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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Longest 30 Days

I have been away from home for almost 28 days. It's been a long journey and every minute I passed seem to dread a little bit longer. Just two more days, 48 more hours, 2880 minutes until I see my little boy again. I didn't think I would end up counting the days on my calendar but I did. Our family had planned for the trip back to Asia almost 4 months ago. I was to head back to Malaysia while my wife would take our son to Hong Kong. This has been a dream trip for us for almost two years. We were never in the moment until it became a possibility about 4 months ago. We gladly took the opportunity and planned for a christmas in Asia family trip. We left together and I spent a week in Hong Kong with my wife and son then I would spend a month in hometown in Malaysia. My wife and son will join me later in Malaysia after 30 days. I didn't think these 30 days would be hard to pass considering I haven't been home (Malaysia) for over twelve years. My assumption proved to be very wrong. We speak on the phone almost every day afterwards and it is simply not the same. I couldn't hold him or roll on the ground with him playing pretend football tackle. I couldn't team up with him and play tricks on mommy. The first week, my son was still in good spirit. He didn't seem to miss me too much. My wife told me that he didn't even mention me AT ALL! Naturally I was a bit dissappointed. My spirit picked up on the 8th day of us being apart. My son started asking where is Daddy? I miss him. I want to play tackle and grandpa don't know how. How come daddy is not back yet? My wife would response:

Mommy: Daddy is in Malaysia remember?
Son: O... yea..but why?
Mommy: Daddy is from Malaysia and he is spending sometime with his daddy
Son: Ok.
Mommy: Remember what daddy told you before he left?
Son: Yea, daddy said, if I miss him, I can do two things. One is to pick the phone and call him and two is to pray to God.
Mommy: That's right son. Do you want to call him now?
Son: No thanks, I want to watch spiderman with grandpa!
Mommy: But I thought you miss daddy!
Son: Hmmm...not really... I want to go watch spiderman with grandpa. YEA SPIDERMAN!

Well above was my wife's version of what happened and below is what my son told me.

Mommy: Daddy is in Malaysia remember?
Son: O yea but why?
Mommy: Daddy is from Malaysia and he is spending sometime with his daddy
Son: Ok but I miss him so much.
Mommy: Remember what daddy told you before he left?
Son: Yea, daddy said, if I miss him, I can do two things. One is to pick the phone and call him at anytime and two is to pray to God.
Mommy: That's right son.
Son: Mommy I want to call daddy now.
Mommy: Err..not now son it's expensive to call your daddy now. Wait till tonite after 9.00pm.
Son: Err...but err..but spiderman movie doesn't finish at least not until 9.30pm and you said i need to sleep at 9.30pm
Mommy: Your choice son, spiderman or daddy?
Son: Daddy loh.

I wonder who to believe after this considering I never gotten a call on the supposed day that my son and my wife claim this had happenned. Just 2 more days until I can put both on trial and find out the TRUTH! Let's see who CAN'T HANDLE the TRUTH!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

But whyyyyy.?? You need to be KIND!

We recently just realized what challenge it is of being parents to a strong-willed four year old. Somehow this is nature’s way of getting back with us for what we have done to our parents when we were growing up. My son is an average naughty little four years old boy. He is very active and has an outgoing personality. He loves to meet new people and wouldn’t mind going up to strangers and quickly strike up a conversation especially if it revolves around his passion for trains, cars, food and dogs. He is able to carry a more advance conversation now and loves to even kid around by being silly.

If I have a chance, I would usually read to him every night before he sleeps. His loves Olivia and David books. He is learning to read on his own but for these books, he’s had them all memorized. I would read them these books but would put a little twist on it to see whether if he really knows the story line by line. He’s got me figured out each time. He knows all these books by heart almost word by word. Each time when I insert Dr Seus characters or stories within Olivia books, he would say “But why??” which he means “why you change the story again!” Or “NO WAY!…follow by giggles. Recently he even said, “daddy you are being silly again. That’s not Olivia, that’s Dr Seuss.”

Mommy has also gotten a dose of “But why???” questions except it’s during a much different scene. See below a normal “But why” conversation:

Setting up the scene: Approaching noon and time for his favorite TV Show.

Mommy: Ok dear after watching Cailou, you need to wash your hands and get ready to eat lunch.
Son: My son’s eyes glue to his show and didn’t hear a word of what mommy has repeated three times.
Mommy: HON! Did you hear mommy?
Son: Finally answers and yell out YES yes yes mommy but really didn’t hear a word of what mommy said. He’s got a habit of saying YES first if he hears anyone of us yelling at him.
Mommy: Ok dear Cailou is done. Go wash your hands.
Son: Not yet mommy. (He even watches the credits for the show)
Mommy: That’s it dear, you need to go wash your hands and come for lunch.
Son: Give me five minutes!
Mommy at this point is growing more impatient and voice starts to raise a bit more but still gives him the five minutes. Son has finally finished watching his show and goes to wash his hand and goes to have lunch.

(Scene – Both my son and mommy sit at the table to have lunch. Son begins to speak.)

