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Motherhood

Not that many people read my blog, but I’ve been re-evaluating the purpose of my blog, and why I’m writing for public consumption. IN a way, I’d like to connect with people with similar experiences. However, that doesn’t always seem to happen as I’m not able to commit to writing regularly enough. IN the last year, I have gone from blogging once every couple weeks, to months, to almost none as I have so much other things to tend to at the moment.

Anyway, while I mull over whether or not to keep blogging publicly (or at all), I’ll just say that the last few months up until Christmas have been extremely trying for us as a tiny, migrant family. Bry’s had to work overtime to look after both Benj and me while working. While I…pretty much could not do anything else but devote what little energy I had to keeping my job and showering love to Benj. Things are better now, much, much better.

We are now at the stage where we’re thinking of baby names, amassing more baby clothes, and enjoying my energy and mobility before it goes downhill again in a couple months!

Bebe numero dos, mommy and daddy (and your big brother) are looking forward to seeing you soon.

🙂

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Has it really been almost a month since my last post? Obviously, we’ve been really busy around here. Earlier this month, I singlehandedly took Benji on a nearly 8 hour plane ride to Singapore (and back). It was actually less scary than I thought it would be, although it was still very exhausting. Thankfully, he slept a little on our flight over and for the most of the journey back (thank you, Phenergan!). The 10 days we spent there were (as always) amazing! I wish we could spend more time with the folks, and in Singapore!

Anyway, this post is really to update you about Benji’s sleep. We have had a history of terrible sleeps with Benji, especially nighttime ones. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you would know that we attended sleep school (which he flunked), Ferbered him numerous times, ignored, and read extensively on how to get our little man to sleep through the night. Each successful training period would very quickly be undone by sickness, and the most recent one, affected by his 12 month vaccinations done back in the end of November, all the holiday activities and travels, and a change in his daytime sleep patterns (2naps->1nap).

In the two weeks since we returned from Singapore, Benji went from waking up twice a night, to waking up nearly every hour. Very familiar – we last experienced that back sometime in August, where it got to the point where he was waking up once every sleep cycle (40 mins). This time, Bry tried Ferbering him (which got him to vomit), patting him, and camping out, but to no avail. We were exhausted and frustrated.

Finally, we decided to show tough love once again, and this time went with the Extinction method, starting three nights ago out of sheer frustration, at 4am. I remembered this moment vividly, as Bry kept getting cold feet, wanting to go in, only to be held back by my exhausted, half mumbles “just let him cry a bit more.” This “bit” turned dragged on until about 40 minutes later, when Benji stopped crying and put himself to sleep. It was a miracle.

The next night, he cried for about 15 minutes before sleeping, ON HIS OWN. He still woke up about 3 times in the night and whinged slightly, but each time, was able to put himself back to sleep within 10-15 minutes. Tonight, he cried for about 5 minutes before sleeping, once again, ON HIS OWN. How will he go for the rest of tonight? I’m not sure, but I have a strong feeling it won’t be as bad as it was pre-sleep training. Perhaps the previous sleep trainings helped him grasp the concept of self-soothe more easily. Or, maybe he’s more ready now than he was before. Whatever it is, we are thrilled and grateful that he’s sleeping better.

Now, fingers crossed he doesn’t get sick too soon after, so Bry and I can enjoy a few nights of good rest to catch up!

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Metamorphic.

This is how I’d like to describe my 2012. I had to grow quickly into the shoes of a mother, and then a mother who also worked outside the home. Spiritually, I found myself being transformed by His word and yearning to be more and more a disciple of Christ than being just a “Christian.” I have met some godly people this year who have been role models, and who have helped me with my Christian walk, encouraging me to press on when the going was difficult. 2012 was filled with lots of joy and love, as well as disappointments, challenges, and anxieties. Through it all, I had to shed old perspectives and adopt new ways of thinking and living. Hopefully, I have inched slightly closer to what God has willed for me in my life.

Next year is already looking to be another exciting one. I’d like to continue this metamorphosis, and think this is quite apt as my overarching verse:

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

How would you sum up your 2012?

