Birthday Boy

alphonse 04

Waiting for Alphonse

I woke up with a start at six in the morning that day, the sudden gush of a watery fluid from between my legs jolting me to wakefulness. I had been feeling unsettled the whole night, like I had a severe case of indigestion, with my belly throbbing and aching in turns. II was about three weeks from my expected date of delivery and a little more than two weeks from my scheduled Caesarian section. I hated having plans changed at the last minute, I grumbled irritably as I wobbled to the bathroom. Worse, it was All Saints’ Day.

I woke up A♥ and told him it was time to go to the hospital. So much for a late start to the day, I sighed. It was, after all, a holiday and we were all looking forward to sleeping in that day.

I took a quick bath and dressed quickly. I remembered to grab the bag I had packed a week earlier. I was not going to the hospital unprepared this time, like the time Alex was born and I hadn’t brought anything except for a small handbag (well, Alex came six and a half weeks early, so that was perfectly justifiable). A♥ got Alex ready for the drop-off at my mom’s. He hauled the car seat and Alex’s small suitcase to the car and then went back for Alex. Eighteen-month-old Alex was still half-asleep and offered no resistance to being carried or strapped to his car seat.

After the goodbye kisses to Alex and my parents, we went to the hospital, quite sure that that day was the day we were meeting our second son. A♥ and I looked at each other anxiously. We were both excited for the little one’s coming and yet, we couldn’t help but be nervous and worried. The long months of pregnancy hadn’t been exactly easy as we struggled with bleeding every few weeks. We hurriedly filled in paperwork and in no time at all, I was ushered to the labor room.

alphonse 02The long minutes of waiting turned excruciatingly into hours. By late afternoon, my contractions were coming one after another. My lower back was screaming in pain as I gritted my teeth in a false smile with each drawn-out wave of nauseating pain. I was not going to be one of those women who screamed in their labor, I promised myself, but the pain was getting more intense and more difficult to bear. Just a little bit more. I could hold out for just a little bit more, I breathed deeply in and exhaled loudly.

Just then, the resident who was monitoring my labor delivered the news. My obstetrician had called in to say he was postponing my delivery for a couple of days. By then, I was too exhausted to even ask why. After the tocolytics were given through my IV line, I felt the pain easing up slowly. A few more hours and I was transferred to my own room, to await delivery via C-section scheduled in two days.alphonse 01

And so it came to pass that 19 years ago, we met Alphonse for the first time on November 3. He was a big, robust baby, with round eyes and a shock of black hair. He cried easily and lustfully, with whooping squeals that deafened everyone around him. He was fussy and needy but sweet and beautiful the way only babies can be.

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A♥ fell head over heels in love for the third time. 🙂

Today, Alphonse is no longer a little baby and yet, still not a man. He continues to straddle the world of adolescence and childhood. Physically, he is a healthy, strapping young man. Cognitively and emotionally, he is a little boy, innocent and often confused of the world around him. He is still fussy and needy but sweet and beautiful the way only he can be.

We live a life challenged by autism but never lacking in love. And we look back at the past 19 years with gratitude and awe, sometimes with tears, but more often with joy, for all the years our life have been blessed and bewildered by Alphonse’s presence in our lives.

alphonse and mama

Happy 19th birthday, sweetest one! Papa, Mama and Kuya love you always!


Happiness is… (vii)

realizing that “when you turn your face to the sun, the shadows fall behind you.”

Happy 17th birthday, my dearest son.

After all we went through this year, after all the tears and gut-wrenching pain, we made it. Your smile-even just a hint of it- is the light at the end of our dark tunnel.

Stay happy and well always.

We love you, Alphonse.


Catching Up

DT (short for desktop- DT’s my new nickname for it) is back but still seriously lacking in chops. I’ve gone back to using DT and taking Lappy (nickname for my laptop) out for really short spins (usually late at night when Havoc– my arch-enemy nickname for Alphonse when he is on destroyer mode- is fast asleep). So far, so good. Some of the programs have yet to be re-installed (maybe over the weekend when I have a little more time) but since I can already surf the net, write my articles, and blog hop, then the wait won’t seem such a bad time, after all.