Son: Mommy, Cailou’s mom made him his favorite egg sandwich. Cailou’s mom is very kind to him. Can I have egg sandwich please?
Mommy – (Labor for an hour cooking delicious egg fried noodle but maintains composure and answers) Ok son, we can have egg sandwich tomorrow, but only if you obeys mommy and daddy and do all your chores today.
Son: Cailou does not do chores mommy and he gets to go fishing with his daddy. His mommy makes him egg sandwich with yummy potato salad
Mommy – (Starting to break down a little bit and loses a bit more, voice gets a little louder) DEAR, if you do all your chores and clean up, WE can talk about egg sandwiches tomorrow!
Son – Cailou’s mommy let him play with his friend in the sandlot and he didn’t have to wash his hands. Cailou’s mommy loves him.
Mommy – (Mount St Helen is about to erupt. Fumes are coming out. Ashes and lava are flowing down and is about the cover up the near villages at the bottom of the foothill.)
THAT’S ENOGUH about CAILOU. YOU are not CAILOU and CAILOU is not real! He is fictional. His mommy is not REAL as well! It’s all fictional! SON eat your EGG noodle.
Son – (Eyes begin to well up a bit and swallows deeply. Little did mommy know, little volcano is equally as ERUPTIVE! Like mommy like son) BUT WHY MOMMY!.. YOU need to be kind because Jesus said so when daddy read me the story Last night. This is the Truth!
Mommy – Suddenly speechless (and little bit embarrassed) and said, errrrr….ok honey, we can have egg sandwich tomorrow but you still have to do your chores.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It rreeeally HURTS!

As you may know, my son has been in and out of the hospital for the past 12 months. The early symptoms of his Nephrotic Syndrome relapse seems to start with a stomachache followed by lost of appetite and then lost of energy or sluggishness. Edema begins next around his facial area, his urine begins to look foamy and by now, he is pretty much not doing anything besides laying on the couch waiting for our doctor to call for approval to be admitted in to the hospital. This is basically his routine prior to being admitted in to the hospital.

At the hospital, he's given full attention by the nurses, doctors and of course his very worried parents. Anything he asked for, he would pretty much get it. If he wants ice-cream, then ice-cream it is that he will get. If he wants to play computer online games or watch a certain tv program, he would get it. He basically receives a full ride when he gets sick.

When he is well and at home, he's been given responsibilities and chores just like any other normal kid. One of his responsibilities is to set up the eating utensils each time before a meal.

Over The last few days, he's been complaining about having stomach pains when it is approaching lunch or dinner time. Other than his complaining at these particular times, he did not show any other symptoms. So, I decided to test him out to see whether he was for real or just pretending.

Mom: It's dinner time, Somebody needs to set the table.
Son: ...eerrrr.....I am not feeling well.
Dad: What's wrong son
Son: It hurts..
Dad: Where son, are you ok?
Son: Mmmm...It hurts..
Dad: Where does it hurt? Is it here(Pointing to the head, eye, hand, butt, nose and then feet and purposely don't point to the stomach)
Son: No..here..Dad.. here
Dad: Where?? Is it here? (Pointing at the all wrong places again..)
Son: No No NO..here.. IT hurts here
Dad: O you mean, you are hurting here..pointing above his abdomen area on purpose.
Son: (Getting agitated) NO NO NO NO NO NO...Here...tummy tummy.(circling around his tummy with his palm)..
Dad: O I see. Then we need to go the hospital right now and you need to get poked!
Son: ....(hesitating)...hmm...It's ok dad, it hurts only a little bit.
Dad: But we must be careful, we need to go now. Mommy get the keys!
Son: I am hungry..
Dad: You are hungry or hurting?
Son: I am hungry and hurting and I am tired. I can't move well.
Dad: (Forced to use the ultimate Scheme and it works each time) Ok son, why don't you rest first and daddy will help you set up the table.
Son: Thanks dad.
Dad: O..you want to play your favorite online game Nickjr?
Son: (Suddenly bounced off from the couch and forgot that he was "feeling" sick or miraculously got heal, jumps up and down and says YES YES dad..I want to play.
Dad: THEN SET the table first! After you eat, you can play 5 minutes!
Son: ..(getting back to the couch slowly)..hmm. my tommy is hurting again Daddy.

AND back to square one!

See this funny clip below: Who did the kaka?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My First Real Cell Phone Conversation with my Son

For some reason, my household has been plagued by sickness lately. My wife had diarrhea after eating some bad ice-cream and was miserable for about two days. I had to take care of her, our son and maintain an orderly home for a period of 48 hours. This is no laughing matter and it's tough work. Since we have dwelled on the subject of taking things for granted from my last posts, let me just take this opportunity to once again acknowledge and give my salute to single parents. I don't know how they can do it because I could barely move after 48 hours while trying to hold down the family fort all by myself and meeting a project deadline at work. I prioritize what was the most important and do that first! I made sure my wife would be nursed back to health as soon AS POSSIBLE!

During the 40Th hour of my wife's suffering, I had to detour back to the office to attend for some urgent business. My son was sort of left alone while mommy was half asleep resting comfortably on the sofa where she could still occasionally catch a glance to see what else our son was destroying around the house. Later on, my wife told me that our little guy seemed to really enjoy himself because he wasn't supervised. He got to watch TV for 5 hours straight, followed by playing online computer games with NickJr, and to top it off with a grand central train track station mess in the middle of our living room. Mommy was too tired to yell after running in and out of the bathroom.

