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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kairos Time

Over the long Chinese New Year weekend, I came across Glennon Melton‘s article, “Don’t Carpe Diem“, over at the Huffington Post. It was so beautiful, I shared it immediately with my Facebook friends.

Melton talked about the two kinds of time: Chronos and Kairos. Here’s an excerpt:

“There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.”

You can read the rest of her article here.

Since our nanny is currently enjoying her month-long vacay (8 days down, 25 to go!), and our all around maid, N, who graciously took over the nanny duties, was training her substitute, Paolo and I decided to bring Meia to Little Gym on our own.

I won’t lie: it was tiring. How a small infant can have so much energy is beyond me. Plus, someone apparently told her it was opposite day so she did her best to drive us insane. Case in point:

  • When the teacher asked her to tap the tambourine, she cried and hung on to me for dear life. Later, when the teacher dismissed the class, she crawled towards the tambourine and started tapping it like there was no tomorrow. We had to pry it from her little hands and drag her away from the gym since the next class was about to start.
  • Meia is also the youngest in her group – she is the only one who still can’t walk on her own. Although she does like it when we hold her by the torso and let her practice “walk.” We do this all the time at home. Sometimes, this is all she wants to do an entire afternoon, much to the dismay of our aching backs. (I don’t think I’ll ever stand straight again.) When it was time to “walk” in class, Meia started crawling. She kept complaining and wriggling out of our arms until we finally gave in and let her crawl.
  • Perhaps out of consideration for Meia, the teacher asked all the students to do a bear crawl. Now, Meia is an expert bear crawler – been bear crawling (if such a term existed) for the past 3 or so months. What does she do come bear crawling time? That’s right. She stops. moving. completely. Dammit.

So by 11pm, Pao and I were zonked out. We would have slept too, had Meia not woken up every hour until 6am. Argh.

The next day, we were at it again. This time, we brought Meia to Bonifacio High Street. While Pao was parking the car, Meia and I were in Gap taking advantage of the air-con when we saw this:

Ugh. It was too cute. I had to let her try it on. And she loved it. And so, we bought it.

Babies are so difficult to take care of. They cry a lot. They need to be fed every 2-3 hours. They poop at the most inconvenient times. They crawl when they should be walking, walk when they should be crawling. Just when you thought you could sneak in a shower while they are asleep, they decide to wake up and make a terrible fuss. And no, they don’t stir just as you are about to go into the bathroom, that would be too easy. They wake up crying after you’ve taken off your clothes, stepped into the shower, and while your hair is full of shampoo.

But ask a parent how it is like to have kids. Usually, they’ll tell you it is one of the most wonderful life-altering experiences. They’re not lying. It’s just that they are remembering those moments in Kairos time and these moments more than make up for the otherwise frenetic day they just had.

It’s like going home exhausted from Little Gym, going through the pictures in your camera, and seeing this:

Meia, after a good spinach meal

Or buying an expensive pair of sunglasses for your almost 11 month old, putting it on her, and seeing this:

Artistahin

Kairos.

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Posted by on 01/24/2012 in Good Reads, Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

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An Ode to Polvoron

It’s been a hectic week for us. The yaya went on vacation last Monday so our all around maid, N, had to take over the Meia duties. To help out at home, my Mom asked one of her maids, F, if she wanted go on secondment with us for a couple of weeks. Thank god she agreed. So while N is getting used to taking care of the bear, she’s also training F. Pao and I are doing what we can to help out – I’ve even gone on leave a couple of times this week to help with the transition.

So yes, I miss our yaya very much. I hope she comes back as promised.

Whenever I’m stressed, I find myself looking for sweets. The other day I bought a bag of 20 pieces of Goldilocks Classic Polvoron. Goldilocks polvoron is my guilty pleasure. I’ve tried other kinds of polvoron, even those that claim that they are “gourmet”, but in my opinion, they don’t hold a candle to Goldilocks polvoron.

This isn’t the bag of polvoron I got. I bought the one that came in a plastic bag instead of a box  I prefer that because the pieces of polvoron inside are wrapped in yellow cellophane and not vacuum sealed. It’s hard to get the polvoron out of the vacuum seal bag – I end up scraping it against the bag and scattering crumbs all over myself. Sayang. Plus, call me old fashioned, but there’s nothing quite like the experience of unwrapping polvoron like candy. I’m salivating just thinking about it.

