Language Explosion



We moved to South Korea the week after Clarissa turned eighteen months. Since we arrived, it feels like her vocabulary has exploded! When we got here, she said like ten words on a regular basis. Almost two months later, she talks all day long.

When we first got to Korea, it seemed like she was saying “baby” a lot. It took me about it day to realize that she was actually saying “beep beep” for car.

Before we moved, dog was “pup.” Once we got here it was “puppy.” Then, every animal she saw was “puppy.” Although she was most excited about dogs. All of the animals said “moo” except bears and tigers. They growled. Now she knows puppy, kitty, bear, deer, hippo, birdie, duck, fishy, shark, sheep, buzz (bee), pin (penguin), and bunny. A lot of animals still say “moo.”

She used to make a chomping sound or lift up my shirt if she was hungry. Now she will say “eat” or “nurse.” She also asks for certain foods by name. There is a brand of applesauce pouch that has a picture of an apple with a face. She calls it “bob” because it looks like Bob from Veggie Tales. This week I gave her goldfish crackers for the first time. She has asked for “fishy” three times per day. She will also ask for cookies, bread, bananas, rice, and cheese. When she asks for her water bottle it sounds more like “bowl.”

We take a lot of public transportation so she says bus and “choo choo way” (train). She usually sticks with “beep beep” for car but will occasionally say “tar.” She also knows boat.

About two weeks ago, Clarissa started adding vowels to the end of words. First she added “uh” because a lot of Korean words end in “a” (kamsahamnida, shilehamnida, yugamimnida). She would say mommya, daddya, puppya. Then she started adding “o” (like anyonghaseyo). Now she says mommyo, daddyo, puppyo.

She also says:
Seep (sleep)
Hold you (for hold me)
Peas (please)
Help me
Moy (more)
Gas (eye glasses)
But (button or belly button)
Pay (play)
Side (slide)

Life is busy but good


It has been a busy couple of weeks. Not stressful though.

I went to my first Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWC) meeting.  Clarissa wanted to bring her big bear,  but I figured we would lose it so I convinced her to bring Elmo instead.  I didn’t realize we lost Elmo until we arrived at the chapel on base and she asked for him.  Oops.

PWC  was good.  I noticed that several ladies had babies so I assumed that childcare started after worship.  When I met one of the moms after worship she told me I can drop Clarissa off in the beginning.  So I dropped Clarissa off on the way to bible study.  There were three classes to choose from.  I decided to go to Becoming a Woman of Simplicity.  Who doesn’t need that?

I decided to try my commissary shopping over two days this week and it was so much easier to get to the bus. I put the soymilk in my backpack and the rest fit easily in our big samsomite bag. Clarissa also wanted to walk so I let her do that as I held her hood. I decided we need some kind of leash because once it gets warmer I won’t have anything to hold on to.

Thursday we went back to story hour at the library. I made another friend. She has three kids. They all love Clarissa and she didn’t want to leave them.

We tried to take the KTX (high speed train) to Osan on Saturday. We got to the station twenty minutes before the train left but the line was long. We had a printout but actually needed to exchange that for a ticket. There are only two trains per day to Suwon, which is where we needed to go. We decided to try again next week because there was standing room only for the two hour train ride.

We went to the Samsung store on the way home. It was quite an experience. Samsung sells pretty much everything, including insurance. We needed a Korean sound bar. We picked one out and they gave us juice while we checked out and scheduled delivery (apparently they deliver everything because they don’t keep inventory in the store). As we did that, the sales girl gave Clarissa a lollipop.

We had some tasty Japanese food for lunch. After Clarissa’s naptime we decided to check out the LG store and then ended up at Home Plus for a few things. Clarissa wanted to run around. She went to the potty seats, picked up an Elsa one, and wanted to run around the store while holding said potty seat. I finally got her to put it back but then she became obsessed with our new food waste container. I don’t know why. Maybe the size? She wanted to carry it to the bus, on the way home, and even played with it once we were home.



On Sunday we went to the PX to buy Clarissa a potty. I had not planned to start potty training this young but she keeps talking about pee and poop. So we figured we would buy a potty and see what happens. Of course we splurged and bought the princess one.

The first day, she kept taking it apart and standing on it. That happened on Monday morning as well, so I though I would put the potty away and try again when she is older. She has successfully used her potty twice. But since we have been out a lot the past few days no longer seems interested, which is fine.

We bought Clarissa some rain boots at emart. She loves them! The first couple of days she wanted to wear them all the time.


Our unaccompanied baggage arrived on Wednesday. It is hard to unpack with Clarissa so I usually unpack during naptime, which she of course is fighting with every fiber of her being. Needless to say, I am not finished.

