Monday, December 29, 2008

She's So Pun-ny!

Rama is getting better at reading. She enjoys reading signs, t-shirts, etc. One random t-shirt she spotted had "Bohol" on it. She was struggling with the pronunciation - "Bow-hol?" I helped her out.

Me: Bohol!
Rama: Oh. Boo-hol. Like if you go into a hallway, and it's scary, it's Boo Hall!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


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Holidays 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Noche Buena

It was Rama's first time to wait up for 12 MN to roll around and open presents at the strike of 12.

The following morning, I asked her about it.

Me: So you slept really late.
Rama: No! I stayed up late. And then slept when it was morning! I was like an aswang.


In the middle of my meal, Rama was about to crash on the couch. I was concerned about her jetlag, and went over to her, fussing with blankets, pillows, etc.

Me: Are you ok? Comfortable?
Rama: Yes. I'll just sleep here.
Me: Can I go back to the table to eat?
Rama: I didn't ask you to come here...
Me: Oh. But I just wanted to make sure you were ok.
Rama: Oh. Tenkyu, tenkyu, ang babait ninyo, tenkyu.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sampayan, Etc.

Rama and I landed in Manila a couple of nights ago. We are jetlagging bad - it's 9am on a Saturday morning and we have been up since 3am. We went to Mini Stop shortly after waking, to get some stuff for an early (very early) breakfast. What we did - this dead-of-night walk in the neighborhood in chinelas and pambahay - was unheard of in Toronto. And this was not lost on Rama. While we were out:

Rama: Whoa. If this were Canada, we'd be frozen!

Another observation on the drive from the airport. She sees clothes drying on the lines. She's struck by an interesting detail.

Rama: I see many underwear.

As I write this, she is watching Crying Ladies and playing with her paypay picked up from Salcedo Market.

How is our trip going so far? Rama summed it up nicely during our walk last night: It's good at Philippines.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Reminder To Live In The Moment

As our trip to Manila draws near, Rama has been wavering between happiness (seeing loved ones back home) and sadness (leaving her Papi behind, if only for a few days before he follows to Manila.) "I'll miss Papi" is a constant, pained refrain.

Last night, this missing Papi turned into a full-on, lengthy crying jag. I tried many tacks.

"You really have to rest. Enough na. Try counting sheep." Lame.

"Think happy thoughts..." Easier said than done.

The rational argument: "Kaya tayo magka-iba ng plane, ganito. Pag nag-crash ang plane, and I die and you live, Papi can still take care of you. A lot of parents do that, they don't travel on the same plane"

"I wish the plane won't crash. But I'm still sad."

Then I tried something that my mom used on us a lot when we were kids. Some kind of amateur pranic healing. Whenever you're hurting, she would speak in a soothing voice, while her hand just hovers around the painful part, and she would make this elaborate gesture of gathering and "throwing away" the pain. I tried it on Rama, like I was drawing the pain away from her chest and hurling it away.

Rama, wailing: But the sadness is in my brain!!!

And more and more, she was getting frustrated at herself about not being able to stop the crying.

Then I dished out some zen.

Me: Rama, you should really pay attention to what's in front of you. Right here, right now. So many things to be happy about - warm bed, new friend (a new Pooh stuffed doll, an early christmas present), your mom who loves you very much. Try not to focus on those sad thoughts, because right this moment, where you are, there's so much to feel glad about.

Rama seemed to take that in. She stopped crying! EIther she just got really tired by then, or felt guilty for forgetting that I was there, or the message sank in. I would think it's the latter, because after that lecturette, when we were spooning and she was on her side facing the window, she quoted me back:

Rama: The window is in front of me. Haha.

She was calm and light by then and able to sleep.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chew Rule

Rama: I don't want to eat anymore. I'm tired of chewing. I'm tired of counting, chewing 19 times!

Heard of the rule that you have to chew your food 32 times? Because you have 32 teeth. We counted Rama's and she had 19 teeth. So I told her the rule: chew your food 19 times. And tonight, she thinks it's tiresome.

UPDATE! Saturday, she finally lost the other wiggling front tooth. As expected, I heard this: "Yay! Now I just have to chew 18 times!"

Santa For Real?

