Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Allowance 2 - Teaching kids to be responsible

As I read the comments in my previous post, I noticed that most of those who left comments give allowance to their kids. It made me wonder if I’m the only one who doesn’t. And so I asked five parents here in Winnipeg if they give allowance to their kids.

Mom A doesn’t. She said that once, she gave her son allowance but his classmates would borrow money from him and never paid back.

Mom B does. But her kids get allowance more for extra chores that they do around the house. Most of their needs are already being provided for, but it’s a fun way for them to earn their money and to spend it or save it as they choose.

Mom C doesn’t. Her son does not have interest in money yet. His schoolmates would also borrow money from him without paying back.

Mom D doesn’t. When her kids were in elementary, she gave them money on occasion when they wanted to buy something and she let them keep the change. She also gave them money on birthdays and Christmas. When they turned 16, they took on part-time jobs and she stopped giving them money.

The one dad that I asked does. He gives his kids just enough for snacks or if they don’t bring lunch or if they stumble upon something in the store. With a little money in their pocket, they won’t be out of place with their friends if they happen to go to 7-11 Store and buy chocolates or slurpee.

Like Mom C’s son, my children do not have that much interest in money either. As Mom B said, most of my kids’ needs are well provided for, too.

I noticed that some do give allowance in return for chores. I give my children chores but they don’t get paid for it. Although, I have to admit that if they want me to buy them something big for their birthdays or Christmas, I sort of remind them to be more attentive to their chores.

I do try to instill in my kids’ minds the value of money. They know that we don’t have a lot and they can’t have all the things that they desire. I have also set up a savings account for each child. They put in some of their birthday and Christmas money in the bank. When they want to buy something and I don’t have the extra money, they take it out from their account.

I guess in the end, we, as parents, want to teach our children the value of money and how to handle it responsibly. I don’t think that there is any right or wrong way of teaching them. We all do it differently depending on what works best for us and our children.

Thanks, guys, for all the input.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


“Allowance? What allowance?” Julius said to his 13-year old son Chris. “I allow you to eat my food. I allow you to watch TV. I allow you to use my electricity and use my water.”

I thought that was funny. It was a scene from an episode of Everybody Hates Chris.

It was 1983 and Chris spotted this leather jacket on a display window. Almost everybody at school was wearing leather jackets and he wanted one, too. But he didn’t have any money and he couldn’t really save up for it because he didn’t get allowance.

I don’t give my kids allowance, either. There is no canteen or cafeteria at school and they bring bagged lunches. School is also walking distance from home so there’s really no need for an allowance. I give them money for book orders, hot lunch orders or any other school supplies and fees. I buy them toys and games occasionally.

When Reggie started Junior High, I gave him $5.00 a week just in case he wanted cold drinks from the vending machine instead of his juice box, or when he and his friends wanted to have lunch at A&W. But he barely touched the $5.00 I gave him that first week. I would tell him that if he needed money, just ask me. He never had any need for it. If he wanted a CD, I gave him money for it.

So my kids never really needed an allowance and they never asked for it.

How about you, do you give your kids allowance?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fruits galore

I was in heaven last weekend when I saw guavas at Superstore. Of course, I bought some. This fruit has a sweet flesh and tiny seeds that can also be eaten. It was only a few years ago when I started to see guavas here in Winnipeg. The ones that are sold here are as big as apples. The ones I grew up eating in the Philippines were smaller and not as sweet.

A few months ago, I was in the same fruit and vegetable section at Superstore when I saw the balimbing (starfruit). I was so excited then because it was the first time I saw balimbing here. I’ve forgotten what they taste like. And they were also quite big. Twice the size of the ones we have in the Philippines. So I bought a few and eagerly showed it to my kids when I got home. I cut it crosswise to show them the star shape. At first they were reluctant to taste it. When I took my first bite, I told them it was very juicy. The taste was somewhere between sweet and sour, but you don’t really need salt. It was good. Reggie liked it but the two younger ones didn’t care much.

Balimbing is a Filipino term used to describe people (especially referred to politicians) who switch sides or loyalties depending on their needs.

Another fruit that is quite big in size compared to the ones in the Philippines is the banana. Let the picture speak for itself.

