Thursday, August 13, 2009

Poopoo Pie

Boots is 21 months old tomorrow. He's at that stage where everything he does and says is cute. I was telling Ches, I'd have babies every year if they came out the way Boots is now – walking and blabbering, eating anything you offer him, capable of following simple orders like dance and hug and kiss. If only they could bypass the newborn stage altogether, when they're so fragile and colicky and semi-permanently latched on to my breasts. (Altho newborns also have all these special charms ... )

We used to call Boots the one-trick wonder bcoz all he knew how to do till his first birthday or so was to clap his hands. Hahaha. I guess, if I were in the same position as him, if I too had a yummy face, I'd also just let my looks do the work and not even bother with stupid tricks.

And then he learned to talk and Yoshi had fun teaching him jokes. Yoshi taught him, for example, to say 'bukas' if you ask him to say 'open', and 'bukas' again if you ask him to say 'tomorrow'. It's all correct Filipino translation, alright, but what's disconcerting was the joy Yoshi derived out of teaching his little brother to be naughty early on, and Bootsie's all too eager willingness to follow kuya's lead instead of his parents'. (I am hoping this is not in any way a portent of things to come.)

Boots also likes to say 'bele' when he wants to buy something to eat. So then Yosh taught him to say 'bele button' and when he says it we don't really know whether he's talking about his belly button or wants some food.

Oh but Boots is also funny on his own and does not need kuya's help at all. He likes putting his own twist to words - 'Cory' is 'Corywow' and 'sarap' is 'sarapapin' (don't ask me why). He calls Spongebob 'Bopbop', Garci 'Gaki', Tito Randy 'Tutu Dandi', and his beloved blue Hello Kitty pillow will I think forever be 'Tiki'. More often he's not even trying to be funny – you can see his genuine effort to mimic how we pronounce words, but they come out sounding hysterical anyway. 'Alcohol' is 'alcololol', chocolate is 'cocolelet', 'chicharon' is 'chacharon', 'cashew' is 'kaku', 'pajama' is 'jamama', 'vitamins' is 'tamimins'.

For some reason, 'SM' and 'airplane' come out the same - 'emen', which sounds more like 'amen'. Boots also loves to sing 'Heyjaybugbugka', his abbreviated version of 'Hey, Jay, nabugbog ka na naman daw kahapon...' (Yes, he is also an Eraserkid. He also sings Shirley and Ligaya.) Oh but he has no problems at all pronouncing 'Coke Zero', as well as shouting 'Surprise!', 'Saturday!' and 'Darna!'. (Groan. My kids are so jologs. I remember when Yosh was maybe 3 years old and I brought him to my former office in Balara, and he was barging into everything including the President's room. His assistant who was my friend blocked him and told him Sir Tony was inside. Yoshi asked, “Si Toni Gonzaga?” Aaargh! There I was spending my meager salary on Theme suits and Nine West bags, and just like that Yoshi quashes whatever air of elegance I try to project in the office, and exposes our family for how jologs it really is. Groan.)

Kids also have their own funny way of naming things. Yoshi used to call his milk 'notnot' – we'll never know where he came up with that. Boots on the other hand uses entirely different names to call things – a certain blue curtain rod is 'Nash' (the name of the baby next door), while Yoshi's Superman basketball ring is 'idea'. Crazy boys.

Boots is also now capable of stringing two words together. He likes to say 'drink water', 'ride bike', 'ugly thumb' (his right thumb that has gone all deformed from his perennial sucking), 'ligo tub' (his favorite part of the day is a good, warm bath in the tub) and 'attic flowers' (referring to the flowers on the attic floor that he's petrified of for some reason but which he can't resist climbing up to). Last Saturday he woke up babbling something that sounded a lot like 'avid curse' and no one in the household could figure out what he meant. When a misundertanding like this happens he gets all frustrated and cries and hits his tummy over and over. (Yosh also went thru this masochistic stage.) It took the following Monday when Yosh was picked up by his school bus for kuya to figure out that Boots actually meant 'happy girls', referring to the three little girls in kuya's school bus who are always giggling and hiding behind the seats when kuya gets on board. But then a few days after Yoshi changed his mind and decided 'avid curse' was actually the Icebreakers mints in Daddy's car. And when he made that connection, Ches and I finally saw the light and had to agree. Avid curse-Icebreakers mystery solved.

By far the funniest word to come out of Bootsie's mouth is 'poopoo pie', which is how he pronounces 'buko pie'. He likes it so much he uses the same word when he sees pizza pie, pineapple pie, pecan walnut pie, banoffee pie – any other pie, everything is poopoo pie for Bootsie. Oh naturally Yoshi l-o-v-e-s the word poopoo pie, the way all little naughty boys love anything that connotes gross, icky and eeooww.

One of Bootsie's first words was 'i nee' which was how he said 'ice cream', his absolute favorite food. Sometimes he went around the whole day urgently chanting 'i nee! i nee!' you'd think all the ice cream shops were closing down and it was the absolute last day in the whole world to eat ice cream. But then one day a couple of weeks back he suddenly said 'i cream' which sounded a lot like 'ice cream' already and no longer the 'i nee' we had grown to love. And I felt sad bcoz it signaled the end of our 'i nee' days. It meant that Boots has grown up again a teeny bit and he'll never go back to being that baby who chanted 'i nee', which is now buried in the family dictionary along with Yoshi's 'notnot', 'insidemada' and 'pomorrow'. The heartbeaking thing about your kids is, once they outgrow a certain phase, somehow they don't ever go back to it anymore. Sigh.

