Kimchi please?

So my family and I went to Seoul recently. It was a pretty last minute trip, a short last minute trip.

I don’t know if I ever want to go back to Seoul again. The moment I sat down in the bus to Incheon airport, I was pretty sure that I’m not coming back. 2 weeks after settling down in the office, and had a talk with my bestie, it made me think, that the destination did not really matter. Seoul wasn’t even the initial plan. The thing that matters the most was, whom did you travel with, and the memories made. All I could say is, I miss those times spent in Seoul, with them! Sharing some of the moments in Kimchi land..

  • That moment when Nuha cried so loud in the midst of a busy Namdaemun market and how my mother in law searched for a spot for me to breastfeed her. We finally found an ahjumma of a shop who was kind enough to let us in and stayed for a while until Nuha done feeding.
  • The moment I saw my husband kissed her daughter’s freezing chubby cheeks during a parade in a theme park, which he never did for me 🙄
  • The way my father in law put on a scarf because he was freezing, he looked so cute!
  • That nervous look of my mother on her first international flight (my first flight with her!),
  • How helpful and considerate my brothers in law had been throughout the trip carrying the baby stroller when her majesty refused to sit in it.
  • Running in the cold weather with my brother in law looking for the bus we thought we had missed to go Everland, turned out that the bus was late!
  • The look of my mother in law when she tried Korean kimchi jigae which was her first Korean meal (she said it’s good just like tomyam 😂 I’m glad you tried mama!)
  • And the excited look of my brother when we went to the theme park trying out the rides. Too bad I couldn’t ride everything since I was carrying a clingy baby koala (Nuha) 🤧
  • We were visiting during autumn time, almost the end of autumn to be exact. Lucky us that the golden autumn leaves were still around even though not much. The best autumn foliage we’ve seen was at the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace. The weather was cold and the day was short. I’d prefer if the temperature was warmer and longer day time. I really couldn’t stand the cold (and cold people too), I think everyone was not enjoying the cold weather. Plus we walked too much from the subway stations to another and to the tourist spots. It consumed our energy especially the grandparents (and me as a first-time-traveling-with-a-baby-mom).
  • Koreans are generally good looking people, whether naturally or not it doesn’t matter. But we live in a world where beauty fades with time. What really matters to me, is attitude. I wish some of them would have better attitude towards fellow humans from other parts of the world outside their cocoons.
  • Guess that’s all I have to say about the trip. Next trip: ________________ 😉
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    Eczema Baby

    On her 30 days old, my baby had these red rashes on her face which the doctor diagnosed as atopic dermatitis or in layman’s word eczema. I was freaked out because all I know about eczema is that it requires a lot of attention and tedious treatment.

    The condition got worse when she felt the itchiness on her face and she started to scratch them. I was forced to make her wear her mittens all the time even though my plan was to get rid of the mittens once she’s 1 month old. Babies who are free from mittens and booties are said to develop their motor and sensory skills faster and better than those who wear them all the time. I had no choice, it’s heartbreaking to watch her scratch her face at night and couldn’t sleep. I kept her swaddled (not for long, she hates it), or I would hold her hands while sleeping. Well, not really a “sleep” for me.

    Out of desperation, I requested to join an eczema support group in Facebook to get help. From there, I saw many worse cases of eczema than my daughter’s. Babies and adults, but babies are the most sufferers of eczema. People there discuss and ask questions about their eczema, and often there are worried mothers like me, ask about their babies’ eczema. I can say that I learned more from the group, knowing what exactly this illness is, and how to handle it when it attacks. There are no cure for eczema; the only way to survive is to control it, as for my daughter’s case, hopefully she’ll be able to outgrow it.

