Monday, January 30, 2006


I woke up about 3:30 last night and still had a hard time going back to sleep. I was able to doze off at about 5:30 and as everyday and like an alarm clock I am awake at seven. An hour before Kai arrived I had read part of the newspaper, ate a small breakfast with my coffee and lately, since it is a bit chilly in the morning, I have the fire going on by the time they arrive. Kai loves to watch the fire. Before going to the park, we are in the living room, and I lied down on the sofa. Kai joined me...of course he will not stay put but he was all over me. I decided to make a joke, nibbling his nose, his ears and other parts of his body. I will pretend I am chewing and say I ate your nose...its good! Since one of his latest additions to his vocabulary is "stop it'" I was not surprised when that was the first thing that came out his mouth. He then followed that with ..."put it back, put it back!" This was a surprise to me...I thought that was very funny and so we just did that game til they are ready to go to the park. The whole day was just a routine.

Saturday, January 28, 2006



I was not planning to Blog tonight, but remembered that the Chinese New Year started today and I would like to share this with Kai-Kai. He will find out later in life that there is Chinese blood in his genetic make up...this comes from his great- grandmother on my side. It may be not much, but I think the genetic make up is important to one's being. I will deal with that later on.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It consists of a period of celebrations starting on New Year's Day on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar; which falls today, January 29 in the Western calendar. The Chinese New Year period ends with the lantern Festival on the fifteenth day.
Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is a major holiday for the Chinese diaspora, a significant segment of which has immersed and integrated itself well within the Philippine society. This year is the Year of the Fire Dog.
Based on tradition, the Year of the Dog is the year for reflection and to assess ones values. In the face of disturbances, the fire dog is known to be always on the lookout, protecting the surroundings. Following this characteristic of the dog, the year is expected to see benevolent and idealistic deeds and various unusual changes coming into being. The Fire Dog speaks of a character that is dramatic, ferocious, alluring, motivated by strength of mind and self-confident.
Chinese New Year celebrations involve being with one's family from the reunion dinner on New Year's Eve to the celebration of New Year's Day, when red envelopes know as ang paw are given to unmarried members of the family. My grandmother had a cousin, born in Shanghai, China. Her family migrated in the Philippines, grew up, got married and died of old age. My grandmother and her were the same age, but she comes from the old world of that era. She walks like a waddling duck because her feet had been bounded with strips of cloth from the day she was have to see some pictures of the old Imperial Chinese Era. The ladies of that time have "ginger" like feet. I liked her and considered her as one of my favorite relatives. Talking about accents, she speak Filipino with a Chinese accent. She always have good foods to serve you. I still remember that she called me "Paquito" instead of "Pepito" (a diminutive for Pepe, my dad's nickname, from Jose'). On the Chinese New Year then, I always came to visit her as a boy. To think about it now, the reason was there will be good food, especially the tikoy, steamed glutinous rice cakes and moon cakes...and most important was the red envelope with a few coins inside. I am glad that I can write this now and very grateful for the technologies of these days that I can reminisce my past to be recorded easily today.
I am sure that there will be celebrations here in San Diego. The Chinese, Vietnamese and other ethnic Asians will honor the occasion. May this day be a renewed beginning for us a we continue to hope and pray for a better future and more lasting peace on earth.
KUNG HEI FAT CHOI! A blessed New Year to Kai-Kai!

