The Journey Through Feeding A Toddler

Usually I start these posts off with some sort of anecdote, but instead, I thought I would simply show a clip.

This is an example a “good” feeding experience when my daughter was almost one year old:

I know I have a history of tormenting my daughter with yummy adult food she can’t have. But here’s my side of the story. ?

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

As I said, that was a “good” experience. You can see from the clip she ate all her oatmeal, and most of the food stayed where it should be and not on the floor, or in my face.

With that said there have been worse situations – one in particular involving blueberries that I do not wish to think about.

Suffice to say, the entire eating and feeding experience has be a trying experience, and like many new parents going through this process, it can be defeating and discouraging.

Sometimes, I would think to myself:

“Man, I can’t wait until she learns how to properly feed herself. I’m looking forward to the day where she’ll just eat without me having to worry about it!”

You should have seen the floor

Things also go beyond just feeding. In the early stages of teaching my daughter to eat solids, I still remember the science lab-like setup in our kitchen.

We would steam, blend, bake, boil, pre-chew (okay that last one was a joke), every organic vegetable known to man, hoping to find the perfect combination. Often times she would devour what we feed her the first bite, only shut her lips and treat it like poison the next.

I remember during this stage my wife and I felt pretty defeated.

Up until this point our daughter had steadily gained weight. But at 13 months, when she began to become a pickier eater, that’s when her weight started dropping. And the truth is, we’ve always been spoiled by the fact that she was always a good eater, so the loss of weight hit us pretty hard.

We felt that we had failed as parents, despite feeling that we had tried everything, but she still wasn’t eating. The more she didn’t eat, the more the pressure mounted. It began to feel like how it was when we first brought her home, with the constant tracking of how much she ate, and measuring dirty diapers, and doctor check ups.

I was warned how difficult things were going to be with a newborn, with the constant crying, and sleep deprivation. But I had no idea that feeding my daughter would put my patience and sanity to the test once again.

Before kids, I had no idea that feeding my daughter, or taking her out to a restaurant would require so much effort.

But now I know.

I now know, the pressure of getting your kid to eat.

I now know, the struggles of meal planning and preparation.

I now know, how it feels to not get to eat your food when it comes nice and hot.

I now know, the tag-team technique of alternating between shoving down your own meal while the other parent feeds.

I now know, how it feels to lose the battle of wits between a tiny human and a full grown human.

I now know.

And when our friends who don’t have children watch us at restaurants, we feel their beam of pity and concern.

I can see it in on their faces as they are thinking: “How are they this patient?” or “Is it always like this?” or “Should we stare, or not stare?”

Rest assured, we are fine. And please don’t pity us. We’ve come to realize that this is just the process of getting food in our kids.

Believe me, the first time we were at a restaurant, we did care and we were super self-conscious of what people would think if our daughter had a meltdown.

In fact, I remember us only going to noisy and spacious dim sum restaurants so that if she cried or screamed, no one would notice.

It just runs in the family. Who can ever resist steamed BBQ pork buns?

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

But eventually, we just stopped caring. We starting going to the places that we used to go to, and we started to worry less about what people thought, and more about what needs to be done.

As long as this kid eats, we didn’t care if she screams a little or makes a big mess.

“As long as she eats.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a terrible experience, every once in a while we’re treated to those little moments that make everything okay.

Moments like this one:

Feeding time is extra cool when she busts out these moves. ?

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

How do you even get mad or frustrated when you’re treated to things like that?

And that’s the thing –  like everything so far with this parenting gig, things do become rewarding.

This kid knowa how to push my limits, but she also knows how not to break me. She just knows when to throw me a bone once in a while.

I could be sitting there feeding her for 45 minutes with no luck, but somehow by the grace of her mercy she decides to take in four consecutive pieces of chicken in a 30 second span.

My inner voice goes from, “F this bull crap!” to, “I’m the GREATEST!” in a matter of seconds.

These are the rewarding moments.

These are the moments where you realize it’s all worth it.

Such is the theme of this parenting thing, isn’t it?

