Friday, December 10, 2010

Why I am Going to VBAC- Part 1: Birth of the Kimchi Kid

My baby is getting so big!!


When we first found out we were pregnant with the Kimchi Kid, we were ecstatic!
My husband called it, I was feeling ill and we had started trying to conceive, so he said to me "You're pregnant!". I laughed him off, no way we hit it on the first time we tried! 1 week later I took the test and surprise surprise- we were pregnant!

From that day on we entered the Korean medical birthing system. Not really knowing what to expect and not having any resources to reference here we did what we thought best.

The first hospital we went to was recommended by the mothers of many of our students. However it was so busy that after 2 visits with 2 different doctors and being told we couldn't make appointments even 1 month in advance due to their busy schedule, we changed.

We visited a woman's clinic in our building with a very sweet older female doctor. She wouldn't be able to deliver but would do our prenatal care and she promised to attend the birth to support me. We were very happy and I crawled into her clinic several times throughout the next few months due to undiagnosed gallstones that were causing me great pain and sickness.

When it got close to our due date, we went to the hospital she had recommended but I didn't like the doctor. He was an older Korean man who spoke only to my husband and made no attempt at English. I decided we needed to try another option, so we went to the "expensive" hospital in our area.

"Expensive" in Korea was a relative term we discovered. We had been having ultrasounds every 2 weeks when we went to the woman doctor. Again, 1st time parents, we had no idea this was not normal. We paid around $20/20,000won each time. The "expensive" hospital charged $30/30,000won. Not much more but way too much according to many Koreans we spoke to! But the benefit of the "expensive" hospital, Samsung Mirae, was that the doctor spoke excellent English and was willing to speak to me and not just my husband! I was sold!

Around this time I decided we would try Hypnobirthing in preparation for our birth. While my husband was initially skeptical, he quickly warmed up and became a wholehearted supporter of my plan for a natural birth and Hypnobirthing.

As part of our classes we were given a Korean and English birth plan. We took this to our English speaking doctor at Samsung Mirae. He asked for some time to read over it but later agreed to everything we asked, including no shaving, no IV, a private room, the chance to move around at will, light food and beverages, cutting the cord after it ceased pulsing, etc. We were thrilled that we had found such an excellent doctor who was so forward thinking!

As we approached our due date, our doctor informed us that our son was measuring over 4kg. In South Korea, a 4kg or greater baby is considered an automatic C-section. We scoffed at this, stating that my hips could handle it and we would be fine. Nevertheless he asked us to have a consultation with the surgeon. We laughingly obliged him, thinking that it wouldn't hurt and it would reassure him.

When I went over my due date, I was given 1 week before induction would be considered. Friday was the induction day so with my Hypnobirthing instructor's support, we focused on Wednseday, May 7, 2008 as the date that the Kimchi Kid would arrive naturally! We put all our positive energy and thoughts into this in order to avoid an induction.

Tuesday May 6, 2008 I woke up feeling fluish. I just felt crampy and crabby. I remember calling my husband at 4pm crying, asking him to come home as I felt miserable and wanted him there. We had a house guest visiting from Japan and she arrived home around 6pm. At this point we realized I was in labour, and we began timing. I spent most of my time listening to my relaxation tracks on the ipod, spending the contractions sitting on the toilet where I was most comfortable.
My husband and our guest amused themselves playing Nintendo Wii and checking on me.

By 9pm our contractions had moved to around 4 minutes apart. I told my husband to call our hospital and they said to come in when they were 3 minutes apart. I had passed a large amount of mucous and fluid by this point as well. 1hour later we left for the hospital!

Our arrival at the hospital was met with a lot of confusion. We were placed in a bed in a general ward area. It was empty, but there was a woman in the OR nearby crying in pain. I was told to lay on the bed and labour until they could check me. My husband asked why we were not going to the private room we had requested which resulted in a lot of hushed consultation between the staff members.

They finally moved us to our room, and I was so happy to get off the bed! A nurse came in to shave me, and insert an IV. We laughed her off and she was shocked! They had no clue regarding our birth plan, which looking back should have been a red flag. My doctor came in and told me I was doing great and could labour on the toilet but would have to move for delivery, which was fine. The toilet was most comfortable for me to sit on and I sat there in the dark listening to the ipod while my husband took a nap on the bed. Upon admission I was 3cm dilated. The nurse said she expected us to deliver in around 7 hours.

Around 2am, the nurse came in to check my dilation again. Moving from my comfort zone of the toilet and dark bathroom to the hard, flat bed with bright lights was unsettling. She then made me lay flat on my back for the exam. It seemed to me she was taking forever to check me, and had strapped the monitor on my belly. I asked her what she was waiting for and she replied she was waiting for contractions. I replied I was having them, check me NOW! Finally she checked me and to our great disappointment had only moved to 4cm.

As soon as she was done I moved back to the toilet, only to find I was unable to get back to my relaxed state. Even worse, I was now suffering strong contractions in my lower back. I was struggling to deal with this back labour as my contractions were so close together and so long, I had no real relief. I sent my husband to ask for an epidural which was when we received a great shock!

