Posts Tagged ‘family’

Wow…it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. We are very welll and looking forward to taking a trip back to North America for the summer break. As to my lack of posting, mostly it’s a combination of being busy with life and not feeling the desperate pull to write that I once did. I think I mostly need a break. But until I get back to into writing again, please take a moment to fill out this survey for parents of multiethnic Koreans in Korea if you are one. Also, if you know someone else who is, please pass it along to them. 🙂


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We FINALLY got the official dol party pictures back including a lovely little book of the best ones. Therefore, as part of my then/now project, I thought I would share one of Dragon at his dol party table in contrast to Mr. Lee’s dol party table 40 years ago.

dol table dragon

lee dol

Like so many things, there’s such a contrast between the home-prepared family party in Mr. Lee’s photograph and the uber commercialized/aggrandized contemporary party. I’ve been to several dols which have the traditional table laid out with the fruit and ddeok, but I’ve also seen a lot of fake fruit, or, in Dragon’s case, flower arrangements, candles, and knick knacks that obscure the traditional items (if any) from a clear view. (We did get a rather large box of fruit to take home though).

And I love that my boys have almost the exact same outfit on.

A precious set of photos.

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Just a few pictures to show you how we celebrated our first Christmas as a family of 3!

Preparing for the big day


25 advent


Christmas cookies for daycare teachers


25 cookies 2

25 cookies

Dragon enjoying and wearing his Christmas presents

25 christmas outfit

blog presents

blog dragon

A selection of the many stocking stuffers sent from abroad

25 irn bru

25 chocolates

25 pp

Including some Father-Son matching shirts

25 guns

We went for lunch at the inlaws (mandu guksu, bulgogi, and tiramisu)


And ended the night with dinner at the Hilton with our friend (no cooking for me today!!!)

hilton collage

Merry Christmas to all

xo msleetobe + fam

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Dragon’s favourite Korean book is a simple story about a boy getting ready for bed. He brushes his teeth, splashes in the tub, gets read a bedtime story and…bows to his parents.

The Canadian in me shivers at this image, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Even with the smiling faces and cute bowing teddy, it seems like such a heartless bedtime ritual. It seems so formal and lacking in familial affection. How can insa ever exist in place of cuddles?

Of course, the question remains whether this picture is a manifestation of reality or an ideal vision of how it all should be in a Confucian society (two pages later the boy peacefully drifts off to sleep immediately after his mum reads him a story…and all parents know that bedtime is really always that easy!) But it’s safe to say that such an image would not normally be found in a modern day Canadian children’s book.

Now, after ten months of reading this book to Dragon before bed (snuggling together, sometimes with his arm wrapped around my shoulder), I still admit to feeling uncomfortable with the formality of it all. However, I’ve also experienced the exquisite sweetness of insa at daycare.

Dragon has a kind of girlfriend there – an older woman no less. And she’s taken to spontaneously greeting me at the door on occasion when I arrive and depart (already trying to get into our good graces!). And my goodness, when she folds her itty bitty hands at her waist, and bows slightly with a shy smile, my heart melts and everything within me screams CUTE. Her miniature attempt at a custom which seems far above her age cannot help but endear her to me, and with that feeling, I can see how a ritual that seems so cold in the abstract can actually be a very loving and affectionate gesture.

I’m not going to give up cuddles though. Ever.

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On Noodles

Last night we were eating noodle stir fry, so I gave Dragon some rice noodles to see if he would like them. He immediately started cramming fist fulls of them into his mouth to the delight of his father. Because you see, you can’t be a Lee unless you want second and third helpings of all manner of noodles.

And then I heard it coming from Dragon’s mouth. The unmistakable sound of an ajosshi enjoying his meal. Mr. Dragon was gleefully slurping up noodles.

A real Korean this one.

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On 5:20 pm

For a moment, I gaze through the sliding glass door at him. He’s not looking at me. Something in the other room has captured his attention.

