PRIMER ON ELIMINATION COMMUNICATION (I.E., INFANT POTTYING)

2/20/2018 (14 weeks) – Potty time on top of the changing station

The Lowdown

We started elimination communication (EC) with Dash when he was 2.5 months (11 weeks) old. He pees or poops in a regular adult toilet (with a toilet seat reducer) 2-4 times a day almost every day. After he poops in the toilet, I just blot his butt with two squares of toilet paper, flush the toilet, diaper him, and I’m done! He is diapered 24/7.

What is EC?

EC refers to potty training an infant, including from birth. It involves making a pssst sound and holding the baby in a potty/toilet position whenever the baby pees or poops, thereby helping the baby associate that sound and that posture with bodily elimination. That way, when you hold the baby over the potty/toilet and make that sound, the baby will eliminate.

How Do I EC?

I seat Dash on a miniature infant potty or a toilet seat reducer and make the pssst sound a few times. I also make the sound when he actually starts peeing or pooping into the potty/toilet. After about 4-5 minutes on the potty/toilet, regardless of whether he went or not, I give him the ASL sign for “all done” and take him off the potty/toilet and diaper him.

What Got Me Into EC?

I first learned about EC when I read online that Gisele Bündchen potty trained her kids to be diaper-free by the time they were each six months old. At that time, I was skeptical and had assumed that EC would take much money and time to practice.

But I was wrong. I was able to EC with success, at least part time, using half-hearted effort and no nannies or money being poured into EC.

Thank you Gisele. I like that you worry about landfills. I do too.

How Did I Start EC’ing?

I read an EC book, then I ordered online a miniature infant potty (TinyUndies infant potty), which is somewhat difficult to find in this country. Then I just started seating him on the potty at the times that are known to be “easy catch” EC times, such as during diaper changes, during or after feeding, and before and after placing him in a car seat or a baby carrier.

I caught three pees and poops on his first day of EC’ing. On his fourth day of EC’ing, I caught 12! That was the most I’ve caught so far. EC was a smooth sailing success right from the beginning.

After a few days of doing EC and realizing that EC is completely doable, I ordered online a toilet seat reducer (Prince Lionheart weePOD), and that is what Care Bear and I primarily use for EC’ing. Much easier than cleaning up the potty.

I skipped the “observation” stage of EC, where you keep the baby diaper-free and half-naked for a few hours to learn what bodily and facial expressions the baby makes when the baby pees or poops. I didn’t want to deal with the clean up. It turns out the observation stage was not needed for Dash. He started peeing/pooping multiple times on the potty on his first day of EC’ing anyways.

How Do I Clean the Potty?

We dump the contents into the toilet, spray water into the potty over the toilet to get the remaining content out, spray the inside of the potty with a disinfectant, slush the disinfectant around with some water and discard, run the potty under hot water for a few seconds, and shake the water off the potty.

Suffice to say that we rarely use the infant potty any more, because flushing the toilet is less work than washing out the potty.

How Do I Know When to Take Him to the Potty?

The known “easy catch” times include: 1) During feeding or about 10 min after feeding. 2) During diaper changes. You take the diaper off, wipe him with a wet wipe if needed, then seat him on the toilet. 3) Before and after bath time. 4) Before and after Dash is in the car seat or the baby carrier, because babies don’t like to eliminate in that bucket seat or carrier position. 5) After waking in the morning and before bed time.

I usually don’t bother looking for whether Dash signals for potty. I focus on making “easy catches”, whenever I have time and energy, regardless of whether he signals. Signal reading is difficult because you are often not looking at him, for example, when you cook or do laundry. EC’ing using the “easy catch” times is simpler and more stress-free.

An exception is, during feeding, he sometimes signals for toilet. He pops off the nipple and looks at me with an “I need you” alarmed look. An easy and tell tale sign that he needs to poop, and I’m right much of the time (i.e., he poops when I potty him). Another potty signal I learned that Dash makes is going from quiet and not moving to loud and flailing around, or vice versa.

