After five amazing years on PaintersWife.Com, I now write my last and final entry.
My journey on this website has been nothing but awesome. My growth as a mother and a person in the last five years is chronicled on these pages, and I will always refer to them whenever I’m feeling nostalgic. Basti grew up here as well. This space will always be special to me.
To all my readers who were with me from the beginning and even way before The Painter’s Wife, a heartfelt thank you. We’ve shared many things together.
To new readers who I have only recently reading my site, I hope you can follow me to the new one. I promise it will be worth the ride.
To the brands and companies who have been so supportive of painterswife.com in the last years, I am truly grateful.
To my fellow bloggers, especially the SoMoms, your support, love and friendship kept this relevant, special and meaningful. I love you all.
So are you ready for this?
MoMaMa.Me is coming to you live on Monday! I’m excited to go on this new journey with all of you.
This is The Painter’s Wife. Signing out. See you on the other side.
How the internet brought together a group of moms from different backgrounds is the story of my fellow co-bloggers, lovely women who I know are my friends for life. Patty was one of them.
I don’t recall the exact moment when we met or how we started talking. It was her reaction to chemotherapy and my insomnia that brought us together, long chats that lasted till 6am, talking about everything and anything. From chismis to problems, life and relationships, trivial things – there was no end to our conversation. Patty was the rare person who I would call friend at this time of my life when I already think I have enough friends.
Oh we laughed. Our combined laughter was loud and sometimes embarrassing, but it was always heartfelt and warranted and we never cared. Laughing with Patty is one of my favorite things to do, and we did it often.
She loved Basti and Basti loved her. She and her daughter Anissa often talked about Basti and his art of dedma. Her girls, Anissa and Sabine are two of the most wonderful young ladies you will ever meet and she talked about them so often that I am protective of them. Patty knew that. Patty loved all our children.
When I separated from my husband, Patty held my hand through it. She kept me strong and kept me focused. It amazed me how someone who’s fighting her own battle had enough strength to share with me during my own trials. But that was Patty. She was a rock – honest and strong, thoughtful, sweet. She loved life and she loved well, and it hurts my entire core to know that she’s gone.
Oh Patty. I wish to God we had more time together. You are finally at peace, but it will be a while for us you left behind. I love you, I miss you and your Non Stop Babble will always be in my head and heart.
I posted a status message a few weeks back on Facebook. It’s something Basti said:
“I don’t love mama anymore. I will live with lola na. Lola is my new mama. Mama, you go to work na lang.”
Well it’s because I have been engulfed, encompassed and enamored by the stage spectacular that is Priscilla Queen of the Desert at Resorts World Manila. Since the last week of April, my life has been all about this musical. Well, the hair and makeup of it all, that is. My friend Myrene is the heart and soul behind the hair and makeup design, and I took on the challenge of being her assistant for the production. It was a good time to dust off my production manager skills from the baul and put it to good use. If you must know, the wig changes for Priscilla are, for lack of a better word, NAKAKALOKA.
It’s a good stint for me. I love learning about hair and wig design and management. Hair styling is not one of strong points or my passions, and building this skill is something I’ve been wanting to do. Myrene’s team is composed of some people who have mad hairstyling skills. She chooses her people well. They are a fun, kooky bunch and it’s pure joy to be working alongside them. Along with the hair team, I am privileged to be working with my favorite makeup brand, MAC, as a guest artist for the makeup of Priscilla. It’s one of the best parts of working for Priscilla Manila, really, getting to know the other MAC affiliate and guest artists. Such wonderful people. The slots are rotated for each show, and it’s nice to see different people coming in for makeup duty.
I had to attend a workshop on drag makeup (kung saan pinagpawisan ako ng malamig) and learn about the differences between the features of men and women, and the technique on how to make a man look more like a woman. Fascinating stuff. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to do the drag makeup for OJ Mariano and Jon Santos for the show. It still needs work, but I think I’m getting there!
