Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bootie bonanza

Have started making a bunch of booties since so many people I know are procreating. I could order a cute outfit or something, but you get so many of those as gifts already. I know I'd rather have a handmade something. Plus, I have a few hours of free time on my hands after (if) Grace goes to sleep at night, so what else is there to do. This apartment is too small, so I can't do anything that could wake her up , like watch movies or play the piano, or even clean up. Booties it is. The red pair have already been gifted.

Lowering my expectations

After a three hour soothing marathon last night where Sejin and I tagged off several times, I was really frustrated. What am I doing wrong? She's tired enough (rubbing eyes, clawing ears, drooping eyelids, etc). I've been sticking to the routine. What could it be?

So I'm trying a different approach today. Swaddling is back in. Surprisingly, at almost 16 weeks, she seems to still like it. 20 minutes of soothing after bath and she's out. A fluke? No idea, but I'm going with it because I'm exhausted. I left one arm out so that she could suck her thumb if needed. Perhaps she just felt too exposed and not quite secure enough in her crib before. I know she's fairly comfortable in there because she can spend up to 1/2 hour in there during the day smiling and babbling at the bumpers, but there's something about falling asleep that is difficult for her. But hey -- she's not even four months old. Sometimes I think I have to lower my expectations!

Honestly, that expression "sleep like a baby" is waaaay off.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Too good for plastic

I'm afraid. Grace is refusing the bottle. We used to give her the occasional bottle in the evenings to settle her if I didn't have much milk to give her. She seemed to like it, but over time, she's less and less impressed with this practice. Now she flat out refuses to take a bottle, whether filled with formula or expressed milk. She won't suck, and she spits out the milk. She still won't take a pacifier, either. She prefers to use me as a giant pacifier, or else her thumb.

Really, I don't mind that much, but I'm afraid to go out and leave her! Tomorrow morning I'm going to do a short trip just down the street to Dongdaemun Shopping Town to get a tapestry needle (mine broke!). I want to see if she'll take a bottle from Sejin when I'm not in the house. Perhaps she just won't take the bottle because she knows I'm around and I'm better. Anyway, I won't be far away, so if she still won't take a bottle and starts freaking, Sejin can call me to rush home.

In other news, we spent a fun-filled day at the hospital yesterday morning. Grace had an ultrasound on her neck to check her muscles. They say her neck muscles are fine. They are the same size. This is good. But then why is she always leaning left? We are going to make an appointment with another doctor to make sure it isn't a bone problem instead. Either way, it's going to take physiotherapy to correct and avoid future problems.

Grace is pretty amazing. We were at the hospital all morning doing a lot of waiting. She missed her nap and still, she did not cry during the ultrasound or the vaccination. The technician remarked at what a good baby she is. I thought for sure she'd scream after the vaccination since we'd been there hours and she was tired and hungry. Nope. What's with this kid? I know I'm pretty lucky. I'd better stop complaining about the little challenges I have with her. Things could be much much worse. She's healthy and very happy.

Oh, check out this disaster. I made this sweater for her, thinking it would be cute in her 100 day photos... Ooops! Way to small. She's over 7 kgs now. I will always make things a size or two bigger!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

100 Days

Koreans celebrate a baby's 100 day birthday. I have to admit, it still doesn't mean much to me, but I go along with things because it's part of Grace's culture and it means a lot to the in-laws. I got her dressed up and took her over for lunch. Smile and nod, smile and nod. Grace got some nice 24k gold jewelry and the longest piece of rolled up thread you've ever seen (symbolizing longevity). Made for some cute pictures, anyway.
Still working on the sleep thing. But slowly I think things are improving. I'm not nursing Grace to sleep anymore. I really want her to learn how to fall asleep on her own. She's getting there little by little. She doesn't like it though. She loved those super long laying down nursing sessions at night. I don't want to deprive her of that, so we do that in the afternoon instead now. I usually need a lay-down anyway. But come night time, with SJ gone and me doing the whole bedtime/bath routine all on my own, I don't have to energy to keep going and going and going...

