open letter to my nephew’s mother
Your baby’s fine. That pretty much answers your everyday question, “How’s my Marcus?”
Last holiday season, I was in Laguna for a couple of weeks. As you noticed in my facebook status, yeah, I did finish three novels in less than a week because I had nothing else to do but look over your son (except that week when his daddy “borrowed” him).
I’m not sure, though, if your Marcus is normal. He’s brighter than I expected, that’s something surprising given that you are his mother. <insert my laughter> Jerking aside, sometimes we feel that he understands what we are talking about, you know what I mean?
There was a time I caught him doing this funny baby talk (dadadadada) when your mother or father were adult talking. I realized, he was mimicking them!
Another time. Your mother asked him without gestures, “halika lagyan ko ng towel likod mo.” Your Marcus went to her and turned his back to his lola waiting for her to put the face towel. Do one year olds understand commands?
Hmm. He can also say “lov you” when you tell him “I love you.” And speaking of love, he loves them teddy bears.
There’s a bear he hugs whenever he sleeps; another bear that he always wrestles; another bear that he loves to hit and throw; another bear that he just wants to see whenever there’s a bear conference (he has 5, i think; before his Ninang Kikay gave him a huge bear).
He loves them, yeah. I would catch him talking to some of them, maybe he was briefing them on how to behave with modern sensibilities and gentleman style. Sometimes, he would line them up, then he’s happy. He’ll look at the Order of Five Bears on the bed, congratulate them for adhering to Gentlebear Decorum (I imagine), and smile, then leave. What a toddler.
One time, he got mad at one bear because of my treachery (Im sorry little bear). Marcus was looking for his lolly pop, but since he just had two lollies in 5 mins (he just licks them twice then throws them away), I kept the third lolly. When he was looking for it (“Ta Ai, pop! Tai pop!) I told him this particular bear took it. Marcus’ eyes widened, took this bear to one corner, held it in its two small arms, and said, “Pop? pop?” Since the bear looked guilty, (it was quiet!) Marcus managed to get a hanger and hit the bear over and over with toddler rage, still asking it to produce the pop. I felt guilty so I took the bear and made it cry (my voice over of course). Then Marcus, feeling remorse in his little heart, took the bear and hugged it. He also knows how to say sorry, hey.
Oh I have other bear stories, especially during Ate Vhec’s wedding where there were teddy bears, but I’ll just tell you the rest when you come home next month.
Hmm.. we’re sorry if we fail to brush his teeth everyday! We are to be blamed for this because Marcus would always say “bash, bash” when he sees someone brushing teeth. As for the rest of the chores that need to be done with Marcus around, all’s well.
Bath, milk, fresh shirt and tiny shorts, cut nails, combed hair, vitamins, coke, coffee. Your mother gives him all these. So when I went home last holidays, I thought, what a job it is to raise a child! Leave him alone for 10 sec and he’s up to something naughty. It was difficult. I tell you. He runs around a lot (in and out of the house) and breaks a couple of things. His nails can cut skin and his teeth can make us bleed. He has tantrums sometimes because we don’t want to spoil the kid. So during those crying fits, his lolo would take him out to the chickens and dogs and birds and trees, then they’ll have some nice talk. Or, his Tito Luis would take him out for a walk or bike ride. Then he’s fine.
He’s a happy child. He makes funny stupid faces. He mimics people. He sings and dances like you when you were tiny, Micon. He wipes his sipon with his hand till his cheeks are sticky with it (like you when youre small). He grabs everything, puts everything in his mouth, and he’s happy. He never runs out of playmate, too. He has his grandparents and uncles. Every weekend, Mike and I come home and sleep over usually for 2 nights to be with him. Then there are kids in the neighborhood, including his young titas, who would play with him.
Let me repeat, it’s a difficult task, taking care of Marcus. I know you know it, but I experience it. and words are never enough, so you need to get ready in case you’re planning to take him to Singapore. He needs 24/7 serious, tender attention, and it will tire you to the bone marrow to the point that you’d want to give the darn child away. You will age faster and have no social life. You may also lose your job, or in my case, skip my magazine job chores.
Yeah, I’m threatening you because we fear the day that you’ll take him away from us.
Smiling as I write the last sentence,