Parenting Tips from the CDC
Sarah Heffner

Talk to your baby. She will find your voice calming.

My mother is a storyteller. I don’t know what stories she tells. But after shots of soju she never listens. My mother uses her throat to make guttural sounds. For emphasis, she starts the sound, and holds it in her throat before she lets it escape.

Sing to your baby and play music.

1 2 3 we got drunk. Donghee-ah, norae hagossipda? Do you want to go to a singing room? We go to a noraebang. She orders more beers. She sings in Korean, she sings Arirang. Samchon, my uncle, tells me my mother sings well. Jal norae hayo. I nod my head. I sing in English. They clap for me too. My uncle sings; my mother pulls me up towards her. She holds me. We hold each other. She sings to me. She tells me she is sorry. Mianhae. Mianhae, Donghee-ah. Mianhae.

Praise your baby and give her lots of loving attention.

Before we leave the house, she combs my hair.
Before we eat dinner, she braids my hair. She notices my unruly sideburns and tries to tame them.

Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help him/her feel cared for and secure.

We went to the jjimjilbang. The first time I ever saw my mother naked. I am naked too. Her body is decorated with a long scar. Later, I find out it is from spilling boiling water on herself. How long was life cruel to her? We sit in a steam room. We sweat. I sit next to my mother. Air is only between us. She shows me her fingers. Parts are missing. I don’t know how. I never ask. We put on clothes and go to the sleeping room. I fall asleep. I wake up, she is staring at me; my face is the sunrise.


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