Thursday, July 19, 2007

8 Random Things About Me

So, I've been tagged. I don't know if any of these will be of interest, but here goes:

1. I love the way the air smells after a summer downpour. I grew up on the East coast (Maryland, to be exact) and I desperately miss thunderstorms and rain falling so hard you can barely see out the window.

2. I played basketball in 6th and 7th grades. My 6th grade team was called the "Strawberry Shortcakes" and we won our division championship. There were exactly 5 girls on each team, and we just played each other, as no other schools had a 6th grade girls' team. The irony is that all the girls on my team were really short, including the coach.

3. I thoroughly enjoy reading Anne Tyler novels because the characters are very human; and she always sets her stories in my home state.

4. When I was a young girl (around 6 or7) I had an imaginary daughter named Jessica. I convinced my little girlfriends to have imaginary daughters too, and we would spend our recess making imaginary clothes with bobby pins for our little girls.

5. I always knew I wanted to be a mommy.

6. I love Maryland steamed crabs. My brother and I used to live off crabs every weekend during the summer months. Yummy!

7. John Denver's music and lyrics warm my heart and soothe my soul.

8. My name "Heesun", when written out in characters, means "Bright Hope". (I'm Korean.)

So that's it for me. Now it's my turn to do the tagging. I tag Angela ,and Stacy for now. I'll have to add others a bit later....

Good night.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thoughts on an Outing

We went out to dinner last week (a very rare occurrence for us, but this was a special occasion). Max had been wanting to use his walker all day, so when we arrived at the restaurant, he insisted on taking his walker inside with him. We obliged. And, as we were being seated, I noticed several patrons watching us with great interest. And, as we happened to be seated at a table, rather than a booth along the sides, we were easily observable. Several times throughout our dinner, I noticed people glancing over, their eyes drifting to the walker, then to our family, then back to their fellow diners. It appears that a walker that small is quite a novelty in public.

When dinner was over, Max chose to use his walker rather than be carried out of the restaurant. Mind you, Max is a very slow walker, and he hasn't quite mastered steering so he tends to bump into things, and people. So I made sure to stay fairly close to him in order to avoid any major collisions. As we were walking by tables and patrons waiting to be seated, several people stopped in their tracks and made comments such as, "Oh, how cute!" or "Look at him go!". All very positive and very encouraging. One little girl noticed Max as she was getting out of her own car, and was very curious about his braces and his walker. Without hesitation, she asked, "Why does he have those on this legs?" I explained that he has trouble walking and they help to support his feet. Then she asked about the walker. I gave her a similar explanation. Then her father, who had been standing very close by, chimed in, "And he's doing a great job, too!"

What I found interesting about this outing was people's reactions to my son's physical challenges. In general, they all seemed very positive. But, my mind began to fast forward to when Max is a teenager, or a young adult. What if he still needs a walker, or crutches, or even a wheelchair. Will people have similar reactions, or will they simply smile and avert their gaze? I'm guessing it will probably be the latter, because even I have done this. But, why? Why is it that a small child with physical handicaps can elicit a warm response, while an adult elicits avoidance?

My son has taught me to be much more aware of those around me who have any form of disability, and to meet their eyes without fear, but with openness and understanding. And I am grateful for that. But, why was I one of those people who chose to avoid, rather than embrace?

Sunday, July 1, 2007


My daughter, Jozey, is 13 months old today. For months now, we've been trying to figure out how to get her to sleep through the night. No luck. She wakes at least twice, sometimes even more often, and nursing seems to be the fastest way to get her back to sleep. The challenge is I need sleep, too. So, inevitably, I end up bringing her into our bed, nursing her and falling asleep. That means, if she starts to stir, neither my husband nor I get much rest....and she's the only one who wakes up refreshed.

When Max was about 17 months old, we spent a week or so, teaching him to fall asleep on his own. Until that point, it was a daily ritual to rock him in our arms ( a ritual my husband particularly enjoyed) until he was in a deep sleep. Then we would lay him down, and he would be out for the night. But we were beginning to notice that it would take longer and longer for him to fall asleep. We realized that he was probably forcing himself to stay awake because of our company, (and because we were rocking him in the living room, with the television on...yes, we were that naive). So, while my husband was away on business travel, I instituted a sleep schedule for Max. I would put him down for his naps, after a ritual of one book and slow rocking. I would leave the room and he would cry...and cry...and cry. I forced myself to let him cry for up to one hour, then I would rush in and get him up. And, we'd try again for the next scheduled nap. After a week or so, the duration of crying decreased and by the time my husband returned from his business trip, Max was able to soothe himself to sleep. As a result, at the age of 3.5, he's a pretty consistent sleeper and is able to fall asleep on his own about 90 percent of the time.

Now, my daughter is another story. One would think that, since she's the 'typical one', we'd have no problem allowing her to cry it out and get her on a better schedule. But, here's the glitch. She's never really had a schedule. From her early weeks of life, her schedule has revolved around her brother's schedule. She would come along to every appointment imaginable. And, if she fell asleep in the car, well, that would be her nap. Once we got to an appointment, she was sure to wake up. Here we are, at 13 months of age, and she still takes her morning naps in the car, after we drop Max off at preschool. She naps anywhere from an hour to hour and half, then we run errands. I try to get her to take another nap in the afternoon, at the same time Max does, but that's always touch and go. And bedtime is a very long, extended affair.

So, knowing this history, does it make sense to let her cry it out? Isn't it to her benefit to learn how to soothe herself to sleep? What is it that's preventing me from using the same method I used on her older brother? Is it my need to comfort her because I realize that during the day, she gets shortchanged for my attention? At 3.5, Max still needs a great deal of help with dressing, eating and toileting -- stuff that a typical 3.5 year old would be doing on his own by now. And, whenever he shows an interest in standing or walking, I make it a point not only to encourage him, but to be right there supporting him, literally. So, honestly, Jozey gets somewhat neglected. And, she makes it known that she doesn't like it! Recently, she has started to race after me if I leave her to help Max with something, and grab on to some part of my body. I suppose she's trying to tell me that she needs attention, too.

So, late at night, when I am finally able to give her some undivided attention in the form of nursing her back to sleep, I can't help myself. And, I wonder, how much of this is for her, and how much is for me????