According to the nurse, I could not have an epidural. Having expected this to be an option, we demanded to speak to the doctor. He came in and informed us that due to my excess weight(over 90kg) they had no needles large enough for the epidural. I had the choice of transferring to the local University hospital, which was old, dirty and had a bad reputation, or having a C-section. I chose to continue labouring, insisting that I could do it on my own.

This new stress was not helpful to returning to a relaxed state and I quickly devolved into a bawling, miserable mess. After another hour I begged my husband to "Cut me open and take my baby out!". He called the nurse and within minutes I was IVed, shaved and wheeled into an operating room full of people. I remember being moved onto the operating bed and being told they would be inserting a needle in my spine for the anesthetic. I thought it was odd that I couldn't have an epidural but they could give me a spinal for surgery. I was in such pain I remember shouting "Contraction!" at them with each contraction as they prepared to insert the needle.

They made it on the 1st try, despite their worries that it may not work, and I was washed with cool pain relief. I thanked them with tears in my eyes and then said I could continue to labour if that was ok. They laughed and I was already cut open and my son was being born. It was the most curious feeling, the tugging and pulling, it really felt like he was coming out vaginally not abdominally. They showed him to me briefly then whisked him away. The doctor said everything was fine and he was being cared for in the nursery. I was wheeled into the recovery room and heating blankets were heaped on me. I was shaking with cold and my teeth were chattering, but they finally brought my son to me and he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! Everything else was gone, the pain, the stress, the failure to have a natural birth, etc. We had a beautiful, healthy baby boy!

Heaped with blankets in the recovery room, looking at my gorgeous son!

I was wheeled into a 2 person room and told that I had to lay flat on my back for the next 18 hours or I would suffer the worst headache of my life. The Kimchi Kid was put in the nursery and my husband was given a "ticket" to check him out when needed. I was exhausted and sent my husband home so I could rest. The silly man slept a few hours and then went to work, much to the shock of our school and my annoyance! Unfortunately he also took the ticket with him, which meant nothing to me until later.

Around noon the mother of some of my students arrived to check on me. She was also a nurse and spoke excellent English, so I was very happy to see her. She asked to see the baby and I sent her to the nursery to get him for me as I also hadn't seen him since the birth. She returned with the worst news- we couldn't have MY baby without the ticket! My husband wasn't able to return to the hospital until 4pm so I had no chance to see my son without the ticket. It was very frustrating and upsetting to say the least!

When my husband finally returned, I was so happy to see and touch my beautiful son. But seeing as I had to remain flat on my back for many more hours, the most I could do was awkwardly hold him on my chest.

My first chance to touch my son, more than 12hours after his birth.

Holding my son for the first time, more than 12 hours after his birth.

When he became hungry we had to return him to the nursery as we had no support and no clue that we could even attempt breastfeeding at this point. Around 6pm that evening another woman who had also had a C-section was wheeled into my room. We both slept most of the evening and around midnight her mother, father and husband came into the room with her baby. The baby quickly became fussy and was crying, causing arguments between the family members and disturbing my rest. Luckily a nurse came, whisked the baby away and shooed the men out. Her mother stayed in the room for the night and this was also when I first realized that no one was taking care of some important things for me. My poor husband had to take care of many messy and vital bodily functions for the first few days of recovery.

I moved to a private room the next day as soon as I could sit up. I wanted to have my son with me as much as possible and begin breastfeeding. The lactation consultant came and started me off, we seemed to do very well! But when night came, back to the nursery Thomas went. I was unable to get out of bed and walk and nurses would not bring him to me for feeding. My husband snores so badly that I couldn't have him spend the night so I had to wait until morning to see my son again and try feeding. By the 3rd day he was getting the hang of it and I kept him in the room with me all day. I had to send him to the nursery again at night but on the 4th day I was walking around and holding him more, feeding him well. It was also the first time he really seemed to open his eyes and look at me, 4 days after his birth! He was so sleepy and kept his eyes so tightly scrunched we had no idea if he had the grey blue eyes we had hoped for or not! (They were but quickly changed to brown.)

The first time he really looked at me, 4 days after birth!

By the 5th day I was healed enough to convince my doctor that we could go home. It was a wonderful homecoming for us and we were so thrilled to have our gorgeous son in our own home! I also met the doumi ajumma, or helper aunt, who would stay with us for the next 2.5 years.

Welcome home! 5 days after birth.

Overall we were just so in love with our son that we didn't pay any attention to what had happened or why. That is, until now during our 2nd pregnancy.

I'll write about why we now want to VBAC(Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), why we have changed to a hospital 1 hour away and what new information and resources we have now that we didn't before in my next post!

Cheers for now!
Mommy Cha

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

I DID IT!! I designed my cards, put in addresses and sent them on their way! Shutterfly made it super easy to do and saved everything for future reference. Now i can easily pop gifts and cards in the mail for special occasions with lovely photos of the Kimchi Kid and Kimchi Kid #2 when he arrives!
Yay for technology! Thank you Shutterfly!

Family Snowfall Midnight Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Cards-Family, you may actually get cards this Christmas!!

Hello all! Mommy Cha here! I just found out about a wonderful site called "Shutterfly"!
Thanks to a great posting by Mama Seoul , I have found a solution that will work for me!

