Posts Tagged ‘intercultural parenting’

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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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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If you’ve ever wondered how many layers it takes to be considered a warm baby in Korea, I guess it’s at least one more layer than this. Because a onesie, lined track suit with hood, puffy jacket extending over the hands, hat, Ergo winter cover, and being worn against mum was still not enough to prevent the cold comments on the subway today.


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He said: ‘Now that the baby’s in daycare and around other kids, we have to be more careful about his body temperature.’

She said: ‘You mean…we should be vigilant about checking him for a fever or signs of illness because of more germs?”

He said: “No, his body always needs to be warm because then he won’t get sick.”

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