Meeting Rep. Leni Robredo

I’m not a big fan of politicians in general. I’ve been disappointed with so many of them. Yet I try to remain hopeful. I feel I have to continue hoping that things will get better, mainly for my children and their future. In the upcoming May 2016 elections, no presidential candidate interests me. But with the entry of Rep. Leni Robredo in the vice-presidential race, I am once again hopeful. Hopeful that we can have a government official who is honest, who is simple, who genuinely cares.

This afternoon, we were honored to have Rep. Robredo as guest in the induction of the PSHS Parent Officers. She spoke as a mother to Jillian, her Gr. 10 PSHS daughter and to her two other daughters. It was refreshing to hear someone in government without the arrogance one usually finds in other politicians. She was very candid and gracious. I really hope she wins next year. The country may yet have a chance, with people like Rep. Leni Robredo.


Grateful Project Day 58: Having Fun With Math

I am grateful that my children are good in Math. They like doing Math, not just in school, but even in their everyday lives. That was how we introduced Math to them. It wasn’t in school that they learned how to count, how to add and multiply. We incorporated Math in the day-to-day activities, like playing, eating, grocery-shopping. It wasn’t a “task” they needed to learn. It was something fun to do. Of course it helps that they have the aptitude for it. But I think it is the attitude towards Math that is the reason why a lot of people are not good in it. I’ve met a lot of people, intelligent ones, that do not like Math and pass on that bias against Math to their children. The children end up hating Math even before they had a chance to know it better. For one to be good in Math, you need to practice and practice. When you do, you get better at it and you learn to enjoy it. It becomes pleasurable. So you end up doing more practices. Math is fun and I wish more children would discover that.

Proud Moment

Today was the Crossing Over ceremony in Chino’s school.  He was chosen to speak in behalf of the Grade 3 class.  Bong and I were there, naturally, together with Mama.  I wasn’t really nervous this time, compared to the Pagbigkas contest last year.  This was more relaxed, no worries.

When Chino went up the stage to deliver his speech, I saw that my little boy is not so little anymore.  In his place, there was a young man, about to enter Middle School, ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.  I listened to him relive his experiences in the Primary School.  He said his piece well, much better than any of his previous practice sessions at home.

After his speech, Bong and I were congratulated by a lot of parents. They complimented Chino on his speech, as well as for being chosen as the representative of his batch.

No one could be more proud this morning than Bong and me.

Doctor or Mom?

I am a doctor.  I trained in one of the busiest hospitals around.  I am confident and I like being in charge.  When a patient comes to me, I like the feeling of being able to diagnose the problem and offer the appropriate treatment.  However, with my kids, I temporarily cease to be a doctor.  I am simply their mom.

After waking up from her nap this afternoon, Trixi just threw up everything she had for lunch.  She was fine before that so I was a little surprised.  All throughout the afternoon, she continued to throw up, became irritable and just sat on my lap and cried.   I felt so helpless.  I  took her temperature, gave her something for her headache, and gave her fluids for replacement.  That didn’t make her feel better.  So I held her close and  started singing softly to her. She eased up a bit and quieted down.  She was still in pain, I could see it in her eyes.  But she was better.  Mama trumps the doctor in this round.

A Parent’s Fear

While I was watching TV the other night, I got a call from Nini telling me about a Gr.4 Atenean, Amiel Alcantara, who died earlier that day in a car accident right inside the campus.  After the call, I felt so affected that even I was surprised by my reaction.  I thought that, as a doctor, I’ve faced death so many times that I am no longer jarred by it.  But this case was different.  I found myself thinking it could have easily been my son in front of that speeding van.  He passes that same road every schoolday.  I could not even begin to imagine the pain and anguish of Amiel’s parents.  Who would have thought that they would never have the chance to see him alive again after they saw him off to school that morning?

Before going to bed, I prayed like I never prayed before.  I called out to the guardian angels of my children, all the angels and saints, to St. Marie Eugenie, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to please protect them everyday, especially when we are not with them.  As parents, we long to be around to shield our children from pain and suffering.  Unfortunately, we cannot always be there.  So we put our faith in the Lord, to protect them and to keep them, to hold them close and away from danger.

Movie Time

One idea that I got from Jerick’s family is Movie Time.  It’s a time we set aside every Saturday afternoon, when all of us gather in the living room and enjoy a video.  We take turns choosing what video to watch.  On other times, the kids watch videos on their own while Papa is at work or Mama is in the kitchen.  Late at night, Bong and I watch the movies we like.  But during Movie Time, everyone sits down to watch the designated movie.  

Trixi  eating popcorn

Trixi eating popcorn

Chino eating ice cream

Chino eating ice cream

Here’s what we chose in the last round:  Trixi got “Horton Hears A Who”, Chino chose “Speed Racer”, I got “Hook” and Bong went with “Space Chimps”. It’s one way to get the kids to watch something new.  Otherwise, they’re okay with watching Star Wars for the millionth time.  