Banana, cantaloupe, guava, red delicious apple, star fruit, navel orange.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ryland's tooth

These past few months, Ryland had been asking me when he was gonna have a loose tooth. It seemed that almost everybody in his class had lost at least a tooth. He felt left out.

Finally, a few weeks ago, he had a loose tooth. Boy was he glad! He wiggled it with his tongue. He wiggled it with his finger. He wiggled it all the time. It became looser every day. He couldn’t wait for it to fall out.

Ryan said, “I lost my first tooth when I bit into an apple. It happened at school. I got a loonie (Canadian dollar coin) under my pillow that night. I think Mommy put it there. Because tooth fairies are not real like Santa is not real, right Mommy.”


But why don’t I remember the first time I lost a tooth, or any tooth for that matter? The experience must have been a traumatic one for me. I do remember hearing stories of tying an end of a string to a loose tooth and the other end to a doorknob and then pulling the doorknob away from the tooth to yank it out. I also don’t remember going to the dentist a lot. When I was a little girl, going to the dentist meant having either a tooth filling or having an extraction. Very scary for a young child. Kids now are lucky that their parents have dental insurance and they have the luxury of twice-a-year visits to the dentist for routine check-up, cleaning and even fluoride treatment.

So, we were having pizza for supper last Wednesday while watching “Lost” when Ryland’s tooth finally fell out. I thought it was the pizza that did it.

“No, Mommy, I pushed it with my tongue.”

“Okay, give me your tooth and we’ll keep it in a container like I did with your brothers’ teeth.”

Now, let us see that toothless smile.

Cute! And what’s cool is that I can see the new tooth already peeking from where his baby tooth was.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Forgiveness and Stress

Last Christmas, I heard someone say, “I still can’t forgive him for what he did to her. He is the reason she died of lung cancer. If he didn’t smoke in the house, she would still be here with us.”

I wanted to jump in and tell the unforgiving person about the Forgiveness course I had taken when I was preparing my youngest son for his First Reconciliation just the previous few weeks. But I thought, who am I to preach about forgiveness? I myself had been having a hard time forgiving somebody who repeatedly hurts me (emotionally). Besides, this unforgiving person is more pious than me and I was not in the mood for one of his religious debates.

There is a saying that goes, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” It’s easier said than done. Forgiving can be a very hard thing to do.

I know, and you all probably do, that forgiving is good not just for the soul, but also for the body.

Read the rest of this entry at "It's Your Turn: Health" at PINOYatbp.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Thanks for the Memories - Revisited

I've been feeling a little melancholy these past few days and I thought about another time when I felt sad. Hence, I am re-publishing one of my earlier posts from September 2004. This is one of my favourites.

I bought my washer and dryer at a garage sale about ten years ago. They were still in good working condition after all those years, although the outside of the body now have patches of rust. I changed the washer fan belt shortly after I bought it.

Two weeks ago, my sister asked me if I wanted to buy her washer and dryer since she was buying new ones. Ronald have always wanted to buy a new set of washer/dryer because he claimed that our old ones could be very noisy and they distracted his music listening down there in the basement. He agreed to buy Lina's washer/dryer. Her new ones were delivered today. I have to get rid of my old ones. I was thinking of giving them away to charity or to any friend who might be interested. But instead, I asked the delivery guys if they could dispose them off for me. They agreed to do it at a reasonable price.

As I watched the two delivery guys carry off my washer with two wide yellow belts strapped on their shoulders, choreographing their steps up and down the basement stairs, I felt a lump rose in my throat. I was sad to let the washer/dryer go.

Once or twice a year, I clean out our storage in the laundry room. Some clothes and stuff - I give away to my sister, or to charity. I don't have a hard time giving those away. But this time I was really having a hard time letting go of our washer/dryer.

They were one of the first appliances I ever owned. I used them every single week. I was always the one who washed our clothes. They stood there in the basement as I tried to remove apple stains on baby shirts, green grass stains on my children's jeans, and red chapstick marks on Reggie's sleeves. They were there when I tried to shake out shredded tissues that were left in pockets and when I tried to soak Reggie's light grey Power Rangers shirt that turned pink when Ronald did the laundry while I was in the hospital with my second baby. That's why when I delivered my third baby, I was anxious to get home so that I could sort the laundry myself before he washed them.

