Clarissa 3.5


It is hard to believe that Clarissa is three and a half years old. We have lived in Daegu for two years so she has lived in Korea longer than she has lived in the USA. 

I think it is safe to say that Clarissa is potty trained now. It took almost a full year of trying. But once she decided she wanted to wear panties, it wasn’t that long. 

Clarissa still really enjoys reading. She will ask me to read to her. But she really enjoys “reading” to herself. She does a pretty good job of making up a story to match the pictures. At one point she consistently asked me to teach her how to read for real. But once she realized that it would take a while, she stopped asking. Part of her bedtime routine now includes reading to herself with a lamp for 10 minutes. She almost always is “in the middle” of a book when the timer goes off and has to finish before she turns out her light. 

She is no longer obsessed with going to California. She has graduated to Hawaii since our vacation. 

If you ask her why she likes anything the response is usually “because it’s so beautiful!” 

Clarissa keeps asking for her sister. She doesn’t want a baby. What she really wants is a roommate. She never wants me to leave her room at night. She gets lonely. Mittens always sleeps in her room but she “doesn’t speak human.” 

Her imagination has grown by leaps and bounds lately. She always has some elaborate story about her husband or her baby or fighting the bad guys. Lately, her husband is a dragon and her baby is a wolf pup. 

During the fall, Clarissa kept asking when she was going to be a mom and have a baby. I told her that when she was a grown up, she would get married, and then she and her husband could ask God for a baby. Apparently, she was listening. Now that she plays with baby dolls all the time and calls them her babies, she talks about her husband. At first, it was one boy in particular. But now any little boy will do. When I picked her up from the nursery last week she asked where her husband went. When I asked her who it was, she looked around, pointed at a little boy, and said, “that one!” Tim is thrilled…it is cute to watch them argue about this topic. 

Clarissa often cooks for me as well. Legos are still used several days per week. She is starting to draw more but isn’t as interested in messy art like painting or play doh. She also likes to trace letters and numbers. She is getting pretty good. 

She has a different name each day. If you call her the wrong name she gets upset. 

I think Clarissa is an introvert. She is fine in small groups and often wants to see her friends or go exploring. But if the number gets much higher than 5 or 6, she stays really close to me and stays quiet. She may warm up eventually, but it takes a while. 

Other common things Clarissa says:

Fridge – e-rater (refrigerator) 

I am bad sometimes 

But it hurts my feelings! (whenever you say no to something she wants) 

I am brave! 

My nose isn’t right! (if she has a runny nose) 

My hand is freaking out (if she is scared and her hand shakes) 

I like Jesus. He heals people. 

I need food 

Potty Training Part 2


Elsa has been dethroned. In our house anyway. Make way for Moana!

I much prefer Moana to Frozen from a parenting standpoint. Moana’s dad isn’t thrilled that she loves the ocean. He tries to tell her it’s dangerous. But he never makes her feel like she is weird or dangerous and he certainly does not try to tell her her gifts/abilities are bad or try to change her. Plus her grandmother keeps encouraging her to be who she really is. I rather enjoy the soundtrack as well.

The movie reminds me of one of my favorite books Discover Your Kid’s Spiritual Gifts. I need to read it again to see what gifts I think Clarissa is showing at this point in her life.

I thought I was going to “give up” on potty training for a while several times this fall/winter. But each time I was ready for a break, Clarissa would demand panties in the apartment. She had not been successful outside of the house, so I was planning to stick to pull ups and diapers for our trip to Hawaii.But I packed a few pairs of panties just in case she decided she wanted to wear them.

Thursday morning she saw some panties in the drawer and said, “I want to wear little Eva’s panties!” We received some hand me downs from a friend before they moved last month. It was the first time that Clarissa actually asked to wear panties outside of the house. She was very adamant that she wanted to wear panties instead of diapers that day. She even peed in the potty before we left. She lasted a few hours before having an accident. But she was still pretty excited about panties.

Last week, she wanted to wear panties to PWOC and she successfully kept them dry the entire time we were out of the house (about 8 hours). The next day she told me, “I don’t want to be a big girl today. I’m wearing diapers.”

This week, she has successfully peed in the potty outside of the apartment for three days in a row. Pooping is another story. But I am happy to have met this milestone.

Clarissa says the funniest things


This kid.

Clarissa is so smart. It is fun to see how her logic develops now that she can explain what she is thinking .

Every day she says things that crack me up.  I don’t want to forget any of it .  While there are “threenager”  moments of pure drama,  I am so glad to be this little girl’s mama.

