Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 The Year That Was: Oona and Her Dark Cartoons

Reposted from 14 January 2011 Oona and Her Dark Cartoons

Based on an old stat message I found: 17 August 2010 at 01:49 · View album.RemoveLaya Isabelle Garcellano Florendo is watching igor with oona. After she watched coraline. My daughter, she of macabre humor and taste.

Until recently, Oona has been quite fearless. She wasn't afraid of the dark, had no concept that monsters are scary (thanks to the cuddly Sully and funny Mike of Monsters Inc.) and found humor in Igor. She even watched Igor a couple of times and found Eva nice 'when she's not sick and her eyes don't change and she's bad' (long story short: Eva the girl frankenstein is a nice sort-of monster, got tricked into getting her evil bone activated and her eyes turned black-green-evil. But sunlight and true love win in the end and Eva is saved). She also watched the New Orleans voodoo-inspired Princess and the Frog and the creepy Coraline.

I thought she could very well handle some of the more nature Nick Toons then. She liked the funny craziness of Spongebob well enough and although Flapjack was too gross for me (reminded me of Ren and Stimpy), she liked the friendly little boy with the whale mommy.

Unfortunately, one episode had our hero Flapjack running from monsters. The only way to escape is to tickle the scary things until they laugh and become hearts. Flapjack and his friend the Captain would have escaped too but there were just too many monsters. In danger of being overwhelmed and engulfed by a flood of monsters, another friend appears and helps tickle away the scary monsters, the gloomy skies and creepy landscape. Rainbows and a happy day appears. Bad thing is, the idea that bad monsters can get you had already lodged its filthy claws in Oona's mind.

The next few weeks had us trying to process it through nights she'd wake up yelling at dream monsters or crying. Once, Oona got up from bed and locked the door. She stood there pushing firmly against it, saying that now the monsters can't get in, while she was bracing herself for them to try. When I said there were no monsters around, that's when she fully awoke to tell me she dreamt of being chased. I told her to tell the monster to stop and that it was being bad because it was scaring her. I told her to send the monster to the corner or call the monster's mommy. Or me. Or her daddy. Because we have powers and monsters are afraid of us. Daddy rf also told her that she can use her powers to tell the monsters to 'shoo away, monster!' like she shoos away mosquitoes. (How's that for Daddy empowering our little girl? :D) However, it still took some time and few huge tantrums before she felt brave enough to venture alone into dark rooms and quit dreaming about chasing monsters.

Nowadays she's can differentiate reality from what a dream/nightmare is. And the worst she does is wake up grouchy to tell me she had a bad dream. I then tell her to go back to sleep so she can rest because bad dreams can be tiring and that she needs to be rested to have a good day. She always tells me she needs me to be beside her so I hug her to sleep.

Other parents may not agree with exposing kids Oona's age to cartoons like these but it's always a fine line. Like RF says, we can't shield them forever with how media is nowadays. The best we can do is always be there for them and be with them when they watch, so processing the experience and their questions are immediate. You're always on the same page too and you're able to understand where the other is coming from.

These cartoons are also serving as our common ground for allegorical/comparative material for life lessons.

1. Not all monsters are bad. They just look different but some are really good.  Some are even just misunderstood. (Monsters Inc.)
2. Some monsters are bad because they're sick. They just need sunlight, to be talked properly with and friends to help them. (Igor)
3. It's not nice to be snippy/masungit. People you love and friends go away if you do. (Coraline)
4. Being industrious is good, but having a bit of fun is not bad either. You need to rest too. Too much playtime is bad too. (Princess and the Frog)
5. And my all time favorite: Love heals. (All of the above.)

Oona is a bright kid, not easily scared or intimidated. She asks a lot of questions and expects answers that would not insult her natural intelligence. She's also a little kid who's discovering the world and that monsters exist. The best we can do is help her learn that not all who look like monsters are bad and that she has her own powers over those that are truly out to get her.