So for now we're just savoring Bootsie's poopoo pie while it's still around.

Friday, August 07, 2009

We'd like to thank the Academy ...

Our little house project would never have seen the light of day if not for the following people:

Phoebe – who got me started on the idea when we met up during Christmas break (I've been wishing for a nice house for a long time, but it was Phoebe who convinced me it could be done), and who spent the first few weekends of the year measuring up our lot area and floor area and ceiling height and all that stuff, drafting a plan for the second floor and attic, giving us referrals of her architect friends and countless tips on choosing the right contractor. Not to mention doing all of these for free. She was just happy that I would finally get the clothesline and window seat that have been on my wish list since high school.

Babette – who led us to ...

Melody and his all-in-the-family construction extravaganza that includes our beloved engineer Buddy, architect Philip, wood cutter Tom and master painter Alex. They were consistently fair and honest, accommodated our capricious demands be they ever so last-minute, understood when our bank loans were slow in coming in, fed Garci whom we were prohibited from bringing to our rented house, and altogether did not let us down (which would have been entirely heartbreaking considering how we have spent on this project all our life savings not to mention a lot of moolah we have to be paying up only till the next millennium or so).

Ate Gina and Jon - who also set us up with their trusted contractors bcoz we wanted to have some semblance of a fair and transparent bidding process to get the best deal for the project.

Cecil - who graciously lent me several Country Sampler and Country Living and Beautiful Homes mags which I pore over to this day. My room in the office used to be a meeting room for her department, and she left behind some of her Country Sampler mags which I read in my first few days in SM. I took them as a sign that I finally needed to stop spending all my money on clothes and stuff and start building the stairs that Yoshi has been bugging us about for several years now.

Manong Elpy – who gave us our lovely pine cabinets and chairs and tables. He's a perennially drunk old man who pissed our contractors off on a regular basis, and we'd never have dealt with him if he didn't do such magic with pine wood.

Papa – who got me started on pine in the first place and found me an upholsterer for the couch and mirror for the brick wall and even bought pebbles and bonsai palm thingies for the lanai (which I accepted gratefully but of course I just had to explain to him that I am against bonsais as a matter of principle, bcoz I think it's heartless to deprive them of sunlight and water and deliberately stunt their growth just so you can have some midget-looking mutant plant in your house when it can be flourishing as a full-grown tree in a forest somewhere).

Mama – who loves the attic and has asked to move there, and gave me this intricate lace fabric with pastel flowers that she says I can use as curtains (one of those fine things she never uses and hides somewhere and once I see I covet). She's even going to make curtains for the whole house in this beige shade that Randy calls the mark of a true designer.

Randy – who not only thought of our brick wall, the grooves in our bedroom closet, the faux stages for my Barbie dolls, and all these other little touches; but who also consistently went beyond his job description and braved storms to present his color schemes and stuff in my office, help me choose fabric for the couch and curtains, fix up my 60 million trinkets, and put his snotty designer's flair to every little nook in the house; brought chocolates for Alex and the guys; replied to my texts at all unholy hours; shared in my joy whenever I succeeded in subverting Ches' or Philip's plans to put up ugly, manly metallic thingies in the house; and even managed in the process to give me a Maya Angelou and treat the boys out to twister fries and Ice Age Happy Meals.

Thank you, thank you, all. Our doors are always open for you =)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

End of an Era

It was Kai who broke the news to me with an early morning text last Saturday, that former President Cory Aquino had died at dawn. It took a while before the impact of her demise sank in, and when it did, it was staggering.

Here was the widow who lost her husband to the country and the causes he chose to fight for, the housewife who stepped up on the plate to bring down a decades-old dictatorship, the woman president who calmly combed her hair during another coup attempt and did not hide under the bed like she was accused of, the one president after Marcos who did not try to extend her term under the ruse of charter change, and was in fact sporting the widest of smiles in the pictures as she turned over the reins to FVR, the only Filipino ever invited to speak before the US Congress and bring that house down, the private citizen who did not hesitate to join the causes she believed in. Here was one politician who led with her example of courage, integrity and humility, a person all Filipinos will be proud to call our own. Seeing now how brave and upright and simple she was, it's no wonder Ninoy fell in love with her.

And now she's gone.

To the very end she brought out the best in the Filipino. I didn't even think we had it in us anymore to go out in the streets like that and unite for one cause. People may have shrugged off the Garci tapes and ZTE scandal and Con-Ass and SONA and all that ugly stuff, but they were not about to let Cory go without showing her our gratitude and love, even if it means lining up for five hours in the Manila Cathedral, walking 22 kilometers for nine hours to accompany her to her final resting place, amid rain and heat to boot. The media asked the people why they did it, and the answer was common: it was nothing compared to the sacrifice Ninoy and Cory have done for the country.

For me, that's the Filipino at his best.

Me and Ches, we just went to Times St. to offer flowers and our prayers. The atmosphere there was very solemn and sad. We would have brought Yosh as we wanted him to be a part of history but he had a bad tooth ache. He asked me why I was crying while watching her funeral, and I explained that she was a good president, that before her we couldn't even say everything we wanted to say or stay up outside late into the night, that we'd be sent to jail if we did anything the government didn't like, and now we've lost her. He seemed to understand and left me alone to my sobbing. What I couldn't explain to him was, I was heartbroken bcoz it felt like we didn't just lose a good president, it felt altogether like the end of an era for the Philippines.

Goodbye, President Aquino. Thank you.