hi, I'm Irene and this is my blog. all images and content © 2005-2016 Irene Nam unless stated otherwise. please do not use original images without permission. thank you!


in loving memory of
Oliver Yu-An Nam
Feb 1 - May 20 2014


morning glory

my brain is assailed by a horde of thoughts. a million things. things that need to be cleaned and ordered. things I have to do immediately and in a couple of days. things I have to buy at the grocery store. I feel like a domestic appliance.

I never roll over his side of the bed when I sleep alone. I don't even take his share of the duvet. it is as if leaving his side unoccupied could create the illusion of his physical presence. it is the ultimate evidence that a husband and a father do live in this house. and I need this. at 6.20 every morning, my boys invade and besiege the now big enough for the three of us bed. in fairness to my two kids I'm sandwiching between them. when you have twins, equity is a noble obsession. some days though, they have trouble falling back asleep. they toss and turn and rearrange the pillow and sight of exasperation like a couple of insomniacs. I pat their back mechanically. then consciously. and I marvel at the maternal intuition behind this simple gesture of the hand.

then my kid usually holds my hand, not just my index finger, he carefully grabs my whole hand in his tiny fist and press it against his chest. and then everything quiets. he’s asleep. I snuggle up against his back and feel secure by the steady sound of his heartbeat. at this point, I don't know who is comforting who. this moment gives meaning to everything. and everything is perfect. daylight is creeping into the room, soothing my tormented mind. questions vanish. doubts, fears, even my mother's criticizing voice disappears. the most beautiful thing is that I don't have to be firm, playful or perfect. I am allowed to just be. my imperfectness is glorified. and I'm loving the whole world and myself more than ever.


introducing Bob


I know. I am a complete disgrace to the queen mother of Kroo. Kath, my profound apologies. I obviously do not have your gift. nor a sewing-machine.

Sean and Will have been dragging their security blankets for years now. they love to snuggle up against them and plug their nose into them. sleeping without them is torture. in the warmth of their "doudou", their crying and whining immediately stop. they have been my most reliable and trustworthy allies during the past two years.

yet, everytime the boys decide to go out with them, I tense. I wouldn't mind if only I didn't find them eventually sweeping the supermarket's floor like brooms or lying down somewhere between the dry-cleaner's and haagen-dazs like dead animals. so after looking at Kroo's creatures I decided to make little characters with them. I used some of the boys' old pajamas for the mouth and eye area and a friend gave me an old IKEA pillow for the filling. and like that. the momster is making little monsters.

it is literally the first time I ever make something for my boys that cannot be eaten. I did once make a car out of a huge cardboard box. but this time is different. putting my heart and energy into something so small yet so meaningful was healing. and seeing them delight and "ooo-ah" hugging their new friends was quite something. I absolutely loved it. Sean and Will decided to call them Bob (Mike’s character’s name in the French version of "Monsters, inc.").

"Mommy, where is my Bob?"

ain't that great?


alone again, unnaturally

my husband came back from his business trip last Saturday at 3am. he hasn't unpacked yet. he needn't. he's leaving on Monday.

I guess when you’re 28 you're too old to weep over life's irritating circumstances. especially when you've been blessed with two healthy children. but I still struggle between my politically correct common sense and my tumultuous emotional self. I can be brave, supportive and cling to life even when it is full of torment. or I can wail, shatter and crumble to the ground. and sometimes choosing between those two is not as simple as it seems to be.

God I hate to be alone.


you know your kids watch too much tv when

Mom: "Sean, how are you going to name your new teddy bear?"

Sean: "dvd"


what I've learned from my kid today

my son Will is singing and jumping around the kitchen with a beaming smile on his face, leaving a trail of irradiating joy behind him.

Mom: "why are you so happy Will ?"

Will: " because I want to Mommy!"


happy anniversary

5 years ago, I was wearing brand new pointy heels and a beautiful gown that a friend had designed and made especially for me. I was having my hair and makeup done by professionals. I was tripping over my train. I couldn't stop giggling. I was holding my fiancé's hand. I was getting all the attention. I was surrounded by my family and people I love and care about. I looked at my wedding ring and smiled with delight and pride. I had a perfect body. I did whatever I was told to. I thought I knew everything about marriage. 5 years ago, it was a perfect day.

5 years later, I'm wearing denim Converse shoes and my flying pig t-shirt. I believe in hair bands and Maybelline's dream matte mousse foundation in honey beige. I trip over my boys. I can't stop yawning. I'm squeezing my dog's anal sacs. my husband and my sons are getting all my attention. I'm surrounded by legos and Laa-Laa and Po. I look at the hand prints on the tv screen and swear I'm going to kill someone. I have stretch marks and a big tummy. I do pretty much whatever I want to. marriage is the biggest mystery of all time. 5 years later, it is still a perfect day.


my beautiful, beautiful boys

it is Saturday afternoon and the sky is pouring out melancholy rain over Paris. even my dog is looking out the window with gloomy eyes. my sons and I are cheerfully dancing on Phil Collins' "you can't hurry love" jumping around and shaking our booties as if we had been peppered with vitamin C. my too-old-for-this-now body is agonizing and choking the whole time but watching my sons beam with joy trying to copy my every move I know this is one of the moments I totally live for. right here, right now, this is it. this is what my life is all about.

