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.

Baby Udon Noodle Recipe Bring beef broth to a boil Add veggies and other garnish Add tablespoon soy sauce Add premixed baby powder and baby oil Stir all ingredients and let it simmer for 5 minutes Add milk as required Serving size typically for 1-2 adults. *no babies were harmed in the taking of this photo*😂

A post shared by Ingus (@snappingus) on

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.

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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

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!

The First Night From A Year Ago

With my daughter just turning one yesterday, I had some time to reflect back on what a crazy first night it was when she came into this world. Behind this confident looking dad constantly posting Instagram photos of how wonderful being a dad is – lies a memory of a traumatic, life changing first night at the hospital. A night that has forever shaped this dad, and is now in the back of his mind whenever the inkling of having a second child comes into conversation.

The dad is more impressed with the lights than the baby.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


You know when you buy Ikea furniture and before you build, you go through the instructions and feel a little overwhelmed? That’s kind of like becoming a parent. You know what the end product looks like, but the process of getting there is what’s confusing and intimidating.

Babies: Assembly Required

You realize that the end goal is you becoming a competent and loving parent, but in order to become that, you need to go through so many confusing and trying steps.

That is what I realized that first night when she arrived.

I remember that the first night after she came out, when her mom was recovering and I was lying with her skin to skin on a makeshift couch bed, she was so tiny and so delicate.

I thought to myself:

“Oh sh*t, I have a daughter. Oh sh*t, I’m a dad now.”


That moment, I felt like everything that I had prepared myself for was useless.

Skin to Skin and Sing to Sing

I envisioned how I would be as a dad, and I envisioned how it would be like to have a baby. But when it finally happened, I never actually thought about process of become a dad.

Basically, for those first early moments, I just did stuff I saw on TV and movies.

Seriously, at one point in my hysterical mindset I thought, “Oh I must sing this song to her so that she’ll have an emotional attachment to it and be calm in the future whenever I sing”

I talked to her and told her how everything was going to be fine and life is going fantastic.

That was all a lie of course.

I mean can you imagine sleeping peacefully in a warm toasty bed only to be forced out to the cold winter streets – wet and naked?

I’d be pissed and freaked out.

For the rest of the night I remember her waking up and crying every one and a half hours. And I remember getting up each interval changing her diaper and bringing her to mom for feeding.

After the feeding I would put her in a loose swaddle and rock her so that she would fall asleep.

It Ain’t 5:05 In The Afternoon

All that crying. 

It sounded like they cross-bred one of those rubber chickens with a pterodactyl.

What a truly terrible sound.

I felt bad that she was crying and disturbing her mom, so I just started walking around the maternity ward shoeless with a tiny baby in circles.

At one point I even thought, maybe if I walk her over to the nurses desk, they’ll see how distraught I look and help me hold her for a bit.

Nope.

They just politely smiled and gave me a “your-wife-just-went-through-labour-and-you-better-hold-on-to-that-newborn-look.

Fair enough.

Basically I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I thought:

Shhhhhhh*t I have a daughter now, and thiiiis is how it’s going to be?


I really didn’t think it would be that hard.

But it was.

And it’s something that I’ll never forget.

Ever.

Of course things got better little by little as each day passed. And when we finally were discharged from the hospital, we felt relatively confident that we were able to do this.

And we were right.

As the weeks turned into months, and the months now became a year life is pretty sweet.

“Don’t drop baby, don’t drop baby.” 🙏😂

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


As I write this, my daughter is quietly taking a morning nap, and last night I even slept for 7 hours!

Life is good right now.

Really good.

Yes, there still are tough days and tough nights. But nothing can measure up to that first night.

I think the experience I gained on that first night was exactly what I needed to prepare me as a dad.

And that’s the thing about becoming a parent, you can read all the books, go to the pre-natal classes, or talk to seasoned parents about their experiences. But when the moment comes and a life is gifted to you, you forget everything just learn on the fly.

And you’ll never forget. Ever.

Once assembled, babies are great.

 

A Gift For Dad Not In A Form of Poop: A Rad Dad Box Review

Who likes surprises??

Before becoming a dad, surprises were awesome!

Things like: tickets to see a Raptors playoff game; a new PS4 game; spontaneous weekend trips. These were awesome surprises.

Now surprises usually come in the form of me having to Oxi Clean poop smeared shirts, pants, and onesies.

