My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

Taking our dinosaur obsessed toddler to a Dino Expo

When your kid loves dinosaurs so much….

Honestly, I don’t know how Yul ended up this obsessed with dinosaurs. The obsession started before we even introduced him to dinosaurs and before we bought him any. You can watch the video about buying him his first dinosaurs here. But we have no problem with it and are happy to indulge him. I think studies have shown a link between intelligence and dinosaur obsession in kids, and no wonder, as they memorize dinosaur names and scientific facts. It gets their little brains working. Yul is not even 2 years old yet and is already trying to say Triceratops. It comes out something like “too too ta” though haha.

We had already planned to take him to the Goseong Dinosaur Museum, which we have visited before we had Yul. My sister in law suggested the Goseong Dinosaur Expo instead and it ended up being a great idea as there are so many things for kids to do. Although the expo was in 2016, all the big exhibits are still there and it’s open to the public. Even on the weekend there are minimal visitors so it made for a nice day out. There are limited food options with some areas and kiosks not functioning so it’s best to bring a packed lunch. Some of the halls no longer have exhibits but there is still plenty to see and do. Also, it’s on the coast and there are nice areas to walk and see more dinosaur footprints.

We weren’t sure how Yul would handle this big day out, but he loved it so much. When some dinosaurs roared he was a little scared, but only scared enough to stand behind me and hold my hand. For everything else, he was OBSESSED. So much so that he was heart broken when we had to leave. But we will visit again and we still need to take him to the Goseong Dinosur Museum.

Yul’s First Bingsu: Korean Shaved Ice

Taking Yul to eat bingsu!

Bingsu in Korea is a must during summer! This shaved iced dessert has a huge range of varieties, but we took Yul to have the more traditional type with red beans, rice cakes and bean powder. He has probably tasted shaved ice before but last summer he wasn’t old enough to properly eat and enjoy any bingsu.

We thought it was time for him to have a real bingsu experience so we headed to our local cafe. He probably liked the ice cream on it the most! When I first moved to Korea I liked the very sweet bingsus, like the mango and cheesecake one. But when I became pregnant my tastes changed a lot and the less sweet traditional styles appealed more to me. Even now I prefer patbingsu, the traditional type with red beans, rice cakes and bean powder. The version we had also included ice cream, but often when ordering this type it doesn’t necessarily always have ice cream.

Bingsu is very common in Korea in summer and cafes have machines that shave the ice quickly. But before everyone had these machines, the ice had to be hand cranked which was not fun for cafe workers!

It’s definitely something to check out if you visit Korea in the warmer months and there are so many types to choose from. Summer can get very very hot in Korea so it’s always refreshing to eat something icy and cold. It is something that is usually eaten with at least 2 people, so heads up if you do order it while alone as you might have trouble finishing it.

There are big dessert chains that do bingsu, but you can also check out smaller cafes that might have their own interesting flavours.

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Reacting to Australian Shark Drone Footage

Will Hugh swim in the ocean again?

I saw this drone footage of sharks swimming near people in a news article, and I wanted to see Hugh’s reaction. When we first met he couldn’t swim well but now has a lot more confidence and does like swimming in the ocean.

This beach is up the coast from where we go on holidays in Australia, but it’s a similar looking beach. Apparently the beach in the video is known for sharks though. I will be thinking about sharks more next time we are at the beach in Australia though!

Kids makeup for boys?

Buying kids makeup for our son?

Yul LOVES my makeup. Whenever he sees me applying it he is drawn to it. Unfortunately we have such a small apartment it’s hard to escape him when I want to put it on. So much of my makeup has been sacrificed to keep him happy so I can distract him with some, while I use the other makeup on my face.

It doesn’t matter whether a child is a boy or a girl, they are likely to be drawn to makeup: the colours, the shimmer, the act of applying it. It’s fascinating. I had the idea to buy some kids makeup to give him to play with while I apply mine. In this video we ‘unbox’ the makeup… and Yul is very excited. Since filming this video I’ve discovered my idea works really well! He is happy with his makeup (which leaves no colour or powder as it’s fake) and it gives me the time to apply mine, without little fingers digging into my eye shadow palettes.

As I mentioned in the video, I disliked how much the companies market only to girls. It’s not like I expected a makeup kit just for boys, but they don’t need to constantly use the word “girl” when they could just say “child”. Lots of little boys love to play with makeup and society should be accepting and understanding. Children’s toys are still insanely gendered.

Also, watch to the end of the video to see him giving his toy dinosaurs a makeover!

We know whenever we allow our son to experience things that are not typically “male” we get a few negative comments. For example, when Yul tried on my clothes from when I was his age in the 1980s. (Watch video here). There are some people whose own limited experience has left them so narrow-minded that they can’t handle a little boy wearing a dress for 10 minutes. Never mind that historically it was normal for boys his age to only be wearing dresses. We will be doing our best to raise our son in a way so he doesn’t feel the pressure to conform to a patriarchal society. Also any content we make now can also be removed if when he is older he doesn’t want it online. We try to handle having our family being online in the best way possible, but it’s still a new thing in society and we can only take it step by step.