If all else fails, Dad has a shotgun and Mom has a shovel. Monsters should be scared of her parents!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 The Year That Was: My Very Own Cheer Squad

Reposted from 13 January 2011 Cheer Squad

It's one of those days when I feel like curling up in bed and hiding away from the world. I feel sad and broken these days. Tired. Restless, too. It has something to do with change and waiting for things to happen. I feel like I can't move yet until other things settle down and that's driving me crazy. I guess I don't play the waiting game too well.

Enter Olly, intruding on my pity party, flopping over in characteristic baby Ollyness. She surprises me with a drooly mouth-fart on my arm, mischievously grins at me and laughs when I do cos it really tickles!

Enter Oona from checking out Lola Espie downstairs, singing to herself, 'I like to moov it moov it! I like to moov it moov it! Moov it!'. Infectious vibe, really giving it all she's got! She flops beside us and tickles Olly. General laughter erupts and my heart begins healing.

You don't know if kids somehow know how you feel. It's been said that since they're pure, innocent souls, they're naturally attuned and sensitive to others' feelings. Especially of those closest to them, like their parents. Whenever you're happy, angry or sad, they sense it and respond accordingly.

Times like these, Oona tells me she loves me, out of the blue. She gives me a hug and kiss and once, when I asked her why, she cheekily told me, 'Wala lang! (Oh nothing!) I love you e!' and she kissed me again. My heart was fit to burst.

I've noticed the same sensitivity in Olly. Young as she is, she manages to show her affection with her limited, although growing repertoire of expressions. She coos, babbles, laughs smiles and yes, mouth-farts. She tumbles all over you, tries to engage you in play and generally infects you with intense sunlight.

With this duo, it's impossible to be morose for long. They manage to banish dark thoughts to the nether regions with the light of their love and inner joy. Even if this feeling rears its ugly head time and again, they have never failed to comfort me, bringing me solace and much needed sunshine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 The Year That Was 2: BLAST FROM THE PAST!

Reposting from 1 January 2011 In Retro: What The Hell Was I Thinking?!

The end of the year always brings a rash of retrospectives, introspections, reunions and resolutions. Looking back and inward is supposed to bring us closer to maturity and provide insight, and perhaps inspiration, for us to move forward.

It's not always pretty, though. Especially if you've been putting off facing your issues for a long time.
My latest epiphany was brought about by a magazine photo. Waiting for RF to finish a meeting at the office, I was hanging out with the kids at a nearby cafe. While Olly was bouncing on the couch and trying to chew the armrest (yuck!), Oona got me a magazine before running off with her toy train to chug under chairs. I almost dropped Olly when I flipped open the magazine and right there, where it matters, was the photo of someone I knew from a past life with the title of Big Cheese. (Yes, I'm being deliberately vague.) I already heard he was, but seeing it in print with his smug mug was truly something else! I was flabbergasted. He couldn't even write two cohesive paragraphs in school, how could he be involved with a magazine? What was the world coming to?!

So what, right? Right.

I consider writing to be hallowed ground and I was indignant that someone who couldn't even write a grade school composition to save his life would be occupying a place of power. Words are power, to be treated with respect and veneration. I questioned his right to be there. And yes, I was also comparing myself to him. I was the better writer by far, with intellect, grace and experience. Why was he there and not me?

On another level, seeing him reminded me of how badly I walked the wild side when I was younger. (Ooh! Hot tabloid gossip on Mommyluscious!) Who didn't, right? Like my other best friend Jonas would say, I used to run with the bulls. However, one of my biggest mistakes was running into Big Cheese when he was still Bad Boy. I had this huge fantasy that he was my friend and friends don't use friends. I thought I was the exception to his hard and fast rules about serial dating. Apparently, I was nothing special and to make matters worse, he thought nothing of shattering my illusions. Needless to say, the experience shook me to the core and I began running in the opposite direction with trust issues. I haven't faced him since then.
Until now. (In a manner of speaking.)

