Tuesday, August 28, 2012

yet another korean golfer.


my parents are avid golfers. my dad has played the game for about 40 years and loves it. and he was itching to share the game and that love with his one and only grandson. 

for a little over a year, cb has been chipping and driving and putting with his set of plastic clubs and has been occasionally taking some swings with his "real" clubs (a gift from my sweet friend, graceybee!), but they've been a little heavy for his tiny body. lately, he's been getting better with his real clubs, and my dad figured if cb was using real clubs, he should be on the real green!

this past weekend, my dad and cb went to the driving range at a local golf course, just the two of them. (the two of them together turns my heart to mush!) for about an hour, they (reportedly) had a total blast hitting and putting (real!!) golf balls. 

here are some snaps my dad managed to capture from their outing:
setting up...

keeping his eye on the ball...

nice shot!

and now, on to putting!

practice makes perfect!

according to my dad, cb wasn't a golf prodigy by any means, but he did say that cb has some raw talent and a good understanding of the basics of golf. with some consistent coaching and lots of practice, my dad may have a cushier retirement than he originally thought. :) of course, that means as cb's coach, he'll have a lot of hard work ahead of him...but, gosh, can you even imagine the cuteness of a teenaged cb and his coach/caddy/hahbee walking the course?! 


meanwhile, in other news, this golf outing was made possible by the fact that my mom and dad kept cb overnight at their place so the hubs and i could enjoy a night and morning off. 

i know!

it was kind of a major deal. 

especially considering we got to sleep in until 10am.

it was glorious and delicious.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


i'm kind of in a blogging rut. i still love to write posts, but it's sometimes a chore to sort through pictures, edit them (with the extremely subpar "skills" i possess), and write a coherent post. i need to recap our recent trip to chicago and wisconsin, so while i procrastinate on doing that, here is a hodge podge post of some recent gems of conversation snippets from choi boy... his increasing vocabulary and comprehension regularly crack us up and i need to write these down before we forget them!

cb, on self-awareness:
we were recently at my niece's baptism and when cb got a little unruly, i scooped him up and headed to the cry room at the back of the sanctuary. and this was his observation:

cb: mommy, how come molly and reese are not coming in here?
me: because they know how to sit quietly and listen during the service. can you do that?
cb: oh... no. not yet. 

cb, on his love of meat:
1. while we were at the hubs' uncle's house, we watched a freight train go by. i asked cb what he thought might be in the freight cars, and this was his response:
hmm...maybe gogi. (meat)

2. as we were leaving wisconsin, we asked cb about his favorite part of being at hahmuhnee and hahbuhjee's house. he promptly answered, "oh, the gogi!"

3. a few weeks ago, we were snuggled on the bed, under the covers and i whispered, "tell me a secret." to which cb responded in a whisper, "i love gogi."

not a secret buddy, not a secret.

cb and his comedic timing:
running around sock-less all summer has caused some majorly stinky feet for our little man. like, MAJORly. one night, we were teasing him about his especially stinky feet (he had been stomping in puddles). after his bath, the following conversation unfolded between cb and the hubs:

the hubs: let me check if those feet are still stinky! (takes a whiff) nope, they smell good!
cb: (without missing a beat) let me smell your hair. (takes a whiff) yuck! smells bad!

sorry, honey, but i can't necessarily say cb was wrong...;)

cb and song requests:
when we were at the beach, we happened upon these adorable young teenage boys (maybe 15ish?) who were playing songs on the guitar and bongos. they were playing a lot of jack johnson/jason mraz-y songs and cb was fascinated. they were so cute and interacted with cb as they sang. at one point they looked at my sister (who was holding cb) and said, "any requests?" to which cb responded:

"maybe 'twinkle, twinkle'?"

my sister almost started to cry it was so cute.

cb, on aging:
choi boy's third birthday is quickly approaching (yikes!), so he's been talking a lot about getting older and all the things he'll be able to do. here are some of the things he's looking forward to:

cb: when i'm three, i can chew gum. and when i get older and i'm a grown up, i can drink soda. and beer. 

i really hope that's not his impression of all we do...

and finally, cb, on fine dining:
our little tot is quite the adventurous eater. he will try anything at least once (especially if his favorite grown-ups are chowing down on it), and has a love for a variety of tastes and textures and especially loves very flavorful food.