The Worst Kind of Surprise
The Worst Kind of Surprise

But what if there was something that brought surprises back into a positive light?

There just might be something that turns the tide…a little.

Warning: This post is loooonnnnnnng.

So if you’re looking for the TL:DR version:

This box subscription makes a great gift if you have a dad-to-be in mind, but it could be costly for some people on a budget.

If you stumbled on here looking for a coupon code, I’ll just cut to the chase:

You can use the code “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase (Here’s even a link to their website.) However, I highly encourage you to read the rest of the review. ☺️ 

A Pleasant Surprise – Rad Dad Box

dscf0711
My Box Inspector Checking the Gift

Last month, I was generously sent a sweet gift from a crate subscription company called Rad Dad Box. They asked me if I wanted to do a review on their services and I happily agreed. In a world full of mommy blogs, it was nice for them to approach me with a product that is dad-centric and dad-friendly.

If you’re not too familiar with crate subscriptions services, essentially a company sends hand picked and curated items to subscribers on a recurring schedule. These items typically fall in line with your interests and needs. Yes, there is a subscription fee, but the value you get back typically goes beyond cost.

It’s essentially paying for a personal shopper who will deliver a nice gift of random items once a month.

What makes Rad Dad Box unique?

Their focus is on dads like you and me.

I know moms (deservingly so) get lots of attention, but once in awhile it’s nice for us dads to get pampered.

What type of pampering, you ask?

Well, to get a better idea of what you actually get, here’s a description straight from the source:

The Rad Dad Box is a monthly subscription box containing items to support new dads and their children. We include self-care products, such as soap, deodorant, and hand sanitizer, Dad-themed books and apparel, and Dad-approved toys and products for baby.

Basically, if you don’t have the time or knowhow in purchasing certain items, Rad Dad Box takes care of it for you.

I mean the lack of time and knowhow pretty much sums up my definition as a new dad, so this actually works for me.

What’s inside the box?

At the beginning of my post, I mentioned getting positive surprises. And if you do choose to subscribe, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. What I can tell you is that the box I received contained a combination of toys, tools, and essentials for you and your baby.

I won’t go into the items any further, but if you’re really dying to know about one of the items, I’ll reveal one at the end of this post. You’ll find my quick thoughts on one of the items included in the box. So if you really want to know, be sure to read on.

Is It Worth It?

The obvious question here is: is it worth it?

Looking at the cost of it all, here’s a breakdown directly from Rad Dad Box:

The cost of the one-time boxes starts at $20 and goes up to $60. The $60 box is available only as a one-time box. Subscription boxes start from $13/month (for the one-year subscription to Rad Dad Essentials box) and go up to $50/month (for the month-to-month Rad Dad Big Box.)

The box that was sent to me was the Big Box, which was valued at $50/month. Based on my rough estimate of the items that I received, I think it was around the same value.

Beyond trying to figure out the actual value, the thing to consider is that these items are thoughtfully picked with the baby and dad in mind, and that in itself is worth something beyond dollar figures.

Would I personally get it for myself?

Probably not – but the caveat is, I’m pretty cheap and I already have some of these items.  Had I known I would get an assortment of monthly items, I probably wouldn’t have purchased similar items on a regular basis.

Would I get this as a gift for someone?

Absolutely – and the next section explains why!

Who Should Get This?

If I had a friend or a family member who is about to become a dad, I think this would make an awesome gift.

This would also make a great pooled gift from a group of coworkers, if they wanted to chip-in and buy something nice for a for a staff member going on parental leave.

Baby Billboard
Baby Billboard

There’s so much stuff out there to buy for new parents, it can get overwhelming and often times people just don’t know what to get. I remember a few years back when I was tasked with buying a shower gift. I ended up buying a book for the person. I doubt the person even read it, and even if they did, I’m sure they forgot who got it for them as a gift.

At least with the Rad Dad Box subscription, you know you’ll get a variety of items that have been carefully thought out with the dad and baby in mind.

There’s also something nice about receiving a gift that keeps on coming.

Final Thoughts

Being a new dad can be tough.

There are so many things that we have to figure out on the fly, and we are constantly bombarded with new challenges of taking care of a new kid and being a good spouse.

With this new role as dad, we may even feel trapped or isolated. I remember there were times where I needed to take a break and step away from things, and simply think positive.

Besides, I’m tired of mom getting all the attention…it’s about time us dads got a nice gift.

I’m only kidding.

