Friday, June 4, 2010

Turning Japanese

Japanese food -- I can probably eat it every day of my life! It's healthy, it's light and the way it's prepared is a visual treat in itself. So eating Japanese is always a delight.

At the restaurant we go to, the chopsticks cover has a tiny origami bird glued to it. On some you can find a blue one, on others yellow. Of course, being a grown up, I never notice this. I'm always too busy looking at the menu even when I already know what to order. Same old, same old. On the other hand, my seven-year-old daughter not only notices everything, she can find all sorts of ways to entertain herself, and the people around her. Today, she decides to tell a tale about three birds -- the ones stuck on my chopsticks cover, on hers and on dad's. The purple one is the oldest, her name is Anna. The green is Felix, and the peach is Feliza. They're friends, and they like to play hide and seek -- under the placemat, inside the napkin, behind the rice bowl. Oh, did I tell you that this storytelling session is interactive? We're not only supposed to look for them, we're also supposed to guess how old they are. And, whose brother is Felix-- Anna's or Feliza's? Hmm...tough one.

Dad and I go along with this because our order is taking longer than usual to prepare. Never mind if we're getting some snickers from the other table. And that mom gets really embarrassed being with girls who talk a bit too loud in restaurants. Finally, the food comes, and we tone down for awhile. But not for long.

I try to clean up my bowl, then focus on the next part of the story. There are three new birds now, courtesy of the wait staff. One of them is the twin sister of Anna, and her name is Victoria. The two others I forget. And this goes on. And on. Until the coffee jelly comes.

I think next time, we'll just go for pizza. At least they don't have chopsticks there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Changing Cycles

I'm not a very huge fan of change. I kinda like routine. Change, let's just put it mildly, disorients me. And that's why I'm writing again. Writing stabilizes, if not distracts me.

Summer is over in this part of the world, while in others, it is just beginning. Which means while other moms are bracing themselves for the onslaught of non-stop summer activities that can only happen when kids are home on vacation, I'm psyching myself for a quiet home during the early part of the day once the kids go back to school. Oh don't get me wrong. I'd been looking forward to this after eight straight weeks of being with my children--and I only have two! See, in a really odd way, this summer was such a busy period -- starting with Holy Week. Then Easter. Then Earth Day. Then Family Reunions. Then Labor Day. Then Mother's Day. Then Elections. Then A Wedding. Then Mom's Birthday -- packed with short trips and adventures in between! Whew!

But now that June is here, I can't help but be wistful about what we did this summer and how that's about to end in a couple of weeks. I think the children are feeling the same way. Riding in the car awhile back, my daughter kept hugging and snuggling up to me. As if that was not enough, she intertwined her fingers onto mine, the kind where your hands lock and it's a bit hard to let go. My son has been clinging more often too. And to tell you the truth, so have I. Well, what's a mother to do?

Re-establish routines, that's what. This week, we started walking around the village in the morning, ending at the playground for their treat. The swing helps my daughter look forward to the one at school while my son is reminded of how Coach taught them to jog, not run. We've unplugged the TV and packed away the DVD's, and have been reading new books with old favorites more often, and not just before bedtime. I'm surprised at the fact that the kids have not complained, and seem to genuinely enjoy our read-aloud sessions once again. We've also cut back on adventures, except for paying bills, going to the doctor, doing the groceries and picking up daddy from work. We're really winding down into our more structured, uneventful, daily routine. I like it that way. And so do they.

Today, the rain poured practically all day signaling the start of the rainy season. We were undaunted. Daughter kept doing her penmanship book, practicing for second grade. Son was busy looking at his sister's hand-me-down books. And I, got out my own notebook and started typing away...