Friday, September 9, 2016

Busy November (Imported Blog 4 ca. 2004)

November was filled with long weekends. First, there was All Saints' Day which fell on a Monday. Next was the end of Ramadan, on the 15th, another Monday. Finally, GMA decided to move the public holiday commemorating Andres Bonifacio to the 29th instead of his birthday on November 30. Three long weekends.

As it turned out, they were all busy weekends in what became a busy November for us.

We observed All Saints' Day in Cavite. (We arrived in Cavite 2 nights before November 1, in time for Ian's 7th birthday celebration held on October 31.) After 5 years in Pampanga therefore it was a chance to visit my grandparents' tombs again, meet family and see old friends. Daddy, I felt, was specially glad that we went home for this year's undas. It was also Gabriel's first time at the cemetery, and fortunately there were no questions on death and mortality. (Miguel has accompanied us before to the Magalang memorial park). With all their cousins to play with on the grounds, the kids couldn't really care more for the reason we were there. At their age, kahit anong pasyal is a welcome treat.

For the Ramadan weekend, we went to Cavite again to say goodbye to Ate and Joe. After coming home in time for Daddy's birthday October 19, they went back to the States November 15. Also, Teensy celebrated her golden birthday Nov 14. We certainly are getting along in our years, though even if I say so myself, wala pa namang mukhang matanda, and this in spite of the propensity for white hair. 'Di ba mga kapatid? 

On the 17th, Miguel celebrated his 4th birthday at school. The first time a classmate did this, Miguel had asked magbe-birthday din ako sa school? And so he did. I arranged my schedule at work so that I can take time off for the party. As parties go, it wasn't much, what with 12 nursery-age kids. But Miguel had a wonderful time specially with all the presents he got. As for Gabriel, whom we brought along, he was in the middle of it all until the kids started to demolish the birthday cake which had dinosaurs on it. Seryoso siya, and he got upset that they were taking off the figures and poking their fingers on the frosting.

The weekend after, the Nacpils celebrated Kiel and Karla's improved performance in school with a trip to the mall. We also let Miguel spend his birthday money from both lolos to buy a toy of his choice. He got light sabers (one for Gabriel), and a Masked Rider action figure (also one for Gabriel).

By the time we were anticipating my birthday on the 29th, we were quite tired from all the comings and goings that we planned a kind of quiet birthday get-away. Sabi nga ni Nai kay Ma, magtatago daw kami sa birthday ko.

So Sunday, the 28th, we up and packed for a trip to Subic. No specific destination, no real plans. Just go to the beach and take it from there. Nai did one better, and chose to stay at White Rock overnight. Being off-season, we had the beach to ourselves, and the kids really had fun swimming in the sea. On the 29th, Nai managed to pull another card from her sleeve, and I had a birthday cake, to the delight of the kids. Before heading home, we went up to the Special Economic Zone, and fortunately got to view monkeys by the road. As for the fruit bats at the Bat Kingdom, they have moved away from their previous perches where they were subject to disturbances from the constant parade of tourists, and are now farther from sight.

On the way back, we were further blessed by clear weather. And in spite of the storm battering Manila and parts of Luzon, it only rained after we got home. Praise God.

Jimmy Jokes (Imported Blog 3)

Jimmy Jokes

Whenever a bad joke is offered at work, everyone cries "Jimmy joke". I resent that of course. The implication that all I ever serve up lack humor is completely false. Come to think of it, probably it's just that nobody ever appreciates puns, of which I am terribly fond of. Yep, punny I am. Puny I certainly am not. Whatever, I always enjoy a good laugh and here are some lighthearted moments with my kids.

On our summer trek to Baguio, we were having a difficult time explaining to our kids the vandalism done on the large bust of Marcos along the hi-way, until television came to the rescue. We offered that people were mad with Marcos but that only prompted a "why?" from my son. I finally satisfied their curiosity by using a common "Barney" topic: People were mad because Marcos didn't like to take turns.

My wife and I were surprised to hear 3-year-old Miguel using the word "sexy" during play with his younger brother. Because Miguel had once called his mom sexy after she has taken a bath, my wife became curious and asked Miguel what he meant. To our great amusement, he referred to an action figure his brother has taken the clothes off from. 

