Just when I thought it was safe to put away the alphabet books and flash cards, my son came along and made me realize that I was in for another two years of “A is for Apple”! Here’s my own set of ABCs where, finally, A ain’t for Apple.
A—Alarm clock. Once you have kids, the need for an alarm clock in the morning is eradicated. In place of the ringing sound, you will have fingers poking your eyes, nose and mouth. There is no snooze button, either, only louder crying to signify that you are not dreaming.
You cannot set the time, as this is completely dependent on whatever time your kids decide to open their eyes. So if you’ve had a late night, for whatever reason, good luck!
B—Baby shoes, baby smells, baby feet, baby anything! Nothing makes you move and talk ever so gently and lovingly than when you are holding the smallest hands in your own.
C—Cracks, crashes and corners. Brace yourself. Once the baby comes, nothing in your home will ever be safe again. Vases, antiques, and plates? They’re all fair game. But it doesn’t stop here, because if there’s one thing kids keep accidentally crashing, it would be themselves! So keep a close eye and a hand over every table corner as they run by, and another hand to catch them before they crash on the pavement.
D—Disney. I’ve never been more grateful for truly wholesome entertainment from Mickey Mouse on the TV. And of course, a big thank you to the Disney folk for the joy Lightning McQueen, Mater and oh, alright, the Princesses bring to my kids. Special mention goes to Barney and Elmo.
E—Excitement. Bored with your routine and life? Grab a toddler and see the world through their eyes, and things will never be the same. Who would have thought I would find myself running to scoop up a toddler with outstretched arms to see every plane that passes overhead, or jumping up to “catch the fireworks” for a preschooler who thinks it’s Tinkerbell’s fairy dust?
Spoiler ‘lolo’ and ‘lola’
F—Family. Who can deny the role every member of the family plays in helping raise your kids? There’s the ever indulgent and spoiler lola and lolo, the strict uncle, the playful ninong, and the little ones to run around and fight with before happily playing with again. As the family grows, so does the joy that accompanies every moment the family has together.
G—Gummy smiles. I never thought I would one day look back so wistfully on my children’s gummy smiles, but how I miss them! Back then, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the first tooth. Now a whole set of teeth proudly shows whenever they open their lips, but sometimes, I can’t help but wish I could see that gummy, toothless smile one more time.
H—Hammie. Here’s to the mispronounced words and names that become part of the family’s vocabulary. When Adriana was smaller, there were (and still are!) a lot of words she couldn’t pronounce properly, including her brother’s nickname. While I was pregnant with Juanmi, she contantly referred to him as “Hammie” (yes, like hamon). Today, she can easily pronounce his name properly, but it’s too late for my son. I can’t wait to see what new words or name he will add to our vocabulary once he starts mispronouncing!
I—Independence. “I do it!” is the battle cry of every toddler/preschooler. Whether it is opening the door, trying to make their own bottle of milk or putting on their shoes, they simply have to be the one to do it. Never mind if the shoes are on the wrong side, or if it took them 20 minutes to do what you could have done in 20 seconds.
J—Jingle Bells. Every parent has a foolproof lullaby to rock the kids to sleep. I don’t know why, but for both my kids, it’s “Jingle Bells.” Maybe it’s the beat, or the maybe they just like celebrating Christmas all year round? Whatever it is, it works.
K—Kisses. Parents work 24/7 for nothing more than hugs and kisses. Whether it is a slobbery wet one, a loud juicy smack, or soft butterfly kisses, we’ll take them all and come back for more.
L —Laughter. Don’t you just love how kids can laugh for five minutes straight over absolutely nothing at all? Seeing kids crack up and hold their bellies as they laugh their heart out is the perfect way to cure any bad mood.
M—Mama! Among all the first words, there is nothing more eagerly anticipated by any mother than the magical “Mama.” This is it. The contract is signed by the other party and you’re going to be “Mama” for life—even at 2 a.m. as you sleep soundly and your son cries out “Mama!” or when you’re in the bathroom, for whatever reason—and both kids are pounding on the door.
N—Nursing. We could probably come up with a whole alphabet again for breastfeeding, with all the emotions, opinions and experiences that come with it. Admittedly, it may be tough in the beginning and your patience will be tested, but never have the stakes been higher. Of course, every mother knows what is best for her child, but I will always cherish that golden opportunity and privilege I had to be my child’s sole source of physical and emotional nourishment.
O—Oracle. According to Wikipedia, an Oracle is “a person… considered to be a source of wise counsel or predictions.” (Get down! You will fall! Aaay!). We are their Oracles—until they hit their teens and decide that we don’t know anything.
P—Potty training. It’s all fun and games until someone gets peed on. Or worse.
Q—Question and answer. Welcome to the world of never-ending questions such as, “Why is it raining? Why is the tree green? Why is there a baby in her tummy?”
R—Rest. Children have a way of making time and rest seem like a luxury or a distant memory. Fortunately, a wise parent from the olden times invented naps and early bedtime and got them accepted as necessities of childhood when, in fact, they’re for the parents—but shhh, don’t tell the kids.
S—Supermarket. Parents can’t be expected to always come up with great entertainment for little kids. Solution? A trip to the grocery! It’s educational (Baby, get five mangoes) and exciting (Look, kids! Fish! Shrimps! Crabs!) Wow! It’s like being in an ocean park.
T—Tears. It started when I was pregnant, and I blamed the hormones for making me cry over sappy commercials. But the hormones are long gone now, and I still tear up over everything. The book “Love You Forever.” Andy growing up in “Toy Story 3.” Mrs. Jumbo tenderly cradling little Dumbo with her trunk from inside her prison cage with “Baby Mine” playing in the background. Oh gosh, what is wrong with me?!
U —Ultrasounds. It’s always love at first sight, from that first glimpse of a round sac to hearing that tiny beating heart to discovering whether you’re going to have a daddy’s girl or a mama’s boy.
V—Volume control. While I will take a happy and loud house anytime over a silent and empty one, there are moments when I do wish I could get a remote control and turn the volume down a notch or two.
W—Wonder. It is so precious to watch children as they allow everything to delight them. They wonder how the moon changes shapes. They put seashells to their ears and listen to the sound of the ocean into it. I pray that my kids never stop getting amazed by the wonders of this life.
X—Xtra. Fine, technically this falls under “E” for “extra” but cut me some slack. In this case, when with children, always travel with extras—extra clothes (for them and you), extra diapers, extra milk, extra food and an extra dose of humor.
Y—Yes! I was just thinking about how great it would be for parents around the world if instead of a “No! No! No!” phase, children had a “Yes! Yes! Yes!” phase instead!
Z—Zoos. Zoos and ocean parks were the last places I would ever have thought of visiting during long weekends or trips abroad. They’re still the last places I would think of visiting during my vacations, but my children say otherwise, so off we go to see the elephants and the monkeys.