Monday, July 30, 2007

Harrison Padua Leonardo Memorial Fund

Rest In Peace
On Thursday July 19, 2007, 3 year-old Harrison Leonardo finally lost his fight with Leukemia.

It had been a while since I last checked out his mother's journal and I decided to see how things were progressing since his cord blood transfusion. I was actually expecting to read some good news about his recovery and unfortunately that was not the case. Through his mother's journal, I felt like I was really getting to know Harrison and his family. As I read some of her entries, I would laugh when she told a story about something funny that Harrison did, or get choked up when she would describe the pain and agony he suffered throughout his treatment. No longer. His mom and dad have posted a farewell letter to their son. It is touching and very heart breaking to read. It's actually taken me several times to try and finish reading it since I keep breaking out in tears. I cannot even begin to imagine the depths of pain and sorrow his parents are feeling. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to his family. A memorial fund has been established in Harrison's name. Donations of any amount can be sent to the following address:

SF Fire Credit Union
C/O Harrison Padua Memorial Fund
3201 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94118

Please make checks payable to "Harrison Padua Leonardo Memorial Fund, Account #100314.S1.1"

Still Hope for Elyse Yu
There is still time and hope to help others suffering from these rare blood diseases. 6 month-old Elyse Yu still has a fighting chance. She has begun chemotherapy while she desperately awaits a bone marrow donor. So far Elyse's family and friends have registered nearly 2,000 new donors. Donation drives continue in the Southern California area and across the nation. Please register and get the word out if you haven't already. I hope and pray they find a donor for her soon. Visit Elyse's web site for more about her story and how you can help.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Child Safety Tips

My heart goes out to Danny Takemoto and those who have suffered similar tragedies. Earlier this week, Parent Wonder published 101 Child Safety and Childproofing Tips for Parents. It's definitely a great resource on what we can do to keep our children safe and sound. It's also an excellent reminder that child safety is an ongoing and never ending process.

Here's a quick list of some child safety resources:
101 Child Safety and Childproofing Tips for Parents
Child Proofing Our Communities - 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children - Infant/Child Product Recalls (not including toys) - Toy Hazard Recalls
Healthy Child, Healthy World - Toxic Plants to Children
International Association for Child Safety
Safe and Sound Children (Who we used for earthquake and childproofing) - The Maginot Line of Child Proofing (By Newbie Dad)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Soccer Dad: Tragedy Strikes in Concord

The lead story in a lot of Bay Area papers today concerns the death of a 11-month old boy, left in a car while the father went to work.

The father, 46-year-old Danny Takemoto of Benicia, left home early Tuesday with his son strapped into a child seat, according to Concord police Lt. David Chilimidos.

The man did not stop at the child care center and went directly to his office at a medical equipment company at 4040 Nelson Ave., parking his car, a blue Honda sedan, in the lot near the office.

His wife phoned him at work shortly before 3:30 p.m. to ask why the child care facility had called her to report that her son was not there. In horror, Takemoto raced outside to the car and found the lifeless body of his son still strapped in the car seat, Chilimidos said.

It's heartbreaking to think of the scene that unrolled when he discovered his fatal error. Takemoto is being charged with suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. What do you think? Should the guy get punished?

UPDATE: The father won't be charged.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Soccer Dad: Critical Mass on Sesame Street

One of the first musical purchases we made after Mase Marvelous was born was Songs From the Street: 35 Years of Music from Sesame Street. It was fun to listen to all the old tunes that kept us 40 year olds stuck in front of the TV. I distinctly remember songs like "Rubber Ducky," "C is for Cookie," "Mnah Mnah" and all that. I found myself digging ones I had totally forgotten.

But now that he just turned two — and working the FF/RW buttons to get to his favorites — we're so over it now. He's big on Elmo, too, so the novelty of the boxset is gone. Evaporated. It's become background music. In fact, if we have to hear Big Bird do his freaking "Ab-cdef-ghijkl-mnop-qrstuvxyz" thing one more time, I'm gonna lose my Mnah Mnah Mind.