I called home on the 42th hour to check on mommy. I called her cell phone and it rang for several minutes but no one picks up. I called again and it rang for several times until my son picked up. This began a very neat experience with my son.
The first word that came out of his mouth prior to me saying anything was, hi daddy, mommy is tired and is sleeping and the rest of the conversation goes something like this:

Son: Hi daddy (Very gingerly and almost nervous soft tone voice).....mommy is tired and is sleeping.
Daddy: Ok..what are you doing since mommy is sleeping?
Son: Er.. mommy is tired and she sleeps a lot.
Daddy: Ok.. I know mommy is sleeping because she is not feeling well.
Son: Yesss..daddy..Mommy hurt in tummy.
Daddy: Mommy sleep a lot? What did you do when mommy is sleeping?
Son: Yes mommy sleep on bed a lot, Mommy sleeps mommy sleeps.
Daddy: Ok...son, did you play? did you play trains?
Son: Err..hmm mommy go to bathroom a lot and then sleeps and and I also hear noises from the bathroom..
Daddy: Er..ok..er.. Hmm... Are you ok son? Do you need daddy to come home?
Son: NO daddy! Not yet! I will cook dinner for you daddy! Don't come home yet...Mommy still not feeling well...Love you.. follow by CLICK!

I figure my son was doing quite OK after that first real phone conversation we had.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Diarrhea? hmm.. Could be the Celery!

It's been another few days of whirlwind. Thankfully this time my son didn't end up in the hospital for his kidney disease. Nonetheless, his few sleepless insomnia nights were followed by our worries during daytime, and chills of fearing that he would end up in the hospital came yet again for the 5Th time in the last 2 months.

The worst part of the whole thing of the last few days, besides his insomnia, was diarrhea. There could be all sorts of reasons why he suffered from diarrhea; Reasons could be his body's natural defense system ridding of toxins and unwanted substances. Another reason, was his love for celery!

For whatever reason, my son loves celery! He could munch down legions and legions of celery! It would be heaven if he could find a restaurant that serves only celery buffet! I know he didn't get this from me because I hate celery and simply can't stand it. Celery somehow makes me feel bloated, full of acid and very uncomfortable all over. When my wife was giving birth to our son, my mother-in-law came to visit and help out around the family for about two months. I remember distinctly there was a time when she cooked us some celery with chicken that landed me on the bed bloated for a few days. I simply didn't eat for 3 days and I couldn't wait to get rid of it from my body. It was a horrible feeling and left me suffering from acid reflux throughout the whole night. My mother-in-law is a great cook but the celery simply didn't mix well with my system. Till this day, I have not told her why I stay in the bed during that period of time. She thought I was just too tired helping out at night with the baby.

On the other hand, my son craves for celery. He eats them raw or cooked! He would dip them in sauce or eat them together with meat. Celery is very high on fiber and it often acts as natural laxative. Perhaps that also help explains why he would need to go for number two during the middle of each meal! There was one time when we took him shopping at the local grocery store where he shouted out loud, "Where is my SA-lary?" that resulted in a few smirks among the other shoppers around us. Naturally I responded back to him, you are not old enough to receive a salary from daddy but you are certainly allowed to have an small allowance. Quietly later on, I would correct his pronounciation once again! Ceeelllerrry and not Salary! Well there are other things he would say at the grocery story! :P (See Patient King)

My son is finally feeling better after suffering from fever, diarrhea and stomach pain. The last time he had these symptoms, he ended in the emergency room followed by a few days in the hospital. Nowadays I realize more and more on what my parents went through with me when I was ill. I have learn to appreciate them even more. I see my son as they saw me. When I suffered they did too. For a long time, I didn't understand why my mom always had a sluggish persona. I finally fully comprehend after staying up with my son for a few nights. This is the price of being a parent and it's all worth it especially when he wakes up in the morning with a smile and says...I am hungry! I want breakfast! and I love you Daddy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kidney Disease and Child Insomnia..My SON??

There are many different kinds of Kidney diseases. I am not sure whether it is hereditary but the kidney disease my son has is very similar to the ailment I had when I was almost his age. Our pediatric nephrologist told us that there are no conclusive proof yet that this disease is hereditary. Our doctor even said that we are his first patient that both father and son had this similar ailment called nephrotic syndrome.

As a little boy, I was subjected to strict diets and limited activities due to risk of infection. Similarly my son is going through similar experience. He is naturally a very energetic social boy and is always curious about everything. We even nick name him "Curious George" especially when he is on full dose steroids. His cheek will round up like apples and he loves to smile with a mischievous look on his face.

Among some of the side effects from the five different kinds of medication he is taking are insomnia, suppressed immune system, mood swings and a significant increase in appetite. These are the short term side effects while long term side effects could be cancer or even further damage to the kidney. I honestly don't remember the side effect I suffered from with the exception of the mood swings and increase in appetite. I would bulk up one week and then slim down the week after. A change of 10lbs can occur within 7 days especially during the first few days of recovery, given the fact that a lot of weight gain is from water retention.

In my son's case, his church friends think that he is cute and has the ability to bulk up one week then slims down the next. It brings new meaning to "Elastic Boy!" He's like a new kid in town each week given the changes to his body. I am glad he is at least emotionally undisturbed by this condition. The side effects that does take its toll in many ways is insomnia. We notice after the last hospital stay a few weeks back, his doctor actually had to increase on one of his medication dosage and hence his insomnia becomes more apparent. He normally goes to bed around 9.30 but nowadays he won't get to bed and be really sleeping until 11.30pm or sometimes even at midnight.

He still gets up in the middle of the night sometimes several times to use the bathroom and then he wakes up at the same time in the morning which is early! Sleeping is an important part of growth and we worry that the lack of sleep would further lessen his immune system and physical growth.

