Friday, November 20, 2009

'wit' trumps 'intelligible speech'

can't deny it, kids these days are smart, maybe to make up for slow progress in the enunciation department.

when juancho was about 3 or 4, we took him on a shoe-shopping trip to liliw. during the long car ride, we asked him a couple of times where we were headed, and he replied, "wiwiw".

cuuute. (to me. the unbiased aunt.)

we thought it was adorable and tried to ask him again. juancho, who was smart probably since birth, caught on to our game. so when we asked again, his tired reply was,


fast forward to a week ago, when my sister had a heart-to-heart talk with martina, who is as old as juancho was during his wiwiw days. anyone who's tried to carry a conversation with martongks can tell you it's not an easy task. let's just say that it's a good day if you can understand 50% of what comes out of her teeny mouth. so anyway, martina's mom was wondering when martina would learn to say 'pajama' properly instead of ...

mom: martina, when you turn 4, you can't say 'kajama' anymore ok?

martina: ok mom!

mom: what will you say?

martina: SHORTS!

i wuv those kids.

Friday, October 16, 2009

minutes of the marteens

if there's one thing that can make me temporarily forget about all the sadness in the country, it's quality time with an undersized but over-confident, self-proclaimed princess. choice minutes with martina, my 3-year-old niece, make me smile and hope for better, normal days ahead.

how can you not laugh, really?

sample minute #1

i was camped out at my sister's place because of the lack of internet at home. living at her house means an endless supply of martina, who doesn't go to regular school yet.

as i was frantically typing on the keyboard to meet a deadline, i noticed martina, who was sitting beside me, making typing motions on my forearm. i typed, she typed. i stopped, she stopped.

me: marteens, what are you doing?
marteens: i'm working on your arm.

sample minute #2

me: marteens! you smell like citronella.

marteens: no, i smell like belle!

(and if you didn't get the reference, may the spirit of walt disney visit you in your dreams tonight. and make you listen to snow white's high-pitched singing at full blast nonstop for an hour.)

sample minute #3

marteens: (walking around the dining table) mom, i used to be a carrot.

me and marteens' mom: (in unison) that explains everything.

sample minute #4 (my favorite minute so far)

marteens and her mom came from a rather unsuccessful gym class. apparently, the little carrot was not in the mood and refused to participate in any of the activities that day. mom was not very happy.

mom: marteens, when you don't follow me, you make me ... ?

marteens: angry.

mom: and?

marteens: sad.

mom: and what do you want mom to be?

marteens: BOB THE BUILDER!!!

note to martina's mom -- quit while you're ahead.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

brat-triggered thoughts

trips to the mall toilet are oftentimes uneventful. apart from the rare bouts of gastroenteritis (REALLYNEEDINGTOPOOPTHISVERYSECOND), one can usually just zoom in and out of restrooms and just as quickly forget about the whole experience. one recent toilet-related incident, however, was a bit unusual.

i entered the mall's ladies room that particular afternoon and was welcomed by a tragic statement shouted by a disgruntled female coming out of a toilet stall:

"i hate my life!"

of course this would've been so much more interesting or less perplexing if the female hadn't been 10 years old.

ten years old! or maybe eight! (estimating age: not one of my talents) what could possibly be so hateful in her life for her to wail and stomp her feet in front of women who i could only assume were her relatives?

"i hate it when you call me a baby," she continued, flipping her long, straight hair (which was most likely styled by a nanny back home) and fixing the ruffles of her very ruffly balloon skirt. i would've stared her down with evil eyes if i weren't so afraid of her peeps, who were part-ignoring, part-beaming at her.

ok, i thought, maybe she had a point. after about 5-ish years old, children shouldn't really be called 'babies' – at least not to their face. let's all try and be fair to the bab... i mean the girl.

naturally, she had to continue, in the same loud and whiny voice:

"turn off the hand drier! it's so ANNOYING!"

(to which i should've said, "sweetheart, the drier is not as annoying as you")

from the looks of things, the girl to whom i almost gave the benefit of the doubt was just a spoiled and sheltered little creature. a BABY (sue me, child!) who no one even bothered to correct or pay attention to.

how dare she hate her life! how hard it must be to have your hair combed for you or to have to spend the afternoon in the mall or to have your relatives carry your shopping bags for you. damn that life!

it must be fantastic though to be unencumbered enough to shout out your complaints to the world and not have anyone mind your negativity.

