Four-year-old Boy in the Backseat

I booked my sister’s family online for their flight to Bacolod and the mistake I made when I finalized the transaction with the wrong departure date requires me to go to PAL’s ticket office in NAIA Terminal 2 to get the revised ticket and pay for the additional fee in the process. But rather than fret about that costly mistake, which I did while sleepy thus missing the most important detail, I considered it as a blessing in disguise. What I initially plan to do by taking public transport alone and recovering my lack of sleep inside a cozy bus and taxi to the airport office, became a trip with me behind the wheel and wifey and Marcus tagging along. We haven’t been together in a mall for a leisurely visit so this one made a trip to MOA justifiable.

During the 30-kilometer trip, Marcus has been talking non-stop, asking repetitive questions. “Where’s the airport?”, “Are we near the airport?”, “Where is MOA?”, “Why are we turning here, not there?” had me and wifey exchange turns to give the same answer. However, other than these are-we-there-yet inquiries, there were those that we don’t know where to get the answers from and there was one that had both of us skipped a heartbeat. We’ve been preparing for the question and I really once thought that I will be ready when that time comes but yesterday I realized that I am not. What a four year-old boy can do. A special four year-old boy in the backseat.

***

The reason I got the idea of taking a side trip to MOA is because Marcus had told his mother that he wants to go biking again in MOA and the last time we did this was more than two years ago when we participated in a fun run for a cause. So despite doing it in the evening, and with me restraining myself not to grab something alcoholic from one of the nearby bars and restos and which I know that wifey has another idea of a night out, Marcus successfully got his wish and pedaled his way in the midst of the crowd enjoying the colorful night in SM by the Bay.

***

Marcus tweets

Starting today, I will use #4yointhebackseat to tweet about things (hopefully amusing ones) Marcus will say (or have said) while in the backseat. I once started #nurserylog which are about his school days but unfortunately I cannot retrieve the first ones. I am now wondering if there’s some application I can use to import a particular hash tag to my blog and to archive it as well.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks (Anxiety coming back.)

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He Created Restless Children Too

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real
father.” – Pope John XXIII

How many times have we been in the church to hear mass and expecting it to be one that so solemn, it relieves us of the past week’s stresses and readies us spiritually for the next? But how many times have we been distracted by kids who have decided to make the pews and the altar their playground and tried testing whether they can generate an echo in every corner of the church? Much worse, how many times have we been the parents of these restless Sunday kids?

To answer the last question, it has been happening to us a lot lately. Thanks to our ever active son, whether he is sick or not, Marcus.

Because like karma proving itself true, I now realize that my past encounters with unruly kids and how I have secretly cursed them and/or their parents while I try to fake a smile and maintain composure as I do my Sunday prayers have finally caught up on me. I seem to now slowly accept the fact that even my most fervent prayers may not work to pacify one restless son. I am now among the helpless parents who can’t do anything but pray for divine intervention – and one that is less likely to happen at all. I think God doesn’t touch uber active children but rather he makes parents ponder what was done and what still needs to be done to produce one well-mannered kid inside the church (or any other place).

So please if ever you get to be one lucky church person, because you are
either single or married but still childless and whose only problem is if your
message to the mighty heavens gets across, please understand that if you
are annoyed by kids running uncontrollably around you, bear in mind that someone among those bowed head somewhere is a helpless and embarrassed parent of that kid and ever wondering if indeed God created restless children, too.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Dear God, Thanks for Sundays.)

Knock, knock!

Contrary to my goal, again, I’m failing in my goal to fill my need to write more posts and Marcus has a lot to do with it. For wifey and me, parenting lately has been a lot crazier than before. Don’t get me wrong, despite nerve-wracking moments with an active 3-year old we seem to spend more enjoyable times as we witness his rapid development and antics that come along with it. Nowadays, our one and only boy….

…has become more articulate than ever. Other than saying our names clearer, he can now say Manny Pacquiao.

…can recognize Toyotas and Pajeros and other car brands. He can just spot Hondas before. (When he was more than a year old, he screams whenever he sees wheels.)

…has transitioned from nursery rhymes to more mature music. He used to just like GTO from the movie RV and lately he surprised me when he showed to me that he can dance to Top Gun’s Danger Zone and Mighty Wings. He also goes ballistic when he hears Party Anthem and Moves Like Jagger.

…continues to impress us with his pace in learning to use cellphones, computers and home theater. (Thankfully, he has not figured out why his favorite cartoon show doesn’t appear however he press the TV’s channel button. Yes, I locked it.)

