Willful Remembrance

Since my children have been driving me crazy lately, I think it is a good moment to pause and bear witness to how they are also hilarious, sweet, and wonderful. It is incredibly difficult to hold their lovable selves in mind as I’m dealing with kids who are screaming their brains out because REASONS, but I really need to hold back the onslaught of mean things I say and just STFU and remember that they are small and will not always be this way.

So, in honor of Friday, here are some awesome things about my children, in no particular order:

1) Gamera gives high-fives with her feet.

2) Cookie Monster loves to tell jokes. He thinks giving “wrong” answers to questions is the most hilarious thing in the world – and his laughter is beautiful, like water. It seems as if everything he does is for comedic effect.

3) Glow Worm’s eyebrows are capable of having entire conversations.

4) Cookie Monster has been using the big toilet lately – and all by himself. It is awesome.

5) Cookie Monster defends and looks out for Glow WormGamera fiercely protects Cookie Monster. No one needs to look out for Gamera. She is a force to be reckoned with.

6) Some of my favorite scoldings from Gamera: “You don’t know what you talking about it!” or ” Don’t talk to my ear!” or “Slow down!” (accompanied by her squatting down with both hands forming a “stop” sign) or “No way!”

7) The look of pure glee when Gamera runs away from Cookie Monster as he is crying and screaming at her to give him back his toy.

8) Glow Worm crawls so fast! He wants to walk and be big so badly – but he can’t quite just yet.

9) Gamera and Cookie Monster play so well together. They really are best buddies and I LOVE it.

10) Cookie Monster loves to count and read numbers. He especially likes to count to 100.

11) Glow Worm makes the funnies noises since he can’t talk. He always sounds so skeptical. “Hm!”

12) Their laughs and giggles and shrieks of joy.

13) Cookie Monster and Gamera dancing. Whether they’re dancing like Pocoyo or SYTYCD, it is awesome.

14) Cookie Monster LOVES to play Candyland. Gamera likes to play, too. But she has no strategy. She just chooses the colors she likes best. (We play a variation where you choose two cards and you can decide which card you prefer.)

15) Cuddling and kissing and pretty much making out with my babies is a delight. All my slobber is good for their immune systems, right?

16) Gamera doesn’t run; she skips.

Alright. I do feel better. 🙂 Plus, looking at older pictures helps, too. I can’t believe they grow so fast! Anyhow, here’s to hoping I cling to these good things vs. holding onto the bad. I really do love my kids.

If I Had To Do College All Over Again

Since we’ve been talking about college so much, whether about missing it or getting into it, I thought I’d share what I would do differently at college if I knew then what I know now. (Of course, some of you know how I freak out about alternate timelines so this is only in the case that my current timeline wouldn’t be affected because if my action were to erase my three beautiful babies I would just GAH!!!)

Anyhow, my mild hysterics aside, here are some things I would change:

1) Study. I was a smart kid in high school and got by with minimal studying and relied mostly on my smarts. Unfortunately, what I failed to realize once I got into UCLA was that EVERYONE who got into UCLA was smart so I wasn’t anything special. Therefore, the students who actually studied would do better than the smart but lazy students. Futhermore, no matter how intelligent a person is, smarts are meaningless in the absence of actual knowledge. My being smart was useless since I didn’t have ANY knowledge about physics or advanced microbiology.

2) Change majors. I had this weird idea that being “Undeclared” was a highly laughable situation for hippies who wanted to “find themselves” and had nothing but contempt for them. I mocked people who kept changing majors but in reality, it was a case of “the lady doth protest too much.” Why was I so hung up on being consistent and faithful to a major that I didn’t really understand what it was when I chose it? I was sixteen years old when I applied for college. (I didn’t turn eighteen until my second year at UCLA so I was nicknamed “Jail Bait.”) Why would I expect my sixteen year old self to know ANYTHING about majors and what they entailed?

I don’t really know what I would’ve changed my major to. I knew pretty early on that I no longer wanted to go the Pre-Med route but was too afraid to tell my parents since I had convinced them to let me go to UCLA on account of UCLA having a great medical school. I was worried that if I changed my major, my parents would tell me to transfer to Cal (which was far too close to my parents’ house for my liking).

It’s not that I didn’t like Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, it’s just that everything was so SMALL and required a microscope. And looking into microscopes make me nauseous because of the constant changing depth of field when going back and forth between the microscope and my lab book. It made me motion sick. I should’ve taken that as a sign.

However, looking back, I would’ve liked to switch to Chemistry (I found that endlessly fascinating but was terrified of Physical Chemistry so I chickened out) or Psychology (too bad I thought it was such a pseudoscience at the time). Or Asian American Studies (which screams, “Hire me”) or Business (I didn’t want to take more math). And now that I’m older, perhaps even Computer Science (at the time, I didn’t even understand what programming was – just that I wasn’t some geeky Asian dude who played video games all day or the fact that my father said I wasn’t smart enough to do it).

3) Get a job. Technically, I had a job as a Program Assistant my senior year but I didn’t really do anything and am surprised I kept my job all year long. I didn’t know how to do interviews. (I showed up to an interview in glasses, barely combed hair, a thermal long-sleeved shirt, and torn jeans. I also marked that I had a misdemeanor because I thought a speeding ticket was a misdemeanor. One of my friends who was really good at her job was completely appalled that that was how I showed up. She coached me so I could actually get the PA job.) I didn’t know how to write a resume. I didn’t have confidence that I could do anything at all – so having a low stakes job in college would’ve been really helpful. However, I was convinced my parents didn’t want me to work and focus only on my studies, so I never asked. (Sense a theme, here?)