Friday, January 27, 2006



I was just about to settle down to take a break after Tisha and Kai left. The doorbell started to ring incessantly...when I opened the door there was Kai at the door. I thought they were gone, but Tisha said he wanted to come back. I thought he wanted some more of his toys to bring home. No, he would like to say "bye Umpha" and would like to hug me again. We have done this already before they started to leave. He might had been confused and forgotten that he did say good bye to me and that we had hugged and kissed. This boy hugged and kissed like the Eastern Europeans and "more". He will hug you, kiss one cheek and then the other...the "more" is he will kiss you last on the lips. I hope that he will grow to do that and not get embarrassed doing it. One of the first things I noticed about Americans when I first arrived here (1957)..."they are a bunch of cold people!" They are not very tactile people. I remember one time, sitting next to a shipmate, and I accidentally touched his knee. Boy did he jumped! At the time I did not know what happened. It was later that I realized the faux pas I had made. Same same sex holding hands, or placing an arm on one's shoulders while walking is looked upon with disdain and considered taboo. Not in the Philippines nor most of the Oriental countries....and they are not "gays." I remember the snide remarks of my shipmates when they saw these things in the orient. There has been a big change throughout the years. I allude this change to the "flower child" and the "hippie culture" generation. The "baby boomers" followed through and I hope it will stay. There is always an emphasis for growing boys to be tough. Sports and all that are "macho things" and a must for growing boys. It still prevails, because I have seen it happening everywhere. "Boys Don't Cry!" I would love to see Kai grow to be strong but sensitive. Men cry too!
What still puzzles me is why when people hug they pat each others shoulder. I have to do a research on that one...
Like any day, Kai and I spent a couple of hours outside, but mostly in the backyard. With his bamboo stick, we started to hunt for his favorite preys...snails and worms. From the last rain we had, some small snails started to show up. I have a very good bait that I spread wherever they are present. I guess, they are pretty good as eradicated because we were not able to find a live one. He is however, satisfied with the dead one or just the shell. He will still place them next to my foot..."Step on it Umpha!" He will inspect the crushed shell and will announce if there is an "eeew" (his word for something slimy, icky, or just something that has been smashed). This is true when he finds Nalie's pooh in the yard. He is very careful not to step on it.
No rocks, stone and flower pots were missed being up-turned again today. He knows that you can find a lot of bugs, like roly-polies, spiders and especially worms. He has been chanting..."have to find worms," " have to find worms" over and over while I am turning the rocks. He get so excited when there is a worm. He can see even the smallest worm there is. With a high-pitch voice, he will say over and over, "There Umpha!" "Worm" "I found it!" He will pick the worm up, look at it closely and put it back on the ground. I will tell him that we have to put back the stone or flower pot because that is his house and we will come back later to visit the worm later. He is good at understanding this and so we go to another place to hunt. The only way I can persuade him to go inside is to tell him that we have to wash our hands because we are going to have some bribe "MM's." Besides, Tisha arrived and we didn't know it. Like always, he was so excited to see his Mommie.
See you Monday...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


During our lunch time today, I had been looking at Kai-Kai closely. He sure has grown. During the start of his first year with us, he had accumulated several pet names:
Kai-Kai..................doubling his name.
Ram-Boy................being born an Aries (the RAM).
Stink-Bahoo.........."bahoo" is Tagalog for stink.
Pig-Pen.................his ability to attract lint on his hair, between his toes and dirt in his fingernails.
Fish-Lips...............protruding his lips.
Bah-Boy.................when he is naughty.
Booh-Booh............early pet name after a big teddy bear.
Bubble-Mouth.......making bubbles from his saliva.
Booger-Boy............he used to have boogers in his nose all the time.
Monkey-Monkey....being fussy.
Kai Kai has stuck! He identifies himself as Kai-Kai.
Now that he is almost three, he is able to master a lot of things. He now tries to make conversation with you...Basically we understand each other...but at times it will take me a while to really understand him. He is patient about it! He will repeat what he said, if I asked him to say it again. He is learning to shake hands now, but needs a bit more practice. He is learning to say "almost three" when asked "how old are you?" You ask him to go to a certain room in the when he is looking for a certain toy. Tell him, it is in the bedroom and he will go there. He knows where the kitchen is because that is where we cook meat, chicken fish and shrimps. He really knows the house because I think that he considers the house as "Kai-Kai House." What I love most that he has been doing lately is whenever Umma and him start to leave the house he will always look for me to say, "Bye Umpha..see you yeter." Going home with his Mom or Dad, he will do the same but he would also like to be hugged and kissed.
It used to be that on the stroller he rides going to the park had a radio that is on all the time while they are walking. This also helps to make him sleepy on the way home. Nowadays, it has been shut off because he talks a lot now while they are walking. Besides he does not take naps anymore...I think he hates it!
Umma fed him earlier, but he joined us for company. Of course he will have a bit of rice or whatever of something he likes. Since we know he had already eaten a lot, we did not expect that he will eat anything else. I got some "MM" and told him "That is for your dessert." He was happy about it but I know that he was watching me when and where I got the "MMs." When he had consumed the chocolate, he got down from his chair and went straight to the cupboard. He climbed the step ladder, opened the door and started to scrutinized the contents of the cupboard. I am sure that he is looking for the "MMs." I had the inkling that he would do this, so I hid the bag behind the shelf and so it wouldn't be visible for him to see. He however spotted the jello cups and excitedly said.."jeyo Umpha...(that means he would like to have some) I fed him...and he ate the whole thing!
We did not paint today. I have to do some business at the bank. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


