Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm All About The Nerd Play (a.k.a. Takot sa Bola)

So I'm a nerd. That's what they used to call me in school. Didn't like it then. Love it now. For the most part.

Used to hang out in the library sniffing old hardbound books on the occult, the paranormal and science fiction. My library card was my best friend. Well, I had a few friends, but it never occurred to me then that they were nerds, too. Or various other iterations of nerdidity, i.e., dweebs, geeks and dorks. Just guys I played RPG and traded comic books with. Watched some porn with. And got punished with for not bringing our Phys. Ed. uniforms.

If I'd never met beer in college, I'd be an even bigger nerd, and God knows I probably would never have met Nike or had Noah or get this awesome job I now have.

So now I think I have just the right amount of nerd in me, although it's something I've been questioning all the time since becoming a dad. Noah's growing up fast and, while it's amusing to see how he takes after me in many ways, it also terrifies me --I'm afraid I'll soon be in for a humiliating experience.

Like, God forbid someone accidentally throws a basketball my way one day while we're walking the dogs and I fumble it in front of my son. It almost happened last week, but I was smoking, so I had an excuse not to try to catch it. I got Noah to run after it and toss it back to the players. And, whew, it wasn't a bad throw.

I suck at physical activity -- wait, let's narrow that down. I suck at sports. I am horribly, hopelessly uncoordinated. All the action I've seen at Wii Sports Resort or Arkham Asylum or Final Fantasy or Soul Calibur in Xbox do not qualify as sport activities. And it's been years since I played frisbee or a mean game of badminton or climb a mountain (which I only do to get drunk at the top).

So my dilemma, while I've taught my son to be this imaginative, wisecracking charmer, who the heck is going to teach him to play basketball!?! Sure, there's summer clinics and P.E. in school, but what will I say when he asks to play a quick pick up game with me?

I have these ready answers:

1. "Uh, ok, turn on the Wii."

2. "Not right now, son, can't you see I'm busy benchpressing these boxes of comics?"

3. "Later! It's almost time for How I Met Your Mother."

I wonder how long I have til he susses that his dad's just a big nerd. I'm praying it won't matter. Because I really do live for that gleam of admiration in his eyes.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I wrote this post a few weeks ago while on hiatus in Tagaytay. I thought better about posting it then -- never say (or especially blog, but thank God for the edit function) anything in anger as you're likely to regret it later. Well, things've since calmed down and I'm finally posting it with some omissions to avoid casting judgment on the involved. Thanks to my mom for her counsel.

But it's here so I'll always remember these truisms about the burden of parenthood Nike and I now bear. So many things can go awry in the course of our lifetime together, Noah's, Nike's and mine, even with the best of our intentions. Relationships, however beautiful, can be so fragile.


February 19, 2010. T House, Tagaytay - It's almost midnight and my son's in bed with his mom. I just checked, Noah is in Nike's gentle embrace…except one of them's snoring as both are knocked out from today's escapist exertions. Still, what a blissful sight!

And here I am right outside the room, thinking, smoking, taking in the cool air of Tagaytay on this, our weekend retreat from the past days' melodramatic maelstrom. The hot tea's run out (and dammit, no beer!) and the cool air is just beginning to calm my thoughts on the searing cycle of damage and denial that led us here.

It’s heartbreaking to be sure. But I can’t and won’t share the details if I have any hope of mending this. Oh, but I know it ain’t up to me. I’m only just a guy standing by his girl.

But I am a parent now, so suffice it for me to put down the valuable lessons this episode has reminded me:

• A mother or father’s sacrifice to put food on the table will never absolve or negate any kind of neglect or abuse.

• As with love and all things good, children learn hate and all things evil from their parents.

• When a parent fails to FULLY love a child, the poor kid likely assumes there is something wrong with him or herself and then they grow up with a negative self-image.

• That no matter how far people go in life, no matter what they achieve, they will never really be free of any damage done – consciously or otherwise – by their parents. These holes they'll never really be able to fill. And these not a whole person make.

• It gets harder to forgive and forget if the cycle keeps repeating itself, if there is no honest dialogue enabled by humility and an acceptance of how life has turned out.

• Even lions and lionesses must protect their cubs from themselves. If they can't, someone else should. Someone else will.

Hh. Singing John Mayer's 'Daughters' in my head right now.

And I really, really, really need a beer.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

All of Us Under Your Spell

Found this video I made for Noah's first birthday. As for what it says at the end -- so far, so good.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dad in the Path of a Hurricane

Nike's favorite uncle died yesterday so she has to fly to Kalibo with a grand-aunt and a cousin this afternoon.

