Wednesday, January 27, 2010

C ya

I will be dropping off the face of the planet for the next week or so. So much to do and I have no help for the next four or five days. In that time I somehow have to do a bunch of editing, some writing, a tonne of laundry, and whatever else pops up. At least Sejin will be home by Monday, so that thought will keep me going.

I'm taking some editing to bed with me now. *sigh*

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Very, very impressed

I was so scared to wean Grace. I was almost ready to do something drastic, like leave the house for a few days. Boy, am I glad I didn't. She has had no problem at all adapting. I think choosing to wean her myself, low-key, here at home where I can constantly reassure her was the best decision. It has been so much easier on her than if I had disappeared. What a huge relief!

I see sleep in my future! Last night Grace woke up only twice, and didn't need me to go in to her. She whined a couple minutes and went back to sleep. Last night was the first night I did not have to get out of bed -- at all! She's been so good about this weaning stuff...I can't believe I was so scared.

Tomorrow we are having another 1st birthday party for Grace, but this one is for Sejin's family. I'm not looking forward to it..large gathering of people I cannot communicate with. I will do my smile and nod routine, pose for pictures, and say thank you. It will be over soon enough.

Speaking of birthday parties, we had a little party last weekend for some of our foreign friends. We had a really good turn out. All international couples and seven half Korean children! It was a lot of fun.

I was very impressed with the amount of party decorations you can buy on gmarket. I ordered the personalized photo banner and balloon kit from this vendor. It came to only 20,000 won, which included double sided tape and a balloon pump. All I had to do was email them a photo and the baby's name. Very cute! (There were a lot more balloons...I didn't blow them all up. I'll probably blow the rest up for tomorrow)
I ordered the frames, ribbon, letters, and embellishments from this vendor. If you look at their goods, you can get good ideas for party themes and decorations. I didn't go all out...just a few touches.
We ordered food from the Dragon Hill Lodge on Yongsan Base, based on Mommy Cha's recommendation. It was really, really good. I ordered a set menu which included chicken fingers, meatballs, a fruit and cheese tray, a deli meat tray, and a veggie tray, plus an extra sandwich platter. There was a lot of food left over, most of which I ate. Very nice treat.Feeling very positive since Grace has taken to weaning so well. I guess the timing must have been right. Soon enough I will start working again and we'll see how she deals with that change. I think she'll be just fine.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Working hard

Grace and I have been working hard on weaning the for the last few days. That's why you haven't heard much from me. My apologies if I should have gotten back to you about something, or if I've been out of touch for too long. I've really had to put everything else aside for the last few days and focus on Grace.

The good news is that it is going well. She's been night weaned three nights now and not too much fussing about it. I wish I would have given it a shot earlier, but I was afraid. The first night was tough, but since then, she hasn't been very upset about it. She wakes up now and then, but often puts herself back to sleep quickly. I've occasionally had to go in and reassure her, and that usually gets her back to sleep within minutes. Whew! I'm hoping she starts waking less frequently over time and is soon sleeping through.

The complete weaning is a different story. Today was the first day Grace did not breastfeed. I guess it didn't go that bad, but she did kick up quite a fuss at nap time today. I'm hoping the days will get progressively easier, just like it worked with night weaning. Grace has shown me this past week that she's a very fast learner, and I'm pretty sure she understands a lot of what I say. Although it was a tough day for both of us, she's doing great. She's also taking the cow's milk better and better. She'll only drink it cold, and from my glass, but I don't mind. She drank a lot today, asked for more, and even pointed at a milk carton in one of her books.

She's growing up! Hopefully this time next week she'll be on a good sleeping/eating schedule and my sleep deprivation is a thing of the past. Please, cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

I haven't knitted/crocheted in so long, so Ravelympics 2010 is the perfect even to force me back into it. Ravelympics is an event held over at ravelry. You start your project anytime after the Olympics opening ceremony and must finish by the closing ceremony. According to the ravelry group, there are only 24 days left until the Olympics. This means I must start deciding on a pattern. Last time I was in the baby dressage category and did Presto Chango, which turned out really cute.

I think this time I'll do something for myself. But I have to be careful not to pick something too involved that I won't finish in time. I've always wanted to do a wrap or shawl, so maybe I'll give that a shot. It won't be a very intricate lacy one, given the time limit, but something cozy would be nice.

I had intended to include a poll in this post to see what item my blogger friends think I should take on, but many patterns are only viewable through ravelry, and you need to be a member to see them. Oh well, I will post my final decision soon since I will have to choose the yarn.

