Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miss Universe 2010

I know I should be talking about the Hostage Drama that took place last night, placing Manila erasing whatever's left of Manila's shine in the international and Asian tourist scene. But it seemes like everyone has already said his two cents worth on the matter. I will comment on it later.

Meanwhile, Miss Venus Raj....

She didn't fall off the stage, there was no wardrobe malfunction..unfortunately, the international press already named her answer as the only notabe glitch that happened on stage.

For someone who appeared so confident and smart, Miss Venus appears to have suffered from a bad case of stage fright. I think that she over-analyzed, over-prepared, and pressure cooked her brain before the pageant night such that when the spot-light was finally on her, she could only answer whatever popped into her brain.

She should have taken a deep breath, and listened to the question. I wonder if she was coached on how to handle these things. Of course she was. Perhaps her preparation for the question and answer segment was to practice fielding as many probable questions as possible and to memorize some standard answers, along the lines of "i would like to thank my family for always supporting me...". Geez.

I do not blame Ms. Venus, nor am I putting her down. How many of us have actually been on the Ms. Universe Pageant stage stading in front of millions of viewers? Gloria Diaz and Miriam Quiambao aside, not very many.

And speaking of Miriam, she suffered almost the same fate. Her graceful handling of an embarassing stumble placed her as one the the crowds early favorites. But her answer to the final question.... that was even more traumatizing because she came so close, and she had an early advantage.

So, moral of the story? Why the heck are we still watching beauty pageants? I thought they're so passe and have reached their peak until the advent of the reality shows? Well, because beauty pageants are the precursor for modern-age reality shows.

But before I delve into that other topic fully, which I will not because I feel dizzy just thinking about reality shows, I think that beauty pageant contestants must be trained how to listen to the question, analyze the underlying context of what is being asked and be confident to speak her own mind, not what her coaches told her what the "best" answer shoudl sound like.

Or let's just stick to beauty and scrap the question and answer portion. Then let's have a Nerd pageant where all contestants know how to listen to the question, ananlyze the underlying context and give a totally nerdy answer to please the audience. If there is anyone listening other than the contestants' mothers.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Home, New School

It's the peak of summer and we all have the heat-stroke stories to prove it.

Since we are moving to a new home to be closer to my place of work, my son Ched is also moving to a new school. We are both excited since he was officially admitted to his new school. He's sometimes concerened about bullies and about making new friends, but Ched is a bibo kid and i know he'll fit-in in no time.

Like many parents all over, it's tough thinking of ways how to keep my child from becoming bored since school is still out. We are done with our mini vacations visiting cousins and taking out-of-town trips. He's just about to finish Swim Clinic this April, and there lies my problem. A curious kid like mine, with his overactive imagination didn't need much time figuring out all the orgami tricks in his origami books. All the old calendars, old T-shirts, old cabinet doors have been painted on. I'm worried he might do some painting to our ceilings and walls due to boredom.

Since I spent much on our new digs, I have limited cash to spend on any more vacations or trips to the beach. Ched is getting bored. I can almost hear his internal boredometer ticking overtime he looks wistfully at me as I get ready to go to work. He has watched all the shows on cable and is down to reading his old Children's Encyclopedia. He remains entertained for now, but I'm not sure for how long.

There is still an art, taekwondo and drama class that he could take but we have already resolved not to take anymore martial arts classes for him. I also dont encourage theater workshops lest he pesters me again to bring him to auditions and VTR's (he picks up a lot of these showbiz ideas from friends at these workshops). I try to veer him away from that for now. Showbiz, if that will still interest him later, will just have to wait.

I have to check the art workshop if they offer classes for intermmediate levels. Ched will only get bored with the basics since his arts teachers in his previous school already placed him in advanced levels in drawing and painting. We also skipped any sports activity this summer since he is scheduled to have 4 tooth extractions starting the 1st week of May.

I know, I know, children nowadays are more sophisticated than those during my time. Summer breaks weren't so hard for my parents to figure out for us. Our limitless imagination kept us from being bored during those hot summer days. We didn't always have out of town trips or any fancy classes or hobbies to be busy with, all we needed were a few neighborhood friends and we were good to go. The games, the bahay-bahayan, and all sorts of gimmicks were aplenty to keep us busy.

Ched is not lacking for any friends in our old neighborhood. I still bring him there to be with his lola and lola a few days every week, but eversince I could remember, his neighborhood friends also had summer classes to go to. We all shared a common goal of making sure our children do not become computer zombies during summer, which explains our mad rush to enroll our kids in summer classes.