I guess it's the memories that come with my washer/dryer that makes it hard for me to let go. Anyway, those memories will stay with me even though I part with my old rusty appliances. I'm sure that I will make new memories with my new ones.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Timeless Music of MJ

My parents loved music. When we were still in Cavite, we had this turntable that played vinyl records. My sister, Lina, who was around 4 0r 5 years old then, loved impersonating Karen Carpenter singing Stop, Mr. Postman, waving her hand in front of her face. She also impersonated the young Michael Jackson singing Happy, turning around while she sang.

This was the picture I had in mind while I was listening to Happy in 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Michael Jackson CD. I loved this song and I still know the lyrics by heart. I just wonder why it has sort of a sad melody when it is about Happy.

Sadness had been close as my next of kin
Then happy came one day, chased my blues away
My life began when happy smiled
Sweet, like candy to a child
Stay here and love me just a while
Let sadness see what happy does
Let happy be where sadness was

Some of my favourite songs in this CD are Ben, One Day in Your Life, and Music and Me.

I bought The Best of Michael Jackson CD and Michael Jackson Greatest Hits History Volume 1 when Michael Jackson was all over the news due to the child molestation case. I’m keeping my opinions on this to myself. But I remember Ryan, who was about 9 or 10 at the time, couldn’t look at the TV when MJ’s face is on the news. MJ just looks too scary to him. My youngest son, Ryland, would keep asking me if he was a girl because he had long hair. “No he’s a boy,” I would say. “He’s ugly,” he’d say. “Hey, you shouldn’t use that word,” I’d say.

These two CD’s were on the music rack and I couldn’t help it but buy them. I grew up listening to his music. They just bring back memories. And in order not to confuse my kids, I explained to them that it’s MJ’s talent that I admire, not the person that he has become.

Between the two CD’s, I enjoy listening to Greatest Hits History Vol 1 better. I know most of the songs, some of which became popular during my high school and college days – the days when I discovered love and heartaches. Besides most of the songs in this one are more upbeat than the former.

The slow rhythmic beating of the drum in the intro of Billie Jean always makes me shake my bum even while I sit in my desk. And he gives us a couple of advices in the lyrics.

People always told me be careful of what you do
And don't go around breaking young girls' hearts
And mother always told me be careful of who you love
And be careful of what you do 'cause the lie becomes the truth

And I like the catchy refrain.

Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son

The faster beating in the background of The Way You Make Me Feel makes me move my shoulders back and forth. The lyrics remind us how it feels when we are attracted to somebody. I love it when he says…

Go On Girl!
Go On! Hee! Hee! Aaow!
Go On Girl!

The creaking sound of a door opening, the foot steps and the howl at the beginning of Thriller is very clever. I didn’t see a video of Thriller until I came here in Canada in late '89. I didn’t own a TV in the 80’s and I had to rely on my imagination for the visuals of his songs. Beat It is more upbeat than Thriller. And I think this is the reason why I like the former better than the latter.

All I can say about Bad is that it makes me tap on the keys of my keyboard faster. I pretend like I’m tapping the keys of a piano instead. No, I don’t play the piano.

I used to sing along whenever I would hear She’s Out of My Life on the radio. I was still pining then for a love that I have lost. I could relate to the lyrics.

So I've learned that love's not possession
And I've learned that love won't wait
Now I've learned that love needs expression
But I learned too late

I could just feel the pain when his voice quivers at the end of the song.

Damned indecision and cursed pride
Kept my love for her locked deep inside
And it cuts like a knife
She's out of my life

And don’t you just love the lyrics of Man in the Mirror.

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

And also that of Heal the World. I like the timber of his voice here and the melody.

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me and the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for
You and for me.

In Black or White, he sings …

It don’t matter if you’re black or white.

Why then, oh why, did his skin colour turn from black to white?

I think he really did want to make the world a better place but he just got messed up for some reason or another.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A love that will never grow old

The first time I heard about the movie, Brokeback Mountain, and learned that it stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, I immediately got interested. I will definitely wait for that DVD, I told myself. I didn’t know yet what the story was about. But if it stars these two fine actors, it’s a must-see for me. I’ve seen the works of Heath in A Knight’s Tale and Monster’s Ball and Jake in October Sky and A Good Girl.

Then a month later, I learned that Brokeback Mountain was about gay cowboy lovers and there was controversy all over the place. It striked my curiousity more. Now, I couldn’t wait to watch it in the theatres.