As many of you(family and friends) who live outside of South Korea may have noticed, I am awful at getting to the post office to mail gifts, cards, photos, etc. I actually wrote cards when I was pregnant with the Kimchi Kid, addressed them and left them in my office until after his 1st birthday when I mailed them out for Christmas! So bad, I know! To make things worse, they didn't even have a photo of the Kimchi Kid in them, so I am sure everyone was disappointed to not see his shining face looking out from a Christmas greeting!

This is where Shutterfly comes to the rescue!
They offer GORGEOUS, glossy, colourful and creative holiday cards for amazing prices! Cards you can customize and add your own photos to! Cards like these lovely Christmas cards! I just love the many different designs they offer! From this lovely traditional styled card :

*Obviously not our family, but imagine how GOOD we would look on this card!

To these fun and funky Modern styled Christmas greetings:
*Cute kid, but nowhere near as cute as The Kimchi Kid! Right? RIGHT!?!

If it wasn't enough to know that I could order my Christmas Cards, I can also order them in 3 different styles! The cards are available as Folded Greeting Cards which allow you to put "photos and wishes inside and out", Flat Stationery Cards in "stylish designs frame your photos" or Flat Photo Cards which allow you to "send holiday love (for less)"!

There are so many choices, my only worry is choosing them in time for Christmas delivery! Luckily Shutterfly makes that easy for me too! They can stamp and mail my cards DIRECTLY! No more worries about me getting to the post office on time this year!

I wish I had discovered Shutterfly earlier, because it isn't just about Christmas cards, as awesome as they may be! They offer a variety of custom services, several of which I have used from Korean companies in the past. The benefit to me is that with Shutterfly I understand what is going on as it is all in English and I can ship it directly to my family instead of waiting for it to arrive here and then sending it on my own.

*Now no one will forget important days like Mommy Cha and The Kimchi Kid's birthdays!

One of those things is Wall Calendars. I have an adorable calendar on my wall of the Kimchi Kid in his Halloween costume from 2009. My in-laws in Texas also have one. Why doesn't the rest of my family? For the simple reason that my Korean future-SIL ordered and posted it to my in-laws and gave one to me. I would have loved to send a copy to everyone in Canada, but alas, my language skills failed me and I gave up. Now with Shutterfly I can send an awesome calendar to all my family members so they can enjoy the Kimchi Kid 365 days a year!

*Come visit us in South Korea and make YOUR OWN "Asian Adventure"!

The other thing I have done is created Photo Books for my sister and my nephew to commemorate their visit to South Korea in January of 2009. It took me hours on the Korean website to create the books and in the end, the whole process failed because I hadn't used Internet Explorer and the final submit button wouldn't display! I had written a personalized story to accompany the photos in my nephew's photo book and I had to re-write the whole thing! In the end the formatting and paragraphing was a little strange as well, due to the language differences between Korean and English. The saving grace was that he absolutely loved it, still does, and will gladly pull it out to read and pore over the pictures.
Customized Photo Books are awesome gifts for children, if you haven't tried it, I would highly recommend doing so! Be creative, write a narrative about the photos that the child can read on their own. Spice it up with some adventure or funny anecdotes! It will become a gift the whole family will love and treasure for years to come!

So now you may be wondering, why all the Shutterfly love?
Beyond making my life so much easier and allowing me to share the adorable Kimchi Kid with everyone, they have a great holiday promotion on right now!
Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrow à

How can you resist the lure of Shutterfly's awesome cards, calendars, books and more, especially when you can get 50 free cards just for writing about them?? I know I couldn't!

So if you want a gorgeous Christmas card from Mommy Cha and the Kimchi Kid, be sure to give me your address so I can send one your way!

Mommy Cha

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Let's Play Catch-Up! Part 1

Who's that kid?? The Kimchi Kid, that's who! He's back and better than ever!

Hello everyone, so sorry for the delay in blogging! The Kimchi Kid and I have been very busy, and the Kimchi Kid #2 gave me the worst morning, noon and night sickness!

Showing off my burgeoning baby bump!


To start, I had to take time off work in September due to my morning sickness. I was unable to keep any food down every time I ate. A good day meant that 1 meal or snack didn't come back up, and those days were few and far between. I was also having trouble sleeping, so I had no energy for even the basic aspects of life like caring for my son let alone trying to teach rambunctious Korean kindergarten students. Luckily my work was very understanding and allowed me to take time off to rest.

Through the first trimester I was frequently reassured that I MUST be having a girl since my first pregnancy was nothing like this and so many friends who had girls had suffered morning sickness like this. Since a girl was what we wanted, this made us excited to find out the gender! Surely this would be the much desired daughter! My MIL and I both had dreams of me giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. Koreans have a lot of superstitions regarding pregnancy and this was considered a very strong sign that we were having a girl.

The only problem was the Kimchi Kid. Thomas was frequently asked about his sibling, and he always replied "형", which means "older brother" in Korean. We laughed and thought this meant that he wanted an older brother instead of a younger sibling. However when our doumi returned to us after her 6month long to China, she informed us that often Koreans believe the older sibling can identify the gender of the new sibling best. So she asked Thomas the morning of our scan, what was the gender of his new sibling. Thomas replied "남자" which means "male". We laughed and told the doumi he keeps asking for "형" and we were all sure it was a girl.

