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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Culture Training

 The Bubs received his first set of chopsticks a few months ago. He's had a few opportunities to use them already. Yesterday, while his mom and I were having lunch with him, he showed us that he understands how to use them. His motor skills just have to catch up. This kid has already tried a few non-American dishes like kimchi and sushi.

I think I was an adult the first time that I used chopsticks. The first time I was introduced to sushi was in Huntington Beach, California - at 30 years old. Pathetic. However, it was worth the wait. I actually got a job in a sushi restaurant, serving sushi in HB. I was serving sushi before I even tried it. I had no idea what I was serving. I used to bring home an old poster from the kitchen, which had the pictures and names for all sushi. I, and the rest of the English-speaking wait staff, was hired for our ability to speak clear English. We (wait staff) were also hired for our experience in restaurants. The owners did not want to deal with the customers. We basically ran the place and that made it a fun place to work. I soon became a want-to-be expert on sushi and even expanded my limited knowledge on sake. This restaurant is where I was introduced to many of my good friends. I still keep in touch with many of them out there (east-coast speaking). 

The Bubs is going to surpass my "global-ness" by decades. He will even be visiting Japan within the next couple years. I bet the Bubs will be shocked to learn that his old man had neither tried sushi nor knew how to use chopsticks until later in life. This stuff will be already "been there, done that" to him. His mom and I hope to raise him with an understanding of the world outside of his own. This will hopefully reduce his beliefs in any stereotypes that he may hear from others. 

This is good preparation for our future world leader.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Bluuuurrrrrrrr...

Ever since I started taking this statin medication, my memory has become horrible. My memory of the Bubs aging over the past two years has already become a blur. So taking this medication is doubly troublesome. The pics I chose to take today are purposely blurry in hopes to enhance this post. I have taken a picture of the Bub's almost everyday of his life, not to mention my infamous 30-second videos. My uncle accuses me of single-handedly slowing down Facebook due to the many, two to three 30-second-videos I uploaded onto my Wall - almost daily - for the first year of the Bub's life. I have all these pics and videos on my computer's hard drive and also saved on our remote hard drive (for backup). Whenever I look at some of these recent memories, I'm surprised at the changes this kid is going through. I wish I had this kind of documentation from when I was this age.

When I was a kid, the quickest you could get pictures developed was 24 hours. Developing film in that little of time cost me a lot extra too. This process limited the number of pictures that I have today. Also the moving around from house to house, apartment to apartment and from state to state likely didn't help either. Items, like pictures, tend to get lost due to multiple moves like that. And all the people I ask, who were there during my childhood, seem to have faded memories from back then. I surely understand this due to my faded memory only after one year's time.

I think I'm going to sit the Bubs down, when he's old enough to understand, and play for him all of my 30-second (and longer) videos of his life. I'll crop and edit so that I don't bore the poor kid to death and make it long enough for him to eat through a bag of popcorn with extra butter. In addition, I may also inundate him with my mega-giga stash of pictures. My purpose for all this is to help him better-define who he thinks he is. He'll have the opportunity to review his early life and likely gain a better understanding of his past. Perhaps he'll make connections to faded memories of his own? Maybe he'll even be surprised that he once ate kimchi at just about one year old (in addition to the video of him eating kimchi - it's been viewed by nearly 100 people on Youtube). ;) This kid's basically a rock star in the Asian World.

I hope that if he can see where he's been, that it will give him a clearer picture of where he is - with less blur.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shoveling - Part 2

 It snowed again last night. This one only dropped about 5 to 6 inches on us. The Bubs still had the last snowfall fresh in his mind, so I took him outside shoveling with me. I handed him his shovel and rake (pictured) and he went right to work. I did catch him eating some snow between breaks, but I let it slide. It was the first time that I could go about clearing the driveway and leave him to play. I was able to keep watch on him from the corner of my eye without worrying about him running off somewhere. Even if he did slip from my radar, I would have a fresh set of tracks that I could follow. 

As I delve into my memory bank of past shoveling experiences, I realize that I already shared the shovel-at-an-angle story. So this frees my mind up for other stories. Let's see... ah hah! Chief No Nose. 

When I returned to school to complete my undergrad program, I lived with a couple of friends in Northeast PA. We had tight street parking only and this made for interesting behavior after a snowfall. Some neighbors can be uncivilized about their shoveled-out-parking-spot on a public street. There is an unwritten rule (or perhaps written in some towns) that if you shovel out your car, after a snowfall, then you have dibs on that spot for when you return later in the day. The only requirement is that you leave something on the shoveled spot. Some people leave a piece of lawn furniture. Others leave something not-so-valuable, but big enough, that says, "this (blank) is saving my parking spot." 

