My baby can read

Indeed she can!

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She never fails to amaze me. I don’t know if it’s just the mommy in me, and I really don’t know about how kids learn these days, and I am one proud momma again. How is it really with 4-year olds nowadays? Actually it’s been almost a month since I found out that she can do simple 3- to 5-letter words but haven’t had the chance to blog about it. Aside from her teacher, of course, may I also take a bow for teaching and guiding her. I think all those listening to when I was with Deped representatives who were training teachers on how to teach phonetics to students has rubbed off on me, and I can actually teach, too! Yay! I also think it helps her a lot that I write down words for her that she can practice reading.

I’m so excited! I can’t wait for the day that she will ask me to buy her books instead of toys. That moment when she would curl up on the couch or the bed with a good bed instead of the iPad.

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My little bookworm

My last blog entries have been on the short and sweet side. This one will not be any different. There are so many stories to tell. But words seem to be escaping me and I am struggling to write them down.

Anyway, took the shot above last night as we were about to sleep. Very early on, even when Mischa was just a wee little thing, I started training her to love books and reading. I am glad she has really caught on. Bedtime reading has been a well-loved routine between us. She would always, always insist on it. I am so happy that she loves this! While reading itself is an enjoyable art, I also strongly believe that this will develop not only her vocabulary and communication skills, but her comprehension, too. As a parent, I would totally invest in this.

I am also glad and proud to say that she has a really excellent memory, and has memorized some books after only a few days of hearing the words from me. I pray a lot that she keeps this up.

Fifty Shades of Grey

The Fifty Shades trilogy is one of the most talked about books in the market today. Because of its supposedly controversial theme, it drove many readers-women specifically-to pick them up. E.L. James, the author, has piqued the curiosity of women of all ages, race, income, gender preference and social status.

Me, I was glad I had them on the iPad. They made me survive the grueling continental trip to Israel. They kept me company while I survive boredom and fatigue.

Christian Grey is, for me, a man to be coveted. Sans the sexual addiction, who wouldn’t want a handsome, rich, intelligent, philanthropic man? Add a little vulnerability any woman would find challenging to overcome, I would have been a goner if he was a real person and I had the chance to meet him. I would have buckled in the knees, too, much like the mousy, insecure Anastasia Steele.

My review of the series may already be tainted from other reviews I have read in the course of reading it. I can’t help but agree that the characters are too much Twilight-y–from the godlike, too-handsome-to-be-true Edward and Christian, to the brown-haired, quiet Bella and Anastasia. The girls kept repeating the mantra of what-could-this-god-see-in-me. And I couldn’t agree more about the too much sex. Really! And the scenes just seem to be a little repetitive. Ditto for many of the lines. But still, I wouldn’t call it very bad writing. There were a lot of dragging parts but the books made me hang on to the very end to see how the characters would fare as soon as they got over the insecurities of Christian and Ana. The controversial BDSM are actually sparse, and can be found widely spaced throughout the books. “Vanilla sex” is actually more prevalent than the whipping, bounding, tying, etc.

They are really just that–books. After going through them, I could say I liked them, not really love them. There have been more better written and well thought of ones, of course. But then I knew what I was “getting into” so I wasn’t that surprised or pretended to be shocked by all the gory details. I read (if time and my toddler permits) a wide range of literature. I am not into just chick-lit, or fantasy, or crime. If you are a wide reader, you would understand how fun it is to pore over pages and pages of various genre. I don’t think reading the trilogy made me a different person nor had my values changed. I have not become a menace to society 🙂

Going to My Big Bed

Some friends warned me about toddlers getting too hooked up with toys, books and other materials. Like adults, they tend to have favorites. But as they do not know how to temper their feelings yet, they hardly put any masquerade on when showing to the world what they like and adore. Sometimes, it takes them awhile, at least with my own kid, to realize that they love something and continuously shower the thing with much affection. Like this particular book, which we bought during a book sale in the hospital when Tito Ninong had an operation a few months ago.