When we arrived at the doctor's we asked him to check the gender for us. Usually this is not done in Korea, but as I am a foreigner here, I was able to get the doctor to do so. At first he thought he wouldn't be able to find out, but he was able to get the angle right and showed us what we were waiting for.

The "bits"! It is a BOY! Surprise!

Can you tell what that blurry picture is? It was much clearer in the office and the original print of the scan. That is Kimchi Kid #2's penis. That's right, we were all wrong and only Thomas was right! We're having another boy!

After the doctor told us and showed us the news, he proceeded to check on the rest of the baby. I was shocked and asked him if he was sure it wasn't the umbilical cord. He laughed at me, moved the scan back and showed us again what was very obviously a boy. My first reaction was to cry, which caused a lot of laughter in the doctor's office. Eventually we realized this would be for the best, for Thomas and for us. We'll save so much money on clothing and toys, and the Kimchi Kid will have an awesome playmate which is why we always wanted to have a second child.

When we came home and told doumi, she also cried. She had just finished hand washing a delicate pink sweater I had worn as an infant. She was so proud of managing to remove the ugly stain on it and was so excited to see our beautiful baby girl, she simply couldn't believe she was wrong! Even now she is convinced our next check up will show the doctor to be wrong and that we are having the girl everyone longs for! ^.^

The Kimchi Kid waiting for our flight to the USA.

I had introduced a friend of ours to my BIL almost 2 years ago. They had an MSN relationship that culminated in meeting in person at the Kimchi Kid's 1st Birthday party in May 2009. As my BIL lives in Texas their relationship was mostly long distance, daily Skype calls, e-mails and a few visits over the past 2 years. This Summer my BIL decided enough was enough and asked our friend to marry him. We were so excited and threw a good-bye/bridal shower for her! A whirlwind of paperwork ensued and she was on her way to a new life in Austin, Texas in August of this year.

Bridal shower cupcakes made by Gerry of Butter Sugar Cream! Delicious and gorgeous! Bridal bouquets, linked wedding rings and the couple's initials in white chocolate!

We were very excited for them and the wedding was planned for 10/10/10 (October 10, 2010) in Las Vegas. We informed the family that we'd be unable to attend, but they had other plans. As a result we had a whirlwind of planning of our own to do! Thomas and I had to leave Daddy behind due to his work, but we flew to Austin, Texas for 11 days. We then flew with the family to Las Vegas, Nevada for 2 days. I had booked tickets from Las Vegas to Victoria, BC, Canada to see my family as well. We stayed in Victoria for 6 days and then headed to Nanaimo, BC for 4 days before returning back to Korea.

One of the few outings in Austin, Texas. Zilker Park playground. He wore his Texas Longhorns jersey because it was a game day!

I was extremely sick for the majority of the time in Austin, Texas. My morning sickness was either aggravated by the jet-lag or some greasy Mexican food that caused me to have food-poisioning. I ended up in bed for almost 3 days, so sick and weak that I was almost ready to go to the hospital despite the cost. Poor Thomas was so upset by my illness that he became extremely clingy and terrified of his grandparents. It made for a hard visit to say the least.
Every time his grandmother tried to take him he began screaming, crying and shouting "할머니 무서워!" which means "Grandmother is scary!" The trip to Texas ended up being an exhausting round of hysterical toddler, draining shopping trips and hours spent on the couch watching TV.

To make matters worse, the wedding was canceled 5 days before we were due to fly to Las Vegas! My friend had been having a hard time adjusting to life in Texas and was very depressed. Her mother had also begun to pressure her to return to South Korea since she felt that my BIL was not a good person. This was due to the fact that he had not flown to South Korea to visit his future in-laws. Despite being offered airfare to come to Texas to meet the family, which they refused, my friend's parents were adamant that she not marry my BIL! This put her under a lot of stress and eventually she made the decision to honour her parents wishes. Since so many of our family had booked tickets and hotel rooms, the decision was made to turn the trip into a mini-family reunion!

Thomas checking out the scuba maintenance guys in front of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Not having been to Las Vegas with a child before and knowing that we were staying at the Bellagio hotel, I thought it would be a nice trip. The day before we flew my morning sickness seemed to pass and I was excited to go. Thomas was excited to go on another "비행기", "airplane", and I thought we could spend time in the pool.

I was not anticipating the constant battles to drag him away from the slot machines with all their flashing lights and sounds. To get to any restaurant, exit the hotel or get to our room, you HAD to walk through the casino. I was also shocked to realize that all casinos are smoking areas, so we had to walk through clouds of cigarette stench at all hours. My BIL was great at chasing the Kimchi Kid down and carrying him when I was unable to. We had brought a stroller that worked at confining him but he would often cry "내려줘!" which meant "Let me down!".

Las Vegas was most definitely not child or stroller friendly. To get anywhere you have to walk over moving sidewalks or pedestrian overpasses. Escalators are everywhere and elevators were often out of service. The moving sidewalks often had signs posted on them saying "NO STROLLERS". Each Casino on the strip was huge, meaning to get from one to another required lots of walking in the hot sun. The sun was magnified by the shiny glass buildings and lack of shade on the sidewalks. All of this combines to drive people indoors to the dark and cool casinos where they will most likely gamble away, but if you have a child, it makes for a miserable time!