I was surprised to overhear Miguel and Gabriel using the word sexy again while they were playing in their room. Curious, I came in and asked them who was sexy. Pointing to the Justice League packaging of a Batmancostume we had bought for a party. Gabriel said it was Wonder Womanwho was sexy. Deciding to probe their understanding of the word, I asked: How about Hawk Girl? Sexy, both boys shouted. How about Batman? Again they answered: sexy. Hmmm. How about mommy? Macho! Miguel shouted, mischief gleaming in his eyes.
One of the things Nai likes to do when cuddling with the kids at bed time is to ask them what I would call her kulit questions. Once she asked Miguel whether he missed his dad while I was away on work. Miguel answered, yes he did. Nai then asked, how about mommy, do you miss mommy. Miguel said no. Taken aback, his mom then asked again with a hurt tone in her voice, you don't miss mommy? So Miguel conceded and said, Miss din,but qualified konti lang. 

Miguel Before School (Imported Blog 2 ca. 2004)

Miguel before school

One of the school requirements for registration was the completion of a questionnaire that asked us to describe our child, a task my wife let me accomplish. When I gave my answers to my wife for editing, she became teary-eyed saying that her son was fast growing up. That's how Nai is. Mababaw ang luha, pero may sapat na dahilan naman. I have posted this here because it captures Miguel right before he started school.

What does your child like doing? What are his interests? 
Miguel, as we call him, enjoys play as any child would. He has no specific favorite game and would request different playtime activities from one day to the next. Some of the things he enjoys for play are ball games; digging up soil, sand and stones; activities involving water like bubble baths, swimming, blowing bubbles, watering plants, and water guns. Although we discourage toy guns (with water guns as exception), he would make one of his own from Lego and Duplo bricks and pretend play at shooting. Miguel may be a budding nature lover. He is interested in insects/bugs particularly beetles and butterflies. At 1 year old he was collecting stones. He is also keen on frogs and earthworms and loves dinosaurs. On the fictional side, he is into robots (Iron Giant, Transformers and Zoids) and animation. Favorite characters include Dexter, Peter Pan, Superman, the Justice League and those from the Pixar/Walt Disney films especially Buzz from Toy Story and Mike and Sulley from Monster Inc. We do not subscribe to the Cartoon Network on cable and the cartoons he views are those that we provide through video. He grew up mostly on Barney and Blue’s Clues and liked Elmo for a time. At night, he would sometimes request to have a book read to him. Favorites include Dr. Seuss and book versions of Walt Disney animated classics.

What can your child do best? What are his strong points? 
Miguel is a happy child, and takes little to amuse him. He can share in on a joke and his screams of laughter are infectious. Medyo mababaw ang kaligayahan. We are often amazed at the things Miguel remembers although of course these are always centered on him. But we believe that he may have an exceptional memory. He is usually well-behaved. He can already sing some nursery rhymes, and we find that it is easy to teach him simple songs. He is a loving child and is solicitous to his younger brother (2-year gap).

What are your child’s weaknesses? 
Lately we have noticed Miguel becoming initially shy around strangers (we know this to be natural) but also around relatives. With family, it takes some time, but when he becomes more comfortable, he is enjoyable company. He seldom throws tantrums now, but used to really test our patience before. Miguel is also a fussy eater with a fondness for sweets.

Is there anything you feel your child’s teacher must know? 
Miguel is toilet trained urinating, but up to now asks for a disposable diaper when defecating. We don’t force the issue and believe that he will do so when ready; nonetheless we have offered incentives via money “saved from diapers will buy toys” he wants instead. He knows this but still uses diapers. We know how children take everything that teacher says seriously so maybe this is one area that his teacher may really help. 

Dear Miguel (Imported Blog 1 ca. 2001)

Nobody told me that fatherhood will be such a thrill. As a single person, one rarely projects himself as a parent, so what a pleasant surprise fatherhood has been. And continues to be. I hope that I never outgrow this mindset. What follows is a letter addressed to my firstborn. This was written on his birthday scrapbook one night while waiting for a late visitor. The guest never did come, but the time spent musing on the first year of my son was worth it. My wife has been asking for a similar letter to my secondborn, and before I get accused of favoring one over the other, I should get around to doing it soon. He is two now, after all.

