Oct 31, 2010

Blueberry Girl

Neil Gaiman just made me have a moment. Here's why...

If I had his wonderful way with words I would have written the exact same poem for my own blueberry girl. With a cute nod to classic fairy tales, "keep her from spindles and sleeps at 16, let her stay waking and wise," and a hope, "nightmares at 3 or bad husbands at 30, these will not trouble her eyes.

Gaiman wrote this for his friend Tori Amos when she was about to have her baby girl. It then became a book meant to celebrate mothers and daughters. Although in essence, I think it applies to blueberry boys too. Her could very well be Him.

Dull days at forty, 
false friends at fifteen--
let her have brave days and truth.

Let her go places that we've never been,
trust and delight in her youth.

Help her to help herself,
help her to stand,
help her to lose and to find.

Teach her we're only as 
big as our dreams.

Show her that fortune is blind.


Wishing the same for all the blueberry girls and boys I know,

Oct 28, 2010

Mother Sucker

After the crazy-busy month we all had, we all welcomed our time away to celebrate GrandadDoc's 81st birthday. I especially welcomed my early morning peace and quiet. The Mak-Tatos would just be getting up, MacDaddy either asleep or engrossed with his new toy and me all set for a good old-fashioned run. (One of the perks of taking Yaya K along on the trip!) I loved that hour. Just me and my thoughts, my lunars and my Ipod right before getting together with the whole kaboodle for trips to the zoo, the aquarium, picnics, restaurant-hopping and long, long walks.

The boys were totally digging the new home away from home. Happy and settled, yes. But. (There's always a but isn't there?) But... you can take the Pinoy out of the 'Pinas but you cannot take the 'Pinas out of the Pinoy. They were craving for our very own sinandomeng rice (sorry, calrose. nice try but no cigar), chicken adobo (world-famous Hawaiian barbecue not quite it) or any "sabaw" to drizzle all over their rice. Mac and cheese, nuggets, and fries just not fitting the bill.

On one of those morning runs, with two kilometers to go and just as I was feeling oh so cool with music courtesy of Editors blasting, I saw the boys' nirvana and the sudden demise of my Me-time. A Filipino canteen! Freshly cooked pinakbet, adobo, lechon kawali, tinola and bangus belly. Plus pancit and halo halo and bibingka (and boy bawang!) for snack time. Looking through the glass making sure it wasn't a mirage I thought should I or shouldn't I? I did. Of course.

So there I was: plastic container of a bowlful of freshly cooked chicken tinola soup on one hand, daing na bangus belly slices on the other, cool factor certainly down a couple of notches, half-jogging, half-walking, half-amused and half-hoping I wouldn't spill the soup all over.

And when I walked into the hotel room and Mak kissed the milkfish before planting one on me, I knew it was well, well worth it.

Mothers. Suckers.

Oct 22, 2010

Keeping Abreast

Can you believe it's been a year already? Time for me to nag again. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month after all. Get informed. Get squeezed. ( Psst...if you're over forty, I'm talking to you...go get a mammogram. If you aren't, a breast self- exam will suffice. And don't say you don't have the time. Both take mere minutes.) This can save your life. Trust me.

After getting prodded and squeezed you may want to hop over to Rockwell Power Plant Mall to check out my foundation's booth. We'll be there on October 22-24 and October 29-31. You'll find us on P1 Level right across Rustan's supermarket and Bread Talk. It will be hard to miss all that pink. There are a ton of awareness bands, bags, cards and shirts for sale. All our proceeds help cancer patients on treatment.

See you there!

Oct 17, 2010


Aloha! We're back! I promise photos and kwento as soon as we settle in. In the meantime here are shots of us in between lazy strolls and sunsets.

This is us hanging loose. Literally.

You know there is real r&r involved when even The Very Busy Pediatrician finds the time to master the wonderful art of Tap Tap Ants on an Ipad.

Now that IS hanging loose. Seriously.

Oct 14, 2010

Pomplamoose Covers Telephone

This song is dedicated to my Lady Gaga singing kids. Si yaya kasi eh.  Good thing Pomplamoose makes it easier to sing along to Telephone. They even give the best matching nerdy dance moves.

This version has been kid-approved. Yay! Chicha and I have always loved Pomplamoose. I even used their version of Favorite Things for her 4th birthday video.

Stop calling, stop calling...

Oct 10, 2010


Our little girl is so excited about Halloween, she beat me to decorating the house.

Actually, I have no plans of decorating anymore. I have left it all up to Chicha. No prodding from me needed, art direction all hers. I just come home one day and I see witches, "flying ghosts" and pumpkins...


and ghoulish faces!

Her Halloween art projects are all over. My house used to be minimally decorated pre-children. Those were the days. Ironies of ironies, why will Chichapam not heed this reminder she posted herself?

I think it's because she believes she spruces up the house better than me. Oh well. One day, I have a feeling, she will truly out-diva me in the design department.