Yesterday, I ate 4 pieces of polvoron. FOUR. If Paolo didn’t stop me, I think I could’ve eaten the entire bag. Right now I’m dreaming of eating more of them. Which got me thinking, how many calories are in 1 piece of polvoron?

Uh oh. According to My Fitness Pal, each piece has 130 calories! Which means that yesterday, I gobbled 520 of them! Yikes.

Yaya better come home soon. Stress is making me fat!

 
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Posted by on 01/20/2012 in Others, Uncategorized

 

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Done is Better than Perfect

For the most part, I grew up in a very neat and organized household. My mother was very OC and had a place for everything. Nothing ever gets lost, nothing is ever wasted.

I take after my dad.

Don’t get me wrong, my dad does not lose stuff either. Except for the office files which he needs to keep track of, he dumps all his other papers in a drawer. Back when I was still in grade/high school, each summer, I would always (begrudgingly) help out my parents at home. The task I dreaded the most was cleaning my dad’s drawer and trying to make sense of the papers found inside. I would literally spend days putting everything in neat little piles. What makes the task more difficult is the knowledge that in 2 month’s time, the papers would be completely disorganized again.

Fast forward 15 years later, I am taking care of my own household. My papers – just like my father’s – are all over the place. Sure, they are all contained in a box (or two, plus a couple of envelopes over there…) but they are not categorized properly. The best way, I figure, is to put each kind of bill or receipt in an individual folder and arrange them all by date. Have you tried doing that to 4 years worth of receipts? It’s impossible.

While trying to look for organizing inspiration, I came across this poster over at Organizing Made Fun:

This will be my new mantra. I will no longer aim for perfection when it comes to cleaning and organizing the household. I have a 10 month old to look after, after all.

So armed with a new sense of purpose, I went to National Bookstore and bought myself one of these cheap expandable envelopes.

They’re ugly (hate those squares at the back – why can’t they just make it out in all black?) but I didn’t want to shell an extra PhP50 for a nicer looking one (the term “nicer” is relative. the other available folder was in tweety yellow. ugh.). The plan is to label each of the dividers for every month of the year and to put all paid bills for a given month in the designated slot. No more folder for every kind of bill. It’s faster and more efficient.

I’ll be working on our manuals and warranties next. I’ll try this tip from The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking. Wish me luck!

 
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Posted by on 01/11/2012 in Organizing, Things to Do, Uncategorized

 

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Astoria Plaza Needs to Get Its Act Together

When I started this blog, I told myself I’d keep rants to a minimum. There are so many unpleasant things in the world, and dwelling on them seemed like a waste of time especially since every minute spent getting mad at an idiot is a minute spent not playing with my daughter.

But some things must be said. And people should be warned. So (deep breath) here I go.

Astoria Plaza, what the hell?!?!

We decided to book Astoria for New Year’s Eve to get away from the smoke. It seemed like a great idea — Astoria was near the house so we could easily run back in case we forget something. The rooms were spacious and a 2 bedroom suite cost only PhP7,485 a night and came with breakfast for 4.

Before finalizing our reservation during the first week of November, I inquired with Astoria whether they would provide cribs for babies. They said yes, they have some cribs for the use of their guests and will note our request in our reservation. I also asked if they could provide a king size bed instead of 2 twin beds in the master’s bedroom. They also agreed and noted it down.

For those who are unfamiliar, Meia is currentlly 10 months old. She doesn’t co-sleep with us, hence the need for a crib. In case the crib didn’t pan out, we were also considering letting her co-sleep for that night, hence the request for a king-sized bed.

The week before New Year, I called Astoria to confirm whether or not they can provide the crib. The person I spoke with over the phone (sayang I didn’t get her name) assured me that it was “noted” in our reservation. When I asked her to check whether the cribs were still available, she said she couldn’t do that. Not to worry, she told me, they “noted” it down.

If only the bear could have slept on their notes, we wouldn’t have had any problems!

