He has hope. Although he is still two years on the way to being cancer-free, going back to school seem to make things even better for him than I expected. I attended the PTC a week after classes opened (he’s had 1 day off school every week, now I know why my parents always were slightly upset whenever classes were canceled. Feels like being ripped off the tuition fee! Hehe) and his teacher said that he was one of the most behaved boys in class. In fact, when we asked if any of his classmates was curious about his mask, he said he couldn’t answer because “their lips had to be sealed.”
(doing homework while waiting for blood test results)
(with cotton on his chemo-pricked left hand, still all smiles for his Ninang Cha’s despedida. More sociable than usual.)
His setup has been such that he stays with me at my work studio on weekends so I can personally attend to him and since its geographically closer to school too while he stays with my parents on weekends and picks him up with the car can’t. You know how grandparents are, they tend to spoil people and in this case, spoil a sick grandchild all the more.
I don’t know if you read previous posts on how concerned I was about disciplining him, keeping his wants and needs in place… my partner and I finally laid down our ground rules and established a very creative point system for him to earn points and hopefully in the end teach him the value of working hard for the things he gets. He gets a point for stars in homeworks, seatworks, finishing a meal, packing away, flushing the toilet and if he reaches 100 points, he can buy a toy!
For times when he’s impatient, he can redeem coupons equivalent to specific points less than 100 such as eating out for japanese, playing at timezone, extended bedtime, more video game time, snuggle time and extra bed story, the last two we thought he’d redeem the least. We also reward him with certificates especially for artworks he finishes or brave chemo days.
As hard as I try to discipline my son, there is a nagging feeling of nostalgia especially now that he goes to big school, too. I recall my mom’s own drama when I insisted on commuting when Mio refused to have me walk him through his corridors, or when I saw him crying behind his mask while sitting on his stroller bag while waiting to be fetched on a traffic Friday night. I also remember the pain of wanting something in a store and understanding the words, “we can’t afford it anak.” Its alright you see. Money was not an issue growing up because I was raised to value family and the things money couldn’t buy. My dad however was a spoiler in the truest sense of the word and everytime he saw our huge googly eyes desire a toy or a dress, he’d try everything in his power to get it for us. Recently however, with my birthday nearing, I find myself wanting a bag from a store and putting it back with a familiar face on. It was pouting and near tears as if I was 7 and I didn’t get the dress on the glass window of a store.
That wasn’t a good day considering that Mio wasn’t with me then. I texted him and said I was sad. He immediately called and we had this sweet conversation —
Mio: Why are you sad, Mom?
Me: I wanted to buy a bag but I didn’t have money to buy it.
Mio: How much was it?
Mio: how much?
Me: around 3,000
Mio: do you want my points so you can buy it? I have 34 already.
Shame on me. Again. I felt so bad that I couldn’t be me a bag because I knew that I had to be responsible and pay for all the things we needed while he, at age 6, is forced (but apparently willingly) to abide by a point system to get a toy and he’d give his to me in a heartbeat.
And tonight, to my surprise, he redeems the first of his coupons. Extra snuggle time in bed with Mom. So much for big boy in the big world wanting to brave his school corridors by himself. He still is, my baby.
(oh! His first permanent tooth is growing already! Look! Adult teeth are on the way to replace his baby teeth. ADULT. My gosh)
(Manong Mio getting a haircut before tomorrow’s class picture taking. Like an old man at a barber shop, don’t you think?)
(it feels like a very incoherent post but I wanted to share before I forget, so forgive me for the lack of perspective here. I hope you enjoyed my Mio-isms though.)