Friday, December 28, 2007

Rama as Melanie Marquez

Rama was complaining that I was taking too much time before I played with her:

Rama: Mommy, it's taking you a long, long time ago!

Monday, December 24, 2007


The snow from last weekend's storm melted. And walking around our neighborhood, the grass was out again.

Rama: Great to see you back, grass!

A few more paces...

Rama: Great to see you back, putek!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Xmas Story 1

Ok. How can I not love her? She wrote up a list for Santa, where the #2 item was "Salad. For my mom."

Her #1 item was just some toy eggs. Which I already got for her. I'm grateful this one was easy. Unlike the decapitated Barbie head she asked for last year.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Yes, It is the Biggest Bowel Movement of a Woman's Life

Rama now likes to hear stories of how she was born and what she was like as a baby. She likes the blow-by-blow of how many times I screamed, but it was all generally easy. In contrast, her cousin had to be pulled out with forceps. So birthing is currently top-of-mind for her.

Rama: I need to poo. Uhm, Mommy, pag nanganganak ba, parang nag-poo-poo rin?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday Round-up

We are on our way to my office for the annual kids' party. Here, we are just outside our building waiting for our ride. It's going to be great: Santa will be there!
When we get there, the escalator to the venue is not working. It wasn't broken,just an energy-conservation thing. Rama: I wish Santa will give them batteries so the escalator can work.

She made friends with Emily.

When the party broke up at around 2 pm, Emily bugged her mom, I want to go to Rama's house. So they went home for a while, got their bathing suits and came to our place. The girls had fun, whether it was with Rama's castle or at the pool. Rama was a most gracious host: Emily went home with her own crown and some candy. I was grateful for this spur-of-the-moment playdate - Rama had been asking me why no one ever visited us.

After Emily had gone home, we opened the gift that Rama got from the office christmas party. (I didn't think of waiting until Christmas for opening of gifts - we don't have a tree yet where gifts could sit and wait.) It was this Dancerella Set - instructional DVD, headset-microphone, and a numbered mat for practicing dance moves. The blurb: "Learn to move like your favorite popstar! ... Bella's 45-minute video and dance mat will teach you how easy it is to become a show-stopping superstar with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. Join Bella and friends as they show you all the hottest moves to wow audiences - big and small."

When it comes to dancing and rhythm, Rama took after me. We both suck. We WILL dance. With great energy and enthusiasm. But it's not pretty to look at. And we can't catch up with instructional videos. Five minutes into the video, she turns to me: Mommy, I can't handle it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Language Getting Colorful

I don't remember exactly what I was pointing out to her on one of our walks. It might have been racoon tracks or something. But I sure remember her response to something that was unexpected.

She actually said, "What the...?"
She didn't complete it, of course. I tried to control my reaction. I simply asked, "What does that mean?"
She explained, "It means you're gulat."

Pee Power

Me: Ok. we're leaving in a bit. You want to try to pee?
Rama: Sure! I can pee when you want me too. I can also pee when teacher wants me too.

So she pees on command.

Me: How can you do that?
Rama: I have powers, remember?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Helping Out

We had dinner at the house of Rama's Papi. Post-dinner, Rama and I were just playing. After a while, I said, "Wait, I have to help your Papi clean up." She agreed, "Ok, we'll help." So we made our way to the kitchen. At that point, her dad piped in, "Rama, I just need you to finish the milk."

Rama to me: "Di ba, you wanted to help Papi? Drink my milk."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday Round-up

It was an easy, but fairly full, Saturday. It was cold, but there was no way that she was NOT wearing that tiara.

We started off at the Village Playhouse for a show about an ant and his friend the snail. After that was a hearty lunch at Dr. G, just across the theatre. Then we went downtown to shop a bit. Turns out, there was a performance at the park! It was the day that the lights in the park were to be lit for the holidays; before the countdown, there was to be a circus act. By the Aerial Angels. They were a fun act - fire eating, aerial silk acrobatics and contortions. ("When we succeed with a trick, it's acrobatic splendor. When we fail, it's comedy.") Of course, later that day, Rama and I would manage to copy some of the tricks, with some easy flips and tumbles.
She held our spot on the rock while I lined up for hot chocolate.

The hot choco (with melting marshmallows!) was a perfect foil to the chilly weather. Brrr!

Rama Castle

Rama got a star for this. She was so proud when she went home that day with stories about how all her other classmates wanted to touch her project. The brief was simply to construct any 3d structure to demonstrate shapes. I guess we got excited.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Night at the Museum

Friday Nights at the Royal Ontario Museum are fun and kid-friendly. Kids are toured around by the resident flutist/piper. Rama would later tell family that she saw "Bears. Dead. But sitting. Crocodile. Dead. Dinosaur. Also dead." She also was fascinated by the mummy (who died of a toothache).

After the tour, we had time for a bite. Making our way to the cafeteria, Rama asks, "Is there salad there?" Yes. "Tofu?" Not sure. She just wanted me to be happy.

After the meal, we took in a show. The blurb on the brochure said it was a band, but it was actually just one singer/songwriter, Lynn Miles, who played the guitar, harmonica, and piano. One of her spiels went, "This next song is about love and alcohol. Not a good combination."

Rama, not too softly: "I know this song!"

That seemed to amuse some people around us.

How Did She Know?

I'm eating my fifth (sixth?) cookie. I manage to rationalize that I'm merely making room in the jar for the cookies that were left waiting in the original packaging. With a mouthful of cookies and heart wracked with guilt, I sit beside Rama. She looks at me and says, "You can't have enough cookies?"


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend Round-up

So last Saturday night, Rama and I joined Toronto's culturati at the ballet. (We got choice seats; I entered a haiku-writing contest and won the tickets). Anastasia sustained her attention for two whole hours. And she applauded with gusto at the appropriate times. Of course there were men in tights. White tights, no less. But for some reason, the male leads wore normal pants. Rama noticed: "I can't see the guy's bum-bum."

