Thursday, November 24, 2005



Today is about being grateful for what we have.

It's interesting how over time, a national holiday can gradually evolve into a personal one. Take this one we celebrate today. A national holiday that was originally set aside to mark a historical event important in the life of this country - namely a feast thrown by the first group of immigrants to give thanks for their safe arrival and having survived in the New World - serves what is arguably a more valuable purpose: It allows each of us, to take a moment out of our busy lives and bow our heads and give thanks for our blessings. Whether those blessing are big and small, this is the time to acknowledge and appreciate them.
Personally. This is the second year...simply acknowledging how lucky we are to have Kai in our lives.
I won't see him til Monday. This will give me the chance to finish the Christmas lanterns (parols) for the dance group. Also it might give me a chance to go to my studio and pick-up a few things. This will also be a respite from hearing "UMPHA" a hundred times! He is so active that every move he makes must be monitored..If is is quiet, I have to look what he is doing. There are times that he will wander to the bedroom and look for umma or inspect the plastic bag that hangs on the door knob. He knows that there is something there to nibble. I think he will be a "chocoholic" like me. He loves those small "halloween" chocolate eggs. The thing is that he is never a pig about it. A couple of bites will satisfy him, and he will even share them with me. He knows where all his favorite snacks are stored. We have a cupboard that is a bit high for him to reach, but he can open the doors...that is where the pudding and jello are stored, so he calls for help. Who else to the rescue? Umpha of course! As far as regular eating, he love rice, fish and shrimp and of course noodles. He eats oranges and guava and once in a while will eat prepared fruits from the jar.
I think he is resigned to the fact that when Mommie or Daddy arrive and have finished their lunch, it is time to get "yedi" (ready) to go home...that is if he is in the right mood. But before going home he has to gather some of his favorite toys of the day. Cars are still his passion. He carries with him everyday a frog backpack loaded with some of his favorites. He knows that this is the time to say "bye..bye Umpha," "see you yeter" (later).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What is Kaiandumphaland?

This is a nurturing place for a little boy to learn in his formative years the things that he will carry on in later life. This is the place where he will learned that the word "NO" has an alternative "YES."
He had learned things like when it is don't touch. He knows that there is a boundary when we are outside...not to pass the curb because there are cars coming. It is amazing how he can maneuver himself in the backyard without getting "bung" (that is our word for being hurt). My mini jungles have many steps and walkways paved with broken pieces of cement slabs. There are times when we are together, he will be gone and I will find that he has climbed some steps to reach some "geen" apples or behind the bushes looking for snails.

I am the first grandson of my grandparents. I was always in my grandparent's house. My grandmother on my mother side had her last child a few months before I came. Unfortunately the child died and I became the surrogate child for her. Because my sister came just eight months after me, it was a big help for both of them. I am very close to my grandparents in my mother side. As a matter of fact I call my grandmother "Inay" (Filipino word for mother) and whenever somebody asked my grandmother who am I, she will say that I am her youngest son. I learned a lot from my grandmother and I was as close to my grandfather ("itay" Filipino word for father) as to her. I don't think I was spoiled by them...they taught me a lot of things. I can still envision the "katon" board (ABC's) where I learned my letters. Today I am taking the opportunity to do the same with Kai.

Kai being very active from the very start, I called him "kiti-kiti" (larvae of the mosquitoes) because there is a never ending action going on. Very active! True to his astrological sign: "RAM," I am afraid that I have a little RAMBO on my hands. Today, just before Mike arrived to pick him up, he wants me to ride one of his cars and him on the other one..."come on umpha...ride." Could you imagine me on that little car!?! I have to fake it by crouching on all fours to manuever the little car. I am glad that it is in the house and not outdoors. What will the neighbors think!!!

It was funny for us yesterday because for the first time in a while, he had a nap. As usual, he was with umma for his daily park visit. They came back early and he was sleeping in his stroller...and it was not even ten o"clock yet. He slept about forty minutes...Boy was he mad when he woke up! Like he missed something. We usually drive around the block so I can get him to sleep. At times we go to Montgomery Field and watch the small plane takes off. On the way home, he will be conked-out.