But sometimes, when Mace is playing contentedly and humming the songs to himself or starting to dance, I think the boxset was the best investment. It doesn't drive me half as crazy as something like the other mass marketed kids musics (Winnie the Pooh, you are the scourge of my long-term memory). And I begin to listen again. Grover, for example, was the cameo king back in the day. He was the monster version of Busta Rhymes.

The late Madeline Kahn doing her thing with G-Unit:

My personal favorite is Lena Horne helping Grover overcome shyness:

And Stevie Wonder...being Stevie:

Maybe it's ennui that draws me back, but after watching those three vids (all songs are on the boxset) I wish they made kid's music this cool today!

Anybody else go through a love/hate/love relationship with Sesame Street?


Monday, July 16, 2007

Asian Americans and Eczema

My son, Penguin, has been scratching himself since his third or fourth week of life. Medically, he has been diagnosed with eczema like many Asian American children and especially Pilipino kids according to this study. It is not extreme but annoying, and we feel for him when he scratches off the top layer of his skin like its a lottery quick pick or scratches as if he has fleas. I think we've put an industrial sized vat of Aquaphor and Eucerin on him by now.

At the risk of exposing my complete medical ignorance to the doctors on this blog, the conspiracy theorist in me believes his condition (the fact more Pilipinos like his uncle get eczema) raises the larger issue of differentiated health care based on race. For geneticists, race is more than skin deep (although unclear as to how much and what.) Life expectancy and mortality rates still have significant differences according to race, and I don't think it is simply based on socioeconomic differences (although gender is a bigger factor.) When I did large scale opinion studies on issues that were related to race, we would have to significantly oversample for each racial demographic to have a valid statistically significant sample of particular races. The results of medical studies are assumed generalizable to all populations, but is that always the case, have they oversampled for different races or other subpopulations? Personally, I've been amazed to know of middle class and affluent African Americans dying of seemingly "natural causes" at a relatively young age, and I'm not talking about sickle cell anemia. What medical work is being done on race-specific ailments or effects of medication?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Wild Ride

Just wanted to take a second (while I still have one) to thank everyone for the kind words.

This has been the most amazing week and a half of my life. This whole process has made me a better person, and cliche as it might sound, more in love with my wife. So far, it's been intimidating and overwhelming as hell, but it's also been tons of fun. I hear it only gets better. Can't wait! By the way, I think the dog's in love.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

If things don't change...

If things don't change drastically in the next few years, I can envision the following conversation taking place:

Sunshine: Daddy, the movies from Chinatown don't look so great in the home theater.
SoulSnax: Fine, what movie do you want? I'll see if someone at work has it, and I'll make a copy for you.
Sunshine: Why can't we just buy it at Blockbuster?
SoulSnax: Honey, if we just went and bought it at Blockbuster, then we'd be giving our hard-earned money to the pseudoliberal Hollywood hypocrites who robbed your uncle Roy out of a career.
Sunshine: What's a hippo-cricket?

The Asian Hall of Fame

As many of you may know, two of my greatest passions in life are (1) being a proud Asian-American man, and (2) baseball.

So naturally, it should come as no surprise that several years ago, I decided to start my own Asian Baseball Hall of Fame in my apartment. Over the years, I (and my devotedly understanding wife) have been spending my daughter's future inheritance on amassing a collection of rare autographed baseballs and cards from Asian baseball players.

I'm especially proud of my collection of items signed by Masanori Murakami. Many Asian-Americans tend to believe that the appearance of Asian baseball players in the Major Leagues is a recent phenomenon. However, back in 1964, Murakami came over from Japan to be a star relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, due to a contract imbroglio, Murakami went back to Japan a year later.

The other highlight of my collection is based around Ichiro Suzuki, the current Seattle Mariner of Japanese descent who quite likely will end up in the Hall of Fame as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Period!