Rama: Mommy, do you believe in Santa?
Me: Yes! Why?
Rama: Most of my friends don't believe. They say he's just a story. Kanina, they did this (making a huddling gesture) and said Santa wasn't real.


Me: Do YOU believe in Santa?
Rama: Yes.
Me: Ok. We should make a list na for Santa.
Rama: I tried. I couldn't spell trampoline.


In the water, Rama, like most kids, loves to play; shark attack is a favorite. She sometimes gets so excited, even anxious! When adults try to remind her that it's all pretend, Rama reasons, "But my imagination is too powerful!"

Monday, December 8, 2008


Rama enjoys physical challenges. Like climbing and jumping from high places. Normally, I let her. But today, with the slippery snow, I stopped her.

Me: Rama, please don't climb. And I can't let you jump.

Rama argues and questions.

Me: It's not safe. And it's part of my job, as a good mom, to stop you from doing unsafe things.
Rama: Oh, ok. I don't want you to go to jail.

Rama and Santa 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Foot In Mouth

Meet Terry Fox. He became famous for the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research, which Fox ran with one prosthetic leg. He is considered one of Canada's greatest heroes of the 20th century.

Yesterday, Rama and I went to the annual office kids' Christmas party. We were joined at our table by my colleagues. One of the desserts was a Gingerbread Man Cookie.

Rama breaks off the leg.

Rama: Look! This is Terry Fox!

Stunned silence at the table. Followed by gales of laughter. And nervous mumbles about political correctness.

It wasn't over.

Rama, breaking off the arm: Oh, I took his arm, too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Worry Dolls

Rama: Mommy, I'm bringing some of my little dolls to school, ok?
Me: Why?
Rama: To give to some of my classmates.
Me: Why?
Rama: 'Cause they're worry dolls.
Me: What's that?
Rama: Worry dolls are little dolls. When you're worried about something, you tell the dolls, put them under your pillow. While you sleep, they worry for you.
Me: Do you need a worry doll?
Rama: No. I don't worry about anything. That's why I can give some away.
Me: Your classmates? They worry?
Rama: Yes.
Me: What about?
Rama: I don't know, they didn't tell me.

I'm guessing she saw this. which airs a lot these days.


Rama is starting to write. She wanted to write "slow down" but ended up with "slow dan." She explained to me that she actually meant "slow down" and to remind herself, she drew an arrow pointing downward under the phrase.

Me, ever the adoring mom: Who told you to be so smart? Why are you so smart?
Rama: You! 'Cause you act smart, and I'm your daughter, so you made me smart!

Thrilled (and probably over-caffeinated), I let out an exaggerated shriek of delight. Think crazed fan. Aaaaaaa!

Rama: That's not smart.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sikyu To D'Reskyu

We have a choice of our first stop in Manila for the holidays - either stay at a condo or at a house. So I asked Rama which she preferred:

Rama: The big apartment (Rama-speak for condo)
Me: Why?
Rama: Because there's a guard.
Me: So?
Rama: The manananggal won't get us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will Smith Is Hotness

Rama: Do you know Hancock? He's a superhero. He's hot.
Me: What does that mean, hot?
Rama: He's guwapo. Good-looking!

Where does she get these?! Had to ask:

Me: How did you know that hot means that?
Rama: News.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beauty Sleep

Our morning routine has been pretty tight. As the days get colder, I have to plan for an extra 5 minutes in the morning - just to get all our layers on. Gone are the days when we can just put on sandals and we're out the door.

Then there is something that Rama added to her routine: applying concealer. For her eyebags. Just before we walk out, she notices her eyebags in the mirror in our foyer. And asks to borrow my concealer. It has become so habitual that I passed on my concealer to her and just got another tube for myself, just so she can have it whenever she wants. Which is on a daily basis.

At night, when I want her to pipe down and really shut her eyes and go to sleep after the story, I just remind her that if she doesn't get enough sleep, she'll get eyebags.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Hills Are Alive...

And it was pretty amazing ("The mountains fly up!" was how Rama described the set changes). Rama woke up this morning singing the songs. The nuns are her favorite - she re-enacts them.


Friday, November 14, 2008

When Eating Solo

Rama sometimes gets glued to the TV and requests to eat while watching. Of course I object and try to teach her not to.