We emotionally beat ourselves up, and bend over backwards for our kids, but we still endure it.

We endure not because we are sadistic or stubborn, but only because we are parents and that’s how we are wired.

That’s all.

And you know what? It’s not all doom and gloom.

The eating and feeding process is slowly getting better and better.

My daughter is slowly learning to feed herself, and little by little those tiny wins are slowly becoming large victories.

So if you’re a parent who is struggling feeding your kid right now, I promise it does get easier. I know every child is different, but I can confidently say that every good parent is the same, and your efforts and intentions eventually get rewarded.

And with this, I leave you with the most recent and unremarkable video of me feeding my daughter.

This is not to brag or anything. But rather this is to show that eventually they get it.

Comparing it to the first video in this post, this is proof that the feeding experience does get easier.

And for me personally, if I didn’t write this post, I would not have the opportunity to see the improvement.

So please, no matter what stage you are at, enjoy these moments.

Cause eventually our restaurant frustrations will no longer be us trying to get our little humans to pick up a spoon and feed themselves, but rather it will be us telling our big humans to put down their devices and interact with us like how they used to.

_________________________

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to leave a comment below, or send me an Instagram message, or a tweet!

If you have questions or comments on your own toddler feeding experience, I would love to hear from you!

 

A Dad’s Review of the Munchkin Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup

This is a review of the Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup. For disclosure purposes Munchkin Canada sent me this cup for review, but I had previously purchased the non-stainless steel version of this cup for my daughter. This review talks about both the plastic and the stainless steel version.

Updated – May 3, 2017 — I initially wrote about using the cup with hot water and was promptly told warn readers that the steam may push against the lid and may risk the lid to no longer be spill proof. If you are purchasing this, please read all instructions before using this cup.  ☺️

My daughter had used the original cup for quite some time and now has used the stainless steel version of the cup for about three weeks. The purpose of the review is to provide some insight on whether or not this cup is worth buying when you are looking to transition your baby/toddler towards using a cup.

So with that out of the way, here is my review of Munchkin’s Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup!

For all the folks who have no time to read a lengthy post, like for all my reviews here is the TL:DR:

If you are looking for a cup to help transition your toddler from straw to cup, get the Miracle 360 cup. Pay a little bit more and get the stainless steel version because of the durability and insulated feature.

 

Basic Features

She’ll have it figured out eventually.


The Miracle 360 cup is basically a spill-proof cup that requires your child to tilt and suck the contents out of the cup. With this motion, you kid will learn how to raise their arms and figure how gravity and liquid inside a cup works. The end goal is that they’ll learn how to use a regular cup by figuring out how to drink without spilling all over their face. 

Washing and cleaning is easy as it basically five main parts, with one sealing ring that you can clean on the occasion. The stainless steel version is top rack dishwasher safe which is always a plus since we as parents have to constantly wash our kids bottles and cutlery. Any way to delegate the washing to something else is a bonus in my eyes.

What I Liked:


Hot Warm or Cold

The main reason why I wanted my daughter to use the stainless steel version was the insulation feature that this cup keeps drinks warm or cold. Although our tap water is just fine in Canada, I grew up with the habit of drinking boiled and cooled down water, and my daughter has adopted the same. Perhaps it’s an Asian culture thing, or it could be a Canadian climate thing, but we enjoy drinking warm water and the cup does a nice job of keeping the contents warm. 

So fancy and shiny, it won’t stay like this for long.

As a note, putting hot water in the cup is not recommended. 

Munchkin does not promote any of their Miracle Cups to be used for hot drinks as the steam from the liquid can push against the lid, and risks the cup not being spill proof.

We haven’t used the cold feature yet since it’s still pretty chilly in May, but I’m sure it would serve its use quite well when we start putting cold water or milk in the cup. The double wall premium stainless steel is suppose to keep drinks cool for 15 hours. When things do heat up weather wise in the coming months,  I can already see myself STEELing sips from the stainless steel cup when my daughter is not noticing (Ha see what I did there?)  #dadjoke.