Dear Miguel,

When mommy and I were planning for your first birthday celebration, we said we will have just a small celebration; but we were so thankful for the blessing of your first year with us, mommy specially, that our plans grew and grew and your birthday in a way became “engrande”, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything less.

Mommy particularly wanted to start the celebration with thanksgiving mass and Fr. Cris (who officiated our wedding) remarked at the power of one child (you) who could gather all those present even though you were just a baby. Of course that could only be possible with our families and friends who support us and love you. All your aunts and uncles and cousins from Cavite were there except Auntie Caca who was in Bangkok, and Auntie Chuchi and Uncle Boy whose dad was sick in the hospital. On the Nacpil side, your ninong Ritche was absent because he was in the States, and Tito Doy and Tita Ann were in Hawaii. Your Ninong katukayo, Atty. Vasquez was on time. Your ninong Demo was also there with his whole family along with Lola Angus, and of course your special ninong Gani came.

"Among" said in his homily that it was unusual that a birthday party start with mass, and that sometimes we forget how lucky and blessed we are with the families that we have. Maybe he was saying how lucky you are to be born to your mom and dad, but really I believe it is the other way around. That it is us who have been blessed to have you as our son. Everyday I pray that I prove worthy for being chosen as your father and ask for the grace to bring you up as a true child of God. As a weeks-old newborn, do you know, you kept looking at the crucifix in mom’s bedroom and would smile and seem to be carrying a conversation with Jesus? The crucified Christ and later on, the Sacred Heart, were the first figures you recognized. We’d ask you “Where’s Jesus?” and you would always look in the right direction. You also had a habit of stretching your arms out wide while lying down; with your intent gaze and white baby clothes we were saying "magpapari ka yata" (at bagay). In mass, I had to take you out only twice during your first year, and we always brought you each weekend we went. You were such a friendly baby that we can always tell when those seated behind us at church were playing with you. After mass, the Riveras and your ninang Marian would always carry and pass you from one to another until it was time to go. Lagi tuloy tayong huling umuuwi. You are a real blessing not just to us your parents but to many people as well.

Your first year you were sick only twice (once sabay tayo, to the great worry of mom of course), you had diarrhea only once, indigestion once, gas/colic once, no real terrible colds, and you fell from the bed only once. See! Your only real problem was your allergy to milk but we finally caught that at three months, and your only all-night crying bout was at the hospital when your inexperienced mom and dad had you roomed-in Saturday night (you were born Friday morning and was given to us by that afternoon).

Talagang blessing ka sa amin anak. Your Tita Beng and Tito Ronald are specially fond of you, as is your Lola Ma who calls you "Casoy", short for CaviteƱong tisoy. Our visits to your lolo and lola at Cavite are always welcome occasions. Lolo calls you "Megi" and that has become a running joke specially with your Auntie Chuchi. Lolo Toto can always rock you to sleep with his very original lullaby and his special dance when carrying you. When in Cavite, your sleep patterns would always be changed because your cousins from Uncle Chito and Auntie Brenda would always stay with you in our room in Binakayan. Love na love ka rin ni Trisha who once asked her mommy to buy you a special toy that she herself picked para “give natin kay Miguel”.

From the day you were born, you have been a real blessing. Do you know that Lola Hope came all the way from Cavite to help mommy take care of you for the first few days? When we spent Christmas at Cavite, Lola Hope’s special role was to give you your bath as mommy recovered. How you loved your baths. This first birthday of yours, you had your first dip in a pool. Tito Jay held you; then later I did. How you cried when taken out of the water. Mommy said that later that night, you would move your hands as if splashing water, while you slept!

You are truly special Miguel, and I will always pray for your good health both in mind, body and in spirit. May God always be your guiding light and may you one day prove to be salt to the earth, light to the world. I love you. Mommy loves you. Jesus loves you.