the other night, we were at a sushi restaurant with my uncle's family. cb happily ate california rolls, (raw) tuna and avocado rolls, unagi, a few different kinds of sashimi (tuna belly was his fave), and fried octopus legs. the kicker was when the raw shrimp was served (i didn't let him try that) and alongside them were the shrimp heads, fried and spiced up. my uncle asked cb if he wanted to try one, and cb answered, "oh, yes!"

and as he happily munched away on shrimp heads, eyes, antennae and all, he turned to me and said, "mommy, these bugs are so yummy."

i really, really hope cb doesn't become that weird kid that eats bugs on the playground.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

my seestar.

it's no secret that i think the world of my seestar. or, sister, for you non-weird folk. she is fun, and caring, and weird (like me!), and so very loving and loveable.

and she is also adventurous and brave. we joke (in kind of a twisted way), that if the hunger games were, in fact, real, and i was chosen, she'd volunteer for me. (even though she's younger!) and probably win. meanwhile, i'd be the dumb girl that starts a fire and gets found and killed on the first night. (told ya it was kind of twisted.) i also told her that if the world of divergent were real, she'd be dauntless, while i'd be lame, non-confrontational amity. (i suppose you could also add "nerd" to the list of traits my sister and i share.)

why do i share this? because in about a month, my sweet tippy will be embarking on a new adventure...and i'd love it if you would keep her in your prayers and follow along on her journey. she'll be headed to rural ghana where she'll spend about a year volunteering at a local orphange. she is also hoping to help out with some HIV/AIDS prevention and advocacy. and we're so excited for her and what this year will look like for her!

more than anything, we'd love to know that she is being supported by and covered in lots and lots of prayers for her safety and for the work she'll do. if you'd like to follow along as she blogs during her time in ghana and learn about specific ways you can pray, you can hop on over to her blog, ghana write! if you are interested in supporting her in other ways, you can hop on over to her fundraising page, ghana go! (we're all about being punny in our family. we get that from our dad. ;) )

and, if you'd like any more info, feel free to email me! 

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

thanks for letting me use my little corner of cyberspace to spread the word about my little sis. i love her so.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"you are not special."

Back in June, a high school commencement speech given at Wellesley High School by teacher David McCullough, Jr. (yes, son of that David McCullough, Sr.) went viral. Though he later said that his “ intention was a little hyperbolic drollness to get their attention,” educators and adults everywhere were applauding McCullough’s blunt parting words to the graduating class.

The central message of the speech was that regardless of what you have been told and led to believe, you are not special.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have…
…But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not.


So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.


You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.

Can I confess to you that as I was reading this I was pumping my fist in the air and cheering? Because I totally was. My colleagues and I joked about slipping the transcript of the speech into our students’ report cards. Because I feel like this is a message that is so important, even to 5 and 6 year-olds, and more importantly, to their parents.

I just completed my tenth year of teaching. And in that decade, I’ve literally taught hundreds of students and interacted with hundreds of parents. That doesn’t make me an expert by any means, but it does give me a glimpse into the culture of parenting as it has shifted and changed even over the last ten years.

If I’m going to take a cue from David McCullough, Jr. and be blunt, I’ll say this: generally speaking, with every year, I’ve noticed that kids are becoming brattier and feeling more entitled (oh, the stories I could tell…) because parents, generally speaking, have come to coddle them more and more. And present company (I’m talking about me!) is definitely *not* excluded.

It’s almost as if the first of the “everybody gets a trophy” generation is now raising kids and the philosophy has changed to “yes, everybody gets a trophy, but my child gets the biggest trophy!” Of course, I’m exaggerating quite a bit and this is a gross generalization, but it’s been really interesting to see the reactions I have gotten from parents when approaching them about different subjects regarding their children.

When I was little, if I *ever* came home with a note from the teacher that suggested even a hint at not being perfectly well behaved, or heaven forbid, had a teacher ever called my parents at work, you can bet your bottom dollar I would have been in deeeeeep doodoo. And it was pretty much the same for all of my friends and their parents.