Some of my favorite Clarissa conversations as of late:

If she doesn’t want to do something she cries or says she can’t do something.  If you ask her why she usually says “because . . . is not my favorite.”

She loves her tricycle.  She wants to bring it outside,  to bathtime,  to bed.  But she is very adamant that it is her “bicycle” and not a tricycle.

She will often ask “is . . .  in this life?” which basically means, “is this real?”  think dinosaurs and things on TV

Clarissa loves “school.”  I have a few things that I am working on at home with her and she calls it her “school books.” I have them in a special place.  But I also have a huge rubbermaid of teacher things that she calls “your school books.”  She can be very adamant that we do my school books as opposed to hers.  So I have had to put the things I want to do with her with my teacher things so she thinks they are “my school books.”

She also says “that’s a tastic idea!” or “that’s NOT a tastic idea”  (fantastic idea)

Clarissa has been able to count to ten for a while.  Now she kind of understands the concept of what the numbers mean,  so her favorite number is 10.  Instead of asking for one more minute or for one of something ,  she now requests demands 10! Ten Cheetos, ten shows, ten new toys . . .

When she counts, she says “one, two, free, I’m free, four, five, six, seben, eight, nine, ten!”

If she does something wrong and I ask her why she did something,  she will respond with “because I did.” She also wants something “because I do.”

She usually has something specific in mind when she asks a question .  For example ,  last week as we were preparing for a family walk she asked me about this sign on the elevator:

The conversation went something like this . 

Clarissa: what does that sign say? 

Me: don’t lean on the elevator 

Clarissa: no it doesn’t 

Me: read the sign in Korean 

Clarissa: no it says don’t smash your boobs! 

She is also pretty obsessed with going to California.  She will sit in her car seat and “fly”  to California.  She climbs on the bench outside and says “all aboard!” to ride the train to California.  All of the neighbor kids are excited about going to California too,  they just don’t know why.  (Dory is from the Jewel of Morro Bay,  California.  So if she goes to California,  she will get to see Dory and Nemo) 

Potty Training part 1


When we first moved to Korea,  Clarissa was 18 months old and seemed obsessed with watching Tim and I use the bathroom.  I thought she was young but decided to buy a princess potty anyway to see what would happen.

Within a few days she peed and pooped in the potty.  Quite pleased with herself,  she was done and lost interest in the potty for about 9 months.

Then her best friend turned three and started potty training.  Clarissa asked to start potty training but I told her we would wait a few weeks because we were going to Japan for Christmas.  That was a mistake because by the time we returned,  she had completely lost interest.

One of the few times per year I take time to read entire books is when we travel.  I read a few books about potty training on our Japan trip and also on our trip to Seoul.  Most claimed that you can completely potty train your child in 3-5 days.  They lied…

I thought we would try potty training over spring break because we would be home the whole week,  but she really wasn’t interested,  so we stopped.

I was in charge of vacation bible school this summer and the rule has always been that you need to be three years old and potty trained to attend vbs.  She was two weeks shy of 3 for vbs,  but I thought that if we started in June,  that would give us enough time to potty train.  She was pretty good about not having an accident if I made sure she sat on the potty at least once per hour.  It wasn’t until we were both sick and stayed home for an entire week in mid July that she started realizing when she needed to use the potty on her own.

But then we spent two weeks out of the house every day for vbs.  If she is in a diaper,  she will use it.  Smart girl.

August was fairly consistent.  If we were at home,  she would use the potty when she needed to.  But once you put panties or a diaper on her,  she refused the potty.  So that meant that we were potty trained in the apartment only.

We went on vacation to Japan in September.  I figured she would just stick to her diapers.  For the most part she did.  But once per day she would use the potty.  It was always at an interesting time.  I don’t think she used a hotel potty the entire trip (though now that I think about it,  the bidets probably scared her).  She often used the toilet on a moving train.  If it happened to be a squatty,  I just said no.

The rest of September,  she mostly asked for a diaper.  Some mornings,  she wakes up with a dry diaper.  But now we are back to being potty trained in the apartment without panties. She sometimes asks for a diaper when she needs to poop.

I still use cloth diapers when we leave the apartment.  I figure that she will be potty trained when she wants to as she sometimes asks to use the potty when we are out.  It is not worth stressing her out over using the potty. Especially when it doesn’t really add to our budget anyway.

Turning 3 in style 


I gave Clarissa some ideas for how to celebrate her birthday.  She said she wanted ALL of her friends,  pizza,  cupcakes, and the color playground. Done.

Most of Clarissa’s friends in our building go to Korean preschool.  Their summer break was the week before Clarissa’s birthday so we decided to celebrate early.