Thomas being cute inside the Shark Reef at the Mandaly Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It took us close to 2 hours to get to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef on our last day. This was due to the convoluted route required to walk there and the fact that you have to walk almost 30min INSIDE the casino just to get to the aquarium! Despite the glowing advertisements and expectations, it was much smaller than the COEX aquarium here in Korea and we were all exhausted by the end. This was meant to be the highlight of our 2 days with Thomas in Vegas, so it was very disappointing.

In the end, I was very happy to leave Las Vegas and head to Canada to see my family!

More on that later, I need a break! ^.~ Catch-up part 2, The AWESOME trip to Canada coming soon!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mommy Cha and the Kimchi KIDS?!

The Kimchi Kid got a stylish Mohawk haircut for the hot, humid Summer season!

Hello everyone, Mommy Cha here again. I know, I know, I am an awful blogger. I am so sorry!! >.< I have a lovely draft blog post about family-friendly Bucheon I started last month, but I've been unable to continue with it. I have a very good excuse this time though-I swear! We're currently 8.5 weeks pregnant with baby #2! Yay! We heard the heartbeat and had a good checkup on Monday. All is well with baby and the due date is April 9th, 2010. I on the other hand am not doing so well. I came down with a terrible stomach virus 2.5 weeks ago and since then have been suffering greatly with morning, noon and night sickness! I've lost track of the days where I haven't vomited and my kindergarten gently suggested that I start my vacation time a few weeks early and rest. I'm hoping this means that baby #2 will be the much requested girl, but we really only hope for a healthy and happy baby, just like the original Kimchi Kid! We've tried to explain what is happening to the Kimchi Kid but the week after we told him about the baby in mommy's tummy, I got very sick with the stomach virus. He was then told by his daddy that mommy's tummy was "아프다", Korean for "hurt/pain". So the poor little guy thought the baby was hurting mommy's tummy and he wouldn't go to sleep for a few days without resting his hand or head on my tummy to comfort me! These days he seems to understand a bit better, but we're going to wait a bit more before getting into more discussion with him. We plan on taking him to the doctor's appointments with us in the future so he can see the baby on the ultrasound. With the Kimchi Kid we were clueless, anxious new parents and had ultrasounds performed every 2 weeks since our doctor was being overly cautious. We had no idea this wasn't the norm but will only have them every few months this time around. We've also learned that the Korean government provides a free credit card for prenatal visits, up to 300,000won($300) total. This will really help cover the cost of our checkups and is a nice incentive to try and increase the birthrate in South Korea. We can also get free multivitamins from the local municipal office, but I ordered from the USA instead. Too bad I keep vomiting them up, but hopefully this too will pass!

Playing in the water with Daddy, AKA "Tom teacher"!

Right now the Kimchi Kid is incredibly excited for our upcoming vacation to North America! The discovery of the long-awaited pregnancy plus my BIL's upcoming wedding to my close Korean friend(I set them up! How cool is that??) meant that we had to jump at the chance to take a trip and visit all the family. The Kimchi Kid and I have visited Austin, Texas to see the Korean family members the past two years. Last year my younger sister and nephew came to Korea to visit us, but we haven't been home to visit my family since he was 4months old. Since he is so different and wonderful now at 28 months, it is past due time to get home and visit! Not to mention that the new arrival next year will limit my ability to travel and visit for quite some time! The Kimchi Kid is already quite a fan of "비행기", airplane, and so we have been priming him with pictures and stories about airplanes. He is very excited to go and understands that he is traveling with mommy while daddy stays home for work. As he says "Mommy, Thomas, 비행기 같이(airplane together). Tom teacher, no! Stay home!"^.^ Hehehe..The Kimchi Kid is quite fond of calling his daddy "Tom" or "Tom teacher" since he teaches at the same kindergarten that our son attends and sees/hears the students refer to him as "Tom teacher" daily. We think it is very sweet that he understands daddy can't come because he has to be "Tom teacher" and work. We plan to take a family vacation for Christmas, hopefully somewhere warm, so that "Tom teacher" can get a break as well!

The Kimchi Kid has been making excellent language progress in both Korean and English and is comfortable speaking in both languages depending on whom he is speaking to. His teacher has a far better understanding of his Korean speech than we do as she is hearing it 5 days a week, 7 hours a day. Already his Korean has surpassed mine in certain areas but thankfully since we switched to pure English in the home, he has managed to become an excellent English speaker as well! He still mixes in Korean vocabulary on a regular basis but it is easy for us to understand. He also loves singing these days, and happily sings to himself in a mix of Korean and English. He has made a mash-up of the "Pororo Penguin" theme song as well as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "ABC". Heaven forbid if we try to sing along though, he will quickly tell us "NO! No singing PLEASE!". Such a little critic! ^.^ He has also almost mastered counting 1-10 in English and 1-5 in Korean. He will at times mix them up but it seems like the English numbers came easier to him. He happily points out and counts diggers, forklifts and other heavy machinery as we walk and drive around town. He is constantly surprising us with his keen observations, active interest and strong memories of the world around him. Every day he brings a smile to our faces as he shares some new discovery with us. We truly are blessed with happiness in our son!

