Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Monday, February 27, 2006
The Fourth R
Hit Me With Your Best Shots
1. Baby pix please, 3 years or younger. (Just for consistency's sake though as our kids get older, we'll probably upgrade the age too).
2. Please be A) in focus, B) with good contrast, C) preferably with a white background (if possible). Some blurred photo you took with your built-in web-cam, with the lights turned off, is not going to hack it, sorry.
3. A face shot (or one where the face is prominent) would be most ideal.
4. 72 DPI is fine but in that case, it should be at least 400 x 600 pixels.
5. Hapa babies are more than welcome, of course.
6. I've set up a Flikr account for people to upload their photos. http://www.flickr.com/groups/ricedaddies/. (Thanks to CityMama for the excellent suggestion).
I Suck at Math and I Don't Know Karate
What does that mean to you? Are any stereotypes or images conjured in your head? Do you picture a short, little math genius working in the tech sector? Do you imagine a clean-cut Yuppie professional with glasses and a Volvo? Or maybe you’re thinking about that quiet kid next door who always carried his violin with him?
Well, like the commercial says, “This ain’t your Daddy’s Oldsmobile.” Look around you these days and you’ll find that Asian-American men come in many different flavors. You may not see us on the big screen or on TV that much, but we’re here.
Like my fellow writers here on Rice Daddies, I’m a relatively new father interested in finding some like-minded parents who take their jobs seriously. That’s not to say that we’re all serious people but, ever since my wife gave birth to our beautiful little girl sixteen months ago, I’ve actively sought out people with whom I can discuss various aspects of parenting. I find it both fascinating and interesting to share parenting stories with other people.
For me, blogging is all about community. When I originally started up my own blog, I just wanted a place to throw down some thoughts about my impending journey into fatherhood. I wanted a forum to record the wide array of emotions I was feeling. And most of all, I wanted to find some other cool dads who could relate to what I was saying.
Soon after I started my blog, I received e-mails from both Poppa Large and Soccer Dad, two fellow Asian-American men whose wives were each pregnant with their first child. Sure, they were both from California but I thought it was amazingly cool that these guys reached out to tell me that they enjoyed reading my blog and that they were relating to much of what I was going through.
And though we may be very different from one another in terms of personality and character, there is a shared reality in being a modern-day Asian-American father. Not only is it an important part of who I am, it’s also an important part of raising my daughter. So I’m proud to find this new community of guys whom I can call my friends. I’m honored to be a part of the Rice Daddies group. And I’m looking forward to trying to figure all this shit out.
So let’s throw some rice on the motherfucking pot, bust out the cold sake, and get this party started!
Separated at Birth (or not)
Yeah, lady, my petite 16-month-old half-Filipina-quarter-Japanese-quarter-Jewish daughter and the 10-month-old Taiwanese American girl who just happens to be playing near her and yes, happens to also be Asian, are twin sisters. 'Cause, you know, they're both, you know, Asian, and have short hair. Despite the fact that, I don't know, my daughter is half-a-year older and her little friend already weighs more than her, and then there's that pesky little thing about how THEY LOOK NOTHING ALIKE.
The sad thing is, this is not the first time this has happened, and it hasn't even been with just this one other friend. So, any snappy comebacks besides, "Yeah, they're twins, this one just took an extra six months to come out"?
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Foot to Mouth
It's no big deal that L's going through all these, after all, as everyone's told us, "at least she's getting them out of the way," but lo and behold: she's passing these onto Sam and I now! So much for the old "all kids get these" adage since apparently, Sam and I ever caught the Coxsackie virus until now. Now both of us have small blisters growing on our palms and toes and while they're not that painful or even annoying, it's a bit weird realizing that we're both going through childhood illnesses some 30 years late.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Soccer Dad: Life Imitating Dreams Imitating Life
Kickin' Ass and Changing Lives, Already
Reader John Kang was so happy to find us that he ran back to his own blog and busted out a work-in-progress outline on how to make sure he and his wife pass on culture and identity to their Chinese-Japanese-American babygirl without cramming it down her throat. He said we "immediately inspired" him to write about parenthood for the first time. Cool.