During the past two long weekends, mommy had to humor the big baby at home and had to read, like 500 times, Sheryl Berk’s Going to My Big Bed.lol. When we were at home, she would get from her stack of books this particular one, push mommy to sit on the couch, climb on her lap, and say cutely “Read mo Emily!”. Emily is the little girl in the book who had to transition from sleeping in a crib to having to her own big bed. I figured this book is one of several Barney books, which provide little lessons to toddlers. I have to go and hunt for the other ones since my babe seems to like this one so much. After a while though, I felt like I have memorized little Emily’s story, and the baby girl has still not gotten her fill of the story. I was torn between laughing and a little exasperation but in the end, had to give in to her demands for the book. She didn’t even other people in the house to read to her, mommy lang, reminiscent of days when she would always tail me. She still does this, oftentimes tugging at my hand whenever she wants me to stay with her, and not do anything else. The mommy in me, of course, always wins. Mischa’s need for affection and attention always comes first.

Edit: Now I remember when Mischa was between six and twelve months old, and she wants to me to sing Barney’s theme song of “I love you, you love me…”, she would stand in front of me and say “ahhhhh…”

Before Ever After

My long hiatus with books has ended. I think I mentioned several times in this blog that books are something that have totally shaped me, and which I hope I can pass on to my young daughter. Very unfortunately, motherhood came along, and my passion for reading was stifled a little. No, make that a lot. Inasmuch as I would like to pick up new arrivals and devour them at home, I cannot ignore the demands of Mischa, especially now that she’s at that cling-to-mommy stage. My book purchases of late have been of Dr. Seuss, Good Night Moons and other large, colorful board books.

Anyhow, I surprised myself by looking for that much-hyped Before Ever After of Samantha Sotto. I was fortunate enough to snag the last piece at National Bookstore in Mall of Asia, and I didn’t want to go hunting for a copy should it not have been available there. Peering into its storyline, I got hooked as soon as it mentioned travel to Europe. From its website:

A modern fairy tale about true love, happy endings, new beginnings, and everything in between.

Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose–he could be Max’s long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down–if it is really Max– and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max’s stories of bloody Parisian barricades,medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her “happily ever after.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

While my wandering feet have only touched the soils of the United Kingdom in that continent, my mind has wandered deep into the bellies of France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Morocco, Belgium, the Netherlands and so on. My curiosity was instantly piqued. It helped that the book is continuously getting good reviews, most especially from people whose opinions I like and trust.

So now, I’m giving it a try. Try being the operative book as I have not had much time to squeeze it in over the weekend because of the kid hovering and demanding attention. It would have been one of those hard to put down books but as it is, I have to sneak it between household and child care, and my own shut eye. But the book bodes a lot of promise. I am such a sucker for love stories, history, family, and travel. I hope I can finish it this week. I felt lucky enough to steal a few chapters last Friday before sleep claimed my tired eyes and body.

If only I could leave work for a while and curl up in bed with a good book like I used to in my younger and more carefree days (waxing sentiment here).

A book closes

Indeed, it did. As authors, bloggers, reviewers have been writing in the last two weeks, a chapter in contemporary literature has closed as we all witnessed the showing of the last installment of Harry Potter’s life. I went to the movies with my husband and a couple of friends in a mixture of excitement, trepidation, and anticipated longing, knowing that this is the last I am going to see Harry. Not that I can’t reread my books and re-watch the DVDs, but as any Potter aficionado would say, there is the inexplicable feeling of sadness that all of this stops now, that there is nothing more to look forward to.

While many claim that they grew with Harry, I certainly did not. I just started working when I picked up my very first copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban. As soon as I finished the promising but eventually tragic tale of Harry’s and Sirius’ short and sweet relationship, I got hooked and immediately bought the first two books. Since then, I eagerly awaited as each new book and movie tie-in comes out. I remember having to request to be put on the reservation list at Powerbooks as the release of the last couple of books has become a media frenzy. Once, I even had the copy of the Order of the Phoenix sent through diplomatic pouch thanks to DFA friends! Hehe. They are all perfectly preserved albeit a little worn from all the reliving I do whenever I feel like it. Although I haven’t touched them of late since reading has become a luxury instead of a hobby for me ever since I embarked on marriage and motherhood. I enjoyed other titles, other series, other authors but nothing comes close to the magic Harry and J.K. Rowling has woven over me and a million other fans of all ages, sizes, color, religion, political affiliation or family background.