One of my roommates owned a three-foot tall statue of a Native American. The nose was broken off, the paint was peeling from it, it was dirty and it was heavy - but we all loved it. I should also say that we didn't own any lawn furniture. Long story short, this statue was supposed to save my roommate's parking spot one night. My roommate was only going to the store - 6 blocks away - for an item or two. So he pulled from his just-shoveled spot, got out of his car and placed the statue in his spot. He then realized that he forgot something inside the apartment and quickly ran inside to grab it. Two minutes later he ran back out the door to his car, which was idling in the middle of the street. Within that two-minute time frame, somebody not only stole his statue but somebody else took his spot (since the statue was no longer saving it). He ended up parking further away from the apartment (than the store was from the apt) when he returned. 

Is there no decency in the world?

I'll teach the Bubs about "neighborhood etiquette after a snowfall" when he gets a little older. For now, I just need to teach him to shovel.

Social Training

The Bubs spent the day with Ms Gayle today. Ms Gayle watches a handful of kids for a couple of the professors at the college. She lives about one mile away and everyone who knows her, raves about her. Ms Gayle has a structured day for the kids that come over to her home. They learn the days of the week and even do projects together. We have the Bubs going over to her house a couple days per week. It's a great opportunity for him. Spending all day, every day with me is ok but getting him around other two-year olds and another trust-worthy adult is key. The Bub's mom and I already see a change in his behavior tonight... just after one day there. We can tell that he learned a lot about the world today. We can see the wheels turning in his head as he walks through the house after returning from Ms Gayle's. He knows every nook and cranny of this place after spending more than one year here every day. He seems to have a new appreciation for his digs. It's nice to see. Refreshing really.

For one reason or another, I grew up believing that sending your kid to a daycare was a deficit. I was raised at home and never set foot in a daycare. In fact, I never went to pre school either. On top of that, I started Kindergarten just two weeks after my fifth birthday. Talk about stacking the deck against a kid as I was basically tossed into a new world of structure and order at 5 years old. I no longer think that sending your kid to daycare is a "deficit." I now see it as a must-do for all kids in order to prepare them properly for the system that awaits them, a.k.a. the public school system. Let's just say that my story supports sending your kid to daycare. ;)

Why did I used to think that daycare was a negative in a toddler's life?Perhaps I was simply stereotyping that all daycares to be the same? Maybe it was because of the horror stories I learned about from the media and my family? I don't know. However, there were a few members of my family who were (and likely still are) big proponents of keeping your kids at home.  I enjoy no longer being on one side or the other. It's nice to take a little from both sides. The important thing is that the Bub's mom and I are on the same page and believe that a little of both (home and daycare) are very good for our little guy.

Maybe it's not too late for me. Perhaps I can locate a daycare center where adults can go. I'm just looking for somewhere that I can hang around with other people my age and and explore my surroundings. A place where someone tells when it is time to eat lunch and tells me when to take a nap. Hmmm... come to think of it, I think there are institutions like that out there. I think I'd like to stay at home actually.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Time Outs

One moment is full of fun, laughter and many times absurdity, then the next is a "time out." A time out. A lonely seat set apart from where the fun had just transpired. I tell the Bubs that his "time out" stair/seat is a place where he can regain his inner peace, his balance and his focus... lol... I don't think he is "buying" my reasoning just yet, but at least he sits and waits until time is up. He may throw another tantrum while in a "time out," not realizing that it was a tantrum that earned him a "time out" in the first place, but he'll learn that it is a place where he can change his behavior. He's only two years old right now. There's lots of time to absorb more information. Sometimes he acts indifferent during his one-minute sentences and at other times he acts like we just gave him two life sentences. These time outs are new to me too.

I never was given a time out when I was younger. I was probably smacked, but never given a time out. While inside the supermarket (the Vernon A&P) one day, I remember my mom threatening to, "... pull (my) pants down and spank me in front of all these people." That was a real threat and I wanted no part of it. I stopped my negative behavior instantly. I was never a victim of physical abuse (mental abuse perhaps, but that's another blog) and do not want to paint a picture that I suffered any physical abuse. This is not the case. It just seemed to be the way kids were disciplined at the time - the 70's. Many of my friends/peers have the same stories. Today we serve children time outs and no smacking. I didn't even think to think that it might be illegal for someone to hit me back then. Perhaps this is also why society didn't think that a toddler, standing up in the front seat of his mother's big old Pontiac (while she drove), was in any danger either. Those days were full of car-seat-less rides and plenty of candy from strangers as we trick-or-treated until the wee hours on every Halloween night. Either there were not as many pedophiles back then or we just weren't aware of them (as we are today thanks to the increased media).

