On March 31, 2013, Easter Sunday, you were baptized. It was far less harrowing for me than your circumcision. I’ve mostly gotten over that, though I did feel very apologetic for a while – much like I was when we had our dog neutered when I was in high school and it felt like every look he gave me was, “How could you let them do that to me?”
Your day began when I gave you a bath on Sunday morning, which you still really hate. You’re losing a lot of your chub and although I REALLY REALLY miss your rolls, I don’t miss the cheese I’d often find lurking within said rolls. So aside from you now actively trying to escape the tub, bathing you is far simpler.
We then dressed you in your transport clothes – as any parent with multiple children knows, you never transport your kids to an important event in the clothes you want them to be wearing at that event – and headed to church. Once there, we dressed you in the tuxedo onesie mommy made for you. Grandma and grandpa on mommy’s side were there, but grandma and grandpa on daddy’s side had to be at their church for Easter Sunday.
Daddy shared briefly with the congregation on what your name means and the significance of your baptism. There tends to be disagreement regarding infant baptism but for us, it basically means we will do our best to raise you in a loving, Christian home and when you’re old enough, you can decide if you want to confirm your faith. I also joked to the congregation:
“Don’t let that adorable look on his face fool you folks – I assure you he is a sinful, selfish being, and he needs Jesus.”
It was a joke, but there is some truth in there that mommy and I desire that you live your life for something more than just yourself.
When our pastor sprinkled water over your head and laid hands to pray for you, first you pushed her hands away, then you grabbed her hands and started clapping them for her, then you tried to eat her hand (you do this with EVERYTHING), then you started clapping her hands for her again. I know I should’ve been closing my eyes during the prayer but it was hilarious. And people in the congregation found it hilarious too – as the prayer continue the laughter was increasing as more and more people were opening their eyes to look.
So that was your baptism. It doesn’t mean you’re saved nor does it mean you’re forced to stay a Christian. It was mommy and daddy’s way of saying to God, our family, and church that we will do all we can to raise you with Christian values, and our hope is that the way mommy and daddy live out our faiths will be a testimony to you.
You’re almost a year old now and you’ve brought and continue to bring so much joy to our lives.
It’s hard to believe, but you’re going to be here soon. Daddy was leading worship at a retreat this past weekend, and at one point I cried because I imagined holding you in my arms. What can I say? I’m a sappy pop. I imagined the rush of emotions as I held and laid eyes on you for the first time and I was overwhelmed. The tears were overflowing when in that moment, God said He felt the same for me.
As you get ready to step out into this world of ours, I have a few things I’d like to tell you. First, you are a blessing, not a burden. The Bible says, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127:3). So what does it mean for you to be a gift? Let me explain it this way – your mom is God’s perfect gift for me – not only because she’s wonderful, but because without her, I wouldn’t be who I am supposed to be. We’ve had conflicts, arguments, and fights in our 5 years of marriage, which, though painful, have helped me become a more patient, loving man. In the same way, your sister is God’s gift to me. Not only does she bring me lots of joy and laughter, but she also helps me to be a more loving, caring father, mostly by testing my patience and tolerance for pain – stepping on toys isn’t fun. So that’s a gift from God – not only something that I’m supposed to enjoy, but something that helps me to become who I am supposed to be. You’re a gift; don’t ever let anyone–including me–tell you any differently.
Second, you were created as a solution to a problem. In fact, every created thing was created as a solution to a problem. People got tired of walking, so they invented the automobile. Then people wanted to travel further and faster, so they invented the airplane. People are strange needed to use their hands while under a blanket so they invented the Snuggie. People are really strange and perverted needed to…well honestly, I don’t know why they created the Shake Weight. So God created you as a solution to a problem. Maybe it’s to help fight poverty or hunger in some foreign nation. Maybe it’s to teach students and help guide them to a brighter future. Maybe it’s to simultaneously help the terrible Washington Redskins and help mommy and daddy retire early – there’s maybe 0.001% chance that this is what you were created for, so I won’t get too excited. And of course, there likely isn’t just one problem you were created for, but know and understand that your life has purpose and meaning.
Finally, I’m going to do all I can to be the best dad I can possibly be for you. I’m still unsure how I am going to balance caring for you and your sister. Your sister got all our attention for close to 3 years. When she was inutero, we were constantly thinking about her -we even did this baby journal thing. We did buy a journal for you as well, but it’s really quite sad how rarely we read and wrote in it. When she cried or wanted something, she got all of our attention. Now our attention is going to be split. So while I’m still unsure how I am going to balance things, I will tell you that when I’m with you, you will have my undivided attention.
See you soon, kiddo.
