Sunday, 23 April 2006

Colorful language

Swear words have never been part of my vocabulary. My Surigaonon dialect has a lot to offer but then I chose not to use them because one, when I was still a high school student, I was a member of the Children of Mary (CoM) organisation (why it happened, I never know) and being a member entails a certain degree of piousness that for all intents and purposes never reached to the point of having halos on our heads. Second, my Nanay (bless her soul) had a ready handful of pepper to yank in my mouth just in case I utter just one word that would certainly take me to thy kingdom come.
Anyway, the commonly used swear word in Surigaonon is "Jawa" which means devil and is said in a fashion that bestows the recipient eternal damnation. I remember having used this word when I was playing "Jack's Stones" because I couldn't catch the f*cking ball and so I hurled all the stones while swearing. Some of the stones (and I mean real stones that I picked up from the road) went straight to my Tatay who was then having a siesta. Imagine the hell I had to go through just because of simply calling the devil.
The younger sister of "Jawa" is "Jatis" or "Jiwi" but I prefer/like the "Jatis" and it is one swear word that I use when I am flummoxed: "Jatis ra". Some of the swear words in Surigaonon originate from Tagalog language, like for example "Putanginamo" which means "You're sonofabitch". (Even swear words have gender stereotypes)
Here in England, cursing is new to me and using these words add a certain colour to my vocabulary. However, I didn't realise the enormity of the meaning because my husband never swears (well, he does sometimes, in front of me, and only when he refers to his annoying students) and he never explained which words are socially acceptable in terms of the kinds of people I am with.
I constantly hear the adjective "bloody" which could refer to anything, from potatoes to neighbors, from food to filth. For example, "It's bloody obvious that you're bleeding mad". Now, bleeding is a year younger than bloody and is usually uttered in the place of bloody to soften it a bit. The other word is obviously the F word, and I don't mean F as in Food, but you know what I mean. I don't like it (sometimes) and it sounds so rough anyway that I only write it, not speak it. The other common swear word that led me to trouble (well, up until last night I didn't realise I was in trouble until my husband explained it to me) is the word "Twat". I like the sound of it and I use it sometimes at work because I thought it is only equivalent to the word "crazy".
So last night, it dawned on me that when I said, "Oh, come on, Sam, have some more muffins, forget your diet, don't be a twat", I was actually swearing at her. The look on my manager's face didn't register to me.
I am still on maternity leave so I am still safe from showing my flushed face. At the moment, I am still reeling at the thought that I just called my colleague an idiot/plonker/georgebush/ fucker/tosser in front of my boss.

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Why I want to go back to the Philippines and why I shouldn't

Two days, two nights.

I had this length of time to learn to save myself from the insanity of motherhood in England:

Day 1, morning:

dress up the boys: one is a 3-year-old eel that keeps on slipping out of my grasp, the other a 6-week-old piglet that pukes and poohs at inopportune times
make the beds and put away all squaking animals, books and innumerable cars that seemed to find their way under the duvets
prepare breakfast of oats and toast while mentally writing a list of shopping to do
tidy up kitchen while fending off the demanding scream of piglet who needs to be fed every 2 hours
take the boys out to town. this sounds rather easy if you don't consider the amount of time it takes to put on the toddler's coat and harness. A little argument would ensue on his choice of hat and scarf and the search for the left glove. Meanwhile, the piglet is howling again because his nappy just got dirty so off we go upstairs to get changed. By the time the piglet is strapped in his car seat, the eel had already taken off his scarf and coat and so we're back to step one.
100 years later, the boys are ready, but i'm not. yet.
two minutes later, we're finally out of the house. We just turned round the corner of our road when i realised that I forgot to bring my wallet and list and prescription for the piglet's puking and everything else that I needed. So back to the house.

I just had to look at the way my boys look at me to know that it was time for lunch.

Now, I can't even begin to think what we did in the afternoon. And it's only the first day and night that I am alone without help.

Day 2, morning

Break the rule: CALL MOTHER-IN-LAW.

Saturday, 8 April 2006

My boys

I'm outnumbered.

Two days ago, we went out because the sun was out, the sky was blue and it looked pleasant enough to spread a picnic mat on the grass. It was a bit windy and being warned by my mother-in-law that it was cold, I put on baby Lewis his snow suit. While we were in the car, we realised that Lewis could get too hot. Being undecided where to go, I started to fidget and complain to K that Lewis had the snow suit on, he could get too hot because I couldn't let him turn the airconditioning on as I didn't like it, etc etc. Annoyed, K exclaimed that I shouldn't have put it on Lewis. Desperate to defend myself, I raised my voice saying that he advised it in the first place.

Zak, who sat quietly behind K said, "Mummy, don't talk to Daddy like that!"

I could only see K's mischievous grin.

Friday, 7 April 2006

Balancing Act

Since Lewis was born 5 weeks ago, Zak had a tough balancing time. At first, having a new baby brother was a novelty, but then of course, it soon wore off. He enjoyed the first week when he constantly received presents and cards from family and friends. I don't know what went through his head but I'm sure it's along the equation of new baby brother = new toys plus lots of attention. But then constant sleepless nights took its toll and so the attention focused on him eventually lessened and soon enough, CBeebies took over as his nanny, which of course, with guilt feelings we just allowed.

However, we always make sure that we always eat our meals as family and this routine was never sacrificed. But instead of just three people eating, another person is on standby in a moses basket or pram. This makes a whole lot of difference that it makes Zak declare (constantly, in fact) that he wants to be a baby (again). The attention and time I give to Lewis makes Zak want for more love. There are times when I see in his eyes the hurt of being sidelined. Instead of me cuddling him for two hours when he wakes up in the morning, I am breastfeeding Lewis every two hours instead. Time with him became divided and sorted between me and K. These all proved to be very confusing.

This confusion is sometimes manifested by him trying to pinch Lewis, or by screaming at him to make him jump. Of course, this necessitates us to tell him off which all the more makes him feel hurt. I feel guilty sometimes but I also realise that it's high time for him to learn to share. He has been the focus of attention by all of us in the family, and that includes my parents-in-law and my sister-in-law and her husband. Before Lewis, he was the only grandchild and nephew, and we thought that he was becoming spoilt.

But he is coping. And I think he is coping really really well. After his first few days of hurdle, he learned to ignore the baby and just get on with his busy little life. And I'm sure he doesn't need to learn to love Lewis anymore. He already does.

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