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.