Me, the Yaya

I have a head cold and I’m trying to go through the day, counting the hours to when the boss exits the office (looks like it’ll be at 2:30, hooray!) and when I can leave (probably at around 5PM). It’s a relatively easy day because I think half of New York took the week off, and it’s just peons like me slaving off here. (Oh I forgot, the boss is also slaving it off despite an eye allergy.) At least it’s a sunny day — reminds me of cooler days in Manila. It was rather warm last night — I had to adjust the ionic fan in the room. (Add a “B” and that’s a bionic fan.. HA!)

I saw two comments posted and I have a third one left from last week. Just haven’t had the chance to post and reply. As always, the weekend saw me attending to the apple of my eye (or as a Filipino joke says, the “buko” of my “pie”.) He is growing in leaps and bounds and I just wish I could hold his hand all the way. He is starting to take a few steps at a time, but I notice he still lacks the confidence to go leaping to and from place to place. It’s so amazing how this little boy I carried for 9 months inside me is now thinking and developing a personality all his own. I see bits and pieces of me in the way his eyes would light up or how he would mischievously smile when playing, or the pensive look he takes whenever he tries to do something and I catch him with a simple “saway” — and he would look at me and then his dad as if to confirm if what he is doing or was about to do is indeed a no-no.

Last night, in the midst of cleaning up in the kitchen after I prepared his lunch and dinner for today, cleaned his formula bottles for sterilizing, put away the leftover food from diiner — all this after both Alan and Offie, my sister, had helped with the dishes, I couldn’t help but mull about what an opportunity I would’ve missed if I had started a family in Manila where we would definitely had had a “yaya” (nannyor babysitter) to attend to Angel. Now don’t get me wrong if you’re a Mom from Manila reading this post — I am not saying I am having a better time struggling with caring for a baby and trying to work at the same time .. see previous posts under “Motherhood” and you will see what I mean — but there are rewards to being able to take care of this precious life I brough out into this world.

Like most other things that we struggle through or give so much effort to attain, caring for something as priceless as your own flesh and blood is a bittersweet experience. While I would want to be able to take off my coat or my jacket after emerging from the stairwell, freshen up and change to my home clothes before he starts squealing for me — I wouldn’t give up the look of delight in his face and those puppy dog eyes when he starts stretching out his arms so I could grab him from the play area and just hold him when I arrive. I have been remiss in singing him “Sampung Mga Daliri” (Ten Fingers) or counting to him in Tagalog, but I never forget to whisper to him over and over again “Mahal kita, Anak.”

I cook his meals and prepare them in serving portions for each day. In the morning, I carry him out of the bedroom and give him his customary morning hug, change him if his diaper is heavy, lug him with me to the kitchen and prepare his breakfast of rice cereal, milk and cheerios and then we sit in his play area and eat. I attend to his laundry with his Dad doing the wash. I playfully wipe his drool off his face and then inspect his little “nooks and crannies” for “dirty Ah-ah” as his Dad and I playfully refer to grime. Not that he has much — the boy barely goes out.

I know every inch of his skin so well that if there were a fresh scratch or bruise, I’d know immediately.  It’s a blessing that my Mom and now my sister have so generously helped me with his  care while I work — but once I’m within sight, he won’t have anyone else take care of him, save for his Dad.  As my Mom said, I should be happy he is close to me the way he is. 

I prepare his diaper bag each time we set out although I am still trying to get the hang of putting everything I want in the bag without the bag being bulky.  I have mastered giving him a bath on top of the kitchen counter without getting the whole place wet.  Despite his lack of a vocabulary, I can hold a long conversation with him and see him react to the things I say.  So I end and begin my day with my arms around my boy — and I wouldn’t give that up for anything, even if not having a Yaya to help me here has driven me nuts from time to time.  It’s a bonding experience I would relive over and over again without a thought.


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