I wonder how long Chino and Trixi will agree to have Movie Time with us.  I dread the day when they will choose to go out with their friends rather than watch a video with their parents.  I know it’s inevitable, but I hope it doesn’t come soon.  

In the meantime, I’m stocking up on child-friendly videos that we can all enjoy together.


I was never the athletic type.  But one sport I do appreciate, and love to watch, is basketball.  As a young girl, my dad would bring me to the Araneta coliseum whenever he could get tickets.  We would cheer wildly for our favorite team then, the Crispa Redmanizers.  I was not a passive observer, mind you.  I would raise my fist in the air after a shot went in.  I would point and curse at the referee if I thought the call was wrong. (My dad would sometimes worry that I might incur the ire of someone from the opposing team who happened to sit nearby.) I went home hoarse after every game I watched.  But that was me.  I could not sit still while watching a game.  I felt I was actually part of it.  That was also why I don’t watch a game if I have no affinity to either one of the teams playing.  I NEED to be rooting for a particular team.

But when motherhood entered the picture, I was weaned away from watching basketball.  I hardly got to watch the games.  Pretty soon, I didn’t know half the composition of my erstwhile favorite team, Purefoods.  (In the Crispa days, I knew everything there was to know about the players – jersey number, personal stats, basketball history,  personal life, what-have-you.)  When the connection was lost, I stopped watching.

Today was Game 2 of the UAAP finals.  Ateneo won the first game last Sunday.  I was determined to watch what could possibly be the last game of the season.  I cooked dinner early.  I made sure the kids had their baths.  More importantly, I wanted to share this with Chino and Trixi.  Maybe they too will enjoy watching basketball as much as I do.

So there we were, in front of the TV (Trixi still eating her dinner), shouting like we were in Araneta.  Trixi would join Chino in cheering “ONE BIG FIGHT!”  Of course, we were all thrilled when Ateneo won the championship.  But I was even more pleased that there’s another thing I now share with Chino and Trixi.

Back to Work?

For the past 8 years, I have been a full-time mom to Chino and Trixi. I used to think that I would go back to ophthalmology when the kids are bigger, when both of them are in big schools. But when Bong’s associates decided to venture into a new clinic, Bong and I thought that this would be a good chance to get back to medicine. There may not be a slot available when I do decide to practice again.

So I talked to the kids and explained to them that Mama will now be working, just like Papa. Chino was hesitant at first. He had his apprehensions. He didn’t want to be left to a maid. But after I explained that it would only be a part-time job, that I would only be in the clinic 2 or 3 times a week, when he was still in school, it became more palatable to him. I would still be around when he studies at home, I would still be the one to prepare our meals, I would still be the one to greet him when he comes home from school. With that, I was ready to get back on the saddle.

However, we later found out that some ophthalmologies were coming in as a group. I was out. After psyching myself up and telling the kids, it was back to being full-time mom. It wasn’t the right time, I told myself.

Then just a few days before 2006 ended, I was being asked to fill in a Sunday slot. I have always asked Bong not to work on Sundays since that was the only day that we could spend as a family. Now this. Sunday was the only day they could give me.

Saying yes would mean that we would miss Sunday lunches with my parents and my brother (the only one left in the country) and his wife. It would mean that Bong would not have a rest day (Sunday being his only rest day) as he would have to take care of the kids in my absence. Saying no, on the other hand, would mean that I would not be able to join this new clinic. Doctors are snapping up available slots so fast. It would be hard to say if a slot would be available some years down the line when I do decide to join. It would also mean saying no to the opportunity to help my family financially.

In the end, I decided to take the slot. The kids and Bong can come with me and go around the mall while I hold clinic. After my shift, we could still spend the rest of the day together. We could visit the grandparents afterwards or go on Saturday evenings.

It’s a change, going back to work. I know it doesn’t sound much. It’s just one shift a week. But after more than 8 years absence, it seems daunting. I am so grateful that Bong and the rest of my family have been very supportive. I hope that this is the right thing to do.

Choices, Choices

I never thought of myself as maternal. I was never the type to carry infants, no matter how cute they were. I told Bong that I wanted to go on working even after we got married. And I did. But when I had my first child, Chino, I asked Bong if I could be a full-time stay-at-home mom instead, and he agreed. We agreed that it was best for our son. I thought that I’d go back to work when the baby turned one. But years passed, another child came, and still I’m home with them, working as their primary care-giver. Every year, I re-assess the situation. Are they ready to be left? Do I want to leave them with someone else? They may no longer be infants, but that doesn’t mean they need me less. Their needs have changed. Chino now faces daily homework and quarterly quizzes. We’re trying to get Trixi to talk more. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be a stay-at-home mom. But for the meantime, ophthalmology can wait.