Alphonse (left) and Alex (right)- how time flies!

Tomorrow, Friday, June 4, 2010, is officially my son’s first day of his last year in high school. My, time really flies fast. It really just seems like yesterday he was getting ready for preschool and now here we are, just a year before college. 🙂  

With first day classes looming over us, we  are all winding down from this long, hot summer. It’ll be hard getting back into the rhythm of the schoolyear; summer had us spoiled with late movie nights and play-athons over the Wii or the PlayStation that getting to bed early promises to be a huge chore. Even Alphonse, with his strictly regimented bedtimes, did not prove immune to summer’s siren call. There were many times during these last few months that he kept us up till two or three in the mornings. And as fun as it was for all of us to stay up till the wee hours of the morning, our bodies did pay for those late nights, eventually.  Boo. Aging can be no fun.   

This week, too, I turned a year older. We hadn’t planned for anything big this year- no hotels, no out-of-town jaunts, no party- and we were happy just to stay at home and celebrate with the boys. Perhaps, my only disappointment to the day was that A could not be around to celebrate it with us- a first, really, in all the 24 birthdays I have spent with him. Too bad my birthday fell on a workday with loads of important things  that could not be postponed for another day. We did have dinner for two and a movie later that night. 🙂 And yes, yes, yes, I love my presents! (Guess what?)

If there was a surprise to that day, however, it was that I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages I received on my birthday, on facebook wall posts and private messages, on multiply private messages, and even through email. I hadn’t gone online till late that night and what I saw just about blew me away! Thank you to everyone who made me feel loved and important. What a great way to end a birthday!

I hope everyone has a great weekend, folks. Be safe and be blessed always!

Birthday Bonanza


birthday bonanza 01

was supposed to be my birthday cake. All 12 by 8 inches of soft, moist butter cake topped with a 10-inch fondant and royal icing Hello Kitty Chinese Empress in red. This was a surprise birthday cake A had especially made for me.


 birthday bonanza 02

And this

was all that was left of Hello Kitty, ten minutes after she arrived in the house.

Alphonse, in his excitement, thought she was a doll, and before anyone could stop him, grabbed the Kitty topper and hugged her tight.  I’m ashamed to admit it now, but at that moment when he lunged for the cake, I cried. I hadn’t even taken a picture of it yet, I hadn’t even blown out the birthday candles, and here it was, destroyed in seconds.

Alphonse smiled innocently at us, a little confused about my reaction, as tears fell down my face. He licked the sticky red icing off his hands, wiped the rest on his head, chewed on the fondant pieces that fell off,  and walked around waving a crushed Kitty which looked more like zombie kitty than anything else.

Yes, I cried, and A comforted me. I saw the sense in his calmness and reasoning much later, after I had spent all my tears. A reminded me that nothing bad had happened, that it was only cake, and that it would still taste delicious even after a little manhandling. We were all together, that was what mattered.  As usual, my A was right.

From that low point on the eve of my birthday, things got better and just took off. This is the first birthday celebration I have spent at home in the last couple of years. With rising concern about the A(H1N1) virus (we like to call it the ahini virus, heehee) and Alphonse just past a real dengue scare, we were loathe to leave the kids. We had planned a weekend with them at home, but with provisions for some alone time for the two of us. I prepped for my birthday lunch with the family the day before, cooking the spaghetti sauce ahead of time and marinading the chicken overnight in homemade barbecue sauce. The nannies helped out in the morning by grilling the chicken and cooking the pasta. It all worked out perfectly, tasted yummy too.

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This is the second cake A gave me. Alphonse blew out the candles on this one and said “mama” at the end of the birthday song. 🙂 I was able to record it on video and this is probably one of the best things that happened that day. It is simply amazing to hear him call my name! I get goosebumps each time he does it. Ah, I hope I never get used to it…

 birthday bonanza 04As usual, A and the kids loaded me with gifts that amazed, astounded, and touched me no end. A got me a complete set of pink clubs and the pinkest golf bag in the whole world! I don’t mind at all that it’s not Hello Kitty, as long as it’s pink! 🙂

I also received new Mizuno ladies’ golf shoes and pink gloves. Later, A got me two new pairs of golf slacks and long-sleeved shirts (alas! they were not pink) which I forgot to photograph in the excitement of the day.