In last night's MLB All-Star game, Ichiro had the performance of a lifetime. He went 3-3, hit a 2-run homer, and was named the games Most Valuable Player. Needless to say, all over the world, Asian and Asian-American hearts swelled with pride.

In a way, the fact that many of us were so overjoyed to see Ichiro perform brilliantly on a national stage is partly why I originally decided to pursue my own personal Asian Hall of Fame. In my mind, I'm creating this collection as a legacy for my daughter.

Despite her inevitable assimilation into mainstream "American" culture, I want her to always be proud of her Asian heritage. I want her to have Asian heroes (and heroines) that she can always look up to. And I want her to see that if she looks hard enough, she can find inspiration from Asians in many venues...sports, art, literature, music. Anything!

But more than anything else, I think I've chosen this particular method of honoring Asian sports heroes as a way of battling mainstream media's portrayal of the emasculated Asian man. Not only do I want her to look at her father as a severe rebuttal to this sadly infuriating image but also I want her to see (in her own living room!) that many more examples exist.

What do you think? Am I a little nuts? Do any of you do anything similar? How do YOU help instill a sense of "Asian pride" in your children?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Is my baby NOT a RiceBaby??

The baby just turned six months old, and my wife wanted to commemorate the milestone by feeding her rice cereal. Unfortunately, she's been having diarrhea all week, and is developing a really raw diaper rash from pooping about ten times a day. I'm wondering if that's just a natural part of adjusting to new foods. The doctors speculate that she may be allergic to the cereal, and instructed us to hold off on the cereal for now.

Who would have thunk it, an Asian kid allergic to rice!!!

P.S.: I meant to plug the creator of that image above. In case you didn't already know, it's from our friends over at Great ExpectAsians, an "online greeting cards store designed to showcase and foster positive images of Asian Americans." Use them for all your special occasions.

Friday, July 06, 2007

six degrees of ukulele

Warning, this post has absolutely nothing to do with parenting. Or race. Music, a little.

So, I mentioned on ricedaddies radio that for Father's Day I got myself a ukulele. I have progressed from being completely clueless to knowing the requisite three chords (C, F, Gminor). For my birthday recently, Mrs. Thisislarry got me a Jake Shimabukuro CD. Shimabukuro is a mighty, mighty ukulele master. Wow.

But that's not the point. The point is I googled "Jake Ukulele" to find out more about this guy, and the second link to pop up was this article from the San Jose Metro. Look familiar to anyone out there in RD land?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Helping with... (Part 1)

Love Actually. This is one of my favorite films. If you've seen the movie, there's a story of Liam Neeson's recently widowered character Daniel trying to discover what was bothering his preteen stepson Sam. He finally learns that Sam is madly in love with a girl. So he hatches a plan to help Sam win her affections. As a daddy, you have to wonder what you would have said in this situation:

Daniel: We can definitely crack this. Remember I was a kid once too. Come on - it's someone at school right?
Sam: Yup.
Daniel: And what does she feel about you?
Sam: She doesn't even know my name. And even if she did, she'd despise me. She's the coolest girl in school and everyone worships her because she's heaven.
Daniel: Good. Good. Well, basically. . . you're fucked aren't you?

LOL, not sure I would choose the same words! But from Sam's point of view, when I was growing up there was absolutely no way I would ever approach my parents for this advice let alone let them know I was interested in anything but studying. My Mom was strictly by the book, no dating until after college, grad school, a good job, etc. After that Mom said she would help me pick a wife. NOOOOO! (Let's just say, I wasn't exactly thrilled with her taste in potential mates...)

Fast forward to a few years ago when Number One Monster tells me he likes this girl in Pre-K so I'm feeling deja vu. Now I thought to myself, do I want to be the type of daddy whose sons would come to him for dating advice? Do I even want them thinking about dating at this age? Ah hell, will this old man even be able to give the right advice?! Unfortunately, we all know that the image of Asian American men suffers from discriminatory bias in the media so these questions are even more pertinent.