We have not gone driving for a while now. He does not want to go home if he is awake. "go...go umpha" that is what he will say. He calls my van "umpha truck." He knows everybody car and van in the area. Umma car in the garage! He can tell you if that is a school bus, city bus, taxi , fire truck, police car or just big trucks. But his favorite truck is the garbage truck. The drivers know him well.
Every Wednesday, when he hears the garbage trunk..."garbage truck coming-coming umpha...go...go!" Here we go rushing to go outside and try to catch the garbage trunk pick-up the trash.

He is very appreciative when you give him anything that is new. Today, he was satisfied and very happy with little pieces of sawn tree branches that were left on the ground when a ficus tree was trimmed next door. He collected them and them brought home. He also found and brought home with him a plastic shell sand mold from the park. "Umpha geen shell" showing me his new found toy. Since I have a lot of shells...I told him to wait and I will show him something. I brought a cookie tin full of shells...Reaction: "Wow! meni-meni shells!" He started to pick and inspect each one and when he came to and old calcified larger shell. He called it: '
"dinosaur shell." Lately everything that looks old and ragged, he will classify them as part of the dinosaur family. Even the lava rocks that is in their aquarium has been classified as such. That's the mind of a creative little boy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I was so excited last night while doing my first blog that I forgot to write down my user name and password. I have to recover them...thanks for the "help support" that I am on my way now. It is getting late, so I will be posting tomorrow evening some of the thoughts I had in mind that I did not post on my first blog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I guess, it is about time to share with you all the things that Kai and his "umpha" are doing nowadays.
He has been my pride and joy since he was three months old, when every morning, his Mom (Tisha, my daughter) began to drop him off at our house. This is five days a week from eight a.m. to three p.m. When you ask him where is Kai's house...he will raise his two hands indicating our house...and will say "here." When we drive to their street he will indicate whose house we just passed by. He knows very well where Mommie and Daddy lives and that is "mommie house."
Everyday seems to be a different adventure for both of us. We have spent time at the Zoo to see his favorite "ephant," lions, monkeys, bears, tortoise, etc. He can name all the animal habitats in the Zoo. We have visited museums in Balboa Park. Although he knows his routine, like going to the nearby park with "umma." everyday. A couple of hours is spent climbing the slides, just romping around chasing balls, even chasing the plastic bag that flies in the air...or just hugging a tree. At home, we read books, play with his collections of cars or the "meni-meni" animals. He knows his ABC's and can read choice words, counts from one to ten. We spend a lot of time in the backyard; my "mini jungle" where he knows what a guava, a lemon or calamansi is and I let him pick and smell the flowers. We search for "pider," "nail" and bugs. He was introduced to butterflies, dragonflies and birds that come to visit the backyard. I let him have a small spade so he can dig dirt...He has a small watering container and will help "umpha" water the plants. Of course, he will need a change of pants and shoes later on!
He is very choosy about what he wants to watch on Television. He loves "Little Einsteins," "House of Mouse," "Super Dog," "Tom and Jerry," and would rather watch "Sponge Bob," and some of the TV7 cartoons than "Dora." Since he was introduced to the families of dinosaurs, whenever a Dinosaur cartoon is on, you can be sure that he will stay put and watch it. Anything that has an animal in the show, he will watch it or else he will grab the remote and give it to me to change the channel.
When he was eight months old I gave him a crayons and showed him how they work.
I framed his first scribble and now have it on display. His favorite color is "pupol" (purple), but ask him what color is in your hand and he will tell you if it is "yed," "yeyoo," "geen," "bouoo," etc. Now, he has an array of collection in his portfolio. From crayons to colored washable felt tip pens and pencils he graduated from them and went to gouache and water. He has created beautiful arts ready for framing...but I don't consider his achievements as a talent is just a "thing" to do by a boy who has a lot of time in his hands. This is one way I can teach him that pens, pencils and crayons are for papers and not on the walls or on anything else. I also would like to think that what we are doing with art is some sort of a time-capsule for him. It will be something for him to see when he is older and appreciate the arts. Next year in March, before his third birthday, I have reserved a gallery space for his one-boy show - "ALMOST THREE." I think this will be fun, but I am not sure how he will react! We will see. For the meantime back to the easel and drawing board. We are going to create some more arts!