You know what they say: Each one, teach one, reach one. It's what being a Rice Daddy's all about, ya heard? Heh. Shout-outs to CityMama and AAM for the links—though I don't know how I feel about AAM thinking that our kids are "so cute, I want to collect them in a jar." Gotta catch 'em all! Peace.
Wearing your ethnic pride on your sleeve—or your onesie, or your bib...
Speaking of t-shirts, I know everybody's gotta have at least one bib or t-shirt or onesie [Sorry, snapsuit! Gerber, don't sue me! I'm a newbie and I don't know how to make that little trademark symbol in Blogger!] in their kid's closet with "Kiss me, I'm Chinese" or "got balut?" on it. I don't know how many items of sushi-related clothing The Pumpkin's got, or t-shirts with hina matsuri dolls on 'em, or the ubiquitous "got rice?" Seems everybody and their parental unit is flogging some kind of ethnic/racial/cultural/political slogan to slap on their baby on Cafe Press. [My own personal favorite was the mini version of my well-worn Black Lava "check other" t-shirt that a friend made with a paint pen at our baby shower (sorry, Black Lava, but you didn't make a kid-size one).] So, what's your favorite—or least favorite—way for your mini-me to flaunt their heritage while their Che Guevara bodysuit (see, Gerber, I learn!) is in the wash?
Thursday, February 23, 2006
"PIMPIN' AIN'T EASY"
Suffice to say, I was a little aghast for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is how I can't stand how goddamn fucking ironic pop culture is these days when people think it's "cute" (as opposed to really pathetic) to reclaim icons and statements from subcultures they have no real clue about and then make them into slogans. I'm not saying it's as bad as say, the war in Iraq or anything but seriously, what kind of dumb ass parent is going to clothe their baby in a onesie that basically says:
"EXPLOITING WOMEN FOR THEIR SEXUAL LABOR THROUGH VIOLENCE AND/OR EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION IS CHALLENGING."
Why even stop there? Why not offer up t-shirts with any of the following:
"Forget the Bottle, I Want Heroin"
"Britney Is My Mom"
The Way of the Rice Daddy
"What lessons have I learned about fatherhood from the Lone Wolf and Cub movies? If a group of ninja assassins attack you in the forest, take your baby out before you push your heavily armed baby cart directly into their ranks. Well, apparently also you can take care of your baby and still be the same badass you were before. And in some cases, having a kid makes you even more of a badass, because you’ve got to do everything you would ordinarily do, plus take care of this little creature who looks up to you and needs you to watch out for it. Now you might think that sounds trite or conclusory, and you’d be right. But insulated from other parents for so long, I was stunned by how easy it is for parents to lose their badassness and become, well, parents. One day you’re smoking pot in a bare apartment you can barely afford, living from one rock show to the next and then suddenly you’re picking out Dwell crib bedding to match the drapes in the nursery. While some of this is inevitable, hyperbolized examples of samurai fathers do help kick me in the ass and remind me to keep it real."
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Five times in two-and-a-half hours
And so, of course, at 11:00 she woke up crying and sitting up, and I had to go pick her up, pop the pacifier back in, rock her a little, and put her back down. That usually holds for at least 2 hours, more (even the rest of the night) if we're lucky. Me, last night? Not so lucky. Cries woke me up again, sending me down the hallway. On my way back, I check the time--only 12:00. That's not good. And then she did it again at 12:30! I never know what exactly is bothering her when this happens, so I hedged my bets and both gave her Tylenol in case her restlessness was teething-induced (of course, months and months of this have only produced FOUR teeth!), and I turned off the space heater too (though it didn't seem that hot in there). Miracle of miracles, it worked, and she didn't wake up again till 6 (and she slept another hour with some more rocking).
But wait, you say. Didn't you said "five times in two-and-a-half hours"? Yes, yes I did.
So I had barely slipped back into a half-sleep from the 12:30 wake-up when the dog gave out a big single bark in the living room (which he never does). Dazed as I was, I half-yelled the dog's name (thinking it was only in my head), waking my wife who had slept through everything. I went out, checked the backyard and breezeway for cats through the windows (nothing), pet the dog, and went back to sleep. The clock read 1:00.
