HOW OLD IS YOUR DAUGHTER AND WHAT ETHNICITY IS SHE?
Joey was born on April 20, 2016. She is 3/4 Korean, 1/8 Japanese and 1/8 Chinese.
HOW DO YOU GET JOEY TO FALL ASLEEP LIKE SHE DOES IN YOUR VIDEOS?
It wasn’t really anything we did to train her to sleep that way. She always just fell asleep on her own and continues to do so. We think maybe it’s in her genes. Allen and I can both pass out anywhere, anytime. When I’m about to film her for the photo series, I usually do it during her morning nap and look for cues that she’s getting tired like rubbing her eyes and yawning.
DID YOU SLEEP TRAIN HER?
Yes, we started sleep training Joey when she was 4 months old. We know that it doesn’t work for all babies and their parents but for our family, it helped so much. We also know just how difficult it is because of all of the crying. I wanted to quit the first night! I couldn’t bear to hear Joey’s cries for more than 30 seconds. I vividly remember putting my hands over my ears and trying not to cry myself. So we are in no way saying that sleep training is the best way for your child. It just happened to work well for Joey and for us in the end and we wanted to be transparent in sharing what our experience was on this blog.
At four months, we started a routine with Joey which we still keep to this day. When we put her down to sleep at night (Around 7:30-8:00 pm), we do the following: We feed her about 30 minutes to an hour before we start. We dress her in her PJs, and sometimes if she’s really awake, we read her a bedtime story then we turn off the lights. Next, we turn on her white noise machine, sing our favorite gospel song, say a prayer of blessing, kiss her goodnight, put her down in the crib while she’s awake and walk out of the room. We only have one of us doing this. When we first trained her, Joey cried for 15-30 minutes (which broke our hearts!). When it hit 5 minutes, we checked in with her, then at 10 minutes then at 15 minutes. Each time we checked in with her, we didn’t pick her up or touch her but just softly told her, “Mommy/Daddy is here. We love you Joey. Goodnight.” and then we would walk out. After a few days of doing this, she learned to self-soothe herself to sleep quicker and now, she knows to fall asleep almost immediately after being put into her crib without a fuss. She now sleeps 10+ hours through the night. We have heard that some babies cry for an hour or more and I totally understand how parents would give up on this method. I think it is ultimately on you as a parent to decide what’s best. We have friends who co-sleep with their children because it works for them better and that’s totally ok! There are so many books and articles about sleep training out there that will probably give you better information. For a quick read, you can check it out here.
IS JOEY EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFED?
Yes she was exclusively breastfed for 6 months but now we give her solids and some formula as well.
WHAT SOLIDS ARE YOU FEEDING HER? DO YOU MAKE YOUR OWN?
So far we’ve fed her green peas and broccoli and she likes both! We’re planning on trying new veggies until she’s about 8 months when we’ll try fruits. Yes, I make my own solids. It’s actually pretty easy. I just steam the vegetables and mix it with some of my breastmilk with an immersion hand mixer. The hand mixer is awesome. Less cleanup and works just as well (if not better) than those baby food mixers.
WHAT CAMERA DO YOU USE?
For the Joey costumed napping photos and videos, I use my iPhone 6. I use the VSCO Cam app to edit photos and the Clips app to edit my videos. For other photos, I use a Canon 5D Mark II with various lenses. I edit the videos taken on that camera on Final Cut Pro on my computer. I love using Dropbox as a way to house my IG photos and back up all of my photos and videos on the iCloud, Dropbox and just recently Google Photos.
WHY DID I START THE PHOTO SERIES?
People tell you when you have a newborn, to sleep when your baby sleeps. That didn’t happen for me because I would end up just staring at her face all day and night because I was just so in love. Because Joey slept so deeply, I thought it’d be fun adding little props on her just to send some hilarious pictures to our parents. It was a way to memorialize her growth and little milestones in a fun and different way. I was just hoping to give Joey a fun little baby book when she’s older. Had no idea it would become what it is today!
WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
Joey naps around 3-4 times during the day so I shoot the photo during her first or second nap. Around that time she starts giving me clues that she’s ready for a nap, like rubbing her eyes and yawning. I lay her on our bed and play with her for about 5 minutes. Then I turn on some white noise and she’ll fall asleep usually around 5-10 minutes on her own. There are been times when she fell asleep in just a couple minutes or before I can even catch it on my camera! Usually I’ll do an arm drop test to see if she’s completely passed out and if she is, I’ll start dressing her. The dress-up usually takes about 10-15 minutes because I’m still making stuff or adding things that I forgot I had in the house. Depending on Joey’s mood it usually takes anywhere from 20-45 minutes in total from the time I start playing with her to the photo being taken.
I NOTICE THAT YOU USE TWO HANDS IN SOME OF THE VIDEO SHOTS. WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?
Haha there is no sorcery involved. I have a mobile phone tripod that I use sometimes when I need both hands to put the costume together. It has legs that curl into different angles so it allows me to be hands-free. It looks absolutely ridiculous when I do it but it’s worked for me!
DOES JOEY EVER SEEM UNCOMFORTABLE?
Not that I could tell. I’m not sure she knows what I’m doing because she’s always sleeping! A couple times she’s woken up while I’m dressing her up but she’ll just look at me a little dazed and then either fall right back to sleep or will start playing. If she ever shows me signs that she is uncomfortable and wants nothing to do with it, I will definitely stop. The last thing I want to do is make her do something she doesn’t want to be a part of so I have been very sensitive to her reactions. Luckily she’s been able to sleep fine and is happy. I really hope she’ll see the photos and videos in the future and have a good laugh. Hopefully she’ll see how loved she was.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE MATERIALS?
Some of the wigs are my old wigs from Halloween costumes from the past. Some have been donated by friends and fans. Recently I have been finding wigs on Amazon.com. They are all adult-sized wigs except for the curly haired one. I try to find things we have already at the house for props, including my own clothing. I rarely buy anything to make a look. Turns out we have a lot of junk at our home!
WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS AND ALLEN THINK OF ALL OF THIS?
My parents and in-laws are my biggest fans. They check my Instagram constantly and re-watch my videos over and over again. They say they read all the comments too! Ever since the post of Joey in the Eleven costume went viral, my parents marathoned the show over a few days! They were curious why it went so viral and wanted to find out more about the Eleven character. We thought it was so sweet of them. Our parents don’t get to see Joey every day so it’s been a way to see her grow every week and they absolutely love it. They call us everyday to talk about my latest post. I can’t believe how savvy they’ve become on Instagram! My husband Allen loves it too. He knows just how much of a heavy sleeper Joey is and so he loves seeing the posts of her in different costumes. He and I are very big fans of TV and films so it’s been fun coming up with costume ideas together.
HOW DO YOU THINK JOEY WILL REACT TO ALL OF THIS WHEN SHE’S OLDER?
First of all, it’s kind of crazy knowing how many people, including children, are now seeing these photos. Initially when I started getting a ton of online attention, there was a bit of a mother-bear type of panic and I thought about stopping. But then I started receiving messages from countless people who wrote that the photos and videos were the highlight of their day and for many others, something that has been helping them and their families get through a very difficult time in their lives. I’ve been so humbled by all of these messages and I’m so thankful to each and every person who has extended their hearts to us in this way. Allen and I are committed to raising Joey to always “pay it forward” and to use her talents and gifts to bless others and so I’m sure she will be very happy to know that she was a part of something that became a blessing to so many people around the world, even if she was asleep for most of it! I’m really excited for the day when Allen and I will sit down and go through all of the pictures and videos with her and explain just how good she was as a baby and how loved she was by so many around the world.