On another note, Rama was tripping on this Sunday afternoon. (I work in advertising, and I was enjoying this look into the ad world. I happened to open it when she was nearby. She came over, caught most of it and asked to see this over and over). In the evening, she was reciting dialog from the sketch. "Free show! Free show!"

One thing I learned about her today is that she can scroll to HISTORY and click on the link she wants by herself.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


So we went trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Career ang halloween decor - one house was Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. (I'm sure they were from the advertising industry somehow.) I learned that last year, their concept was Hitchcock's Birds. Glad I missed that. Here's Willy with Captain Jack Sparrow. We realized we were both characters played by Johnny Depp!

And here's one view of the Wonka lawn.

Rama was in her usual princess garb. Dressing up for Halloween didn't seem like too big a deal for us - she wears her tiara everyday and dons her princess gowns to the park on a regular Saturday afternoon. So I wonder what I will do to make it more special for her.

When her bag was half-full with candy, she started casting worried glances at me. After a few more houses, she said to me, "Ayaw ko na." I didn't understand it! "Pagod ka na?" She shakes her head. "Baka I might get a stomachache sa dami ng candy."

I just explained that we don't have to eat everything at once. And we would share most of it with others.

Later that evening, we spread all the candy on the living room floor. We asked the other kids and adults what their faves were and we gave them their faves from our pile. One dad, we heard, liked Wonderbar - we left a lot in his shoes, as a surprise. Another kid got all our Cadbury Caramilk. Rama kept all the Reeses for me. And then she asks me, "Are you happy?"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pumpkin Carving at High Park

Another event leading up to Halloween is the annual Pumpkin Carving and Float at High Park. It's pretty straightforward - for $2, you get to pick a pumpkin from the back of the truck. Go the shed where organizers have set up knives, spoons, basins, wet wipes. And carve away. As first-timers, I'd say we did pretty good. Except Rama was vacillating between This is fun and This Is Gross. Eww daw, as I was emptying the gourd of flesh and seeds. She's a prissy one.
After you carve your pumpkin, walk over to the nearby wading pool. There you get a black styrofoam plate and a tealight. Light up your pumpkin and let it float on the pool. Pretty neat. But we didn't hang around long enough to actually see the lit lanterns at twilight. And Rama did not want to part with her pumpkin, so we took ours home.
There was also a side event, a pony ride. I asked Rama if she wanted to ride. She just wanted to play in the playground. I asked her why. "Baka the horse doesn't like me."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What To Think About, Late At Night

Late night. Playtime with Rama. On the floor, with princesses.

Rama: Ok, what story do we make up now?
Me: I can't stop thinking about ice cream.
Rama: Oh, you can't think about ice cream, you can't have ice cream, 'cause we already toothbrush. Think about, uhmmm, vegetables!

More on Playtime

So I was down on the floor with Rama, playing with her princesses. It was an ocean scene, with the prince and princesses on a boat. I had Ariel. Ariel swam to the edge of the boat and chatted up the prince.

Me, as Ariel: Hi, Prince! Ano'ng ginagawa niyo dito?
Rama, protesting vehemently: Hindi Tagalog! Hindi naman si Ariel nag-tatagalog!
Me: Bakit?
Rama: Tignan mo sila, mukha silang lahat English! Hindi Tagalog!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Today, we went to check out the zombie walk. Rama asked, Are they real zombies? I just said it was all pretend. But when you see them en masse, it's still pretty creepy.

But fun! Before the walk started, there were prizes awarded to the scariest walk, the scariest moan, etc. The scariest of all was a zombie carrying a plate of brains. With a lone candle on top. It was actually made of jello. But you wonder where he got the mold.

I managed to get her to pose with some zombies. Her favorites were the zombie brides. But after a while, she wouldn't pose anymore. She didn't enjoy the parade as much as I thought she would - come to think of it, it's been weeks since she asked for a scary story.

Rama At Play

One of my favorite things about Rama is watching her play solo. She can go on for hours making up stories with her princesses. Here, they are having a concert. On a concert stage. Made out of Jenga blocks.

Sometimes she asks other adults to play with her. After a while, she'll eventually say, Can I play by myself? So, more often, it's just really her in her own world.

Monday, October 15, 2007


One of the games that Rama tried to play on line is Picnic Panic. It's pretty simple - spray the ants with your ant spray before they take any food. I helped Rama with the instructions and then left her. When I checked back, she wasn't playing at all and was just watching the screen.

Me: Hindi ka na naglalaro?
Rama: Hinahayaan ko lang sila kunin yung food. Hindi ako nag-spray. Kasi naaawa ako sa kanila.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Saturday Round-up

In the morning, we chatted with family in Manila. She showed off her new toys. At two, we caught a puppet show at a nearby bookstore. After that we played in a nearby park and grabbed some fish n chips. We had a brief argument here - she wanted fries, but I didn't want to go to the fish n chips place at first because the line-up was too long. Eventually, after a short trip back to the bookstore and a quick check at a nearby patisserie, we ended up at the fish n chips place. While waiting for the order, Rama chastises her mother: Sabi ko sa yo kanina pa, dito talaga dapat tayo. Ok lang naman ang maraming tao. 'Pag wala nang tao, ibig sabihin, close na yung store.

All in all, it was a good day. Rama said so herself. On the ride back home: Mommy, it's a very nice day. I'm so happy.


I bought Rama a new set of pens. One end was the usual pen, and the other end had simple shapes -hearts, flowers, dolphin- that you could stamp. One of the shapes was a spiral. So I thought I would teach her.

Me: Rama, that's a spiral.
Rama: No, that's cinnamon.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Rama hams it up while we take a walk by the lakeshore.

It's a cloudy Saturday. But, dry, thankfully. We just played around. She wanted to take home interesting rocks. Of course, I dissuaded her. She made like Ariel; we were near a body of water, after all. We went into the neighborhood trattoria for my coffee and her gelato. Then walked a little bit further to the butterfly habitat. Then made our way back home for dinner and more cuddles.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Waking up next to Rama is a joy. Excellent for my ego. The following ode is pretty standard morning fare.

