Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bonch No Longer So Bratty

July 7

Finding out I was pregnant for the seventh time in my late 30s sent me to a panic. How can a one-room house crammed full of growing children accommodate a new baby? How will my no longer pliant and lithe body parts carry the bundle and push it out nine months later?

It wasn’t really a difficult pregnancy, but I sulked all through it, my mind heavy too with worry.

The baby was weeks overdue and had to be induced. Hours after induction, the pain was excruciating. It spilled over, sounded off. The nurses were annoyed at my noisy laboring. One of them asked me how many children I’ve had. Tse! How can someone who has mothered six be so complaining? At one point, I asked for a caesarian section. As I was being prepared for surgery, the baby perversely came out. (A prelude of things to come?!)

She was born on the seventh day of the seventh month, the seventh of seven children, at 10:07 p.m., weighing seven pounds flat. When she went to grade school, she kept getting Class No. 7

I laughed when I saw Bonch for the first time. She was already dimpling prettily and impishly.

She fulfilled the promise of beauty. I call her my best-looking product, the most wide-eyed in a family of chinita and chinitos. Good skin, good shape in spite of baby fat she can not seem to shed, a button nose that gradually sharpened into an almost aquiline shape.

Impish? Bratty is the word. It could not be helped. She had an excess of attention which seemed to annoy her. The more she got annoyed, the more she drove people nuts.

Her dad and four kuyas adored her. Kuya Ariel especially, who spoiled her silly. When he asked for a kiss, she would kiss the pillow, kiss the bed, kiss the teddy bear, kiss me, kiss her Ate, kiss the other Kuyas except the Kuya asking to be kissed.

She was inventive as a child. She imagined secret friends and invented names for them. Morfan was one. Who knows that he didn’t really exist? A guardian angel or spirit guide and friend.

In grade school, she began to write poems. Before she graduated, a short story she wrote about Muning, our cat, won both for her and her school P15 thousand and a trophy each. In high school, she won other writing medals and wrote scripts that were mounted into plays. She broke into print in the Inquirer’s Young Blood before she graduated.

She can compose songs, though she can’t read music, and sing them too. But I could never cajole her to sing in parties. In college, however, she sang at gigs the first of which we all excitingly attended. The next ones were no longer announced to us. The brat.

The best thing about her is her persistence. It is also the worst.

Whatever she sets her mind to do she does through grit, hard work, and sheer kulit power.

When she set her sights on being a softball player in high school, she overcame big odds – a very poor vision, faulty batting, flat feet. She made it to the team, practicing daily, coached and inspired by her Ate.

In kindergarten at St. Paul, where most of her classmates were English-speaking, she confronted a teacher after the first few weeks of school: "Miss, hindi lahat kami dito Amerikano, pwede po kayong mag-Tagalog?" The teacher apologized. When the teacher relapsed, Bonch reminded her from time to time.

When she got back test results, she would question points earned in essay items. She deserved 5 instead of 3 points, 10 instead of 8, she argued. Almost invariably she got what she fought for. "Sige na nga, 100 ka na, matigil ka lang," one said in exasperation.

In college, she almost didn’t make it to the cut-off in Diliman but doggedly took her turn in the waiting list. She went on to graduate magna cum laude and win “best thesis” in the form of a 15-minute film.

After a few false starts, she now holds the job she always wanted to have – executive production in a television company. She’s spoken for but insists marriage is still years away.

Today Bonch turns 25.

She’s no longer so bratty. She is determined to be kinder, gentler, more considerate of others, less selfish, less outspoken. She succeeds sometimes. When she does not, she says sorry – sometimes.

She has shed tears in her efforts to shed some of the (brutal) frankness and brusqueness away.

She still doesn’t like kissing her Kuya but she hugs him and sometimes brings him his fave floss bread when she gets her sueldo.

Best of all for me, she would still crawl into my bed at night and say: Nunat twidit wawoo.

Notes:

1) Nunat, twidit wawoo is her baby talk for goodnight, sweet dreams, love you.

2) To my blog berks and other readers, kindly bear with me as I make exaggerated papuri to my children. I have decided that before I depart for other climes, I should write something for each of them to keep in his/her heart. Chos! And if I sound so incredible, remember the piece is written by a mom wearing love-misted glasses.

3) Bonch is how I call her, for bunso (youngest child).


30 comments:

lady cess said...

ang sweet! i love this post!

your notes made me think i should make a similar blog post about each of my children.

pag bunso yata talagang may pagka.. ehem.. persistent =D i see my baby girl in your bonch, and my baby girl is only 3.

Gina said...

It is a sweet sweet piece. I can really sense the love and the pride. Your bonch will surely treasure this one AM!

Cookie said...

Aww..ang sweet mo naman! Nabasa na ba ito ni Bonch? I'm sure she'll be so proud :D

When you've written about your children,maybe you can write about your blog berks..hehehe :D

paolo said...

she'll love this..

Alina said...

I got the persistence from you ;-) thanks so much for the blog entry. it's the best birthday gift (plus the fabulous handa you prepared for my party):-)

Sexy Mom said...

very nice, Annamanila! Bonch will love you more for this. she's got it all, the 7s--the perfect number, a doting mother, and many more.

happy 25th birthday, Alina!