This is one of the three possibilities.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Picture this:

Grace and I are sitting in near darkness in the living at 2:00am. We're watching Sex and the City. I'm eating a sandwich and some ice cream. Grace is happily flipping through her books and playing with the remote control. She figures out how to turn the TV on and off.

That was last night. Who knows what tonight holds? My daughter has decided she does not want to sleep at all. She ended up going to sleep at 2:30am and getting up at 8:00am. I got up feeling as if someone had hit me in the face with a sledgehammer. Oh, and I have a head cold. It was a great day. I spent all morning hoping and praying she'd soon go for a lengthy nap. She had to, right? No, no, no...... finally at 2:30pm, she went for a classic half and hour nap.

The past week has been really difficult for me. I did not know a person could survive on so little sleep. But I'm getting by.

I came to the decision around 1:30am last night that we will begin sleep training with Grace when she's fully recovered from her ear infection. It's not something I want to do, but I feel I have no choice. She's hurting herself by fighting sleep like this, never mind what she's doing to me.

Now I will post something positive: Even when I'm dead tired, I take delight in watching Grace learn new things every day. She did two amazing things today.

In the morning, I gave her her toy piano. Instead of random pounding, she took her index finger and went from next key to next key all the way up and down the scale, very slowly, listening to each note. Future musician?
Tonight at 9:00pm, she was very tired, but wanted to look through her books. She looked at me and made the sign for "eat." I thought, that's weird, I just fed her. Oh well, so I got up to go make her something. She turned back to the book and pointed at a picture of a monkey eating a banana. She smiled at me. Even though I was extremely tired, I was so thrilled to see her "talking" about her book. I flipped through some more books with her, making signs for different pictures (I need to learn more!) and she watched me intently do each one.
Little incidents like that keep me going. They also make me think...maybe she's just so excited by life and all the things she's learning, that sleep is the last thing she wants to do. Poor Grace...

With that, I must get some sleep, since I'll probably be up again soon enough.
.........just thought I'd add.........she just woke up now. 30 minutes on the dot. Does someone want to rescue me???

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's decided

Next week I will start weaning Grace. It has become clear to me that I will not get any sleep if I continue to allow her to nurse on demand, so it must come to an end. I feel bad for her, but I don't think many people have felt tiredness like this. She's getting me up about 5-8 times per night. It's just getting worse and worse. If I try to soothe her in another way, she has a major freakout. She is very demanding. I'm through with analyzing it and am ready to stop. It's going to be stressful for both of us, but I think it will be worth it in the end. Let's hope 2010 is the year of much deserved sleep. I hope I can look back on 2009, laugh, and think, how did I get by so long on 3 hours a night?

In other news, Grace did the sign for "sleep" today, totally unexpectedly. A baby on TV was sleeping, and she looked at me and did the sign. It was cute. Somehow I don't think she'll ever use that sign to tell me she wants to go to sleep.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ah, that's better

Remember my last post about asking for help? Well, I decided to reach out. I am now borrowing a friend's nanny. On Sunday, I was just exhausted...Grace sick as a dog and not sleeping, messy house, piles of dirty laundry, nothing to prepare for dinner. Grace would not tolerate being put down and wanted to be carried all the time. Yikes.

So I asked to borrow a nanny, and within one day, I was feeling 100% better. House clean, laundry clean, some cooked food in the fridge, baby getting better. Aahh... Today I even went for a walk by myself. It was super cold out and I was freezing, but it was so nice to get out and be with my own thoughts.

The only downer is that Grace is seriously attached to me...She doesn't like it when I leave her sight, and is taking it out on the nanny. The nanny said that after I left, she cried, and then went from room to room looking for me. Poor thing. But I have to work again soon, so she's going to have to get used to another caretaker(s). I have a meeting at the publishing company in a week, and I'm actually excited about getting back to work. I think it's going to be hard on Grace, though.

I'm also thinking of doing some classes from the apartment here. I kind of abandoned the idea for a while, but I'm rethinking it now. There are an awful lot of kids around here, and even if it's only a few classes a week, it's some extra money.


A rare and funny thing happened tonight. Grace fell asleep in her high chair. She has never fallen asleep anywhere else but in my arms or in her crib. I think she is pretty tired from not sleeping well due to her cold. She's been coughing a lot in her sleep. I was feeding her warm seolleungtang (beef soup) and she dozed off, so I put her to bed. She woke up a while later and I fed her some yogurt with her medicine mixed in. She perked up and seemed to want to play.