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Less than two months away from his first birthday this little cubbie is crawling everywhere and trying so hard to stand on his own two feet by himself. He’s also now able to take a couple steps when we hold his hands.

I’m so excited for these new developments but also trying hard to enjoy an savor every single moment we have with him now as it’s going by too quickly!

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Benji is spending day 2 at daycare and I hope everything’s going well! Having no real work to do yet (we had to enrol Benji earlier in daycare than needed to ‘secure’ a spot; crazy, I know, thankfully the Australian government subsidises some of this!), Bry and I seized the opportunity to go on a lunch date at this new Mexican joint, Fonda Mexican, located in a fun and energetic neighborhood called Richmond.

Fonda Mexican serves gluten and dairy free tacos – YAY! – and delicious fries with an amazingly tasty aioli sauce. Price was about $6 per 6″ size taco – not too bad considering we’re in Australia. Bry ordered a burrito which tasted healthy and good. There were some crispy corn chips sprinkled in there which made it quite unique in a good way. We’ll definitely go back there again.

Now, I’m enjoying some QT by myself at home, catching up on housework and reading, when, really, I should be catching some zees.

Hope your weekend’s going well. Here’s a paragraph I absolutely enjoyed from one of today’s articles on the NYTimes titled “Raising Successful Children.” I’m sure a few of you would’ve seen this, too.

“A loving parent is warm, willing to set limits and unwilling to breach a child’s psychological boundaries by invoking shame or guilt. Parents must acknowledge their own anxiety. Your job is to know your child well enough to make a good call about whether he can manage a particular situation. Will you stay up worrying? Probably, but the child’s job is to grow, yours is to control your anxiety so it doesn’t get in the way of his reasonable moves toward autonomy.”

Something to ruminate over this weekend (or in my case, Monday!). Have a good one.

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For those who know me personally, or have known me from reading my blog, you’ll know that both Bry and I are foodies. We love eating and making foods from a lot of different cultures. It also helps that both Bry and I, although we look fairly similar in skin, eye, and hair color, are actually of different cultural backgrounds: he is Korean-American who was born and bred in Los Angeles, and I am Singaporean Chinese. Through him, I got a solid introduction to Korean food (among other foods such as Mexican, which seems to be more of a comfort food to him than Korean – Hmmm!, Southern, and Jewish) and I LOVE it.

Over the years, I picked up a few Korean recipes from his mom and after Benji was born, she wrote me telling me to make Myeok Guk (seaweed soup) which was a staple post-partum dish in the Korean culture. It is supposed to be rich in calcium and iodine, which is said to help with the supply and quality of breast milk. At that time, my mom who flew over from Singapore to help me out with my post-partum cultural confinement was already making me all sorts of post-partum dishes (which were awesomely delicious, by the way) so I did not make it until much later. But OH MY when I did, I just wanted to keep eating it. The Koreans really know what they’re doing, making a winning combination of both healthy and tasty food. My mother-in-law was pleased that I made the soup and enjoyed it so much. In fact, even Bry had some of it and demanded for more. Apparently, this soup is also traditionally served at birthdays. I think in our household it will be enjoyed at anytime, just because it’s so yummy.

It’s also simple to whip up, so busy moms can make this easily. The only trick is getting the seaweed, which would be available at any Korean grocery store if you can get to one. The recipe I used was mostly “by taste.”  Here’s an actual recipe if you want to try it out. In one version, I used ground pork and marinated it for a couple hours in soy sauce, crushed garlic, and sesame oil, then sauteed it, added some chicken stock (was lazy!), then the seaweed, and let the ingredients cook for about 30 minutes, and the soup was done!

(A side note: I’m really into cross-cultural experiences and love how every culture seems to have their own post-partum beliefs and staple foods to help with breastmilk quality and supply. A friend of mine who is Russian Jew swears by cow’s milk and said to have it with tea “mother’s milk tea.” in the Philippines, I believe, it’s green papaya, in Cantonese, it’s red snapper, in Korea it’s seaweed. In the west, it’s milk tea, too, and fenugreek. Here’s an interesting article to read about cross cultural post-partum beliefs. )