Firecrackers. Twelve round fruits. Polka dots. Resolutions.
We each have our own ways of celebrating the coming of the new year. When I was a kid, I would jump as high as I could at the stroke of midnight in the hopes of growing taller. But now that I no longer harbor such hopes, I welcome the new year with new books instead.
Every 31st of December, I go book hunting. Last year, I was able to score two Tom Robbins books for myself and Lucy Cousins’ Hooray for Fish! for my son (as of today, this book is still his favorite). This year, I trooped to Book Sale and got Susan Sontag’s The Volcano Lover for myself and a couple of children’s books for my son.
I love all of the books I got for my son but I’m most excited about In the Garden with Van Gogh because it combines poetry and art. I think it’s an excellent way to introduce him to art. I just hope I can also find the other titles in the series (especially A Magical Day with Matisse and A Picnic with Monet). I know it may be a little early but hopefully, he’ll be able to appreciate this book in a couple of months. For now, he’ll probably gravitate more towards Vehicles (which features beautiful ripped paper illustrations by Paula Knight). I have a strong feeling it’s going to be his new favorite.
The book I got for myself is one I’ve never actually heard of before. I just found it under a stack of other books. I found the title intriguing so I opened a random page and came across this passage:
To be unaccompanied. To be alone. To lower yourself into your own feelings.
There to find mists and vapors. Then little protuberances of old angers and longings. Then a large emptiness. You think of what you have done, done with brio–great slabs of actions, enterprises. All that energy has drained away. Everything becomes an effort.
And so I got the book without even bothering to read the synopsis. That passage was enough.
When I entered the room, I noticed that the alphabet chart was torn almost halfway across so I took some adhesive tape and asked the little one to help fix the chart. He came right over and held the torn part in place as I taped the chart back together.
But just when I thought our work was one, I noticed that the lower left corner of the chart had been torn off. I looked around for the missing piece but it was nowhere to be found. I figured it must’ve already been thrown out but I asked my son anyway if he knew where it was. To my surprise, he started digging into the nearest pillow. Turns out, he hid the missing piece inside the pillowcase. I don’t know if he hid it because he freaked out when he accidentally tore it or if he intentionally put it there for safekeeping but I’m sure glad he remembers where he puts stuff (I rarely ever do!).
After reminding the little one about being more careful with his things, we put the missing piece back and now the chart is whole again. 🙂
I couldn’t find anyone to watch over my son this morning so I took him with me to work. He managed to get a hold of a piece of chalk and started scribbling on the board. He drew something which looked a bit like the letter Y but I wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination so I just let him go about his business.
Then he wrote something which resembled the letter W! Maybe it was just a coincidence but it still got me excited. I didn’t want to interrupt what he was doing so I just put my pen down and watched him more closely.
Lo and behold, he started writing the letter M! It was far from perfect but there was no mistaking what it was. My son then turned around, pointed at what he just wrote and said proudly, “M!”
No, I don’t think that what happened means that he has already learned to write although he has been able to identify certain numbers (2 and 4) and letters (A, B, I, M, and O) without prompting even before he turned two.
But what I do know is that what transpired this morning was a milestone I was fortunate enough to have seen with my own eyes.
Since we belong to large, close-knit extended families, we decided to split the little boy’s birthday celebration and hold two parties instead of one. We chose an under the sea theme, inspired by my son’s fascination with fish. We held the first party (for my side of the family) a day before the actual birthday so cousins who aren’t available on Sundays could attend.
Like many moms, I obsessed over my son’s birthday for months. I spent hours upon hours just scouring the web for ideas and coming up with my own. I wanted to make everything as DIY as I could. I even thought of baking the cupcakes myself but I never got around to actually learning how to bake. I ordered from a supplier instead but that turned out to be a major disaster. I found out just hours before the party that the supplier forgot about my order! Ordering customized cupcakes on such short notice was obviously out of the question so I called up one of the local bakeshops. Fortunately, they had cupcakes readily available so I bought some and added some chocolate-coated biscuits, mini pretzel sticks, and the toppers I prepared.
I also ordered some customized sugar cookies. Unlike the other supplier, Andie’s Desserts did a splendid job. The cookies were a hit not only with the kids but also the adults. People couldn’t stop oohing and aahing over the cookies. I would definitely order from them again.
To add color to the table (without spending a lot), I cut out seaweed shapes and made toppers. I stuck the seaweed shapes to clear glasses filled with pebbles (which I got from the pet store) and added the toppers.