    I’ve went to few doctors and they prescribed me different lotions and creams for my baby. What I know about these creams are they contain steroids. From the support group, most patients advised not to apply steroid creams since it will make the condition worse called Topical Steroid Withdrawal, even though in early applications it helps to clear the rashes away. Not being a steroid-phobic but paranoid mom, my personal opinion is, if it helps to ease the itchiness my baby is suffering from, why not? But definitely it can’t be used for long term. I used steroid cream on my baby and I used it very very carefully, only when the rashes are too bad, and it subsided after few days. The eczema does not end here though, sometimes it makes a comeback when I thought I had it under control. The cycle goes on until one of the doctors prescribed a moisturizing lotion with oats as one of the ingredients, which to be used to keep the skin away from dryness. So far it works wonders on my baby.

    Another thing about controlling my baby’s eczema is for me to control my diet, since I am breastfeeding her. And it is the hardest thing to do! For someone who loves to eat, and have so much loves for food, I am now losing my only passion (I wish, losing my weight too). No dairy, no gluten, no egg, no nuts, no caffeine and no seafood which translates to no cakes and dessert, no snacks, no coffee and no for everything!

    I just pray that my baby will outgrow her eczema one day so that I’ll be able to have my croissants back every morning and cakes for tea time. Hahaha! May God heal you baby, and may you always be healthy, safe, and happy. Mama will do anything for you, even if I had to forget about my love for food, for my love for you is always stronger than anything else.

    Dilemma of a Working Mom

    Let’s hold hands, and never let go

    How to be convinced that a babysitter will care for your baby the way you do? Or at least the way you want your baby to be cared for? After all a babysitter is just a stranger, paid to look after your baby when you’re not around. Unless the babysitter is a family member, whom I think can be trusted and relied upon, giving a mother more peace at heart.

    Dear daughter, mama is sorry for not being able to look after you once I start working. Maternity leave is coming to an end soon and I feel so sad to send you to the babysitter. 8 to 9 hours a day, which could be our precious time to spend with each other will be someone else’s to spend with you 😢

    Will she spend time to talk to you? Or just let you watch TV which I will never let you to? Mama will miss hearing you babbling and watch you giving me a big smile, or perhaps miss the chance to hear your first word. Will it be “Mama”? Promise it’ll be mama okay?

    Will she feed you when you cry and hungry? Or will she just feed you every time you cry even though all you need is an embrace and a little soothing song? How will she warm up the milk? Is it at the right temperature? ☹️

    How will she clean you after you poo poo? Or giving you a bath? Because mama always gives you a warm bath and I enjoy watching how your little feet kicking in the water 😢

    And how will she put you to sleep? Will she sing a song like I do? Because to me, looking at you sleeping is the best feeling ever. Watching you smile while you sleep and wondering if it’s mama that you’re dreaming about 😭

    I’m sad. I wish I could take care of my baby by my own. But I need this job, there’s no way to quit unless I’m a millionaire or married to one.

    Dear God, I pray that you will always keep my little baby safe and healthy during my absence.

    Postpartum Struggles

    Stepping into motherhood, now I know that being a mom is not just having to carry a baby for 9 months (lucky me that I didn’t have any sickness during my pregnancy), give birth to it; it also includes the confinement period, and, breastfeeding. Of course throughout my pregnancy, I had been given great advices on what to eat for a healthy baby (even though most of the time I was pampered to eat for two), sleeping position when back pain is unbearable, breathing techniques and how to push a baby out. I was made aware of how painful it would be to give birth. What I was not warned about was how I should be enduring my postpartum life, how the confinement period is like (well Asians go through confinement period after giving birth), and I did not know how painful it is going to be to breastfeed a baby (thanks to my flat nipples).

    My postnatal life started when I was discharged from the hospital 3 days after my delivery. And my first nightmare began when I rushed back to the hospital just 3 hours after I was discharged because my baby had blood in her spit-ups. I forgot that I just delivered a human few days ago and had my episiotomy stitches, and I walked like nobody’s business. All I could think of was to make sure my baby’s safe and healthy. Thanks to my own negligence, my episiotomy stitches were opened up and I was so depressed, and in pain! The doctor just wouldn’t stitch me back, leaving me with no choice but to walk slowly, and I had to clean my wound with warm salt water and antiseptic, every single time I used the toilet. I hated this the most, honestly.

