Category Archives: Good Reads

Karma is a Book of Opposites


Being the daughter of avid readers, the bear was exposed to books at an early age.

Now at 16 months, she has destroyed read more books than we can count. We have gone through 2 copies of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Blueberry Girl. Her copy of The Dangerous Alphabet (also by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Gris Grimly) is barely alive, kept together by miles and miles of clear tape. The pages of her favorite Mickey Mouse clubhouse book, Look Before You Leap, have been taken out of its spine. We are raising a voracious reader and we have half-eaten corners of books to prove it.

One of the books we got her was Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs Go Up and Down?. The husband grew up on dinosaur books and couldn’t help but try to pass on the love for them pre-historic creatures.

The culprit

We were all fooled. 

In theory, the book is pretty darn cool. The illustrations are wonderful, it’s lift the flap so there is some sort of interaction between the bear and the book, and it’s very sturdy and can withstand the abuses of a toddler who doesn’t know her own strength. The downside? It’s a book of opposites. I know it says so on the cover, but being first time parents, we didn’t grasp the full implications of teaching our little smart ass girl the concept of opposites.

After a few weeks of getting used to the book (at first the pictures of dinosaurs scared her), she started reading it more often. Now, she can even “read” the book with us.

It starts off innocently enough. Up and down.

From’s preview

But then it gets trickier. We go into slow and fast and eventually, quiet and loud.

How this Book has Ruined Affected Our Life

  • The bear has been running since she learned how to walk. So just last week, when she was tripping all over her feet, we told her to be a “slow dinosaur.” And how does she respond? She said the word “fast” and started running even faster.
  • Sometimes she also wakes up in the middle of the night and starts shouting “daaadddddy!” on the top of her lungs. As she sleeps next to her dad, of course it’s bound to wake him up. So I tell the bear to be a “quiet dinosaur” and let her daddy sleep. But what does she do? She laughs loudly, because (obviously) that is what the loud dinosaur does.


While How Do Dinosaurs Go Up and Down? is a good book, I would suggest that before giving it to your little one, to think long and hard whether you or your spouse have a family history of smart asses. That was our mistake. As being a smart ass is an occupational hazard (we are both lawyers), the hubby and I are finally getting a dose of our own medicine. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.


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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:




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


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High Society now on Amazon

It is with great pride that I announce the release of High Society, a comic by the husband, Paolo Chikiamco, and the very talented Hannah Buena. Since I was not part of the creative process, I am not bound by the same rules of modesty so I can say that it’s freaking awesome and can be appreciated by all kinds of readers. It also makes for a (cheap and) wonderful Christmas gift to your family and friends whether here or overseas.

I’ll let Paolo’s Rocket Kapre post tell you all about High Society:


The mysterious steampunk comic book collaboration between myself and the wonderful Hannah Buena has now been released! Flipside Komix has published “High Society” (formerly “Kataastaasan“)  on Amazon as a Kindle comic. It’s an alternative history story that mixes automata, Philippine folklore, and the British invasion of Manila in the 1760s. It’s also the first comic book story set in the world of the “Wooden War”, which was also the setting of my story in Philippine Speculative Fiction 6.

There’s not a lot of Philippine steampunk stories out there (I’m eagerly awaiting “The Marvelous Adventures of the Amazing Doctor Rizal”), and none that mix it up with Philippine mythology quite the way that Hannah and I do here, so if that interests you, please do buy a copy and help spread the word. If not for me, then for Hannah’s amazing art. Maybe some preview pages/panels will seal the deal?

Again, here’s the Amazon page, and thank you for your support!


So, what are you waiting for? For only $2.99 or $4.99 (depending on where your shipping address is located), High Society will definitely give you a bang for your buck.

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Posted by on 10/16/2011 in Good Reads


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