Rama to me, while cuddling: Your so cute! Cuter than a squirrel. Cuter than a teddy bear. Cuter than a kitty cat. Cuter than a pink puppy with a ribbon on her head!

You're beautifuler than Tinkerbell. You're beautifuler than my favorite mer-fairy.

Some mornings are funnier than others. One time, she was being silly: You're so cute-icle!


I don't think I've ever met a 5 year-old as involved with hair as Rama. Her favorite toys include a couple of long wigs (one fuschia, one blonde and wavy). She has a systematic, standard, precise way of brushing her hair, short as it may be - brush sides down, brush front down, then the final stroke: one clean brush of the front to the side. Ever since Honey taught her this way to brush, she had never deviated, as far as I know. And she never leaves home without her crown. So she's pretty much all about hair/head. Last night, on the way home in a cab, she noticed the driver's hair (or lack of it).

Rama: Bakit wala siyang buhok sa likod?
Me: 'Pag tumatanda, nakakalbo na talaga.
Rama: Eh ang mga lola?
Me: Ganun din. Nakakalbo din.
Rama: Pa'no pag naging lola na ako?
Me: Ganun din.
Rama: Ayokong makalbo forever!

Disclaimer: Photo taken while hamming it up on the subway. Cab ride came later in the evening. The delivery of the line was quite deadpan, as usual.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kwentong Canton

I realized that Rama was spending way too much time at her Papi's house after this exchange:

Me: Rama, I can make you brocolli tonight! Would you want that?
Rama: Can you make... pancit canton?

And from what I know of his household, the pancit canton there is more the Lucky kind.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


After work, I go to the park to meet and pick up Rama. She was enjoying a cup of raspberry-flavored ice cone. She promptly offered me a taste.

Mommy, have some! It's yummy! Tastes like medicine!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mr. Henry Sy...

Me: Rama, anong mas gusto, magkaroon ng wings para makalipad, o tail gaya ng mermaid?
Rama: Wings.
Me: 'Pag nagka-wings ka, sa'n ka naman pupunta?
Rama: Sa SM.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How Old Are You?

Ever since Rama could ask this question, I had been consistent in my reply. I always said I was 12 years old. And she never questioned that.

Recently, though, Rama challenged the truth of my statement.

Rama: Mommy, how old are you?
Me: Twelve.
Rama: Pa'no ka naging 12? Ryan (a friend) is 10. So, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10- ELEVEN! TWELVE! Malapit na siya maging adult?!

Or, another argument:

Rama: Pa'no ka naging 12? Eh di, nanganak ka 7 years old ka pa lang?

Laughing Over Buns

Last night at the dinner table, Rama asked, Can I say “butt”?

So is “butt” acceptable for dinner-table conversation? I thought so, so I said yes. (Earlier, I had pointed out that “utot” was impolite to say over a meal. Likewise “poop”)

Apparently, she wanted to share a bit of a memory.

Rama: Nu’ng sumakay kami ng airplane ni Mommy, binigay nu’ng Miss, tinapay na mukhang “butt.”

I had forgotten about that. It was on our flight from Manila to Toronto. We both had a good laugh about that bun. Funny what sort of things kids remember.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Here's Rama as a Springfield resident.

Thanks to

She's Soooo Easy

Going to bed, I'm prepping Rama for the following day.

Me: Rama, tomorrow, we're going to do laundry, then lunch, then we'll take the subway, there's just one thing I have to do. And then after all that, we can do whatever you want. We can go to the zoo, the park - anything.
Rama: OK.

The following morning, upon waking up, she says, sleepily: Mommy, I don't want anything. We can do whatever YOU want.

She made no demands that day. I got to do all my errands. But when we found ourselves in H&M later in the day and she saw ballet slippers that she wanted to buy, she held me to my word.

Rama: Can I buy this?
Me: Today is just for looking, Rama. We're not getting anything.
Rama: But last night you said I can do whatever I want!
Me: I said we can DO whatever you want - not BUY whatever you want.
Rama: Oh. Ok.

I'm not sure what, exactly, but I must've done something right with this child.

Picture taken on her birthday this year at her school. She turned 5 last May.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Concern for Angels

Rama: Mommy, pa'no nag-poo-poopoo ang angels, wala namang washroom kay lord?
Me: Hindi natin alam 'yon. Malay mo, may washroom sila.
Rama: Ay, oo nga. Eh, pa'no yung wings nila, mababasa sa toilet?
Me: Na-fo-fold yun. Or yung iba, may sabitan.
Rama: Ahhh, ok.

Ever contemplated angel poo?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


At the fruit market, we were chatting with the guy at the counter. Rama asked me if the guy at the check-out counter was Filipino. He was, in fact, Chinese. But I verified.

Me to Chinese guy: You're Chinese, right?

Guy says yes. To Rama, he says, "You look Chinese, too!"

Rama: No, I'm Filipino. But I speak English because you can't understand Tagalog.


Monday, August 13, 2007

From Stardust to Scatology

I was prepping Rama before we saw Stardust. In the movie, a fallen star (Claire Danes) is on the run from an evil witch who wants to eat her heart out - literally. So we were talking about the physical heart.

Me: Close your fist, Rama. Ganyan kalaki ang heart mo sa loob. Tapos, may mga butas yan.
I proceed to hold my fist up, make quick pumping movements and, add my sound effects, puh-pum, puh-pum, puh-pum.

Me: Alam mo ba kung bakit ganyan ang sound?
Rama: Kasi umuutot siya?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Scents of Childhood and Home

Summers here in Toronto are hot and humid. One evening, it was so humid, I brought out my rationed stash of Johnson's Baby Cologne and enjoyed the cool, fragrant sprays.