Anyway, I'm coming at this sleep thing with a new positive attitude. I was getting way to worked up about it. My stomach pains (stress-related) started coming back the other night, which was a big wake up call to slow down and take it easy. I'm taking this way too seriously!!

One thing I am taking seriously is that Grace has torticollis. It's a neck condition. She always leans to the left, never the right. Right now it might not appear too serious, but if not corrected, it can be. Later on, she could develop spinal problems, maybe even paralyzing her face, says the doctor. We take her for an ultrasound test on Tuesday and then I suspect we'll be starting with physiotherapy to start fixing this problem. Poor Grace. This won't be fun.

Monday, April 13, 2009

She knows

It hit me tonight.

She knows I'm nursing her to sleep now. That's why she so good at resisting. Sometimes she even turns her head toward the ceiling and smiles and laughs. It's her way of saying "Nah nah nah nah nah nah! I'm not going to sleep!"

Starting tomorrow, a new era begins. Some new way of putting her to sleep. She knows the routine now: I dim the lights, run her bath, put on the Sounds of the Ocean CD, put on the lavender oil, and bathe her. I get her dressed, tidy up from the bath, put on the white noise (rain shower CD) and then nurse her in bed until she falls asleep, then move her to the crib. She knows exactly what's going on and that it's time to sleep.

So she must sleep. Or mommy will go crazy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Around the world in 80 clicks

This is for "Around the World in 80 Clicks." I was tagged by Karen of Mama Seoul.

I'm a little new to the mom thing, so these 5 things could change tomorrow, next week, next year, who knows! It's all a little overwhelming right now!

Five things I love about being a mom:

1. Seeing her smile out of true contentment.

2. Helping her do something new, like hold a rattle or roll over, and seeing the excitement in her eyes when she finally does it.

3. Taking her out to see the world and watching her take it in, wide-eyed. I also don't mind hearing the compliments of strangers who think I can't understand them, like 'What a beautiful baby,' 'I thought she was a doll.'

4. Little baby breaths in my ear as she smiles and grasps my neck.

5. Knowing that I'm going to watch her grow for many more years to come.

I tag Catherine of Domestic Bliss in South Korea and ... TBA (gotta find one!)...

bad day

I just ate an entire 8-slice pizza by myself. I've never done that before in my life.
I did that because I hadn't eaten the entire day and by the time 7pm rolled around I thought I would start eating my hands, just like Grace does.

Grace never cried often, from day one. Very rarely does she get to that point. But today she has cried a good part of the day, when not nursing. She just wants to nurse continuously. It's driving me batty. But if I don't feed her, I get crying. I really don't mind feeding her often -- I really don't. I've been feeding her on average every 2 hours from the day she was born. But once in a while one needs to do basic things like eat, wash, brush one's teeth, have a moment to one's self.

I have three theories on why this bad day happened:

1- teething. Everyone keeps dismissing my teething theory, saying she's too young to cut teeth. My mom said that I did at 4 months. It's possible she's having teething pain. There are little white bumps on her lower gums -- even SJ noticed, so they're there.

2 - overtiredness. She didn't nap well today for some reason. I've become not too bad at catching her tired moments and putting her down. Yesterday she had four naps and went to bed by 7:30. That was a good day. Today she had a 45-min nap in the morning and a 1/2 nap in the afternoon. That's all we could manage, despite my efforts.

3 - she just wants to be held by me/nursed all the time today for some reason. When SJ got home this evening I quickly handed her to him and her intense cries escalated into scream cries. Just now she was crying when SJ was changing her diaper, and I walked into the room and she stopped and gave me the biggest smile ever. I walked out, she started crying again.

A day like this really sucks when I've been feeling all lucky about having an "easy" baby that hardly ever cries.