It must be a male thing, being so comfortable on the toilet! ^.~

As for other developments, well the Kimchi Kid is 100% toilet trained and it happened so fast that I still have 1 1/2 cases of diapers in the house! He never wets the bed, is always vocal about needing to use the bathroom and except for 2 pooping in the park incidents things have been smooth sailing! The pooping the park came about when he had to GO and there was no toilets nearby. Thank goodness for bushes and borrowed wet tissue!

Mmm..yummy cake!

There is so much more he is doing these days that I constantly forget to write down! He feeds himself completely, even to the point of often helping himself to food and snacks in the house. He loves art and drawing and will happily sit and doodle on his own. He is a master block stacker and has become creative in making diggers, cranes and trains out of blocks. He has started to turn off the TV if something "Scary" comes on although so far this happens with 1 episode of "Pororo Penguin" and a dog scene in "The Fantastic Mr. Fox". He also managed to create his own "괴물" or monster out of a shape sorter that was arranged in a face pattern. It reminds him of the monster in "Pororo Penguin" and has caused tears more than once now! He walks so much we never use a carrier or stroller now, and have even walked more than 2km without him asking to be carried! He is such a happy and strong little boy, everywhere we go is surrounded with positive energy and interaction. No wonder he loves to go for long walks every evening! ^.^

Move over Jamie Oliver-The Kimchi Kid is the TRUE Naked Chef! ^.~

Since I am on vacation now and spending most of that time in bed, online or vomiting, I will do my best to keep the blog more regularly updated with stories about the Kimchi Kid. Thank you to everyone for your patience and hope to hear from and see you all soon!
Much love, Mommy Cha and the Kimchi Kid! ^.~

Monday, June 14, 2010

Long Time, No Post!

Hello everyone! So sorry it has been so long between posts lately.
What can I say? The Kimchi Kid is growing up so fast, Mommy Cha rarely gets the chance to sit down and blog. Facebook is about as good as it gets these days, anything that takes longer is more likely to be forgotten. As it is, I am writing in bed, while the Kimchi Kid drifts off to sleep next to me. We're working on separate beds but he still needs Mommy or Daddy next to him to fall asleep! Which I don't mind, as I can't believe my baby is growing up so fast!! ㅠ.ㅠ
The Kimchi Kid has so many new developments daily it is hard to keep track. I'll do my best to try and post more often! For now, here are some tidbits and anecdotes to tide you over! ^.^
The Kimchi Kid modeling his new underwear!

1. The Kimchi Kid began potty training just over 1 month ago. After the first day, he never peed or pooped his pants at school again. The few accidents he has had were due to us forgetting to take him to the bathroom. Now we no longer need to worry-he tells us when he has to go and has graduated from the potty to the potty seat on the big toilet, and no seat when peeing! This took us and the kindergarten completely by surprise! He still can't pull his own pants down fully, but he doesn't even wear pull ups anymore, just thin cotton underwear! Fantastic!

2. The Kimchi Kid has begun adjusting well to the only English approach we are taking at home. He has almost complete understanding of anything you say to him although he often will choose to not answer beyond a few words or in Korean. He can be negotiated with, offering him options works wonders! He can fully understand the choices presented to him and respond with the choice he prefers. This leads to much more pleasant outings and time together for us all.
Recently he has even begun to make English sentences which is a great step for him! Since he has so much more exposure to Korean he speaks it more easily, but is showing a good grasp of English now that we have decided to focus on it more in the home. Our first approach was 1 parent, 1 language. But when Daddy was speaking Korean, as well as Doumi, neighbours, strangers around him and his school, Korean was all he would use. Now he is learning that we respond to English and people around him respond to Korean. ^.^

3. The Kimchi Kid has gotten even better at feeding himself. He has trainer chopsticks that he uses like a pro! He even picked his own meat off the grill in a restaurant with them! He is very good at telling us what he would like to eat, although at times that has meant he requested "cheeseburger" or "ice-cream" for dinner. But what kid doesn't request things like that? ^.~

4. The Kimchi Kid has become extremely fond of song and dance, drawing and painting. I credit his kindergarten for inspiring this creativity in him, but some of it surely must be genetic! (The drawing and painting, not song and dance! Neither Tom nor I are good at that!)
He loves to sing little songs to himself, sometimes they seem to be real songs that we can identify, other times he makes them up. He also loves to clap his hands, dance and bob his head in time to music. I caught him singing along and dancing to the opening song in the movie "Wall-E" the other day.
As for the art, well he only tries drawing on paper, but it can be magazines, books, sketch pads, tissue, anything! Despite having lots of lovely crayons his weapon of choice is a ball point pen. As long as he doesn't draw on other surfaces, I suppose it isn't too bad. He really loves tracing his hand or feet though and can do so endlessly. I think it is adorable!