Me: When we're eating, it's nice to sit together, talk to each other, talk about your day, the food...
Rama: And when you're eating alone, you talk to yourself.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Tooth

... finally came off last night. Her special request, "Can I keep it? I don't want to give it to the tooth fairy."

Sunday, November 2, 2008


On Halloween eve, the kids who lived here at the condo were treated to a special halloween movie screening at the small movie theatre in the building. (It was Scoobie Doo at the Zombie Swamp). Popcorn and juice for all and after the movie, the committee brought out a bin of toys for all to enjoy. But soon it was time to go. So Rama and I decided to invite her new friend, a mexican girl, Gonul, and her mom up to our place.

By themselves, the girls were happy to play side by side. Gonul knew very little English, but at this age, it's not a huge deal. They played with Rama's dollies, toy castles and little pots and pans. Later in the evening, they took over the dining table and played with colors and paints.

As they were doing this, I was subjecting the mom to my horrible Spanish. She was very kind and polite and asked me how I learned. I just explained that FIlipino has a lot of Spanish words, which I started to rattle off: kubiertos, kutchara, tinidor, aparador, lunes, martes...

Rama loudly pipes in from across the room.

Rama: Baño!

So unexpected! It set the 4 of us giggling. I don't know how she knew that baño was indeed Spanish. Either she figured that ñ words were Spanish, or she just got lucky - chamba. Either way, we all had fun with that exchange.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Highlights 2008

By the first week of October, Halloween costumes were already on display in the stores. But Rama surprised me by saying, "I don't need a costume, I'll just wear the dress I wore for my birthday." And she stuck to that.

She really was dead set on wearing that red dress. But it was in her dad's house! The dress fortunately made it to us, and she managed a quick costume change when we took a short break mid-way through trick or treating. Her back-up dress was this pink princess gown from 2 years ago - which fits perfectly now.

As usual, the neighborhoods went all out in decorating for halloween. And the adults, with copious amounts of alcohol, seemed to have as much fun as the kids playing dress up.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


There's this cute waiter in the neigbourhood resto. Rama notices, of course. And we chat about him.

Rama: Ya, he's guwapo.
Me: I think he's Italian.
Rama: He is!
Me: Pa'no mo nalaman?
Rama: 'Coz a lot of Italian people are more gwapo than English people.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A+. But Warning: Rant Ahead

So Rama aced her first Grade 1 exam. It was Math: Graphing.

She scored 20/21.

This was particularly sweet for me as I thought last week that she was slow to understand the lessons. I was getting used to the idea that she might not just be the type that did well in school. And that was ok. Gulp.

I would help her with some homework and it was such a struggle. Especially the question that runs something like this: "If there are 8 kids who like purple and 3 kids who like red, how many more kids like purple than red?" She would always just add 8 and 3 and come up with 11. Anyhow. By the time the test came, she got it, I guess.

So what question tripped her? The test asked the student to make tick marks and then graph the numbers. The hypothetical information was about juices and how many kids liked apple juice, grape juice and orange juice. The information showed that Apple juice was most popular, with most kids picking this.

And then the question: If we could only buy 1 type of juice, which one would we buy?

The correct answer was Apple, the juice that majority of the kids picked.

Rama didn't get that she was supposed to pick the majority choice. She picked Grape, the lowest scorer, with only 2 people choosing grape.

And this is where my rant starts. Isn't that a subjective question? I am not sure that I agree to teaching kids to go with the popular choice. Where does independent choice come into the picture? What if Rama wanted to support the underdog? Or the minority? I guess what raises my hackles is the impulse to reward conformity - as early as Grade 1. I worry that this little lesson is the start of thwarting independent thought, ironically in a supposed progressive society.


I am seriously considering writing the school board.

Update, November 1 2008. I handed the letter yesterday, Friday, AND got to chat with her. She quickly skimmed through it and we had a good conversation. Basically, Mrs. K justified that the intent was to simply get students to interpret the graph. She agreed that the wording was difficult, especially for Rama whose first language is not English. She was quite nice about it, but seemed just a tad defensive and really not too keen on discussing the underpinnings of the question, which I understand. To be fair, Mrs. K doesn't write the test questions; they come from a book of worksheets from which she picks (I figured this much from the looks of the paper). What reassured me was that it was an isolated case, and that generally, the teachings lean towards openness and acceptance of differences. And maybe, if and when she reads through my letter more carefully, the real point will sink in.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What You Think Of Between Sleep and Awake

That morning, while waiting for the bus, we were just casually chatting about how soon she'll be losing her front teeth.