I hardly get the chance to put makeup on boys, so this is a great opportunity to hone that. I love doing Red’s makeup most of all.
My main drag (pardon the pun) is assisting with the changes for hair and makeup backstage. It’s a whirl of activity for me and the other four people on board for each show. In Act 1, I’m mostly with Red Concepcion’s character, Adam/Felicia, and some of his costume and wig changes are lightning fast. We’re talking 30 seconds to change into a whole different outfit from head to toe. Even with the frenzy of activity on and off-stage, it’s all done in good spirits, lots of camaraderie and…. lots of selfies. Har har.
It’s tedious, tiring and it takes its toll, not just on me, but on Basti as well. I feel bad that I have to leave him to the care of my mom and dad every weekend when I’m off to work. Grandparents are the best. I don’t know how I could do this without them!!! As bad as I feel, I am never apologetic, though. I want him to see me work and value work, and not to see it as something to be despised or forced upon someone. Most of all, I want him to see how good it is to be passionate about what you do. My little boy will be a hardworking man someday. I think it’s working. He doesn’t pout anymore when I say I’m off to work again. He now says that maybe he will wear all black too, go to work with mama and help me put on the makeup on the people. Hahaha!
It is theater, and that has always been and always will be fuel that gives life to my spirit. One weekend, it so happened that my acting teacher, Ana Valdes-Lim, came to see the show and visited backstage. She saw me, and said, “Oh you’re here! Are you performing?” And I was like, “I do hair and makeup.” And she said…. “You HAVE to perform.”
Sniff. Maybe one day, someday, I will again. But right now I know I’m where I should be at this point in time. I believe that striving to be a better person makes you a better parent, and that we shouldn’t give up certain aspects of our life for the sake of our children. “Give up” is not the term. “Reinvention” is more apt.
I found my reinvention in doing makeup. Though some people may see it as frivolous, I have seen how makeup can transform and empower. That’s for a totally different blogpost though.
So, everyone – watch Priscilla Queen of the Desert!!! It’s running at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World until July 13. If you do watch, do give me a shoutout! Tag me on Instagram at @painterswifeph. I’d love to see how your own Priscilla experience went. Enjoy the show!!!!
I haven’t written much lately. More of I haven’t written at all. These days I feel like I’m on a state of suspended animation. Morning comes, I wake up, make my coffee, check my email, check my pages, get ready, do what it is I have to do for the day and go home. Blah blah blah. No matter how my afternoon went, how exciting and fun it was, my day just ends grey, dreary and flat. Why? Basti is on vacation.
He’s been gone in the last two weeks, visiting the Cebu relatives in their little corner of Eastern Cebu. He’s having the time of his life. I’ve called his vacation the “Tunay Na Lalake” vacation because he’s been doing all sorts of things he can never do here in the city.
He’s feeding goats and chickens, washing the car, fetching water at the water pump, taking walks by the river and the sea, and sleeping in a nipa hut. He’s also got more cousins than he can count (because he can only count up to twenty right now) so everyday is a party.
While I’ve been enjoying my Me Time, I’m also missing him terribly. He doesn’t come back for a few days and honestly, I’ve had enough Me Time, I want my little bugger back. This house is just too empty without him.
Before Basti left, I had all sorts of stuff lined up. I was going to organize, and top of the list, I was going to blog. Sometime in the last few months, I lost my blogging mojo and my blogging voice, and I’ve been struggling to find it again. I thought I would find it while Basti is gone. I thought I would have the time and the silence to really give the blog some thought and think about what it was then, what it is now and where I want it to go. I am not succeeding.
What I do know is that with Basti gone, a part of me left with him. What I did realize that finding my voice will always and forever include his. That is the mother I am, and Basti’s presence in my life is part of what defines me. I didn’t know it, but my blogging mojo never left. My blogging mojo was always there. Basti is my blogging mojo. And it took a vacation to make me realize that.