…seems to start understanding that littering trash will result to flood and that whenever he sees some of the Sendong video footage, he’ll look for his clothes and tell us to donate them. (This one makes us feel so proud.)

Well, this is just a knock knock and I have to cut this short because sooner or later, he’ll be up and ready again to keep our day busy…and stressful…and fun. Parenting is exciting, isn’t it?

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Thankful to be home.)

Running for Adoption Consciousness

Today is quite a significant day for me and my family. I have been thinking about this day since last year when I started doing my strategic management paper. The months I spent knowing about domestic adoption made me realize the importance of this week’s event. Eventually, the critical call did come—a sign that I have been waiting for. The call from our social worker asking if I can give a testimonial was unexpected and quick. Before I can think of last minute alibis, something in me made me say a crisp ‘yes.’ After the phone conversation, I already knew that today is going to be one of those killing-two-birds-with-one-stone moments.

So around 4 o’clock this morning, I woke up minutes ahead of my alarm clock. I was that excited. After quick preparations of breakfast-to-go –coffee, bananas, pan de sal – and placing Marcus’ bike in the trunk, we were on our way to SM Mall of Asia. The early morning traffic was smooth so we arrived at the venue just less than an hour later.

The annual DSWD event started with a fun run just along SMB’s strip facing the Manila Bay. Several groups of people led by DSWD employees gathered to join the 3K run. I was in the middle of the pack at the starting line and the different t-shirt prints—DSWD, ICAB, CWC, etc.—of most runners around made me recall how immersed I was for months in the field of social welfare, specifically adoption, wherein I got acquainted to these organizations and some of its key employees.

The fun run started past 6:30 AM. Although I started cold, I began to pick up the pace by the first quarter of the course. I finished the 3K route in just around 20 minutes, not bad considering that it’s my first running event. A month of regular treadmill runs at home paid off.

After every runner has finished, the adoption consciousness week program proper followed. This year’s theme is ”Bata ay Huwag Abandonahin! Legal na Pagpapa-ampon ang Gawin.” Different personalities coming from DSWD and its partner agencies joined the program with some children from different child-caring agencies are also present and are part of the intermission numbers. Among the highlights of the kick-off program are the testimonials from two adoptive families—we’re one of them.

Despite having a prepared speech–I spent several hours to prepare just the night before, I decided to do an impromptu speech. It was brief but I think that I was able to bring my message across. One key message I mentioned is that hopefully domestic adoption will soon be embraced by more Filipinos because the latest statistics isn’t enough: there are only about 5,000 children adopted locally and around 3,000 internationally since 2006. Something has to be done to improve the current figures since the number of children waiting adoption is just overwhelming.

The adoption consciousness week will be until February 11, 2011. DSWD and child-placement agencies (KBF and NORFIL) have setup help desks in some SM malls to cater to anyone who is interested in the legal domestic adoption process. According to DSWD, they will have booths in SM North, Fairview and MOA. Please come and visit them.

***

I was able to talk to the founder of the Adoptive Families Foundation and I learned that he had difficulty convincing other adoptive parents to give a testimonial. This is not surprising. One of the surveys I did in this group received only a 12% response. It just shows that most adoptive parents are  still not privy when it comes to talking about it in public (or even online) and this is also one of the reasons why there are still hesitation and resistance from most Filipinos towards legal adoption. Optimistically, the efforts of DSWD and related NGOs will keep on saving more innocent lives from being wasted and deprived of a permanent and loving family.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Glad to finally reach the decision.)

You Become a Father When…

…you start caring for a small bundle of joy.

…you gladly forego your own sleeping time in order to watch the new occupant of your bed slowly settle to dreamland.

…you hate leaving home because there’s now another hand waving you goodbye.

…you visit playgrounds with just a slight yank from fragile yet convincing hands.

…you realize how hard it was then for your own father to raise you.

…you stop being the king of the remote control and that the winner is one who does not even have to speak…and it’s not even your wife.

…you shamelessly sing a nursery hymn on short notice…anytime, anywhere.

…you watch what you’re saying because a pair of tiny ears listens.

…you watch what you’re doing because little eyes are intently watching.

…you enthusiastically mount a basketball hoop in your yard…and you don’t even play the game.

…Barney, Mickey and Baby Einstein just pushed your Braveheart, Top Gun, and Saving Private Ryan DVDs deeper into the back of CD shelf.

…your Last Song Syndrome is not the latest rock music but the Alphabet song.

…you stopped hating noisy kids in the church because you’re now constantly running after one.