Poop Schedule

After starting EC for a few days, I’ve come to learn his poop pattern. His first or second poop in the morning is usually the largest (“poop storm”). It happens anywhere from 10 am to noon, though he once did not make his first big poop until 2:30 pm. The first big poop happens usually after eating two or three feedings.

By three months old, he was pooping only 3-5 times a day. The last one can be anywhere from 4:40 pm to 10 pm. But usually, his last poop is in the early evening.

I think doing EC helped me figure out his poop pattern pretty quickly. If I catch that first big poop in the morning, then I’m off to a good EC day start and feel happy and accomplished.

How Do I Know When Dash Is Done at the Potty?

When he is about to pee or poop on the potty/toilet, he is usually looking down and concentrating on eliminating. He has a concerned face and avoids my eye contact. When he is done with his pee or poop, he usually becomes talkative or starts making noises, looks around the bathroom, makes eye contact with me, becomes interested in the toilet paper, or smiles at me. A lot of times, we can’t tell if he is done. We usually wait about 4-5 minutes then take him off the potty/toilet.

What About Cloth Diapers or Compostable Diapers?

When Dash was born, we had signed up for a compostable diaper service, where they drop off diapers and pick up dirty diapers weekly. The service takes the dirty diapers to a special facility for composting, and not to landfills. But to my and Care Bear’s great disappointment, the compostable diapers leaked EVERY TIME, even in two different sizes.

As far as cloth diapers, I gave it a try, sort of, once. And got scared (of the clean up) and quit.

EC’ing Part-Time

I made it a goal to make at least one catch every day. But, even when I don’t try hard, I automatically and easily end up catching one or two if I follow at least some of the “easy catch” times, e.g., during a diaper change or before bath time.

Times when we do not EC are when we have visitors, when we are out and about or traveling (although I caught a pee at an Airbnb in Tahoe yay), and when I am sick or Dash is sick.

What Happens When Dash Goes to Day Care?

We will probably EC him only in the morning and at night at home. That is less than ideal, but EC’ing part time will still help Dash keep in touch with his elimination sensation and help him know that his momma and pappa are there for him at home to tend to his elimination needs.

Once Dash starts crawling and walking, we will probably encourage him to use the infant potty again by himself and, when he is bigger, use toilet steps to use the toilet seat reducer by himself.

Cons of EC

More physical exertion for the parents than exclusively diapering. EC involves lifting the baby up and down to seat him on the toilet and waiting for him to eliminate. EC is #notforlazyparents.

When Care Bear and I are so engrossed on our laptops and are feeling lazy, even when we hear Dash fussing to be pottied, I just tell Dash “go in your diaper” and let him be. My goal is to just catch one catch a day anyways.

Pros of EC

Dash’s smile after pottying

1 – EC is yet another way to meet Dash’s needs.

Pottying Dash is one of the several ways to stop Dash from fussing when he fusses. In other words, sometimes Dash fusses because he wants to pee or poop and need our help in order to do so. Care Bear or I swoop in to meet his elimination needs and take him to the toilet. Dash is happy because he relieved himself, and without smearing dirty poop all over his butt, and parents are happy because we can see that the baby is satisfied with our effort.

We know Dash does not like the feeling of sitting on his poop, because he usually gets cranky 5-10 min after pooping in his diaper. If EC is going well that day and we catch the poops before they happen in his diaper, then the fuss and crankiness are altogether avoided.

2 – EC helps Dash be aware of, and control, his elimination sensation.

I believe Dash knows what is happening because sometimes he holds his pee or poop until we potty him. He has pretty much never peed or pooped during a diaper change since we started EC’ing him. And sometimes, he wakes up in the morning with a completely dry–no poop OR pee!–diaper. When we potty him first thing in the morning after he opens his eyes, he lets out a big, yellow pee into the potty. Again, Dash feels satisfied, and parents feel accomplished.

3 – Dash gets playful during potty time.

