Clockwise from top left: Cranium night at Marie's; action scene with Sophie and Martine (the bunnies); Erin and her collage; and Ada showing me her costume before her MassKara Festival dance for Linggo ng Wika.
Since prequels are very much in vogue, let me share a little about what happened the days before yesterday.
The theme of this last-minute visit has been all about family, really, for I’d been too busy to hang out with my nieces during my last trips. So I made it a point to stay with Michi for a few days. Every morning, her littlest daughter Ada woke me up. Last Friday, she walked in with her trademark “Good moyning, Tita Maya” wearing an Audrey Hepburn-esque outfit: a black shirt with a Sabrina neckline (made by her mom, of course!), black leggings (borrowed from Ate Iana), and her new maryjanes with sparkles. This was the basic look for her MassKara Festival dance for Linggo ng Wika. Here she is modeling for me, after which she showed me her dance.
Over the weekend, her big sisters Erin and Iana had a sleepover at Marie’s, where I am a guest. Erin says “Tita Marie has everything!”. They enjoy doing chores like washing the dishes and throwing the trash down the chute when they’re at her flat. After dinner, they wanted to buy Cornettos from the convenience store downstairs. “Tita let’s take the stairs,” they sweetly requested. I said, “Sure”. I mean how does 20 flights in flip-flops compare to a 21K right? But my thighs ached afterwards so I insisted we take the lift after they got their ice cream!
I learned during this sleepover that the simplest things make them happy. Erin took time to put in work on her booklet project. Iana played with the bunny rabbits for hours — at one point, she stuck Sophie into one of the grooves on Marie’s pull-up board. I took some blu-tac and let the other bunny, Martine, dangle like they were in a scene from Mission Impossible, causing Iana to shriek when Martine began to slip from Sophie’s grip.
For the highlight of the night, Marie brought out Cranium, which I had bought years ago. The girls picked up on the how-to’s fast, and we enjoyed two hours of fun (with whoops, belly laughs and shrieks all around!). Erin and Iana loved “Star Performer”, which is very much like playing charades. My favorite: when they each tried to act out “reproduce” for Marie and I to guess. They interchanged between making pregnant bellies with their hands under their shirts, and simulating plants growing out of their heads. Cute!
Another lesson I gleaned is that there’s just so much we can learn from them. The girls had a way of drawing or sculpting clues that I wouldn’t have thought of — they were simpler but clearer and easier to guess. Also, intuition comes so easily for them (ah the joys of being uncluttered with so much logic!). For the “Datahead” category, Erin wanted to answer “Africa” based on her limited knowledge and a documentary she just saw. But being her tita and partner, I insisted on an educated answer. The verdict: Erin was right, tita Maya was wrong.
We went to bed at midnight, tired but blissful from laughing too much. “This is the best game ever,” they both said. Out of the mouths of babes.