Me: I wonder what you'll be eating to make your teeth come off. Maybe mais?
Rama: Or pizza crust.

And we left it at that.

Later that night, turns out she was still thinking about this conversation. Lights were out, we had said our goodnights, given each other kisses. And calmly drifting off to sleep. Or so I thought. Rama turns to me and wide-eyed, says:

Rama: Can I tell you? You know what I think will work to make my teeth come off?
Me: What?
Rama: Chicharon!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trick or Treat!!!!

Happy Halloween to all!
A proud Toronto tradition, the yearly Zombie Walk brought an estimated 1,000 undead to the streets of the city. This punk-nurse zombie happened to be on the same streetcar that Rama took to the park, the start of the Zombie Parade.

After gawking at the zombies, running around the playground and picnicking on fish & chips, we made our way home and the girls started to plan THEIR halloween costumes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Red or White?

So Rama is in her drawing phase. She gets "commissioned work." As in, she asks people, what do you want me to draw, and then will execute.

Adult: Uhm, can you draw me drinking wine?
Rama: Ok! White wine or red?

Saturday, October 18, 2008


On our way home from school, Rama was so eager to tell stories about her day. She was talking with a mouth full of cookies. I had to remind her.

Me: Bago ka magkwento, dapat wala nang laman mouth mo.
Rama, after swallowing: But my tongue is always there!

Drawing Phase

Rama drew a portrait of one of her classmates.

And a self-portrait. "This is me eating soup."

Apple Picking We Went

One of the to-do's of fall, apple picking. Super-fun but super-quick too. The kids were so excited, they filled their bags in maybe 10 minutes. It took us longer to find a parking spot! The rest of the time at the orchard was for checking out the shop, drinking cider and just revelling in the fact that we're in an apple orchard!

She bites into the apples with her side teeth, not the front, because those are rockin'! Her "forever teeth" are coming soon. I'm guessing she'll be bungi come christmas.

Nica, Danielle and Rama at the orchard's play area

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eden Who?

Rama goes to public school. That means she gets no religious education. So I thought I'd get some religion going. And where else do we begin but from the very beginning - the creation story.

Me: Rama, alam mo yung Eden?
Rama: Yes! Wife ni Panday!

And a little argument ensued whether Eden was a person or a place. It's going to be a long night. Especially when she throws this at me:

Who is god's god?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Reality Check

Me: Rama, you want to see Hannah Montana's boyfriend? (shows trashy mag)
Rama: Why is she dressed like that?

Later in the evening, out of the blue, Rama observes: Hannah Montana looks better on TV than in real life.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn

Of course I burned the croissant again this morning. But I had a very good excuse. Rama wanted more cuddle time. Long after the "ding" of the toaster oven, we were still giggling and snuggling under the blankie.

So I finally heaved myself out of bed (to rush would've been futile), and retrieved the goods from the oven. Not too pleased with myself. But Rama more than makes me feel better.

Me: Awww. I burned it again.
Rama: It's ok, Mommy. You're still my best mommy ever.

Today, they have a book fair at the school. She reminds me to bring money. There are five books on her wishlist. But she said she'd be happy with "just one, maybe two."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From Souffle To...

Rama and I went to a popular Italian restaurant last night for dinner. We had a cheese platter to start, followed by a spaghetti dish (spaghetti al limone, with spinach and capers) that we split. All very civilized. Dessert time. I asked her if she wanted some dessert.

Rama: Do they have suman?

No suman in Southern Italy. So no dessert for us that night.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What's On Her Mind

Rama was making a pile of grass in a friend's backyard. Always curious about how she plays pretend, I asked.

Me: What are you making?
Rama: Nothing.

A little later, a playmate started moving things around in her pile. Rama apparently didn't like that - and I got clued in on what she was thinking of:

Rama: Hey! Don't touch my souffle!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Rama's Papi was at our place for dinner. As we were setting the table, Rama offers her dad, "Would you like some wine?" And then she asks me, in a whisper, "Do we have wine?"