It's just going to be me and the tyke again til Thursday -- this week of all weeks! How will I survive without Nike and a yaya but with 3 meetings on Monday, 4 client meetings on Tuesday, DFA passport errands on Wednesday and another 2 meetings on Thursday?

I've got a schedule worked out: bring the boy to his grandmother after school, go to work and then pick him up late at night. Last time we were on our own, he waited to take his energy out on me. "Daddy, I can't sleep, I still have soooooooooo much energy!" And I must remember to check his homework. God forbid the teachers ask him to bring vegetables or plants this week for his assignments.

Bracing for the week ahead is like bracing for a hurricane. Hurricane Noah. This is the mess I woke up to this morning:

Toys on the living room floor, books on the living room table, DVDs on the game room floor, toys out in the patio!

Are you trying to tell me something, son? Like, "be afraid, dad. Be very afraid!" It's going to get crazy, but we'll make it fun. Hopefully, the house will still be standing when mommy gets back.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Can I Just Share?

Working on a presentation from the patio because I got kicked out of the office/game room. A few minutes ago, my son came thundering in with a playmate. He was telling her about his Xbox and the "nice, big TV" we just bought for it. Funny hearing him boast. (Mental note to curb the yabang. Won't always work with girls) But then his mom told them to leave me alone and play downstairs. I saw the humiliated (napahiya sa harap ng chick) look on Noah's face, so I told Nike to let them be and I set up Kung Fu Panda on the Xbox, told them they could just take turns for an hour.

It's only been a few minutes, and as I type this, the girl has stormed out, crying. I assume she couldn't wait for her turn. More like Noah didn't want to share.

When you're a parent, you're always on teaching mode. Every moment is a chance to educate, set an example and inspire. So I'll be going upstairs in a bit to remind him to be a sharing boy, lest he lose his friends. Nobody likes madamot. And his friend might never come back, I'll tell him. But when he's a little older (because it's something even some adults can't seem to grasp) I'll get around to explaining the exponential benefits of kindness and sharing, how we reap what we sow and what goes around comes around.

One good thing to come out of this (because I shared, see?) is now I know how nice it is to work from out here -- where I can feel the cool breeze and hear the birds chirping. And smell lunch cooking!

Welcome to the Ride

One December afternoon five years ago, I found myself in a mad rush from St. Luke’s Hospital to SM Centerpoint Department Store’s baby section. After spending about 2 weeks in a hospital room for premature difficulties, my wife was about to give birth and I suddenly, mistakenly thought we had bought nothing for the baby: mattresses, feeding bottles, a sterilizer, diapers…!

When I got to the department store, my mind began to spin…I was confused, I had no shopping list! I grabbed everything I could get my hands on, everything I thought our little Noah Caleb would need. I surely gave the salesladies a tough time asking for tips, for the best brands, the proper sizes, the right textures, and they all had to be blue!

And then just as I was about to approach the cashier, I realized, I remembered, Nike, my wife with who I am happily un-married, had already bought everything we needed and tucked all of little Noah’s supplies in a corner at home by his crib. And I remembered I was even with her when we bought some of those things!

It slowly dawned on me how unprepared I was for fatherhood. Though I was with Nike for every pre-natal check up, I suddenly felt unready, inadequate and afraid. How easily my nerves frayed. What kind of dad would I be? I never saw my dad panic when I was a kid!

It wasn’t fair, I thought. Nike had 9 months to get used to and prepare for parenthood, while I was busy working! The reality hit hard. I’m going to be a dad. I cried a little and said a silent prayer asking God to not let me screw up. (I told you guys this was going to be sappy). Then I realized the salesladies were staring.

But right there, at Cashier 17, a father was born.

I went back to the hospital after 7pm that night – it was coding day – I could’ve gotten a ticket! -- just in time for Nike to wake up and make fun of my frantic faux pas.

Noah was born a few days later, the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Saw him corkscrew his way to life in one smooth, expert motion, I did! And I cut the cord!

I’ve been staring at my son ever since, every night, thinking what good things I could’ve done to deserve such a beautiful blessing, because God’s list is probably short. And I still find myself saying the same prayer I said at the cashier.

We could be dancing, playing the Xbox, making Lego robots. We could be reading or talking about school, but always at the back of my mind, I am all at once marveling at the boy, thanking God, praying I don’t screw up and keeping my chest from exploding. When you’re a parent, multi-tasking becomes a cinch.

Fatherhood’s been fun, mostly. Just that some parts of the past five years (I’m looking at you, Delgado Hospital) were extremely traumatic, I may write about them here or I may not.

This blog is for Noah Caleb Lorenzo Parlade. So someday he’ll know his dad always did his best, and that even as I am making all this up as I go along, I (and his mom) have the best intentions for him. So he knows, I never mean to screw up.

So he knows what a wild, awesome ride he’s taking me on.