I'd better go and rescue SJ.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Went out today with friends to catch the cherry blossoms at Children's Grand Park. They come and go really fast, so it's important to go and see them as soon as you know they're out. It was "snowing" petals from the trees today, so they'll be gone in a couple of days. What a beautiful day it was.
I really didn't feel like going this morning. Grace had a really weird day. Usually she goes down for naps relatively easy if I catch her "sleepy moments." Today she only had a 1/2 hour nap before we left, so I was sure it was going to be a disaster. She didn't do too bad though. We stopped to rest a couple of times and she was fine.

One thing I found out is that it's hard to do this stuff by yourself if you want to take a stroller. I had Grace in the carrier on my front, a backpack on my back, and the stroller to carry. Walking around the park was fine once I was unpacked, but getting there and home was exhausting without SJ there to help.

I found the spot that SJ and I got married. It was the first time I'd been there since that day, almost 4 years ago. Doesn't look quite the same, of course. It was May, so the trees were more lush and of course it was decorated. I never thought four years ago that I'd still be here in Korea, especially not with a baby!

Four years ago:


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

3 month update

Grace is 3 months old.
Overall, it's been good. I'm lucky to have such a happy and healthy baby. I had some breastfeeding issues (more like insecurities), but they're all worked out now, just as everyone told me they would. I give Grace a formula bottle once in a while in the evening when she needs it. I'm okay with that and so is she. Her sleep patterns are improving. In general she's strong, curious, and happy, and that's all that matters.

We took her to the pediatrician today and it was a relief to hear she's 6.7 kg...that's slightly above average weight for her age. I was concerned that she was pooping too many diapers per day...friends of mine say their babies only poop about one diaper a day at this point. Poor Grace poops 4 or 5. The doctor said, yes, it's a little abnormal, but not "bad abnormal." She just eats a lot, so she poops a lot. I think this is where my breastfeeding insecurities stemmed from. Grace eats sooo much during the day, I've got nothing left for her come evening. I'm very happy I can see all this now, because I thought I was doing something wrong, or there was something wrong with me. It turns out, everything is fantastic. She's got a huge appetite and I've been struggling to keep up with it, but I'm focusing on enjoying it for the time being.

So everything is great in our little world in Dongdaemun-gu. Terribly loud construction going on, but what else is new in Korea? Tomorrow we're going to Children's Grand Park to see the cherry blossoms, so I hope to have some pretty pictures to post! :)
Oh, finished a project finally!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I'm hooking again!

Crocheting, that is! Now that Grace is going to sleep a little earlier at night, I'm using the quiet time at the end of the day to do things that I enjoy (that don't make much noise!). I really miss knitting and crocheting, so I moved all my supplies to the computer room (farthest from the sleeping dragon) and have been working on a few things. I know I should be sleeping when she sleeps, but I find the time to myself almost as refreshing as sleep.
So I'm working on a couple of plush toys, a bonnet, and a sweater for Grace. I'd like to use these things in her 100 day photos coming up. We've decided not to shell out hundreds of $$ for professional photos. Instead we're going to go to a studio and do "self" photos. Basically, you rent a room for 2 hours which has a bunch of "themes" set up as backgrounds. You also rent their camera and you can use their wardrobe. It's much more affordable and I think it sounds like fun. I'm looking forward to it!
Grace is doing very very well. She seems to grow every day. I'm amazed, actually. Also, in a matter of a few days, she's gone from just discovering her hands, to grabbing things and putting them in her mouth. She is also now sticking her thumb in her mouth. Before she just kind of shoved her fist in her mouth, but this thumb thing is new. I'm not going to stop her from doing it because she refuses to take a pacifier.
Oh, and I took her for a walk in a stroller for the first time yesterday. I bought a cheaper fold up type stroller and a weather cover just for walks around the neighborhood. It's great! She looks around for a bit and then goes off to sleep. Also got her a bumbo chair. This is getting fun!