On the morning of December 31, I called Astoria again to see whether the crib was available. The person who picked up the phone told me once again that it was noted in our reservation. At this point, I replied that that answer was unacceptable – couldn’t they check with housekeeping if a crib was available? They put me on hold and after a few minutes informed me that there were no cribs for the day. Apparently their definition of some cribs is one crib and it was being used by a long staying guest. I told them that if it was a long staying guest, then they could have told me when I reserved and when I called again that week that the crib was unavailable instead of giving me the usual bullshit about noting it down.

Since Astoria was near the house, Pao and I decided to check in first with all our things, then come back home to bathe Meia (so we don’t have to bring her bath paraphernalia) and pack the playpen.

Big mistake. When we got to Astoria at around 2pm, the place was full. We waited a good 15 minutes in the hot and humid basement just to ride the elevator to the ground floor. When we got to the reception area, we saw that there was a long and winding queue to get into the elevator.

So I checked in. While waiting for my room, another lady talked to the receptionist and followed up on her room. She claimed that she had been waiting for 30 minutes already in Astoria’s cramped lobby, and she had a little boy in tow who was getting cranky. I’m not that good with ages, but I’d say the little boy was around 3-4 years old. If you’ve been to Astoria, you’d know that the lobby is very small. I think they only had 4-5 chairs there for guests who are waiting to be checked in/out. And the lobby was FULL. Another girl beside me followed up on the rooms for her relatives – she told the receptionist that she was already considering cancelling their reservation since she couldn’t make her relatives, who were already old, wait in the car for that long.

The receptionist checks us in without mentioning any of the items noted in our reservation. No mention of the crib, no mention of the king sized bed.

And yup, you guessed it. We were given twin beds instead of the king sized bed. I called the Front Desk and you know what they said? That I could easily push the twin beds together to make a king sized bed. Wonderful customer service, I tell you. So at this point, I’ve had it. I used my lawyer voice and got really mad. I told them that part of my consideration for staying at their establishment was their promise of “some” cribs and the king sized bed. I told them that they better fix things and to call me back in 10 minutes with a viable solution.

Of course 15 minutes later, they still haven’t called. I decided to call front desk (I couldn’t storm the front desk, given the long wait for the elevators). They told me that they’re sending people to fix the twin size beds – they’ll put a sheet or something like that so that Meia won’t fall in the middle when the beds are combined. And.. that they’re also sending a crib. The crib and the housekeeping staff are on their way and should be in our room anytime soon.

“Anytime soon” for the housekeeping staff came 20 minutes later. As for the crib? Well, when Paolo called to follow up more than 30 minutes later, the person he spoke to began by saying: “Eto po ang nangyari…” (This is what happened…) which is a bad sign. He got as far as the crib being delivered to the wrong room and other guests seeing it before Paolo blew his top and told them to get the crib and deliver it to our room within 20 minutes, or else.

The crib came and according to Pao (I was already home by this point, trying to figure out how to pack the playpen), it was the dirtiest and saddest playpen he’s ever seen. He took some pictures but according to him, these didn’t fully capture how awful the playpen looked:

Ugly, ugly, ugly. The netting looks like bugs have gotten to it already. We sent it back immediately.

The next morning, at breakfast, we overheard the same lady with the 3-4 year old boy, ask for a high chair. The waiter told them that they only had 1 high chair, and that it was already taken. Coming into the ballroom, I counted at least 5 children who needed high chairs.

The sad part is that when we checked in, I asked the girl at the front desk whether this was the first time they were fully booked. She said no, it’s been like this every year during the holiday season. And yet, they still haven’t fully understood that they have guests who are children and who have special needs. How difficult is it to have 5 playpens on standby? Those things don’t cost a lot. Same goes for high chairs.

Shame on you, Astoria Plaza. Shame on you.

Edit: On 17 January 2012, Arnold of Astoria Plaza gave me a call to apologize in behalf of the company. He says that they are working on making Astoria more child friendly – they have made some purchase requests for children’s beddings. While it does not erase what happened, I’m very thankful that they took my complaint seriously and that they are trying to rectify the situation. 🙂

 
8 Comments

Posted by on 01/05/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

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