The Painter’s Wife is on its last legs. We’ve had a good run, this blog and I. But it’s time to move on. I do have a new website in the works. I’ll announce it soon, and hopefully I’ll have lots of stuff to share to celebrate its launch.
Do any of you want to guess what it’s going to be like?
Hey world, I just wanted to drop a line. Wala lang.
My blogging mojo is on a break. The words are swimming in my head. I want to write but I can’t get the words out. It’s very inconvenient considering I have so many posts I want to share but they’re all stuck in Drafts right now.
When this happens to me, I do this. The mind dump. Random, thoughtless, no-purpose writing. Kind of how it is when it’s a rainy day, when you’re lying on the couch with a huge bag of chips and no agenda for… well, for your life. That’s what my brain is right now.
Partly because I’m actually quite busy. The busier I get though, the more drafts pile up, and I’m swimming in them right now.
Can I give you an upcoming-blog-posts montage?
Those, and the many many things swirling in my head, plus other things that have come my way ever since I started this blogpost. Yes, even this random-thoughts-flying-out-of-my-brain post is victim to the writer’s block.
Oooh, can I share? (Of course I can, it’s my blog. Pfft.) We had Basti’s first PTC. His strongest points? Art and music. I’m not surprised and I’m very pleased.
Aside from the everyday journey of school, another thing that’s been sucking up my mojo is makeup class. I’m almost done! It’s been an enjoyable process, but I’m also looking forward to downtime Saturdays with my family.
Movies I’m looking forward to watching:
I grew up watching Mary Poppins over and over again, so Saving Mr. Banks is going to be an out-of-body experience for me, I predict. Not known to many, juvenile fiction is one of my preferred genres for reading (not to mention trashy novels. Just keeping it real), and the Hunger Games series is one of many I’ve enjoyed reading. I wonder if they’ll ever make movies out of the Bartimaeus books? Have you guys read those?
I watched Wolverine last Monday, White House Down the other Monday. Next Monday? I don’t know. What’s coming up?
Sorry guys. I did tell you this was going to be random.
It’s 11am, and we’re just about ready to go into our get-ready-for-school routine. The baon is packed, Basti’s had his early lunch and the house is humming with activity. Normal.
Basti has really adjusted to his school life. He is excited to go to class everyday and he is overflowing with stories when I pick him up after class. I’m happy for him. As for me, I’m still adjusting.
In the 4 years that I’ve been married to Orley, I’ve turned into a homebody. It’s in the little aspects of my life that you see the transformation. I surrendered my iBook for an iMac. Sandals and slippers dominated my shoe collection, and the wedges and the stilts got pushed to the back row. I couldn’t leave the house two days in a row without feeling disoriented. Now I am out 7 days a week, and it’s driving me nuts.
This week was the beginning of Basti’s full schedule, and the start of my three-hour waiting time. I spent Monday’s waiting time watching a movie. It was a bad idea because I watched World War Z alone. I felt sorry for the couple that sat beside me. To those people, sorry for all the cursing and screaming I did the entire movie. Serves me right for watching WWZ when I know I’m so duwag. But I must say: Brad Pitt, wala kang kakupas-kupas.
And then the other day I tried out Yen Yen on Wilson. I had Taiwanese beef noodles and fried dumplings. Mega-YUM. It reminded me of the food I had gotten so used to while I was living in Northeast China. I want to go back and sample all the items on the menu. After, I dropped by Mobler, bought some Ikea stuff, and checked out the new Rustan’s Fresh on P. Guevarra.
Yesterday, I chanced upon a parking slot and decided to wait out at school. I hung out a bit at the office and was able to score a slice of puto from Teacher Lizzie. Do you guys think that’s weird? It’s because I am a hybrid. Having been a teacher in Basti’s school many years ago, I am both parent and teacher, so there’s no need to be formal with me, hehe. Along with my puto, my snack of the day was one of my all-time favorites:
Banana-cue and fishballs. Found in a little canteen in San Juan.
