The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Too Much of Good Thing

P and I try our best to eat healthy. Even before The Boy we didn't eat many processed foods. There was the occasional chocolate bar or bag of chips, but fast-food or frozen entrees - only as the absolute last resort. When The Boy came around we took it up a notch.

Goodbye Pizza Hut. Hello Quinoa.

If we only manage to pass on one family tradition, I hope it's eating healthy; although I'm still hoping The Boy will share my love for reading on the toilet. Even if it's instructions on the side of a box, I have to read something. I now probably know more about inserting a tampon that I really need to know, but knowledge learned is knowledge gained I figure.

Anyways back to wholesome foods. At snack time we try and stay true to the heathy eating mantra. Fortunately for us The Boy loves fruit, and chows on pretty much any fruit we set in front of him. mangoes, bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, kiwi, papaya - he eats them all with gusto. So when the Christmas Mandarin Oranges started appearing in stores we bought a couple cases.

The Boy just loved them. P and I were thrilled, an extra boost of Vitamin C right in the middle of cold and flu season, and another healthy snack to add to his menu. Thing is, eat too many Mandarin Oranges and they go right through you. Now our poor little boy has got the runs, and it's not just the oranges exiting his body but everything else too; raisins are particularly pleasant.

So the lesson here is (aside from the obvious lesson that too many Mandarin Oranges will blow right out your ass), too much of any food, wholesome or processed, is not good. A lesson you'd think would have learned years ago after a particularly unpleasant night involving Tequila, but sometimes we all need a refresher course.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Just a Little Off The Top

I don't really think of myself as ultra-stylish, a clothes horse, or whatever you want to call it. I avoid leaving the house dressed like a freak, and I wouldn't be caught dead wearing sweatpants in public, but beyond that I'm not overly concerned with how I look. That is, except for my hair.

I don't know why, but I'm extremely conscious about the top 1/16 of my body. Whether it's my hair, a hat, toque, visor or Halloween costume, if it involves the top of my head I obsess over it. Ball caps have to sit at a certain angle. Toques have to allow some bangs to show along the brim. And my hair? There's too much criteria to list here. Put it this way, I can walk out of my house dressed like a sack of shit, but my hair must be coiffed.

Like most obsessions, I think this started in childhood. My parents used to let me walk around all day in the hair I got out of bed with. If you consider that Asian hair is really thick, it usually meant I spent the day with a rooster tail or sideways Mohawk on my head. Around seven years old I started to actually care that I was going to school looking like Tin Tin or Don King.

I'd spend hours in front of the mirror each morning trying to comb my hair down. This lasted until I was about 13, when I somehow discovered I could actually preen my hair while I slept, a habit that's stuck with me to this day. It's an unusual skill, and according to P, one that's even more unusual to watch. I'll be in bed fast asleep but molding my hair at the same time. Of course doing this means I don't sleep as deeply, but I do wake up looking magnificent.

So considering how much hair styles mean to me, you can imagine how I reacted when The Boy started to wake up each morning looking like Christopher Lloyd; it was time to visit my barber. We'd heard horror stories about kids going ballistic in the barber chair, and The Boy is capable of a high level of mayhem. Fortunately he loved the whole hair-cutting process, sat quietly and took it all in.

He may not have a thick head of hair, but at least it's nicely styled.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Spelling Counts

Sorry for all the typos in my previous post (now corrected I think). When you bang an entry together late - after a night of frolick with The Boy and a few too many beers - syntax, grammar and apparently my Spell Check stops working.

Friday, November 17, 2006

15 Month Review

I haven't done one of these round-up reports for a while, so now's a good a time as any.

The Boy is doing great. He's a hefty 24 pounds, full of energy and a ton of fun. His growth seems to have hit a plateau for the time being, unfortunately though it has plateaued at the perfect nut-sacking height. Whenever he wants to be picked up he reaches up, grabs a handful of my crotch and pulls. It gets my attention, that's for sure.

He's also starting to say a few words, in both English and Chinese, which we find very cool. Words in his repertoire as of today:
  • Anan (Banana)

  • Ft Ft (Foot Foot, our cat)

  • No (Big surprise there, what kid doesn't know that word?
  • Uh Oh (When he drops something)
  • Bye Bye
  • Ma Ma

  • Da Da

  • Po Po (Chinese for Grandma)

  • Nie Nie (Chinese for milk)

  • Gnat Gnat (Chinese for burning, used to describe something hot)

  • Hoe Yeh (Chinese for Well Done) He also claps his hands when you say this to him

  • Wankle Rotary Engine (Heh Heh, just kidding. It's just that the word Wankle makes me giggle like a school girl)
The rest of the time he babbles. I'm really curious what language he's babbling in, but what's the difference I suppose. Given how much his babbling makes sense, it might as well be Scottish.