A few nights ago as usual he woke up to use the bathroom. He would normally come to our room and wake one of us up to take him to the bathroom. He noticed daddy wasn't on the bed and mommy was sleeping alone. He didn't think too much about it until the morning. He woke up and started asking me why didn't you sleep with mommy last night? I didn't say much except telling him that daddy needed to sleep on the floor.

More of the story in Patient King

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Could he be the next great Oncologist? Could it be Mesothelioma?

Bet you didn't know! September is Child Cancer Awareness month. I remember back in December of 2006 where my son spent about two weeks at the ICU, we saw numerous other sick kids on the same floor. Some diagnosed with what sounded like Mesothelioma or words that ended with ..lioma. Most of their prognosis weren't good. We were one of the few blessed ones that got out. There was an elderly lady who flew in to be with her daughter and her twelve year old cancer stricken granddaughter. She looks to be in her early seventies with grey hair and seemed to be the type who played the role of everybody's grandmom. She seemed to be a strong individual who wanted to be there for her daughter. We spent a few days in lounge together since only one family member were able to stay with the patient in the room. Her granddaughter's diagnosis wasn't good. She had already slipped in to a coma and it was just a matter of time. The doctors were going to make a last attempt to operate and see whether if a miracle could happened. Ten hours passed, and they wheeled her back to her ICU room. The grand mother looked upon the doctor who operated and her daughter's face hoping to find a glimpse of hope. She tried very hard but couldn't find it on her daughter's tear-filled face. Her granddaughter began this journey when she was eight months old. They tried everything and even experimented with alternative medicine but were still in and out for Chemotherapy at the hospital the first eight years.

Eight years passed and one failed marriage later for her daughter, her granddaughter on the other hand was pronounced in remission at the age of eight. Her grandmother described her to be a young and full of life vibrant little girl. She got good grades and really helped out with mommy at home. The days passed quickly and it was Christmas Eve. I came out from my son's room and found the grandmother frantically calling the rest of the family members. She was gathering them to come to the hospital to say goodbye. It was a gut wrenching moment in which I simply didn't know how to react. I imagined being in her shoes for a moment, and my heart just sunk. I can sense the depth of the pain but yet couldn't find a word to utter. Cancer is a ruthless killer. It does not discriminate. It attacks anybody and at any age. The granddaughter lost the battle in the ICU room shortly on Christmas morning. Her room was next to my son's room. We are thankful our son does not have cancer, but the new medication he is taking does carry a risk of developing complication such as cancer down the path.

From a parent standpoint, looking forward to our son instead of being a media software mogul, a good doctor wouldn't be bad. He is very much in to his doctor's kit and brings it to help daddy fix whatever whether it's the car or the computer. He's got a strong determination to get things accomplished. We noticed that every time when we stop him from playing further on computer games. His comeback to us has always been "LET ME FINISH THIS LEVEL! PLSSSSS." If only we could channel this determination toward something else like cancer research!

Below is a clip that shows kids with cancer during this September of cancer awareness month and the clip above is a popular Asian singer. No worries about the language because it has subtitles. Read on and you will find out why this clip is here.

Enjoy the music, read the lyrics and watch the story. The clip on top is a fictional story, great song and sadly it is related to cancer as well. Watch and you will find out. Perhaps it's Mesothelioma. Asbestos is quite rampant in the Asian countries.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Could He be the Next Bill Gates Microsoft?...

Growing up in an Asian country, I had dreamt about being a doctor when I grew up. My father is a dentist; two of my uncles are dentists and so is my grandfather. Naturally I thought I would follow the footstep and go a step further into the medical field. Unlike other Asian parents, my parents actually didn't push me to become a doctor. They didn't put much pressure on my academics. I suspect it is because they didn't want to put more stress on me since I was always sick when i was a child. They wanted me to finish college, get a job, get married and live a stable quiet life. I on the other hand had very different thoughts. I loved reading about great people such as Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin, Issac Newton, Galileo and my all time favorite Christopher Columbus. I had aspirations to do great things, a great inventor, a great writer, a politician, a lawyer and etc. My dreams were big, bold and borderline unrealistic hence it was only a dream. Sadly having grown almost half of my life already on earth, those goals remain a distant dream. Well..maybe I still have a shot at being a great writer.

I didn't grow up in the age of computers. The closest electronic box I had was playing with my neighbor's Atari console. The first computer language I learned was Basic and I was already in the United States. I believe if my readers are under the age of 30, they may not even have heard of BASIC. What a contrast it is today for my son. We are in the age of super information technology. We saw the rise of the dot.coms in the 90's where overnight millionaires became broke the next year. In this digital world, we could waste so much space by taking unlimited pictures on digital cameras, and harddrives have gone from a normal 40 gig hardrives to terabyte drives. The common catch words are Ipods, Iphones, Wii, BlackBerry, VOIP, Myspace, Facebook, MSN, Windows XP, Vista, Youtubes, Yahoo.... I just can't believe "google" is actually a dictionary word!

My son actually watches youtubes more than TV and uses MSN Messnger to communicate with his grandparents in Hong Kong instead of dialing it up the traditional way. On Youtube.com, he is able to watch Chinese programs for free. I came home the other day, my son was watching his favorite program on youtube.com, my wife was watching her favorite chinese series on another tube tech which is 56.com and I turn on the TV to watch sports. It's like having three TVs in one household.

