Monday, December 13, 2004

La la, it's May!

My friend May got married last week. It was a very intimate wedding, with maybe about 120 guests. Breaking from tradition, the couple dispensed with the bouquet and garter toss - a decision that we all applauded. Then they gave a few remarks towards the end of the dinner, and I quote May gushing, "This is one of the best weddings I've ever attended!" To which her new hubby replied, "Maybe because it's yours, sweetie."

Sorry May I couldn't help it, but I took Marlon through your engagement blog the following day when we were back in the office. It's just that I'm so happy for you. As I read him the entry of how you met Alcuin, he said, "Nagkita muna sa utak!" So true. A very good match, and I hope it lasts forever.

So many things went through my head on the days immediately before and after the wedding. Things like, how happy I am for you - did I say that already? - and how honored I was to be your veil sponsor. During your little speech you said that you were so happy because half the room was filled with your most favorite people in the world. (The other half, we guessed, was Alcuin's.) And I couldn't help but agree, because you are one of my favorite people in the world.

At the reception, I was with those who had known you much longer. They talked about your being masungit, and I said, maybe three or four times, that I had never known you to be so. Finally Agnes said that you had mellowed down somewhat. I coudn't help thinking that she was making an excuse on my behalf. But then again, maybe you have "mellowed down."
As if it matters to me!

Yet truth is, you really are my friend. It's easy to say that we met because of work, that we gel because we both write and paint, etc, etc, etc. But honestly, there doesn't have to be a reason.

May, you are a wondeful person, I'm so deliriously happy about you and Alcuin, and just count me into your fans' club, okay? 'Nuf said.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Miguel has been reading voraciously for the past few months. I remember how amazed I was when he first tookthe cut-out alphabet letters and said, "Let's spell pot." (M-A-R-I....nooooo!) He then pronounced each letter sound and spelled pot, cat, bat and a whole lot of other words.

Turns out that Ninang has been drilling him with letter sounds every morning as she brings him to school. So naturally she wasn't as surprised as I was when I told her that he was spelling on his own initiative. I excitedly got out the phonics books so that he can practice, but he quickly tired of them. It turns out that his tastes are more, uh, mature. (I once told a friend that Miguel liked adult books, and my friend raised an eyebrow. Apparently he thought that "adult" involved an "X".)

Miguel's favorite books now are those hardbound coffee table books from Reader's Digest (yes, my mom bought loads of them!) with titles like "How Did It Really Happen" and "Great Mysteries of the Past." I'd come out of the shower and he'd have a book in front of him, reading words no matter how long or complicated. Now he's an expert on the Titanic, Atalntis, Stonehenge, The Big Bang, Space Exploration, Mary Queen of Scots, the Taj Mahal, and not to mention Pompeii (see previous entry). Okay fine, he'll probably turn out to be a nerd just like me but at least he's got a sense of humor (again, see previous entry).

My bedside is starting to look like a library, with books piled so high that they obstruct the lamplight. Every night he insists that I read all the books until morning, or "until you run out of laway." Sweet little bugger isn't he, but how can I say no?


Let me tell you about the most ridiculous song Miguel has come up with so far. It has a pretty repetitive, uncomplicated tune and he sings all the lines in the same rhythm, except for the fourth line.

The ashes were falling
The children were dying
The people were exploding
Pompeii, happy Pompeii

Pompeii is exploding
Mount Vesuvius is erupting
And the children are dying

He sounds pretty cute when he sings it. I tell him it's a good thing that it happened a long time ago.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Show and tell

Let me tell you about the time that I forgot to get Miguel a show-and-tell item.

Well, what can I say? I forgot. Last Sunday I was asking my sis what object Miguel can bring for show-and-tell - it had to be from Korea. She suggested that I drop by the Korean store, and buy a snack. But on our usual trip to my uncle's house I just totally forgot.

Come Monday, the nanny tells me that Miguel went out of his classroom crying. He approached her and asked, whispering, if he had his assignment. She wasn't even aware that there was an assignment, because it was just texted to me - Miguel had left behind his assignment notebook the previous Friday.

The teacher's assistant tried to reassure him by getting some Korean chips from his classmate and saying that they were actually his. But Miguel knew that they we didn't buy them and wouldn't accept them.

Yes, there are days like that too. Broke my heart when I found out that night when I came home. Even these little things like Korean snacks for show and tell - you can't take them for granted.

Two nights later we were accompanying Ninang around the neighborhood and passed by the Korean store. I wanted to make it up to him by buying something, even though it was late. But by the time we had pulled into the parking lot, he strongly insisted that "we don't have to buy anything any more." I was really surprised, like I was wondering if I had scarred him for life or something.