    Nightmare number two started at the same time, and it was breastfeeding. My nipples are the kind which do not protrude, and I didn’t know it would put me in such a painful situation. I had badly cracked nipples which were the cause to my baby’s bloody spit-ups and the late night emergency room drama, oh not to mention, the drama repeated itself: the same bloody spit-ups from my baby, and my baby and I was admitted (again) in the hospital! The nurses monitored my baby and my breastfeeding technique. They wanted to see the latching of my baby to my breast. And I didn’t even know how to correctly hold a baby!

    It’s no joke for breastfeeding business. You need to feed your baby, with your milk, through your nipples which hurt like hell, you need to beware of what you eat since some food can cause your baby to become colicky, and trigger eczema if you’re unlucky (I am unlucky, sadly), at the same time you want to eat a lot of things to boost your milk production but you just can’t because you need to be careful of what you eat. And when you talk to other moms who exclusively breastfeed their babies, you’d feel like a loser for supplementing your baby with formula milk. I wish someone had told me all these things before.

    I wish I knew how hard it is to be a mom. But now when I look at my baby’s face, I thought to myself, all those pains, stitches, sore and cracked nipples, they’re totally worth it. All these struggles, I’d go through everything as long as she’s always healthy and happy. Because I love her so much ❤️

    You don’t know how much you can love someone, until you realize that you just can’t live without them. When I look at my mother, I realize that she’s getting older and it makes me sad. Knowing that someone who has an unconditional love for me, growing old while I am busy building my own little family, breaks my heart. Have I done enough for her all these while? Will I still be able to spend time with her tomorrow? When I watch my husband sleeps, I realize that there’s an unlimited capacity of love in my heart for him. If I could be given a chance, I’d never want to miss a thing or a moment with him. I could stare at his sleeping face and be contented for this gift in my life. When I kiss my baby, I realize that her smell is the best smell in the world, and I wonder what kind of mother would I be for her.

    Silently I pray that all the people I love will always be with me. Selfish thought I know, but I just can’t live without them, or maybe without them, life just will not be the same.

    Ah, I’m being overly emotional and sensitive again

    Love

    I’m writing this while my dear daughter is sleeping soundly in her cot. Today marks the sixth day since I had given birth to a girl whose name which I and my husband had decided, respectively: Nuha Alesha, brings the meaning of the wise and intelligent, and protected and blessed by God.

    She’s born on a Thursday afternoon, after almost 3 hours of battle in the labor room, apart from the pain of contraction the night before. I am truly grateful, that my husband was with me in the labor room. I couldn’t have done it without him. He was actually on the bed with me soothing my painful back pain before the delivery, even though I didn’t notice this since I was too high on painkiller. All i could remember was his hands rubbing my back and me telling him not to stop rubbing and not to ask any questions. I pushed the baby out without even opening my eyes, it was so painful that all I could do was only to listen to his voice guiding me during the delivery. And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. He kissed me on the forehead, saying “Good job, love” and that’s how we started the journey of our little family.

    I was admitted to the hospital earlier before my due date, and he spent so much time accompanying me, even though from outside of the ward. Sent me food, taking care of me and cheering me up. I never knew that he could be so mature and protective, now that he is a father, a responsible and understanding, I must say.

    I rarely post stuffs about my husband, but I think he deserves this post. Thank you Abang for being with me through my hardest time. Thank you for accepting my flaws and all the ugly sides of me. And most of all thank you for loving me.

    I am so tired. My body, my heart, my mind. I hate for not being able to treasure my own sweet time while having breakfast which is supposed to be the most enjoyable thing in a day for me. I hate it when I can’t spend more time talking to my baby even if it’s just in my tummy. I’m sad when I can’t have extra hours for my husband just to cook for him or talk to him. I miss cuddling with him because now I have to have extra pillows supporting my aching back. I’m worried that I’m being too negative while I should be cheerful and positive in these few months more of being pregnant. I’m so exhausted.