Some people may find a movie about gay lovers scandalous or just the idea may be icky for men, but I am very broad-minded with regards to this. I have a relative who’s a lesbian. I’ve also been around a few classmates in High School who were gays and lesbians. They were good and kind-hearted people.

Set in 1963 Wyoming, Brokeback Mountain is not just about gay lovers. It’s more than that. Actually, at the start of the movie, they were not gay, or perhaps one of them was already. This is about a beautiful relationship that developed into love that stood against distance, time and social norms. Some parts of the story reminded me of the Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep starrer The Bridges of Madison County.

I think Heath deserves the Oscar nomination and although Jake didn’t get one, he did an awesome performance. Jake did receive a Screen Guild Actor (SAG) nomination. I am so proud of Michelle Williams who has matured from her cute role in Dawson’s Creek.

Inside the theatre, I was looking around to see what kind of people would be interested in watching this movie. I was surprised to see quite a few elderly ladies. Not a lot of young ones. Could this mean that older people are more open-minded than young people? I thought it was the other way around. But then again, I went on the Sunday matinee, not a popular time slot.

I give Brokeback Mountain two thumbs up.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Five Life Lessons for Ryland

My youngest son, Ryland, is 7, going on 8. It is an interesting stage in his life, as I have also experienced with my two older ones. He is very inquisitive, very curious. He is also starting to wonder about life, about the future. When he asks questions, I try to answer him as honestly as I could in words that his young mind can understand.

Most of the time, I tuck him in bed. I would lie down in his bed until he falls asleep. But before he does, we would have these little conversations. Sometimes I would ask him what he did or learned at school. Sometimes he would tell me jokes. Sometimes he would ask me questions.

Like this one…

1. Que Sera Sera. What will be will be.

Ryland: Mommy, who am I going to marry?

Mom: (I was surprised) You can marry whomever you want.

Ryland: But I don’t know who.

Mom: You’ll know when you grow up.

Neither of my two older boys have asked me that when they were Ryland’s age, or even now, ever. Ryland is really sweet that way.

Sometimes he would tell me, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” He knows that Reggie is into his jazz music and Ryan is into basketball. But he doesn’t quite know what he wants. I would tell him, “You’ll know when you’re older.” He would then say, “What happens if I don’t.” Then I would assure him, “Oh, you will.”

Or this one…

2. We are mortal.

Ryland: Mommy, when you’re a 100 years old, will you die?

Mom: I don’t know. Maybe not. But maybe yes. Most people don’t reach a 100 years old.

(I didn’t like where this conversation was going. I’ve had this conversation with my father and similar ones with my two older sons.)

Ryland: Are you gonna miss me when you die?

Mom: How will I miss you if I’m already dead?

Ryland: I’m gonna miss you when you die. (Then he cried.)

Mom: Oh, Ryland. I’m not gonna die yet. Not for a very long time.

He learns from the answers that I give him. But there are also times when he learns through his own experience.

3. Sometimes saving the best for last is not a good idea.

Two Decembers ago, I bought a box of chocolates, Pot of Gold. Ryland’s favourite in this box is the one in the middle – the rectangular signature piece. His friend, Blake, came over one night and he offered him the chocolates. What do you know! Blake picked the rectangular piece, which Ryland was saving for later. Ryland cried when Blake was gone. I tried to comfort him and explained to him that sometimes we give our friends our favourites.

Here’s another instance.

Just this New Year’s Eve, my kids were looking forward to lighting their sparklers (lusis). We only had six sticks in the house and I decided to buy some more at the grocery store. But I forgot. So we had to do with the six that we had. Two for each child. One of the sticks was longer than the rest. Ryland got this one in his loot bag when he went to a classmate's birthday party. So he told Ryan that he was saving this for himself.

Midnight came and we started lighting the sparklers. Ryland saved the longer one for last. Nobody noticed that Reggie took it and lighted it for himself. When Ryland’s first sparkler was done, he came looking for his favourite sparkler and only then did we notice that Reggie had lighted it already. Reggie didn’t know. Ryland didn’t cry that time and just lighted his other sparkler. He cried later. And so I told him that maybe it’s not a good idea to save the best for last.

4. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.