You really can't take anything for granted with your kids. Remember that. He's just so precious to me, I don't want to disappoint him because of my stupidity.

Tried to make up for it by making him a bird costume for Jacob's birthday party today. Will find out later how that turned out. Will also take the day off tomorrow, to make up for all the shooting days and late nights. So ciao for now.

Friday, October 15, 2004

A message from limbo

Hi guys! Sorry I haven't been posting lately, but I know that you've been checking out this site. Muchas gracias! At least I know that I'm still getting your attention these days.

It's been the longest week for me. Three-day shoot on location, then continuous overtime the following week. Well, I did manage to sneak in some R&R here and there. But overall I'm pretty tired and sleep-deprived. All you moms there, you know what I mean.

Next week will be another long one, but I hope to make it up to Miguel by then. His teacher informed me that he will be the bida in his class's taekwondo exhibition next Friday. Attention, stage mothers! More stories when I come back, I promise.

I really need some sleep.

Riza, if you're reading this, send me a message won't you? Here or via email. :)

Monday, October 04, 2004

The life and loves of Gueli S

So went got into the elevator after church, and there's this pretty 2-year-old blonde in a stroller right in front of Miguel. He's babbbling and doesn't see her right away, but I know that it's just a matter of time.

Miguel, seeing the girl: You're so pretty (SINGING MODE) I loooove you!
Miguel, to me: I said I love you.

Amazingly the girl's mother and father are deaf to all this, while all the Pinoys in the elevator are smiling. The couple pulls out of the elevator as the doors open.

Me: Why did you say I love you?
Miguel: Because her hair is pretty. Her hair is blonde, just like Nessie.

At this point the other passengers in the elevator laugh. So do we. The doors open again and we get out.

See, that's my son. So amorous. I'm not so worried about his so-called love life because I know that he's put me on a pedestal and he says that he loves me better than cheese (oh, now it's piyaya). But then let's consider his past "girl friends," and remember that he's only four:

1. Claire Agaton, a latecomer to his Junior Nursery class last year. When she entered his pre-school in August 2003, his nanny told me about his newfound affection. I witnessed it later on when, as I was driving him to school one day, we came upon Claire walking to school with her nanny. So I offered them a ride, and Miguel was all kilig at the prospect of sitting beside her! He actually shook with excitement and proceeded to caress her arm. Later on he followed her into the waiting area of the school, and a couple of hugs and kisses ensued. We were all laughing our heads off.

Me: Why do you love Claire?
Miguel: Because she beautiful! And powerful.
Me: What's her power?
Miguel: Hugs and kisses and I love you!

2. Nessie Farrad, another latecomer to his Junior Nursery class. Barely three, Nessie has a beautiful Filipina mom and an Australian father. She was an instant favorite because of her dark blonde hair. Miguel's affection for her was well known, and Teacher Gwit made it a point to always seat them together. Nessie's mom and I even developed a friendly acquaintance. Miguel was invited to Nessie's 3rd birthday party last summer. Upon meeting him, Nessie's dad gave him a terse, "So you're Miguel." His fame precedes him.

Now that he's in Senior Nursery, he's getting the hang of having girl friends. Tops among them are Alexene and Inabang, but that changes from time to time. He has his taekwondo friends too, but the bonds are not yet that strong - as in, we don't do house visits just yet.

I have to say though, that of all the girls in his life, his most favorite is cousin Sarina. She's 2 years older than him, and she always tries to push him around. But since my son is a different kind of animal, he always manages to get her goat. Well, their love-hate relationship has mellowed of late, and they're slowly becoming best of friends.

So here's to love, and here's to friendship.

And by the way, I've already told Migueli that he can only have a girlfriend when he's ready to get married.

(Duh, so does that apply to me too? Gee.)

Monday, September 27, 2004


Last Friday I was late for work.

Well, my mom needed a ride to her meeting in Pandacan. Not along my route but not really out of the way to Makati either. I told her, if she ever needed a ride in the morning, I'd rather drive her than have her take a cab.

Maybe I just want to spoil her. Or maybe it's just a case of "do unto others...."

Flashback. One recurring image forever burned into my mind is of my mom rushing off to work in the morning. Day after day after day. From the time I was in grade school, until high school, I'd be sitting in the dining room having breakfast while she'd be hurrying out the door.

And I'd ask myself, "Why's she in such a hurry to get away from us?'' I guess as personnel director for a large university, she had to set an example by being always on time. But I did question her priorities. And I did feel rejected, even by as simple an act as going out the door.

