school/CCD, gymnastics, endless birthday parties/slumber parties and ensuring their well-roundedness as responsible, compassionate members of a global community on top of burgeoning school assignments and other academic pressures.
And of course there are the tween/teens. Changing bodies, changing voices . . . changing smells(?!). Hormones, tantrums, sleepless nights, crying, screaming and disciplining (it’s infants and toddlers re-do but super-sized!). New fears about sex[ting], drugs and rock and roll in the car while driving… Where has the child who used to fit in your lap gone? And who replaced him/her with this giant, taller-than-mom, locust eating his/her way through this week’s groceries in 3 day’s time? The light at the end of the tunnel is a well-rounded child who will take their place in our world and a fridge that’s no longer raided by marauding teenage school-band gangs . . .
But alas, then it’s onto young adulthood. You’d think watching your son/daughter get through college, medical an/or law school (Tiger Mom moment) and develop their place in our world would be the light at the end of the tunnel . . . Instead, it’s the time to see your offspring become the adult you always knew was in there, meet and fall in love with someone who makes them happy . . . and then observe as you watch them journey through their search for the light at the end of their tunnels.
--Angie in Texas knows not all tunnels are dark . . .
Did you know that Hepatitis B is 100 times more prevalent in Asians and ten times more common than HIV? The virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth. If you are preggers, make sure you get tested to see if you are infected. The USPSTF recommends all pregnant women get screened for Hep B. All children and adults under age 25 should get the Hep B Vaccine (3 shots).
The nonprofit (http://hepbmoms.org) educates mothers about this leading cause of liver cancer. During the month of May, they are encouraging moms to visit to their website and participate in a “Hep B Stops with Me” contest to win prizes from the Tea children’s clothing line.
Many thanks to Chrissy Cheung for sending us this info!
Ever since I had my baby five months ago, my head's been one big muddle. The adorable little guy fills me in a way I didn't know was possible and brings out a degree of love and devotion I didn't know I was capable of having. At the same time, he arrived with a jolt that seemed to knock off balance various delicate pieces of my life that I thought I had put into place over the years.
Since his arrival, I've been trying to unmuddle myself. To work through the various reactions I've been having and try to sort them out. The reactions have ranged from deep feelings of contentment and cloying affection to unshakable anxiety. Some days have been better than others. On some days, like today, I feel like I've emerged from that cloud and have happily moved on. On other days, I'm convinced it's just the hormones. But when, all of a sudden, I find myself emotional and overwhelmed, with my little brain feeling like it's ready to burst from a slew of endlessly trivial demands, I find myself squeezing my hands against my skull, as if to keep it contained. Other times, I feel the urge to bang my head, as if to knock out some of the excess junk that clutters the limited space up above. But then I return to my placid state when all seems perfectly fine, and I wonder what the hell was my problem.
Although I speak Korean fairly OK, I don't speak it to my kids all that much. But there are a few words that I use consistently and I thought I'd share them here!
gee gee 지지 (pronounced like the letter G x 2) = dirty.
We say this one ALL the time in our household. And according to the preschool teacher, Christian (bit over 3 years old) says it all the time at school too! She was like, he says everything is gee gee! =) This word is just so fun to say. Dirty hands = gee gee! Dirty clothes = gee gee! Poop-y diaper = gee gee! Don't touch that! It's gee gee!
ah ttuh아뜨 (short for 아 뜨거워 = That's hot!)
This one gets used a lot during mealtime. Christian has a tendency to shove things into his mouth without considering their temperature. A stern warning of ah ttuh usually does the trick so that he doesn't burn his mouth or tongue!
mem-me 맴매-not sure of the Korean spelling (spanking)
We don't spank that much in our household but there are times when we feel that it's called for. It's actually not the spanking itself but the warning of one that helps Christian behave better. I would say something like, "Appa's going to give you a mem me unless you clean up your toys!" When he knows he's been bad, he'll even say, "Don't give me mem me..." with that pouty puppy dog face that we can't resist...
mam-ma 맘마 (food)
I used this more when Christian was little... especially when feeding him his first solids. I'd say "Mam ma muck ja!" (Let's eat food!) as I got ready to feed him some finger foods or purred foods. I'd ask if he looked hungry, "Mam ma muck ul leh? (Do you want some food?). It's another fun word to say but it also sounds a lot like mama if you use that word for mommy in your house. We used umma so wasn't a problem for us. =)
My friends and acquaintances everywhere are popping out progeny lately, and for some unknown reason these poor people are asking me for tips. I normally defer to the experts, since it seems like every hour of pregnancy, from conception to delivery, is covered in grotesque detail in books and websites. But in my personal experience, knowing when the embryo is the size of a fava bean is nice and all, but actually raising an infant was comparatively full of mystery and peril. Here is a collection of the advice I wish someone gave me concerning life right after having a baby:
When I was a kid, whatever Mom made for meals - we ate. And because for a significant portion of my childhood we were “financially challenged”, that food wasn’t always something I wanted to eat. But nonetheless it was eaten.
When given the choice between food or no food, rice and kimchi for the 2,524th day in a row was fine by me!
When I became a parent to not just one toddler but two, I struggled with the idea of “kid friendly” food versus . . . food. So many of my friends would make special meals for their little ones in addition to the meals they shared with their SOs or older children. (One mom would actually make a meal for the family and then heat up chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese for the little one. When I asked her why, she stated it was because “that’s what little kids eat.” Or another mom who said “my child will only eat foods that are white, yellow or orange-y” but none of the foods she listed were actual oranges . . . WTH?)
What does Compassion International have to do with Kimchi Mamas? EVERYTHING! =)
Compassion started in 1952 providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care. Reverend Everett Swanson was on a preaching tour in South Korea when he saw Korea's unwanted children. He knew he had to do something and thus, Compassion was born.
Compasion has sponsored more than 1 million children in 25 of the world's poorest countries. Thankfully, they don't need to sponsor kids in South Korea anymore! (And sadly, North Korea wouldn't allow sponsorship since Compassion is a faith-based organization.) They are a high quality organization, taking stewardship of donors' money very seriously. Compassion International recently won a four star rating from the nation's largest independent evaluator of charities for the seventh year in a row - one of only 45 chartities in the nation to do so.