Rama: 'Pag naaamoy ko yan, nami-miss ko Pilipinas.

She went on to explain how when I came home from work, this is what she smelled when we hug and kiss.

Attention Mr. Henry Sy

Rama, with some impatience: Bakit dito sa Canada, walang SM? Bakit hindi ko nakikita?

The Shaping Of Identity

I made miso soup for Rama one dinner. She ate all of the tofu and the seaweed, but there was still a lot of broth left.

Me: Rama, pwede mo yang inumin from the bowl. Parang Japanese, ganito sila uminom ng soup.
Rama: Eh bakit ko iinumim na ganun, eh Pilipino naman ako, hindi Japanese! (Pause) Pero ngayon, English ako, because I'm in Canada.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Something About A Man In Uniform?

Over dinner tonight, Rama shared a story on current events.

Rama: Alam mo, may pulis na namatay.

A police officer died in the line of duty last week here in Greater Toronto Area. Grabbed headlines, big funeral, etc. But I little did I know Rama would be up to speed on those things!

Me: Paano mo nalaman?
Rama: Diyaryo!


Me: Nabasa mo?
Rama: No. Mamu.

Her lola on her dad's side, Mamu, recently paid a visit.

Rama: Bakit siya namatay?
Me: Hero siya. Habang hinuhuli niya yung bad people, sinubukan nilang makatakas. Nakasabit yung police sa car. So nakaladkad siya. Patay.

Through all this, Rama was listening in rapt attention. She seemed very concerned. The mood was not light at all.

Rama: Is it real?
Me. Yes.

I looked around the house for a copy of the paper. I remember seeing the paper with the cover story of the burial lying around. On today's page 3, there was his picture, copied above. So I showed it to Rama.

Me: Eto siya o.
Rama: Uy! Gwapo!


As Rama and I were exiting our building lobby, we were singing The Magic Song from the 1950 Cinderella:

Rama and Me, chorus: Salagadoola Michi Kaboola bibbi-di bobbi-diboo. Put them together and what have you got? Bibbidi bobbidi boo!

Big Black Guy who overheard: That's an interesting language!

Me: It's Disney.

Toronto is home to virtually all the world's culture groups and where more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken. Amusing how residents can never assume that what they're hearing is acually just simple nonsense.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

On World War 2

Rama and I, while taking a walk in the neighborhood, chanced upon a war memorial. So I had to explain what it was about.

Me: Ang nakasulat diyan, tungkol sa gera.
Rama: Ano yung gera?
Me Fighting. Big guns. Not nice. So a long time ago, some Canadians were sent to this war. In Korea.
Rama: Oh no! May friend ako, Korean siya!

Cats and Dogs

In child rearing, the question of pets will somehow figure in the equation. Rama and her Papi are contemplating getting a pet.

Rama: Gusto ko, cat.
Papi: Gusto ko, dog.
Rama: Sige. Ganito na lang. Cat na mukhang dog.

Issue unresolved. Discussion shelved for another time.


At Centre Island, Rama noticed that a boy, maybe 9 years old, was walking by himself. He was going towards us, and he stood out. He was of East Indian descent. Wearing a head scarf. And dressed in adult clothes. Grey slacks, black shoes, sky blue trubinized polo shirt. (Some parents are just that way, I guess). Rama wondered why he was walking solo.

Rama: Yung bata, bakit wala siyang kasamang adult?
Me: I don't know.
Rama: Baka unano siya.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Of Suntans and Sweat

Rama got so dark after a long weekend at Niagara. After a couple of days, some of her friends were peeling. I was explaining to Rama how different people react differently to sun exposure.

Me: Ang tawag diyan, sunburn. Some people just get darker and darker. Some people get dark for a while and then nagbabalat and they go back to their old color. For others, it just fades. Ako, when I stay under the sun for a long time, I get red.

Rama: Haha! Red! Ako, I get pawis.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Princess Pretend

We spent one Saturday at Centre Island. Highight of course was this carousel ride. At the start of the ride, I thought I'd stand next to Rama's horse.

Me: Pwede ba ako dito, tabi lang tayo?
Rama: Ok.... Ay hindi pwede. Kasi mag-p-pretend ako na princess ako. Eh ang princess naman, walang katabi na ganyan.

This pic was taken AFTER the ride.


Kuwentuhan mo ako ng nakakatakot.

Like I mentioned in the previous post, Rama now has a fascination for scary stories.

While we were waiting for our orders in a neighborhood restaurant, she was asking for a scary story while eating the salt. By itself. As in, papak. I stopped her from having too much, of course. But I was reminded of a scary creature who hated salt.

I thought I'd throw in some good ol' Filipino folklore. I told her about the manananggal.

Me: Alam mo ba kung ano ang manananggal? Sa araw, maganda siya. Pero sa gabi, nahahati ang katawan niya. Tinutubuan siya ng pakpak. Pero para na siyang bruha. Ang tawag sa kanya, manananggal. Lumilipad siya, naghahanap ng makakain. Alam mo ano ang hinahanap niya? Buntis! Pumupunta siya sa bubong ng bahay ng buntis. Humahaba ang dila niya, naaabot ang tiyan ng buntis tapos dun niya hinihigop ang baby! (You want horror, you get horror!) Ang tawag din minsan sa kanya, tiktik. Kasi yun yung tunog habang pumapasok yung dila sa bubong. tik tik tik tik. (I don't think this is accurate, but anyhoo.) So alam mo ba ano ang panlaban sa manananggal? Asin. Pag nilagay mo yan sa naiwang kalahating katawan, hindi na siya makakabalik. Aabutan na siya ng sikat ng araw at mamamatay na siya.

Rama: Mangyayari ba yun dito? (We are currently in Toronto, Canada)

Me: Hindi. Sa Pilipinas lang merong manananggal.

Rama, concerned: Pa'no na si Honey? Nasa Pilipinas siya...

Honey is her beloved Lola. Whom she calls by first name. Who is a bit overweight.