With our recent transfer, our desktop computer still sits in a box, waiting for my cousin Ding to assemble the whole thing. Like i said, Ched of late is seen reading his encyclopedia and books to pass the time. He misses his Facebook account, SF games and YouTube guitar lessons, but he is discovering that very interesting information about the world is just a flip away in the pages of his children's encyclopedia.

Hmmmnnn, I think I'm going to postpone Ding's visit next week. The desktop could enjoy a few more weeks resting inside its box.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


What does one do when one's child is obviously lying just to skip school for a day or two?

We've all been there before. I was not one of those who constantly missed school. School challenged me, it gave me an chance to express myself, and besides I had bestfriends who I wanted to meet and hang out with everyday.

But there was one time in grade school when a teacher seemed to have singled me out everytime we were in her class . I don't recall what I did to earn her ire, but she seemed really determined to make me cry most of the time. Since her subject was in the afternooon, my headaches, stomach aches, fingernail aches, kili-kili aches, all just happened to manifest in the afternoon. Pretty soon, my mom noticed and without confronting me, she investigated the matter in her own moms-know-best kinda way. And with my mom, that means making all my afternoon-subjects teachers her new bestfriends. Her move worked and my bully-teacher was soon sending my mom orders for greenhills-looking bags that my mom retailed at that time, and I do not recall the details, but she was very nice to me after that.

Nice story, huh? Unfortunately, these days, our children could be skipping school for many other, much more complicated reasons. What do we do if they want to constantly skip school? To me, once a week is alarming, and that is exactly what is happening with Ched. He suddenly has these asthma attacks, tummy ache, headache, fingernail aches and kili-kili aches that dont persist after I allow him to be absent. I want to investigate and maybe talk to all his afternoon-subjects teachers, but their school has a rule against speaking to a teacher while class is on-going except in emergency situations. Besides I don't think his problem is with a teacher. It could be just plain boredom, addiction to another activity outside school like playing computer games, a fight with a classmate, or a bully.

I am always tempted to accuse him of lying and insist that he goes to school whether he likes it or not. But I know that strategy won't solve my son's problems. Something else has to be done.

I clearly have not inherited my mom's Ms. Friendship crown. Nevertheless, I have to make a move soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fast Food Challenge

Very much like how I feel about junk food, I am ambivalent towards fast food. Many parents could empathize. Most fast-food fares are over-processed, over-seasoned, over-done, hyper-packaged, highly-glamorized, romanticized, cartoonized, and infinitely advertised junk that doesn't look nor taste anything like real food. And yet, there you are, you mall-rat you, lining-up on a Saturday afternoon, jostling elbows with other lucky zombies who got ahead of you, impatiently waiting for your turn behind that counter, to part with your hard-earned money just to have a taste of that newest, juciest, junk in town.

I kick myself in the *%$* sometimes. But then, there are days when you mentally find yourself thanking the heavens for fastfood. These are days when even the inner-Martha Stewart in you balks at the thought of marketing,cooking, dishwashing...... The business of fast food is not food. It's time and convenience. And on some days, you are their happiest customer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Snack Attack

When it comes to my child's school snacks or ba-on, I go from one end to the other. Meaning, I have this royal debate going inside my head that is driving me nuts. Lately I've become a little numb.

On one end is the progressive, informed, sophisticated mom who will not allow her child to be fed junk and highly processed food and drinks just for the sheer convenience of it. This is the kind of mom who wakes up a li'l earlier to prepare healthy snacks for her child, who has all her ingredients cut-up and ready for quick cooking or heating at the start of the day, and who has mastered her child's eating habits that no ba-on is wasted or left to be feasted on by a less discriminating classmate.

Sure I'm that kind of mom some of the time. Maybe when the moon is blue. But there's that other end where lives the kind of mom who buys her child bags full of junk food, candy and tetra packed drinks enough to last him a week or two. She is budget-conscious and at least more responsible than that mom who just gives her ten year-old money so that he can buy whatever he wants be it junk food, pets or high powered machine guns.

I've been all of the above and that royal debate is still on. Mom No. 1's efforts is laudable and very ideal, but I don't know many working moms who don't have househelpers who can be consistent with this. I'm talking about snacks, not lunch, and I don't think it's fun for the child to be snacking on the same kind of sandwich day-in and day-out. This is where the "trading" usually happens. Que horror! Your child could be snacking on a reheated siopao bought a week ago because he just wants to taste something else other than your mayonnaise and cheese sandwich that he has for ba-on for the last four months.

