Shanghai Dad: Q&A with Don Yap

A time for bonding

by SHFamily | Mon, June 19, 2017

Every month, we reach out to a Shanghai dad to discuss family, life and being a father. This month, Don Yap talks about the fear of sleepness nights, bonding with his son on the way to school, appreciating nature and rolling in the grass.

Dad Chat Don Yap

Name: Don Yap

Job: Photographer and Director of Barefoot Portraits, family photography studio

Nationality: Filipino

Children: Marcel (3)

School: SIHA pre-school

Time in Shanghai: 10 years

When did it first register that you were actually a father and what did you start doing differently?

It first registered when I heard the very fast heartbeat via the ultrasound scan. It was pure joy, especially because we had an earlier pregnancy that sadly didn’t have a heartbeat. So hearing my baby really made me realise that we had created a new life, it was music to my ears. A lot of my friends warned of sleepless nights and less time for us, so we slept in and travelled a lot with lots of long-haul flights and long drives. Coincidentally, I also ate a lot and gained some weight during the pregnancy that I’m yet to shave off!

How has fatherhood changed you?

Fatherhood has made me take more photos with my mobile phone. When Marcel was smaller I used to take photos with the big professional camera. But now that he’s a very active little monster, and has lots of spontaneous funny moments, I find myself just shooting a lot more with my iPhone. I still go to the professional studio for the yearly family portraits though. Fatherhood has also made me seek out nature a lot more. I can’t help but be amazed by my child when he plays with puppies, finds a talking parrot funny or just when he rolls in the grass.

What has been your worst parenting moment?

My wife has the official list and it may fill up your entire magazine – it’s best to ask her!

What is one of your most memorable parenting moments?

I cherish the time when I take Marcel to school. On some days it can be a chore as I need to rush to work immediately after. But mostly, when we are not rushed, the bike ride to and from school is our bonding time. It’s when we count and identify objects in four different languages (English, Chinese, Tagalog, French). It is when we bond by spotting police cars and count fire hydrants. It is also when we perform our Twinkle Twinkle Little Star duets. Recently, after school we’ve been doing various activities like playing in the park or eating a snack. I’m sure that even if he doesn’t remember this time (as there are no pictures), I will cherish them forever. To be honest, all credit goes to my wife who does 99 percent of the parenting - mostly the hard and difficult stuff. I tend to enjoy the time as the “good cop.”

In what way is your child similar to you?

Marcel is a risk-taker. He loves climbing on things and fearlessly exploring new places and experiences. He is also extroverted and very confident. I see a lot of myself in him when he interacts with strangers; especially when I was younger I would be talking to everyone.