Pics taken on one of our recent early evening walks around the 'hood. (I used to NOT get shorts with boots. But it can actually work, especially in fine fall weather.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Random Quote

Rama, annoyed: Why when I ask you what time is it, you say 'almost 9 o'clock, time for bed.' That's not a real answer!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Professor Rama

Rama put together an outfit, with this intent: I want to look like Jose Rizal when he was about to die.

Then she decided that what she actually looked like was "Professor Rama." She improvised with the white shirt - what she's wearing actually has a graphic print, but she figured that she could wear it back-to-front. I shall indulge this further by getting her a proper neck tie and a newsboy hat that fits.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Dinner in Chinatown. (Rama is a fan of noodle soup). Waiter comes over, setting down my plate of VEGGIE spring rolls. In a strong Chinese accent, "Here's yo' WE-GGIE..." Meaning, VEGGIE, of course.

Rama: He's giving you a wedgie?!

(Rama knows wedgie as underwear that gets stuck between butt-cheeks. Something that one has to fix pronto. Once, she also worried about how some girls wear thongs - wedgie always!)

As we segue into lessons on diversity and political correctness ("Some people just happen to make different sounds for words. But, we know what they mean.")

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Say Tomato

I was just getting over my amazement at Rama's latest food request - peanut butter sandwich, with tomato. Inside. When she asked for this, I served the sliced tomato on the side, and then she fixed it herself and put the slice IN the sandwich. Odd, but, hey, whatever works. Anyone heard of this before? Does any Disney character eat this way? I don't know where she got the idea.

And then when I went online, I saw this article on feeding mistakes that parents make. Good to know I'm doing OK on most counts.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aba 'No! (Uyyy, Haba ng Hair...)

Humbled to make it to the finals for the 2008 Philippine Blog Awards, Family and Living. Whodathunk?

Hats off to another finalist D-spot. (OMG, she raised 7 kids!).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Rama: I want to eat powder.
Me: What?!
Rama: I want powder. (Pause). It's not really powder. The Goldilocks!

Polvoron pala. Stash from Manila. The little box of precious white powder (not what you think), we make it last for months! Rationed well and wisely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


My pot of water for the pasta was boiling over. I only noticed because Rama started screaming, "Sumusunog!"

That started our Tagalog lesson for the evening.

Adult: Ano sa Tagalog ang shoulders?
Rama: Balikat!

Adult: Ano sa Tagalog ang thin? (referring to a blanket)
Rama: Manipis!

Adult: Ano sa Tagalog ang sniff?
Rama stumped.
Adult: Suminghot!

Suminghot set us off giggling. These pictures were taken when she just couldn't stop laughing over the word.

Throughout the evening, even when we had moved on to other tasks and were each doing our own thing, she would randomly sneak up on me and whisper, Suminghot!

Friday, August 29, 2008


"I made this all by myself!"

Rama went to a few camps this summer. This last camp, they had a crafts project - tie dye! I'm loving her choice of color. And she can explain exactly how tie dye works.

'Wherever the headband is on the shirt, that's where the paint doesn't get in."

This was also a big week for us - it's the last week before school starts. New school, new friends, new routine. New haircut! She wasn't too hot about it until "3 teachers at camp said they liked my haircut!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

More Britney

Rama and I tried to invite Britney for a sleep-over at our place. But her Mom wouldn't allow. Britney's mom worried that Britney would act out, or cry at bedtime, or just be difficult. Rama had a take on her friend's behaviour.

Rama: Britney's only bad when she's with her mom. But behaved when it's other adults.

Pity, really. And Rama really wanted to have Britney over. "I wish Britney can come here. I want to make her happy."

Boob Tube

I don't watch TV. But Rama does. In other people's homes. So she had a compelling need to educate me.

Rama: I saw on the news, Mommy... while watching TV... (pause) That's what they call what's on TV, Mommy: news. Nee-yus.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Our Weekend

Rama and I got on this swing ride at the Ex (aka Canadian National Exhibition, aka CNE). She took every opportunity to tell other adults how her mother behaved on the ride:

Rama, as her Mommy: Don't panic! Don't panic! Don't Panic! ... We're tilting!!!!! (Definitely panicked).