Don't get me wrong; she is probably the best mother anyone can have. I actually have a couple of friends who would trade mine for theirs. My mom is so calm, so patient, so giving, so selfless, so prayerful. The best compliment I can ever give her is that she's a true Christian, a living saint. I even said that if I can have one-tenth of her goodness I would be happy. (If I had one-tenth of my dad's charm I'd be happy too.) All our past disagreements notwithstanding, she is my idol. I wouldn't know what I'd do without her now.

So what happened? How did I change from hate to love? I guess one day I finally realized that in spite of all her shortcomings, she is a good person, and she did what she believed was best in bringing us up. That she is who she is and that I could never change her. So I just changed my attitude towards her. It's amazing how much we clicked after that.

But about being late for work. There are several reasons why I might be late for work. Sometimes I want to blow-dry my hair. Sometimes I decide to change my outfit. Sometimes I just want to eat the champorado and tuyo rather then munch a sandwich in the car. So many trivial reasons for being late. (Usually 30 minutes, so I try to stay an extra 30 afterwards.) So in my hierarchy of reasons, driving her to gritty Pandacan is just so worth it.

Yeah, sometimes I'm late because when I'm on my way out, Miguel will ask me if I had breakfast. When I answer yes, he'd say "You have to eat 2 times, one on your own and one with me." So I go down with him, get him settled at the table, give him his vitamins, then wait for him to get started. By which time he'd be willing to kiss me and let me out the door. Don't worry, when I have a meeting I always make it clear to him, and he understands that I have to go. But I don't want him to feel rejected just because he remembers me always rushing out the door. I don't want him to have that same kind of memory. In my hierarchy of reasons that too is so worth it.

Well maybe someday I'll figure out a way to manage my time better. But for now you can sue me, 'cause I'm a mom.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Closet feminist

This morning I took down about 20 books from my son's shelf. Disney books. Actually they're hand-me-downs from my cousin, and I'm always glad to get free books cause Miguel devours them like crazy. But a few from the Disney series made me raise my eyebrows. Let me quote from one called "The Ugly Stepsisters":

The Prince watched them and wondered. How could his kind, beautiful Cinderella have such mean and ugly stepsisters?

And two pages later:

"I wonder how long they will stay," said the Prince. "They don't seem to be very happy, even here."
"If only they each had a husband as nice as you," said Cinderella. "Then they would be as happy as I am!"

Hello! Calling Margaret Sanger! Gloria Steinem!

Well what did I expect; it's based on a fairy tale, isn't it? But then this book has so many ridiculous stereotypes that I had to explain to Miguel that it wasn't the right thing to print in a book. I was actually bothered.

Of course, of course. Don't blame the cousin who gave the books. After all she did give the seemingly inexhaustible "365 Bedtime Stories," a lifesaver when your child negotiates for 5 stories before bedding down every night. And don't forget "Richard Scarry's Best Year Ever," everybody's all-time favorite, guaranteed to elicit more questions than answers because of the details in the illustration.

But because of a politically incorrect Disney book, circa 1986, this feminist is coming out of the closet. Uh, just for a while. Long enough to explain to my son that just because a woman is ugly, it doesn't mean that she's mean as well. Well the part about needing a husband to be happy I didn't even want to discuss.

So at 4 am there I was, closet feminist slash neurotic mom quietly stashing Disney books into a box, hoping to protect my son's mind from misguided thinking. Not to mention that it was a lot of bad writing.

Which leads me to the question: Do you know what your child is reading? Sometimes we're so quick to accept something because it has some "seal" of approval. So mommies and daddies, beware of Disney Corp, purveyors of wrong thinking and bad taste! What bugs me is that they had the cheek to call those books "educational." (Oh well, at least they've improved in the last 18 years.)

So does that mean that I don't intend bring Miguel to Hong Kong Disneyland someday? Oh hogwash, of course I'll bring him!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Ang saguise, banagnag

When Miguel was about 2 he made up his own lyrics to the song "London Bridge is Falling Down," and it goes like this:

Ang saguise banagnag,
banagnag, banagnag
Ang saguise banagnag
Bunda, banda!

Ang baleleng baleleng,
baleleng baleleng,
Ang baleleng baleleng,
Bunda, banda!

This song even came with matching actions, and I've already shared it with his Senior Nursery teacher.

Well last night he and Ninang were playing with the Busy Beetles set, an M.C. Escher type of click-and-lock toy. They made an elaborate design, after which he declared, "that's a banagnag!"

So ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present to you...banagnag!

Don't ask me what saguise and baleleng are, 'coz he hasn't decided yet.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Over breakfast

So this was how our morning conversation went.

Miguel: Mommy, when are we going to get a new monitor?
(for the computer)
Me: (Silent, coz it's supposed to be a birthday gift to me)
Ninang: We still have to order it. I think it costs (PhP thousands).
Will you help us buy it?
Miguel: (Excited) I can buy it. I have lots of coins
in my piggy bank!
Ninang: (Laughs)
Miguel: But I don't have enough.

Miguel: I only need one more coin.

I love this kid.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

How to eat

Let me tell you the perfect way to end a food binge. It's called High and Mighty Pie, from Chili's:

"Heath candy pieces in creamy vanilla ice cream piled high
on a crushed Oreo cookie crust and drizzled with chocolate
and caramel sauce."

Must've been 6 inches high and 4 inches wide. Took four of us to finish it.

My binge started on Friday night and ended on Monday. Puttanesca, barbecue, hungarian sausage with blue cheese pasta, lengua, beef pastel, Uva salad, assorted cheeses, red wine, four kinds of chocolate cake, Becky's brownies, mandarin brownie-meringue, nachos with cheese dip, calamares, crispy chicken salad, corn dog, and of course my high and mighty pie.
Nothing beats a four-day birthday celebration.

Have been eating a lot the past few weeks because of frequent overtime. (My theory is, if you have to work hard, you should at least eat well.) Gained 3 pounds in the process. Then yesterday I conveniently forgot to take my anti-thyroid pill and guess what, I'm down two pounds.

Life is sweet.

Sunday, September 05, 2004


title or description These are my new frou-frou slippers. Orange, sequined, and beaded. Given by Lisa. The last time I had flowery slippers I must have been 6 years old. So I felt out-of-character when I tried them on this morning. Miguel was watching.

Miguel: Cool.
Me: You like it?
Miguel, with feeling: I like it.
Me: Why do you like it?
I prefer that for girls.

So my son has an opinion.

What gets me is that he has this concept of femininity, although I'm not so sure where he got it from. I may be kikay at times, but I'm certainly not feminine.

Like the time that I put on a dress so I that can have it altered. He said, "Mommy don't wear that, you look fat." Then I tried on a dress my size and he said, "Mommy, you look sexy." Bravo, anak, bravo!

Sometimes I wonder when it'll be time for me to put a bit of physical distance from him. Potential issues about sexuality, young as he is, also crop up now and then. Like when he hugs me just a bit too tight, or kisses me just a bit too long or too hard. And don't forget that he wakes up every morning with an erection. I don't know how many times I've explained heart rate and blood flow to my 4-year-old.

I asked other mums about these sort of things, and it seems that all their boys go through such an Oedipus complex. I guess I'm just more uptight about it since I'm a single mom.

Funny how a pair of frou-frou slippers can get you thinking.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Ode to instant noodles

Three-thirty in the morning I found myself in front of the stove. If you ever find me cooking at a time like this, it means that I'm pretty desperate. Only a hopeless case of hay fever can make me do this. It's something I've resorted to since I was a teenager.

I find comfort in this ritual. The house is dark and quiet, and ghosts could be lurking in the shadows. Everyone else is dead to my presence. I may as well be the ghost. But every inch of my sinuses is clogged and I'm totally miserable; I just need to get my fix. Antihistamines are a weak alternative to my stovetop solution: hot instant soup, and lots of it.

You can't make me eat additive-, preservative-, msg-laden instant noodles on an ordinary day. But this morning, I'd never opened a pack of instant soup with so much eagerness. I pore over every detail of the empty pack as if it were the front page of the newspaper while I wait for the water to boil. URC-Nissin, it says. May they live forever.

The water boils and I pour in the noodles. Add a packet of oil and dried flavorings. Then I count to 180, too impatient to look at the clock.

Finally I pour the steaming broth into a large bowl. There's so much anticipation as I breathe in the vapors, as though they were a mentholated mist from a humidifier. At that moment you can put me on that billboard for Lucky Me Instant Noodles. There's nothing else in this world except me and my soup. Talk about consumer insight.

The soup is warm and savory, and the noodles equally so - except that they're slippery-wet. Quite a pleasant feel on the mouth. Warm, wet, and slippery. Almost as pleasurable as kissing.

All too soon the pleasure is over; the bowl is empty. I sit back in the armchair and draw in a breath. I can taste beef mami all over my sinuses. The vapors cling to my face - I can even smell them. But again, I don't care. I just breathe in and savor the relief.

