Beyond my Little Boy’s “Kulit”

My husband and I love going to the grocery. And in the past months, we have noticed the little boy become interested as well.

While going to the grocery is therapeutic and considered a family bonding, the little boy thinks of it as a trip to the playground. While before he used to run around frantically, now he stays in one of the biggest push carts, occasionally reaching out for canned goods and boxed items. At times we get annoyed because it gets mixed up with the items we really intend to buy. Moreso, he stacks them up only to step or jump on it. At times, he throws a few stuff here and there. When we get to the toiletries area, he usually motions to his Papa to get him out of the cart and bring him to the step ladder instead – yes the ginormous ones men use to stock items on upper shelves. He climbs those up and down.

I used to get infuriated because the supposedly relaxing trip to the grocery becomes a run-after with the toddler. But over the weekend, I saw him take out these toy trains out of the display bin and line them up on the floor.

It made me realize that my child’s kulit is more than his annoying activities. It is, in fact a manifestation of learning. I was in awe at how the edges were connected, (Shocks! Magiging OC ata sya like Mama!) at least before the line up gets curved a little in the end. And since he’s lining up the trains, he could be thinking of actual train cabs on a rail. While I know he stacks up canned goods at my parents’ house, I now have better understanding of how aisles and aisles of canned items makes him happy. Same way with the boxes. And only now have it crossed my mind, maybe he was actually sorting the goods (like odd ones out) when he throws items out of the cart. And of course, his climbs are but his usual excercise and a nod to his kinesthetic intelligence.

As parents, sometimes, we’re too preoccupied with our own businesses and we tend to overlook what our kids do. Sometimes we diminish their activities into exhibitions of hyperactivity and tantrums, when in fact, these are actually moments of vital play and learning. And best is that, it is not something pushed on to them, but is self-initiated – thus appealing more to their imagination and senses.

I don’t really post my kid’s achievements or milestones or learnings on Social Media (because I believe he is beyond those), but I am making an exception on this one just to remind myself and some other parents out there to be patient and look further into their child’s kulit and play.

As for my little boy, I always always say this: Never lose your wonder. Never lose your fun.

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The Big 3-0

So last night, at 11:00-ish, I hit the beginning of my 30’s. While most friends spent their birthdays partying, or at least dining out, I was just snuggled in bed with the little boy on my side.

I have changed, I get it. Some friends asked me how I was to celebrate my birthday. After all, I was, in the most recent years, the one who would initiate agenda for a Friday or Saturday night out. This time, I only had one answer: I made no plans. Matter of fact, I came to work because I really had no plan in mind. In case we are acquainted on Twitter, I said there that all I wanted for my birthday is a nice cake – maybe a Strawberry Shortcake from Visco’s (which I already had last year), an Ube Cake from Cara Mia (which we had for my parents’ anniversary), or Avocado Cake from Lia’s (which I had two years ago) – or something from Pastelaria Manila because I haven’t tried any from theirs yet. Yes, you can judge me from my cake choices. I don’t mind.

I have changed, I know. Aside from the cake, I just want a time off – maybe even a day away from my boys so I can sleep, read, and write like I used to before. Not that I don’t want their company, I do, but I just want to be in tune with myself.

As Aunt Edna said in Incredibles II: “Parenting done right is a heroic act” (Can’t believe I just quoted an animated movie, that’s such a mama move!), I do try my best in being a parent. It’s no easy task. Imagine complaining about adulthood’s bill’s and money management, well parenthood’s not a bit easier, you got to get through p*ss and sh*t, literally. I can’t even imagine how I managed to be sane for twenty months and counting.

I remember a friend who asked me “Bakit iiyak ka na, nagthe-thank you ka lang sa parents mo nung birthday ng anak mo?” (“Why were you about to cry when you were just thanking your parents on your son’s party?”). Only a few friends knew that I suffered from anxiety and depression months into motherhood. I haven’t actually gotten into counselling or medical consultations regarding this, because aside from me being hard headed like that, I am still trying to negotiate things with myself. And all throughout that period, it was my mother whom I called and cried to whenever I was feeling under so much pressure. She would take care of the baby and tell me to go out, walk, read, write, and spend time with myself. It made me feel lucky to have a mother who knows how critical I am of myself to understand why I feel such pressure of motherhood. She’d tell me that it’s OK if I cannot make the baby stop crying, that it’s fine not to do every household chore, and most of all, that it’s normal to get exhausted because my body is still recovering while I’m doing all the motherly stuff I’m supposed to do BUT that doesn’t mean that I should just give and give – I have to pause and rest and stay calm (the F down, really) because I have to brace myself because things are not going to stop, at least anytime soon. And yes, I owe my mother my life and sanity the past months. She’s such a pro in handling me and my weirdness. I love you Mama, part of my birthday wish (because I always have many many birthday wishes) is to have a heart like yours. May you live longer so your heart can grow bigger, more than enough to accommodate all your little grandchildren.

And now you ask where my husband has been through the ride? He was at my side, definitely. He was my rock and my support. He comforted me and made me feel loved, but my struggle was beyond him. He tried his best to understand, or at least get in touch with my frustrations, but he failed. And I cannot take that against him – my frustrations, shortcomings, self-inflicted pressure, were all my own monsters. It was definitely hard for him too, raising a little boy while taking care of me. But he tried, I know, because he was consistent in his patience and love. He did not fall short of every little thing he was as from the beginning. I always say that your love is beyond me, may it always be beyond us – me and Thirdy.

And to my little boy, Thirdy, who has transformed me in so many ways, who made me trade a night out for a cake and cuddle session at home – you are special, you are precious, you are exceptional. You have brought us so much tears and so much joy. Remember that your pain is our pain and your triumphs is also ours. Know that you are loved more than your wildest imagination (or more than you love your Pre-School Prep ABC’s, just so you know the extent). And because your favorite, Boss Baby, said that “There’s plenty of love to go around”, Mama and Papa got you a tiny human! Now, you can love your tiny human “With all of your heart”. (I was really consistent in quoting my little boy’s movies)

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My introduction to motherhood might not be as shiny and splendid as others had or at least how I envisioned it to be. But knowing I did well (at least what I think of myself), with the help of people, of course, I am ready to take on another journey with my growing tummy and family. You know, there are things you learn the easy way, some you learn the hard way. Motherhood taught me a lot of things, patience for one, and unconditional love, and a lot more beyond and between. I would never have it any other way.

And for my final wish (at least among those I am over/sharing), a little girl this time.

So here I go coming through, Thirty and Preggy!