Oct 7, 2010

Oh, Mother

In some circles, talking about motherhood is considered lame. Mommy talk is twee, boring, kind of stupid, or whatever. A friend told me this at a recent party. I'll bear with your company, but please no talk of your kids. Not in those exact words, but that's the sentiment. So, that friend and I only talked about her fabulous single life. When someone asked her, You don't read their mommy blog? referring to this shared cyberspace with Nana, she shook her head no, her face expressing: I'd rather eat shit. Okay. I will not begrudge a friend her opinion. Besides, I don't expect everyone to read this blog or even like it.

Now it did make me think. I do really just love being a mother and talking about it. I'm a sucker for anyone's cute-kid-anecdotes. I am corny like that.

I still talk sex, drugs, politics and rock and roll. Oh, and religion. Pretty things. Books too. I don't see Atlas Shrugged as a "hateful novel" and I think some people should just calm down about it. Gore Vidal I'm talking to you. I'm into pop culture. I love Mad Men so much I can discuss it to the point where I imagine my husband wonders, Are we in anthropology class? I would be interested in telling you why Martin Scorsese's films are not misogynist. I have opinions on fashion, make-up and skin care. I suspect Kris Aquino is a textbook case narcissist, let's talk about that. I love to talk about a lot more other stuff--what's going on in my friends' lives, where's it good to eat, trips to exotic places, single-life adventures, married-life misadventures, so on and so forth.

But yes, guilty as hell, I especially love talking about my kids' antics and little achievements. I like posting photos of them on Facebook. Look, my little girl loves to play dress-up! My little boy asked me, Mama why is the sky so big? OMG, that is so existential! I had a  discussion about this with a friend, one who was interested, thankfully I didn't bore her. Although, we do have a shared fondness for parenting talk which in some circles would also make her Lame.

But then...

Growing human beings are just so fascinating. From a scientific point of view alone they are fascinating. The psychology of it all. How young minds develop. How character is formed. How parent-child relationships are so complex. Siblings and peers. Family dynamics. School settings. Media literacy and cultural influences for children in the 21st Century. The list goes on and on. Kids in general just blow my mind.

My kids in particular, they make my heart explode. They are the sweetest, funniest people I know. They are a moveable feast. No matter how much we stick to our daily routine, no day comes without surprises--some not-so-good, but most days pretty-darn-great. These days, I get to sing and dance like a lunatic at home, just like I used to do when I was young, with only Madonna or The Cure for company. This time I'm singing and dancing to Despicable Me, Mark Ronson or Vampire Weekend in the company of the two coolest people in the world. Who else? My babies.

What I'm saying is, my kids are so fucking significant to me. So significant I had to use an expletive. They are significant in so many levels I don't know where to begin.

My children have humbled me. They have healed parts of me I thought would never heal. It's like they came with a big bonus pack of Realizations. They have made me learn how to forgive people I thought I would never forgive. I have found a wellspring of patience in me I thought never I had. They have vomited on me, kept me up at night, made me clean poo and pee with gusto, wipe their asses, hold their snot and phlegm without wincing. Sometimes, they get in the way of sex and romance... and yet, their dad and I are utterly in love with them, no longer just each other. They have made us worry like we have never worried before... and yet, they have made us more hopeful than we have ever been.

For many years pre-motherhood, I had a demanding job in news and television. I constantly had to get to the bottom of this-and-that,  research like a madwoman, run after people, talk to them, psychologize and empathize, face impending doom on a daily basis, grin and bear it, from time-to-time function on three hours sleep and then attempt be strategic and creative all at the same time. Motherhood is a lot like that old job--minus the toxic office politics and add much more fun. Mama-work also pays much better than money or bragging rights. While I am grateful for the work I still get to do these days, I am infinitely more grateful for being a mom. Sure it's a cliche, but only because it's true for most of us mothers. And we are everywhere.

I know my experiences as a woman or mother are not totally universal. I will bet, universally, us mothers love talking about our kids--how life-changing they are, how exasperating they can be, how they are love-and-joy rolled into adorable chocolate-smeared faces. We do love being moms and telling the world how it feels. Some people wish we'd shut up about it already, but can we really help ourselves? Hardly. I think that's fine. Let it out mamas!

P.S. Michelle Cunningham my gifted photographer friend captured those mama and papa moments shown above. Thanks Love Love! She can take your pictures too if you'd like.

Oct 4, 2010

In the News

The news according to our five-year olds.

Ninong Carlos is in jail because he shouted.
Mak: Ya. He shouted so loud. He's locked and trapped.
Tato: But he's free at last.

Just the facts. No judgement. Gotta love kids and the lessons they teach us.

Oct 3, 2010

MakTato 5.0

And... they're five. Just like that.

Where oh where did the time go? Yes, yes, cliche, cliche. But seriously I want to know. Where did the time go?