"i can see my leg cellulite in front of my thighs even when i'm just standing still and with normal lighting! i hate my life!"

"i can't go to any social gathering without anyone asking me why i'm still single! i hate my life!"

"i lose my internet connection every 10 minutes and i can't build enough momentum to research or have a decent chat with people from northern america! i hate my life!"

but here's the thing: i DON'T hate my life. i wouldn't say i'm head-over-heels in love with it but after 35 (did i just say 35?) years, i've finally accepted that things aren't all that bad, even when they seem to be (and i'm not just talking about cellulite). and at the end of the day, life (or my life, at least) can be one pleasant surprise after another.

a few months ago, i left my white gold ring in a busy mall restroom (i seem to be in a lot of those) and thought i'd lost it forever. the concierge found it a week later.

in the same mall (fine, i sense a pattern), i won an ice cream bar in some raffle.

during an overseas trip, i was mistaken for a 25-year-old.

a few weeks ago at breakfast, my sister and i witnessed my dad carrying one of the wooden dinner chairs out the door and realizing a few seconds later that he had meant to carry his tennis bag to the car and brought the chair by mistake. we laughed until we cried.

today i watched a necrological service where the friends of former president cory aquino told the rest of the world how she overflowed with goodness and love and honor and all the shiny happy intangibles every person should aim to have. my heart burst into a thousand hopeful tears.

when my 3-year-old niece sees me seated with my legs stretched out in front of me, she excitedly leaps on my thighs and i become an instant slide.

how can i possibly hate my life?

but how can i say i like my life without sounding like a self-important but shallow, boastful but delusional, manic but giddy overaged brat?

i can't.

so lemme try to end with a joke i heard during my last trip to illinois (all credit to the guitar-playing, wood-chopping white boy) –

a grasshopper entered a bar. the bartender took one look at him and snickered. the grasshopper asked why the bartender was laughing.

"we have a drink named after you," said the bartender.

"you have a drink named 'steve'???"

hahaha. i like my life. there, i said it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

a frilly childhood tale

i haven't really changed much in the past 30 or so years.

although i have gotten over my fear of clouds and cotton, proven to myself that i can learn a sport or two, learned not to believe everything i see and learned how to eat eggplant and spinach, everything else is pretty much the same. i still don't love sea creatures, still can't eat kare-kare, my gums are still the size of a football field (how colonial), my voice is still squeaky and i can still make a fool out of myself. sometimes, quite inadvertently.

cue flashback.

at the end of my kindergarten school year, each class had to present a choreographed dance number, complete with costumes and performed on a grand (i was small – everything was grand) stage with the impressive, heavy, manually operated curtains that all grand stages tend to have.

i remember our costumes distinctly. mine was a blue polka-dotted dress full of ruffles and layers, befitting some european (or was it?) folk song that i can't seem to find online.

it went something like ...

"[name of some lady] with flowers in her hair
[something i can't remember] [something that rhymes with 'hair']
[something else that ends just before the chorus]

tra la la la yes
tra la la la no
tra la la la yes
because i love you so

riiiight. deep stuff.

so anyway, all of us little froo-froo girls had to dance behind and beside the center of our presentation, a classmate who was given a costume a bit more froo-frooey than ours (presumably because she looked european?). we were instructed to tra-la-la-la around her and, at the end of the song, hold a pose that was somewhere between a curtsy and broadway-ish, hands-extended-to-the-side kindova thang but dramatically leaning toward our protagonist. in effect, it was to convey the general idea of 'presenting! queen froo-froo! with flowers in her hair!'

after the music stopped, the curtains would close and hide the mess that was our kindergarten class presentation.

during one of the last rehearsals, i was so engrossed in my ruffles and dancing that i didn't notice that i was too near the edge of the stage. when the curtains closed, i was IN FRONT of them. that day, i knew how it felt to have my pride forcefully drawn out of my soul and whipped across the floor like a dirty mop. i was left standing alone, holding a pose that said, 'presenting! the curtains!'

