Basketball Dadiaries: Week 3

I’ll try to keep this short, since last week’s post was unnecessarily long.

 

We won!

 

Although our victory came from having two solid subs contributing, we still won.

Our team was firing on all cylinders (on our standards), with shots going in and lucky bounces, but we’ll take it, since we would’ve been the only team without a victory.

It wasn’t a convincing victory or anything, but we still did a great job in maintaining the lead throughout the game.

Both my friend and I are in better shape than the previous week, and hopefully things only get better conditioning wise.

Last Friday I managed to go and play some pickup at the local community centre, I was terrible, but it really helped with the conditioning.

Honestly, when you start from zero every opportunity to get more reps helps.

I’ve recovered from my injured index finger, only to newly injure my shooting hand pinky while going up for a rebound. My wife told me that perhaps this is a high being telling me I shouldn’t play: Continue reading “Basketball Dadiaries: Week 3”

To Worry Is To Be A Parent

“This is your first…isn’t it?”

 

These were the parting words the walk-in doctor said to my wife and I, as we were about to leave clinic with my sick daughter.

I don’t think he meant ill with his words –my wife even described his approach as “suave” (I think smug was more fitting) — but it did make me question where I stand as a parent.

 

Was it right to come here?

Are we just overreacting over a little Cold?

Should we not have taken her to the hospital the night before?

 

I really didn’t have a clue. Being only 19 months new into this parenting gig, this was the only way I knew how to be.

 

An over-worried parent.

Continue reading “To Worry Is To Be A Parent”

The Day My Parents Confirmed I Was An Accident

It all began with an observation my wife made:

I don’t know, a 7 year gap is pretty wide between you and your brother. Are you sure you weren’t an accident?”

I might have responded with: “Hmmm, that’s an interesting point…” But I didn’t really think much of it after she said it – I just brushed it off and moved on.

Then half a year later – just two months ago – this happened during our regular Thursday night dinner with my Parents…

As I went in for that last bite of rice, I casually asked my parents in Chinese:

“Hey, can I ask you guys a question?”

I look up at my at both my parents, and they gaze up to look at their 31 year old son, sitting next to his wife and 16 month old daughter.

They both had a genuinely curious look on their faces, and probably thought I was going to ask them about something trivial, like how did they cook the tofu, or what time are they going to come over next week.

Instead, I hit them with this bomb:

“I was wondering…Was I an accident?!”

If this was a movie, this is where my folks would comedically spit out their soup. That didn’t happen – but it might as well have – for what came out was a rapid fire succession of responses:

“No, of course not!” stumbled my mom.

“No…You see, it was so tough back then after having your brother…” my Dad chimed in. “…we were in a rough financial situations too…” He stammered on.

The funny thing was the more he spoke, more and more reasons of why I was an accident came to light.

At this point, I remember looking at my wife, and she had the biggest, ‘WTF is wrong with you?’ expression on her face.

I was loving every moment of it, because I had already known the answer. Since my wife’s comment six months before, this was something that I thought of for a while and come to terms with.

Unlike my parents, I was ready for this conversation.

“…Aaaand our house was so small too…work was tough…”, my dad continued.

I’m willing to bet that over three decades ago, when they found out they were having me, my folks had a conversation like this:

“Okay, the day he asks if he was an accident, here’s what I’m going to say..and here’s what you should say…”

Unfortunately for them, the gameplan that they devised was locked away and buried deep like a faded note inside a time capsule housed in a rusted tin container.

The gameplan, though was solid when planned, couldn’t hold up to the test of time thirty years later.

After I grew out of my teens, they probably thought the coast was clear, and that they wouldn’t have to deal with this awkward conversation – especially to an emotional  teenager. 

And we all know that if there’s one common Chinese family stereotype, it’s that we love avoiding awkward moments where we have to express any feelings or emotions.

They probably thought, well, if he wasn’t going to ask now, he’s not going to ask ever.

Ha! I sure showed them!


After the dinner, I felt pretty good about myself. Sure, I basically sucker-punched my parents with my question, but I felt pretty at ease.

Can you imagine telling this version of me that her was an accident?

In most stories that I hear regarding someone finding out they were an accident, the main character is usually embarrassed or devastated by the news.

I, on the other hand, was not phased by the discovery.

Perhaps if this were say ten years ago, learning about this would likely have bothered me.

But not today.

I think a lot has to do with the fact that I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished so far in life, and I sense that my parents feel the same way too.

I’m proud to be an accident, and thinking about it further, I’m even more proud with how my parents handled my upbringing ensuring that it never crossed my mind.

Never have I felt unwanted, and never have they expressed that I was a burden to them and their lives.

I always felt loved and cared for from the both of them – at least as “loved and cared for” as possible in the Chinese family sense, like that “What Asian Parent’s Don’t Say” video.

In any case, I never questioned whether I was planned or unplanned.

Hey look! Here’s a photo of my dad NOT telling me I was an accident!

Coming back full circle –  as my wife and I constantly ponder whether or not we want to have a second child –  knowing this I think helps put things into perspective. I don’t think we’re ready for a second, and I don’t know if we’ll ever be with how content both of us are.

However, upon learning of my origin, there is solace in knowing that even in the difficult circumstance my parents were in, they ended up raising an unplanned child that grew up feeling wholeheartedly and conditionally loved and wanted in this world.

Of course, if by fate or fortune we end up with an unplanned kid, I’ll at least know to rehearse my lines, and be extra suspicious if he or she casually asks me a question during a family dinner thirty years later.

I’ll just simply get up and leave the dinner table and let my wife answer the questions. She did afterall, caused all of this with her innocent observation allowing me to confront my parents and realize that it’s actually okay to have an unplanned kid.

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.

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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