The Hunchback of Polar Vortex: BYODY (Bring Your Own “Dahm-Yo”)

Hi, Micah and Ellis, my beloved favorite children,

I am daring myself to write AND publish this now that you’ve both stopped cracking up in your room and succumbed to a late afternoon nap. I would love for your dad to give this a glance before publishing for my seven readers to see, but by the time that happens, I will be itching to write a different post, your fingernails will need to be clipped again, dinner dished out then put away, and a backlog of pictures and videos of you guys finally uploaded onto our laptop.

There’s always something that needs to be done so the time is NOW.

Ellis recently moved into Hyung’s little room. It’s been heartwarming to see you guys enjoy each other in your shared room, talking in your secret language (Micah imitating Ellis’ babbles).

There is no sweeter sound in this world than your hysterical laughter and brotherly conversation.

Thank you so much for infusing cuteness into our humble abode this extra cold January week.

What a week.

In some ways, the usual. Ellis and Mommy bonding while Brother is off to school most mornings. Skyping with Grandma Lee so that she can openly adore Ellis without noonchee-bahing Micah. Ellis catching a cold this past slushy Sunday, when all four of us carefully teeter-tottered to church like penguins and to a dear friend’s belated third birthday bash in the (literally) freezing rain.

Ellis, you became uncharacteristically clingy, hanging onto me for comfort, making me wonder again, just how affectionate Micah was at this same age. I don’t quite recall Micah hugging INTO me, like a koala bear, though you also wanted this Mommy lots. Ellis has remained clingy even though you seem to be 100% recovered.

It saddens me when I’m not able to recall moments and characteristics. But life is moving so fast and even with my stalker-like, wicked awesome memory, I can’t recall all your little mannerisms from the recent past. All I see is the 15 month old and 3 year old before me.

Other than when I absolutely must fetch something from the kitchen or use the bathroom, I am relishing Ellis the Cling-On’s new habit because I know you will soon be Mr. “*I* do it, *I* do it, By Myself, By Myself.” I adore your loud nose-breathing in your sleep, the way you wrinkle your nose to smile, the way you MUST booty-shake to any beat, even far off in the cluttered living room, while I am talking to your bro.

Tuesday of this very ordinary week was the height of the Polar Vortex. High of 10 degrees but with a Feels Like of 10 below zero. The Feels Like always cracks me up as that is the only piece of info we care about. Lead with that please.

It was a rude cold. Wasabi spicy cold. Sinus-clearing cold. Dangerously cold for any skin to be exposed. Dangerously cold especially for babies and senior citizens. Granted, I’m reporting this without actually having been out that day. Only from having opened the window for a few seconds at a time so we can “ooh and ahh” from our toasty apartment. I normally have to experience whatever is hyped up but this was not worth it, especially with Ellis fighting his cold. No matter how bundled up, we were going to be exposed.

We did visit the freeze by standing in our building’s foyer and opening the door so that we can receive the Polar Bear’s Text. Alls it said was, “Brrrr…! Your mama left California for this!”

I don’t think folks could wrap their minds around a whole ‘nutha level of cold that was being hyped up over the weekend but once it arrived, it was a cold many of us had never experienced. I kept you home, Micah, when I realized just how bad it was upon waking that morning.

The next day, January 8th, Wednesday, was still cold but the day prior had made us appreciate anything even a tad less cold. So we were actually relieved that the temps had creeped UP into the low 20s, while CA friends clowned us with status updates like, “High of 81 but be careful out there, wind chill of 79.”

The weather channel seemed to be doing PR, talking about, “ABUNDANT SUNSHINE. (High of 22).” Reminded me of someone trying to set up a blind date for her girlfriend: “AWESOME PERSONALITY. (He weighs far less than you).”

Picking up Micah Hyung the other day was comical. Forced you to sit down in our cheap Toys R Us umbrella stroller so that the walk home from our parking space wouldn’t turn into our usual stop n go adventure. Not in that cold.

Micah asking me about snacks I had forgotten at home while grabbing you guys’ winter gear. Just so much stuff, including my long sleeping bag of a puffy mom coat. I didn’t have the luxury of throwing it all onto the extremely lightweight stroller but I wasn’t about to lift the heavier stroller in and out of our car in those temps.

My car keys falling onto a lonely patch of snow and Micah repeatedly alerting me to them.

“Mommy, your keys, your keys.”