Clarissa helped me make cupcakes the day before her party.  I put them inside my cupcake carrier but didn’t think to put them in the refrigerator.  Our apartment is so warm and humid that the frosting melted overnight.  I don’t have a great track record with her birthday cupcakes

The temperature was supposed to hit 103 during the party,  so I tried unsuccessfully  to find water balloons. But our friends had a small pool so we decided to do that on the playground.

The kids had a great time playing in the water and eating their pizza and cupcakes.

My favorite part of the party was when it was time for Clarissa to open her presents.  Each of her friends was so excited to give her a gift that Clarissa didn’t actually open any of them herself. Each of her friends opened the presents that he or she  brought and shoved them in her face saying “look what I got you!”  I wish I had pictures from that moment.

As her actual birthday approached,  I was also excited about another activity I have been planning.  Compassion International has a few programs that I really like that help families.  They have a child survival program that helps moms and babies receive nutritional assistance, prenatal care, childhood immunizations, and mentoring from a local church. Once a child is about three years old he is eligible to become a sponsored child.

I have been waiting until Clarissa turns three so she could pick a child about her age to sponsor. Then they can kind of grow up together through letters and prayers. I thought for sure that Clarissa would want a little girl. But I was wrong. She was ADAMANT that she wanted a boy (though I’m not entirely convinced she understood that this little boy would not be coming over to play with her). She ended up choosing a little boy from Colombia who was born on the same day as her. We pray for this little boy often before bed. I actually pray for his mother almost every day as well. Whenever Clarissa’s behavior is challenging, I pray for his mother too because I figure that she is going through the exact same thing with her little boy.

Clarissa’s actual birthday was on a Saturday so Tim was already off. I spent the morning running errands on post and then when I came home we had some cupcakes. I was planning to wait until we came home from our family celebration. But, I showed them to Tim while she was having a tea party in the bathtub and insisted “but mom it’s my birthday now!”

We then went to the bowling alley for pizza and a game of bowling. We have actually been bowling three times in the past two months because she enjoys it so much. We only play one game each time due to her attention span though. It is pretty fun. We always have bumpers up and she has a ramp for her ball to roll off of towards the pins.

After bowling we headed to the PX. Clarissa read the most books in her age group during the summer reading program on post. Her prize was a $25 gift card to the PX. She chose a Frozen jewelry making kit and some Elsa panties.

My baby girl is 3! 


Time seems to go  much faster as an adult than I remember growing up.  Clarissa is three years old.  She has lived exactly half of her life in America and half of her life in South Korea.

Life with Clarissa is a fun adventure.  She definitely keeps me on my toes!

Her three year old check up is on Friday,  so I don’t know all of her statistics yet.  But she has definitely grown this year.  Clarissa is quick to say,  “I am growing up.  I am getting heavy.”  Last year,  she wanted to walk everywhere.  This year she prefers to be carried. I enjoy a good cuddle,  but when it’s 95 degrees everyday,  mommy gets tired quickly.  I have recently started to bring the umbrella stroller everywhere we go.  It’s not as bad on the bus as I thought it would be and my walks to our destination have become so much easier.  I don’t know why I waited a year and a half to try this?!

Clarissa’s favorite activity is probably reading. She read the most books in her age group this summer at the library. Her prize was a $25 gift card to the px, which she spent on a Frozen jewelry making kit and some Elsa panties.

She asks me to read to her multiple times per day.  Clarissa also likes to “read”  to herself.  She is very good at narrating what is happening in the pictures.  Plus she has half of the stories memorized anyway. 

She even asks me to read in the indoor playroom of our apartment building.  Most of the books are in Korean so I have become quite skilled at making up stories. 

She also just got a Frozen tea set for her birthday and asks to play in the bathtub several times per day so that she can have “real tea.”

This week she learned to blow bubbles correctly. Before, she kind of ate them.

Her menu is still not very large, but this week has started to eat a larger quantity of food per day. She will pretty much eat pizza, ice cream, and chocolate any time they are offered. She will sometimes eat french fries (with ketchup), breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, popsicles, pretzels, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, yogurt covered raisins,  dates,  apples, and bananas. Everyday she will eat a peanut butter sandwich, mozarella cheese, and a fruit bar or seaweed snack. She mostly drinks soymilk and water, but will request gatorade on a hot day.