Mom No.2 like I said is budget conscious so when it comes to school snacks, there's no second guessing, Potato Chips -MWF, Cheese Balls-TTh. Her grocery bill is consistent and she doesnt worry whether the Potato Chips will taste better today and bland tomorrow, or her child's drink having less sugar today and very sweet tomorrow. Mom No. 2 is set for the whole week and her snacking solution works like a well-oiled machine. In a few years perhaps she will just deal with her child's kidney or UTI or sodium problem, but, that's not likely to happen very soon. She will deal with that kind of thing later.

Mom No. 3, has Mom No. 2's problems and more. But her child is happy because he's buying and eating what he wants. He can save some of the money he has and spend some on the things he wants to buy anyways. Mom No.3 is worry free and is even teaching her child how to manage his very own "allowance" early on. She just has to monitor his spending and the food that he ate.... if she has the time. Uh huh.

So there you go...that's my snacking dilemma.

At the moment, I'm working with my child to be the effective Mom No. 1. He makes my life easier because he says what he wants to have as ba-on and I can have it all prepped at the start of the week, no sandwiches, mind you. He wants rice and a light viand. Well and good.

I just don't know how long the moon will stay blue.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Random Musings

I have been too busy to make any new posts lately. United Nation's Week came just right after the second grading. My pocket took a beating from all the costumes and incidental expenses for the parade, photgraphs, snacks for practices, etc.

To make matters a little too exciting for comfort, there were just too many deadlines to beat at work. Whew! I don't know how other moms manage....and to think I only have one kid. If you thought you had it good when your toddler finally grows up and your diaper and Gerber days are gone, well, you have another thought coming. School age kids will present you with another set of woes and worries that will guarantee to hasten hypertension, white hair and wrinkles on your forehead.

Like any other garden variety lunatic mom, I tell my son not to marry yet because...well because he's too young and I'm too young to be a mother of the groom. Plus of course he can't dress himself properly yet without me barking instructions and yelling threats of doom if he forgets to zip his pants one more time.

Like any other garden variety lunatic mom, I'm actually laying a pathway to use in the future for more serious talks about girls and romance and relationships. My son has crushes and imaginary girlfriends, but he has not yet crossed that line. Meaning, he still loves it when I kiss him and pretend he's still my baby. He enjoys it when we cuddle in the morning and I call him my lil' sweetie pie or something, and he walks around naked in the house and discusses with people how he is not yet circumcised.

My son is still my baby boy...but I'm already counting the days when he crosses that line...hopefully I'll be just about ready to cross it with him too.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I am a working single mom. I only have two hands, two feet and a brain that has yet to develop extra-human powers. And yet, like most working moms, I feel like I am being stretched into super human proportions every single day.

I need to work hard to bring in the money, but not hard enough that I will be promoted and spend less time with my kid. I need to be there for him for projects and assignments and grooming and attitude issues. At work, my boss demands equal amount of attention. I need to be there for him for projects, assignments and grooming and attitude issues.

There are moms who sit in the office, day-dreaming about quitting their jobs and finally giving their inner-Martha Stewart it’s time to shine. But they simply have to work. Martha Stewart has to wait because retirement is 20, 15 years away…

There are moms at home, who day-dream while they load the laundry, do the dishes, mop the floors…how did they end-up looking like Cinderella without the ball? Do they still have the chops to excel in the workplace? Is this all where that business degree will end up? But who will look after the kids and nurse them when their sick? Who could possibly transact with the bank, shop on a budget and know how to feed a family of five for less than P80/meal? Being a mom requires a Cinderella with business and medical degrees.

Far from a fairy tale, a single mom like me has to make that extra effort and sacrifice to make the kid feel less deprived of the father figure he needs. It’s easy to over-compensate. It’s easy to make mistakes.

Whenever it’s overtime season, he gets his weekly dose of Saturday toys. But at the end of the month, I look at the maimed robots, the one-winged airplanes and the gadgets and gizmos that litter his toy box. There goes my overtime pay. I could have stayed home and made his own toys with him. Then again, I may not have been here beside him all those times, but he had these toys to make his childhood happy.

Have I become one of those absentee moms who replace quality time with expensive toys? Surely an occasional lapse won’t really hurt. Am I right, or just making a justification?

One thing is clear.

Toy Kingdom lives happily ever after.