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


eternal sunshine of the spotless mind


given the opportunity what event or people would I want to erase from my memory?

there are pains that are so harsh that some days I want to bang my head against the wall and trigger selective amnesia. the one time I've been deceived and betrayed by the person I love the most and lost the trust I had placed in him. my father and the violence I've been exposed to as a child. probably also that one time I let out a big loud fart in front of 10 people. 15 years later I still blush when I think of it. but of course erasing these events and people would mean erasing all the good things that are intricately and intimately linked to them. the birth of my kids, the first 12 years of my life, the first time I fell for a boy at church. those things feed my memory with senses and emotions, colors, fabrics and sounds that shape my heart, mind and soul. there are invaluable and essential.

how decisive and meaningful are the bad things that happen to us? how much do they influence and teach us about who we are? do they unconsciously dictate the way we respond to life? are they as important as the good things?


dilemmas everywhere

my boys aged 3 enter kindergarten next September and I have to decide whether they will be together in one classroom or separate in two. the decision is complicated by school administration, friends and family who all believe that separation will support the growth of their independence and individuality. every morning I wake up with a contradictory idea that arises unceasing questions and doubts about the issue of classroom placement.

together vs. separated, boosters vs. car seats, educational computer games vs. traditional playing, SAHM vs. working mother. is life with kids only about choices, decisions and dilemmas?


a father and his sons


something is wrong. I have never seen this expression on my son's face before. as he is silently working on his puzzle, obviously, the emotions he is experiencing are too overwhelming for his 3 year-old body to contain. the little shaking of his lower lip and small chin betray the uncontrollable sobbing he is bravely trying to hide and let me catch a glimpse of his sadness and despair.

"I want Daddy... I want a plane and see Daddy..." he says.

I am knocked out. he has never said something like that before. and I realize my kids miss their dad the way I miss my husband. the void they feel cannot be compensated by any new toys or activities scrupulously planned in advance. they have intricate feelings and emotions that need to be considered, respected and nurtured.

"Daddy's coming back very soon. Daddy loves you very much" I tell him.

and I hold my son real tight wondering if there isn't any magic spell that could turn me into a human sponge so I could absorb every ounce of pain and sorrow of his little body.


the momster (part I)

I feel bad today about a lot of things. I feel bad because I really think that I am a bad mother and have truthful examples to legitimate my anxiety and fear. I question my every reaction, face expression, the tone of my voice and every word coming out of my mouth. I question my profound beliefs and values and suddenly they all seem to be blurred. blurred by what ? by the realization that education and discipline aren’t factual. it all happened yesterday night after I've watched a TV program about how to raise your kids well. my boys who seemed to be perfect reflections of typical boy toddlerhood now appear to me like little brats. the problem is that I have absolutely no landmark anymore. it’s like walking without crutches. what seemed to be very important yesterday is no longer something I have to yell about. inversely, what was casual and totally acceptable is now something I have to be firm about. and this is very confusing. I have to establish new rules, but I don’t know what they are. as a result I am depressed, over sensitive (I cried when my neighbor, who is a mother of two, offered to babysit my kids so I could go on a walk this afternoon) and lonely. I guess I’ve been hurt somewhere between my pride as a mother and the feeling of accomplishment I’ve nurtured throughout the years. I feel like I have to start over now. and this is scary, so scary.


how can I teach my little boy to pee standing up?

really. I'd like to know.


queen of the dial

friends are a strange entity. some of the friends I have I've known since the age of 4. some I met only a couple of years ago. some remain just acquaintances, others have become my soul sisters. I've lost some friends too. some have probably forgotten about me. I have forgotten about so many. I guess that throughout the years I've learned to accept the coming and going of people in my life. I've learned that you don't own people and that they can decide whether they want to share their lives with you or not, and that it's ok.

sometimes you are surprised. you meet someone randomly and a friendship blossoms. you think it's just someone you talk with on the phone once in a while, but then, you start sending cards on Christmas and New Year's day and gifts on birthdays. you get phone calls and worried emails when one of your kid is at the hospital or a few days after a bad day to see if you're ok. strangely enough, you don't compare lifestyles, bank accounts, wardrobe or haircuts. you talk stupid thoughts and more personal issues, your background, your childhood and you realize you're truly heard. it was not something planned or anticipated. it just happened.

after talking with my best friend this morning for about an hour and a half, I had a big smile on my face the entire day. I've known her for 4 years and we met only 3 times.

I love friendship between women. this is a gift we must treasure every day.


I love you, I love you not

I love my son. I truly do. there are 600 different reasons why I love him. but there's one thing that really, really irritates me. Will chews his food for an hour before swallowing it. and I am not exagerating. I know it sounds like a minor issue for a 3 year-old otherwise healthy boy. but you know, I've been through tantrums, separation anxiety, bedtime rebellion, hospitalization, potty training and night terror. there's nothing more frustrating than a child who won't eat. no. there's nothing more frustrating than endless mastication without gums. it just kills me. everytime.


that one second that makes the difference

today I've done 6 puzzles, chased a crocodile, sung about 20 songs 20 times, watched 3 episodes of Dora the explorer, cooked 4 different meals, built a tower, comforted, fed, bathed, disciplined, put to nap, put to nap again, loved, hated, hugged, laughed, yelled and kissed. today I've been exhausted, exasperated, frustrated, annoyed and amazed. but amidst the chaos and challenge of surviving twin toddlerhood, I've had that feeling again. for one second, I marveled at the beauty of God's inspiring creation. I know I am blessed beyond measure. I just forget it 99% of the time.

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