Anyway, I'm not sure what world the Bubs will be living in. It is overwhelming to imagine this kid any older than he is. I think I need a "time out" now. Move over Bubs...

Sunday, January 16, 2011


The Bubs loves his trains. Whether they are Thomas trains or Doug & Melissa trains or some cheaper knock off brand, he spends most of his time rolling them back and forth. Most of these trains connect via magnets. The connect and pull apart easily. They are perfect for a two-year old. However, these trains can also repel each other if two like poles are matched up. The Bubs doesn't understand this and that misunderstanding turns into frustration and even sometimes two-year-old tantrums. I've tried to show the Bubs how to simply turn one of the train cars around and reconnect if it repels at first try, but he just cries out and swipes the train cars to the side. He's got a temper.

I think he gets that from his mom. I say that because she is next to me reading this as I write. There... she's left me alone now. ;)  The Bub's mom and me want to make sure that we're helping him deal with his frustrations in a healthy way and we found a book called, "1, 2, 3... Magic." It's very helpful. I didn't realize that temper tantrums can be "counted." The Bubs is already hip to our new jive and things seem to be rolling along for now. It is a lot easier to start counting, "That's one. That's two...," versus nagging the little guy to stop conducting his negative behavior, i.e. temper tantrum. I think that it shows a confident and competent parent who has self control and the ability to handle/manage the situation. This goes a long way when trying to send messages to the Bubs. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Gloves

The Bubs and I headed out for a walk during a recent "blizzard." The wind was whipping and the snow was coming down sideways. The walk lasted for only about 30 minutes before we had to head back indoors. This is mainly because the Bubs decided to remove his gloves and not put them back on. This created a problem since it was bitter cold and I couldn't figure out a way to keep his gloves on him. I guess this is how it goes with a two-year old. Then our neighbors told me how they keep the gloves on their two-year old. They said that in order for their little guy to keep his gloves on, they make it a big deal for he to wear them. They talk up about how cold it is outside and then they pull out the gloves and say, "ooohhh, got to put on your gloves before going outside in that cold!" It apparently works too. Hell,  I'm willing to try it since it seems silly to spend 20 minutes getting the Bubs suited up to go outdoors and then only spending a half-hour out there.

As a kid, I can't remember if gloves were ever an issue with me. It seems that I always wanted to wear them since they made my hands feel warm.  I don't remember my mother, father or brother ever dealing with a glove issue either. I remember having many pairs of gloves in our closets. Gloves galore. On a few occasions my brother, who is seven years my elder, would pull out a couple pairs of thick snow mittens and make me box him when our parents went out for the evening. Those evenings usually ended up with me on the floor crying after receiving a stiff jab or a right hook. He would plead with me to stop crying before mom and dad came home by bribing me with pudding or some other dessert. These boxing matches likely helped me understand the importance of keeping my gloves on.

Perhaps I'm putting too much pressure on the Bubs when insisting that he understand the logic, at two years of age, of wearing gloves in the cold weather. Maybe toddlers are not meant to spend more than 30 minutes outdoors in cold weather. Or maybe he doesn't like the particular pair of gloves that I am requesting him to wear. If this problem continues into the Bub's elementary-school years, then maybe I should ask his uncle (a.k.a. my brother) to babysit the Bub's one night when my wife and I go out for an evening. If I see left over dishes of pudding when I return, then I'll know that it's a good chance that the Bubs will keep his gloves on for now on. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011



This was the Bub's first "official" snowfall. Since these three pictures (from just two days ago), we've already had nearly 24" of more snow fall on us. That just added to the Bub's fun. We (or I) shoveled "pathways" from the doors to the edge of the back yard and around to the driveway in the front... not to mention the entire driveway-to-the-road too. The Bubs gets to avoid having to do all this shoveling, because... well... he's two years old. However, I'm thinking that next year's snow may also bring with it the Bub's first snow shovel. So, until then, I will shovel. I have shoveling experience.

During my periodic stays with my father as a high school student (I went to four different high schools), I was in charge of shoveling the driveways. I was appointed unanimously by the "board of directors," a.k.a. my pops. In fact, he tended to act like a "board of directors" on many other decisions too (just without the diplomacy). I say this in memory of the few occasions where I missed "angling" the transition between the driveway and the road when shoveling my pop's driveways. My pops would get upset if I shoveled straight out without angling at the two corners, because then he would have to back straight out versus being able to "cut the wheel" while still in the driveway. I noticed that my friends didn't have to "angle" their driveways when they shoveled and began to think that my pops was being too anal. However, I couldn't tell him this since he had "shoveled (his) share of driveways" and knew better than me.

I hope to not repeat history and pass onto the Bubs some of my pop's limited reasoning, but I did angle the driveway when I shoveled it just recently. ;)

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