Today I will go for a facial at DermaPro. Tomorrow? I don’t know.
So I therefore conclude that by the end of the school year I will be either broke, overweight, have really good skin, or all of the above. If I run out of things to do, I’ll just sleep in the car. Ubos ang glamor.
So you guys might be wondering (or maybe not) why I am suddenly so agog over beauty, makeup, etcetera and etcetera. No really, it’s all I’ve talked about in the last few posts, on Twitter and on Instagram (And for a few more posts to come, I must warn thee). Truth is, if you’ve known me long enough, you would know that this obsession, fascination and addiction to makeup goes a looooong way back. I started with makeup at a younger-than-average age and I will be into it ’til I’m old and grey.
But why the amplified fascination now? Why not from the beginning of the blog? Well here’s my confession: I need to focus my energy elsewhere or else I will be one hot mess. Because…
Basti is weaning.
*I will pause here because again, tears are beginning to flow*
I first started to feel the end of our nursing relationship on the day Basti did not ask to nurse for 12 hours. 12 hours became 20, 20 became 24. And then just a few days ago, 24 hours became 2 days. Two. FREAKING. Days. I had to stop myself from asking Basti if he wanted to nurse. I wanted to ask him, no, BEG him to nurse, to become my little baby again, just so I could smell him, hold him, cuddle him and remind him that he’s my little itty-boy and he doesn’t have to grow up if he doesn’t want to.
But he is growing up as children do, and I am the bigger baby than Basti because I am such a SAP. So there I was a couple of days ago reading an email sent to me by Basti’s school. He’s entering nursery school in June and the email was just to outline the enrollment procedures and schedule; nothing major, nothing particularly inspirational, just your regular administration and principal stuff. But what did I do? Like an idiot, I was crying my eyes out. OVER A FREAKING ENROLLMENT PROCEDURE LETTER! Can you imagine me on the first day of school? At a PTC meeting? Moving up day? Prom Night? I’d be lucky if Basti still wants to be seen with me when he’s 13. I’m going to be the most embarrassing mother ever.
Do you guys want to know the last time I wore Basti in a sling? Well don’t ask, because I can’t tell you. I can’t remember. I haven’t worn Basti in weeks. My carriers, save for two, are all in storage now. I still keep a couple out just in case I hear the sweet words “Mama, carry Basti” again. My heart isn’t ready to give up babywearing my big boy even if my back is celebrating.
So because of all this mothering madness, I am choosing to focus, to channel, to regroup. I am choosing to focus on me.
I am choosing to focus on my passions, to channel my energy into things that make me happy in order to be a pleasant presence in Basti’s life. It’s also my way of getting to know myself again, after two years of virtually thinking of no one else but this little boy. The makeup kit is being revived, the heels are coming out, and there is finally a little room in my heart and my life for a bit of self-indulgence.
Basti is turning three years old next month, marking my 3 years of being a mother now and forever. This period is going to be like hard candy to me – sweet, jarring, awkward and irregular, seemingly unchanging and endless, until one significant crack makes the hardness go away. And then I’ll find myself holding hands not with a little boy, but with a tiny young man ready to take on the world and mark it with awesome. I hope he’ll still let me hold his hand.
So forgive me, readers, friends and stray-Google-search passerbys, if the Mommy is becoming a Mom-Me. It’s the most I can do to keep my wailing at bay. We have to brace ourselves for more Madness. Our kids may be growing up, but they’ll turn into babies when they need us to be their mommies. Let’s look amazing while we do it, shall we?
It seems like I looked away for two minutes, and not two years, to watch my Basti go from this:
Suddenly, we’ve got words, animal sounds, the alphabet, counting from 1-20 and the dialogue of Toy Story coming out of his mouth. Suddenly he’s asking for specific food from the refrigerator and telling me whether he wants rice, soup or a banana. When before he couldn’t stand to be without nursing, even just for an hour, now a full day goes by before he cuddles up and asks.