S: No Grace, it's time to go to sleep. (doing sign for *sleep*)
G: (smiles; sign for *eat*)

It was too cute...and scary. This kid is trying to fool me already.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Grace, coming down with a cold.

Well, I got a whopping two hours of sleep last night. While dealing with Grace and her sleep issues made more severe by a cold, I came to a conclusion. As soon as Sejin is home from the hospital, I'm done with the night shift. I've definitely put in my share (and then some) of sleepless nights. They'll have to work things out for themselves.

Everyone who knows me, or who has read my blog knows that I've tried really hard to help Grace overcome her sleep problems. There were times when I wasn't sure what the problem really was, or even who had the problem. But now it is clear to me that Grace is the one who needs to work this out. I've read the books, I've talked about it with friends and family, I've put in the time, I've been extremely patient, and I've tried a number of different "solutions," but nothing has worked. I'm really burned out and with no light at the end of the tunnel on this issue, it's getting to be depressing.

Besides sheer exhaustion, another reason I've come to this decision is because it has put such a damper on the last year. It became the center of my life, and prevented me from truly enjoying Grace's first year. That's not right.

Grace is a big girl now, one year old. She doesn't need to nurse during the night anymore. This is going to be hard for her to take, but I think in the long run, she will benefit from the changes to come. She'll be just fine.

Boy, the things I would do differently if I had another child...

If I could give one piece of advice to new moms, it would be to share the night time responsibilities with your husband/partner. Even really young babies often don't need to eat every time they wake up. It is beneficial for them to learn more than one way of soothing. Dad will discover what works for him. Even if dad is working, I think dealing with one waking per night is not unreasonable.

You see, I was that kid in school that didn't like doing group work. I would talk to the teacher and try to get out of it. I wanted to do everything myself, because I thought that was the only way it would be done right, and up to my standards. While that might work on a grade 10 history project, doing it all yourself with a baby (especially your first baby) is just too much. I see that now. I've done almost everything myself for Grace over the last year, and while I think I've done an okay job, I think both us could have benefited from some help.

Grace is now looking at me with her bloodshot eyes and runny nose, so I'll end this post. I guess I just wanted to post this resolution of sorts. Night time duty done. Help welcome.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Grace's First Birthday

Sejin got another night's leave so that he could be here for Grace's real birthday. While it was really good to see him again, and we all had a good time, it was difficult to hear that he may be another three weeks in the hospital. His doctor is going to give him a fixed date soon. I'm hoping he can get out sooner than later. I'm starting to go a little crazy in here all alone with Grace. I haven't been going out as much as I'd like to because it's a pain in the neck to get her all ready. It's been really cold lately, much colder than usual for Korea. She's getting heavy to carry, and it's difficult with all her warm clothes on. There's also snow on the ground, and it snowed a little more today, so it's hard to push my cheap stroller through the snow. To top it all off, she's got a cold now, so I'm stuck inside a few more days.

Anyway, the purpose of this post... Time really does fly. Little Grace is already one year old. It doesn't seem like that long ago she was born. She's so much more interesting to care for these days. Of course, some things are getting more difficult, like keeping up with the messes, and making sure she doesn't get into trouble, but it's much more rewarding. She really wants to communicate with me, so there's lots of babbling, and completely random sign language being thrown around. It's really fun!

We're going to have a few friends over next week to celebrate, but I wanted to get her dressed up and have some cake on her real birthday, too.

That is my attempt at a birthday cake. It wasn't too bad, considering I had to use my tiny convection oven and limited ingredients. If I want to do any more baking, I think I'd better browse the home baking category on gmarket. It's a waste of time to go from super to super around here!

Did I mention that Grace continues to get cuter? It's hard to resist buying even more cute girly clothes and accessories for her. What am I going to do? Her accessory drawer is almost full already and her hair isn't very long yet! Oh, no!
I'm looking forward to celebrating many more of Grace's birthdays!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More baby sweaters

I made both these sweaters before Grace was born. I had them hanging in her wardrobe all year, and was waiting for the moment when they would finally fit her. I was a bit too late on the first one! It would have been perfect a few months back, except I was in Canada then, and the sweater was here. Thankfully I got some gratification on the second one, as it fits perfectly. It's a really soft bamboo yarn and she seemed very comfortable in it today. I'll post the links to the patterns later...going to bed.