Again, I was drifting off when I heard an unfortunately familiar sound. I went to check it, and yes, the dog was laying guiltily on the hallway floor next to a fresh spot of throw-up. I groggily got a little flashlight, a bottle of pet stain cleaner, and some paper towels, did what I had to do, and went back to bed. It was 1:30.
So, how was your night?
Friday, February 17, 2006
Asian parenting tips from "Without a Trace," or Jerry Bruckheimer's guide to raising fratricidal self-haters
Basically, while suspicion falls briefly on various white "boyfriends" and her Korean ex-fiance (who turns out to be gay), it turns out that the brother did it. While the episode's title and lots of trite references to family honor and shame would imply that big brother Jin [Jin and Sun? Aren't those the names of the married Koreans on "Lost"? What, Hollywood can't come up with more than one Korean name for each gender?] killed his sis because she brought shame and dishonor on the family by being a slut, it seems that he really did it 'cause he was mad that, as dutiful number one son, he was stuck running the family deli while Wendy got her groove on.
Um, excuse me? I usually like "Without a Trace," and that episode they did a couple seaons ago where the Arab American guy dies because of Arab=terrorist racism actually did a pretty good job with a touchy topic. But this crap? Stock characters in a stock, stereotyped storyline: crying non-English-speaking mom (poor Jodi Long, I guess she got typecast after "All American Girl"?), stoic dad, gay dude looking for a beard so he doesn't have to come out to his parents, daughter who tries to escape by finding a nice white guy but is instead assumed to be a kinky slut and ends up dead because of it, and dutiful son who runs the family store like a good boy and enforces the family code but really hates it and ends up snapping. Crap.
So let's see, what are the lessons for Asian American parents in this? Don't force your kids to follow your culture/rules/family business/fill-in-the-blank or else they'll rebel by sleeping around and killing their sisters? Huh?
So, fellow Asian daddies and Asian mommies, what are your favorite tips for not raising self-hating psycho kids who will end up either missing or hitting their sister over the head with a two-by-four?
T-Minus 3 Weeks
I'm big on checklists so here goes on what I've done recently:
- Finished lamaze (still not quite solid on the breathing and skeptical of its utility)
- Finished Baby CPR and "Care"
- Built the crib
- Unpacked Car Seat, Pack 'n Play, and Stroller
- Children's room painted
- Had baby shower
- Bought semi-manly diaper bags
- Frequently watching "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC
- Get car seat checked
- Read further into Sears Book, What to Expect, Expectant Dad
- Pack for hospital
- Get lesson plans ready for paternity leave
- Decide on soft carrier
- Calculate cost of entended leave and baby finances
What does it mean to be a rice daddy and how is it different from being any other daddy?
Anyway, we live near the Camp Pendleton Marine military base and the beach so there's this always interesting mix of marines, surfer dudes, and just working class people of all colors. Well, not at the baby class. Just white and Asian people (3 of us). Does this have to do with economics, class, and/or cultural ideas about parenting?
I feel like the youngest couple in the room, even if we probably aren't (early 30s), I just feel like we "look" younger. I'm sorry but some white people don't age well. Even being a teacher, I'm dressed more professionally than the other guys although this one guy who always comes late and is on his cell-phone has the business casual polo/slack look down. But the rest of the guys have this Social Distortion/West Coast Choppers-like aggressive hair, T-shirt, high sock, and shorts so I can show off my tattoo look that I first recognized in Long Beach. Mind you I still believe we look younger, they just try to look like they're younger.
Well, one of them is with an Asian mommy. Here comes another hapa kid. Now in late high school/early college I think most Asian guys go through a jealousy/internalize rage phase because you almost always see an Asian woman with a white guy and next to never the other way around. I, as most, got over it. But now, ten years later, as a father to be I wonder more closely about the cultural background of the child to be. I guess the mother to be Vietnamese and possibly first generation. Is hapa baby going to go to Tet festivals? Will he eat with chopsticks and burn incense at the temple? Or will he skate with his dad and grow out pointy sideburns so he can thrash out to punk? I'm leaning toward the latter because I assume her to fulfill his image of the subserviant Asian female. Now is this my internalized racism or the epitome of why Asian guys don't like White guy/Asian girl couples in the first place?