5. The Kimchi Kid is polite! Yay for Canada! ^.~ He is very good at using his "please" and "thank-you"s. He is fond of saying " Help me please!" if he can't do something on his own. He loves to ask for "Money please!" or "Candy please!". He is just so cute when he does it is hard to say no!
He is also very good at greeting Koreans politely, bowing and speaking the polite form "안녕하세요!" (Ahn nyoung ha seh yo). The people in our building, in the shops and restaurants all know and love him. He gets so much positive attention everywhere he goes and he is always polite and happy.
He has even been given money by older men who said that he reminded them of when their children were young! ^.^ The first time it was 1000won($1) but twice now he has been given 10,000won($10). He is also frequently given toys, candy and snacks by his adoring fans! ^.~ I'm getting tired of the candy thing, but we are weaning him off it.

6. The Kimchi Kid is currently obsessed with baseball, bugs, birds and diggers! During the recent construction in front of our building there was a large orange backhoe at work almost every day. There was no way you could tear him away from watching that machine at work! He talks about diggers all the time, looking for them and pointing them out to us. The same goes for bugs and birds. He is always hunting for them when we go for walks and will chase either one happily for hours!
As for baseball, he calls it "야구" (Yagu). He can spot a baseball, bat or glove a mile away! He will run into the park searching for older boys playing it and try to play with them. Luckily everyone is charmed by this precocious little sports fan and they are more than happy to toss him the ball a few times. He has also learned "strike", "out" and "home run" which he happily shouts while watching people play!

7. The Kimchi Kid has learned the difference between "Good Boy" and "Bad Boy" and will tell us when he is being a "Good Boy". We have worked with time outs and now counting down from 5 in terms of discipline. We also explain to him now that if he is a "Bad Boy" he will be punished, either by forfeiting a treat or reward, returning home or by making us angry. He has learned that these are things he doesn't want so if we tell him that is what will happen, he reassures us that he will be a "Good Boy"!
At dinner the other night he was being restless while we were still eating and refusing to eat his meal. We told him that if he did not eat, we would go home and have no walk in the park. Since he loves walking in the park so much, he responded "No no! Thomas Good Boy!" and ate all his food! ^.^ Daddy and I were so surprised and utterly charmed that it was all we could do to stop from laughing out loud!

There is so much more I could write, but the Kimchi Kid has fallen asleep and it is time for me to steal away into the night...
I will leave this post at lucky #7 and do my best to write more soon!!

Much love from us all, Mommy Cha, Daddy Cha and The Kimchi Kid! <3

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to the Kimchi Kid!

I can hardly believe it has been 2 years already! Time has gone by so quickly and our bouncing baby boy is now a bouncing little boy! ^^ He amazes us on a daily basis with his keen intellect, curious mind and charming personality. We are so proud of the little man our baby boy is becoming and we can't wait to see what the future holds for him!

Thomas, we love you so much! Happy 2nd birthday from Mommy and Daddy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mommy Cha and the Kimchi Kid LOVE Moby Wrap!

When we first found out I was pregnant we immediately began to research what we needed to prepare for our new baby. Since we live in South Korea we knew we would be limited in some of our choices.
During the many hours of reading reviews, surfing websites and asking opinions as to what we would need, we decided the must-have baby carrier for us was the Moby Wrap! The wrapping technique seemed to really confuse people, but we found it very simple and easy to do.

A lot of people did not know what a Moby Wrap was when we told them, so I often had to compare it to a sling for people to understand. The reality is that the Moby Wrap is so much more!

via Moby Wrap .com

Be comfortable
The design of the Moby® Wrap uses your entire back, as well as your shoulders, to carry the weight of your baby. Unlike other carriers, which have narrow straps or go across one shoulder, the Moby® Wrap is a wide piece of fabric that is wrapped over both shoulders. It is amazingly comfortable and easy to wear. There are no buckles, snaps or other fasteners. It is easy to adjust the fit of your Moby® Wrap by varying how tightly you wrap yourself and your baby.

Be secure
The Moby® Wrap comes with an easy to follow instructional guide and this web site with the latest news, tips and techniques. With the single stretch cotton and the width of the Moby® Wrap, your baby is wrapped close and tight, ensuring a secure hold. Your baby’s head can also be secured under the stretchy cotton fabric for added safety. You can finally have both hands free and know your baby is safe and secure.

Be uniquely close to your baby
There is not a lot of extra material or bulky padding between you and your baby. Your baby can hear your heartbeat and finds comfort in the warmth of your body,
and sound of your heartbeat within the cuddly confines of the Moby® Wrap.

Preemie to 35 lbs.
The Moby® Wrap is an optimal baby carrier for premature infants. Preemies are often prescribed to practice "kangaroo care" and this skin-to-skin practice used to increase birth weight can be easily achieved while wearing the Moby® Wrap. The Moby® Wrap is long enough to adapt to your growing baby. The fabric can hold up to 45 lbs, and most people feel comfortable carryin
g up to 35 lbs.

Soothes fussy babies
It is amazing how quickly a baby will settle down once wrapped in the Moby® Wrap. Experts like Dr. Sears, stress the importance of holding your baby often and close. The Moby® Wrap allows you to do this with ease. The style of the wrap insures your baby is uniquely close, while providing ultimate comfort and support. No more aching backs or tired arms! Now your baby can be kept close and happy for as long as he or she desires.

