Jeff and Jocelyn Gehring 2012-03-29
As most of you probably know, Jocelyn and I are now parents. Jocelyn gave birth to Amelia on September 14 by way of planned C-section. Both Jocelyn and Amelia went home 6 days after the birth and are doing very well.
As I age, I have learned to listen to and take into account the information of my elders. For those of you who have said that parenting is difficult, exhausting, time consuming and things of the like, I thank you. Having and accepting this information in advance has made the job easier. If nothing else, it prepared me. I wasn’t shocked the first time the baby woke up, demanding food at 2 AM after having eaten at 1 AM. I was not surprised when Amelia pooped her pants literally seconds after getting a new diaper on. Along the same lines, I wasn’t too shocked when she pooped in the process of being cleaned, nor was I surprised when she peed during the same cleaning (though my shrieks might have suggested otherwise). The words of wisdom of my predecessors are paying huge dividends in terms of my ability to handle the continual workload. Having a child abroad and more importantly in a very different culture has required extra work and patience that my elders did not inform me of. For starters, hospitals operate quite differently. New mothers are offered a very healthy portion of seaweed soup for meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The thought of anything else for post partum patients would be the equivalent of giving a pixie stix to a diabetic. From the get go, we were breaking deeply rooted Korean customs. Jocelyn was eating Burger King, yogurt, bread, crackers, ice cream, bagels and things of the like. We also chose to keep her room air conditioned; very different from the sauna like conditions most new mothers opt for. On one of their many visits, one nurse raised the AC question and our response left her with a look of disappointment, fear and confusion. It was one of those looks you might give a smoker who enjoys flavor country through the hole in his neck. Little did we know how western the nurses and doctors were. Once we left the safety of the hospital, we were open to attacks from countless numbers of middle aged Korean women affectionately known as ajjumas. Being a foreigner in one of the most homogeneous countries on the planet is enough to get stared at more than regularly. On top of that, having a baby strapped to you only increases these stares, but the real kicker is when that baby that is strapped to the young ignorant foreigner starts crying. The ajjumas are relentless. Everything they were doing ceases. All eyes shift. Heads cock to the side and gasps of breath are taken. In one word, FEAR. The ajjumas are fearful and more than willing to express their concerns with you. Interestingly, the only thing that could possibly be wrong with a child under the acceptable age limit of 100 days, is body temperature.(In Korea, babies and their mothers are expected (required) to stay inside the house for the first 100 days of the child’s life) If the child is under 15 blankets, strapped directly to the body of the parent who has been walking around in the heat…then the baby is, “chuwa” or cold. Time and again the ajjumas come up to us and clench their fists, scrunch their faces up and act as though they are shivering to address the problem of a “chuwa” baby. My personal favorite is when the baby’s skin is exposed. I can never understand what they are saying, but imagine it’s something along the lines of, “Come on guys, get your acts together. Can’t you see that this baby is freezing. Do you think for one second your mothers left you out in the open to fend for yourselves? I don’t think so. And mom…You shouldn’t even be out. What’s the matter with you? You should be at home with the heat on and eating a steaming hot bowl of seaweed soup. You go on back home and warm up before you get pneumonia.” Fortunately, Amelia is still alive, despite her low body temperature. Her favorite activities include crying, eating, sleeping and making general noises. Her favorite noise is one similar to a mother goose chasing off a predator trying to steal her eggs. She is getting quite strong. She can hold her head up for an extended period of time and almost roll over. Her hair is slowly growing. It has a natural part, which makes her look like a boy sometimes. She has already outgrown her newborn clothes which is good. I would hate for her to be caught in the same outfit twice. Most people tend to say that she looks like Jocelyn, but there have been a few with their heads screwed on straight. For those of you who have not had the chance to hold her might look at her and see a head full of brown hair. True. However, hold the child and you will feel a head shape eerily similar to yours truly. You can judge for yourself. The camera doesn’t lie. Here is the link to more pictures of Amelia. Enjoy:)
http://picasaweb.google.com/jocelyndicampli Love, Jeff, Jocelyn and Amelia