Dash smiles and coos a lot when I seat him on the toilet. It is part of our bonding time.

4 – EC just makes sense to us and maintains Dash’s dignity.

Once we started EC’ing, we could not go back. Care Bear was skeptical and did not EC with me the first few days of EC’ing. But he eventually started taking Dash to the potty voluntarily. Blotting Dash’s butt with just a bit of toiler paper is much easier than cleaning the nasty poop out of his reproductive and excretory organs and all the crevices on his thighs. How could we let Dash carry around his toilet in his diaper, when we could help him eliminate in the real toilet?

So, in a way, when we started EC’ing, we sometimes used more diapers than if we had not EC’ed, because we felt so bad about making him sit on his poop. We could not help but change his diaper as soon as he pooped. That still happens these days, when we “miss” (EC term for accidents) those big poops. But, for the most part, I think we use at least one or two less diapers a day on average, as a result of EC’ing part-time effectively.

Changing a blowout poopy diaper sometimes makes me make disgusted facial expressions and sounds even when Dash is looking at me. I don’t want him to think that I think he is disgusting. When I potty him, for the most part, Dash is a happy fella and we are all smiles, especially after a big poop into the toilet. More positive interaction and less negative interaction.

MIAMI WINTER VACATION 2019

1/22/2019 – Hallandale Beach

For Memorial Day week, we went to North Miami Beach for a week with the whole extended family. Thirteen people in total, including five little ones!

It was Dash’s first flight. He was 10 weeks old. It was a 5.5 hour flight. The flight went as smooth as any parent can hope. No crying or fussing.

The Airbnb had a heated pool and a jacuzzi. We used both almost every day. It was my first time swimming since giving birth and it felt wonderful to be in the water.

1/21/2019 – Cuties
1/21/2019 – Picnic at Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami
1/23/2019
1/23/2019
1/23/2019

We took a 90 minute cruise through Miami’s Biscayne Bay around Millionaire’s Row, where we saw water side mansions of famous people.

1/23/2019 – Dinner at CVI.CHE 105, a local Peruvian chain. We had ceviche and sangria.

I enjoyed the vacation very much because I got to spend quality time with family members and bond with them.

DASH AT TWO MONTHS OLD

Read Dash’s:

Growth: Started wearing size 1 diapers at the beginning of the second month.

  • Height – 0.6 m (1′ 11”) (46th percentile)
  • Weight – 5.8 kg (12 lb 11 oz) (57th percentile)
  • Head circumference – 38.5 cm (15.2″) (27th percentile)

Developmental milestones: Smiles back; coos profusely at toys; can grab my hair (but the hair pulling did not get painful for me until he was three months old).

Loves: Staring at lights, including screens (e.g., when I work on my laptop, TVs at restaurants).

Sleeps: 7-8 hours at night in one stretch. He usually gets swaddled in the velcro Ollie swaddle (the best and the only swaddle blanket you need) around 9:30 pm – 12 am and wakes up around 5:30 am. The fullness of my chest started to wake me up around 5:30 am as well because by that time they feel like they are about to explode. So Dash and I wake up together, needing each other, Dash for food and me for pain relief. 

Dash is such a good sleeper that he does not need to be “put to sleep” by us. He puts himself to sleep. Sometimes we have to rock his Dock-a-Tot or sing to him (at most, three songs) for him to fall asleep. But, the majority of the time, we lay him down in his Dock-a-Tot in his crib when he is still awake but drowsy (e.g., he yawned or rubbed his eyes or he has sleepy, heavy-lidded eyes), turn off the light and leave the room. Then he just falls asleep. We turn on the air filter for white noise when he sleeps and turn it off in the morning when he awakes.

Feeding: Still exclusively breast fed. He is a good eater. His latch is sometimes still bad, i.e., not wide enough, so my breasts are sore sometimes. I realized that two of my nursing bras are too tight and hurt my breasts. It took me a while to realize that the small bras were sometimes the culprit for my sore breasts.