There are many ways to wear your Moby® Wrap. You can wear your baby facing you, facing the world, sideways or on your back. When not being used as a carrier, the Moby® can be used as blanket, pillow or anything else that comes to mind.

Machine washable
The Moby® Wrap is easy to clean. You can mac
hine wash your Moby® in cold water and tumble dry low. Slight shrinkage after washing may occur. Once you start wearing your Moby® again, it will stretch out.

Thomas was a heavy baby yet I never understood why so many mothers complained of back or shoulder pain. So often moms would talk of how heavy their child was and how they couldn't carry them for long. With the Moby Wrap I was able to happily wear Thomas for hours on end.

Daddy takes a nap with Thomas sleeping in hug hold.

From the beginning he disliked the cradle hold, preferring to be upright in the hug hold. Thomas has always been eager to sit, crawl and walk earlier than most babies! So being upright in the hug hold made him so content, he would sleep for hours! I remember the first days, he was fussy and loved to be worn in the Moby Wrap. I would walk around the apartment building and he would fall asleep in minutes!

Visiting an amusement park using hug hold.

Sleeping peacefully in hug hold while Mommy enjoys the Summer evening at a cafe!

Breastfeeding in the Moby was just as easy for us. Once I walked around Costco with him happily feeding and no one had a clue!
Everywhere I went I wore the Moby. If I was breastfeeding I used it as a cover, if he was in the stroller it became a blanket. If we visited friends or went to the park, it was there for us to sit or lay on. We even used it as a towel after playing in the water fountains last Summer!

Moby Wrap towel after playing in the water park.

Moby Wrap leg cover in the stroller.

Moby Wrap Stroller liner and blanket!

Moby Wrap picnic blanket in the park!

When it came time to fly, Moby Wrap was with us! The 11 hour flight to Vancouver, Canada when he was 4 months old was a snap thanks to Moby! He slept peacefully and fed easily when he was in the wrap. Even the stressful journey to Texas, USA was made easier thanks to Moby! Several people commented on how happy and QUIET my son was during the flight.

Loving it in hug hold with Auntie Heather at Piper's Lagoon, Nanaimo, BC, Canada.

Happy in hug hold with Halmoni at Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, Texas, USA.

We flew to Bali, Indonesia when Thomas was 9 months old. Once again Moby Wrap made for a peaceful and easy flight! Touring Bali's many beaches and temples full of stairs would be next to impossible with a stroller. Moby Wrap made it a smooth experience and we didn't miss a thing! Thomas loved to be in joey hold, facing the world and watching everything around him. But if the sightseeing got to be too much for him, he could easily turn into hug hold and have a nap while Mommy and Daddy kept exploring!

Sightseeing in Bali, Indonesia in joey hold.

With Mommy and Daddy at a traditional restaurant in Bali, Indonesia, sleeping in hug hold.

Over the first year of using the Moby Wrap we introduced it to many friends and family members. Everyone fell in love with the comfort and security the Moby Wrap provided both parents and child.

Heidi and Thomas in hug hold.

Aaron and Thomas in joey hold.

As we continued to use the Moby we decided to bring Moby Wrap to Korea.
We were so excited to share the Moby Wrap with Korean families who already had a long standing tradition of wearing babies on their backs. It was no where near as comfortable as wearing a Moby Wrap so we knew that once Koreans found how great Moby Wrap was to use it would be a hit!
Moby Wrap is growing in popularity by the day here in South Korea and we still use it even now with Thomas who weighs 13kg/28lbs and is now 21 months old. We plan to use Moby Wrap with the next child we have and have recommended it to everyone we know!
We have never tried any other baby carrier on the market as there was simply no need! Moby Wrap was comfortable to wear, fit all sizes of our family members, was versatile in the different positions Thomas could be in as he grew, was portable, easy to clean and came in enough colors and patterns to keep us happy for years! Even when we would go out for a walk with a stroller, the Moby Wrap came with us just in case.
Thomas has grown up in the Moby Wrap and it means comfort and care to him. When he is sick, he will pull out the Moby Wrap and ask to be carried in it. Recently he even began asking for it by name, although he says "Noby", that is pretty close for a 20 month old! I've now begun carrying Thomas in hike hold on my back, the style Koreans like the most. I can carry him for over an hour with him on my back, despite his 13kg/28lb weight!
It really was the best thing we bought for our baby and it still is even now as a toddler!
What more can I say, WE LOVE MOBY WRAP!!

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, anywhere and anytime in the World, MOBY WRAP is where your baby wants to be!!

Chejudo Dinosaur park with Daddy, joey hold.

Chejudo Glass Castle with Mommy, sleeping in hug hold.

Walking in the park watching the Fall leaves with Mommy, hug hold.

In Paju Artists' Village with Daddy, joey hold.

At the Paju Book Fair with Mommy, hug hold.

Having ice-cream at Baskin Robbins with Daddy, joey hold.

At Incheon Movie Theme Park with Daddy, lotus hold.

Enjoying the Cherry blossoms with Daddy, joey hold.

Checking out all the animals with Daddy, joey hold.

Watching the fish swim in Vancouver International airport with Mommy, hug hold.

Being just adorable in the elevator with Daddy, hug hold.