After the shock and indignation wore off, I found myself blurting out, 'What the hell was I thinking?!' How could I have let someone exercise so much power over me? I let my shame rule me so long that I avoided putting myself out there for fear of being too exposed, that others would see the dirt instead of the beautiful things I could do. I was afraid of being laughed at, shamed and publicly ridiculed. (And of course, I was also wondering whatever possessed me to think he was attractive. There's really no accounting for taste, is there? RF agreed and assured me that my taste had improved since then, his gorgeousness daw being testimony to that. Haha.)

Okay, so maybe I'm partly being petty, not just a little jealous, immature and small-minded about the whole thing. People change and it may only me being trapped by the past because of my fears and insecurities. He might have been changed by our run-in too, hopefully for the better, right?
So what's the point of all this rambling?

The New Year symbolically brings us another shot at so many things. Seeing that face from the past made me realize how much I've grown. I never would have seen it from this persepctive a few years ago. I would have been paralyzed by fear, as if he were looking over my shoulder, waiting to shame me. Now, I feel slightly ridiculous. It's not really just about him, but me too. My shame, my inability to forgive myself for putting myself in such a situation when I should have been wiser. My fear over what what he could say about me. My anger over my own stupidity and how I/our friendship didn't seem to matter to him. My jealousy over his success and accomplishments which I felt he does not deserve since he was a jerk and I feel like a better human being. Haha. Anyway, not so generous of me right? (Where's the moral ascendancy there, Laya?!)

Why did I let fear of him hold so much sway over me? I was young and foolish, but isn't that the folly of youth? I should let go of the fear and anger now, forgive myself and set myself free. It's about time to live the adventure instead of being roped down by jealousy. After all, this is about me and my life, not him. He may not even remember I exist so why let him exercise control over my existence, right?    

Apparently, him being in my head is a bad habit to break even when I hadn't realized he was there in the first place. From being an event, he grew even bigger to being an entity and symbolic of my fear of being in the light. On that scale, I realized that people like him, or past events, become OUR excuse for hiding away. They may have hurt us then, but what we do after the incident is what truly matters. It's all up to you to get up and not be afraid. When I realized the full extent of this, when I faced all THAT and my deep shame at my contribution, I knew I had more courage than I thought I had to finally put myself out there. 
I'm glad to feel more assured of myself that even if I trip up in public, so what? Will it matter in another year? The people who matter to me won't stop loving me and my real friends won't be ashamed of me. I needed to live through the wisdom that one should believe in one's own intrinsic value and that I shouldn't let anyone make me feel less the child of the universe that I truly am. That we all are. (Okay, including people who need a few more rounds on the incarnation wheel to evolve.) In short, I had to believe that I was not a pathetic, worthless piece of trash undeserving of life's good things and the association of good, decent people.

This year, I am not going to wait for the planets to line up and the stars in the sky to arrange themselves. I'll place them in order if I have to, but I will not sit in the sidelines anymore. I will make my own fortune and hitch my own wagon to my own dreams which I will shoot past the moon to land in the heavens. I will go make my beautiful things and what others say be damned cos I know my stuff is the shiznit. I will not be jealous of others because it is their journey and I have my own. I will be brave, be bold and courageous. All because I deserve as much good of this universe as anyone else.

Now, as for do I want to reach out to him? (No.) Fear again? Maybe...but better safe, in this instance, than sorry. I don't want to be disappointed again. But more importantly, it's because I learned that moving on sometimes means leaving things behind, back in the past where they belong. Moving forward with years of bad baggage can slow you down and leave little room for the better things that the universe keeps putting in your way.

Perhaps, because the world is such a small place, Big Cheese and I would bump into eachother again. I really wouldn't know what to say to him when that happens, I can only hope that he too has put it behind him and he has changed for the better. Or if the worst does happen and he attempts to put me into an undesirable situation with unacceptable references to our past association, may I have the grace, wit and humor to respond in such a lady-like manner as to level him to treating me with as much respect as I am demanding now.

Or maybe, it would already suffice to smile and deliver a velvet-clad gauntlet with the sucker-punchline, "I know, right?! What the hell was I thinking back then?!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

2011 Reposts The Year That Was 1: Daddy and Oona

Re-posting from 9 Feb 2011 Dad and Oona and Boys

RF has been moping that Oona was growing up.

