Monday, September 12, 2011

A day with the Kids

September 11, 2011 is a much-awaited day for me. It is not because it's the 10th year anniversary of 9/11 US NY twin tower-attack but because I will be spending a day with my nephews and nieces in Tacloban City.

One benefit of my work is that I can travel for free to Tacloban City due to the fact that the project I presently work with have areas around Samar and Leyte. This means that I can always drop by my elder brother Bobby's residence whenever I have official business in the region. What is exciting visiting his place are the kids, my nephews Keith Robert and Kim Herbert, and my nieces Ayssa Rosette and Dulce Paula. For more than a year now, I was not able to spend time with them since my last visit in 2009.

The kids have grown taller, Kuya Keith and Ate Ayssa now tower over me. And are now teenagers, both in their high school and they have grown really physically. Thus my chitchat with them was generally about school and their school performance. I am so proud to have seen in fact the good (i mean great) grades of Kuya Keith. He's in his second year and at section 1 at that; his 91.375 grade for the first grading period landed him at top 18 from among thousands of students in Leyte National High School. Ate Ayssa whose in her first high school year is also at section 1. I witnessed her group study conducted that day in their residence. I am so proud of my sibling's children that they are able to live up to our examples and expectations. It runs in the blood, really! My siblings and me have good records at school. I chuckled at this boastful thought.

We (Kuya Keith and I) already agreed on aspiring for UP Diliman, both UPCAT and scholarship. Same with Ate Ayssa so that they will then be my boarders, once Sis En will relocate to their new place.

I spent most of my time bonding with the little ones, Kuya Kim and Baby Pawpaw. Kuya Kim is at grade 1 this year. He's always at his best when we talk of computer games, video games, cellphone games, all about games. He does not need manuals to play them and even complete the whole levels up to the last credits. He even understand the upgraded BookWorm game version, only that he's premature for most of the needed words and word combinations to conquer the obtacles and level up. I believe he inherits that vigor from me. And I laughed loud at the thought.

Kim dragged me to the front of their desktop computer to illustrate to me the new computer games he studied and completed. He showed me his new addiction, the so-called "angry birds", which only then that I knew about. He even showed to me his collection of the angry birds which appeared to me like little toy marbles. Then, he exhibited in front of me that he can now read sentences. He further showed me his test papers with high scores; not really perfect unlike his Kuya Keith whose most test papers has perfect, if not almost perfect scores. And I thought of maximizing his potential in that sense: the sense of competitiveness, the sense of conquering and triumph... When I brought them to Robinsons Mall in Tacloban, Kim went directly to "angry birds" stuffed toys. He chose the black one, because according to him, it is the most powerful among all angry birds. Kuya Keith picked the red one (don't know if it's for him, but Kim's favorite color is red) and another yellow one for Pawpaw.

The youngest and the most enjoyable of all is of course the littlest one, Baby Pawpaw! She's the cutest baby in the world for us, she's the girliest child in the whole wide world for us. She has this signature of brushing her hair that crosses her face and she did it surreptitiously yet gracefully and gorgeously, like a fully grown lady. Her favorite color is yellow and she inherits that from me. And I laughed loud again. I may be the conceited uncle, but I am telling the truth!

she's proud and confident in dressing up girlishly

she presented me all her girly stuffs: umbrella, sandals, skirts

we did have an enjoyable reading, speech sessions

Baby Pawpaw collected all her properties that are gifts from us (from her Auntie En-En and I). She brought them all to me, the battery-operated pre-school tutorial toy, the pink barbie dolls in the box, the two alphabet and number puzzles, and the fairy tale book. So we have reading session, and what's impressive was that at about age two she can already pronounce four-syllabled word "strawberry". What's more entertaining is that she repeats the words I pronounced loudly when she's sure of her pronunciation, and whisper them when she's unsure in repeating them. It did tickle me superbly. Then we proceeded to photoshoot, i mean picture-taking. She was the photographer and I was the model. Once she positioned to take the shot, I did different poses with twisted face-makings, like pouting lips, inverted eyelids, or I put my hands over my face and taunt, stretch and twist my face skin. And you can hear her cry our her signature laughs. And much to her amusement, she patted my shoulder or kicked my feet sweetly and said "uncle ko!" T'was heaven!
she flipped this skirts ladylikely in front of me... she even turned around for me to check

and the exhibitions followed telling me that she's the next ballerina in the family (i was the first, LOL)

look at her posture while taking the call from her auntie en-en

her signature laugh when we tickle each other

and the sweetest of it all was when she told me "ayaw uli uncle..."

Then it occurred to her to present me her case; it seemed like she bore it for a long time. She told me about the toy car that she has been using all this time. It was a blue plastic toy car, big enough for a toddler to ride on. The case she presented was that it was her Kuya Kim's and therefore old. I can see that paints and skins have cracked. Another case she presented was that the forward wheels were broken and therefore she can no longer sit on it and push to drive. That instead she was now pushing the car in order to simply enjoy and play it. What more heart-breaking for me, and she looked so pitiful, when she turned the car upside down to present to me the real situation, the uselessness of keeping the car, which is like presenting an exhibit in a court hearing. And so I cried, and laughed out loud, "yes my darling, I understand your predicament; I got the case right. You won and I will buy you a new one!" Did you know what happened next? She rest her case knowing that she had won, parked her old car inside her siblings' room, and ate breakfast with me. T'was surreal!

And without second thought, as I brought them in the mall, I let her choose her new car... and here it is:

A day with the kids was the best day of my travel here in Leyte. I was so full of love from my cute little niece.

Thank you KALAHI-CIDSS Project of DSWD and MCC for a free trip here and spent a day with my nephews and nieces. I was really, truly entertained!

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