i don't remember how i found my way back behind the curtains but i remember reaching target heart rate. if i knew what that was back then.

for the next rehearsal (it could've been the final show, i couldn't care less), i made a million mental post-its for me to remember to STAY BEHIND the curtains. i was successful and, it must be said, very proud of myself for learning from my mistakes. 'this is the stuff of HEROES,' i idiotically thought.

of course it didn't really end all that well. for the final pose, i WAS at the right spot, except i was facing the other direction, completely opposite where i was supposed to look. my final pose said, simply, 'presenting! my classmate! who looks like she's presenting me!'

yey me.

many (MANY) years have passed and i'm still that extra-careful child who tries her darnednest to learn from her mistakes. maybe with fewer ruffles though.

the truth is we've all grown a lot since kindergarten, and if there's anything i want to teach my nephew and niece, it's that [something deep and witty to end this blog entry].

Monday, May 11, 2009

the tip of the misheard-lyrics iceberg

we've all had our share of misheard lyrics. some from us, some from our equally song-loving friends. even though i have an unconfirmed case of early alzheimer's, there are a few choice lines i might never be able to remove from my battered memory.

one of my favorite moments happened while a former officemate and i were driving out of the parking lot, happy to be going home after a long work day. after searching for a singable tune on the radio, we were excited to chance upon the extremely sentimental cliff richard classic ...

love ...
can't you see i'm alone
can't you give this fool a chance
a little love ...

(you're singing along, arencha? show of hands.)

as we built up to the refrain, i got ready to sing my lungs out. i could barely hear my officemate what with all the belting and all, but quite unfortunately, i heard this:


stop the car. ocean whuttt??? we completely forgot about singing in the next few minutes, as we were busy trying to gasp for air after a major laughing spell.

of course she was also the source of another favorite lyric moment.

ladies and gentlemen, kindly welcome the pre-american idol paula abdul, or at least my innocent officemate's interpretation of her:

he's a cold-hearted snake, LISTEN to his eyes!

(of course when i retold this story the day after, i inadvertently sang it as "he's a cold-blooded snake ...", which, although zoologically correct, just completely destroyed the joke. )

in more recent events ...

my friends and i were on our way to the beautiful anvaya cove. everyone was in a good mood. so good that they convinced me to sing some old songs in a cappella. for some reason, my sister (mom of my blog's stars, juancho and martina) asked me to sing the 80s hit 'lost in emotion' by lisa lisa and the cult jam. and for some other (maybe equally strange) reason, i obliged.

after wading through what i remembered from the first verse, we got to the refrain and everyone joined in (with the possible exception of 2-year-old martina):

lost in emotion
telling you things you really shouldn't know
oh baby, I'm lost in emotion
am I a fool?
at least my friends think so ...

at this point, my friend (who i will call 'jp' to protect his identity) decided to jump in, apparently also lost in emotion himself:



(as it turns out, he really doesn't possess the gene for remembering lyrics so the susana moment wasn't a big deal after all. if i had to document every misheard lyric from this guy, i'd have to create a whole new blog. hmm.)

of course jp must've been out of sorts that day. when we entered anvaya, his response to the guard's 'welcome to anvaya' was a cheery 'WELCOME!'

and speaking of older sister ...

when 'the little mermaid' was all the rage among kids and 'hannah montana' was just a figment of imagination (how i love those miley-less days), another 3-year-old niece had me sing "part of your world" repeatedly on what was quite possibly the longest plane ride from manila to san francisco. needless to say, that was a whole lot of ariel.

despite the frequent repetitions, however, ate still thought that the half-fish redhead was singing:

strolling along down a (what's that word again?) street
a pretty walk! a pretty run! a pretty stay all day in the sun

which kiiiind of makes sense at the start, but completely falls apart in the end. a pretty stay all day in the sun. yeah. then again, life doesn't always have to make sense.

and speaking of serious matters ...

let us all have a moment of silence for mary, who, according to martina, had a bit of a medical concern:

mary had a little lump, little lump, little lump!

hey mary. hope you had it checked. i know a few good doctors.