Durability

Another reason I like this cup is how durable it appears to be. The stainless steel, though it’s tough on our floors inside the house, is awesome outside when it gets dropped and bumped around. With a 17 month old who insists on carrying and doing things herself, the durability factor is a big plus.

It has Lid!

As I mentioned above regarding taking this cup out for day-to-day use, one thing that was missing from the plastic version of this cup was a lid.

The stainless steel version comes with a lid that stays on quite well and because there’s a lid, it makes me less paranoid when the cup falls on the ground as the lid covers the drinking part.

Looks and Style

Okay, this one seems very superficial, however, aside from the cup looking fancy and shiny, my daughter actually likes carrying it around more than her other cups. It could be the weight of it, or it could be the shiny factor, but I noticed that my daughter prefers to drink more from it. It could totally be me projecting since I knew I wanted to write a review on the cup, but I certainly see my daughter with this cup more.

 

What I Didn’t Like

 

Weight: Watch Those Toes

There’s actually very little I didn’t like about this cup. The only thing I can think of is the weight of the cup. When it drops on our floors, it can get a little painful. And when it falls on your toes, it could hurt hell. But I suppose that the trade-off for something that is durable, right?

Exhibit: A – Plastic
Exhibit: B – Stainless Steel AKA: Toe Crusher

I actually weighed both the plastic and stainless steel versions of the cup with water filled and there’s an almost 90 gram difference. Both weighed 404 grams and 490 grams, respectively.

While 90 grams doesn’t seem like much, I’d much rather have the plastic version of this cup fall on my toes over the stainless steel. LOL

Price

The price of the cup is also something to consider. Although it was graciously sent to me from Munchkin Canada, at $25 CAD (on Amazon), it can get a bit much for a cup. When looking for a cup, that’s certainly something to consider, especially since there are cheaper options out there. The question though, is the premium price worth it?

 

Final Thoughts:

 

Before becoming a parent, I never thought much about something as simple as drinking from a cup. Now as a parent, I often wonder how I learned to do certain things when I was a child. And the more I think about it, the more I appreciate what my parents went through. I’m sure they didn’t have these fancy gadgets back when they were in our position.

Just once want to throw my cup up in the air like I just don’t care. Thanks @munchkincanada for hooking us up with the new Miracle Stainless Steel 360°. For more info about the cup, check out my full review of the cup in my profile link! #StainlessSteelMiracleCup #MiracleCup #Munchkin

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Do our kids absolutely need a fancy cup to teach them how to drink?

Probably not, as they’ll eventually figuring out – just like we did.

But if there’s something that can make our lives as parents easier then I’m all for it.  So here’s the thing: Most of these gadgets and inventions are not to make your kids life easier, but to make our lives easier as parents.

Less time wiping up their spills is more time engaging with them and teaching them other things.

With that said, if you’re in the market for a transitioning cup for your toddler, the Miracle Stainless Steel 360 Sippy Cup is the one to get.

 

——-

If you have any questions about the cup, leave a comment below or send me a tweet or comment on my Instagram photo and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions!

To purchase this cup, you may purchase it here. This is NOT an affiliate link, and I do not receive any compensation for any purchases to this link.

 

Raising a Second Generation Canadian

This was me in second grade bragging about losing my tooth:

“Look Mrs. P, my tooth fell out yesterday!”

“Oh wow, did you get money from the tooth fairy?”

“The what?”

“You know, the tooth fairy? You put your teeth under your pillow and you get money.”

“Oh yeah…I knew that!”

I had no idea what or who the tooth fairy was, but I was good at pretending to know things early on during my childhood. To fit in and to not stand out as one of the few Chinese kids in town, there were many moments where I pretended to know about Canadian culture, where in fact I didn’t.

Immigrating to a small Alberta town at a young age, I sort of hated being Chinese and I certainly wished my parents understood Canadian culture better.

I wanted to be the kid that knew the words to all the Christmas carols, and all the words to the NKOTB songs. I wanted a normal Christmas tree like I saw on TV, not some giant plant with red pockets as ornaments.

I just wanted to be a white kid living with a white family.