The kids gave me the HK bag (perfect for the rainy season because it is water repellant) and A just piled me with books of all sorts, more HK MAC merch, and a new HK lunchbox! Even Kitty got a birthday surprise when A gave her a new doll suitcase to hold her Build-A-Bear clothing. 🙂

birthday bonanza 05It isn’t always easy to be grateful and thankful for everything in our lives. The cake episode reminded me that. But if there’s anything I learned with the passing of the years, it is that love eases all the difficulties in our lives. I am blessed that I have A to thank for that. 🙂

Stage Mom

Note to selfComing home from school and Sibol late Wednesday night, Alexander suddenly asks, “Mom, what day does August ** fall on?” 

“Uhmmm, I have no idea… A Friday, I think…Why do you ask?” (I was wrong. August ** this year falls on a Sunday.)

“On Fridays, I usually have Sibol. You think Papa can pick me up at 1 pm, bring me somewhere, and bring me back to school at 2:30?”

“Where is that somewhere? And why do you have to leave school for it?” As usual, Mom gets to be the interrogator and drill master.

“Uhm, I have to bring a gift…” From within the dark moving car, I could actually “hear” him blush.

“Oh, yeah! It’s Sweeney’s (not her real name) 15th birthday!” I suddenly remembered. Sweeney is this sweet, young girl whom Alex likes. They’ve been friends for a while. “You don’t have to do it if you’re in school, son. Maybe Alphonse and I can deliver it instead.”

“Aww, mom…” Alex starts to whine. I hear a little scuffling from behind me as Alphonse tugs on Alex’s arm. 

“Alphonse, tell your kuya (big brother) that you don’t mind doing it, will you? Do you want to deliver the gift to Sweeney?”

Alphonse mumbles something intelligible and I was just about to say “See, Alex, he doesn’t mind,” when Alphonse blurts out a very loud “Ayaw!” (I don’t like!)

Everyone in the car laughs. For a boy who hardly speaks, he can be very opinionated sometimes. 🙂 Serves me right for being a stagemom, hehe.  

It’s settled, then. Guess Alex will be delivering the gift himself.

End of Year Sweeps: A Tag Fulfilled…

Your Birthdate: May 31

You’re a pretty traditional person. If it’s lasted, it’s probably good.You seek stability – both in your career and your romantic relationship.

In return, you’re very loyal and predictable. Which is usually a good thing.

Without a partner, you feel lost. Being with someone is very important to you.Your strength: Your dependability

Your weakness: You hate being alone

Your power color: Midnight blue

Your power symbol: Shell

Your power month: April

This is the overdue response to Megamom‘s tag. Thank you for tagging me again, my friend! 

The rules are:
1. Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them.
2. Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months (see below).
3. Pick your month of birth.
4. Highlight the traits that apply to you.
5. Tag 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving a comment for them.
6. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve done it!

Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts.
Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

My husband will attest that I tend to dig my heels in when the issues are particularly important to me. I can be one very stubborn momma but I don’t think anyone can think of me as hard-hearted. My sisters complain that I’m much too softhearted for my own good and that makes me an easy target to those who take advantage of others.

I also used to be such a pushover when I was a child. I was bullied relentlessly in grade school but I didn’t know how to get angry. As I grew older, however, I found out that I could express anger and still not be mean-spirited. A lot of things arouse my anger these days, but I am careful as ever to keep a rein on my negative feelings and thoughts.

I’ve changed a lot over the years, true, but I like to think that in doing so, I found the real me. Perhaps I do have the many traits of a May-born in me, but then again, who I am and what I stand for today is also a function of my rearing, my education, my experiences, my friendships, and my loves. Most of all, who I am is defined by the goodness and kindness of one person who saw beauty where others did not.


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