Rama: Baka akala ng manananggal, buntis siya!

Later that day, Socky, who was on her way back to Manila, had to say goodbye to Rama.

Socky: Rama, aalis na ako. Babalik na ako sa Pilipinas.
Rama: Buti na lang, hindi ka buntis.

Lotus Feet, Feng Shui

Kwentuhan mo ako ng nakakatakot.

This is Rama's current fascination - horror stories. I don't know who or what started it. I suppose all kids go through this phase where they find some pleasure in scaring themselves silly. Rama will make me pull up the Feng Shui trailer on youtube, only for her to cover her ears. And make me cover her ears on top of her hands covering her ears!

Once, the request was more specific. Kuwentuhan mo ako ng Feng Shui. And we had no access to youtube - we were waiting at the subway.

I don't remember the entire plot. The most I remember is that a whole lot of them died after looking into the mirror. And after some kind of prophecy. (I distinctly remember Lotlot de Leon, after a prophecy of something like may kabayo sa kamatayan mo, falls to her death from a 2nd story window of a house on top of crates of Red Horse beer). So I really didn't know how to give Rama her horror fix when all I could remember really was the plotline: people-looked-into-a-cursed-mirror-and-died.

What I remembered, though, was Lotus Feet. I don't exactly recall the details, but I thought I would throw in some girl-power there - ancienct chinese people bound the feet of their women to keep them weak and subservient etc. Teaching opportunity about women's rights - to walk on full-grown feet!

So in response to Kwentuhan mo ako ng Feng Shui, I talk about Lotus Feet, a key character in the movie and the trailer.

Me: Si Lotus Feet, may-ari nung salamin na may sumpa, taga-China. Noong panahon na 'yon, ang mga babae, ayaw payagan mag-hop, skip, jump, run. Or mag-enjoy mag-laro. So bata pa lang, tinatali na ang paa, nilalagay sa maliit, masikip, masakit na shoes. Para hindi lumaki ang paa nila.

And I went on and on.

Rama: Eh wala naman sa kwento mo si Kris Aquino ha!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Princess Guide 2

So you've read about how seriously she takes this business of taking visitors around. A lot of discussion about where to go, what to do. A snippet from one of our conversations:

Rama: I know! Dalhin natin si Socky sa show!

(I wasn't sure if she meant the children's theatre or concerts at Harbourfront Centre - we go to both.)

Me: Ok, there's a chinese festival today at the Harbourfront...
Rama: Eh hindi naman natin maiintindihan yon!


"The Princess Guide"

Rama makes sure that loved ones visiting enjoy her city! Read about it here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Learn Your Genres, Mommy!

Adults trying in vain to put Rama to bed. She still wanted to stay up and watch a video, High School Musical.

It had been a long day. I thought I would convince her to just ditch the DVD and go to sleep already. Soft, soothing music almost always lulls us to bed.

Me: Kailangan pa ba talaga manood? Pwede ba music na lang? (Without waiting for an answer, I barge ahead) Ok, we're setting up the music. Let's go! Time for music.

Rama, holding the DVD, in exasperation: Music ka ng music, eh music nga ito!

She got to watch her video.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Take The Train?!

Rama and I were planning a route somewhere. So I was running through the steps to get there.

Me: ride bus... yadda yadda... and then, we take the train...
Rama: Take the train? Mabigat yun. Kaya ba natin?

Still struggling with the language, but getting there. Unless she was just trying to be cute? But I doubt it. The question was asked in earnest.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Spaghetti Snob

One afternoon, we visited another Filipino family here in Toronto. After a bit of chit chat, it was time to eat. Our host excitedly served us. "I made spaghetti. It's sweet, so Pinoy!"

Rama looks at her plate. "Ayoko ng may hotdog." Uh-oh. So I pick out the hotdog bits. She takes a bite. She doesn't like it, won't eat it.

I make her a fresh plate: just noodles, olive oil, parmesan. And a few olives. She laps it up.

My friend took it very kindly: Ok itong anak mo ha. Matipid!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Queen of Deadpan

It's a long weekend here in Toronto. Canada Day. What better way to celebrate Canada's birthday than to visit the CN Tower, the world's tallest free-standing tourist trap.

Tickets were on sale, too. And there was a long line-up. While waiting in line, we discussed reasons why it was built. (We later learned that, currently, the primary purpose is tourism. At the time it was built, the tower was for telecommunications - an expensive antenna).

Adult: Bakit kaya nila ginawa ito? Ang taas-taas!
Rama: Para exciting.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Balanced DIet

One of the things that I'm happy about is that Rama eats veggies. She would eat steamed brocolli florets like it was popcorn, to the amazement of some adults. She would nibble on lettuce and celery as snacks. She would ask for more servings of spinach.

While lately she seems to have grown tired of brocolli, she has moved on to other veggies. One of our faves here is artichokes. She enjoys the elaborate ritual of eating it. With confidence, she would instruct other adults on the ritual, too. And she eagerly anticipates the reward at the end - the juicy, tasty heart.

Sinigang was always a favorite, including the kang kong (or spinach). And I had to find a substitute, too, for eggplant, as the eggplants here were massive. No way I could use all that in one small pot of sinigang for two. So instead of talong, brussel sprouts went into my pot. She liked that, too.

Yesterday, we went into a Chinese grocery, which as it turns out, also sells Filipino food. In the veggie aisle, Rama picked out cauliflower. When we got to the Filipino products section, she just had to quickly - even violently - grab this bag that she saw. Sabay sigaw: Chicharon!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

God Bless Our Laundry

Before Rama and I go out on Saturdays for our weekly romp around the city, there are chores to attend to. The usual: cleaning bathroom, scrubbing floors, and of course, laundry.

Laundry system in our building is pretty easy. We have a coin laundry machine in the basement of the building. So here's the drill. Take laundry down. Load. Leave and return in 30 minutes. Then move to dryer. That takes an hour. So you can leave again and come back for it. Of course you have to come back for it at the end of the cycle and not let it stay there for long - both for security and also as a courtesy to others who might want to use the machine.