Since we co-sleep, meaning we share one bed with the babies, RF is one end, then Oona, me and then Olly. The babies normally squash me in the center and all RF and I can do is touch feet or hold hands while I'm smothered under beddings, pillows and babies. Waking up with kinks in my back and a crick in my neck happens, but what can you do? Since Oona has been our wittle babypotpot for the longest time, RF got used to her snuggling up to him when she was a baby. Nowadays though, her concept of personal space has evolved. Now, without her say-so, she doesn't want to be hugged too much, kissed, tickled, snuggled or babied like she used to be (mostly by him since RF is more playful than I am). Every night when she's about to doze off beside me and RF comes to say goodnight, she'd get irritated and say she only wants Mommy to snuggle with. Sometimes she'd throw a last minute tantrum because Dad would just lie there beside her, looking at her to tease her and she'd be pikon: she'd yell, thrash and end up waking the baby or being scolded and general mayhem would ensue with me giving a murderous glare at a tiptoeing-away RF for leaving me with two howling babies to put to bed AGAIN. Sometimes though, after a bad dream from which she'd wake up crying, she'd ask him to hold her until she falls asleep. I would always tell him to let her fall asleep on her own since she's gotten too heavy to carry, but Daddy the Softie would always say it's okay, smile blissfully and say that it's his rare chance to baby his little girl. 

So I'll let them be.

I told RF not to keep teasing her and that when she says No, she means it and that's what we're trying to teach our girls. Respect personal space, let others know boundaries and No, means no. It starts the foundation for being firm in their decision-making process and implementation in the future. One that I hope would be effective enough to thwart hormonally overactive teenage boys without resorting to penile injuries (which I will teach them to deliver when they're old enough to know when to use it). Of course Daddy teasing and being playful is different from what we're building up to with overeager boys, but you get my drift. Besides, I told RF, we know she's not the sporting sort enough (pretty much like me) so why keep pushing her buttons, right? I know where she's coming from when she gets pissed off because she takes more after me than RF when it comes to being teased. Or pretty much a lot of other things...I believe she looks like hubby but the details are all me.

Anyway, last night I came upon them talking about it before going to bed. I was pleasantly surprised when RF informed me that he and Oona were having a serious conversation about how she wanted to be held and what was good for her. She said she didn't want a hug that's too tight and that his arm shouldn't be too heavy when he hugs her. RF was asking her questions and she was seriously holding her own, offering her opinions about his different hugging suggestions like he shouldn't squash her tummy, etc.
Listening to them, I kinda felt weepy and happy at how my little family's growing. I was relieved too that the situation didn't have to reach Do-I-Have-To-Think-Of-Everything-Myself proportions. I wasn't even annoyed that the idea didn't come from me and that I was in no way involved in facilitating a "grown-up" exchange between them. I was glad I didn't have to do anything but watch my little girl, our baby, blossom into expressing herself clearly and firmly. After all, I think all she wants was to feel in control of herself and the situation, be understood and her input accepted. That, and her personal space recognized, her persona, her being respected. I realized how momentous this otherwise "small" occasion was, for her and for us as parents. RF is in effect teaching her about communicating her wants and needs in a no-nonsense way, firm in knowing that it's her right to be treated fairly and her feelings and opinions taken seriously. Self respect and valuing oneself, right here! I could only hope that she doesn't forget about this when she's older and boys become part of her awareness in the hormonal way. Of course I am fearful, but I am praying that we are able to ingrain a strong sense of who she is and how precious a human being she is, not to be trifled with or taken advantage of. 

As a precaution, though, I am enrolling her and Olly in self-defense classes as soon as they're able and teach them the value of a good kneeing.

Anyway! I was so proud of them both. I really felt happy and I knew, no matter what we are yet to go through, muddling through this business of being a young, growing family, we'll be okay. :) Surprises, adventures and all.