4) Be less self-righteous and rigid with my beliefs. Granted, I graduated when I was twenty so as a teenager, I thought I knew everything. I was convinced that I had being a Christian all figured out and that my parents were total hypocrites and Pharisees (when really, so was I!) and was such an ungrateful little shit. Besides, it’s really easy to be all “Jesus loves everyone and we should give all our money to the poor” when you have never worked an honest day’s wages in your entire life and had everything handed to you on a silver platter. (I went to UCLA during the dotcom boom so we were pretty flush.)

5) Not be so obsessed with boys and being in a relationship. How many hours of my life did I waste on drama with boys? GAH. So stupid. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Some of the boys were fine people. (Many were not.) But how sad that I focused so much of my self-worth and time on boys instead of myself? LAME.

6) Pursued interests other than my Christian Fellowship. I loved my Christian fellowship (InterVarsity). I learned so much about Jesus and most of my conviction about social justice came from them. However, they were not the only things I loved or cared about. I wish I had taken the lead role in a musical my senior year instead of turning it down. (I said it was because God wanted me to spend more time with non-Christians on my floor, but really, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to memorize all those lines and songs and would fail in a spectacularly public way.) Instead of letting InterVarsity take over my entire life, I wish I had the strength to pursue other interests without bowing to the pressure (whether intentional or not) to do EVERYTHING InterVarsity.

Sadly, like so much of my life, much of my decisions in college were influence by fear. If there is one thing I am realizing my blog is about more and more, it’s about living a life without fear. Who knows what I could’ve become had I not been so afraid of my parents, my self, or other people’s opinions? Alas, I will never know. But it definitely encourages me to live my life NOW without fear.

What would you do differently?

I Was a Mean Girl

On Saturday, I went to a high school choir reunion with a few friends. As we were checking out the new cafeteria (well, new since 2008 anyway), I saw all these anti-bullying posters on the wall and got super annoyed. Since when has a person ever stopped doing something because of a PSA poster on the wall? In fact, these posters in their cheerful teenage girl script and their stupid blue ribbons made me WANT to go out and bully someone just because I could.

I am a bad person.

But it got me thinking. No one ever thinks they are the bully. (At least, I don’t think they do.) I mean, look at me. I’m a nerdy Chinese girl who went to a high school with mostly white people and I was definitely not popular (or unpopular, really), so in my memories, I was always cast as the underdog. But was I, really?

I recall being part of a group of girls on the color guard (we called it the drill team) and we basically threw a coup d’état and got our tall flags team captain (we’ll just call her Captain Girl) demoted to a regular member and somehow got me to be the captain instead. My friends were the co-captains of the entire color guard and had convinced me that I should be the one to do this.

Here’s the thing though. Captain Girl was a good team captain. I never had any particular problem with her. She had solid routines and was very organized and talented. (She eventually was good enough to teach at USA Spirit Camp or whatever it was called. You don’t get to do that if you suck.) I also didn’t particularly want to be captain. But I went along with the plan to overthrow Captain Girl anyway because, hey, being captain would be good for my college applications! Also, I was too cowardly to disagree with my friends.

Well, I ended up being team captain, sucking at it, and hating every second of it. In fact, to this day, one of my recurring stress dreams is being at a band competition/football game/parade and not knowing the routine. (This is a close cousin of the taking a final for a class I didn’t even know I was enrolled in type of stress dream.) Captain Girl was very gracious, never made a big stink about it, and was kind and helpful. More than I ever deserved.

I bet Captain Girl thought I was mean for targeting her and systematically taking away her captaincy. And then, to rub salt in the wound, I wasn’t very good at it. But because my friends were the co-captains of the entire color guard, I got away with the coup. I’ll bet you that my friends didn’t think they were being mean, either. They were just as nerdy and dorky as I was.

This incident is one of my biggest regrets from high school. You know, I think I’ll find her on Facebook, message her, and apologize (if that’s not too creepy). *heads off to google then message*

Ok, I’m back.

Another incident that I look back upon with immense shame is from elementary school. I was in the third grade and thought this boy, Crush, was SO CUTE! I liked him SO MUCH that whenever possible, I would sneak up behind him and then kick him in the balls. I thought it was hilarious. I did this to this poor boy at least once a day. He eventually moved. I hope he can still have children.

When I think back on this, I feel so awful. Poor Crush! Can you imagine being kicked in the balls daily by this tiny Chinese girl with Coke-bottle glasses? Not only would you be kicked in the balls every day, it would be by a girl. A TINY, little Asian girl. Can you imagine having to tell your dad this? POOR Crush!!!

Anyhow, my whole point, I guess, is that even though I thought I was this poor victim in high school and elementary school, I was actually a perpetrator. I was a bully! I find this mind-boggling and totally at odds with my self-perception, but it is completely true.

I was a mean girl.

Sometimes, I still am. I regret to say that I often take delight in being a complete and utter bitch. Hapa Papa will tell you how I am the Queen of All That is Petty and Small. I used to think I was a nice person. It took being married to Hapa Papa and him actually seeing the truth of who I am for me to realize that I am NOT nice at all! *sigh*

Now, before everyone protests, (Anyone? Hello?) I am capable of being a civil and polite person. I am also capable of being a good person to my friends and people I like. Big deal. Anyone can be nice to people who are nice to them or people they want to like them!

“If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.” (Matthew 5:47 NLT)

I must say, the broken part of me enjoys the notoriety of being a mean person. And truth be told, I’m not sure I want to be a nice person. I would rather I be a good and kind person. However, we are living in the realm of Reality, so don’t hold your breath, people.

Let’s hope the kids take after Hapa Papa. Although, come to think of it, he’s not really very nice, either.

My kids are screwed.