So Rama and I were up at the apartment. 60 minutes were up.

Me: OK Rama, time to go down, get our laundry!
Rama: Oops, I need to poo.
Me: Uh-oh. Do you really have to go now? We need to get our clothes. Baka mawala.
Rama: It's ok. Babantayan ni Lord.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Social Animal

Random comment from Rama to me: Bakit wala tayong bisita dito?

Note to self: Must make friends.

Libre Mangarap

While watching TV, Rama chanced upon a feature on light aircraft. She saw something like this cessna.

Rama: Gusto ko, meron din tayo niyan.

Jeez, Rama, we just got a couch.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Role Reversal (Or How a 5 yo Dishes Out Advice on Separation Anxiety)

Rama's father and I are separated. (Amicably so, thank god). So far, the arrangement has been to have Rama spend somewhat alternate nights at each parent's home throughout the week.

Last night, she slept at my apartment. But her father came by to visit. And then he goes emo on her.

Rama's Papi: I'll miss you. Pag hindi kita katabi, parang sobra kitang miss, hindi ako makatulog.

Rama looks concerned. She wants to console him. And then this piece of advice, delivered ever so gently:

Rama: 'Pag higa mo, pikit mo lang mga mata mo. Tulog ka lang. Masasanay ka rin.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Sooner or later, it was bound to happen. Today, Rama got a taste of schoolyard bullying.

It was during a field trip to a small farm. It was almost the end of the trip. As volunteer parent, I was helping pour juice for everyone, so I didn't notice what was going on. Rama just came up to me crying. I heard the whole story when we were on the bus back to school.

Basically, one of the girls elbowed her, trying to get her to spill her juice. No spill, so D, another classmate, a boy, taunted, "Do it again, do it again!" So the girl does it again, and Rama's drink spills.

On the fly, I had to comfort her and quickly think of the healthiest, most politically correct way to teach her how to best cope. (Made a mental note, too, to look up bullying on the net.) I made sure my response was sane and sober, as opposed to my initial from-the-gut impulse which was to scream for blood - asan na yang $&*%* batang yan? My little speech went something like this:

Me: Not all kids are good kids all the time. Sometimes, they think they can be happy by making other kids sad. So they can be mean to other kids... They're probably really sad kids, with problems. Kaya sila ganun... Look at D, he's always dragged by his mom kicking and screaming out of the playground, so he can't be very happy. Sad, ano? So Rama, you're better than them. You are a happy kid, and you know how to be happy without making other kids sad. Just play with other kids who are like that, ok? Dami naman diyan good kids.

But the important thing is, don't let them see you cry. You have to be strong. You can cry when you're with mommy na. But don't let them see you. Or else, alam nila na kaya ka nila. And they'll do it again... When they're mean to you, just walk away. Or tell them, I won't let you hurt me. Dun sila natutuwa, kapag nakikita nila na napaiyak nila ang ibang kids. So don't make them happy that way.

Rama, through tears: Siguro naiinggit sila kasi naka-crown ako!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bawal Mamatay

Like most kids, Rama loves the playground. Especially this playground with a castle. So we spend hours on end there. So it's a bit diffcult to get her out of there.

Me: Rama, we gotta go.
Rama: Why?
Me: Gutom na gutom na ako. Pag hindi ako kumain, mamamatay ako. People need to eat.
Rama: OK.

Weeks later, I had already forgotten about this exchange, I coax her out of the playground. It was really time to get some food.

Me: Rama, let's go. I'm hungry.
Rama: Nooooo... Ay, OK. Let's go. Ayokong mamatay ka.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Language Lessons

Car ride with new friends. To keep themselves entertained, kids were playing word games in the back of the car.

Rachel: What did you say, Rama? Tiim?
Rama: No. Tiil. That means, feet.
Rachel: So what's dirty?
Rama; Higko.
Rachel: Clean?
Rama: Tinlo.

And so on.

Rama: What's the english of pako?
Rachel: Nail.
Rama: No, that's kuko.
Rachel's mom: English is funny. They have the same word to mean different things. Those are called synonyms.
Rama: Rhymes with cinnamon.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Royalty To Spare

Rama fancies herself a princess. Or a queen, on some days. She is pictured here with pals Nica, Danielle and Bea. It is a normal weekend. Nothing really special. But Rama needs no excuse to don her royal garb. Any day is a good day to be royalty.

Yesterday, we went to the park. As usual, she was wearing her crown. On the way out the door, she handed me another crown. Put it in your bag, she said.

She would make friends in the park. And soon, she would run up to me and ask for the extra crown. "Can I have the other crown? It's for Savannah (or RIcarda or Ashlyn), she doesn't have one."

Turns out, the extra crown was for sharing! None of the kids took the crown for keeps. Though I don't think Rama would've minded if they did. Queendom is for sharing!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Last night, I was giving Rama a preview of things to come today.

Me: So! Tomorrow, we first make pancakes, then go to the puppet show. Tapos, punta na tayo sa park. Hey, they all start with the letter P! Pancakes, puppets, park! It's P-Day!

Rama, wide-eyed: Yes! And I'll be with Poch!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

So, About This GOD Idea

The Creation has been one of our favorite stories. We go back to it every now and then. Today, while crossing the street, Rama had something on her mind. Something a bit existential, actually.

Rama: Bakit kay God, walang gumawa?

I first heard this question in a college class. Modern philosophy, I think - if god made everything, who made god? Except she already sorted out that, ok, nobody made god (which I don't remember explicitly pointing out). He just IS. Why lang daw kaya.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Birthday Kwento 3

One of Rama's gifts this birthday was a fairy ensemble - wand, headband, armbands, dress, and slippers. The slippers were fabric - really meant for indoors only. They were more like slipper-socks.