PS: at least, I am not the only mother now who brags, nay, writes good things about her children. lol

bw said...

Bunsos are always bratty aren't they?

THere is a cunning semblance between Bunso and mom :) Bet you looked like her when you were younger.

She's truly and inspiration - and lucky 7 indeed ! You ought to blog more about her :)

dimaks said...

though i finished reading the post to the end of it, my mind kept of nibbling the 7 thing. and not until i went about 2/3rds through, i never knew that this was also about Bonch's 25th birthday. great post :)

Rudy said...

Depart for other climes? Sounds as if you're going abroad...

So she works for a network pala, ha? Maybe I've seen one of her programs?

Leah said...

Mana sa mommy? Happy birthday Bonch. Well deserved papuri from a doting mum.

Pwede ba magpa-feature sa TV ? he!he!

soloops said...

Si Ms. Anna, pusong mamon pag mga anak ang pinag uusapan. haha.

So sweet of you, Ms. A.

pearl said...

Bloghopped from Snglguy ^^
This is so sweet, Ms. Anna. And I guess your daughter is equally proud to have you as her mom. Enjoyed reading your posts by the way :-) I'll surely be dropping by from time to time!

lei said...

yes, maybe bunsos were bratty when they were younger but sweeter as they grew older..

we have 3 bunso in the family, ang age gap kase is 6 & 7 kaya pare-parehong matagal naging bunso. yung youngest brother ko ang pinaka-sweet.. he's in his 1st year in college na and taking up journalism. the 1st bunso is a public school teacher and the 2nd naman ay chemist sa isang manufacturing company.

you're a proud mommy and i'm a proud ate. :D

belated happy birthday to your daughter and congratulations to you for having such wonderful children.

Dhanggit said...

My little girl will turn one year old in two weeks time.. like you i had my baby on my late thirties (but it was my first time). As i read your blog suddenly things that are in store for me and my daughter pass before my eyes. im excited but scared at the same time. I hope my daughter will grow like yours : mabait

Heart of Rachel said...

Belated Happy Birthday to your lovely daughter. This is a very sweet and heartwarming post. It's a beautiful gift that I'm sure she will always cherish.

pining said...

what a remarkable child/daughter she is... a mother's dream and delight indeed, and such a sweet post :-)
many happy returns to her!

Mari said...

this is a very endearing post for your daughter. natouch ako. :)

raqgold said...

i have also been taking notes about my kids, some i blog about; and some i keep in my diary... and you know what, i plan to write about those notes when they reach 18 -- i admire you for taking notes esp since you have more than two :D

myepinoy said...

Ang sabi ng tatay ko, if you can say to the whole world that "hey, this my child!" you are done as a parent and you are the luckiest of all the parents in the world.

If you can say to the whole universe that "Hey, these are my children!", you are the greatest parent in the known universe.

Anna said...

what a lovely post about a lovely girl! congratulations on mothering seven (i am sure) highly individual children. i look forward to reading about the others...

ysrael said...

That was a precious moments to post, iba naman kasi pag anak na ang pinag-uusapan. I'm pretty sure your bunso is very proud of her mom.

chateau a.k.a. imom said...

...And i'm reading through a misty screen! wahuhuhu. This is such a sweet, thoughtful, loving post. Motherhood is so beautiful. For me, it is so tiring and stressful most of the time. But this too shall pass.

Bonch as a child sounds so much like Vera. Makulit, makulit, bratty, bratty. hehe. I hope someday my V graduates magna cum laude too, and prove her detractors (read: teachers *sad*) wrong.

Manang mana sa mommy si Bonch. :)

Belle said...

i have a makulit one, too, who always challenges me, who always beat me in the concentration game and makes fun of me. she reminds me of your bonch. hope she had a wonderful birthday.

julie said...

Your Bonch sounds like my Trixie. Makulit, maabilidad.I hope she will also be able to fulfill her dreams when she grows up.

Thanks for sharing this love-filled post about Bonch.

Belated Happy Birthday!

niceheart said...

This is so sweet. :)

"The best thing about her is her persistence. It is also the worst."
- I love that. :) Sometimes it is through persistence that we get what we want in this life.

Happy birthday to your Bonch.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Bonch! You're in the right persistent direction. With a loving mom at your beck and call, you are bound for places far and high! Here's to kulit power.

- Jerry

kathy said...

I lurv this post. Exaggerated? I think balanse naman ang sinulat mo...I find both praise and criticism in what you wrote.

I'm curious: does Bonch read your blog? :)

There must be something special to being 7th in the family. My husband is also the 7th out of a brood of 12.

Happy birthday (kahit na blog-friend lang ako and we never met hehe) to Bonch, and congratulations for getting that coveted job!

duke said...

if all mothers could write about their children, and all kids could read about how their mother talks about them.....errr..wala akong maisip na katuloy ng sasabhin ko.

hahahaha.

heniwey, i like thie piece.

Toe said...

Love this post Annamanila (heck... love all your posts). :) I can totally relate with Bonch... youngest (though 6th lang) and best-looking product din ako ng mommy ko. :)

Happy Birthday to Bonch! :)

exskindiver said...

if you can't write for your children,
who else can you write for?

beautiful.

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