In my short trip to the United Kingdom in 2006, I was fortunate to visit the filming location of the Great Hall at Hogwarts Castle (hmmm must look for old pictures of this).

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was bittersweet and powerful. It had the right sprinkling of the events and important facets of the story embedded into it, without being bitin or overloaded. Save for that last part where they introduced a pot-bellied Ron to make him nineteen years older, everything was close to being perfect. Albus Potter was too cute. David Yates and the rest of the crew made it all alive, one couldn’t believe that it was fantasy. Well, except for Narcissa Malfoy’s hair, which was skunk-like when in the books, she was always described as blond and pale, to the point of translucency as compared to her raven-haired and bold sister, Bellatrix. The twists inserted were also done with taste despite not being in the actual story, such as Ron and Hermione kissing in the Chamber of Secrets, and Snape crying over Lily Potter’s dead body. I, myself, almost cried hearing the thuds Snape’s body produced as Nagini the snake bit and crushed him to death. I felt every emotion with the characters, and almost felt like I was there. I cried with them, got mad, laughed, felt triumphant with every victory they claim.

I’ll really, really miss Harry.

All in all it was worth one’s time and money (we watched in 3D). A fitting end to a glorious era.

The sweetest/cutest things

My daughter has learned to say I love you! It warms my heart everytime she utters alabyu mommy! And because she’s been progressing so very fast (in our opinions at least) with her vocabulary, communicating with her is also becoming a breeze. Relatives and friends have been pleasantly surprised by her ability to talk. I’m not sure if this is because of comparisons with other kids or she is extraordinarily talkative. Whatever it is, I am an extremely proud momma. While I still need to work on more on some delays, such as she still uses the binky but only when she goes to sleep at night (and this deserves another post on what I should do and if I should be alarmed by now), and people find her too thin, I am surmising I and the hubby are still on the right track in raising her. I stand by my doctor’s advice that as long as she doesn’t get sick, there’s nothing to worry about. I’d like to think that it’s old school when you equate being healthy to being “fat” in kids. She hasn’t so much as caught colds in the last year (pwera usog po). And though she consistently gets bitten by mosquitoes (darn those insects!), she is relatively untouched by viruses and bacteria.

Back to her talking prowess, I know I’ve turned into a stage mother on some occasions when I try to show her off. I am especially proud that she never had to stumble with her Rs and Ss. I guess it helped we didn’t do babytalk, which I emphasized over and over to her caregivers back then. And while I wanted her early on to have English as her primary language, I wasn’t successful in imposing this to my folks who has been spending a lot of time with her. Nevertheless, I’m still a very happy mom.

Aside from uttering the magic words (I love you), I find it sooo cute when she says:

– Hi daddy whenever the hubby comes in the room.

– Ba-bye and see you!

Si mommy lang when she doesn’t want anyone but me to feed her;

Halika na mommy when her dad is the one trying to put her to sleep and I’m still not done with the dinner chores (with matching hand and head gestures);

Ako na when trying to be independent and feeding herself;

– Sleep na si Barbie o, akyat na sya stairs at lie down na. Goodnight! (her fave game todate);

– No more laman to her empty milk bottle;

– Can count to twenty;

Sasama sa office! (Although this breaks my heart every morning)

Kawawa naman si ate, referring to a cousin who was left behind.

– The whole Bahay Kubo, although she stumbles with patola and insistently says palota;

Among other things, she also tells one heck of a story whenever she sees or experiences something new. Like the sky is clear after a morning foray into our grotto, or how the moon and stars are bright after staring out the window, or observations on children playing and crying on the streets. I love how she can identify about 80% of stuff in her primary books, even umbrellas and zebras. I hope this is a prelude to her becoming some sort of storyteller or writer in the future. As I posted some two years back, I am wishing that I could instill in her a love for reading, just like how I whiled the hours away in my youth. I just know that it will let her travel far and wide, both literally and figuratively. We have since moved on from her first ABCs and 1-2-3s to fairy tales. I can’t wait for her to pick up her first novel, which she will devour like a lion hungry for prey. I long to see the day that the reading bug will bite her, and she would want to go straight to bookstores instead of toy stores.

With that I also hope that she doesn’t turn into a Math dumbo like me.