I slide the door open, and he turns his head toward the noise. It takes him but a second to realise who it is. And then it’s mass chaos as he propels his body forward in the baby walker, squealing as he hurdles himself toward me as fast as his little legs will carry him.

He crashes into me, narrowly missing my toes, and then, with a little bounce, he has hopped into my arms and is attacking me with open mouth kisses.

Daycare pick-up is the best part of my day.

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On Halloween 2012

We totally went there. Dragon went as a dragon.

And he even had an additional layer of Halloween goodness on today when he sported his costume at daycare.

We trick or treated at a kid’s cafe with friends and friends of friends, and I even found Halloween candy bags to make it all proper. But sadly, Dragon’s cold meant we decided to stay in and miss a baby party on Sunday 😦

And last but not least, a picture that is an oldie but a goodie. I swear, no photoshopping! My Mab is her own Halloween costume, and something magical happened with the flash and her eyes in this one photo.

Happy Halloween!

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On 32

For my birthday this year, Dragon stuck his mucus dripping nose in my mouth. Soon after, I started coming down with a cold, and I spent this afternoon with a fever and congested nose.

But considering Mr. Lee spent his 2012 birthday with a baby in the NICU, I’d say this was a step up.

Also, Dragon started shouting CA or CAD while pointing at his cat siblings today, so I think he’s added a second word to his vocabulary (1st being mom mom mom mom or omma depending on how much Korean he’s heard that day).

And Mr. Lee brought home this cake.

these sweet potato bakery-esq things we’re really into at the moment

AND an ‘S’ grade for his midterm work eval.

So, not such a horrible birthday in the end 🙂

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On Feeding

In general, our relationship works like this. When we’ve mutually agreed that one person should be in charge of something whether it be doing a chore, making a purchase, or planning an event, the person in charge gets to make the decisions. When it’s something that pertains to one person alone, that person gets to make the decision.

And then we had a baby.

Because of our respective work schedules, I am solely responsible for Dragon during the weekdays. And because of social conditioning and individual ability, I’ve been the one making the majority of the decisions about how Dragon is raised, which, for an infant, is basically about food, sleep, and play.
There’s no dispute about sleep schedules; we only wish he would sleep longer and better. There’s no dispute about play and social interaction. And Mr. Lee has always been supportive of my choice to breastfeed and then my need to supplement at the beginning.

Then we got to solids.

Now, before we go further, I need to point out the mommy wars in Western culture often revolve around food. So this isn’t entirely an East/West parenting issue. And personally, I have stopped any form of philosophical parenting and taken a more – ‘what’s good for us and scientifically reasonable is what we’re going with’ sort of approach. That means I breastfeed despite obstacles and qualms about certain approaches to breastfeeding advocacy, and I started solids at 4.5 months because it was the right time and recommendations are just that. Recommendations. I also puree food because I like to and spoon feed for now because it works for us, but if the little Mr. takes something age appropriate and size appropriate from my plate, that’s okay too. In short, breast milk is great, purees are great, finger food is starting to be great. Breast milk is good for him and solids are good for him. All is good right?

Well, we went to the 6 month government sponsored baby wellness-esq check, and the dr asked if Dragon was eating beef. No. Chicken? No. Eggs? No. Fish? Um…no. A wide variety of fruit and vegetables (brussel sprouts even!) and lots of iron fortified pablum…yes. But the dr didn’t care about those things.
So then I got a big talking to. Because all 6 months old should be eating those 4 things. They should, specifically, be eating mackerel I was told. Really? I said in an exasperated voice which was unfortunately interpreted as a question. Yes. I was making my son anemic because he wasn’t getting his daily serving of hanwoo.

Now, agreeing to raise Dragon as a meat eater has been my big concession in parenting thus far. I made it for various reasons, but a primary reason is that we live in Korea, and he will be attending Korean daycare and kindergarten and school and kids have meals made for them at these places. And there’s always meat. And nobody is ever going to respect the crazy foreign mother’s request to omit that meat from her son’s portion. So I know that whether I like it or not, he will eat meat. And I was planning on starting meat from around 8 months. But because I feed iron fortified pablum, and because I breastfeed, and because I like the idea of introducing things slowly over time, I didn’t feel that the moment a kid turns 6 months he needed to be eating mackerel.

