Rama: You know how big the heart is? Like your fist. Me: Kasya ba ako diyan sa heart mo? Rama: No. But you're not here. You're in the heart in my brain. That's where I love you really big. 'Cause I think about you all the time.... If you're in my heart here (points to chest), hindi kasya, it's that big, my skin will rip!
Everyday, I struggle with holding on to Filipino. Every chance I get, I try to get her to speak. I'm pretty sure she understands, because she seems to enjoy Tagalog movies, and follows my instructions. But it's really difficult, because she already thinks in English. But, I persevere.
Our morning lesson today, while cuddling in bed:
Me: Ano sa Tagalog ang horse? Rama: Kabayo. Me: Ano sa Tagalog ang dog? Rama: Aso!
And so on. Until it was time to get up and prep for breakfast.
Friday afternoon, I got a phone call from Rama's teacher. I don't know if it's a parent thing, but it's one of the rare times that I got a terrible sense of dread and fear, just upon hearing who the caller was. I really thought Rama - or I - was in trouble. (That day was potentially trouble, because I thought I had messed up the dates when Rama was supposed to NOT bring baon and have lunch in the daycare. Rama and I went back and forth about it - she's saying she needed lunch, I insisting that no, your daycare will have lunch for you. I thought she went without lunch that day. These were the thoughts racing in my little paranoid mind. But I digress.)
The actual reason for the call was actually cause for joy.
Teacher: Rama has been working so hard lately. She is Student of the Month. Please come to the General Assembly on Monday so you can be there for the awarding. Bring a camera. Congratulations.
Thanks, I stammered.
When I picked her up that afternoon, I had to verify with the teacher that it was a surprise. So Rama had no idea she was receiving an award on Monday.
Monday morning, still playing cool, I took her to school, rather than her taking the school bus. (My excuse for taking her to school that morning was that I had to see a classmate whose hair - or weave - fell off. Which Rama brought home. Why a first-grader is wearing a weave, I don't know. Rama doesn't realize it's a weave, of course. She just thinks that "Ashlyn's hair fell off. It wasn't painful.")
Anyway, after seeing the kid-with-the-weave, Rama shooed me away. I just hung around, and when the entire assembly entered the gym, the venue for the event, Rama and her classmates must have figured out that she was getting the award this month.
It was a simple enough ceremony, with teachers in every grade level calling up the Student of the Month. Here's her certificate of fabulousness, in their words. And then when all the kids had gone back to the classrooms, the students of the month had their pics taken by the principal for posting on the honor wall (behind her in the pic below), where all past students of the month have their mugs.
At the end of the day, when I pick her up, I ask, Gusto mo mag-pasyal? Celebrate tayo?
Rama: Celebrate what?
Me: Student of the month!
She had already forgotten. So we went to a nice restaurant downtown, Terroni. It used to be an old courthouse, and the grandness is still there. Our table was in this skylit room.
The high points for Rama were the chandeliers...
And the fancy-shmancy washrooms...
And the pizza, of course. Which disappeared quickly, so didn't get to take a pic. She polished off all-but-one-slice of the pizza.