I often thought about what my son's future and pondered what would he become when he grows up. At the age of four, he is already telling me "daddy, I want to check my email" even though he doesn't even know how to spell his name yet. He spends a lot of time on online computer games. He thinks he is working or doing homework everytime when he opens up Microsoft Excel since he sees daddy working on his Excel reports so much. He would type randomly and pretend he is doing work. We even have a name for all our computers at home as a way of personalfying them in order for him to treat them gently. We name our laptop "Lappy" and our destops "daddy desky" and "mommy desky." He is always interested when I try to fix the computers and would play the role of a tech support. The funny thing is he would always grab his doctor's kit because he thinks lappy is sick. He is also fascinated with anything that has buttons. Since he has seen us using ATM machines with the touch of buttons, he thinks any machine with buttons would spit out money when he presses one.

I am not sure what would he be when he grows up but he sure does show a great affinity toward computers and perhaps who knows, he may become the next Bill Gates and create his software empire..., but we would let nature take it's course. (mommy's comment after reading this post--"dream on Dad!")

Stay tuned for more.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Don't Poke Me Please!

I used to frequent hospitals and clinics myself when I was a little boy. I didn't go there for the pretty nurses, the free lollipops or even the free balloons. I too shared a similar past as to my son's current condition. I developed a rare form of kidney ailment in which the only way was to manage it was with potent medicines and the hope for a cure was time. No medicine and by the luck of the seventh year, if the disease does not recur then a complete healing can be pronouced. I didn't know about the seven-year rule but I am glad to find out that I actually qualified to make that pronouncement 15 years ago. Once during my teen years, I almost beat the seven year marked only to find out on the exact day of my seventh year anniversary, my kidney ailment came back. My son is currently battling a kidney disease that shares the same root as mine but is undetermined whether it will yield the same type of fruit.

Each time, I visited the hospital, it was a routine procedure. I stuck my hands out and two to three young pretty nurses would stuck a giant needle in to my veins in an attempt to draw blood. I later nicknamed these young girls as draculas since they loved my blood so much. I used to come home with my arms full of bandaids and blood bruises especially if I had to spend a few days in the hospital. I was too young to remember my very first time staying in the hospital since I was only two. I must have outgrown the anxiety of getting stuck by needles since my memory does not include screaming, struggling and yelling when they stuck me with needles. My memory seems to only date back to the three young draculas but then why would there be three of them instead of just one since it does not take three to stick a needle in to my arm. I guess I altered a little of my memory, the other two nurses had to hold me down or somehow distract me with lollipops or balloons.

My son just came out from the hospital last week in which he spent 5 days recovering. He had another episode and this marked the fourth hospitalization in the last two months. This is a frustrating disease that sometimes make you think you are on track to recovery but out of nowhere it ambushes you like a terrorist. My son came home with poke marks all over his arms just like mine. Each mark was a battle and each battle he fought hard. I sympathesize with him and I know exactly what he goes through in his mind. I re-live this part of my childhood with him each time. It is such a helpless feeling to see your son getting hurt and you can't do anything about it. I can't help but to see his eyes fill with tears looking at me and as if he is saying to me with those eyes..daddy why do you let them poke me. My heart is poked so badly each time when that happens. The following clip is about how to bring a child some hope in there moments of despair. Be touched!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Counting One Two Three Four Five

I grew up with an eight year younger sister and we both adored and revered our dad. We loved to spend time with him and everytime if we were asked to choose if we wanted to follow our mom or dad to go out, my dad always won out. My mom on the other hand didn't feel inadequate about herself but rather prefered it and accepted the defeat of the parental popular contest graciously. She would much rather go off on her own to enjoy a day of shopping by herself than having us tagging along. My dad would usually take us out hiking or swimming and we would have a good time poking fun at each other and doing silly things.

That was the lighter side of my father. The other side of my father was the disciplinarian at home. His rod would come down even if he had to chase you down. I was chased several times by him in my life. His words were final if a decision was needed to be made. Me and sister would not even dare to look him in the eye if he found out we didn't do what we were supposed to do. My dad simply commanded our full respect. I remember one of our neighbor's puppy was stolen and my dad saw the actual act itself. He chase the teenage thief down and simply gave him a very stern look followed by strong words. That was my dad and we knew if that teenager was one of us, our butts would have been flattened!

As for me being a dad to a four year old, I am trying to follow some of my dad's footsteps, but I think i am a gentler dad so far. Prior to disciplining, I would always give a warning or a count to 5. My son usually knows when it's 5 what's going to happen if he doesn't act appropriately. I would have to say, this counting thing has worked well for us most of the time. It worked so well that he is using it on his mommy.

My son usually wakes up early and he would try to get mommy to wake up as well to fix him breakfast or to allow him to play on the computer. There was one day that mommy was simply too sleepy to wake up. After a few failed attempts to wake up mommy, my son simply said, "I am couting to five, you don't wake up I time out your pillow!" One, two, three, four five, and mommy's pillow was stolen from her, and guess what?! She woke up!

I think my discipline is working, on both my son, AND my wife *grin*

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Creative Discipline or Creative Interior Design?

Some of my son's favorite toys are of course his one thousand piece train sets, then his ten thousand set lego train set and not to be outdone, his one hundred thousand piece whatever train toy set. He is so into creating, building and playing with all these little toy pieces that sometimes it becomes a big problem. We can't get him to do anything ELSE! He simply won't stop. I think he gets this from his old man. We both have addictive behaviors when it comes to something we are passionate. We get very agitated and frustrated if we are interupted or even distracted. We are not to be disturbed because an artform is being created! Every inch is crucial and every angle makes a difference. I was in to building futuristic aero dynamic space fighter planes and I know what goes on in his mind as he lays the tracks and creates a whole new train track neighborhood or community. Once he's done, he gets so excited jumping up and down trying to win our praises.

