Opening school year blues

With the first (almost) full week of classes officially done, I guess you can say we’re back into the swing of things.  From school supplies to new backpacks and the routine of waking up the now seventh grader in the house, I know that summer is over.

Every year we have a ton of paper to fill out, and I just finished doing this year’s batch last night.  It makes me wonder if it won’t be easier for them to just ask if anything in the student’s  information has changed, but I realize now that would mean for missed information and a nightmare keeping up with around a thousand students annually.  Why am I complaining?

Out school supplies now come from each teacher, and while it is easier because you get a shorter list (which doesn’t include crayons or markers anymore, thankfully!), it can be difficult when the major subjects require a separate ring binder each.  I was so reieved to see two ask for composition notebooks instead, and one even asked for just a section of a binder.  Children complaining about back ache is not a good sign and speaks of the load they carry on their still growing spines!  For my part, I try to use the lighter binders to help ease his load.

School opening bluesThis year, he’s taller and his shoulders are beginning to get broader.  A hint of a moustache is already showing on his upper lip.  His voice cracks when he talks excitedly and now gets pitchy.  At around 5 feet tall, his shoe size is a whopping 9 1/2 and still growing.  (The dad has big feet.). His hands are no longer smaller than mine and I can feel the difference those few times when he reaches out for mine to hold it in his.  Still, I see a hint of “my little boy” in his eyes and voice when he utters “I love you, Mama” ever so affectionately from out of the blue.  I am praying that he never outgrows that part of him.

So the homework routine has started and kickstarting the new school year has been a bit of a challenge but we’re getting there.  Even he is aware that it’s a totally different ball game, and it requires adjusting anew.  There’s the usual check in at the end of the day and the constant reminder to get his backpack ready for school the following morning.  I sound like a broken record reminding him about keeping his keys and his bus pass in his backpack at all times.  Phone always charged 100% ! Turn on the ringer when you get home (!!)  Put away  your socks… and the list goes on and on.

It’s a routine that I both love and cherish for the special bond that brings us even closer.  We have done homework via the phone, facetime, texting and of course, me in the kitchen counter, and him on the dining table.  He knows there’s always the kindle app when he needs a book, and I’m trying to get him used to figuring out homework before calling out to me.

He has grown up.  A lot has changed.  He’s the same that he’s not.  My “tween” is almost a man, but I’d really like to keep him where he’s at for as long as I possibly can,  before I have to start looking up at him when scolding him.

Here’s to another school year.. let’s see what lies ahead.

How you have grown

Blog graphicToday was the first day of school in New York City.  As always, we packed the school supplies, labeled and ready for turnover to his teacher.  In the morning, we went to the assembly yard and found his new class and lined up.  We waited.

In previous years, we would then trek to their classroom and deposit the additional supplies, listen to some welcome remarks from the teachers and then hurry back out and on with our day.  Today, the teacher did us a favor and told us it didn’t make sense for us to go up to the third floor just to deposit what the kids  could easily carry.  She then instructed the children to take the extra shopping bags of supplies from us and off they went.

My boy is now in Fifth grade.  Wow.

Of course, it’s not lost on me that he no longer wants to hold my hand nor kiss me or be kissed in plain view of his schoolmates.  This, even as he refused to let me go when I had him in line with his friends.  I guess there’s still that part of him which actually can’t let go of Mom.  Thankfully.

He called me (one in around 5 calls before I finally reunite with him at home) and calls me”His delight.”  Sometimes he’d say, “Mom, won’t you be a dear..” followed by some trivial request.  He knows how to butter me up even if he knows he really doesn’t need to. It’s just the way he is.

I’m having one of those “I wish you wouldn’t grow up so fast” evenings.  I’m really exhausted after a long day at work and I have forms to fill out for school.  Later.  Or tomorrow if I manage to haul myself off the bed early enough.  (Where there’s a will, there’s a way.)  Maybe it’s the glass of wine I had while having my spicy steak dinner.  Whatever it is, I wish he’d always stay a boy… alas, that’s yet another facet of life I have no control over.

I must give in and relent.  Go with the flow.

I was watching him watching something on his iPad earlier and I looked at him viewing it with rapt attention.  Until he noticed me looking.. he thought I had said something and he took off his earphones. Nothing, I said. I was just watching my little guy and saying out loud, “Oh, how you’ve grown.”




In the middle of…




I have spent the better part of a half hour trying to fix these photos and I know when it’s time to give up.  More so after I had written a whole post which disappeared on me without saving on the same topic.  Let it be, I tell myself.

I created these pieces between the weekend and the past couple of nights — and although I haven’t gotten back to them to give them a more definite form, “beginning a piece” is a welcome development.  Beginning something means having something to finish.