The last two days have just been routine for the three of us here in the house. As usual, they go to the park and the best thing about it is that Kai has been socializing with the other kids there. Today according to Umma, he even took a piggy-back ride with a girl. This is a good sign. I would rather he be an extrovert than an introverted guy.
It must have been really chilly this morning. He wanted to go out into the backyard, but asked me for his jacket...He said, "It's cold!" I put his jacket and after I zipped it, he put on the hood. So, here we go again poking crevices, turning the flower pots and stones to look for spiders and snails. We did not find any spider at all. As far as snails, there are no live ones. I think he does not have the concept about the difference between a live one and a dead one. Every time we come across an empty shell, he will place it next to my foot so I can step on it. He will inspect the crushed shell meticulously, I guess to see that there is nothing moving anymore.
I asked Mike to take some pictures of his paintings for a press release. I have not framed them yet for the his show. They are rolled up and when Kai saw me, it immediately got his attention. He knew very well what I had. "Painting Umpha!"
I sensed that he would like to paint... so I told him...tomorrow we will paint. "Okay." He is getting very good in understanding things I tell him...especially the word "tomorrow." He did not pursue but just went back to watching his favorite "Tom and Jerry." We haven't painted for quite a while. I have a bit of his oeuvres for the show. Usually we paint at the side of the house where he can make a mess without any worry that Umma will complain. It could be messy because I always have a basin of water to clean his brushes and his hands. He does not want to work with paint on his hands.The water when used with the gouache gives a very nice texture and at the same time gives it a different "washed" look...the colors are not too opaque. I am going to spread some brown paper in the living room so we can paint tomorrow. Maybe he will have some masterpieces that I can include in his show.
In spite that I said it was a bit chilly... he grabbed my hand and dragged me toward the garage. When I opened the door, he saw that the light was not on. He asked me to carry him, "Up Umpha." We are still next to the door, but he started to bend himself toward the open hutch. I realized that he was looking for the light switch. I would never think that he knew that the switch was there, it is not visible because it is inside the shelves, behind some plates. He was trying to reach it. This is the first time for him to do this. This is another one of his observations. He must have been observing me that whenever I go to the garage, I put my hand inside the shelf to switch on the light. So we went to the garage and I said, "Now, what are we going to do here?" He said; "get i-kim!" At least this was after lunch...and I guess, he wanted some desserts. So both of us had some "i-kim" (ice cream).
We have a "Find Waldo" book that he really likes. We've had that book for a while and today when I asked him to find Waldo, he had his little finger running slowly all over the people in the book and yes! He was able to find him! He remembers how I used to do it...because I can't always remember where Waldo is all the time. I will run my finger on the page and that is what he did today. He was so delighted in his accomplishment and gleefully would announce "there I found him!"

Friday, January 20, 2006


Good news from Umma when they arrived from the park. Kai played with a boy his age today. Umma was telling me that the two of them were climbing the slides together, playing with the sand and running all over the place. Kai just called him "boy." Whenever he wanted the boy, he would say, "come on boy." Of course the boy has a name, but who cares? For Kai that boy is a "boy." Everyday before they leave the house he will run up to me and will say, "Bye Umpha...see you later." When they come home..."anybody home?" is what you can hear from him. He will come and look for me, and as always will be running towards me, wedging himself between my leg, hugging me, then start talking in his funny way of expressing himself. I asked him what he did in the park. He said ..."the boy is coming." I guess this is the way he was trying to tell me that there was a boy there with him in the park. I am glad that he is starting to get sociable now. He will need this skill before going to preschool.
The afternoon was a bit chilly so we just stayed mostly inside. He wanted to cross the street when he noticed Joe was there still fixing his car. He just said "Hi" to Joe and proceeded to go in the house straight to the back door to see the rabbit. We drew some and cut some snowflakes on the computer. Dr. John Conrad sent me a site: where you can cut your own snowflakes, submit it and save with your name on it. I always register the flakes in his name. He loves watching me cutting the snowflakes. As they are getting ready to go home, he stopped to show his Mom the patterns of the rug in the hallway. There are circle patterns that he must have associated with the snowflakes. He told his Mommie..."snowflakes." Isn't it something? I can't believe that he will associate the circle with designs as such.
Won't see him til Monday... with Kai, you never know what will be next week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