Photo: "CNE - swing ride" by Phil Marion, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Me: Ubos na smarties mo?
Rama: Ubos na. Why do they call it Smarties? Candies don't make you smart. They should call it un-smarties. Unnnn...!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Of Bikes and Teeth

May clip kami sa bahay. Pramis.

Biked to the Caribana parade yesterday. It got too busy on the bike path, so we stopped, parked our bikes near a public pool and toodled around there for a little bit.

After this popsicle, she said that her two front teeth were moving! Indeed. Those two are going soon. So I just explained: Your real teeth are coming in.

Rama: Why? Are these fake?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oily Stuff

Rama and I wandered around the jazz fest last night. The roads were closed, there were live acts on every street corner and munchies everywhere. When we decided to pause for a break, she chose to have fish and chips. We picked a spot, a roadside bench, and she dove into her meal. She takes a bite of the fish.

Rama: I love oily stuff.... Don't make me take it off.

Monday, July 21, 2008


One of our games while horsing around is inserting finger in the mouth of the other person as she yawns. It can either be funny or annoying - with Rama, we often have fun with this. One time, I was the yawner, she put her finger in my mouth and I caught it between my teeth. Rama, in a perfect Brit accent, cried, "Charlie bit me!" She was referencing this.


"Can you do anything you want in heaven? Even breaking things?"

So I probed where this question was coming from. Turns out, Britney "likes to break things." And obviously, she can't keep doing that. So Rama was trying to figure out how Britney can have her way and not "get into trouble."

Saturday, July 19, 2008


We went out on the bike today, the second time since we got the bike last week. We rode quite a distance, and even after we got caught in a downpour, Rama wanted to keep going. By the end of the afternoon, she could brake on command (by back-pedalling) and keep right. She also tackled some slopes (but wise enough to walk her bike when it got really steep). We had landmarks on both ends of our ride - this harbour on one end, and on the other, the bridge over the river.
After the ride, we had a dinner capped with her favorite ice cream. She had shrimp, which she couldn't finish. She offered some to me, but it was our companion who had it. I explained, "I don't eat anything with a face."

Rama: What about chicken legs? You don't have to eat the whole thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reading Lessons

You know a 6 yo is a city slicker when the first few words that she learns to read outside of the classroom are:

"Garbage Disposal"
"Bad Disc"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Monster Mother

Rama is always asking for stories. Sometimes, she even tells us, "Even if it's something I already know, kase alam ko, nauubusan." Something new to her was My Monster Mother (Ruffa Gutierrez-Annabelle Rama movie, currently playing in Philippine theatres). So I recapped the plot, and threw this in: "The mother talks like Ate Mercy."

Rama: Does she also say Ram-ram?

A nick which Rama isn't very fond of. But we Pinoys just can't help ourselves.


We visited a friend at home. G gave us a tour of his house. "That's Susan's room..." Etc. "And this is our cat, Lucy."

Rama: Your friends, two of them, have the same names as the kids in Narnia.


Sometimes I worry about Rama's self-confidence. Often, with other people she is quiet and restrained. With other kids, she hardly ever takes the lead. But then again, sometimes, she surprises me with her boldness, even with strangers. She will go up to a random person and dish out a compliment or two. ("I like your hair. And your dress." - this to a young punk-ish woman with green hair and an ironic, goth-ish prom dress on the bus.)

Yesterday, she was learning to bike without training wheels. A friend of mine, a certified bike instructor, was teaching her. Childless, he wasn't too aware of how adult his language was.

G: Rama, you want to get enough momentum.
Rama: I don't know what that means.

That simple statement reassured me of her confidence to admit what she doesn't understand. And this makes her very teachable and open.

In minutes, Rama was balancing on the bike and pedalling away.

First Order of the Day: Wisecracking

Lying in bed in the morning, getting ready to rise, I let out a huge, loud, moanful stretch. How loud?

Rama: You sound like you're nanganganak.... Where's the baby?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Conflicted? Or merely aware?

Rama, while enjoying one of these: Mmmm, it's so good. (Pause). I mean, it's not good for me. But it tastes good.