Please don’t put me on a stake.

But seriously though, what’s more fun than getting a surprise gift every once in awhile, not in the form of poop?

I’m not saying getting a box subscription will automatically make being a new dad easier, but having something to look forward certainly helps get your mind out of a rut caused by sleep deprivation.

With that in mind, if you are seeking to purchase a gift for a dad-to be or current dad, I think the Rad Dad Box subscription service would make a wonderful and thoughtful gift.

10% Discount Code

If you really are interested in getting the Rad Dad Box, why not get it at 10% off? Use the code: “DADMODEON” for 10% off your purchase!

I do not receive commission or any monetary return if you use this code, nor am I affiliated with Rad Dad Box.  I’m simply putting this code out here so that you can save a little money to spend on other things like, potato chips or Netflix.

The Rad Dad Box Item Reveal

If you’ve made it this far into the post, kudos!

As I mentioned in my review, I will reveal and give my thoughts on one of the items.

Without further ado my favourite item from the box was…

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SOAP

SOAP

Yep, soap.

I know it might seem a bit strange, but I don’t remember the last time I was gifted soap. Heck I don’t remember any time that I deliberately purchased soup.

Growing up, I just used whatever soup was available. And even now, I just use whatever’s on sale.

As much as I love smelling like Terry Crews, I actually prefer something a bit more unique than Old Spice. The “suds! Bath and Body” soap bar that came from the box was something that I thought was a great item to receive.

Maybe this is a little TMI, but when you’re a dad, the toilet and shower is your sanctuary. Sometimes you just need that tiny escape. What better way to heighten your escape-imagery, than to use a uniquely scented bath and body soap?

I won’t get into too much of the smell, but the soap has a subtle tea leaves and wood smell that I really liked.

So yes, soap.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and the photos in this post. If you are interested in seeing more XT-2 photos or my other photos (I also shoot with a Canon 6D and FujiFilm X100T), do check out my Instagram feed where I post daily.

Thanks again for reading this review, now if you excuse me I have to toddler to chase. 🙂

Easing Into the Holiday Spirit: Santa And His Super Hero

Since diving into this Dad blogging universe, I’ve been given incredible opportunities to work with different companies and dads to either promote or spread their messaging.

Often times, I am fortunate enough to be sent items to either test or keep. This is something that I am tremendously grateful for, and it is something that was totally unexpected when I first started this whole dad blog thing.

But sometimes, it is not just about getting tangible things – sometimes what I get out of connecting with others goes beyond that.

This is something that goes beyond.

santa

Earlier this week, a dad reached out through the site and asked if I wanted to spread the word on a book that he and his son wrote together. As a now avid book reader to my daughter, how could I say no to that?

In speaking to Keven, he gave me a bit more background on what he was doing with this book, and it was something that went beyond just promoting a story. Net proceeds of the sale of his book will go to the BC Burn Fund – which is pretty awesome.

After we spoke Keven had sent me the rest of the details of this campaign which you can find at the end of this post. Feel free to check it out, as 1), the story is pretty darn cute; and 2) it’s for a great great cause.

I have to admit, I’m too keen on celebrating Christmas this early in the year. But spreading the word really warms up the Grinch inside of me.

🙂

Here’s Keven’s email and the full details of his book Santa and His Super Hero:

My website is http://www.santaandhissuperhero.ca  .  I have a ”School” page on there that is actually the give-away page. http://www.santaandhissuperhero.ca/schools  The intent of this page is for schools to give the book to their students as a gift.  After filling out the form it will take you to another page that will have the link for the Kindle version as well as the downloadable PDF.  This page will be completed by the end of the day.  My goal is to give away more than 1 million copies next weekend of the eBook.

The books available at CreateSpace at http://bit.ly/SantasBook.  This is the preferred method of distribution as this will give the BC Burn Fund a bit more money.  I also have a promo Code that is valid thru December 15th for 10% off the printed version of the book.  That promo code is KJZ82H62

The Kindle version is available on Amazon.ca at http://bit.ly/SantaBookCanada  The eBook will be free from November 25th to November 29th.  The price of that book is $6.70CDN

Both the Kindle version and the printed book are also available on Amazon.com at http://SantaBookUSA  Again the eBook will be free from November 25th to November 29th.  During that time, Amazon will also be giving out a number of books randomly to shoppers who get the printed copy.

The price on Amazon.com for the eBook is $4.95 and the printed book is $10.95.