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Mommy can blog!

Yesterday was Dora Day at the mall. It was also Doomsday for many parents’ spinal columns, as we carried our children high so they could see Dora and Boots and Swiper as they acted out an episode called Best Friends Day and reached Rainbow Rock with the help of Map. Dora is touring the Robinsons malls this Christmas season, and the Dora merchandise is inescapable.

I never forget to be grateful for my above-average (for a Filipina) height, not just because I rarely have to spend on hemming pants. I told my sister that Lucien was quite lucky to have a tallish mom, because otherwise he would have spent an entire afternoon enjoying the backs of people’s heads. He held on really tight to my hair, which acquired a certain stylish scruffiness afterwards, and shrieked and squealed at the songs and dances. An afternoon well worth the neck pain, in my opinion. I just wish I had grown a couple of extra arms for the occasion; we have no pictures of us during the show.

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afternoonsun.jpg
I already miss our new old house and we’ve not been back a day. I call it the new old house because it’s a new house filled with old things, an accretion of crocheted antimacassars, floral bedspreads, ceramic animals, free tumblers, glow-in-the-dark holy figurines and back issues dating to the invention of the printing press, courtesy of several generations of single women whose genes forbade them to throw anything away.

I didn’t make it to the cemetery, although my mom, sister and relatives went in shifts. I communed with the dead in my own way, rooting through plastic boxes buried in dust and filled with our past. I saw my grandaunt’s bifocals. A box labeled “Allied Pickfords,” one of the many that carried my Jakarta belongings home, a decade ago. Socks I remembered buying in college. Newspaper clippings.

The rest of the house is waiting for the present to move in. In the meantime, it feels like we’re camping every time we’re there. Which isn’t a bad thing, really.

This will be my room and Lucien’s. When he gets old enough to have his own room, I’ll have a divider put in. Or maybe even a proper wall.

This is my most idiosyncratic suggestion for the house: a bathtub hollowed out of a single piece of narra wood. It’s a beautiful piece. It came with a drain hole. My mom thought of everything else, including the faucets and the plug. It needs to be “seasoned” with mineral oil, so the wood doesn’t absorb the bathwater.

Lucien is not at all concerned with the state of the house. In fact, he expended most of his energy attracting all the dust to his feet, knees and hands.

In spite of the mall peeking out from behind the trees, it’s still a bucolic view. I even spotted a cow. Which reminds me – I used to have a neon pink stuffed cow-hamster hybrid I called the Ruminant Mutant. (“Rumi” for short.) I wonder if it’s hiding somewhere in the house. I wouldn’t be surprised. It would make a perfect companion for Lucien’s toy, which was the only casualty of our adventure:

Now he’s a survivor, that one.

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So were you depressed?
No.
Don’t you think you look like your mom with that haircut?
Yes. But she’s prettier.
Why did you do it?
My hair was fried. It was futile to try to save it.
But hasn’t your hair been fried a while?
Yes, but I never noticed because it was always up in a bun.
Who cut your hair?
Oreo at Propaganda in Greenbelt 1.
So what happens to all your hair accessories?
I might give them away.
What did Lucien think of your hair?
He gawked, then smiled, then tugged my bangs. Then everything was back to normal.
Do you blowdry everyday?
I bought a new blowdryer. Whether it will be wielded daily remains to be seen.
So you’re sure you’re not depressed?
Yes, I’m quite sure.

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Lucien has three moms – a working mom, an auntie mom, and a granny mom. We frequently vary in our opinions, and our way of relating to Lucien, but I can only hope that his rapidly-multiplying neurons can cope with us.

Single-parent guilt is bad, but triple-parent guilt is worse. Not only do I have to deal with the intricacies of living with my mom, from whom I seem to have inherited a particularly stubborn streak, but I also need to navigate my relationship with my sister, whom I am only used to dealing with on a younger-sister basis and not on a co-mom basis. Of course everyone is quick to reassure me that “you’re the mom,” but that’s not really the point. It’s not about the ownership of the mommy title, or whose womb was the teleport station. It is really how the day-to-day mommying goes.

I am lucky, damn lucky, to have my mom and sister around. I can work and put aside money for Lucien. I am trying to manage my worklife so I can leave a little late and come home a little early, and gradually I am succeeding. Maybe, if I can acquire the credibility, I can go freelance one day and spend even more time with Lucien, as several parents I know have done. This will most likely start with dropping the “maybe” and planning for it with more care.

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