Yesterday, The Kojo Nnamdi show had a segment on The Politics of Breastfeeding in Public. Here’s WTOP’s coverage of the story and the subsequent nurse-in. As stated on the show, breastfeeding seems to become a news item every five years or so (Remember the nurse-in at Regan National in 2006?). While not as horrifying as Stewie Griffin being fed by his dad, breastfeeding in public remains an uncomfortable subject for most – even for grown men. The issue is not over legality, as most states allow feeding in public by law, but rather what we as a culture are comfortable with.
In some cultures breastfeeding is hardly an issue. When I visited relatives in Korea as a middle schooler, my aunt, her infant daughter, my sister and I took a trip in a taxi. My aunt’s daughter began to cry so my aunt whips out her breast and feeds her daughter. It’s hard to put into words how this traumatized my pubescent years, but let’s just say I may not have been as excited to see a nipple like an average 8th grader. On one visit to Thailand, I was praying for some villagers. As I made my way around the room, I reached this one infant being held in his mother’s arms. As I went to lay a hand and pray for him, the first thought that went through my mind was, “Awww, he is too cute.” The next thought was, “Oh. What’s that in his mouth?” As if he were reading my thoughts, the baby promptly unlatched and TADA! a lactating nipple. Finally, my wife was reading a parenting magazine a while back and she related an article on how breastfeeding is viewed in Mongolia. In one memorable passage, a Mongolian woman settled discord among her kids by waving her boobs and this would get all the kid’s attention. Talk about milkshake bringing the boys to the yard.
Since it’s not a big deal in some cultures, I’m not sure why it’s such an issue here in the US. I’m not an expert, so my opinion doesn’t mean much. Plus, I’m a guy so that limits my knowledge on female issues to what my wife asks me to go out and buy when she is experiencing said female issue. But I can relate my experiences as a dad, so here goes.
- Breastfeeding can be insanely difficult and painful – for the fellas, imagine the worst chaffing you’ve ever had. Now imagine that chaffing was on your nipples. And something is constantly gnawing at it. My wife was intent on breastfeeding for at least a year, but she nearly gave up on numerous occasions due to the pain and issues with latching.
- America’s obsessed with breasts – but we’re afraid of nipples. In fact, they are often the difference between modest and obscene; PG-13 and R; SFW and NSFW. Heck, the only nipples we seem comfortable with are the shirtless dudes on Abercrombie or Hollister shopping bags. And yet, we’re completely ok with depictions of violence.
- Breastfeeding is awesome for dads! No warming up formula means you get to sleep a little bit more. Plus, you won’t ever scald baby’s mouth since breast milk is always at the right temperature. Just make sure you make up for it in other ways, like doing the dishes or something.
- Breastfeeding is cheap – I didn’t say free, as it is taxing on the mom, but as far as money goes, it doesn’t cost anything.
- Try different positions – my wife tried the Boppy, a nursing stool, among other things, but found that laying on her side was the best for her.
- For the moms who would like to feed in public but are concerned about modesty, nursing covers are available. My wife liked her Bebe au Lait, which was about $40. Be warned though: my daughter used to get sweaty when she would feed under that thing in the summer months. My wife also found nursing bras and tops to be invaluable.
- Mastitis is no joke! And no, that’s not a sophomoric word I just made up. My wife had a fever and felt ill.
- Teething and biting are definitely a concern – here’s a simple tip: if the baby bites you, pinch his or her nose. Since they can’t breathe, they’ll release. It’ll still hurt like heck but at least they’ll let go.
Now there are definitely arguments for and against breastfeeding and on how it seems mothers who feed in public want it both ways (freedom to feed in public, but privacy in that they probably wouldn’t want people to stare). I won’t get into that here because once again, I’m not an expert and I’m a guy, but I will say this: the controversy started because people where uncomfortable seeing a woman breastfeeding at mall, but heck, there are tons of things at the mall that make this Pop uncomfortable. The play area, which I affectionately call the petri dish, all the advertising that will make my daughter ask me to buy things, $3 Jibbitz, Libby Lu (thank goodness those closed down), and Victoria’s Secret (my daughter once ran into a VS, grabbed a bra and said she wanted it. I nearly had a heart attack).
But at the end of the day, aren’t we a country that values choice and individual rights? So if a mother chooses to feed in public and she’s permitted to do so by law, that choice should be respected. And if some creep decides they want to stare the whole time, that’s their right too. All I know is, Baby #2 is almost full-term and I’m glad I won’t need to purchase or warm up formula.
What do you think? Are you comfortable with mothers breastfeeding in public?
So after reading my post yesterday, my wife forwards me an article from CNN: Does your name shape your destiny? First of all, don’t you just love all the stuff floating in the wonderful toilet bowl that is the Internets? So many thoughts and ideas but very few conclusions. The CNN article basically goes: blah, blah, blah, blah, blah with a few unmemorable passages of text made into large quotes to A) make the text seem important and B) lend some credence to the article, and then with the conclusion: “These studies are not absolute. But one thing is clear: A name is more than a name.” And then the big finish: a quote. So basically, the article says a lot but actually says very little, and its answer to the question posed in the title, “Does your name shape your destiny?”: it probably does but we’re not entirely sure how. But it probably will, so you probably should name your child something.