…you shift to buying the smaller Happy Meals…not because you’re on a diet but just because you want a toy to come with it.

…you have now mastered dealing with a formula…and it’s not math.

…you wake up at 3 AM just to blog how it is like to become a father. Happy Father’s Day to everyone!

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Grabbed another oatmeal cookie to keep me company.)

I’m all mixed up once again. It’s just more than 24 hours and I’ve already done several things not so related to each other but has nevertheless kept myself busy, frustrated, confused, and excited – may not be in proper order but may apply all at one point. Yes. I’m once again having that chopsuey day. Well, just to remain optimistic there’s always a good thing about bad things.  At least it doesn’t make my day SSDD.

***

After a meeting with the rest of our village’s board of directors yesterday and with our treasurer walking out of the meeting, I finally filed my formal resignation this morning as well. It’s not because I’m fed up with any of them but it’s because of the troubling effect that goes along with the treasurer walking out and her probable termination.

So this morning while trying to decide between eating proper breakfast or leaving on time for one of the most important things I’ll be doing in the next few months to come, with fingers tightly crossed, I hurriedly typed what has been going on inside my mind for weeks, my resignation letter. It’s about time.

Emerald court
I miss the days when this is a common sight.

I really hate doing it but I did the best that I could to explain why I’m leaving this time. I got several compelling reasons and one of which is living a quiet life away from the baseless accusations, gossips and intrigues which are sadly done by elders who are supposed act as well-meaning advisers in the community. Although these may not be directly addressed to me I can’t bear hearing it anymore and this isn’t the environment that I want our baby boy to witness – this is one major reason.

Now I’m back, hopefully, to living as a private individual. Next time, I’ll share some of the homeowners association woos and woes.

***

Other than filing my resignation which I just realize was actually my first as I never had the chance to make one since I joined a team, organization or even a company, I started the first step to another milestone in my life. (Incidentally, I’ll be leaving my current job without it again)

This morning I went to Ateneo Rockwell to register for their MBA Regis program course entrance exam. Although, their building wasn’t exactly as vivid as what they have on their website’s header, I was still thrilled and excited the moment I saw it from afar and it got even more intense when I came inside. The place itself had this professional feel and the surrounding appears to be a very conducive place to learn. What especially caught my attention though was the solemn chapel inside the campus. I’m wondering now if this is filled to its capacity during exams with most of the students asking for divine intervention. Anyway, just in case it is, I’ll just bear kneeling outside.

Ateneo Rockwell's chapel
Law students do pray here. Photo by: Michael Gomez

The whole registration process went very orderly. I don’t know if this is always the case but when I arrived at the registrar’s counter, there were only four other people transacting and even if I had to go down to the cashier’s office to pay for the exam fee everything was still a breeze. When I left home this morning, I was prepared to be in a long line of students and have asked myself for extra patience. But then Ateneo’s automated system changed my perception of a traditional registration flow – it took me just about 10 minutes to finish the whole transaction and I was happily on my way home just in time for a late lunch and a well-deserved siesta – considering that it’s from Cavite to and from Makati being completed all in the morning wasn’t bad at all.

***

My blogging addiction has stepped up. In my desire to monetize my blog, I’ve been searching for days already on how to do it properly. I’ve also researched on what free or paid blog providers will cater monetization. Somehow, I discovered that in this case the best things aren’t free. And this led me back to Typepad.com.

I made the first steps in signing up with Typepad a couple of weeks ago but I was taken aback when I saw that its 14-day trial period would require me to enter my credit card number. Yesterday, as I ran out of choices and with my eagerness to sign back, I read and re-read the trial period conditions which to my relief say that I won’t be charge if I cancel before the 14-day period. And so I proceeded.

Sadly, my first impression about this paid blogging site isn’t good. For one, my expectation of Typepad being better than WordPress faded soon enough as I had a hard time using its dashboard. I find its features falling short of WordPress’ and just a bit better than Blogger.com. I still have 13 days to exploit it, but as of now I’m already revisiting my Blogger account and have done some re-layouts and modifications. I can see that it’s starting to look a lot like Typepad now. It’s a shame. But of course, I’m not quitting on Typepad yet. In the next days to come, I’ll spend some time using it and will give it another chance to prove its worth. Hopefully, at the end of the trial period is a win-win situation.

Here’s Typepad’s dash.

typepad

Here’s WordPress’.

WP dash.jpg

Now take your pick. I’ll bet a day’s worth of transport fare.

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Chapel photo credit: Michael Gomez

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Mood: 4/10 Honks!