While we are outside in the backyard doing things that we usually looking for snails, bugs and spiders, I noticed the little boy next door was also in their backyard...but alone. It has been a habit of Kai to peek between the fence boards to see what is happening or just to be nosey. I joined him and peeked too. Frankie, that is his name, was hitting the tether ball with a baseball bat. He looked bored...just hitting the ball repeatedly without any emotion...He is bored! I feel sad for him.
I had a falling out with his parents...I guess they just took for granted that whatever they do to us as neighbors will be alright. I guess they never really got to know me. The situation was not done once, but happened twice since they moved next door. The last episode was when my big pine bonsai's limbs hung extended over into their property. They decided to cut them...I had no qualms about it. However, the last straw that got my dander was after they cut it, they dumped them on my side of the fence. When I saw blood pressure rose so much that I felt hot! I picked up the branches and hurled them randomly onto their driveway. Since I was alone with Kai at that time, both of us marched next door, pushed the door bell incessantly and when Helen (the wife) came out to check...the first word that came out from my mouth was..."God-dam you and your husband. if you cut it, throw it yourself but not in my yard!" "This is not the first time you have done this and if you ever do this again you are going to hear from my lawyer!" "I want to be a good neighbor, but it won't be hard to be a very bad one." She just stood there frozen and was still standing that way when Kai and I left. I think Kai and I made our point that day. Her husband came home from work during his lunch break and apologized. Since then, we just ignore them, they know for sure that this is one "flip" who will not kow-tow to anybody of their kind.
Anyway, Kai and I enjoyed our afternoon in the backyard today. While we are there I came to think how lucky we are. I got him and he got me. While watching him, I was reflecting...what if I was younger when he came to us? I don't think it would be as enjoyable and meaningful than the present. If I am younger and not retired yet from the Navy, I would miss out on a lot of things about him. We can't be together like this at all. I missed out a lot when Rodin and Tisha were growing up. I have to be in the ship which sometimes would be gone for six month deployments. I don't have any guilt about it. It's the reality of our life then! I know that their Mom will be their even though she had to work too. Tisha was taken cared of by my mom, her "Babba." That was a big help. Rodin grew up very independent.
We know very well by now that Kai is a very active little fellow. He needs all kind of activities to sustain him for the day. At times, at the middle of the day, he can tire me down so much that I would like to be curled up anywhere and take a nap right then and there...He won't let me close my eyes or else you will hear..."wake up!" Other than that, you will hear at the end of whatever sentence he will utter..."Umpha...umpha...umpha." This is a sure wake-up call! will have to give him all the time you can spare and be patient about it!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


What happen to the tree...? Umpha!
As soon after Kai had said goodbye to Tisha, he got into the colored pencils and asked me to draw a snowman, Santa Claus, Christmas tree with lights, a star and reindeer. He will still ask where are those creatures, and we have had to tell him that they went home to the North Pole. The Christmas tree went to the garbage truck. So, part of the early morning we ended drawing fish, shrimps, crabs and a lobster. After his last request of a dinosaur we had his breakfast. He only conceded to come with me in the kitchen when I told him that he needed to help me stir the chocolate milk. He likes doing that and he does not spill it. Afterwards he started spooning the milk to himself.
Bad Dog!
Umma went to her early aerobics and when she came back she noticed that the legs of the toy turtle has been chewed by Nalie. She showed it to Kai. Umma had a good laugh when Kai said aloud, "Bad dog." Earlier, Kai picked up the other half of a plastic Easter egg and showed it to me. This is where he keeps him M & Ms. His little finger was poking through a hole. He asked me, "Umpha what happen?" I told him that, "Bad dog ate it!" He remembers when the turtle was shown to him and Umma told him that Nalie ate it...and repeated the phrase right away.
Ouch! Put Medicine!
I had a fire going on in the fireplace this morning. It was a bit chilly the night before. We did not venture outside at all today...He did with Umma after she came back from aerobics. Since before Christmas I had been lightning the fire place which Kai enjoys very much. He just loves to watch it. He knows that it is "fire" and it is "hot." I played a joke on him pretending to catch the glowing fire in my hands..." you ouch." He then grabbed my hands and started giving them a few kisses. "Now it's better, no more ouch!" I had a cut in my index finger from one of my plant leaves. I put some Neosporin and a band aid on it. I didn't want it to get wet either, so I put on a rubber finger cot. He noticed that and asked me what happen...When I told him that I have an "ouch" there, he immediately wanted to "open," meaning removing the cot and the bandage..."Put medicine!" Whenever he get little scratches, bug bites etc. I always tell him that I will put medicine so it will be better. This is one situation that tops the saying; "imitation is the best compliment!"
I see you Umpha!
Since his head is tall enough to see above the dresser now, he can reach anything there that catches his fancy. Yesterday, he noticed the small flashlights and he wanted them. There was a small purple one that he said is Kai-Kai flashlight and he gave me the bigger one..."Umpha flashlight." I asked him to go with me in the bathroom and close the door...told him it's dark here. We ended up flashing the light at each other and this was a real treat for him. Today, it was the same thing as he remember that it was fun for him.
Catfish Nuggets...Huh good!
We had catfish nuggets for lunch today. I had some in sour-miso soup and crisp fried the rest. We are not expecting him to join us because he had eaten quite a bit of everything that was put in his mouth from his breakfast time to the time they came back from the park. He however did join us...When i asked him if he likes to eat fish, he said..."Yes." I fed him a small piece initially...reaction? "Huh good."
He ate the small pieces I put on his plate by himself. In between I will give him some rice and a sip of my juice. He had his share of catfish today and I gave him some light meringue cookie for dessert. Back to the TV room and we watched "Tom and Jerry."