Just last night I came out of the bathroom after my evening toilette (YES I used that word) to find The Painter lying down beside Basti, staring at him. No, not in some heartwarming-father-and-son-moment way, but just simply STARING. I asked him what was up and he was like, “Nothing. I’m just looking at him. He’s so huge.”
And then the other day, we were talking about schools. I was scheduling school visits for the coming weeks and I noticed that The Painter was getting lost in thought. When I asked what he was thinking about, he was like, “What if I’m away? I’m going to miss these. All these big moments.”
All of this sentiment coincides with Smart’s new #LiveMore commercial, right here:
Oh how I wish it were about me and Orley in our more carefree, younger days, but I just can’t fit into a dress like that anymore.
The point. These days, as long as you have a strong, reliable and fast mobile and internet connection, few things can escape you. You could really be a thousand miles away and never miss a thing. Lately, The Painter and I have been talking about the big plans that Art has for our future, and fortunately/unfortunately, those plans involve a big plane, a different continent, and more than just a thousand miles away. We’re not sure how they will pan out, but one thing’s for sure: an indefinite period of time when our family will be apart. Sigh. Sad, sure, but not impossible to overcome. There’s chat, phone calls, video calls, messaging, Face Time, and all the other ways we can keep each other close through modern communication. With a mobile and internet connection I can count on from Smart, to #LiveMore with each other is possible even when living apart. Life’s biggest moments deserve it.
Recently, I posted about how I’m doing so far without any household help. I mentioned there that around my house, I have little things that give me joy and actually make my life easier as a homemaker. Well, I’ve decided to expand and make a wishlist of stuff for my life without yaya. If these existed, my house would be heaven on earth.
This was also mentioned by Rone in a comment on my maid-less post. I actually tried looking for a dishwasher to buy here in Manila, but they were either a) second-hand and beat-up or b) too damn expensive. If some enterprising person out there would start selling affordable dishwashers, I believe more maid-less households would happen. I swear, washing dishes takes the better part of my day.
A bangin’ refrigerator
It doesn’t have to be a monstrosity like this one:
But imagine an easy-to-clean, energy-efficient, organized, beautiful refrigerator? Oh grocery shopping would be a joy. I don’t know how these look like from the inside, but they’re so cute. I can work with these. (images from smeg.com)
While I’m at it, I might as wear a pinafore, an apron and put my hair up in curls. How Mad Men of me.
A friend of mine put me on that dreaded referral list that everyone hates and I felt like I was betraying her if I didn’t allow the Rainbow guy to do a demo in my house. Luckily, the person who came for the demo was not a hard-seller, was very good-natured and did a great job of making me appreciate the vaccuum-that-might-as-well-be-a-car-it’s-so-darn-expensive.
Just check out the before and after photos of the water bowl where all the gunk goes in, and the stuff that was in a strip of my mattress and of my floor. Fifty shades of gross!
I’d go crazy using that Rainbow system on everything. I’d clean the screens. I’d sweep in between the floorboards. I’d give my mattress and pillows a run every week. Heck, maybe it’ll even do a better job in giving Basti a bath.
Better sidewalks, less pollution and an efficient commuter system.
I had a taste of this when I was living in China. Save for the occasional spit bomb and crazy driver (okay, crazy drivers in China: not occasional), it was pretty pleasant where I lived. Winters were a little harsh, but spring was awesome. I could run 10k in pure bliss.
I loved the bus stop system and taxis were easy and cheap. I still dream of bringing Basti back there in springtime and take him down to Xinghai Guangchang and fly a kite by the boardwalk. If only things were better here in Manila, it would be such a treat to spend the day doing chores, then stop at the park for a playdate, then get back home in time for dinner still keeping my wits about.
When I had just given birth, this was my wish everyday. I know Rustan’s had this before – Grocering if I remember right – but somehow it didn’t click. I think it was just timing. Could Rustan’s, SM or Shopwise launch this again? I promise you I know several people who will be your customers already. I am not alone.
