Knight’s kiss

In a fairytale world, she’s the damsel in distress and he’s the gallant knight in shining armor who comes to rescue her from the tower of the evil witch.

Enter reality –

CJ in a golden steed green bike and Pinky gallop to the sunset walk to the lift of a six-storey apartment building high medieval tower. They speak different languages. They also have different personalities. He is an introvert; she is obedient. And sweet. When asked to kiss him she obliged. Click!  goes the knight’s little professor’s very first kiss from a girl besides his mom.

ABC Wednesday

Save * Share * Spend

Divorce wiped me off something I would have been entitled to. That didn’t bother me a hoot thanks to financial independence. But when the almighty ex-MIL cancelled my son’s trust fund I had to look beyond mall windows to think.

The realization that I am responsible for the loss of what is due the kiddo (we’re talking more than a few digits here) horrifies me. Add the thought of giving up fine dining and entertainment, holidays abroad, and I’m twirling a nightmare in manicured fingernails. 

The situation provides a steady supply of adrenaline as I scramble to adjust priorities hopping from one advice to another, experimenting, analyzing and trying out examples. Who wants a nightmare when life can go on nicely with some practice of what has been an option all along? Saving it is. A Yahoo Finance article shows readers how to live well on $40,000 a year. It looks feasible and motivated me to set a financial goal for CJ that will teach him how to spend, share and save money.

Three S’s – save, share, spend: two in water canisters and one in a cookie can. We upgrade to proper jars or milk cans later. I will be giving CJ $10 a week =  4 dollars to save, 3 to share and 3 to spend.  

Things are about to change for my Little Professor. He will earn his money by doing chores. It’s time to appreciate hard work that goes with money acquisition. This is all new to him, and to me as well. But I’m eager to execute the plan. If he wants things badly enough then he will have to sort out schoolwork regularly and take violin lessons.

Times indeed have changed. When I was my kiddo’s age I was forced to take up piano lessons without pay. Now he is getting paid for doing things he is supposed to do anyway. But since the goal is to teach him about money, this means will be an exception.

If all goes well, i.e. this money management runs smoothly and CJ does well in his job on top of the trust fund I set up for him myself to make up for the one canceled by his grandma, he will be like little Ava in that Yahoo article that inspired this plan, ‘wealthy in more ways than a fat bank account can show.’

Countryschool children

Coconut trees chime with the mountain breeze cooling this country school in a cozy town known as the ‘fruit and flower basket of South Cotabato,’ a province an hour and a half plane ride from the Philippine capital of Manila. Children were queuing up to get to their classrooms when I got in for a friendly business chat with the principal.

Cashew Fia, girl in white shirt and sneakers, far left, runs to greet CJ (little boy blue with his back to the camera) who was late for flag ceremony. They are classmates in first grade. Srifle, the Red Riding Hood holding CJ’s hand, is a girl I hired to help (the Grandma who is official guardian) look after CJ. Cheeky, my niece’s dog escorted the duo. That must be his way of saying thank you for the free breakfast I gave him that morning.

There’s a class entrance protocol that is new to me. Each child takes the teacher’s right hand to have it touch lightly on his forehead, and then give the teacher a peck on the cheek before he enters the classroom. The teacher in turn hugs each child and says words of blessing before letting him in. It is done quickly and then the children settle in comfortably on their chairs. They start the class with a song, a Bible verse and a prayer.

Almost three decades have passed since I studied briefly in this school. Corn and lemon used to grow on the front yard. A couple of my family elders have since retired from the school board. Computers now work in the offices, no more yummy ube jam in the canteen, but the christian country charm continues to warm the heart. I will always like it that way.

~ This post is shared with ABC Wednesday ~

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Benefiting from English

Monday, June 11th was CJ’s first day in first grade and the next day I was still on the phone, hungry for updates. My foremost concern was how did he find and take it. Any friends? The first day, I was told, they did mostly orientation stuff. What I liked hearing best of all was that CJ found a friend and behaved just fine.

“Oh, that’s good,” I said to the Grandma. “Who is that kid?” Like any mom I am interested to know who are my child’s friends. CJ’s new school friend, I found, is a transferee student from Cebu. “Looks like a smart kid,” Grandma observed, “he and CJ hit it off quickly as they have one thing in common – they both speak English.”