The top most piece is a necklace which I will probably do lariat length — to be worn double looped around the neck. It’s simply a random rosary-style stringing of 8 types of blue beads from agate to dyed jade. I left it with around a third undone. So almost there.

The second is a design I am trying to follow from Bead Magazine and I’m just so thrilled to be able to finally use these serpentine beads I had bought a while back. I had around 3 strands because they were on sale, and although they’re not flashy nor colorful, I like the muted green and how earthy it feels when I look at them. Still in progress as I try to decide what I will put in the middle as a suitable focal.

The earrings above, believe it or not, came upon me half an hour before midnight — and no, I didn’t hesitate to go back to my work station and try to do what I thought up in my already sleepy head.  It’s an initial idea — not quite the finished product.  I have quite a few of these top-drilled faceted tear drop beads which I had purchased in the hopes of pulling them together into colorful dainty pieces.  These are the earth-tones.  I have a few pastel colored beads to play around with as well.

And I’ve been art journaling again. Or simply journaling, actually. Too many things to write about and I want to seriously catch up after slacking off the past couple of weeks. I really felt bad about not being able to touch my altered book that I had foregone my Friday Five the last week (or is two?) but it will be back tomorrow — promise.

Another weekend is here and school’s over. And after Monday, half the year is gone. Has it been that long since we greeted 2014?

I feel like I’ve been stuck — but time continues to fly. Next year, Angelo will be in Fifth grade.. can you believe that? Sometimes I watch him and look at him from afar and I actually say it out loud — please don’t grow up too fast.

Unfortunately, that is something we parents have no control over. My little guy is growing up so fast. I am grateful for that and also wistful at the thought that my baby is no longer the helpless little child he used to be.

Another weekend and he has been saying no to half the things we propose to make it an interesting weekend for all of us. He said no to the waterpark… which means no outlet for me. And I don’t really mind that. I am happy to see him developing his preferences. It shows that he has a mind of his own now.

I will hopefully be able to finish a necklace or two and photograph it for the shop. I am craving to photograph the pieces on a live model, but that’s a little tricky to negotiate. My necklace display stand is upstairs, or I can stick to a simpler studio set up just to show how it hangs. Maybe.

Sleep beckons. That’s it for me. Or else I might yet get another half-hour-before-midnight flash of inspiration and get creating. Happy (almost) Friday to all!

Morning walk to school

It’s one of those days when I have to bring Angelo to school, and it wasn’t a bad day for a walk despite the allergens that caught up with me just as I got on the bus. That 7 minute trek is always a refreshing way to start the day, whether it’s trudging through the snow, fighting off the wind and parrying the rain or just a regular walk like today.

Sometimes it makes me wax nostalgic as I recall how different he was in previous years. How he wouldn’t let go of my hand before and how he would rather just walk beside me now. Or how we used to stop periodically so he could get a kiss from me and how he now prefers to get his kiss from mom a few feet away (the farther the better) from the school’s front door.

Our talks have changed dramatically except that our conversations are still peppered with “I love you, Mama.” No matter that he no lingers turns around to give me one last look as he goes into the school, I continue to make sure he gets inside the building before I turn and walk away.

Time flies by so fast. I count the days and see him changing day to day. I’m glad that I’m able to savor every little bit of my little guy — from his funny wit to his never-ending demonstration of affection. We celebrated his 10th birthday last week with a simple cupcake party and I recall the other years we did it. The glow on his face afterwards on the way back home was so precious — he was smiling from ear-to-ear and he said “That was a good birthday, Mama.”

I look at him as he sleeps at night and I see that everything I have done in my life is worth it as I have been rewarded with his unconditional love and devotion. This Mother’s Day he gave me a handwritten card. Among other things, the most striking thing he wrote which I hold as forever precious is “Nothing will tear us apart.”

I feel so blessed. Why am I grumbling about what pain I feel or what burden I carry? At the end of the day, it’s his love that matters, and I know I have that.

Growing up

Like most people, I associate the term “growing up” with being a child or being childlike and moving into adulthood. But if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, we are constantly going through that process even in full adulthood.  There are always new truths that reveal themselves to us that bring us to a more mature plane.  And as the years go by, we tend to forget the pains of going through the transformation from childhood to adulthood which is easier for some, and not quite as easy for others.

This previous weekend, I spent a good amount of time with a niece who I first met 14 years ago as a very quiet and shy girl.  She has blossomed into a comely young lady and is getting ready to enter college.  I can’t help but marvel at her transformation through the years.  She is suddenly all grown up and almost a full adult — and at the threshhold of a very important transition into a new world.

It’s a very exciting and scary time — having come from a very sheltered upbringing and being in an all-girl’s school and now entering a coed university.  Just like I did many years ago.  You worry about how you will do.. will you enjoy your new world… how will you fare.. how do you stop being so self-conscious in the company of the opposite sex.. So many questions and the clock is ticking to the first day of school.