So she put on the whole thing and played played played. Soon it was time for the guests (yes, people came and sang to her. So she had the normal birthday ritual - may mga tao) to leave. Rama and I walk them to their cars. I noticed she was still wearing the slippers.

Me: Rama, yang slippers, for inside lang, ok?

Rama: Eh bakit si Tinkerbell? Pwede siyang lumabas naka-ganito.

Me: Kasi most of the time lumilipad siya, hindi siya naglalakad.

Rama: Pilay ba siya?

Friday, May 4, 2007

BIrthday Kwento 2

Birthday went like this. Rama went swimming in the morning. Then she had a nice lunch at a neighborhood cafe - pancakes with real maple syrup! Then came school. After school (where she stalked new crush Zach in the playground), we bumped into new friends who, on a whim, took us to Chuckie Cheese. Think Timezone but brighter and they serve food (pizza and drink-all-you-can from the fountain). So it's a real party place which gets packed on weekends. There were mascots too, except these were mechanized so "the band" was playing and dancing all afternoon. Unlike Jollibee who can only make a 15 minute appearance because the poor crew person inside the mascot could actually collapse from heat and exhaustion. Today, we practically had the place to ourselves.

So the kids did what kids do - go on the kiddie rides, shoot some basketballs, etc. At the end of the afternoon, you collect all your tickets and choose your prize. Rama chose these funky glasses, along with other stuff like beads, a ring, crayons. Everyone loved these glasses.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Birthday Kwento 1

So the plan is to keep it low-key. BIrthday morning. Balloons EVERYWHERE. Around her bed. Then as she lies in bed, still stretching, a little birthday cake with lit candles is brought in. Her Papi and I sing her happy birthday.

Rama: Asan na ang mga tao?

Just Another One Of Those Hirits

Frantic morning. Adult missing wallet. "I think I left it here. No, I think upstairs. Or maybe jacket pocket? Yadda yadda." Adult eventually finds wallet.

Rama: Naglalakad ba ang wallet mo?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

BIrthday! Birthday!

Rama turns 5 on Thursday, May 3.

Last year's celebration was a big shebang. Check out the invite.

This year, it will be very low-key. I thought maybe just cupcakes for all 5 of her classmates. So I asked her teacher and guess what she said: Sure, you can have a little celebration. But nothing edible. ?!? Some kids might be allergic to something or other, so to be safe, no feeding of the schoolkids. Instead, we'll just bring party favors.

I asked her what she wanted. Rama's birthday wish: Sana mag-kasya na si Honey sa seatbelt ng airplane. Para makapunta na siya dito sa Canada.

Honey is Rama's lola, whom she sorely misses. When we moved to Canada, Rama asked why Honey won't be joining us. We just said that Honey was too chubby, she couldn't fit in the airplane seat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Crush

Rama is doing well in her new school. Today when I fetched her, she pointed out somebody to me. "Crush ko siya." It was an Asian-looking boy in Senior Kindergarten. (Turns out mom is Korean, father is Canadian). "Sabihin mo sa kanya crush ko siya."

Me: Rama, kailangan maging friends muna bago natin sabihin sa kanya yun.

Rama: Eh bakit si Malcolm sinabi mo agad?

Me stumped for a sec.

Rama: Kasi grown-up na siya?

Me: Oo!

Rama: Ok.

Actually, I would've approached them, except the boy looked like he was having a tantrum. I got around to it eventually, chatting up the mom and telling her that Rama found the boy cute, and that he was her crush, as Rama requested.

When they were leaving, Mom says to the boy: "Zachary, you want to say goodbye to Rama?" Zachary says bye. Rama simply glows. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How Do You Answer This?

Rama: Napapagod ba si God?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


So we're settling in quite nicely in our new apartment, Rama and I.

The first night that we slept here, all we had was a bed (new delivery) and a borrowed comforter. No pillows, just a rolled up sweater. And for a blanket, a sarong.

Me: Rama, pasensiya na, ito lang ang unan natin ngayon ha.
Rama, gracious as usual: Ok lang, hindi naman ako mahilig.

At some point during the night, she hogged the whole sweater. When she discovered this come morning, she became so concerned and quickly gave me the whole thing. "Ay, wala ka nang unan. Eto, eto..."

On the walk to school, she says this: "Nu'ng sinabi mo sa akin kagabi, na pasensiya na sa unan, nalungkot ako. Kasi parang hindi tayo mayaman."


Rama The Neat Freak was using this super-absorbent rug to wipe the banyo. Walls, tub, etc.

Me: Rama, wag na lang muna, kasi ginagamit ko pa yan na towel. (Hey, I had to improvise)

So she stops.

Later, she comes up to me. "Naaawa ako sa 'yo kasi ang towel mo basahan."

So I'm not putting these purchases off any longer. Today, we shop. ;-)

Monday, April 16, 2007


Our first outing here in Toronto included a visit to the Necropolis, City of the Dead. (How Goth, no?), It was drab and deserted, but I heard it can be really pretty in spring. Rama does not visit cemeteries very often, hence this exchange.

Rama: Ano'ng meron dito?
Me: Mga patay. Dito sila dinadala pag patay na sila.

Rama sees squirrel. "Eh kung puro patay ang nandito, bakit merong squirrel na buhay?"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

National Food

Rama: Superhero ba si Jose Rizal?
Me: Hindi, di ba national hero?
Rama: Ano yung national hero?
Me: Siya yung pinakamagaling na hero. Yung, pag inisip mo ang mga hero ng Pilipinas, siya ang una mong maiisip.
Rama: Ah. Eh ano yung national ng mga celery, strawberries (stuff we were eating at the time of the exchange)
Me: Yung national fruit?
Rama: Oo!
Me: National fruit, mangga!
Rama: Gusto ko yun. Tapos, ang national food, sinigang?
Me: Pa'no mo alam?! (it's not adobo, right? Sinigang is THE indigenous dish?)