Last week, Ryland was playing with his new Pokemon Emerald Gameboy Advance game, which he bought with his Christmas money. All of a sudden, he just came to me crying. “I’m gonna lose all my money,” he said. In this game, he battles trainers and gym leaders. He gets money when he wins and loses money when he loses a battle. I’m not really much into this Gameboy games and I scrambled for words.

“Well, can you just turn it off and start again?” I asked him.

“No, I’ll still lose my money.”

“Then go to the last place that you saved.”

“No, because it’s hard.”

That was when I realized my mistake in letting him buy this game. It’s still too hard for him. Later on, Ryan helped him play it and recover his money. If it is only like that in real life.

5. Some people are just lucky. Or... We all have jobs and roles.

The other day Ryland said, “Gaudie is lucky. He doesn’t have to wash the dishes.” Gaudie is his 8-year old cousin. “That’s because he has three older siblings who do the dishes,” Ryan blurted out.

I believe in giving children chores – the earlier the better. I have talked about this many times. I am the oldest of two daughters and I remember complaining to my father when I was still a child why I had to do all the chores and my youngest sister didn’t help around. He explained to me that she was still too young to do chores. “When you girls grow up, you can order her around,” my father assured me. Well, I didn’t get to order her around. He he he. Kidding aside, my sister and I had our fair share of the chores when we got older. This is the reason I wanted to give my children chores as early as possible, according to what they can handle.

Ryland is usually an eager helper. But sometimes he and his brothers are not too enthusiastic about doing their chores. But that’s the reason they are called so, right? A chore is a task.

The picture on the right is my famous chores list that is posted on our fridge door. (Click on it for a full view.) Anybody who has been to our house has seen this and either approves of it or is impressed by it. I made this list so the kids can just look here to find out whose turn it is to wash the dishes, cook rice, etc. This way I don’t have to remind them all the time. They can’t cheat either. I noticed that they take their chores more seriously if it is posted there in print.

Ryland understands that he has “jobs” at home, just as he has “jobs” at school where he and his classmates take turns in being the blackboard monitor, milk monitor, etc.

Gaudie, actually, is the fifth child in a family of seven children. And I explained to Ryland that Gaudie will eventually wash the dishes when he is older.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Of sinners and saints

The first time I’ve seen the miniseries, Lives of the Saints, was last year when CTV aired it after New Year’s Day. CTV aired it again this past Boxing Day. I liked it the first time and I watched it again the second time. I even told Mama to watch it and she asked me to tape it for her, which I did. My sister overheard us and got excited when she heard the title. “No, Lina, it’s not about the life of any saints. It’s just a title.”

“Santa Margarita is the saint of impossible causes. Men pray to her when they want to be forgiven. Women pray to her when they are going to have a baby,” so narrated Teresa Innocente (Sophia Loren) at the beginning of the movie.

Lives of the Saints is a complex personal story about an Italian-Canadian family with a dark secret that involves adultery, an unwanted child and a father’s shame, which clouds the lives of everyone around him.

This “culture of shame and guilt,” Ciccoritti (director) says, is something he found familiar.

“The Italian culture is very carnal,” he says. “It’s hot. It’s sweaty. You’re aware of your body all the time. It’s also steeped in the paganism of ancient Rome. Add Catholicism to that, with its body shame, and the fact that they use the body to celebrate and manifest every sin and joy the human body can go through, and you’ve got one big mess of a culture.”

Source : http://www.zap2it.com/

Vito, the central character, was raised by his free-spirited mother, Cristina, and disciplinarian school teacher aunt, Teresa, in Italy. His father, Mario, had migrated to and owned a farm in Toronto, Canada. Cristina got pregnant by a white soldier with blue eyes. To escape the ridicule of neighbours, mother and son left. Cristina told her sister-in-law, Teresa, that they were going to Mario in Canada. But Teresa found out that Cristina was going to her soldier instead. Teresa cursed Cristina. While Cristina and little Vito was aboard the ship, she gave birth to a baby girl. Cristina died the next morning. Vito named the baby, Rita, after the saint in the book.

Back in Italy, when neighbours learned that Cristina was having a bastard baby, kids started teasing and bullying Vito. Out of concern for Vito, Teresa made him stay after school and read a story of one saint in the book, The Lives of the Saints. One story every afternoon, until the bullies were gone. When Vito left for Canada, Teresa gave him this book.