The same absolutely holds true for my blog. I hope it’s entertaining for those who stop by and I sure hope visitors come back or even subscribe, but let’s face it – nothing I write is going to make or break your week, your day, or even the time between you reading this and when you Alt + Tab when a coworker walks by. But I continue to write because I hope it makes you chuckle, maybe even LOL, drool, or say, “Hmmmm, that’s interesting.” And of course, having subscribers boosts my electronic ego (eEgo? eGo?). But back to the article and baby names.
A few quotes I found interesting from the article. First,
Professors reported children with “black-sounding” names such as Lakisha and Jamal are 50 percent less likely to receive a call back for a job interview compared to “white-sounding” names such as Emily or Greg.
So sadly, our child won’t be named Watermelondrea or Colla’Greeniqua.
Pelham attributes the naming phenomenon to ‘implicit egotism,” the idea that people unconsciously select things, places and other people that resemble them.
So I guess Marylandre and Koreandrea are in play.
A name can affect academic achievement, said professors Leif Nelson, now at the University of California-Berkeley, and Joseph Simmons at Yale University, in their 2007 study. After analyzing grades, they found students with names that began with a C or D earned lower grade point averages than those that started with an A or a B.
You know us Asians are all about academic achievement, so maybe we’ll go with Astute or Brilliant.
Somewhat more seriously, I do have a list of girl names that I’d like to use but for some reason, my wife doesn’t like them:
My Dad Knows Karate
Sometimes, I’d like it if God made my life easy and like in the Bible, send an Angel of the Lord and tell us what to name the child. Although, if He did, I’d probably Google the name, research the meaning, etymology and how popular it is, and come back and say, “Are you sure, God?”
*Disclaimer: if you or your children or your great uncle’s sister’s friend’s cat is named any of the names mentioned in this post, I apologize.
Besides the development of the baby and all that, I’m convinced that God allowed 9 months before birth so that parents could think of a name. Granted, giving some parents this much time probably wasn’t such a good idea (Neveah: heaven for the dyslexic; Nahla: can you feel the love tonight?; Willow: are you going to name their sibling Madmartigan?; Apple: seriously?; Tallulah: to quote Cool Runnings, “Sounds like a 2 dollar hooker!”), but for parents like my wife and I, it’s a good thing because it gives us time to think of any possible ways potential names could be made fun of.
With a little over a month to go before Baby #2 arrives, my wife and I are feeling the pressure. We don’t want to get too creative as they’ll constantly have to tell people how to spell their name (Brayden? No, it’s Braidin’, as in hair) nor do we want to get too conventional (how many Korean Daniel’s, David’s, and Grace’s do you know?). We also want to avoid the most popular names since we’d rather not have the following exchange in regards to our child:
Kid 1: Hey, have you seen Isabella?
Kid 2: Which one?
K1: Isabella Jones.
K2: Which one?
K1: You know…the one w/ the glasses.
K2: The thick glasses or the thin glasses?
K2: Long hair or short hair?
K2: Fat or skinny
K1: Kind of medium
Like I said before, if Baby #2 were a boy, I kind of wish I could just name him Barpop: son of Pop. If Baby #2 were a boy, we’ve mulled over naming him Taylor since A) I love guitars and B) I love Taylor guitars, but we’re pretty sure naming him that is the equivalent of wounding a gazelle and throwing it to a pack of lions – middle school is tough enough; imagine surviving it as Taylor. And if Baby #2 is a girl, she’d think she was named after Taylor Swift for the rest of her life.
Allow me to diverge a bit, but I find Taylor Swift, and her effect on men, fascinating. At the gym, Love Story comes on quite frequently since the radio station is set to Sirius Hits 1, and the burliest men you’ve ever seen will not only tap their feet to it, they’ll sing along! Slightly under their breath of course. On the Metro or in my office, I’ll see tough lookin’ dudes bobbing along to their iPods and if I listen closely, I’ve often heard, “Romeo save me, they try to tell me how to feel…” And I’m not gonna lie: it is a catchy tune. Men, we won’t admit we like plucking our eyebrows, watching romantic comedies, or gossip, but we will sing along to Taylor Swift. Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
And being Korean, we’re going to go with a Korean middle name. Obviously, it won’t be something like Yoo Suk or Gee Ho (#9 in this list), but it will probably give American people contortions when they have to try and pronounce it. Don’t believe me? Try these: Eunkyong, Jeonghui, and Seotaiji. But mercifully, it’ll be hidden in his or her middle name, so he/she can simply use the initial rather than the full name.