I told her she’ll be fine.  My college years were a very enjoyable period for me — not without the drama and the growing pains that life is generally peppered with — but you take both the good and the bad.  And as it is with most things, it takes making it to the end of the journey for us to see we didn’t do so bad after all — or that all the sacrifices, conservative / strict parents included, will serve a purpose in our adult life later on.

For some, making new friends or surviving in a room full of strangers is second nature.  I would normally stay quiet, observe, and speak when spoken to, or strike a conversation with the person next to me.  But I was never wont to take center stage.  (I usually did that much later. HA!)  I remember it was difficult for me to get comfortable with my male classmates but when you see them day in and day out, they become your buddies.  In fact by my second year in college, I was the only girl in a group of around 6 boys who all loved to drink the afternoon away, but who would be gentlemanly enough to order me my soda for each round of beer they had brought to the table.

Because they all drove, even if they were in another part of the campus, they would come back for me at lunch time so we could have authentic Chinese food at the original “Estero” in Binondo.  That or we would descend upon a favorite Chinese restaurant near Roxas Boulevard.

The business side of going to the university was also very different from high school.  It was the same that it wasn’t.  Everything seemed to be a foot or two deeper, and in many ways more complicated and profound, hence, a little harder.  But that was the whole thing about being in college — to learn more and to actually acquire the knowledge needed to hone your abilities and skill sets.

Talking to my niece made me go back to how terrifying that phase was at times.  It wasn’t always


Motherhood comes first

It was a rather busy evening last night with the boy coming down with the flu.  I was able to manage his fever but I had to stay up part of the night to help put a cold compress on his forehead and to make sure it stayed there.  I was thinking of taking a day off but decided that I would’ve spent the better part of the morning giving instructions and working anyway so I went into the city.  I did leave at 1pm and headed home, stopped at the post office for the all-important swaps that are due, picked up some food for the boy and headed home.  After dropping my tote and non-essentials and changing into my rain boots, I walked in the opposite direction to pick up homework from his  school.  (The magic of technology — his teachers may not be reachable via phone but they have their smart phones which makes e-mailing the best way to get any message to them.)

I think I am more exhausted with everything I’ve done instead of feeling rested after getting home earlier than normal.  The boy’s fine, still coughing, but his fever was gone.  We’ve taken a quick shower just to stabilize him even more, and now he’s already bugging me about turning Criminal Minds reruns off so he can watch his shows.  (I am not relinquishing the remote control!)  And now I’m cooking tempura for dinner.

I’m glad the boy is feeling better.  I can live through a week of body aches, a runny nose or an exhausting asthma attack, but I go into full battle mode when he starts showing symptoms of the flu.  Motherhood.

Sometimes I see how he’s growing up in simple every day conversations.   He had a tinge of hurt in his voice when he once chided me for never ever being upset with his Dad.  He says he never sees me scream at his Dad like I raise my voice at him in an angry tone.  I’m trying to impress upon him that the fact that I don’t scold Dad doesn’t mean that Dad is more important than him.  He has already taken notice that although he gets a dose from Dad and me, he doesn’t see us screaming or raising our voices at each other.  I simply told him it’s different — he’s our son.  When he has a child of his own, he will know why.   (And we haven’t even started talking about rules.)

He still asks to sit on my lap — and although he is a tall 8-year-old, I always indulge him when I can, dreading the day when he’ll stop asking.

Dinner’s done.  The boy dutifully set the table when I asked him.  One of the greatest rewards of motherhood is seeing him turning out to be a good person.  I keep telling him that when his Dad and I are gone, I know he’ll be fine even when he’s on his own if he has a good heart.

My Little Guy, the Big Man

On the way home last night, my little guy calls and leaves a message, and speaking in as authoritative a voice as an 8-year-old can muster, he says “Mama, don’t forget to get me a large strawberry ice cream later, okay?”

It is so amusing that he can actually speak like an adult on a juvenile topic like ice cream, and I can’t help but smile at the thought that my boy is growing up so fast.  He stands taller than my shoulders now so I’ve had to get his next size in jeans.  (And I am not getting a reprieve on that because GAP continues to have a monopoly on “hook” instead of button jeans.  And for some reason, he thinks anything that aren’t jeans are “uncool”.). Still, scary or eerie musical scores get to him — even if he can sit through the gore of CSI, the monsters of Grimm or the goo of Fringe.  (Here’s grown up question while catching an episode of Fringe: “Mama, is that Walter or Walternate from the parallel universe?”..)  His hugs are tighter now although I can’t help but wonder if his fascination for boobies are because of his having been breastfed to age 2.