Friday, April 13, 2007


Rama and I on plane to Toronto.

She suddenly turns quiet, gets a far-away look and turns to me, with tears welling up in those eyes.

Rama: I miss Honey... (the lola)

By this time, I was also a complete mess and we both lost it. Crying, hugging, holding, oblivious to the other passengers.

Rama, still crying: Ayokong makita kang umiiyak.
Me: Bakit?
Rama: Kasi ang pangit mo pag umiiyak ka.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Yes, 4 year-olds Can Handle Logic

Me: Rama, sayang hindi nakarating si Christine. Gusto ka pa naman niya makilala. Alam mo, kamukha siya ni Honey (her lola - Christine,  you could really pass for a young Honey!)
Rama: Maganda ba siya?
Me: Oo!
Rama: Eh di maganda rin si Honey!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Rizalista 2

Upon meeting Pepe, Tesa's poodle:

Me: Rama, pangalan niya, Pepe.
Rama: Parehas sila ni Jose Rizal?

She also noticed that one of our brunch companions was "kamukha ni Josephine Bracken."

More Zsa Zsa, Carlos

When Vince De Jesus, composer of the ZZZ soundtrack for the stage adaptation, commented on this blog, I had to mention it to Rama, "Napanood ng gumawa ng song na Babae Na Akoh yung kanta mo... Vince and pangalan niya..."

Cut to today. I was reading Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, the graphic novel, to her. Fun fun, vakla vakla. Then I got to the About the Author page. Showed her the pic of Carlo Vergara.

Me: Rama, 'yan ang nagsulat ng ZZZ, si Carlo.
Rama: Di ba, si Vince?

She remembered?!


Another amazing memory feat: Flipping channels, she saw Carlos the Streetwalker on a Living Asia feature. So she dragged me to the TV. Mommy, di ba friend mo 'yan? She saw me in Carlos' company just once. Either he made a real impact, or she simply absorbs a whole lot! Or both.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

This Mutha Can Do No Wrong!!!

Spent a lovely couple of days in Casa San Pablo. The gently sloping grounds got Rama literally rolling in the grass. Over and over again. Lots of fun, but city slicker that she is, Rama got a lot of rashes from this exposure to, well, nature.

We went to wash up. When the water hit the rash, she started complaining about how painful it was.

So I whispered: Lagyan na lang natin ng medicine. Pag nag-reklamo ka, papagalitan ako ni Honey (her lola) kasi pinayagan kita mag-roll sa grass.

Rama: OK.

No more loud complaints.

So Rama goes to Honey, who dries her off.

Honey: Ayan, tignan mo. Ang dami mong kati-kati!

Rama, nonchalantly: Matagal na yan, kinamot ko lang...

Honey: Wala 'yan kanina. Kasi nag-laro ka pa sa grass eh.

Rama: Basta! Hindi bad ang ina ko!

Monday, April 2, 2007


Ay, marunong palang mag-Tagalog. People would almost always exclaim in surprise when they first meet Rama. Walang audio-video lock, say ng advertising friends. She looks so tisay, but look out, Tagalista.

One of the commitments that I made raising Rama was that she would learn and speak Filipino. I figured English would be easy enough to learn, considering that our usual edutainment fare today is American. I had no doubt she would somehow get exposed to English soon enough. But Tagalog? It had to be a conscious decision to expose her to the language; it's so easy to miss out on learning Filipino. Friends would just realize that their kids needed tutoring in Balarila! Ironic and absurd, yes?

So at home we would speak Filipino, even when we were living abroad. And this is Rama's first language.

But she's learning, as kids do. In nursery school here in Manila, it's English. It happens to be English-with-an-Assumptionista-kaka-girl twang. Not annoying at all: it's kinda cute. She really tries to speak English well, and fortunately, she has met with moderate success.

Marunong na naman siyang mag-English. Carry na. Pero minsan talaga, dumadapa. Like so:

Playing an impromptu game of hide-and-seek, she sing-songs: Where I Am....

Saying goodbye: Love you! Miss you! See you so much!!!

Calling her playmates: HEY GUY! (note, singular. She sort of felt something was wrong there) Uhmmm, halina nga kayo!

Anticipating our next game: Yey! Wow! I'm so exciting!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Game Ka Na Ba... NOT!

Today Rama went to a birthday party at McDonalds. As usual, she wouldn't join the games. For some reason, she prefers to observe from the sidelines.

She doesn't quite get the happy chaos of parlor games. Paagaw? Diving for fallen candy on the floor? Pabitin? She watches with a mixture of awe and shock. Why are they not sharing? Why the frenzy?

Just one of those things about her.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Until When Will This Last?

As Rama and playmate Bea try to outdo each other skipping rope:

Rama to Bea: Mana ka ba sa mommy mo?
Bea: Hinde. (Bea's mom is hearing-&-speech impaired; Bea is a charming little motor-mouth)
Rama: Yay! Ako, mana ako sa mommy ko!!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

We are so not yet done with our Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah phase.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Rama's current obsession is dear ol' Joe. I think they talked about heroes in class one time and Jose Rizal sort of stuck. She volunteers that "marami siyang girlfriend" and that he was a "writer chaka doctor." I first heard her yell "Our National Hero!" when we passed by Mangan in Glorietta and she saw the portrait of Jose Rizal there. That's when I knew that she knew who he was.

We happened to have a DVD of Rizal (Cesar Montano) so last night I popped it in the player. She saw Rizal eating tuyo and rice: she asked for tuyo and rice. She also wanted to fast-forward to the execution scene. And wanted to watch that again and again.

I had forgotten that it was such a violent movie. I realized this too late; she was already into the story.

One of the earlier scenes was a disturbing rape by a priest. Quickly, I covered her eyes. And wished that it would be over soon. She kept on saying "Wag mo na takpan mata ko!" Over and over again. We kept on arguing, until she blurted out, 'Eh nakikita ko pa rin naman eh! May butas kamay mo!"