Monday, January 16, 2006


Antics and Mischiefs
I can define Kai-Kai as "really a boy!"
From the very beginning he started to walk, he was always into everything! He was always interested in everything that was around him. I remember that he used to have his little hands inside the waist of his pants and walked with a swagger like cowboy. When our neighbor saw him, her comment was, "Man, that is really a man thing." Funny thing is that the swagger walk became a "penguin walk." We still stomp our feet like the Germans when we march. He knows that the dumbbells are for exercise..."one two."
He was introduced to worms, rolly-pollies, spiders and snails in the backyard. Today that was what we are doing in the backyard. He remembers that to look for worms, he has to upturn stones and sometimes tilt the flower pots. He knows that he will be lucky to find them there. Some parents will be squeamish about this. I know Tisha won't pick up a worm or a snail! I provide him with a stick to explore the crevices, nooks and crannies in the yard. We have no luck for spiders today. Today, he was near the fence and lifted a five gallon water bottle aside and he was able to find a worm. He was so excited. "Umpha...Umpha worm!" Poor worm! It was picked and poked! Later we hunted for some snails. Since it is getting cold nowadays, the snails are coming out, but they are small ones. One thing he learned from Umpha is we have to step on them. He use to do that himself, but not lately. He will pick the snail and place it next to my foot. "Umpha step!" He will not do this anymore because he does not want an "eeew" on his foot. He always inspects the soles of his shoes to see if they are dirty and when they are..."Umpha clean." Lately he has started to use the doormat before entering the house. Washing his hands after we have been exploring outside is no problem...of course he loves water.
He love girls! He played with the two small girls across the street and he even remembers the name of one of the girls...Lulu. It was only lately that he can relate to the boys in the park...but cautiously. This is one thing that his Umma who mostly accompanies him in the park is working on. A few weeks back, the park caretaker noticed that and he commented, "So you don't talk to strangers huh." Probably in due time he will be able to be more sociable. He is only comfortable with the people he knows. I would like him to learn to shake hands when introduced to his uncle would do when he was a small boy in Italy. Rodin would extend his hand whenever introduced to somebody.
I was doing something today and I noticed that he is wiping the floor with a paper towel. I asked him what is he doing and he answered me..."I'm cleaning house." I left him alone, but Umma came later and said, "Look what your grandson is doing!" The paper towel was un-rolled all over the dinning room. He was laughing while I tried to roll the paper back on to the tube. He tried to catch the end of the roll and I think that was some fun for him...That's my boy!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I learned something new today which re-enforced some of my old know how about boys. Some of the lessons came as I watched "Raising Cain," a program that was recently aired on PBS. The shows title comes from the 1999 best selling book by Don Kindlon and Michael Thompson; who also host this compelling and insightful documentary.
Thompson covers, as best he can in two hours, the spectrum of boys' emotional development, from birth to adolescence.
There are eye opening moments along the way, beginning with a segment on the difference between boys and girls as an infants. There are mothers in the room, playing with babies, then turning their backs on them to see how the babies respond. The girls amuse themselves, but the boys become agitated and cry.
Narrating these scenes, Thompson says boys need a lot of things, and we're unaware of most of them. He points out that, over the past 30 yeas, the focus has been on girls; making things more equal in the classroom and on the athletic field.
"At the end of 30 years, girls are out performing boys in school." "Girls are kicking butt," Thompson says. "Boys are standing still."
One of the problems is our approach to boys. That's clear as I watched an elementary school teacher work with her class. Everyday she sat with each student, as they dictated stories to her. The goal was to build literacy by encouraging them to write and use their imaginations. But when one of the boy's stories includes the death of a horse, the girls say they don't like it. They don't like the violence. They'd rather the horse "fainted. " The expression on the boy's face said it all.
Thompson makes a point that might startle you as it did me. What we perceive as violent thoughts in a boy's head makes us nervous and must be discouraged. But what is really being discouraged is the boy's interest in writing and perhaps in reading. Thompson says we have to stop thinking that a boy's natural desire to rough-house and to create scary stories, means he will become a serial killer and therefore must be stifled.
Kai hasn't been given a toy gun...but he has played with airplanes, even before he turned two years old. He fashioned airplanes out of two combs. He had inserted a stick in the windows of his toy cars and pretended that they were airplanes flying in the sky. The example is not the same as in the documentary, but I think it is a classic example of a boy exhibiting what it means to be a boy. I guess, that simply means we need to have a better understanding of what makes a boy a boy and relax.
There was a boy named Kevin in the movie. The concept became clear when he was featured. In his classroom, he is antsy and unfocused. Kevin was used in the movie to hammer home the point that boys are more physical and need more recess time to burn off energy. When they don't have those outlets, they become "problems" in the classroom and end up on medication. But Kevin was not one of these "problems", because he has a male teacher who understand boys. When Kevin gets rowdy, his teacher sends him to walk through the halls to burn off his excess energy.
As the program continues, Thompson introduced us to boys without fathers. Boys whose voices are filled with sadness and anger over their loss. And one whose dad has stayed in his life despite divorce and how much of a difference that has made. We met boys whose mentors may be all that is keeping them from, joining the gangs. Boys who talk eloquently about what it likes to be "different." Boys whose aggression is their way of of coping with fears they don't dare discuss, and boys in solid families whose parents know that their sons may look like grown ups but still need nurturing and guidance.
When the movie ended, I began to reflect on the relationship I had with my dad. He was reared by a very strict Spanish father of the old school. "Centuron" or the belt is always a quick draw. At an early age, I dreaded the time when he came home from his dental office. Boys will be boys, and I was not any different from getting myself into mischief. It stopped after my other brothers came into our family. I can't blame him. He was just following what he had learned from my grandfather. The very first time my dad visited us, he complimented me for doing a good job with Rodin and Tisha.
It is true, boys will be boys. And "Raising Cain" will help us see what that really means.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