Nowadays, it’s almost as though any time a child is told he is less than perfect, his parents come rushing up ready to share any number of excuses to point fingers at anyone or anywhere else but back at their child. Again, I’m exaggerating, and I’m not saying that a teacher’s word (or anyone else’s, for that matter) regarding your child should be the end all be all. But it just seems that much more so than when we were kids, a child’s behavior or attitude is excused away or given into, no matter how bad it is. On top of that, it seems that children are also rewarded more than ever. Not only do we reward them for improving, or for effort, but we reward them just for showing up! Or for being nice! Or, even worse, we bribe them with rewards to do basic tasks! (Seriously, the stories I could share…) And, not to mention all of the goodness modern inventions and technology bring us in helping cater to our children’s interests, almost to the point of making everything! fun! all! the! time! for our little ones.

As I said, our little rodeo of a family is hardly excluded from this kind of parenting. I’d like to say we are able to take a more objective point of view, but the truth is, if an incident arises between Choi Boy and another child or if he does something less than desirable all on his own, I certainly make him apologize, but inwardly, I’m often rationalizing his actions or thinking of excuses as to why he did what he did. And though we try reeeeeally hard not to give extrinsic rewards and instead try to play up intrinsic rewards, if I’m totally honest, we’ve certainly fallen into our share of bribes here and there. (Not our proudest parenting moments. Nope.) And, gosh darn it, I love a good project or activity that I can center around CB!

At the end of the day, in so many ways, our children are the centers of our universe. They are, in addition to our SOs, the most precious and important people in our lives.

But I can’t help but think that making excuses for them or rewarding them for little things or making them feel as though they are the center of the universe is creating the culture of “special-ness” that McCullough warns against. In fact, one of my biggest worries in raising CB is that he will grow up thinking he is THE MAN (The grandparents are not helping play this down. For reals, yo.) and that he may be perceived by others as a brat.

We try really hard to balance the love and affection we shower CB with along with consistent discipline so he learns to be respectful and understand that he cannot and will not always get what he wants, and that the world will not make exceptions for him . We also want him to know that he will not always be the best and that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from that failure. We want him to not always be looking out for number 1, but to be caring and kind and willing and wanting to serve others. But we also want him to be confident and have a healthy dose of self-esteem and live up to his potential, whatever it may be.

In short, we want CB to know and do exactly what McCullough encourages at the end of his speech:

Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion-and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.
Because everyone is.

Ain’t that the truth? So, I guess my question is what does raising a child to do and understanding that truth look like in practicality? How does one raise a child to be selfless and compassionate while also helping him feel loved and, well, special? How do you balance developing a healthy self-esteem without over inflating your child and giving him a sense of entitlement?

How do you help your child understand that he is not special, when in your eyes, in so many ways, he really is?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

an actual conversation.

It's no secret that Choi Boy is a Charmy McCharmerson.

He also talks A LOT and has a very keen sense of direction and an incredible memory. And here is an actual conversation in which he uses all of those skills for his own benefit...

To set the scene:
Yesterday, CB was driving with my dad. They went to check on my parents' rental property and then were heading back to where my mom and I were getting our hair did. As they drove, here's the chat (or, ahem, manipulation) that took place:

CB: Hahbee, where are we going next?

Dad: Back to the salon. Why?

CB: Want to go to Hahbee's store?

Dad: No, why?

CB: (slyly) Want to get a milkshake?

Dad: (laughing) No, it's too far away!

CB: Oh. (even more slyly) Want to go to Jhak-eun Hahbee's (my uncle) store??

Dad: (really laughing and slightly amazed at CB's persuasive skills) But we're already back by the salon.

CB: Okay, let's get frozen yogurt then!

Dad: There's no frozen yogurt here. Only an ice cream store.

CB: No, the frozen yogurt store is back there!

Dad: No, it's not.

CB: (insistent) Yes, yes it is. Go back that way.

Dad: (drives and takes directions from a TWO YEAR-OLD)

CB: See, back there! Back there! There's frozen yogurt!

Dad: Oh my gosh. There is!

And then they went inside and CB ate his fill of chocolate froyo with lots of fruit (or, "proot" as he calls it).

Incredibly, we had only been to that froyo place once before, 2 weeks ago. And incredibly, he was able to direct my dad there. And even more incredibly, my dad LISTENED to CB and followed his directions.


I hope one day my boy learns to use these powers for good, instead of just for manipulating grown-ups into getting him frozen treats.