The Romantic

Rama: Mommy, what if someone asks you to marry him, because you're pretty?
Me: Nah. That won't happen, Rama. They can always ask, but I'll always say no.
Rama: Oh.
Me: But you know, that happens to other people. They fall in love, fall out of love, meet somebody else... That's how it is sometimes in the world.
Rama: I don't like that world.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Getting ready for bed. We had just finished brushing our teeth and washing up in the shower. Rama was hopping up and down, trying to put her pants on in the bathroom.

Bam, she bangs her head on the sink corner. I see a lump coming on. Standard procedure, we get frozen veggies from the fridge and hold it against the lump. I suppose, at this point, I was fretting.

Rama: Aw, I don't like when you're upset.
Me: Alam mo kasi, Rama, kaya ako upset, pag nasasaktan ka, nasasaktan din ako.

The wise-ass holds the pack of frozen spinach to my head.

Me: What?
Rama: Kasi nasasaktan ka, sabi mo.

She agreed to have this picture taken on the condition that I don't show it to my friends. Or if I do, to say we're only pretending that she has a bukol.

How Am I Supposed To Know?!?

Rama: How did the teachers know? (...what they know, she means)
Me: They went to school to become teachers.
Rama: How did their teachers know?

I pause, struggling a bit.

Rama: You don't know.

Friday, June 27, 2008

When You Are Alone With Your Mother... find ways to amuse yourself.

Food Styling

"Show this to your friends. Tell them, it's not from a restaurant. Tell them your daughter made it."

It's true. Rama and I brainstormed this arrangement on the bus, planning what snack we would have upon getting home. The previous week, I made a similar arrangement. Nutella on crackers on a plate, with the 5 last blueberries topping the crackers on the outside. The centre cracker was missing a blueberry and Rama called me on it: Dapat yung gitna meron. So today, she brought it up again. And we re-executed. We had enough blueberrries to top all the crackers and she added "celery, so it really looks like a flower."
She ate everything, including most of the celery. (She tried the leaves, too, but didn't like that too much.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Need? Or...

We have this little guy. It's a fun lamp, rechargeable, so we can take it around. We were playing in the closet, scaring ourselves silly.
Me: I like this red one. But we need the blue and the green, too.
Rama: What?
Me: I said, these lamps come in blue and green. We need those.
Rama: No, we don't need those. You just want it.

Birds in Flight

On our walk today, Rama and I spotted these birds in flight. Amazing how they go on a straight line.

Rama: They're going to school.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Weekend Round-up

It was a beautiful Saturday. Rama and I met up with friends in the park for an outdoor concert and after the show had brunch. We then went our separate ways; Rama and I headed over to another park, this time closer to home, where we chanced upon more performances - samba, a medieval play, clowns and other circus acts. After that, more playground time and just running around. We wanted to have cold drinks so we ducked into a nearby mall. We went in for drinks, but left with more than that for Rama - a new pair of summer sandals and a headband. I couldn't find a pair of shoes for myself, and Rama was very sympathetic. "It's ok, Mommy. You have me."
We also heard Tagalog all over the mall and this got Rama excited. "Tagalog! Tagalog! Tell them we're Tagalog, too!" So I find myself chatting up other Filipinos, sheepishly explaining that my daughter was so "sabik." They would comment, "Buti marunong pa siya mag-Tagalog." Rama would simply say, "Opo." And after that, I would find that we would converse in Tagalog, between the two of us. I pointed this out to her: "Natutuwa ako pag nag-ta-tagalog ka! Lalo pag sinasabi mo, Opo."

Rama: Opo! Opo! Opo! Opo! Opo! I want you to be happy.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

'Brit' Accent

Rama: You know why Britney doesn't like it when I leave her house? Because she said I make nice princess voices. She can't talk like a princess.
Me: Really? Why, paano ba siya magsalita?

I knew the answer to this. Britney is a wild child - loud and exuberant. Always yelling, "Am I in trouble? Am I in trouble? Who's getting a time-out?" But I wanted to hear it straight from Rama. Turns out, Rama notices her lazy consonants.

Rama: She talks fast. And she doesn't say ng. She just says, 'the dollies are sleepin'... Smilin'... Runnin'... Bawan'

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Will She?