After New Years, the computer seemed to have a mind of it's own and decided to shut down. It was Tisha and Mike to the rescue. They found out that my hard drive was the problem. It seems that it had been collecting moisture from where it was positioned...near the window. Now, it is under the table just below my knee behind a curtain. At the least they were able to save the things I have, except the
"20 odd pages journal" that I had mentioned previously. I tried to find it last night but to no avail the file is gone. Who knows it might be somewhere hidden and I am hoping to locate it. I am still trying to get myself acquainted to the lay-out of the system.
"I'll fix it..."
Kai has been fixing things that have been broken lately!
I have no idea how it started, but anytime or anything that you tell him that it is broken, he will immediately tell you..."I'll fix it!" I will make faces and tell him my face is broken...he will run his little hands on my face and will say , "Umpha. it's fixed!" This gave me an idea...Once in a while he will be on what I call a "snitch," and will cry if he does not get his way. As soon as he starts to cry, I will tell him that his face will be broken...!!! He will touch his face gently, run it all over his chin and the tantrum will abruptly stop...because he will fix his face. Now, he does not have any those moments of "snitches."
Today while we are outside, he noticed Joe across the street fixing his car. He asked me... "Umpha, what happen?" I told him that Joe's car is broken..."I'll fix!"
So we crossed the street and watched Joe tapping a screw driver on the water pump. He tapped something too and lo and behold Joe's car is fixed. He remembered that Joe has a rabbit and a German shepherd, so we went to the back yard to visit them. He played ball with the dog and fed the rabbit with some grass
I provided him. I have to cajole him going home or else we are going to be there for a while.
"Gifts from Newark"
There was a package by the front door from Umma's sister. I have an inkling that it must be something for Kai. It does not have Kai's name on the package, instead the address was "care of Corazon Morales." I called Kai to open it, since he had too much practice during Christmas. It did not take him long to rip the wrapping. When he saw what was inside...his first word was..."WOW!" It was a electric car...his favorite toy. The other one in the package was M & M dispenser; a blue M & M on a motorcycle, complete with a red helmet. I just couldn't believe that he was able to figure out how the chocolate will come out. He was able to discern that by pushing the leg it will give him the chocolate. Now we got to have a supply of "MM." One thing I can say about him...he does not pig-out, a couple will satisfy him and then he goes to another activity.
Christmas is still on his mind. He still ask what happened to the tree and where is Santa. I told him that the tree went to the garbage truck and Umma told him that Santa and the Snowman went home to North Pole because Christmas is finished. I think it will take time for him to grasp the idea.
Kai will eat anything that is familiar to him. I introduced him to shrimps and when I did I told him "we are going to cook shrimp and after we are going to eat them." I had him seated on the counter and he watched Umpha cook the shrimps. He loves them! This is the same with crabs...I bought some live dungeons crab one day...Introduced him to the wriggling crabs in my hand and told him the same thing with the shrimps. He watched the crabs in boiling water and he noticed that they are turning red...very good observation! To this date, he has so far graduated to eating Alaskan King crabs. I was not so sure what will be his reaction with the squids. He knows squids from pictures in his books and can identify them as such. It turns out that he outdid his Mommie. Tisha won't eat them. I have a way of cooking squid that they will not turn rubbery. The secret is when the squid turn opaque while cooking, remove from heat, they are done and ready to eat. When cut into small pieces, Kai loves them.