However, lots of mothers have already said they are going to try this “hack” of fake makeup for their kids, so they can manage to do their own makeup.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We make more videos these days and have lots of exciting things coming soon!

Racism in Australia and Korea

Recently we’ve made some videos where we react to racism in both Australia and Korea.

The now infamous TV show that mocked BTS in Australia:

And then soon after that a mayor in Korea used derogatory words to talk about children from multicultural families.

There is a lot we could take about in a blog post, but we are both a bit exhausted at the moment and I think we covered most things in the videos. Later we may revisit these topics.

Does he speak English or Korean?

Raising a bilingual child

People are very curious about if our son Yul is learning both English and Korean, so we get a lot of questions. He is learning English and Korean both simultaneously. I mostly speak English to him while Hugh speaks Korean to him, but we also switch languages or repeat the same thing in the other language.

Yul is aware that there are two different languages and understands both. Well, as much as 20 month old toddler can understand. He does speak some words as well, mostly Korean but a few English words too.

We do get A LOT of questions about raising him bilingual. I understand that people are very curious, but he is going through a dinosaur phase where sometimes he’d rather roar like a dinosaur, than say anything. I’m sad that later in life he’ll discover that new dinosaur research suggests that dinosaurs probably honked like geese instead of roaring.

An old fashioned idea that still goes around is that being bilingual will be too confusing for him. Or that he should just focus on one language first. But we know that being bilingual has incredible benefits for him and the research supports us too. But sometimes I can see that people have their own misconceptions about it. For example, sometimes Korean people will try to speak in English to him, but we’ll say “Please speak Korean to him as that’s your native language and he understands it”. But then they will ask him something and expect him to reply! He’s too young! For example, they’ll ask, “How old are you?” He is too young to articulate that yet. But then the person will try to switch back to English, thinking Yul knows no Korean.

We’ve realised as parents, how little people in general understand about child development. Yul also does look a bit older than he is, so people expect him to be speaking full sentences. He says a bunch of words, but it doesn’t mean he is going to respond to your questions! Even when he was 6 months old we had people asking if he spoke English or Korean!

Another aspect of raising a bilingual child is that monolingual people can make judgements on how many words a child knows and perhaps criticize how few they know in their language. But actually a bilingual child usually has the same amount of words as other monolingual children at that age, but they are spread across 2 languages. For example, Yul may say about 10 words in Korean, while Korean kids a similar age are saying 15 or more. BUT, Yul is also saying 5 or 6 words in English which brings the total of words he knows up to a normal level. But only people who are speaking both English and Korean can see the amount of words he knows.

Yul is in a great environment for learning both languages at the same time. If we were in Australia we’d have to make a much bigger effort speaking Korean at home. But since we live in Korea, he hears Korean from Hugh, hears Korean at daycare and just being out in society. And then because English learning is considered so important in Korea, lots of TV shows and toys are switching between Korean and English. His electronic toys all have both Korean and English options and on kids channel they will have English segments. From an early age it’s easy for him to identify the two different languages and that he can switch between them depending on the situation.

Studies done on bilingual children have shown how good it is for the brain to know two or more languages. Bilingual children also tend to have a higher level of empathy as before they speak to someone they evaluate the situation, who the person is, and decide which language to use.

I’m sure I’ll have many more comics about being bilingual in the future!

One of the hardest things about being a parent

When your child is sick…

I wanted to do a vlog showing the reality of being a parent and what it’s like when your child is sick. Even when an illness is not very serious, it can still be heartbreaking as a parent to see your child in pain.

It’s also difficult for parents in regards to work. Whether you work outside the home or from home, some work has to be sacrificed so you can take care of your child. Our son Yul couldn’t go to daycare while sick like he usually would, so that meant we had to make a lot of adjustments too. We took him to a meeting we had to go to which was thankfully in our neighbourhood. But then Hugh was the one who had to continue working while I stayed home with Yul. This means a lot of my work gets delayed.

When you are freelancer there is always an element of guilt when you fall behind in work. But of course caring for your child is more important. While I love being my own boss, it’s times like these I envy jobs where someone else could do it while I’m not there.

Yul is feeling a lot better now. I filmed this vlog a few days ago and now his mood is greatly improved. He still has a bit of cough but he can be around other children again and loved being back at daycare and playing at the park after dinner. He was getting very sick of just being home with Mummy!

I know a lot of family vloggers only want to show the exciting or happy things, and I understand that, but I also think it’s important for parents to see reality represented on YouTube as well. That’s why I wanted to vlog when Yul was sick. Even then, I still couldn’t vlog everything or show how much he cried because in the moment I’m comforting and not thinking about filming.

I wanted to make a video that other parents understood and connected with. But also something educational for those have never had this experience and show maybe what their friends with kids are going through.

You can join in the conversation over on YouTube here.

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