My hands freezing while trying to keep Micah’s gloves on a few times. “I know Micah. Mommy leaving those keys there because I need to get you bundled up first!”

Throwing on ski pants on top of Baby’s NorthFace fleece pants for added warmth to brave the walk home. Baby’s bundled up self arching your back while I wear you. Didn’t have the patience for your useless gloves that keep coming off. I stretch out your jacket sleeves more and tuck your velvety little hands under my armpits for true mammalian warmth.

But impossible to keep them there.

I straight brought a baby dahm-yo (Korean furry blanket) to throw onto whichever son ended up strolling home, since this light stroller doesn’t have a Bundle Me option.

So I was a sight to behold as I tried on a hunchbacked posture to balance the stroller with a bundled up Micah and a big furry blanket about to fall off each step we took, and baby arching his back to do an upside-down peekaboo while I tried to contain his hands under my pits.

“Micah, you are being so patient and quiet. Sorry, Mommy, forgot to bring your snacks. You must be so hungry.”

Of course, you are never that quiet when you’re with us. The dahm-yo was so furry that you had konked out during the walk, without eating a thing. Mommy transferred you onto my big bed, the bed Daddy gets to sleep in only when you don’t scream awake in the middle of the night, “DADDY! DADDYYY! Where’s my Daddy!”

Despite the cold, I was sweating by the time we got home.

I can already feel 2014 zipping along, though we just rang in the new year. Birthday parties, doctor visits, new babies arriving, learning about the NYC public school system, trying to get healthier and more active despite the cold, keeping in touch with close friends and acquaintances mostly through Facebook, being part of our Forest Hills and church community, reading more books and writing.

Speaking of trying to get healthier. Micah, you were fascinated by Daddy and Mommy measuring our waists with a tape measurer in the bathroom last night, while you were in the bath. You heard Mommy ask for a do-over a handful of times. “WHAT!? Oh, uh-uh! Are you sure the tape isn’t loose somewhere? Keep it taut, man! Subtract a half-inch for human error!”

Today you said, “Micah like Mommy/Daddy! Micah waist size is 29. No, 49,” as you insisted on napping with our tape measurer. I tried to take it away from you but you ran out of your room like I had stripped you of your Winnie Pooh and Small Bear.

Oh, before I forget. I’ve been meaning to tell you (guys)…

I may not be the same newbie mama who would take you on two excursions a day, when it was just you and me Micah, and I may have counted down the minutes ’til your dad walked in this week, like the night I thought I could enjoy some Greek yogurt while you two played with each other, until you both came at me like two little puppies begging. I was balancing the yogurt and three spoons (since Ellis was sick), while I bounced newly-clingy Ellis on my lap, when Micah tried to join the party, too. The cold yogurt fell onto Ellis’ head and Mommy’s Uniqlo Heattech long-sleeve shirt which is working overtime at keeping her warm, but also at accentuating the top of her muffin .

When Mommy retreats into her room more than when you were a baby, sighing, or saying, “I just need to be alone…” as soon as your dad walks in, please understand that it’s a mental health thang, nothing personal against you guys. Sometimes I just need to recover from the comedy of errors hour or hours before your dad joins us, a chance to exhale and center myself amid the whirlwind.

Micah, you keep asking me if I love you always, if I’m always proud of you no matter what. I truly hope you are just asking for the sake of asking, just to hear the reassuring, loving affirmation over and over again, and that you are never actually doubting your belovedness.

You two are the most precious gifts I’ve ever received. You couldn’t possibly be more beloved, other than by our Lord Himself.

Just like you guys change everyday, Mommy goes through her phases too. You have to know that whether I’m the bright-eyed bushy-tailed new Mama of November 2010, not yet able to fathom how parents (GASP!) sometimes snap at their toddlers, or the more worn out Polar Bear Texted Mama of January 2014, my love for you both only grows, like the new dreadlocks I’ve somehow acquired this New Year and the weather updates on my Newsfeed.

frozen water left in our car

frozen water left in our car

snuggles before bundling up the layers

snuggles before bundling up the layers

waiting in doc office for Ellis' 15 month visit, Ellis throwin' up gang signs everywhere we go

waiting in doc office for Ellis’ 15 month visit, Ellis throwin’ up gang signs everywhere we go, Micah thinking this is his chance to hit up the lollipop buffet

precious Koala memories

precious Koala memories

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