Drive thru ATMS
I know there was one in Greenhills a long time ago, but like Grocering, it disappeared. Have you ever tried to withdraw money from an ATM with a child sleeping in the carseat? I have, and I’ll never do it again. It’s nerve-wracking. So now I have to unstrap the child from the seat, haul him out, wear him, and do it backwards. I’m still very vulnerable, IMO.
A trustworthy, professional day care center.
I’m lucky I can get my mom to watch Basti when I have somewhere I have to be and I can’t bring him. But seriously, if there were a day care center here that was clean, with professional staff (CPR training, health certificates, training etcetera etcetera), I’d pay for that. Really. And I’m not talking about a place like Gymboree where I can leave a child with a yaya. I’m talking about really LEAVING him, like they do in the States. I worked in a day care for the summer in San Francisco and I think we did alright. If I could do it when I was 19 years old, I’m sure there are very capable ones who can do the same here, with the right capital and management.
EDIT (11/09/11): This post won one of the four spots in the contest! Thank you Johnson’s and Nuffnang!
The winner of the caption contest is: rdnofera! Thanks for the title – “Move Over Van Gogh, ‘Coz I’m Gonna Van GROW”. You will receive a Johnson’s Gift Pack!
I’ve made no secret of my dreams and aspirations for Basti’s future. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he will take after his father, and become a world-class visual artist who will do his country proud. Just in case my penchant for performing is in him somewhere, I’ve also got dance and theater classes in the wings, if he wants them.
I have it all planned. He starts experiential art lessons this month in Gymboree; just textures, colors, shapes and forms, nothing formal, just art appreciation disguised as play. I already know the easels I want to buy him when he turns 3, 7, 12, 16 and 25 years old. I know which school to send him to if homeschool doesn’t work out, and his whole life will be filled with exhibits, painting sessions with his father, sketching and photography trips. I seem prepared, don’t I?
And then, just a week or so ago, my little baby boy grabbed a brush from his father’s stash and did this:
My heart broke into a thousand little pieces. My little boy is growing up way too fast. Right then and there, I decided to slow down my ambitious plans and relish the days I have with my kiddo.
Even if Basti can jump from platforms and run down the street, he still likes to take a nap in my arms and nurse at my breast. He can work the iPad like a big kid but still squeals in delight when I sing The Wheels On The Bus in funny voices. He stomps his feet and pouts when he doesn’t get his way, but after the tantrum, my little Basti crawls into my lap and gives me a hug.
One of our favorite things to do is bath time. He loves water, just like me. Since birth, we’ve been using the Johnson’s Baby bath line on him.
He is changing before my eyes but his skin is still like a baby’s. We still need the gentle care of JOHNSON’s Baby Milk, with Vitamins A&E and 100% more milk proteins to nourish developing skin. I particularly can’t get enough of the feel and smell of Johnson’s Baby Milk bath on his skin and hair. It turns my little man into a baby all over again.
I was packing up the last of his onesies, the last articles of clothing that symbolized Basti’s baby-ness. It was not without drama; for each onesie I put in the bin, there was a little prick in my tummy, a tug at my heart, and the ubiquitous single-tear-on-the-cheek that has sold lots of airtime on teleseryes. At the same time, I was sorting our freshly-laundered clothes, which included the bigger-boy clothes that would make up Basti’s new wardrobe. I sighed at how huge they were compared to his baby wear, but I also smiled at how tiny they looked next to his dad’s clothing. He has a long way to go still; he’ll be my little baby for a few more years.
So until we cut the ribbon on his first one-man show or support him on whatever path he chooses to take , we’ll be here, cheering him on his journey. He won’t be a baby forever, but one thing I want to teach him is to never stop growing up.
So, guys – what do you think would make a good title for Basti’s painting picture? The best title deserves a Johnson’s gift pack!
First, leave a comment with a creative and relevant title for Basti’s pic, along with your Facebook name.