Rama and I walked into a toy store today. Naturally, she was drawn to the princess costumes. I couldn't quite make out what she was saying. Possibly, she was talking to herself, as she often does. I engaged her, anyway.

Me: Pardon me?
Rama, holding a blur of pink toulle and lace and satin, which was actually a princess dress: I was just talking to myself. (Thought so). But do you want to hear what I was saying?
Me: Sure.

I bend down.

Rama, in a stage whisper: Will my mommy buy this for me kaya?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


One of the things that I had to get used to here in Canada was the paranoia about allergies. Peanuts, for instance, once an innocuous snack, are a health hazard. And it seems like every kid has an allergy of some sort - nuts, flour, pollen.

Rama, fortunately, has no allergies. But she feels a little left out. She needs her own! So here's how she figured it out: last summer, she wore flip flops that were a bit too tight, and they irritated her skin between her toes. Hence, she is "allergic to flip flops." She won't wear those.

Another time, she was having a lollipop and the hard candy cut her tongue. She thus concluded, "I'm allergic to lollipops."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hannah Montana

Yes, Rama watches the spawn of Billy Ray Cyrus when she is at Ate Mercy's house. So she knows the words to the songs. Most of it.

Rama sings: You got the best of both world...

I sing along, correcting her in the process: You got the best of both worlds...

Rama: Mommy, do you watch Hannah Montana?
Me: Some parts.
Rama: I watched it. And it's not WORLDS. I heard it, I have no bingi.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Saturday Brunch

Our Saturday kicked off with a meal at Easy Restaurant in Parkdale. Rama had the Toast Soldiers. She polished off both eggs - she had so much fun dunking the pieces of toast ("Stripes," she calls them) into the soft-boiled-egg-in-shell.

Toast Soldiers, I think, were supposed to be either the strips of bread, or the eggs standing at attention. (That would make them stout soldiers, no?)

But the way Rama explained it to another adult later in the day was a bit different:

"It's called Toast Soldiers because the bread flies and then crashes into the egg."

She also noticed the soldiers in the movie poster over our table: The Bridge Over River Kwai. "More soldiers!"


I was reading one of Rama's bedtime stories - this one has lately been on heavy rotation: Ang Pinakasakim na Raha at ang Pinakamaputing Ulap. It starts out like this:
Noong unang panahon, mayroong isang napakasakim na raha. Gusto niya ang pinakamalulusog na baka, ang pinakamatatabang baboy...

She interrupts. Ewww. I don't like baboy.
Me: Uhm, actually, you do.
Rama: No!
Me: Don't you like chicharon? That's baboy.
Rama: Oh. I like baboy


Saturday night, 1030 pm. All she wants to do is scrub away. It all started with a smudge of cherry juice on the back of one of the chairs. I asked if she could wipe it off. She obliged. And then some. She goes manic and proceeds to wipe down practically every wall. We ended up deep-cleaning the tub and bathroom walls. 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Round-up

It was a wonderful day. For the most part, we were at the Brickworks, formerly a quarry and industrial site on the fringe of the downtown core, now a wonderful urban park.

Rama witnessed a thanksgiving ceremony by a Sioux. It involved chanting, calling the 4 directions, stories of nature spirits. I don't think we got everything - to her, I assume, it was part of "the show."

We ran around, checked out the ponds, climbed hills and saw turtles.

On our commute, as usual, we encountered interesting characters. One such character today was a man who seemed mentally ill. He had a pained expression on his face as he made intense gestures - fists in the air, posing like the thinker, moving back to standing position with arms overhead, shaking his head, etcetera.

Rama and I noticed, of course. We looked at each other. Rama, unfazed: He's just pretending he's a rock star.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just Sayin'

Rama: Were you so happy when you had me?
Me: Super! Baby ka pa lang, alam ko na special ka. Wala kang katulad.
Rama: Except for you. Magkamukha tayo.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Rama and I were window-cleaning this morning. Just getting a few chores done before breakfast. She does the bottom part. She wanted to spray-and-wipe a section that I didn't think needed any cleaning.

Me: Rama, 'wag na yan. Hindi naman kita from inside.
Rama, after some pause: Ya, pero kita naman from outside. People will see that it's dirty and might think that we're not taking care of our house.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Friday today. Both Rama and I played hooky and took on a spring project.

Quite the little helper.