Soccer Dad is Goooooal Oriented
I’m Japanese American, a music writer/editor and turning 40. Wifey is biracial Korean and works in career development at a local college. We drive early ‘90s Japanese imports. We live in the Yay Area. Mase is our first child. We had been trying for a long time—four years plus—so we have some good insight on fertility issues and IVF treatment. It’s cool; good ahead and ask questions.
I’ve never blogged but I do read them. Metrodad’s site blew my mind and I remember reading through the archives with Wifey. Dude is a freaking riot! Most of all, we were excited to read about fatherhood from a perspective other than corny, older, upper middle class, non-Asian, Pottery Barn Kids coveting herbs we had little in common with. He keeps it raw dog and funny and poignant. And yellow. So it’s an honor to share a corner of cyberspace with him and the rest of the dads. Big up.
Topics coming from my end will probably include some observational mix of music (I feel an anti-Jack Johnson post coming soon), sport and fatherhood. I used to wonder if being a dad would mean I would have less time to devote to my previous obsessions—soccer, my wife, dog, cooking, traveling, records, writing, booty bass, personal hygiene, fantasy football, playing the ponies, philatelic arts and getting hyphy in my white tee. The answer, of course, is yes, but the fact I’m still excited about those things, and not living every minute in a baby bubble, was encouraging. It’s like, I’m still me. Mase didn’t change our lives, he enhanced it.
Stay tuned! More poignant hilarity coming soon!
on being a daddy in a strange land
A bit about me: My wife of almost 8 years, "la dra." (that's "la doctora," or "the doctor" in Spanish, not "la druh," for you monolinguals out there), and I are the proud and tired parents of "The Pumpkin," our beautiful babygirl, now a full-fledged running, climbing, "no"-saying, babbling toddler. La dra. is pinay, I'm a hapa yonsei Japanese Jewish American (say that five times fast), and we're raising our little multiethnic Asian American cutie in the white Republican desert of Bakersfield, California.
I'm a native Angeleno who studied Ethnic Studies back east and taught social studies in an urban LA high school, so needless to say, culturally, politically, demographically, this little patch of transplanted Red State has taken some getting used to, and is not where we thought we'd be starting our little multiculti family. But here we are, and here I am, one of the only SAHDs in town, it seems, and a non-white, leftwing one to boot.
When The Pumpkin was first born, reading blogs by other newbie dads and SAHDs made me feel connected to a virtual community. Whether you wanted to find out about your non-ugly baby furniture options or needed to commiserate about your newfound state of forced insomnia (and wonder when it would end—guess what? never!), somebody was blogging about it. Fifteen months into dadhood, I finally started "daddy in a strange land" so that I too could grace the blogosphere with rambling monologues on how I hate being asked if I'm babysitting today or flat jokes that sounded funny in my head at 2 a.m. And now, with Rice Daddies, I have one more place where I can share embarrassing stories about my daughter's digestive tract that she can google in 15 years for her therapist.
Sometimes, I catch my breath, and I can't believe that she's already a toddler, a walking, talking little person with a mind and personality all her own. And then I blink and run after her so she won't wedge herself between the back of the sofa and the sliding patio door again or eat crackers out of the garbage or pull the dining room table down on her head.
And you know what? I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
One Year Down
Hi, I'm Poppa Large...I used to keep my own daddy blog but I was posting so infrequently that I approached a few other fathers to help assemble Rice Daddies. (I did port over a few of my favorite posts from yore.)
The funny thing is, when I first started blogging about fatherhood, I had a few posts just burning to get out of my system but what I discovered was that once those were out in the world...I didn't have as much urgency to continue writing on the topic. I'm not completely sure why: it's not like I don't have enough things to potentially talk about when it comes to daddy-hood but then again, being a stay-at-home dad (even one with nanny support) is still exhausting enough that in my off time (read: when the baby is asleep), I'm not really trying to spend it blogging about the source of my exhaustion. Know what I mean?