Apparently, CJ’s English language training has benefited him. And I have yet to ‘unboggle’ my mind about all this talk of local dialects in Philippine schools being adapted as medium of instruction, translations to English, and back to conversational lingo. Sometimes it seems to me Moms have more schoolwork to do than kids.

Mommy Moments & Color Connection

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The first grader

Garuda as national symbol of Thailand

Garuda as national symbol of Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due to a previous school experience in Thailand that CJ had when he was 3, we relaxed adherence to schooling tradition and let him take his time at kindergarten in the Philippines.  But two weeks ago he turned 8 and from the info that the Grandma got from his K1 teacher, CJ would be in K2 next. K2? At 8? Time for horribly expensive overseas phone calls again.

Things could sometimes be downright opaque with long-distance parenting. I know though that CJ lacks learning motivation despite surprising shows of reasoning that under his circumstances I never thought he would be capable of.

Thanks to DepEd guys-slash-close friends Vi and JL who shared what they know upon which I based my decision to sort out CJ’s grade level. JL alerted me to the K+12 basic education program that kicks off this year. That certainly bears an impact on CJ’s age angle even more. Remedial classes should be available for children with difficulty catching up. All matters considered, including recommendations from CJ’s psychologist and developmental pediatrician, he ought to be in first grade this school year.

Department of Education (Philippines)

Department of Education (Philippines) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That K2 thingy hangs like a black cloud above my head. Plan B includes sending CJ to public school if CJ’s present (private) school refuses to admit him to Grade 1. Vi tried to diffuse my tension by saying everything will be fine. Let Grandma pull a few strings as a school board member. Wry smile: Grandma is no longer holding such post, and even if she does I still need to arrange things properly.

So krinnnnggggg goes my phone. I sorted CJ’s case with the school principal who discussed with me exactly what I hoped to hear from him. He also confirmed my observation that most of whatever the Department of Education regulates or implements, private schools follow. CJ would be in first grade come Monday, June 11th.

 Mommy Moments & Color Connection

Beautiful eight

On Wednesday, May 23rd CJ turned 8. Planning the celebration was ironically quicker in a distance than when I was personally fussing over every detail in previous birthdays. I woke up at half past six, Thailand time and waited for the clock to strike seven when it was eight in the Philippines to greet my little guy.

He was already out biking. My heart danced at how normal a young boy’s activity that can be. Grandma hollered, “CJ! your Mom’s on the phone!” Pause – then it was a trumpeting sound on the line. He let me in on it: “my Ben 10 sword, Mommy.” Oh, okay. I thought it was new year there already.

Quite a birthday. Quiet and controlled as I put together a few things that bind us –

A reading to commemorate CJ’s eighth year –

and eight things I am thankful for:

  1. reaching the eighth year in good health
  2. the opportunity to celebrate it
  3. big improvement on speech and motor skills
  4. having the means to provide for him
  5. feeling heaven’s warmth on my tea table,
  6. which was filled with charm specially for the day,
  7. and being able to document it
  8. hearing “I love you Mommy”

In the stillness of midday, I smiled in gratefulness to God for carrying me this far in my role as a mother.

Mommy Moments & Color Connection

Dust off

“Don’t look at my feet, Grandma so you can not see that it’s dirty,” says CJ when he does not want to take a shower before bed.

Good heavens where did he get that? I always washed my feet before I went to bed when I was a little girl.  And CJ’s Dad always showered. Our conversations at least didn’t have indications that former Mom-in-law had isuues with ex-hubster on taking showers when he was CJ’s age.

Honestly I am amused. But perhaps because I am not directly in line at the moment to deal with such 21st century child’s progress in reasoning.

Good old psychology has been right all along to observe that ‘little boys don’t take baths, they just dust off.’ That takes me to a tantrum he threw in Hong Kong because I forced him to take a shower. 

Sometimes now I think I should have just let him dust off, although I don’t think it should apply to dirty feet in bed. How long would this argument last, I wonder, but he’s a boy and I’m just his mom learning, learning, learning.

Mommy Moments & Color Connection

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