That, my friend, is comfort food.

Monday, August 30, 2004

An afternoon with

Evilena. That's what my friend Jayel would call her - a woman who's got men wrapped around her finger. I used to doubt his theory, but then over the weekend I hooked up with my old friend Len, who has one man wrapped around each finger. I feel that the name is a misnomer, because while we would all love to have men wrapped around our fingers, who'd want to be called an Evilena? Well, Jayel and his friend must have been just a wee bit bitter when they came up with their theory.

But that's beside the point. You see, Len's the one who introduced me to Miguel's dad. Like me she's a single mom. We hadn't seen each other in 3 years, so when she dropped by out of the blue to ask for some help, you can imagine we had a lot of catching up to do.

So there we were, two mature women, respective sons in tow, swapping stories about lovelives (and almost-lovelives) over cafe moccha and frappucino at Starbucks. Though Miguel devoured his cinnamon roll in earnest, I could tell that he was listening, so we had to be careful. Observing him, Len said that he looks like me. Everyone in the family says that he looks like me, but I find it more objective coming from her. After all, I can see so much of his dad in him, in a physical sense. I told her about the D word, and Len reminded me that "I still have them," and did I want them?


She was talking about the letters - and flowers - that his dad sent for me and Miguel when I was pregnant. I was touched when I heard that; I had forgotten. I also have a bunch of letters that he sent to the house (and everywhere else besides) while I was away, which I kept. Only because it's physical proof for Miguel that his dad loves him, something that I've never doubted anyway. (Well, raising him is a different matter.) I asked her if she could keep the letters a bit longer. I wasn't ready. And I know where to find them.

Len and I had a lot more to talk about, but having the kids along, it became more of a mother-and-son day for us. Maybe just as well. Instead of recalling our old highjinks, the afternoon found us in the arcade whacking spiders, tossing balls, and watching metal orbs go down chutes. It was Miguel's first time in an arcade, and he enjoyed collecting the tickets that the machines spat out at him. Heck, even I enjoyed that part. When it was time to exchange the tickets for a prize, Len's son gave one of his to Miguel. He's generous, just like his mom.

After an hour or so it was time to go. It was both strange and familiar being in touch with a past that I had abandoned. At one point I joked that my family might be worried that Len and I were together again, Evilena plus her Evilena-in-training. I know that they blame Len for introducing me to Miguel's dad, but let's face it: if it weren't for her I wouldn't have my son.

Any way I look at it, I could never be ambivalent about meeting up with Len. Perhaps one day she will provide the gaps in my history when the time comes for Miguel to "confront" his dad.

Monday, August 23, 2004

The D word

The D word has been popping up in Miguel's vocabulary. To demonstrate:

Mommy: Does mommy love you?
Miguel: Yes.
Mommy: How do you know?
Miguel: My daddy told me.
(Puzzled, I wonder, has he been calling my house? Still, I don't miss a beat.)
Mommy: When did he tell you?
Miguel: When I was a baby.

I don't know if he really believes it, but it's his construct.

Years ago when I was pregnant I obssessed about what to tell Miguel when he asked about his father. My shrink sagely told me, "You'll cross that bridge when you get there." Know what? I'm starting to see that bridge. I have a faint idea of what I haveto do, but while I'm not excited, neither do I intend to shrink back. I only thing I'm sure of is that I have to be honest with my son, and myself.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Smells simply glorious

My son threw up on me last night.

Well, not exactly. He threw up on my hands. I forgot that when a kid has a cough, DO NOT give him a cup of milk just before going to bed. He awoke 30 minutes later with a coughing fit, sat up, and promptly threw up. Luckily most of the stuff ended up in my hands instead of on the pillows.

Little bugger went right back to sleep right after that. And me? Here's the best part of my job description: wipe off puke from bed, take off pillow cases, wipe son's face and hands with soapy facetowel, dry him off, soap and wipe the bedsheet, wash pillowcases, hang out to dry (the pillowcases, not the son), wash yucky facetowel, spray disinfectant on stinky bed. Yadda yadda yadda.

You know the routine. And all the while the little angel is snoring on the bed.

Thing is, I really feel that this is the essence of parenthood. That when your child is sick in the middle of the night, who else should he throw up on but mom? Last night was a mild episode; when he was younger and really sick I'd have him in the rocking chair with me all night and he'd throw up on my chest at 3 am. Smelled simply glorious. All the way to my undies.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not being sarcastic. Well, ironic maybe. It's just that I know of a couple of single parents, and unfortunately - perhaps through no fault of theirs - they never got a chance to raise their kids. In other words they never got the privilege of carrying the smell of their son or daughter's vomitus at 3 o'clock in the morning. Doing so says something of your bond, or so it seems to me.

