The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Conversation Only Parents Would Have

P: Did he poo?
Me: Yeah, a little one.
P: Maybe he's growing, so the body is using more of the food.
Me: His body is absorbing shit? I mean shouldn't the amount of waste still be the same?
P: Well he hasn't had a significant poop for days.
Me: Huh.

I have had more poo discussions with other parents than just about any other topic. Right after "How old is he/she?" and "What's his/her name?"

"So, how's the poo?"

Good thing I'm not single, this is the sort of conversation would be a serious buzz-kill at a Speed Dating event.

"Hi I'm _____. Nice to meet you."


"I work in Marketing."


"Interesting. Oh hey, my son crapped his diaper three times today. Huge turds."


"So, I guess you don't have any kids then."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Living in the Suburbs Means...

P brings home a 24 of beer and two bottles of wine.

"Well we can't just walk to the liquor store anymore, so I thought we should stock up a bit."

Fine with me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Three Steps Back

Happily is looks like The Boy's recent round of teething has ended. It was a gruelling few weeks, with plenty of cranky fits, middle-of-the-night crying and lots of Baby Tylenol. His teething pain always seems its worst in the middle of the night. Why can't the pain peak around say, noon, when both P and/or I are both reasonably awake?

Several nights the pain was so bad even the Baby Tylenol couldn't relieve it. On those nights we'd also have to calm him down and comfort him; and what's more comforting than mommy's boob? The downside is that this has gotten The Boy back into the habit of expecting a middle of the night feeding. After several months of more or less sleeping through the night -- latest teething excluded -- he's regressed back to a six-month old. Around 2:00 AM every night this week he stands up in his crib and just bawls until one of us comes in - and that person is me.

Sending P in is no help, he wants to nurse, seeing her makes him cry harder. So I'm the one who's got to break this habit, again. It's late so not a lot of words are exchanged, more of a mental conversation:

The Boy: On no, it's you!

Me: That's right kid, it's me. So put a sock in it and get back to sleep.

TB: Screw you Dad, I'm gonna make you pay for this.

And so I spend some time "hugging" him in his crib while sleepless memories come flooding back.

This is proving to be a harder habit to break than smoking (albeit healthier). At least smokers can use a patch to kick the habit. The Boy has to go Cold Turkey.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Last week The Boy was running a fever of 102 degrees. P and I were a little freaked, it was unexplainable, not accompanied by other symptoms, and came out of nowhere. Not to mention it's the first high fever The Boy has ever had. After a couple of days soothing our clingy, whiney, feverish baby the finally fever broke. We were naturally relieved and for the most part he appeared to be back to his usual self.

On Saturday we discovered the likely reason for the fever and cranky attitude; two molars have erupted from his gums, bringing his tooth total to 10. They still bother him, which explains the continued 2:00 am crying fits. I thought molars don't come in until around 15 months, but I guess we might as well get this over with early. Hey, now we can stop blending all his food. I think I'll cook him up a steak tonight.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Eleven Month Review

Last week The Boy turned eleven months. Last week we also visited one of P's friends who has a six week old at home. Hard to believe that less than a year ago The Boy was about the same size. Atticus was so light, I could have held him all day! While The Boy's growth has tapered off, he's still an anchor to carry around, and he pretty much demands to be carried around. His eleventh month has him weighing in at around 20 pounds (okay so he's still lighter than a paving stone, but I usually don't carry a paving stone for hours on end) and +/- thirty two inches tall.

The Boy just loves the fact that he can now move around on his own, and when he's not terrorizing the cats, follows P and me around like a puppy. Every time we turn around there he is, crawling into the same room we're in. Not only do we find this extremely cute, it's a relief because our place is anything but baby-proof, and this way we can keep an eye on him.

Even though he's been crawling for a few weeks now I've only just set-up a gate at the top of the stairs, put covers on the electrical outlets and installed cupboard locks. Does this make us bad parents? I suppose, but have you ever closely read a Baby-Proofing Guide? Basically the only way to truly baby-proof your home is to sell all your furniture, disconnect the electricity, shut off the water, wrap The Boy in bubble-wrap and move into a tent in the backyard. Even then he might get his finger caught in the zipper. Dangers abound!

In other developments The Boy is pulling up on anything that will support his weight and just beginning to cruise from object to object; it appears walking is only a few weeks away (going to have REALLY baby-proof now).

Deet Dah! Deet Dah! The Boy's two new favourite sounds, along with a host of other 'words', he just loves talking to whoever will listen. He particularly loves talking as loud as he can. Cute most of the time. Less cute at 6:00 am in our bed.