these days I think a lot about how I feel about being a mother. and I have absolutely no idea. asking this very question I guess I should talk frenetically, even gasp on occasion, about how wondrous the experience of motherhood is. my eyes should sparkle with pride as I excitedly mention every milestone, every detail of the early months. I shouldn't stop smiling thinking of the tiny feet and gummy grins. I should remember the 8 months of pregnancy and the miracle of their birth with tearful eyes. I should advertise the hilarious "bad dragon and lovely princess" story and parade the drawings they have made for me, a couple of potatoes with four toothpicks which are supposed to be little men, priceless gifts I often take for granted. I should talk about love. about the meaning of life. but I don't. as if the logic and obviousness of what I should feel were paralysing me. I look at my boys. my beautiful, beautiful boys. and all I can say and am really sure of is that watching them babble in French and eat yogurts using spoons are the most endearing things I've seen in my whole life.


what we do now Mommy?

you know your husband is away when you order a pizza for dinner and keep checking the breaking news for plane crashes in Eastern Europe. it’s Friday the 13th. and my husband flew to Greece this morning. I won't turn off CNN until he calls to say he's landed and is safe.

everytime my husband goes on a business trip, I need a couple of hours to drag myself out of a state of extreme apprehension. I fear my inevitable exhaustion, the crying, the whining and the refereeing. I have tremendous empathy for single parents. eventually my survival and self-preservation instincts well up though. probably because I know my husband will be back in 6 days. and I know he works hard for our family. I'm home with two hectic boys who keep asking "what we do now Mommy?" and can't tell the difference between play-dough and dog poop. he's in Athens and will spend the next week on a yacht producing a commercial film with a dozen models in bikini suits and one of the most beautiful actresses of Korea while I'm wiping runny noses and little booties in my lounge pajamas all day long. I'm sure he'd rather be in my shoes right now. life's unfair.


when a pregnancy test is the best aphrodisiac ever

I've been feeling very weird lately. I am constantly starving and crave for pastries and lasagna, I need to snuggle up in my soft blanket and nap every day and I burp and fart a lot especially around 5pm. very suspicious you would say? exactly. so when I asked my husband to buy a pregnancy test on his way back home from the office, I was a little nervous. I looked at my birth control pills and wondered how often this actually happens. and why this happens to me.

I don't want a third child. I can't handle 2. I just can't imagine what a lousy mother I would be with 3. yet when you've had twins people don't stop asking you when you will have another baby. you had them both at once so I guess it doesn't count. they don't ask that to women who went into labor twice. that would be criminal. I don't think about how wondrous welcoming a new baby would be. I don't think of the miraculous. I think practical. the sleepless nights, the teething, the colic. I think 3 more years. I imagine myself pushing a stroller with two toddlers running in opposite directions. what do you do then? what do you do? and right in the middle of frenetic and pessimistic anticipation, I think if I am pregnant the baby is probably due in mid-January. Sean and Will will be 4 then and going to kindergarten most of the day. it will be easier. a whole different world easier. I will have time for me and the new baby to bond. maybe I could even write. and what if it's a girl? what about names? I like Lucy a lot. what if it's a boy? I want a one-syllable name like Sean and Will. Luke sounds nice. but I like Eli too.

"let's have another baby!" my husband said ecstatically as I opened the door to greet him.

"what? are you out of your mind?"

"I've been thinking a lot and just imagine how great it will be to have a large family!"

I know. I want that too, I thought to myself. in my imaginary life we have a minivan and four kids. and the youngest is already 3 at birth.

"I know but what about your business trips? I can't handle three kids alone. you know I'd go crazy. and remember, you've been nothing but courteous or thoughtful while I was pregnant with Sean and Will, I don't want to go through that again"

"I'll be really nice this time, I will take care of you" he swore.

"and what about all the things we'll need to change, the car for example"

"oh, I like that!"

"give me that thing!" I said.

he handed me the little box only after he'd kissed it a hundred times praying "please God! a girl!". I went to the bathroom and locked myself in. I could vaguely hear my husband asking the boys if they wanted a little brother or a little sister, waiting anxiously for the result and asking me to open the door because we had to share this historical moment together.

"are you going to be nice this time?" I asked.

"yes, I promise" he said.


"I will do my best to take care of you, everything I can, I promise... is that positive? are we having a baby?"

I opened the door and showed him the stick.

"not this time. I'm sorry."

he was not devastated. just a little disappointed. and I was not as relieved as I thought I would be. maybe I want a third child after all. but I didn't think of that. I thought of this man, my husband, who has put up with my mood swings for the last 8 years and gone through 300 diapers a month and still wants to have a baby with me. he may not remember Valentine's day or Mother's day, even our anniversary but that's enough to prove how much he loves me. at that moment, I felt grateful to have him. and I loved him more than I ever did.


the momster needs prozac

"I can't take it anymore, I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!" I am sitting on the kitchen's ugly linoleum floor and my butt is freezing. as I open my eyes to brave reality I see greasy finger marks and black paint spots on the wall joyfully taunting me. I close my eyes again. it's too soon. I throw my head back and beg the universe. "please God, let me hate them just for one second without feeling like I'm the worst mother in the world". my boys just won't listen to me. no matter how often I repeat requests they won't move a toe, whether it is vital necessity ("do not cross the street alone") or mere motherhood laziness ("put on your pajamas"). worse, they join their overflowing energy and plot daily mutinies. I swear they have a radar that beeps them everytime Mommy is too tired to conduct the negotiations and is likely to surrender more easily. right now they have bombed the parents' room with lego and plush and are playing "catch me and take off my sock". I laugh nervously. I know I should marvel at the sight of those two bundles of joy. that I should be grateful. but at this point, I don't know if I'm facing deliberate acts of mischievousness or just a massive level of testosterone.