So if anyone picks up a faintly nauseating scent on me today, don't wrinkle your nose. It's my badge of motherhood, and I carry it with pride.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Puff mommy

I must be nuts.

Just came from the dermatologist, and I kid you not, I look like I can star in a local horror movie - no prosthetics necessary. (Well maybe I'm exaggerating.) My face is puffy from the treatment. First the doctor puts glycolic acid to clean up your skin, then applies a fruit peel to, well, peel it. Now what woman in her right mind would want to put herself through such torture? Me, apparently. Rest assured that this is one post that will not be accompanied by a photo - now that's another sort of torture.

A long time ago I signed up for this same treatment, but didn't finish the entire course because, duh, I had a child to raise. And it really was expensive. Fast forward a few years, and my skin was crying out for a treatment, plus my friend's wedding was coming up. So I signed up again and found myself back in the dermatologist's cubicle. (I could hear the doctor laughing "Sucker!" all the way to the bank. Okay, that was a joke.)

Funny thing is, I feel good about doing it. That I finally did something about my skin even if I have to go through this rough spot. Plus I was able to get credit for the payment I made a long, long time ago. Thorn out of my side.
Really, the things we women put ourselves through.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Omie to the rescue

Last Friday I was toying with the idea of asking Omie to do my make-up, but decided against it since the wedding was going to be so early. But what a sweetheart! She found out and told me to show up at her house anyway. So there I was at 6.30 am, sitting on a bar stool as she made me up. Her hubby just snoozed away on the mattress.

Got a lot of nice comments on the make-up too. When Teeny found who did it, she said, "She did you in the morning? She must be your friend." Yup, yup, and yup. I tell you no amount of pretzels can repay this kind of goodness.

BUT ANYWAY, here's the finished product. Pasensya na kayo 'cause she just used a phone camera. If you want a make-up session you know how to reach me.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

It takes a village to make a woman...


Hot pink cocktail dress by Sandy. Wicked 4-inch stilettoes by Tetchie. Gorgeous dangling earrings by Marge. Luminous pink wrap by Lisa.

Well, maybe I'll doff the wrap. Bare it if you can.

My friend Susan's getting married this Saturday, and as you must know, attending a wedding is a big production number. Preparations started as early as last week, when I had my dress altered - a few inches smaller all around, yahoo! Since then so many people have been giving advice and offering their treasures. Peachy had me try on a beautiful Cynthia Rowley dress, but I am still too thin for it.

My only problem is that the black shoes don't really go with the hot pink dress, but the shoes are just too cool to pass up. Unless I find a pair later, if I have time. Now my only problem is how to fix up my hair since I have such glam earrings. Really, being a woman is such work.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Miguel's storybook

See what ninang and Miguel were up to when I got home. He dictated the story to her, then drew the illustrations. It's not the first such book that he made, and certainly not the last. My favorite is the last frame.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Stage mother

I just love Saturdays; that's our taekwondo day. I started Miguel on classes last month, and he's really taken to it. He's the youngest in a very small class held at his school. Beside the older kids in their taekwondo outfits, he looked like a baby again. He asked me when I would get him a uniform, and I said, "When you really like it." Well, so far he likes it. I felt so rewarded when I saw him do his first 45-degree kick, little fists up, in front of the master. It was even cuter the following week, when he did it with a "hyaah!"

My original intentions in signing him up was to get him socialized and to get him into a sport. He's got so much energy and natural aggression to use up. Correct me if I'm wrong, but we moms tend to think that it's better to tire out our hyperactive kids during the day so that we - did I say we? I meant they - can catch some good zzzzz's in the evening.

It's also our bonding time; Miguel enjoys the time together as much as I do. During his second class he left the taekwondo master to come up to me and say, "You ought to come to school more often." (To which I replied, "Okay.") Sometimes we drop by Aly's place after class so that he can play with his cousins. Last Saturday the kids were out, so we went to the ice cream parlor instead - him, my sis and me.

There are a bunch of stage fathers there too. Last Saturday one of them had to deal with an 8-year-old son who kept sobbing because his stretching partner had stretched his legs too far. Then another boy, aged 7, started putting his thumb, then fingers, then his entire hand into his slobbering mouth. My sis and I kept crying "Ew!" but the kid just kept on doing it. It was really disgusting.
But selfish me, at the back of my head I was thinking, thank God it's not my kid who's acting up this time!