P has realized that she only has one month of maternity leave left before she returns to the world of the employed, part-time but employed nevertheless. While she is looking forward to the regular interaction with other adults, she's also sad that her time with The Boy is going to decrease. She's been dealing with a weird cocktail of emotions lately; and so have I. My mother, who lives in another city, has generously volunteered to come to Vancouver each week to look after The Boy on the days P is at work. That is so above and beyond the call of duty we're blown away. Thing is I can't shake the feeling that I'm living with my parents again.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Boy. Last Time I Looked.

I spend the better part of Saturday afternoon with The Boy at a nearby playground. It took us almost four weeks in our new neighbourhood before we finally found one that accommodates infants. For a family neighbourhood, there is a dearth of kids playgrounds around us. In our old 'hood there seemed to be a decent playground every few blocks, here the closest one is a good 40-minute walk away.

Anyways, it was a beautiful day so I slathered on the sunscreen, put The Boy in some cool summer togs, tied a hat to his head and away we went. He had a great time playing on the equipment and interacting with the other kids, and it gave me a chance to meet some local parents as well. Naturally the small talk centers around the kids. What really caught me off-guard was that more than once someone would ask, "So, how old is she?"

SHE? Clearly can't you see he's a HE?

The first time I attributed the question as an honest mistake, but after the fourth time I began to question how I dressed him. I took a couple steps back and looked at him again.

  • Runners - boyish.
  • Blue shorts - boyish.
  • Faded red tank top that looks pink - okay so maybe that's where I went wrong.
I suppose the predominance of similar tanks tops at last year's Pride Parade should have been my first clue. But seeing The Boy's top wasn't mesh, and he doesn't have nipple rings, I just didn't put two and two together. Besides, even at the Pride Parade, these tank tops are worn by men.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I managed to pull the pictures of The Boy off my Powerbook hard disk and onto an external disk. A huge relief! Now I don't care what happens to my old disk - but losing his pictures would have been heartbreaking. I would have lost precious moments like...

The Boy in a Shopping Cart

Squaring Off With A Dog

Setting Off The Airbag in the Car

Seriously, I was sweating this for over a week now. As the title says, W H E W !

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Zombie Boy

In George A. Romero's classic film Night of the Living Dead, the radiation from a fallen satellite causes the recently deceased to rise from the grave and seek the living to use as food. The zombies are single-minded in their quest, and nothing can stop their never-ending search for food.

The Boy reminds me of these zombies. Okay, so not a stinky, rotting-flesh kind of zombie, more in a stinky, super cute kind of zombie; but a zombie nevertheless.

The Boy possesses steely determination and single-minded focus when he wants something - like my glasses for instance. With a look of fascination he'll slowly reach for them. I'll block his arm. He'll slowly reach with his other arm. I deflect that attempt. He tries another angle. I move my head. Like the reanimated dead in the movie, there's no way to stop his advance until I take the glasses off my head and hide them. It's the same with the cats, toys or anything else he wants that we don't want him to have.

The next words I should teach him should be, "Braaains. BRAAAAINS."

On a separate note: It always seemed to me that people get buried in their Sunday best. According to Night of the Living Dead people in rural America get buried in denim shirts, jeans and flannel jackets. Maybe I only attend ritzy funerals.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

APC Parenting Meme

My Powerbook is still on the blink because A) I haven't had time to deal with it and B) I'm too cheap to take it in. If I can pull the data off I'll just buy a new hard drive on eBay, replace it myself and save the service charges. The downside to this el-cheapo route is that I've been without a computer for over a week now. Fortunately P's computer is working.

So Lumpyhead's mom tagged me with a meme about being an Asian Pacific Canadian (APC); the clashing of Asian and non-Asian cultures, and the off-spring that result. "Clashing" with P is one of my very favourite things to do, especially after a bottle of wine. In fact I seem to recall is was a pre-clash bottle of Pinot Gris that brought The Boy into our lives. Hmmmm... either my memory is really that good, or a sign that P and I probably drink too much wine.

Anyways here goes...

1. I am:
Chinese through and through. In terms of lineage Chairman Mao couldn't be anymore Chinese than I am.

2. My kid is:
Half Chinese, 3/16 Scottish, 3/16 German, 2/16 bits and pieces.

3. I first realized I was APC when:
When I realized I was only attracted to white chicks, and as a result I only dated white chicks; to the initial disappointment of my parents (especially my Mom). As much as they embraced the western world they immigrated to, my parents steadfastly held onto the ideal that their Chinese kids would marry Chinese spouses and bear Chinese offspring. They've obviously since come around to my way of thinking, but there were some challenging times for P and me early in our relationship.