I had used regular pillows for nursing. But I got a used My Brest Friend pillow a few days before Dash turned two months old, and oh boy, I was silly to not have used it earlier. It makes breast feeding go a lot smoother and more efficient.

Highlights: Four-day trip to LA for his first X-mas, NYE slumber party at friend’s.

Our favorite facial expressions of Dash: Thankfully, he still POUTS (the nurse at the pediatrician’s office said “Aww, he still pouts!”); the silent, breathless, red scream face he made when he got his first vaccination shot; still sleeps with his arms up in superman position or DJ position.

Nicknames we call Dash: chunkster, chubster, stinker (when he fusses at night), sleeping champ. Old ones we still call him: package, old man, 고객님 (“dear customer”). 

Miscellanous: Must cut fingernails every 4-5 days, but still have yet to cut his toe nails since birth. He still has yet to cry us a river.

Umma’s recovery: Went to chiropractice three times for lower back pain. Started doing Bikram yoga and hot Pilates seven weeks post partum, to build core strength to alleviate lower back pain.

Memorable moments or thoughts:

1. I love that Dash looks at least a little bit like Care Bear. Care Bear’s face makes me happy, so to have one more face that looks like Care Bear makes my life even happier. Double the face, double the love!

1/4/2019 – A few days after Shake Shack opened in Palo Alto.

2. When I took him to the pediatrician’s office for his first vaccinations, the nurse came in with a tray of needles and other supplies. As I was holding Dash down on the bed to get him ready for the shots, I said to Dash “I’m glad I’m not you.” And the nurse cracked up! She said she did not hear anyone say that before. She is probably used to mothers saying things like “I wish I could take the shots in your place my baby!” I hated needles when I was a kid.

“I am grateful for a easy, happy baby . . . “

3. I am grateful for a easy, happy baby, who sleeps and eats well and does not cry much. We are blessed. We are spoiled parents.

HIKING WITH A ONE MONTH OLD IN THE BAY AREA

Dash has been hiking in the bay area with us since he was two weeks old. I try to take him out every day, sometimes for two hours at a time. Sometimes I use the car seat stroller. Sometimes I use the baby carrier.

There are several trails within walking distance from our apartment. Below are pictures from when we walked to the Shoreline Golf Links and the Bay Trail, taking a pedestrian overpass over Highway 101.

NEW YEAR’S DAY WEEKEND 2019

A few days before NYE, we had friends visiting us from out of town.

12/29/2018 – Cinci crew, with Generation 2!
12/29/2018 – Mimicing Dash’s cry

For NYE, we went to our friend’s house and played board games and had a slumber party.

1/1/2019 – Dash meeting his beautiful future wife.
1/1/2019 – Also meeting his future dashing big brother-in-law.
1/1/2019
1/1/2019 – Peaceful New Year’s Day

ROAD TRIP TO LA X-MAS 2018 – PART II

12/24/2018 – Did you know that the Hollywood sign was built for the residential neighborhood named Hollywood? One of the best spots for a picture with the Hollywood sign is at the Lake Hollywood Park, but expect a huge crowd, a parking madness, and cops giving parking tickets left and right.
12/23/2018 – Our first meal in LA was at the food court of Plaza Market, where I had stinky fermented bean soup. Yum. The food was cheaper than the bay area (duh..).
12/23/2018 – Next on our tourist itinerary was the Venice beach.
12/23/2018 – At the Santa Monica Pier, one of the liveliest piers I’ve been to, with up-to-date and cool tourist buskers. For example, they had instant 3D pictures, instant sculpture artists (like caricature artists but made of sculpture material), and hilarious singers and instrument players.
12/23/2018 – Okonomiyaki hot dog at the Japadog truck. Delish.
12/23/2018 – Awesome view and pretty wave sounds.
12/23/2018 – X-mas LED light Ferris wheel.
12/23/2018 – Dinner with relatives at Miceli’s on Hollywood Boulevard.
12/25/2018 – Stopped by my firm office in downtown LA, just the outside. The building had a beautiful lake-side amphitheater in its court yard.
12/25/2018 – Griffith Park. The observatory was closed for Xmas day, but we took a nice, easy hike.
12/25/2018 – Dash on his umpteenth hike since he was born. When in California, do as Californians do, which is hike and hike.
12/25/2018 – Awesome Xmas decorations at the Grove.
12/25/2018 – Lovely Xmas day dinner with friends.
12/25/2018 – View from the parking lot.
12/25/2018 – The extremely crowded Urban Lights at the LA County Museum of Art. It was an Instagram trap in the true sense of the phrase, i.e., looks much more grand in pictures than it actually is in person.
12/25/2018 – Ending Xmas night with tasty black sesame red bean bingsoo at Sulbing. Sulbing, please open up a store in the bay area….TT
12/26/2018 – Rodeo Drive

