I have said many times before that I would not trade my being a husband and a father for anything in the world. The truth is my life is divided into two spheres namely: the office, my political and advocacy work and the home, my wife and family and there is pretty much nothing in between. I prefer to keep it simple considering how complicated my life is as it is. I pretty much prefer to stay at home whenever I am free of work and be with Sharon and the children. Spending time with Sharon and the kids at home is therapy for me.
I have written a few stories below about Frankie, my 8 year old daughter who has grown up so fast. The stories are to remind me of how delightful it is to raise our children and how time flies so very quickly and that before we know it these moments pass us by, never to return again. They are precious, priceless and delightful moments. A reminder that we must make the most of the time that we have with our children because they do grow up so fast. Too fast.
Why newborns always sleep.
When Miel our youngest daughter was newly born, as all newborns go, she was asleep many hours daily and so one day while Miel lay fast asleep in front of Frankie (who was 3 1/2 years old then,) I asked in a voice Frankie would hear, "I wonder why babies sleep all the time?" Frankie looked at me and immediately replied, 'because they are puyat!'.
Frankie was not yet 3 years old and we were riding the car, driving along Ortigas Avenue in Mandaluyong city. She saw a No U turn sign along the road, pointed to it and asked, "Daddy, what means that sign?" I explained that it was the letter U and that the red slash line meant that a car wasn't allowed to do a U shaped turn on the road and that it was called a No U turn sign.
A week later, as we were again riding the car together she suddenly pointed out the window to a street sign and said with utmost certainty "Dad! Look! No P turn!" It turns out she saw a 'No Parking sign'.
Sleep and become a giant.
When Frankie was in still her toddler years, we made it a point to have her take siestas after lunch and as often as I could I would join her and put her to sleep. In one of these sleeping time moments, she was 3 years old then, and as we both lay down in her bed, I explained to her that little girls needed to sleep because it was when they were asleep that they would grow tall and that if she did not get enough sleep she would not become a tall girl.
With her blanky in one hand and her fingers in her mouth (she would suck her fingers then as a means to lull herself to sleep) she lay down beside me thinking about what I had said and then quickly blurted out "eh what about you Daddy, if you sleep and sleep you will become a giant!"
Giving birth to a baby dog.
When Frankie was 4 years old, she and I and Sharon would on many occasions do pretend play with the use of her stuffed toys. We would even have titles to our pretend play episodes. One such pretend play episode was entitled "6 Kids". In this pretend play episode, I pretended to be the Daddy while Frankie was my sweetheart. Sharon was, according to Frankie, the Ninang. I would provide the voices of the little stuffed toys and provided the dialogue. We had six stuffed toys as our children. We had two dogs, one teddy bear, a cat, a little lamb and Elmo from Sesame Street. They were the 6 kids all in all and each had a name given by Frankie. There was Asha (dalmatian) and Clifford (beagle) both dogs, the teddy bear was named Bear and the little lamb's name was Lamb and there was Lucy the cat and of course, Elmo. Asha and Clifford, the two stuffed toy dogs, were the two eldest of the ' 6 kids'.
Frankie would come to me and say "Dad, lets play 6 kids!' and so we would go ahead and begin our pretend play that would last for 15 to 20 minutes. Me with all the silly voices, Frankie as the mother of the 6 kids and when Sharon was around, she would be the Ninang of the 6 kids.
One morning sometime in October of 2004 and at around the time of the birth of our youngest Miel, we had received gifts of stuffed little puppy dogs. Frankie upon seeing the little puppy dogs came up with the idea that we would pretend that it was (in her own words), "6 Kids" part one and that she was going to have a baby in her tummy, Asha!
So pretend play we did. She then put the little stuff toy dog inside her shirt and went up to me and said 'Sweetheart, I think we are going to have a baby in my tummy!" I then said "Oh really, my sweetheart?" and then went on to ask her, "is it going to be a girl or boy?" Frankie then looks at me and answers straight out and matter-of-factly, "Sweetheart, its going to be a dog."