Friday, June 29, 2012

I am woman, hear me roar!

The temperatures have been rising here in our household, but nowhere near as fast as the ratio of females to males. The 1:1 of a month ago has swelled to 3:1, whereas the Koreanocity of the household has gone from 1:1 to 2.5:1.5 (or 5:3, for those who hate decimals). Of course, this is one of those areas where, lamentably, the numbers do a poor job of telling the real story. 

Changmonim (mother-in-law) and Ellie are now full-fledged members of the household, and each brings with her a fair share of changes.

Ellie's changes are probably fairly obvious, and include good times and bad times.



Although a bit of clarification there. The lost sleep, restricted activities, diaper changing, occasional screams... none of those really strike me as "bad times." It's more the worrying--usually on nights and weekends--when we find something "wrong" with Ellie and start panicking. Or unraveling the mysteries of breastfeeding, which has probably been our most persistent struggle of the past month.  

The next picture is randomly placed and has nothing to do with the preceding sentence.

We've taken the typical Korean route and adopted a "sleep-with-us" policy for Ellie. Or, at least, a "with-us" policy.

The changes accompanying Changmonim are more external in nature. They include a much cleaner house, a full spread of Korean dishes at each meal, some scolding and slapping, and a host of traditional remedies for post-partum ladies and newborns. For example, last night around 3:00 a.m., I stumbled out into the kitchen and noticed something boiling on one of the burners. I took a peek and saw some tentacles. Octopus juice; it increases breast milk production. (I can't be too skeptical; Joo pumped three times as much extra milk today as she did yesterday!) 


It has definitely felt strange for me to leave in the morning and go teach with Upward Bound. My arms feel empty.

One of the best developments of this first month has been that Ellie's eyes are open much more often, and we even get the occasional smile (although squeaks and grunts while sleeping are much more common).

JooYeon has a more reciprocal relationship with Ellie than most mothers do.

So that's life in the increasingly female Showalter household. Drastic changes, to be sure, but on the whole they're very welcome :) I may be outnumbered in terms of biological sex and ethnicity, but I'm feeling pretty good about the ratios.

And of course, regardless of how strong these women might be, even their roars subside now and then... 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eat, Sleep, Think

Three weeks now with our little 공주님 :) She's probably continuing to grow, although I don't necessarily see it. Nor am I in any rush now that I now she's back up to birth weight so she must be getting Joo's milk. 

Of course, being so tiny, I feel extra protective of her. Luckily, I have some backup firepower too. I pity the future boyfriend who has to make it through these two...

Ellie still sleeps almost all of the time, but must have some pretty vivid dreams. She tends to more animated in her sleep than when she's awake.

With some exceptions of course. Like when Daddy pesters her.

I'm not much for fashion, but it is fun to dress her up in all her cute outfits that friends have given us (I'm pretty sure we haven't had to buy any clothing for her yet).

And so the thinker continues to think. Who knows what's going through her little mind?

Gifts from the Heart

"You've heard that it was said, 'It's the thought that counts,' but I say unto you, 'It's the sacrifice of time and energy that is an expression of true love.'" Well, maybe that one didn't quite make it into the Sermon on the Mount, but there has surely been some loving going on amidst the Showalter family! 

Let's start with the book that Mom hand-sewed for Ellie...

It was based on an idea she had from books when I was growing up. She chose several pieces of colorful fabric to go with the black-and-white theme that is supposedly easiest for infants to see.

Each page was a creative work of art!

Even some mathematics to start Ellie out early :)

And of course, just in case she should forget who her parents are...

This was in addition to the other gift Mom (and Dad, and Heather and Bob) had prepared a month earlier... a landscaping makeover of our jungle yard. Before and after pictures of that to come, once the "after" is fully established.

Heather, in the meantime, was plotting a secret plan of her own for the past 8 months. She saw someone convert a picture to a counted cross-stitch and contacted the lady, who lives in Virginia. The lady transformed a wedding picture of JooYeon and I into a pattern.

To get the full range of colors, Heather had to amass a collection of 150 different colors of thread!

And slowly, slowly, she plugged away, day by day.

Until it reached the majestic finale! I almost didn't include the picture here on the blog, since it doesn't do it justice at all...

My creative juices have been a bit more dormant (or have they?), but I did manage to work on an art piece for JooYeon during my classes this quarter. Yes, I was paying attention - the drawing helps me to focus on the professor :)