The same day we went to a second dr (our usual ped) for vaccinations, and I was again reprimanded for not giving my 6.5 month old meat. This of course started getting Mr. Lee antsy. He was already secretly worried I think about me the vegetarian REALLY agreeing to feed our son meat, and then he heard from drs that denying our son meat for the past two weeks was harming him.

And this is where intercultural parenting is fun. Because yes, I am the one who is preparing food and feeding Dragon most of the time, so from my perspective, I get to make the decisions.

But Dragon is not entirely mine. And we are not living in my culture. And to be honest, although people will say ‘your child is YOURS and YOU know what is best for YOUR child,’ that’s not entirely how most people see it. Society sees your child as theirs, family and children’s services see your child as theirs, breastfeeding or anti-circumcision or anti-spanking advocates see your child as theirs, and older generations sure as hell feel your child is a piece of them and that they have a right to have at least a little bit of an opinion. The validity of these claims is up for debate depending on the issue and situation, but at the very least, our child is ours. He’s Canadian and Korean and at some point there’s bound to be some disagreements as to how to deal with that fact in day to day decisions about how we raise him.

Plus, being outside of my culture, and trying to interact in a language I’m not fluent in means that I can’t always express my ideas adequately, or explain cultural differences like how our rice cereal is fortified with extra iron unlike most homemade juk. And of course, not being raised in this culture, I don’t always know what people expect as normative here in order to prepare my defense of my way or even prepare for the controversy. Anyway, needless to say, I didn’t respond well to the doctors, and I got kind of pissy.

Then I took a little break and tried to be rational again. And I tried to give up a slice of my monopoly on how Dragon is raised even if it’s really me putting in the time and raising most of the week. And I decided that my husband and the doctors shouldn’t be lumped together. I should talk and discuss and find a compromise with my husband. And in matters that are really not important, I should smile and nod and carry on when it comes to others.

So I started Dragon on chicken but only chicken at 7 months. He’s not a fan 🙂 But I fully realize it takes kids some time to get used to different tastes and textures, so I try every so often in different combinations to see if he will become a fan eventually. And Mr. Lee is okay with no mackerel. Because he is our son. And we should find a middle ground in an honest way because we are raising a child together and can work together to find a good solution for all.

And then when Dragon and I went for a follow up vaccination, and when the dr. started berating me about meat and how my seven month old MUST eat meat at EVERY meal, I refrained myself. I didn’t talk about how often he consumed meat. I didn’t talk about how my culture does it. I didn’t talk about iron fortified foods or the fact that a whole lot of kids don’t take to meat or solids in general for quite some time. I just put the hint of a smile on my face, agreed to the general principle that iron is important, and said, that yes, indeed we had started ‘meat.’ Less is better, and appearance of agreement is good enough in this situation.

I’m learning.

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On Mr. Lee’s Distinction

I was just thinking the other day about how Dragon has basically grown out of his reflux issues. I no longer walk around all day with a stream of vomit down my back or stuck in my cleavage, he doesn’t wake himself up after a night feed by vomiting the entire contents of said feed into his bed, and he is a much happier baby than before.

And then as I was washing up after dinner tonight, I heard Mr. Lee yelp in a horrified sort of way. I came running, and as I approached the couch, I slipped on something wet and slid the rest of the length of the room. Dearest Dragon had vomited all over his 아빠’s hair, and left a trail of vomit down the back of the couch which then collected in a puddle on the floor. And then the cats tried to eat it.

In a pained voice, Mr. Lee said, ‘In all of his projectile vomiting, has Dragon ever thrown up in your hair?’ No my dearest husband, that parenting milestone is all yours…for now.

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