hi, I'm Irene and this is my blog. all images and content © 2005-2019 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


when the honeymoon is over

yesterday, my husband and I were walking in the neighborhood when I realized that we were not holding hands. was I offended? no. angry? no. did I want to hold his hand? I don't know. but then I was terrified by the fact that not holding hands in public places had become something meaningless. normal. acceptable. my husband and I aren't cuddling and smooching and giggling all the time anymore. we don't ask "please" and barely mean it when we say "thank you".  I need my space. he needs his Playstation. when we discuss important issues, I yell from the kitchen and he yells back from the bathroom. we don't argue. we state facts. romance is missing. lounging is ruling. but we still love each other. the honeymoon is over. fine. but what's next?


a note to myself

"dear Mrs. I-have-to-pack-everything-control-freak me,

the next time your husband suggests you all go on a weekend to Deauville and stay at the I-can't-believe-Nicole Kidman-was-here Normandy Hotel, do not stress out. do not panic because you only have 12 hours to pack. do not make a list. just kiss the guy and know that you're a lucky woman."

"the next time your mother says she can't look after your dog and her poop while you're having fun on the beach, do not get mad at her for being the most selfish person in the world. just remember how you cleaned your dog's nose for 20 minutes after she'd plugged it into the sand. and that dogs just want to have fun, too."


"remember that Deauville is a dog-friendly place."

"the next time you witness the miracle of a beautiful sunset, let your fears and doubts vanish with daylight."

"the next time your boys get ecstatic and run barefoot on the sand screaming with delight and greeting the ocean, do not worry about how the cold wind is going to affect their asthma. go and run with them. and thank God for having a moment like this."

"the next time you have dinner at the hotel restaurant and your sons jump on the chairs and play with silverware and have to go pee every 5 minutes, do not look around anxiously at other guests feeling like the next potential candidate for Super Nanny."

"the next time do not get mad at your husband for staying at the hotel casino for 3 hours and losing 50$ while you were being held hostage with the kids in your room. the next time you go on vacation do not expect too much from your family. and don't feel depressed on the way back to your dull routine. instead, be grateful. because there will be a next time."


party of four


by 6.13am yesterday morning, as I was -again- sandwiching between my two boys I heard my husband open the front door of our apartment. Sean and Will got up like pop-up toys and ran to their father screaming "Daddy!".

party of four. reunited. at last.


to be a momster

to be a mother is to bare your soul. to open your self to a greater truth. it is to see with your heart, hear with your eyes and feel with your hands. to be a mother is to embrace responsibilities and adversities with bravery. and face life with unfailing hope. I'd forgotten to be brave. I'd forgotten to hope. but most of all I had forgotten the power of these two.

on Sunday night, at 3.30am, Sean had an asthma attack. he couldn't stop coughing for about an hour. confusion intruded my head. and my thoughts were completely disorganized. I wondered what Caroline Ingalls would do. I wondered what Tony Miccelli would do. I was anxious and restless. but most of all, I was powerless. and I hated that. I watched my son sleep with his open mouth gasping for air every 20 seconds. I begged God for healing. I even tried to negotiate with Him. but the coughing didn't stop.

Sean woke up early in the morning and grabbed my face with his small hands. he looked at me as if he was sensing my exhaustion. I could see myself in his eyes. vivid and real. and I thanked God that my child could see. and hear. joke and talk. cuddle and run. and then it hit me. I gently rubbed his airplane sleeper and prayed. I prayed for my son's trachea, lungs, heart, colon, liver, stomach and kidneys. I prayed for a long and valuable life.

gratitude overflows as I see things with intense clarity now.


disillusion of the momster



light at the end of the tunnel

this morning, Sean, Will and I were wearing shorts and t-shirts on our way to daycare. when I picked them up 3 hours later, I was wearing a wool turtleneck and carrying two parkas and an umbrella. as I grumbled and mumbled my irritation avoiding another flabby dog poop on the pavement I saw my boys waiting for me as the rain was lashing against the panes. four hands pressing against the blurred window. two gigantic smiles. they were shouting something. the sound and tone of their voices echoed in my head with perfect accuracy. "Mommy!". I was imbued with love. a mother's love. and I thought:

"12 more meals, 2 laundries, 8 bootie wiping sessions, 4 baths, 16 books, 26 hugs, 6 time-outs, 2 trips to the grocery store, church on Sunday, 2 Haagen-Dazs stops, 2 hours at the playground, day out at Jardin d'Acclimatation, story time at the library, 4 nights and 4 naps, 8 dvds, 12 yogurts, 4 bottles of milk and a dozen cookies.

and he'll be home.

I made it. I don't know how, but I made it."


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"