Well, I guess that was a good day.

Friday, July 30, 2004


Had a talk with Gai earlier. It seems that I'm easing into my own "mid-life crisis," and it isn't anything but easy. It's just that I miss him. I've never questioned the decisions I've made regarding men in recent years - breaking up with Miguel's dad, cutting all communication, raising my son without him. And I've said no to men before. But that one just keeps haunting me every now and then.

Deal with it, Sands. (So here I am talking to myself like Gollum on my own blog.)

Sometimes I hate having so many principles. But it's so hard to live without them now. Like when I look at my father, then look at my son and tell myself that I don't want him to grow up with all the compromises my father imposed on me. Or when a younger woman would tell me that I'm an inspiration to her because of my strength. Funny that I used to be so weak before, but that now I'm so strong. It's like I can't help but be strong.
I only hope that I'm not too strong for my own good.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Hmmm.  Should I go to badminton today?  Since time immemorial my officemates have been pestering me to join them because of all the cute, eligible guys playing there.  But today, today, they want me to go because rich, intelligent, funny, wise-cracking, thirtysomething widower is going to be playing too.  Really now. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Miguel's twin brother


This is Miguel with his twin.  We call him "Carlos."  He was born the week that his senior nursery class studied the different parts of the body.  His teacher Mitch traced out his outline with a crayon as he lay on a piece of manila paper.  (Kinda like the one that you see at a crime scene on TV, yeh.)  Then she sent the outline to mom, with instructions to mount it on a piece of cardboard or styrofoam, cut it out, then dress it up.  'Course she gave me just 2 days' notice to do it, but anyway it was nice to see the school decorated with all these carbon copies of the kids.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Book fetish

The other night I was reading book 3 of "The Chronicles of Narnia" to Miguel while he played on the bed.  After finishing a chapter, I closed the book and discovered that the back cover was partly torn.  "Did you do this?" I asked.  "Yes," he said, and continued to play.  He wasn't the least bit remorseful and I was upset; after all it was MY book.  So I made a big deal as I got the tape and repaired the cover.  I  told him that I was mad, and went on and on and on.  His dramatic reply:  "The problem is , (emphatic pause), you don't take the time to teach me."  To which I countered, "Oh, so now it's my fault?"
Okay, okay.  So being a good, sensitive mother I didn't pounce at that remark.  I had him sit on my lap and ask what it is that I'm not teaching him.  So he elaborated:  "The problem  is, you don't take the time to teach me what is right and what is wrong."  Patay kang bata ka, I thought, someday you might regret having said that. 
But I had to stay in the moment, realizing how much attention he craves from me.  So we had a simple heart-to-heart talk.  Miguel hugged me while I leaned back on the pillow and told him all the good things about him that I liked, what we had to work on, how glad I was that God gave him to me.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  He just hugged me and after a while he became silent and fell asleep in my arms.
So I was savoring the moment and thinking, what a nice way to fall asleep, realizing that I don't remember ever falling asleep in my mom's arms like that.  Well, let's give my mom the benefit of the doubt; maybe she did have those sort of moments with me after all.  Miguel might not remember this as well.  But I'm hoping that the feeling will last a lot longer than the memory.

Monday, July 19, 2004


"You look harrassed."
Now how many times have I heard that?  I was squatting on the floor of the clubhouse trying to keep a squirming 4-year-old in my arms.  The place was awash with grass skirts and hawaiian shirts in keeping with the Lilo & Stitch theme; coconut-tree balloon sculptures adorned every table; music blared as the emcee enticed the kids to join yet another game.  You got a personalized bracelet just for showing up, and they were giving out hula hoops at the entrance.  It was children's party paradise, and my son wanted to go home.  And to think that we just got here.  Yipee.
Our host David showed a bit of concern and checked up on me.  He and Shanie have always been very gracious, even though I'm an acquaintance and it's my sis they're really close to.  There were a few familiar faces from college, but I wasn't in much of a sociable mood with Miguel in my lap screaming "I want to go to home now!"  Could someone just put a big neon sign above me with the words "SINGLE MOM" and label me dysfunctional?  Forget about looking good, feeling glam, and trying to project as if you've got it all together.  On this particular Sunday in this particular place, I DIDN'T.
Sometimes when you've given all you've got and the results are so wanting, you just wanna stick a pillow to your face and scream.  (That too, I got from Lilo & Stitch.)  That's the grand finale of the week for me.  The end.  Fin.  Whoever invented the weekend ought to invent another one for parents.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I am an evil tiger

A few days ago Miguel woke up and greeted me with a very sweet "Mom---my!" Yesterday his opening line was, "What time will you be home (tonight)?" The other day he got up on the wrong side of the bed, fussing "I don't want to go to school!" Most of the time he just says "Good morning" or "I love you." And almost always he gives me a hug and a kiss, over and over again. My daily dose, I call it.
But this morning, he told me that I was an evil tiger.