The problem is sometimes, his creativity conflicts with other important events that take place on a normal day. For example: taking a bath, going to sleep or even sometimes dinner! We have a house rule and that is we always put away our toys when it is time for the next thing on our schedule, like dinner. However, my little guy seems to prefer leaving his thousands of little pieces of toy everywhere and therefore we have to resort to "time out." No, not time out for my little guy, but rather "time-out" for his toys which he leaves behind. We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment, and finding a spot that our little guy can't reach is sometimes challenging because he can be very resourceful when you are not paying attention. We ended up timing out his toys by placing them on the very top of our shelves, our kitchen cabinets, our fireplace..or wherever we can find a flat surface that is beyond our son's reach.

Our friends came by to pay us a visit the other day and the funny thing they told us was the fact that they loved how we had decorated our home with toys everywhere on eye-level! And each time they come, our place looks a bit different depending on the kinds of toys being timed-out! Like today, the theme of our decoration is... Legos! Discipline for our son AND creative interior design, one stone two birds!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rice Rice....Everywhere!!

As some of you readers may know, dinner times are almost a ceremonial like time for us everyday. We all look forward to congregate at our dinner table and EAT! Our family loves to eat and we eat with speed. We can finish a three course meal in less than 10 minutes even though it took one hour to cook and then another thirty minutes to clean the dishes. My son is well known as a very messy eater. If a stranger walks in to our home, they would immediately know who sits where at the dinner table. We are an Asian family and one constant food that we consume almost everyday is rice. Rice is sticky and it can get very messy. My son is a great rice lover and in fact we can foresee that his future wife must know at least how to cook rice which means the girl would most likely be Asian. My son would always finish his rice first, ask for more then starts on his veggies and meat.

From my other blog site, www.patientking.blogspot.com, I have stated the fact that my son has a weird habit of stopping in the middle of a meal and goes to the bathroom to make a deposit. Well he does that and the result is a trail of rice all over the place. I mean it's rice rice everywhere!! I decided to resolve this dilemma by telling him a sort of traditional story with a little twist. One night, during story time before bed, we were sitting at our regular reading spot next to his bed. Our home is carpeted so it's very comfortable sitting on the carpet floor. As I start to read the book, I notice a speck of dry up rice on the carpet. I told my son to take a look and ask him where did the rice come from. He said, he didn't know. I told him it's because you don't clean or pad yourself down each time after the meal and you leave a trail of rice. If the rice don't get picked up, then it will dry up like this one and then guess what will happen.

My son looked at me with his innocent big brown eyes and said, "what daddy..what!?" "Remember the book about ants..the ones with big shinny smiley teeth, they love rice. Do you want them to come here at night because they can smell rice all over this place and mistaken you for a big pellet of rice and carry you away? so what must we do each time after a meal or if we still see a little piece of rice on the floor?" My son stopped for a second and had a little uncomfortable distress look on his face and began to say, "I have to pick up the rice and throw it away". I told him that's right! son. Well the story didn't end there, that night my son had a hard time falling asleep. We thought it was just him being a boy full of energy. He just simply refused to go to sleep. Finally, after a few hours of battling, he finally falls asleep.

Around 3 am that morning, I was awaken by a strange noise. I went out to look around and found my little guy looking at the floor very attentively with great care as if he was looking for a lost contact lens. I ask him, "son! why aren't you asleep. It's still dark outside." He said to me, "daddy... I don't want to get carried away by the ants. They have shinny big teeth! so I don't want no more rice here".. I just gave him a smile and said to him, it's OK, if the ants come, they will carry your mommy away first since she knows how to cook the rice." He looked at me with such relief on his eyes and almost instantaneously fell asleep on the carpet floor. Around 8 am he woke up and immediately came into our room to make sure Mommy was still around.

I remember my dad told me a similar story except it was a giant gross looking bad dragon instead of ants. It was a lot scarrier and I was up several nights!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I WANT to be a TRAIN

Boys are boys. They are just simply built differently than girls. I guess most folks know the difference between boys and girls. Yes, there are the biological differences between the two sexes, but another big difference is emotional and behavioral. My son, ever since the first day until now, I have never outwardly or distinctly encouraged or promoted in him the idea of what a boy is supposed to be like or do. He somehow learned it and acts on his own natural instincts. One example is his fascination with trains. The fascination with trains started at about six to eight months of age. He will be turning 4 in a few weeks and his fascination only grows and grows. He is able to name just about all the characters from the Thomas the Tank engine series. He can spend hours building tracks after tracks. He would design a new layout for the tracks each time. He is simply borderline obsessed with trains.

Besides trains, he is also very much interested in cars, engines, trucks, planes and playing with all sort of balls. He doesn't mind being dirty and he would prefer not to take a bath if he is allowed to make that choice. Normally when one's diaper is full, the baby would cry immediately. Let's just say, if we didn't check on him (when he was a baby), he would not voluntarily get our attention regarding his diaper status, even if it was fully "deposited."

There is also something about him expressing affection. My son hates it when someone tries to kiss him, instead he would settle and much prefers a head-butt with me as a form of showing love. When we say "I love you" to him, instead of saying the same thing back, he would solemnly say "thank you" until we almost tickle him to death before we could squeeze I-love-you out of him.

I have asked him a few days ago of what he would like to be when he grows up. He answered without hesitation, "Daddy I want to be a Train" and in a few months he might be telling me he wants to be a computer.