That said, it's been one helluva experience so far. My wife, Sam, and I had dear daughter L a year ago (she just celebrated her first birthday last week) and those 365 days both whipped by as fast as you can imagine yet dragged on endlessly. As I probably said in an earlier post: every cliché ever said about parenting is basically true and one of the ones you'll learn early is "the days are long but the months are short."
I've been trying to find something poignant to say about all this but I'm so remarkably brain dead of late, whatever epiphany I might have to share is buried underneath nights of inadequate sleep and frayed nerves. Not that it's all that bad but I find that my best insights into fatherhood arise out of resolution of crises which presumes, of course, that you actually find resolution to anything. If there's anything about parenthood that I've learned so far, it's that things are always changing but you rarely are aware of that until well after it's happened. I figure we'll catch up one of these days...hopefully before L's 18.
Monday, February 13, 2006
What Day is It?
Fortunately for me, my wife is incredibly tolerant of my annual ineptitude. In our eight years together, I've only managed two truly romantic Valentine's Days. The first one was our first date and the second one was when I proposed to her. But since then, there's been nothing memorable and, thankfully, I've survived each Valentines unscathed (no high-pitched screaming, no tantrums, no evil eye, and no frosty silence).
This year though, it seems I reached a new level of pathetic. So far, I've only bought my wife a card ... yesterday, at Target, while my wife and daughter were present!
But, oddly enough, I don't mind. I could blame the lack of time to plan and to shop for Valentine's Day on my baby girl, but the truth is that the absence of a child in the past didn't make me less of a procrastinator. To the contrary, my daughter has made me more conscious of how I spend my time. Now, I go home instead of working late at the office. Now, I go to bed early so I can be alert if she needs me in the middle-of-the-night, instead of channel surfing mindlessly until I fall asleep. Now, I go shopping with my wife and daughter for Valentine's Day cards, because then I can spend all my time with the people I love.
I can't wait until tomorrow night, when the guilt will go away ... until mother's day, my wife's birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas. Pathetic.
Monday, February 06, 2006
Who's Your Rice Daddy?
When I started tooling around the blogosphere looking for commiserating voices offering cautionary tales or early adopter reviews of the latest dad-friendly diaper bag, I noticed something. A couple of them, in introducing themselves or their kids, casually mentioned that they were Asian American. You know, I'm 35, I'm a writer, I'm Asian, I like hip hop.... Just another descriptor. But comparing them to the growing number of dadblogs, these stood out. 'Cause, you know, I don't think I ever found one that said, "I'm a SAHD, I homeschool my twins, I live in Poughkeepsie, and oh, BTW, I'm white." Heh.
Which brings me, and you, to the here and the now. In short, to Rice Daddies.
We're a group of dads of the Asian persuasion, most of us only 2 years or less into the parenting game. We're bicoastal and multiethnic, Chinese- and Japanese- and Filipino- and Korean- and biracial- Americans. We're writers and lawyers and businessmen and teachers (oh my!), stay-at-home and work-at-home and wish-we-could-work-at-home dads. We're dads who happen to be Asian, and Asians who happen to be dads. And we mention both, matter-of-factly, because they both matter.
Which is not to say that this is gonna be all serious all the time, or all political, or all race-centric. Of course, we're not promising that when we try to be funny, that'll work all the time either. (Except for MetroDad. We give you a money-back guarantee that he will always be piss-your-pants funny.) But really, this is just a place where we can muddle through our own experiences of what it means to be raising the next generation of Asian American young'ns in the technicolor 21st century.
Shout-outs to the O.G. Yellow Daddyblogger, MetroDad, for the inspiration, and to big daddy Poppa Large for the technical and organizational whoopass (and yes, they are the dadbloggers to whom I alluded earlier).
And so, to all you yellow baby daddies and yellow baby daddies' yellow (and brown and black and red and white and off-white) baby mamas, without further ado...
Welcome to the Rice Daddy Revolution.
(Heh. Alliteration. Cool.)