No, I haven't grown stripes or fangs. He was still asleep when I went down for breakfast, and by the time I went back to the room he was up and about, and had converted our bed into a "castle," complete with courtyard and -
get this - a "weapons shop." A blanket formed a canopy over some precariously balanced pillows, creating the main hall where he was holding court. I approached him for my daily dose, but he proceeded to demolish the castle - full of boyish exuberance - declaring that the "evil tiger" (that's me) was destroying it.

No amount of cajoling could make him give me a hug. Not even when I said that a kiss would turn me into a singing bird. And therein lies my frustration. I needed something so that I could get into the car and brave the Makati traffic and spend another useless day in an office where nothing of interest is going on. I was going to be late - heck, I already was late. I needed a hug - a tight one with two arms that lasted more than 5 seconds, one that preferably came with an "I love you mommy!"

Instead the "soccer-playing king in outer space with a mustache" was going full tilt into his Camelot routine, and I was the evil tiger. Sigh. I managed to squeeze the little rascal, and even managed to get an "I love you" out of him, but I definitely did NOT get my fix for the day. Well, at least he was one happy camper, hard at play. And it really was time that I left for work. So off I went. But I just have to tell you, nothing beats being there the moment your child wakes up.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Boy on two wheels

Miguel has a new bike. It all started when my sister called me on Thursday, saying that I "have to get Miguel out of the house more often." My little Oedipus still hates school - we're on our fourth week now - and every morning my sis has to calm him down and explain why he has to go to school, BEFORE she can actually drive him there. "And could you please talk to your mom," she asked, who refuses to allow him to the park without a family member. And since I go to work five days a week that's, well, never.

Our P3,000.00 solution? Buy him a bike. I was so excited at the prospect of graduating him from his tricycle (long overdue I know) that on Friday I played hooky and scouted around the mall for a "proper" bike. That evening when I announced to Miguel that we were going to buy a bike the following day, he already knew about it. In fact, he already had a schedule for the following day:
          1. wake up 
          2. open gate (of the stairs)
          3. go downstairs
          4. eat breakfast
          5. brush teeth
          6. go to store 
          7. buy bike
How I wish that life was so simple.

Buying your kid his first bike is one of those precious moments you don't want to miss. Although I had narrowed down the choices, I pre-sold a particular bike to him on the way to the store: an orange one with front and rear brakes, softer brake handles, shocks, and mudguards. When he saw it, it was love at first sight. To him it seemed to take forever for the salesman to adjust the training wheels and change the seat, but once those were fixed he could have pedaled all over that toy store. I hadn't planned on buying the most expensive bike for that size - although my sis was shouldering part of the cost - but I just got carried away when I saw how nice it was and imagined how excited he would be. I was totally right.

Sunday afternoon I was in bed trying to take a nap while Miguel was biking in the terrace below. My brother chanced on him and I heard him exclaim with pleasure and surprise that Miguel was riding such a big, nice bike. My son proudly showed off the bike, told my bro about the trip to the toy store, and even recounted his first taekwondo class (another story) - prompted of course by the nanny. My bro reacted with even more pleasure and surprise. Maybe we try to please our kids, maybe we try to please ourselves, and maybe we try to please others. All I can say is, on that sleepy Sunday afternoon, I felt darn good.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

It's a voyeur's world

So why blog? It's like a virus slowly creeping across the office. Only recently have I discovered blogs, and to my surprise some of them are quite good. But like I told Alice, these blogs have made us a bunch of voyeurs, feeding curiously on the private lives of the people we know. Yet deep inside we feel that we too deserve attention from others, that we deserve to be indulged. Perhaps there's something to be said of a healthy self-esteem. That here I am presenting my "face" and I'm not ashamed of it. Hubris. And while it bothers me to some degree that anyone can just get into my head through this blog, I have to admit that I feel that there's a lot going on in there, and that some of that stuff might deserve a venue for expression.

Then of course there's this sort of unspoken contract between bloggers. That "you read my blog, and I'll read yours." Or perhaps I just don't want to be a voyeur anymore. So I'd like to thank all the bloggers for sharing their thoughts; some of them are quite wonderful. Here are mine in return. Blog on.