Some kids grew up with just a handful of pictures or none at all when they were young. I grew up with one of those rectangular cameras that when you open it there is some kind of black accordion that holds the lens. I was blessed by having a Dad that likes to take pictures of me when I was growing up. I am glad that my Mom was able to save some of them before our house was burned during the liberation of Manila (World War II). With Kai, he got his share of fame very early. His picture was taken even when he was still in his Mommie's tummy. The day he was born, he had his pictures taken within a minute of his arrival to this world. I have no idea how many pictures Tisha & Mike have in their collection, but I can boast that I have more than a thousand in mine. Kai knows what a camera is and
what it can do. Whenever I take a picture of him, he would like to see it...Thanks to digital invention! I found a toy camera in my studio while cleaning and I gave it to him. As soon as I gave it to him, he started inspecting how it work. Oh yes! He was able to find the shutter. One day while he was with Umma at the park, he took pictures of Gerry the maintenance man of the park and of the older couple who have known him since he was three months old. He calls them "other Umpha and other Umma" which delights the couple.
"Learning Tagalog"
Lately in the news, Bush has advocated for the American people to follow suit among the Europeans who speak at least two foreign languages. As a Filipino, it was easy for me to grasp any languages. I grew up in a Spanish speaking household by my father's side. I never mastered the Spanish language because I fee indifferent to my aunts who I think are snooty. In those days, colonial mentality still predominantly existed. Spanish language was considered the language of people who are on the top of the totem pole and who look down at the masses. I hated that even when equal opportunity was not in existence yet. Mind you I was very young then. My Dad communicated with my Grandfather in Spanish. My Mom who has more Chinese blood in her vein, speaks Tagalog and English when appropriate. Our household practically spoke "taglish" (Tagalog-Spanish) We always have reading materials; daily newspaper in English. I might have an accent or at times lose my "p's" and "f's," maybe my "v's," but, what the heck! I can speak a few languages other than that I was born with and could be understood by the foreign listeners. I know some Chinese words from my maternal grandmother. Japanese was taught in school during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. I learned Italian while living in Italy during my stint in the Navy. There are times here in the house with Kai, Umma and I speak Tagalog. Kai is very a sponge. Like a parrot, he repeats what he hears.
One day, while playing with the water in the bucket, he wet his pants and both of his shirt sleeves. I made an exclamation remark in Tagalog..."ay dios ko!"
look what have you done! He caught the "ay dios ko." and has been using it as one of his version of "oh my gosh." He learned the "oh my gosh" from the TV series of Dora. I think the "hey man" came from the same show. In retrospect, I hope that he will learn other languages when he grows up.