I just can't wait until his teen years, when he asks me about girls or maybe he won't since he has done everything else so far on his own instincts!


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Every body's GrandChild

Even at a tender age of 4, my son is always excited when it's Friday. It is not because it is approaching the weekends or the fact that he knows daddy won't have to work but rather, he seems to look forward to a volunteer job that he gets to participate on some Fridays if he is not sick. He gets to go to different elderly households and deliver meals.

Each Friday, the volunteer meal deliverers gather at a local church to pick up boxes of special meals according to specific dietary constraints. Some folks drink butter milk, some would take skim and then there are the minorities whom would be allowed to drink whole Milk, followed by different meal plan for different diets. So far, my little boy is at least helpful in helping out picking the right kind of milk for the right folks since the milk cartons are in different colors. He becomes more helpful when the actual delivery takes place.

He would YELL out "MEALS on WHEELS" to get attention prior to the knock on the door. Usually folks are already opening the door prior to the knock because they do look forward to a cute 4 year old delivering a meal with a smile and a mischievous grin. He would normally deliver the meal and then ask "what about me? but I am Hungry too." The response is always a grandpa Santa Claus type jolly laugh then a hug followed by a pinch on the cheeks and finally a candy or lollipops. He has become the Every body's Grandchild on Fridays. This does serve two purposes. My son's grandparents are far away in Asia and most of the elderly folks don't have their grandchild's nearby.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Sisters..Where art thou?

My little boy used to have a few imaginary friends. I wasn't quite sure what their names were but he always seemed to have fun with them. Ever since he developed his kidney ailment, he's been confined at home most of the time to prevent risk of infections. His medication does cut down his own natural immune system therefore a simple cold may lead to a trip to ER. He does play well on his own when he is at home but he seems to light up when he is around kids his age or slightly older. He longs to visit his friends and always asks us to bring him to their home to play or visit. Every time, when a friend comes over to play with him, the moment of his friend returning home is like the ending scene of Romeo and Juliet where tears rain down like a fierce thunderstorm.
Lately we have been feeding him on the idea of perhaps being a brother. He didn't like it at first but he is starting to warm up to the idea. We even picked out his sisters names, and for now, he would just have to imagine that they are there with him. Today, all of a sudden, he said something so sweet that almost melt our hearts. He told us that he would read his sisters bed time stories and would even share his toys, food and his most important precious the OG's with them.


Saturday, July 28, 2007


My son usually goes to bed around 9.30pm every night. Well that's when he actually puts himself on the bed but it does not mean his eyes are close. He would go through several different routines after 9.30pm before his eyes would actually shut. First he would asked for some water, then he would request to be held. After being held, he would request for mommy to hold him. Around 10.45pm, he would come to mommy and daddy's room and claims, he is scared. We would sternly tell him to go back to bed and he would rebutt by saying "but I am Scared..." Then we would start counting to 5 and usually when we counted to 4, he would go back to bed very reluctantly with tears in his eyes. He would make one more trip out of his room around 11.15pm and says, can you turn on the music please?. Mommy would turn on his favorite CD. Another 10 minutes will pass before hearing him saying, the music is too loud. Daddy will then turn down the volume to a point where only the ants in his room can hear. Around 11.40pm, I will always take another sneak peak in his room and sometimes, he would catch me looking at him. He would always respond if he sees me
with a "WHAT?" follow by a smile.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not for Granted

It's been a whirl wind few weeks. My son contracted Chicken pox toward the end of last month and since then, his health has been a roller coaster ride. I almost wish we could have some sort of frequent flyer reward program on our trips to the hospital. By the grace of God, our little guy is finally recovering admirably and have been stable for two weeks. He is back to his old active monkey self. Through out the frequent stays in the hospital, our boy resorted to pass his time by reading which is a great trait to acquire. He is now very familiar with two popular children's book character. One is call "NO David" by David Shannon and "Olivia" by Ian Falconer.
My son loves the mischievous David and often immitates his behavior but he knows at the end of each David story, he would always reconcile with his mom and dad. On the character Olivia the other hand, he also identify with the fact that this lovable pig simply wears people out by her wide variety of different interest.

Wish there is really such a magical machine! See below cartoon.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Be Touched.. Be very Touched

I hope you enjoy the music video above. It's not common to find such powerful pair of duets. The melody and lyrics simply complement there voices. I hope you enjoy and that your spirit will be lifted up. I too have a prayer for my son and I hope he grows up knowing there is an almighty one high up above our imagination watching over him. May this song be your prayer.

Shadows will sometime fill our days, but His power will overshadowed all.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Good Bye My Baby

The title says it all. If you have a child, hold him or her close to your heart tonight before bed. Tell them how much you love them. Give them a kiss before you say good night. There are many others in the world tonight that longs for the same...

Friday, June 8, 2007

If this were you

These videos are about lives being changed one at a time. They touched me deeply almost as if I were seeing my son's face in these videos. I can't help but to wonder about all those who are crying but no one hears, all those who long to be held but have to wait for their turn, all those who can cry no more because, they are all cried out. If this were you, if the child you see could be yours, what would you do? The numbers are staggering. The cruelties are real. How could people even abandon love as precious as life. The lives are real.

To be continued...