I was initially disappointed because I really wanted to get back to cloth diapers but didn’t see them. First world problems right?! They were in the box with all of my wrapping paper. One of my army wife friends says getting your shipments is like Christmas. I am thankful to have my normal kitchen things again.


Clarissa and I went back to PWC this week. I really enjoyed it. Clarissa was in childcare the whole time which made worship way better for me! She also received some Easter eggs and candy. She really enjoys her time with her friends.

Clarissa’s Easter gift from my parents arrived. We found a bookbag with a leash for her. There were several animals to choose from. Tim and I were surprised when she got really excited about the owl. She loves the backpack but doesn’t like the leash very much. At least I feel safer letting her walk around.


On Friday, we met up with our new friends from last week’s story time. Clarissa loves trying to keep up with the big kids and they took turns holding her leash. She didn’t seem to mind as much if a kid was holding the leash.

Clarissa does very well at night lately. She usually only wakes up once a week to nurse now. This week, I spent some time looking at old journal entries from my phone. I finished the Kindle book What’s it like to be married to me? So I spent some time looking at things from when Tim and I were dating. At one point I wrote, “Tim feels called to Asia, especially South Korea. I wonder if we will live there someday.”

Also I was remembering a dream that I had this fall. Tim was walking across a military base (which I assumed was in South Korea) and he needed to get to 315. I think I thought it was a room number or that maybe the job Tim wanted would pop up in March. Anyway, Tim and I were talking about that dream the other day. He actually works in building 315 right now. Isn’t that crazy?!

Yesterday we went to Osan Air Base. It took two hours by KTX train to Suwon. Then it was about twenty minutes by subway and a ten minute walk to base. It was interesting for Tim to see how much the base has changed in eight years. I enjoyed seeing where “the dream began.” We met up with one of his friends and even had lunch at his favorite Thai restaurant in Songtan.


Osan is huge! Daegu has three different camps. But when you add them all together, they are not half the size of Osan. Everything looked new and huge. The Exchange looked like a mall. The commissary was probably twice the size of ours.

We picked out a couch and some chairs to have sent to Camp Walker. Since the Exchange is so much bigger, there was a larger selection. There was even a play place in the food court so Clarissa was able to run around and get some sliding in before we headed back to the train.

Today we went to our base to look at their furniture again. The table we liked was out of stock at Osan, but they have it here. We also let Clarissa pick out an Easter basket since the one I have wasn’t in our first shipment this week. She is very excited to hold her basket and put things in it. However, she gets very frustrated if something doesn’t fit inside just right.


Tim and I are both really enjoying Clarissa right now. She is so funny and fiercely independent. She has recently started adding “uh” to the end of words. She now says mommya, daddya, and puppya. I wonder if she is trying to speak Korean because a lot of words end with this sound. Kamsahamnida, shilehamnida, yugamimnida…

Also, I think I finally found a hairstyle for her that will work. Today, I did low pig tails and she left them in most of the day. She is still able to twirl her hair this way which is important. She likes to twirl either her hair or mine while she nurses. However, if any hair falls out and is in her hand, she says “eew hair” and it has to be removed immediately or she gets very upset.


Clarissa also had to hold the basket at the commissary today.


Clarissa loved the cherry blossoms on base this week. She kept saying they were pretty.


The age of independence


It is amazing to me how much Clarissa has changed in her short 17 months! Around 16 months she entered what I am calling her “age of independence.”

She wants to do everything by herself. She wants to do it her way and it has to be right now.

For example, one day she had to play with her toys while wearing her hat and mittens.


She has to play with my squirt bottle while (and after) I change her diaper.


She learned how to climb the dining room chairs and she seriously spends hours each day standing on them.


She has to have her arms filled with stuffed animals at all times. These animals also must sit correctly on whatever chair, table, or other resting place Clarissa chooses.


Clarissa says several words now. She has also noticed loud noises more. We live near two Navy bases and an airport. Every time a plane flies over (or a firetruck drives by), she says “Oh.” and covers one ear. It’s pretty cute.

Clarissa has become a picky eater. Sometimes food becomes acceptable if it is on mommy’s plate. I would be more concerned about what she refuses to eat if she wasn’t still breastfeeding or eating fruit every day.

Her bedtime nursing is different too. She used to nurse for over an hour and eventually nurse herself to sleep. Lately, it’s nurse five minutes, roll off, try to climb through the baby gate to get to Tim or Josie, nurse the other side and repeat six or eight times until she is really tired and I let her cry it out (thankfully it’s usually only five to ten minutes of crying). She is determined to stay up and play.

Clarissa seems so grown up now. So much more like a little girl instead of a baby. There are definitely challenging moments in our day. But I am really enjoying watching her learn new things and seeing her unique personality develop.