ROAD TRIP TO LA X-MAS 2018 – PART I

12/22/2018 – Carmel-by-the-Sea

For Christmas holidays, we decided to take a road trip down the famed, scenic “All-American Road” State Route 1 to LA. Dash was six weeks old.

We left on Friday evening after Care Bear’s work. We stayed overnight at a hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

The next day, we spent the whole day sight seeing different parks, beaches, and places on State Route 1, including at Big Sur. We had a late dinner at Santa Barbara at a New Orleans cajun joint, where I had amazing shrimp scampi, one of my favorite Western dishes. Then we arrived in LA and spent four nights at an Airbnb in Korean Town in LA.

12/22/2018 – Point Lobos
12/22/2018 – Point Lobos. You can see the famous Pebble Beach golf course in the background, which is considered one of the most beautiful courses in the world.
12/22/2018 – Point Lobos
12/22/2018 – Point Lobos
12/22/2018 – Point Lobos
12/22/2018 – Point Lobos
12/22/2018 – Point Lobos. There was a beautiful hiking trail (there are thousands by State Route 1) in the background that I really wanted to hike, but we had to get to LA that night so did not have enough time. Would love to go back next time and spend the whole day (or few days) on these state parks, have picnics on the beach, and sleep over on the cute bed-and-breakfasts.
12/22/2018 – Bird Island and Gibson’s Beach in the background.
12/22/2018 – China Cove.
12/22/2018 – Dozens of sea lions napping.
12/22/2018 – The Bixby Creek Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in California. There was a huge crowd around the bridge, cars parking, leaving, and waiting, and multiple lines to take pictures on certain view points.
12/22/2018 – The famous McWay Falls, which falls onto the beach, at Big Sur. We did a nice 30 min hike through the woods to get to this viewpoint.
12/22/2018 – Sunset on the Limekiln State Park at Big Sur.

DASH AT ONE MONTH OLD

See pictures from Dash’s week 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and his one-month photoshoot.

Growth: Lost weight after birth, which is normal, but surpassed birth weight in one week. Wore newborn sized diapers for one month (then moved onto size 1 diapers).

  • Height – 0.6 m (1′ 10”) (69th percentile)
  • Weight – 4.6 kg (10 lb 3.5 oz) (57th percentile)
  • Head circumference – 37 cm (14.57″) (38th percentile)

Loves: Staring at lights.

Sleep: For the first two weeks, he was like a normal baby, waking up every 3-4 hours. But after about two weeks, he started sleeping 5, . . . 6, . . . then gradually . . . 7 hours at night in one stretch . . . . -0- To say he is a good sleeper is an understatement.

Feeding: Exclusively breastfed. He eats well. He latched instantly when he was put on my chest after birth.

To get a proper latch, I insert my finger above his lower lip and below his upper lip to widen his latch. He is fed on demand, sometimes hourly when he is going through growth spurts, but usually every three hours or so. Each feeding session lasts 40 min to an hour, I think because he is a slow eater.