Talking aside, The Boy is growin' up fast, in particular his motor skills. No lid, button, latch or lever is safe anymore. He's figured out how to use the TV remote (and dammit, I wish he'd just pick a channel and watch it), open drawers and cabinets, screws lids on and off bottles, climb up and down stairs, and beats the living crap out of everything with his toy hammer. I wonder if I slip a steak under that hammer he could tenderize it for me - baby be useful.

On Wednesday it rained over 100 millimetres (that's 4 inches) in 18 hours here, causing power outages, flooding and general mayhem, so it goes without saying it's wet, wet, wet in Vancouver. So you'd think that we'd be able to find waterproof shoes for The Boy no problem. Guess again. It appears they don't make waterproof winter shoes in Infant Size 5 or Toddler Size 3, at least not that I can find. I've searched everywhere only be faced with shelves of shoes, runners and sandals, but not a rain boot in sight. I need warm and waterproof, not cute and comfortable. Hey shoe manufacturers, our babies don't stop walking in the winter! Unless The Boy suddenly grows clown feet, it's going to be a soggy season.

Rain boot update. Found a pair. At Sears in Victoria. We had to travel 80 km to find them, but considering we're about to get another dump of rain on Sunday, it's worth it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Shake N' Push

I've been telling everyone The Boy loves to dance, problem was I could never show them because every time I broke out the video camera he ran straight towards me. It took a bit of work, nonchalantly holding camera and pretending it wasn't pointed at him, but I finally managed to capture The Boy dancing.

It's one of those videos only a parent could truly love. but if you'd like to take a two and a half minute "cute" break click on the link below; it might brighten your day. Or you can follow this link to Mr Winkle - self-proclaimed 'worlds cutest dog' - and gag yourself.

Watch The Boy Dance (Quicktime Required)

If you have trouble loadingthe video, you can see it here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Allow Me to Translate

One would think that after years of hanging out with my family, P would be used to hearing Chinese people speak English, and be able to pick out the not-so-subtle differences in pronunciation. Yesterday at Family Drop-in a Chinese Grandfather was watching The Boy run around outside.

He leans in and ask P, "One 'ear?"

To which P promptly replies, "No no, he's got two ears. (long pause) Oh wait..."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Open Letter to Wee Watch Vancouver

Dear Michelle, facilitator of Wee Watch Vancouver.

You are a very bad person. At least this is how I think of you. I don't really know for sure because you never return phone calls or respond to emails.

I can only imagine how hard it must be managing the juggernaut that is Wee Watch, I'm surprised you even have time to eat. You must swell with pride knowing your Wee Watch empire is so vast you don't need new clients; you can just ignore them, like you did to me.

When my wife and I started looking at part-time daycare options for our son, someone recommended Wee Watch. It sounded like a perfect fit, so I investigated further. I got excited when I visited your website. Wee Watch seemed like an excellent, well-run organization. I imagined how we'd get to know each, maybe have tea and crustless sandwiches, and wax poetic about child care and other worldly affairs. Wee Watch was going to be our new best friend.

"Contact us, we're here to help" your website promised. So I emailed you, you didn't respond. I called you, you didn't call back. I tried again and again - zippo. It was like my high-school love life all over again; you were ignoring me.

After a few weeks of fruitless searching, I thought to give Wee Watch one more try. By now I wasn't expecting to hear from you, but to my surprise you called me back. You sounded like a wonderful woman, so friendly and sweet. Maybe we were going to share those sandwiches after all! We chatted for a bit, I described our needs, you promised you'd make some calls and get back to me.

Buoyed by the possibility our child care search was over I waited by the phone, and waited, and waited some more. My beard grew long and itchy, but I stayed by the phone. The sandwiches grew stale, then moldy, but still I waited. After two weeks I was bewildered, did I miss your call while I was in the bathroom? Or maybe when I nodded off? What could it have been? After some deep soul searching it finally hit me - you just didn't bother to call back.

Will I ever recommend Wee Watch to anyone other than my worst enemies? No freaking way! I could not with a clear conscience suggest that anyone trust their children to an organization that communicates so poorly, treats their clients with contempt and has such awful manners. The simple courtesy of a return phone call might not seem like a lot to you Michelle, but to a parent on the hunt for good childcare in this city, it means everything.

So you see Michelle, that's why I think you are a very bad person. Okay, so maybe you're not bad in the way Ted Bundy or Pol Pot was bad, but I bet they at least returned phone calls.