It's a sign!

...that Grace likes signs!

Holy cow, this kid is digging the signs. I've been doing them with her all day today, and she's lovin' it. She did the sign for "eat" today at breakfast. Fast learner. She must really want to communicate. I feel dumb now for not starting them earlier with her. What else should I start early? Toilet training? I wish.... Although Mama Seoul makes a good case for elimination communication.....I haven't bothered to try it yet. Maybe I should.

Oh, I made a cake today, complete with pink icing and sprinkles. It was not easy. I think I got the last bit of butter in Uijeongbu. I went to three supers to find it and he only had one pack left. Why are Koreans so anti-butter? I also want to make some banana bread and apple cake, but I need supplies! I think this calls for a gmarket order.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sign me up!

I noticed something funny today. Grace was flipping through her books as usual, pointing to her favourite pictures. She's really into shapes these days. She points at all the squares, triangles, and circles, no matter how big or small. Balls look like circles. She looooves balls, even though she doesn't have one. Well, the funny part was that every time she pointed at a ball, she was doing this thing with her hands, putting her fingertips together repeatedly. I would point at the ball, and she did it again. Hmmmm...

Then I realized it -- when I shower or take out the garbage, I put on this Baby Einstein My First Signs video for her, to distract her. She doesn't even realize I'm gone when I put this video on because she loves it. I think she's been picking up signs from this video, or at least mimicking the people doing the signs.

After I had this realization, I put on the video for us to watch, and sure enough, she's putting her little fingertips together as the people demonstrate the signs. She's especially enthusiastic when the ball comes up, because as I mentioned, she loves balls. I showed her some of the signs, and I think she tried a few. She gave the sign for "play" an honest go.

I thought it was so cool that she was trying to do a sign. I haven't taught her any signs myself, and really had no intention to. But she seems to want to do it, so maybe I'll start using the useful ones as we go about our day and see if she can pick some up. Things like milk, eat, more, SLEEP, mommy, etc, would be useful for her to know.

Seems little Grace taught me something today!

Holy snow

Way to go, Korea. Finally, something we can call snow. Usually it snows for a 1/2 hour and it melts within another 1/2 hour. But it's been snowing all day today, and pretty hard at times. It's pretty. Not blowing around at all...just floating gently down. I think this calls for a photo shoot after Grace's nap. I'll post photos later.


Here are some photos from today. I think Grace was a little confused. Haha... I got her all bundled like this to go outside for a matter of 5 minutes!

Also, I'd like to address this:

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as
good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it
up! - Anonymous

It seems I did not take as much offense to this comment as some others....I approved the comment. Perhaps Anonymous has been following my blog for some time and read through all those really boring posts about Grace's sleep. I really dwelled on that subject. Even though Grace's sleep is still an issue in my life, I do not write about it much here because I realize it is boring. I can't even read those old posts, they're so boring. Haha! Anyway, I don't think he/she meant to be hurtful.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Step

I thought I'd post about Grace's first step here, mostly so I can look back and remember the date to add to the baby book.

Here it goes: She got up to a standing position, balanced a few seconds, and then took one tiny step to get to the play yard wall.

I know this doesn't necessarily mean she'll be walking around yet. When she saw me take out my cell phone, she quickly sat down and did her one-legged crawl over to me. But it was cool to see.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's a new year

Thank goodness. In 2009, I had Grace, and that's the only good thing that happened to me. It was a strange year and we've had some pretty bad luck. I've really been looking forward to 2010 for a fresh start.

Here are a few of my resolutions:

-Lose weight. Yes, I realize that is probably the most popular resolution, and the one most quickly forgetten, but in my case, it will be a success! I've probably already lost a couple of pounds since I left Canada, since I'm not eating my parents' really good cooking. I have been cooking healthy meals for Grace, and eating them myself, and snacking a lot less. I've had no chips, cookies, or ice cream since I got back.

-Learn how to cook. It's about time, and Grace needs to eat healthy food. I've learned a few dishes already and I've written down the recipes for a few more. I've got no choice on this one. I have been enjoying trying to cook so far.

-Make more time for myself. I think a once a week shopping excursion would be doable and Grace would get by just fine with Sejin, especially now that she's not nursing as much and plays with toys and books so much better now. I think some social interaction with other adults would do me a lot of good.

Those are the big ones I can think of right now. I'm off to get some rest while I can. Grace has been going through some serious sleep regression and I'm feeling pretty draggy these days.

Happy New Year!