He’s a very, very picky eater, too, but once he finds a certain food item to his liking, like me, he will eat it meal after meal.  Just as I can have tapa with itlog na maalat and kamatis or inihaw na tilapia for lunch all week, he’ll have pan de sal or cereal and milk or bacon and rice every day.

I marvel at how much of me I see in him, and I keep hoping he becomes an even better me.  I often catch myself babying him which I am trying very hard not to do too much of, but I start thinking of when he will not be as affectionate as now so I try to enjoy it while it lasts.  Already, he is refusing to rub noses with his Dad in public which is their “exclusive” show of affection to each other.  But kisses are still okay, he says.

He’s growing up so fast.  Before I know it, he’ll be going off to college.

Tomorrow, we have a date in the city.  I’m still trying to decide if I’ll do a half day or take the day off, but he’s not accepting a rain check.  He says we WILL go.  The Museum of Modern Art apparently has a toy car exhibit which I read about while doing one of my newspaper collage postcards.  (One thing I like about doing the collage postcards is that I get to skim the headlines at least and occasionally, stop and read a full article.  I have friends who check on the day’s news by going to, and here I am with multiple copies available not only of The New York Times, but of The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times as well, and I am not reading the news!)

But back to my little guy.  I promised him we’d go check the exhibit, but not before we check out the kid paradise that the Times Square Toys R’Us is nearby.

This one’s a little tough to disappoint — he is, as we say in the vernacular, pikon.  I’m sort of watching that because I want him to be able to deal with disappointments better.  Again, a little bit of the younger me in him again.  I only wish he’d get over it sooner than I did.  (Hoping to save him from the heartache and frustration.). Then again, we learn from our heartaches and frustration.  It is through falling that we learn how to get up again.  As his Mom, I guess, I wish I could take the fall for him, but we can really only do so much.  Sometimes, all we can really do is watch from a distance.

I like these dates he and I have.  I hope that when he’s older, he’ll be able to say “I loved those times we went out together, just you and me, Mama..” .. I know I will…

Walking my little guy to school

Today was one of those rare occasions I got to walk Angelo to school because his Dad’s away on business for two days.  It’s one of those things that throw ourschedules kind of “off” because it means walking instead of being dropped off for him, and it means leaving for work a tad bit later for me.  (Note to boss has been sent.)

So we walked.  It’s approximately 7 minutes each way, and is a pleasant walk as long as the sidewalk is not icy in the winter.  We walk hand in hand when we cross, and he often tugs at my arm if I’m holding my tote and my purse.  My boy has grown indeed.

I ask him about his friends in school and have such fun teasing him with this girl he has always liked.  He talks to me about his current favorite shows like his namesake, “Angel”, whose reruns he catches during breakfast.  (Yes, my son is named after a vampire — but one who is supposed to be “the Champion”… and yes, he is MY champion. =)

Our walks are always a fun time for us as mother and son.  I like that he is very expressive and inquisitive.  He’s been reading chapter books of late, and has taken a fancy to Paula Danziger‘s Amber Brown series.  He’s already on his third book and I asked him if he was being assigned the books or if he had chosen them, and he said he had picked them because he liked the stories about Amber Brown.  It’s actually a very realistic and straightforward story about divorce and how a nine-year-old copes with the reality of her life and the changes brought on by her parents’ situation.  There is a lot of humor as an eight-year-old like Angelo will appreciate because there’s a lot of “snot”, “slime” and all the other silly things second graders laugh about as well.

He asks me to stay until they start letting the children in at 8am.  I asked if the other kids wouldn’t think that weird or make fun of him for it, but he seems to genuinely enjoy that Mom is right there on the sidelines with him.  My son has his own mind about what he thinks about what other people think.  Even as a four-year-old, he would ask to sit on my lap in front of other children and when I tell him the other kids might tease him, he nonchallantly tells me, “I don’t care.”

They grow up so fast.  I try to savor him growing up and then realize he is not as little as I had gotten used to thinking of him.  He is growing up with a mind of his own.  At eight, I had many hopes and dreams already.  I had my “problems” in my little world.  School was fun but was sometimes a challenge.  Friendships were beginning to get complicated, although I remember how I would play early morning patintero with some of the girls in a social hall.  By the time the bell rang, we would all be sweaty and dishevelled and would sometimes get a good scolding from our teachers for being so boyish.  =)

Mine has a thing for his red CARS jacket which he should really leave in the house now that the temperatures are milder.  But he says he likes it, and he’s not giving it up — not yet.  He is still a very picky eater, but when he likes something, he eats it day after day after day.  I love it most when he laughs hard — and his whole body shakes as the laughter consumes him. 

I like it when he holds my hand as we walk.  It fits perfectly in mine and there is the reassuring grip from his tiny hand.  One day I will look up when I talk to him instead of looking down as I do now.. even then, he will always be my baby.