This was common sentiment amongst the Chinese community at the time though, and many of my parent's generation still hold onto this old-fashion view. Particularly the women. Even now when P and I walk past older Chinese couples, the women always looks at us disapprovingly. Interestingly the men on the other hand usually shoot me a, "Way to go buddy, you bagged one." look.

Ah... White Chicks, a Chinese man's forbidden fruit.

4. People think my name is:
Winston. Likely the most popular English name amongst Chinese males around the same age as me. Although one time I worked with a guy named Julius. Julius! I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, I'd take Winston over Julius any day. What a ridiculous name." Then I met his friend Starsky.

5. The family tradition I most want to pass on is:
Pictures. My family loves taking pictures. My parents, my siblings and myself capture almost everything on film or digital. Sometimes we go a little overboard, but looking back through my parent's old photo albums I'm glad they took so many shots.

P's family aren't anywhere as shutter-happy as mine, so sometimes I sense she gets tired of the ceaseless picture taking at my family functions.

What I need to be careful of is to not lose sight of the moment for the sake of taking a picture. I've already got a mini-digital camera (cost me $1.99 on eBay) for him when he gets old enough.

6. The family tradition I least want to pass on is:
I always wait way too long before getting a haircut. As a result I spend several scattered weeks throughout the year looking like a cross-between Austin Powers, a Beatle and an freak who won't cut his hair. While this isn't really a family tradition in the true sense of the word, it would be tragic if I passed on my poor grooming habits.

7. My child's first word in English was:
Banana (pronounced Anana). At first we thought his first word was Dad (Dah), because he would call that out whenever he wanted my attention, but then we noticed him yelling Dah out the window. So either he hasn't made the connection between Dah and Dad, or there was a hobo outside that looked like me.

8. My child's first non-English word was:
Deet Deet Da. We don't what it means, but he says it all the time. I suppose it could be "Wai", which is Cantonese for "Hi", but I think he's just saying Eh. Yeah I'm really reaching if I think he's learned to say Hi in another language.

9. The non-English word/phrase most used in my home is:
There is no good way to spell this phonetically, so the closest I can come is "Sit Ghoh", which means ice cream in Cantonese. For the longest time I would say "I-see Cah-leem" whenever we had ice cream, because that is more or less how a person with a Cantonese accent would say ice cream in English. P finally got tired of hearing that and asked me how it was really pronounced. We've used it ever since.

10. One thing I love about being an APC parent is:
Teaching The Boy to speak Cantonese. I think knowing a second language is great, even if he only learns a little, it's a great skill to have.

11. One thing I hate about being an APC parent is:
Not knowing enough Cantonese. I grew up learning a dialect of Cantonese, and as a result I'm really rusty at speaking the more common variation. I'm slowly relearning it, but I wish I had paid more attention in Chinese school when I was a kid.

12. The best thing about being part of an APC family is:
The melding of cultures. Marrying into P's Waspy culture has been eye-opening for me, as I'm sure my family's giant Chinese banquets have been for her (... would you care for another fish eyeball?). That's the great thing about other cultures, they're all different. And immersing yourself in them I think makes you a more rounded person.

At our wedding you could see who was on whose side of the family. My family loves ball-room dancing and doesn't really drink. The dance floor was packed with Chinese, the bar was surrounded by Caucasians.

13. The worst thing about being part of an APC family is:
Depending on whose family reunion we go to, one of us stands out. When we first started dating, P invited me to one of her family gatherings. I remember walking in and being met with not-so-subtle looks, "Hey! Who invited the cook?"

14. To me, being Asian Pacific Canadian means:
Being a better rounded, more open person.

I'd tag someone else with this, but I don't really know any other Asian parents who have a blog that haven't already responded to this meme.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Toast, For a While

My poor little Powerbook is on the fritz. Hard disc is not sounding good and she won't boot up. I'm on P's Win-Doze machine at the moment. Ugh.

I'm mostly concerned about losing all my data, particularly the hundreds of photos we've taken of The Boy. The other stuff I can live without or replace, but those photos are priceless to me.

Here's a lesson for everyone, back-up your computer. Do it now, do it often. Otherwise suffer like I am.

Lumpyhead's Mom tagged with a meme the other day. LHM, I'll get to it once I get my computer running again, promise.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day

Had a great Canada Day! Hung out with some old friends from our old neighbourhood. Their son Tully is only seven months older than The Boy, but it might as well be seven years as far as development goes. Everytime we see them it's like getting a peek into the future in terms of what to expect.

Always blows me away how much babies can change in a little over half a year.