Engorgement of the breasts came in about three days after birth, and boy, was it painful. For the first few weeks, my breasts felt as big and heavy as honeydew melons, and as if they were getting more and more full of liquid by the minute and about to explode out into the open. So, even though the breast pump machine looked scarily destructive of my nipples, I put on a brave face and started pumping as early as six days after birth. I had to. Otherwise, my breasts were going to swallow me alive. The pumping machine max level was 10, and I pumped at the puny low level of 2. Haha.

My breasts sprayed with gusto everywhere, my bra, outfit, couch, bed, Dash’s face and hair, Care Bear’s hands, car seat in our car, Dash’s car seat, dining table, my laptop, and more. My breasts and nipples hurt for the whole month, because I was still getting used to breastfeeding.

Highlights:

  • Went to the beach twice (Baker’s beach in SF and Natural Bridges Park in Santa Barbara), art museums twice, and many restaurants.
  • First Thanksgiving with all family members.
  • First outing outside of home (other than the first three days in the hospital) was on his eighth day, to go grocery shopping at Costco, where he slept the entire time.
  • His eighth day was also the day California was recorded to have the worst air quality in the world, due to the fires.
  • Bris (circumcision) on his tenth day.
  • First hike was on his sixteenth day. It would’ve been much earlier if it weren’t for the bad air quality.
  • First party Dash ever attended was aba’s work holiday party at the Tech Museum in San Jose (read about it here). He got dozens of comments about being a cute fresh baby. He slept through most of it.

Our favorite facial expressions of Dash: MAJOR POUTS; the silent, breathless, red scream face he made when we gave him his first bath ever, in the bathroom sink, before he let out the loudest scream in his life; “milk stupor” or “milk drunk” face after feeding; sleeping with his tongue sticking out and hands in superman position.

Nicknames we call Dash: monster (used by abba only, at night when Dash refuses to fall asleep), package (because we carry him around in one arm, like a package, wherever we go), old man (because of his receding? hairline), bug (because he is almost always attached at my nipples, sucking . . . ), blob (because that’s what he looks like, a shapeless droopy dough, when he is being burped on our thighs), 고객님 (= “dear customer”; and umma is called the restaurant). 

Miscellanous: Must cut fingernails every 4-5 days. Otherwise, he claws umma’s breasts relentlessly and scratches his face and ears, cutting his skin open (which heals within a matter of hours/days).

Umma’s recovery: Lots of witch hazel pads, adult diapers, mesh disposable underwear, Dermoplast (numbing spray), and ice packs. Was able to walk and sit normally starting the day after birth. Lots of very uncomfortable queefing 24/7, even while sleeping (please make them stop.. T_T).

I took norco a few times in the first 2-3 weeks and stopped because I realized that they bring on massive, temporarily debilitating (40 min or so) migraines. So then I took ibuprofen 1-2 times a day, almost every day, for the first month.

“I feel complete.”

Umma’s take on motherhood: 1) IT IS SO FUN. 2) Time is going by so fast. I am alarmed that he is growing bigger so fast. I want to get pregnant again already, so I can have another tiny newborn. XD 2) I still can’t believe my luck of finally having a baby. I feel complete. 3) Wow Care Bear really does not like it when he can’t get sleep at night, even if the reason is cute Dash.

Dash’s very own home art gallery

Surprises of motherhood: 1) I did not know that newborn babies grunt. A lot. And don’t coo, at least in the first month. 2) He stares at my acrylic paintings on our living room wall! Intently. I’m so honored and moved that I have a very interested audience that I almost shed a tear. *^D^*

POST PARTUM CARE (SANHUJORI)

11/16/2018 – Typical breakfast Sonny prepared for Care Bear and I. Salted mackerel fry, an assortment of flavored, blanched/pickled vegetables (fern brake, spinach, soy bean sprouts, mountain veggies, sweet potato stems, chayote or Mexican squash), lettuce noodle salad, and spicy daikon kimchi. The ultimate, satisfying Korean style breakfast! Eating like king every morning!