My brother and I posing in front of our Chinmas Tree on Christmas Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were times where I didn’t want anything to do with my Chinese culture, and I wanted my family to adopt to this Canadian culture as quickly as possible.

It’s funny how perceptions change.

Looking back at it now, I feel the complete opposite. As I mentioned before how incredible it was for my immigrant parents to give me the ultimate Canadian birthday party, now I am proud of my culture, and I am proud to be the Hong Kong family that moved to rural Alberta.

So as we just finished celebrating the Lunar New Year, I started thinking:

How much of my Chinese Culture will I imprint on my daughter?

Should I enroll her in Chinese school? Make her watch Chinese cartoons? Only speak to her in Cantonese? I’m really not sure.

On one hand I do not want to impose and overwhelm her with the culture. I don’t want to cause her to feel singled out or embarrassed by it. I mean she’ll face enough embarrassment with me as dad as it is. 

My Daughter Watching Doraemon in Our Native Tongue: Cantonese

On the other hand I don’t want her to miss out on what makes having dual-cultures so great.

A Digression

 

Take for example: Food

I love the fact that part of my upbringing exposed me to both Chinese and Western foods.

I once proudly said to my wife, “Man I love the fact that I’m Chinese. Can you imagine not eating Hong Kong Style cafe food?”

(When you know someone for close to 20 years, you’ll talk about anything, including Chinese food . ?)

For the uninitiated, HK Cafe food is basically North American diner food with a Chinese twist.

The lemon tea, and milk teas are as staple as an espresso in any Italian cafe, or a coffee is most North American coffeehouse.

It goes beyond food too as both my wife and I speak Cantonese fairly fluently. It’s our helpful tool to use when we’re travelling abroad, or secretly commenting on other people, or negotiating a big purchase. That’s right, whenever you see an English speaking couple quietly speaking another language, they’re either talking crap about you, or trying to plot something sinister.

End of Digression

 

Our heritage and culture is very much of our daily lives. But what if I don’t teach her well enough? It’s like the movie Multiplicity each copy just gets worse. (Yes that was a 90s movie reference starring Michael Keaton) My knowledge of Chinese culture is basically a crappier copy of my parents. Will she embrace this condensed and dumbed down version of Chinese culture?

Our cultural knowledge will just get worse and worse.

My parents exclusively spoke to my brother and I in Cantonese, and that’s one thing I disliked when I was younger but now appreciate so much. Sure, it didn’t exactly help me with learning English early on (Shoutout to ESL), but now that I am older, I’ve managed to learn the English language pretty well (Lingo dead? Lingo is dead).   Prior to having her, when my wife and I had those pre-parenting negotiations, I agreed to be the parent that solely speaks Chinese to her. This was based on a study that said that in order for a child to pick up on the second language, one parent must exclusively speak to them in that language so that they see it as a necessary means to communicate. So far that hasn’t really come to plan. Instead, I throw around the occasional Cantonese phrase, along with some Chinglish.

This kid is going to grow up confused. Instead of best of both worlds, she’s going to benefit from the mediocrity of both.

I guess the point to all of this is, I need to do better for her. She may not use the language when she grows up, but in the event that it ever gives her some sort of advantage it’ll be worth it. I have to make the effort to try as a parent. Right?

Going back to losing my tooth as a child: I may not have received money under my pillow the first night. But interestingly  enough, after telling my mom about the whole tooth fairy thing, I mysteriously received 25 cents under my pillow the next morning.

And I didn’t even put my tooth under my pillow!!

The Chinese family that I hated so much to be a part of, was actually pretty willing to adapt to and embrace Canadian culture. I just didn’t know it or understand it at the time. I mean, my parents did had to at the time: assimilate to a brand new foreign culture, get a job, learn a new language, and raise two boys. Maybe figuring out these weird Western nuances weren’t on the top of their list of to-dos. Perhaps I should have given my parents a lot more credit; because of them I ended up getting the best of both worlds.

Or maybe, this was their plan all along and they Jedi Mind-tricked me like crazy. They somehow knew that 25 years later their youngest son will have a realization that they did a pretty awesome job of exposing him to both cultures.