Clarissa is brilliant. We named her well (Clarissa means brilliant). She is also quite determined. Which works both ways. If she wants to do something, she will do everything she can to make it happen. And if she doesn’t, well, it probably isn’t going to happen. Thus, I started potty training in April and she still isn’t fully potty trained. She is daytime potty trained at home. Has been for about a month. But once you leave the house, she doesn’t care anymore. Usually. Sometimes she will ask to sit on the potty while we are out. But it’s rare.

During the month of July, she demanded to be called Elsa and sometimes would not respond unless you called her Elsa. Tim refused and so he would come home and she would cry hysterically and say, “Mommy, Daddy says I’m not Elsa. I’m Clarissa.”

She does know her colors and shapes. She can recognize her letters pretty consistently. She can count from 1-10 and recognize those numbers as well. I overheard her singing the alphabet song today. Clarissa really enjoys singing.  She randomly bursts into songs that she makes up. 

I am really glad that I wrote about her interests a few months ago, because they have changed so much this summer. Her favorite movie is either Finding Nemo or Lion King. She watches Doc McStuffins, Robocar Poli, and Sofia the First on tv.

My Favorite Clarissa-isms

“one more minute”

“I’m growing up. I’m getting heavy” (or Mittens is growing up, or ___ is growing up)

“It doesn’t feel me good” (if she doesn’t like something or if she doesn’t feel good after eating/doing something)

“I want a dead sandwich” (plain bread)

She has a hard time pronouncing the letter l, so most things sound like y. yike (like), yegs (legs)

“my yegs (legs)  don’t work really well” (when she’s tired)

She uses the words because and yike (like) A LOT

Most days she will say “I don’t feel good. I have gunk.” Pretty sure she has inherited our allergies, poor thing.

She says ” loft cloth”  for washcloth 

If I ask her why she did something,  her response is usually” because I did”

We read a few books about opposites and she is confused.  She often says “it’s too easy”  when something is difficult 

She randomly adds “uh”  to the middle of the word so it’s “sam-uh-wich”  and “hung-uh-ry” 

she still says “hold ou me” when she wants me to carry her and I don’t have the heart to correct her. Because, she recently started to say “orange” correctly and I’m devastated. I loved how she said “ornange”

I am so thankful for our beautiful baby girl. I am so glad that I get to stay home with her during this season of life.

Update : Clarissa is 89.6 cm (35.3 inches)  tall and weighs 12.7kg (28 pounds). So she has grown a little over three inches and gained almost 5 pounds this year. 

Clarissa’s first movie theater experience 


Last summer and fall,  Clarissa was obsessed with the movie Finding Nemo.  There were two copies at the library.  So most weeks at storytime we would return our copy and borrow the other one. She received the DVD as a gift for Christmas so that we didn’t need to borrow it anymore. 

When we heard that Finding Dory was coming out,  we knew she had to see it.  We thought that at almost three years old,  she would be able to sit through the movie in the theater and actually enjoy it. 

The movie was supposed to come out in June.  Tim had a four day weekend for the Fourth of July so we thought that Friday would be perfect because it wouldn’t be as crowded. All week I talked up the movie.  Tim brought home the book from TDY (business trip).  We talked about how the movie would be on the big screen and we would have to sit and be quiet but we would get to eat popcorn. 

Thursday night after I put her to bed,  I went online to look at movie times and was surprised to discover that the movie would not be out in Korea for another week. We were so upset. 

The next morning,  Clarissa woke up ready for her movie and I had to tell her that I made a mistake and we actually couldn’t go to the movie until next week. She was surprisingly satisfied with my explanation. 

All of the English movie times were during the week. Tim took the next Friday afternoon  off and we met him at the subway to go downtown. 

We headed to the food court at Hyundai Department store for lunch.  Tim ordered grilled eel at the bento place.  I ordered bibimbap.  Clarissa ate my rice. 

After lunch we had an hour to kill so we decided to go for a walk.  As we walked past Miso City,  we noticed that there were some traditional houses so we decided to check them out.  There was a bit of a walking tour,  complete with stamps.  Clarissa wanted me to stamp both of her hands. 

After we completed the loop we went back to Hyundai Department Store to buy our movie tickets.  We ordered some popcorn and had to wait a few minutes before we could go to the theater. 

When we bought our tickets,  we received two small posters.  Clarissa would not let me put the Dory poster in my bookbag for safe keeping. 

She did very well in the theater.  She sat in her seat for most of the movie.  She only had to sit in my lap for the last 15 minutes or so. 

Once the movie started Clarissa was too interested in the big screen to eat her popcorn. But she was pretty quiet.  She asked a few questions but was a reasonable noise level throughout the movie. 

It was a great family outing.  I wonder what our next movie will be…