At some point, I realized that I am not only raising kids but also future spouses and parents (and by parents I am hoping it's past the teens.) So at this young age, any relationship they have is harmless but could be a valuable learning experience. So here are my first fumbling attempts to train him:

The Truth and Only the Truth
My wife asked me one day if "this [dress] made her look fat" (yes those EXACT dreaded words!) I ignored her and turned to Number One Monster:

Me: Son, you remember I told you to always tell the truth?
Son: Yes.
Me: Well... there are certain exceptions.

I told him that no matter what to always remember that women are never fat, nor ugly or heavy. And I tested him:

Me: So son [pointing to really fat lady on TV], is that girl fat?
Son: Nope, but you are!

Doh! Well, I guess working as intended... (My wife had good laugh from that one.)

Why are Girlfriends Extra Special
Me: Son, you know you have to treat all your friends as special.
Son: Yes.
Me: But you have to treat your girlfriend extra special.
Son: Why do you have to treat her extra special?
Me: Because if you don't, she won't be your girlfriend any longer.

(OK, it will take some time but one day he'll figure that one out.)

Then came the big day I've been dreading - Number One Monster really wanted to ask that girl out. They were both age 7 and in Kindergarten at the time. So no matter what happened, it was going to be a milestone for him...

to be continued


"Expecting" Rice Daddy, no more!

Soccer Dad: Harshing My Mel

Check out what happened a couple days ago. I took my birthday off and cashed in a spa gift certificate. A nice 2 hour break from thangs. "Treat yourself, don't cheat yourself," as Mac Dre would say. So I'm hanging around the pre-massage "library" area with the granola snacks and pitchers of water when I overhear two older white ladies talking about a childcare facility that lost its license. My ears perk up a bit and I hear one of the women talk about how her daughter is taking one of the kids in temporarily. Then I hear her describe the child:

Woman in Robe: "He looks Hispanic, or um um um (searching for the right word)..."

Me: Cowering naked under my robe, waiting for the "Oriental" bomb to drop

Woman in Robe: "....part Filipino, or Korean..."

Me: Whew! Thank Buddha...

Woman in Robe: "..but he looks like a NORMAL baby."


What would you have done? I thought it gauche to interrupt an A-B convo to yell at her ("What the hell is 'Normal' you racist, privileged beeatch?!") especially when I'm supposed to be relaxing. I dislike when strangers overhear my convos and feel the need to pipe in. I took it as a good reminder that some people still visualize 'normalcy' as not what your baby looks like.

And that same day, Maceo came down with Roseola. Sometimes ya just can't win.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

Thanks for being there for me, America!!!

To celebrate your birthday, I'm investing in your future. Here's to another 231 years!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Filipina Moms join the AsAm parentblogging party!

Last week saw the public launch of a new group blog by a diverse group of eponymous Filipina Moms, spearheaded by Chicago-based SugarMama, who also writes for Chicago Moms Blog.

Their crew of Pinay blogmamas includes regular Rice Daddies commenter MamaZilla and, I'm pleased to announce, a newbie to the "post" side of the blogosphere (vs. the "comment" side), who goes by the handle "la dra."

Yes, that la dra., my charming, beautiful and talented partner. She's even set up a solo blog, whose name is a riff of off my own nom de blog that our dear friend Superha came up with long ago. I'm so happy that now she has not just one but two places to blog (to pick up the slack from her deliquent husband). So go check 'em both out and give all our Pinay sistas some love!

Oh, and before I forget, thanks to your generosity, we have now fully funded all three of our originally chosen projects in our Rice Daddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge via Donors Choose! As our philanthropist-in-chief SoulSnax wrote earlier, we've already added a new project to our list, and there are plenty more where that came from. Tomorrow is the last day for you to take advantage of InstantYang's generous dollar-for-dollar matching challenge, so celebrate our nation's birthday by doing your bit to help make this place live up to its promises for all our children.