Now that I’ve thought that out loud, I’m just going to shut up and teach my daughter everything that I know about our Chinese culture – especially when it’s so much easier to do so now.

It’s not like back then when my folks needed to import Chinese laser disc movies from Hong Kong; or drive out three hours to Edmonton to buy asian animal crackers.

Now it’s as easy as turning on YouTube and choosing a catalogue of uploaded Chinese cartoons; or driving ten minutes to Walmart to pick up the same asian snacks my parents painfully went through to get for us back then.

I really don’t have any excuses not to teach her – I need to do it for her, and more importantly, I need to do it for my parents.

.

.

.

.

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 5.52.21 PM
GINBIS Animal Crackers were bomb.

 

Growing up in a small town, I wanted so much to be whitewashed and Canadianized. But as I grew older, I slowly became more appreciative of my Chinese culture. I hope as she grows up I’ll expose her enough to our culture and traditions. And maybe she’ll be able to appreciate what I’ve learned to appreciate. Happy New Year! A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Run to the ROM Contest

If the $20 off ROM coupon code (use the code: ‘HOLIDAY’ ) wasn’t enough in my last post. I’m currently running a Instagram contest to win a free ROM Family/Dual membership.

If you’re interested, hows you can below:

 

1) Follow me on Instagram @snappingus and ROM @romtoronto.

2) Leave a comment on this post by tagging one friend:

 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve partnered up with @romtoronto to giveaway a Family/Dual Membership. Membership is valid for a year and here’s how you can enter to win: 1) Follow me on Instagram @snappingus and ROM @romtoronto. 2) Leave a comment on this post by tagging one friend. 3) Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment. Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST. 1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest. For full contest rules, please visit http://dadmodeon.com/index.php/rom-contest/

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on

Note: Multiple entries ARE allowed as long as you tag a different friend in a SEPARATE comment.

Contest closes on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.

1 Royal Ontario Museum Family/Dual membership (Approximate Market Value $149.00). This contest is open to legal residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. Contacted Contest Prize Winners must answer a skill testing question in order to claim their prize. No purchase necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associate with, Instagram, nor is Instagram liable for any actions of this contest.

 

Full contest details can be found here: Run to the ROM – Contest Rules

ROM for the Holidays!

My wife and I are big fans of museums. From learning about Thor in Reykjavik, to re-living the Night At The Museum in New York, we always plan a trip to head to the museum, whenever we visit a city.

This is why when The ROM invited my family and I to go see the Chihuly exhibition, I jumped at the opportunity.

When we arrived at ROM yesterday, we quickly made our way to the Chihuly exhibit. It’s on the level B-2, so if you get there early and plan accordingly you can just beeline down there to beat some of the crowd.

I didn’t know what to expect, but the moment I saw the first display, I knew I was in for a treat.

As we progressed through the exhibition, each display became more impressive than the next. My favourite one was this one which looked like something straight out of an anime.

Like an energy blast from Dragon Ball

The crowd pleaser was probably this one where we were treated to a lightshow colours and patterns.

She Really Liked This One, (As did the gentleman behind her)

Overall we had a pretty awesome at the Chihuly Exhibition, but what I really enjoyed was the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.

As a photography hobbyist and fanatic, it was truly a treat to see amazing photography on display. The exceptional timing and composition of the photos were breathtaking. I know there’s a debate of “what makes a great photo?” After seeing the works of the finalists, there’s no question in my mind that their really can be a separation between a good shot, from a great shot.

As photos were not allowed at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit I can’t post anything here. But this is all the more reason to head to the ROM and check out the display With a Family/Dual membership, access to the CHIHULY and Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibitions are free with membership.

Just Cruising at the ROM

In the meantime, if you’ve somehow stumbled upon this post, you’re probably looking for coupon code for a ROM membership. Well you can use the code: ‘HOLIDAYbefore December 31st and save $20 on the Family/Dual Membership (Visit rom.on.ca/membership and enter the code.)

Stay tuned as I will be running a contest for a FREE Family/Dual Membership!