Saturday, June 21, 2014

The education of LO and her Booboo

In Baguio, I have a room with a view. It is where I work (think, write, research, communicate with story sources and colleagues). In the lowlands, I face a yellow-painted wall with a calendar tacked on it. In a few days, I'll be saying a reluctant goodbye to this room which we call The Office. The LO (little one) has turned it into her office, too; it's just that her idea of one is to haul her stuff from the nursery and play behind my chair or beside my desk. I know her development as a child is on track because she talks to her bears and dinosaurs, lately a pig named Peppa. Sings to them.

Dusk hour is when I turn on the lamp light. The desk is a mess, but as I like to say (and this is borne out by research), creatives are messy.

When the YouTube is on, she knows me well enough to request "Sumi Jo, Blue Danube." Of course, my husband is impressed, so is the LO's mother Kimi--that Kai can sing the chorus part of "Ha ha, ha ha" to Ms. Jo's singing, identify some of the orchestra instruments. After the singing of the waltz, she will shrewdly request for two videos of Hooplakidz, featuring Annie and her pet dog Ben and the monkey Mango.

It has become harder to make Kai stand still, pose decently with eyes open wide for the camera. I made her stand beside a pile of The Children's Hour, all 16 volumes of them, my own childhood companions. Topping them is The College Book of English Literature. All my books I can part with, even the ones I've written, but these ones are here to stay.

LO knows I have teaching duties in the lowlands which explains my leave-taking (I will still be in Baguio on certain weekends, if my sked permits). LO is half in awe when she asks, "You're a teacher, too, like Granny Su?" (Su is Suzy, my sister, who has been a preschool teacher for two decades, maybe more. I always add that LO's Tita Ida is a teacher also which explains why she's abroad.) To LO teachers are awesome beings--of course, that's the only way she perceives them, having gone through a Musikgarten course under RL Altomonte. LO is now enrolled in a Montessori nursery. With a nun in front of the class, teachers really are learned authority figures in her eyes.

Well, I have a lot of living up to expectations to be done--those of LO's and my new students'.

Goodbye, Paddington, the bear with whom I have established a relationship that needs no words. Photos by Babeth Lolarga

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