In Korea, there is a culture of taking care of someone who just had a baby and her baby in a certain way. It’s called Sanhujori. The Korean government even gives mothers about $500 to spend on such post partum care (though only if it’s your third child or beyond, which makes sense given Korea’s ultra-low birth rate at 0.96).

Sanhujori involves eating seaweed soup and other assortment of highly nutritious food at all three meals, special sitz baths, chest massages and other body massages, keeping the feet and the body warm, having someone help you with breast feeding and all things baby, including diapering and bathing, and, most of all, not exerting yourself too much. That means someone else is helping the new mom, such as cooking food for her, doing housework for her, and taking care of the baby. That person traditionally used to be the new mom’s mother or other older female members of the family. But in modern Korea, there are swanky Sanhujori centers that are set up like an upscale hotel/spa.

As I spent my adulthood in America and saw friends and coworkers have babies, I had wondered why such specialized post partum care culture does not exist in America. It seems that in America, after women have babies, apart from the common six-week mark ob-gyn doctor’s visit, there is no system or established routine for taking care of the new mom. Instead, the new moms go back into moving as normal (or not), eating as normal (or not), and not doing anything particularly special in the post partum period, other than taking care of the wound (if any) and the occasional sitz baths.

I tried to look up online the reason for this big difference in post partum care culture between Korea and America. The best answer I’ve found seems to be that Asian women tend to have thinner pelvic muscles relative to the body compared to Western women. That is why Asian women need a more intense recovery period than their Western counterparts, apparently. True or not, I was not going to forego the interesting, new (to me), and uniquely-Korean experience of Sanhujori!

When I was pregnant, one of the first things I did to prepare for the baby was to look for a post partum caregiver, since the care givers book up quickly. (It was also, by far, the most costly expense spent on baby/mommy recovery care.) That was when I was five months pregnant. Thankfully, even in America, I was able to find and hire someone who was able to give me the traditional Korean-style post partum care that I was looking for.

11/21/2018 – Masterful handling of babies (and delicious steamed Korean sweet potato snack)

Her name is Sonny. She is an excellent chef. She custom-prepared each meal to my liking (less salt and mostly vegetarian/pescaterian). She made Care Bear and me three meals a day, did our laundry, cleaned our house, changed Dash’s diaper, bathed him, fed him, cuddled him when he fussed, gave me special dried tong ho steam sitz bath once every day, and provided general baby care advice. She helped us for about two weeks.

11/13/2018 – Lunch by Sonny. Ramen noodles with egg, mung bean sprouts, and romaine lettuce, kabocha squash soup with rice cakes, cod fry in egg batter (jeon).
11/19/2018 – Getting up bright and early so we can eat Sonny’s food! Salted mackerel fry, seaweed soup, stir fried eggplants, spicy daikon kimchi, lotus roots, fern brake, seaweed stems, sweet potato stems, mountain veggies
11/21/2018 – Inari udon with seaweed for lunch! This time with one of my favorite dishes, spicy steamed shishito peppers, which she whipped up upon my request
11/22/2018 – A special, extravagant, pre-Thanksgiving, Korean meal that I requested, for our family who was visiting. Dozen variety of tempura veggies and Korean crispy chicken wings!

The biggest value Sonny provided, without question, was her excellent food. So much so that she still comes back occasionally to make food for Care Bear and me!

I had always wanted a personal chef, ever since I learned that Oprah has her own. (Oprah is who I strive to be, in some aspects.) At 34 years old, I too have a personal chef now! Woohoot!

12/13/2018 – Four hours of Sonny’s work, one week’s worth of food for Care Bear and I.
1/10/2018 – Another four hours of Sonny’s work = us being well fed for the entire week (and more) and not having to go out to eat or eat unhealthy

Here is an Economist article about governments providing for new babies but neglecting new moms: https://www.economist.com/international/2018/12/15/why-so-little-is-done-to-help-new-mums-cope