Friday, June 1, 2007

Time Stands Still

I went out for an appointment the other day and as I looked at my Fossil brand watch, it read 12.45pm. As I pulled in to the driveway of my destination, I looked at my watch again and it reads 1.10pm. What seemed like a few hours passed when I finished my appointment. However, when I looked at my watch again, it read 2.20pm. I felt pretty good at that moment for being so productive and was proud that I could do so much in so little time. As I drove home and unintentionlly glanced at the clock on my dash board, I realized it was around 4:00pm. Obviously my watch had stopped for a while but I was still unaware of it.
I wish we could get through the busyness of life with good time management. I wish I could do all the hard parts in really little time then have the rest of time to enjoy, especially for my little boy's sake. He is growing up so fast and it seems everyday as I walk out that door and come back later from work, there is a change in him. It might be a new word he would use, a new friend he would make or simply something new he would do. For example, as the three of us were having dinner one night, all of a sudden I heard my little boy blurted out, "What the heck?" He was referring to the soup we were having that night. If you have read my earlier blog writing with the title Soup Ocean, you might figure why. After "What the heck", he followed up with another new phrase at the end of dinner that would bring all parents with a smile and warmth to there heart. He said I love you. These are the little snips of life that I often wish time would stand still.

For the kids within the video below, Time literally does stand still as they wait..


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Legend Continues

(Notice the reaction of the main female character in white)

Note: This is part III of Little Dragon Girl.

The story continues at the beginning of last Christmas when my little guy was admitted to the hospital. He spent two weeks in the ICU with all sorts of large and small tubes stuck in to his body. It was not a pretty site. Naturally during this time, we had a lot visitors who came to comfort and care for us. I remember a mom who had a strong minded reputation couldn't help but to break down with a few tears. Among the ones that my little guy wanted to see of course was his little dragon girl. Her mom didn't allowed her to come since she was afraid that little dragon girl at a tender young age couldn't grasp the severity of the condition. She was protecting her daughter from seeing her little buddy in such grim condition. Little dragon girl however insisted on coming and wanting to see our little guy. Her mom later shared with us that she even got mad at her mom for not permitting her to see the helpless little boy lying in the hospital bed. Little dragon girl always had an affinity of feeding our little guy. My son is a good eater and would eat just about anything you put close to his mouth. One of his favorite food was cake. Little dragon girl came prepared to the hospital, wanting to see him and hopefully get to cheer him up with a few spoon feeds. However, the doctor and nurses didn't allow it but even before then, little dragon girl did breakdown and left the hospital room with her mom. It was a touching scene of how innocent yet strong deep and meaningful friendships are, even at there tender young age. My son is lucky to have friends that care so much.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Contagious Laugh

I have to break away from the Little Dragon Girl Series with the following series of videos. This is just too funny! Little Dragon Girl series will resume after this. Thanks and enjoy some big laughs

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pine Cone Power!

Note: This is part II of Little Dragon Girl.
No... my little guy was not chased by any enemies, and obviously he is not an orphan. At best it is just me or his mom (his "arch enemy" at times) who chases after him for not cleaning up before a meal or not flushing his potty after his number 2. Picking up where we left off from the story, my little guy met his Little dragon girl while he was being babysat by her mom. Instantly, little dragon girl and my son just seemed to click, but of course not in the way of the Condor hero trilogy but rather a brother and sister type relationship. For God's sake, it will be a real taboo that a three and half year old falling for a twelve year old. In fact not a taboo but downright weird. Molly is her name and she is a pretty long hair and big eye twelve year old girl who has a sunshine smile. They do share unforgetable stories together. This is one of the stories. My son for some reason is afraid of pine cones. Yes pines cones! He somehow picked up the fear for pine cones and we had no idea when, why and where he started being fearful for these little Chirstmas tree like ornaments. We found out about this fear when we took him out to our future church building site that had acres of pine trees. Naturally with pine trees come pine cones. These little cones were all over the grass field. My son saw these cones and refused to walk or even moved until he saw, you guess it right, Little dragon girl. Little dragon girl would call out his name and somehow he would forget where he was at and ran towards her. This part does resemble a bit of the Condor hero trilogy where the two main characters were separated when fleeting from their enemies, but somehow they always found each other again. That "found each other again" moment is the same type of moment my little boy seemed to have when he heard little dragon girl calling his name. We later found out through little dragon girl why my little boy had such phobia towards pine cones--they looked like doo-doos to him. Spiky little brown doo-doos all over the grassfield. Nowadays when we go to this new church site, little dragon girl would have to carry him about. My son is closing in to 40 lbs and she is at most 80 to 90 pounds. She would carry him all over the site making sure his fear is calm and that is the reason why we call her his "little dragon girl". She somehow always rescues him from being "chased" by his "enemies"--those doodoo like pinecones.

Stay tuned for more on my son's little dragon girl.

Apple Store

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

First Friend - GuGu

There is a popular Chinese novelist by the name of Jing Yong. He is a great writer and has become an Asian equivalent to Shakepeare minus a few degrees.
Shakespeare had Romeo and Juliet, Jing Yong had the Condor Hero trilogy. An epic story with the backdrop of factual Chinese History blended with adventure, romance and suspense. This is where we get the name little dragon girl. Little dragon girl was a character that appeared during the second part of this epic trilogy. She was the heroine who helped train and rescue a little abandoned boy. She first appeared in the story as an stoic teen who was forced to somehow rescue an abandoned boy whom was chased by his enemies. Being several years his senior, she initially became his martial art master. But as both grew older, that relationship blossomed toward a Romeo and Juliet type relationship which was considered to be a taboo by the ancient chinese culture of the time.

More to come.... of my son's little dragon girl.