Mercifully, if he or she hates his or her name, they can go ahead and get it changed legally, but isn’t that the biggest slap in a parent’s face? He/she may as well shout, “YOO SUK DAD!” on their way to court.
So in a little over a month, both you and I are going to be uncomfortable. For the past 8+ months, you’ve enjoyed the comfort of the womb, and I’ve enjoyed the fact that your erratic sleeping patterns in the womb have had little to no affect on me. But a little discomfort is no big deal compared with being able to hold you.
Can I ask you a question? Daddy’s in trouble isn’t he? You see, your sister used to move in the womb, but it seemed she was doing yoga, with large, sweeping motions. You on the other hand, it seems you’re taking a spinning class or working out to music at 160bpm. That combined with the fact that you’re active for most of the day makes me think we’re going to be getting very little sleep.
You’d think this being the second-time around, I’d be less apprehensive, but I’m not. The cord being wrapped around your neck, meconium getting into the amniotic fluid, tearing for mommy, you being healthy, SIDS, etc…but at least every time I look at your sister I can say, “Well, despite my ignorance and foolishness, she’s still alive…so…” 😛 I’m sure that gives you very little comfort, but one thing I can assure you is that I’ll do my absolute best to love and care for you every single day. And not to mention, I’ll BBQ for you – but that won’t be for another year or so, so don’t get too excited.
Enjoy your last month in there kiddo. Daddy absolutely can’t wait to see you!
You are one active baby! Your sister was pretty active too, but you seem to be attending aerobics classes in there or something. Mom says that it feels like there’s a goldfish swimming inside, except that it’s really powerful.
In just over 3 months, life is going to change drastically for all of us. You’re no longer going to be swimming around in amniotic fluid; mom’s going to have to breastfeed again; your sister is going to have to share her room with you; and I’m going to have to remember how to hold a baby again and what it feels like to go without 8 straight hours of sleep for weeks at a time. That sounds terrible, but it’s really not. Things might be uncomfortable, but that’s ok. If you only focus on your comfort, you’re going to be one selfish person, and you’ll end up living alone and the only things that will tolerate you will be cats.
So your mom and you have gotten pretty huge since I last wrote. At that time, mom was in between the “Is she getting really fat?” and “OMG! She’s SO pregnant” stages; now, she’s definitely pregnant. So idiotically, daddy said, “Wow. Honey. You are getting HUGE! I mean, last week, you were kinda big…but this week, you’re huge!” to her. If you’re a boy, take note son: don’t say stuff like that. You may think you’re making a keen and helpful observation, but in reality, you are an example of why God decided man needed a helper. And that’s not even the worst thing I’ve ever said.
One time, while we were dating, mommy and I were at Ocean City with friends. We were swimming and then I decide to pick her up in the water. I then remarked, “Wow, honey! You’re so light underwater!” Once again, I thought I was making a keen and helpful observation, but in reality, I’m an idiot. You see, son, there’s this inconvenient thing called implied meaning. For example, if I said to someone, “Wow! This is the best homemade meal I’ve ever had,” and your mom is within earshot, I am implying that her meals aren’t good. And you might think you can make amends later by saying, “Oh come on, honey. I was just being nice,” but realize there’s no return policy with words, so when in doubt, shut the mouth.
If you are a girl, you pretty much don’t need to worry about everything I just said. Just please be gracious to your husband. That’s right…I said husband. Boys, and especially teenage boys, deserve no grace and mercy, and in fact are evil creatures who deserve nothing more than to be ignored. And if a boy asks if you want to play doctor, that’s slang for I’m going to punch you in the face, so run away like there’s no tomorrow. And make sure to get a good view of the boy so that you can describe him in detail for daddy.
Now…what was I talking about…oh right…mommy’s getting huge. I mean, you’re getting bigger. The other night, you were incredibly active and it looked like you were doing cardio kickboxing or something, and then mommy woke up sore. Take it easy in there kid; you still have 3 months to go. Mommy’s probably going to have to visit her chiropractor soon b/c her back is starting to ache.
Your sister’s at a rather challenging point right now. She’s starting to learn that she likes and dislikes certain things, and b/c she’s pretty vocal, she makes it known. She’ll even say in Korean, “I don’t like dad.” Mostly b/c I like to bother her when she’s doing things. But she’s also at an incredibly fun stage. She’s soaking things up and cracks mommy and daddy up with the things she says. The other day at church, someone shouted, “FAIL!” and your sister followed suit. Everyone had a good laugh.
We’re still struggling with coming up with your name. Sometimes, dad wishes it was like Biblical times where, if you were a boy, I could simply name you Barpop, which means son of pop. Of course, not knowing whether you’re a boy or a girl complicates matters, but hopefully we’ll find a name that fits you.
Alright kiddo! Enjoy recycling the amniotic fluid!