When Cristina died on the ship, the authorities contacted Mario to take the children with him. Mario had a hard time raising the (bastard) girl. Later, Teresa joined them in Canada to help raise the children. Mario had been angry at Rita all this time. She reminded him of Cristina’s infidelity. Rita grew up to be wayward and was later adopted by another family. Vito had a hard time accepting this because he had been the caregiver to his little sister. Vito was angry at his father for driving Rita away.

Warning: Spoiler ahead

When Rita was about 18 years old, Mario went to see her. He wanted to kill her, but instead, he killed himself infront of her. Vito, who had estranged himself from his father, came back home and was reunited with Rita, who had grown to be a beautiful, sensuous, free-spirited woman like her mother. And since then, Vito became obsessed with her and he re-assumed the role of her caregiver.

Meanwhile, Teresa told Rita who her real father was. Rita went to see him. Michael Bok, her real father, had a family of his own and Rita thought that he didn’t want anything to do with her. She was so messed up on the night that she met him. She came home and Vito tried to comfort her. They ended up sleeping together. Vito felt so guilty afterwards.

Rita later on made up with his father. Michael told his family about Rita and they forgave him. Rita went with Michael, who was an artist, on his tour and they went to Italy. Vito got jealous and followed them. Vito planned on killing Michael. He still saw himself as Rita’s caregiver and he thought that Michael would only break Rita’s heart. Teresa followed them there too. And she explained to Vito that she was raped by soldiers during the war and that she was Vito’s real mother, not Cristina. Her brother, Mario, took pity on her and to save her from disgrace, he and Cristina took Vito and raised him as their own son.

Now we realize that Vito and Rita were not blood relatives. But we didn’t know that when we watched them sleep together. We were thinking about incest, which was not the case.

In the end, Vito married his girlfriend, Kate and they had a son, whom they named Mario, after the father who was actually his uncle.

I noticed that Italian culture is quite similar to Filipino culture. Both cultures are prominently Catholics and yet we hear stories of betrayal, adultery, suicide, etc. I think the Filipino culture is also that of shame and guilt. I could relate to this as I have written in a previous post, “A Special Surprise.” Lives of the Saints could very well be about a Filipino family. We also hear stories where Filipino families curse each other and I think there have also been Filipino movies that have the same theme, in one way or another, as this one.

What I like about the story is that it has a universal theme. It could happen to any culture, not just that which has strong religious beliefs. The story was told in flashbacks. But in a way that makes you think rather than confuse you. I also like that in the end Vito was able to find it in his heart to forgive Mario and Teresa and that he was able to find a brotherly relationship with Rita again.

Lives of the Saints received strong reviews and high ratings.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Eve Traditions

From the top clockwise: Cantaloupe (milon), red grapefruit, mango, kiwi, nectarine, tomato (yes, it’s a fruit), fuzzy pear, lemon, navel orange, avocado, Asian pear, delicious apple, grapes.

I was at the Fruit and Vegetable Section of Superstore with my son Ryan on the morning of New Year’s Eve when I saw my friend Marissa.

“Happy New Year!” She greeted me.

“Happy New Year, too.” I said. “Are you also collecting 13 fruits for New Year’s Eve?”

“Not 13, only 12. Twelve months, right?”

“No, 13. Lucky 13.”

Well, there goes a variation of this Filipino tradition of gathering fruits that are round on New Year’s Eve. This is believed to bring good luck. The round shape represents money. Another tradition is wearing polka dots.

Marissa was with her 16-year old son. She told me that he thought that this tradition was dumb. Ouch! But considering the high price of these fruits at this time of the year, the kid does have a point.

My kids have never told me that any of the Filipino traditions that I observe are dumb. Do they also think so? Are they just being nice to me by not saying anything? But they are following along with me. Like for instance, we always light sparklers (lusis) on New Year’s Eve. And they enjoy it. We light lusis instead of firecrackers (paputok) as people do in the Philippines. Filipinos believe that one should greet the New Year with a bang. Due to safety reasons, some people choose to make noises by banging pots and pans and blowing horns.

When I was still a little girl, our elders encouraged children to jump at the stroke of midnight so that they would grow tall. (Unfortunately, it didn't work for me.) My children jumped when we greeted 2000, but that was it. Another tradition is gathering for the Media Noche (midnight meal). We do this every year. So my kids were up until midnight while we watched on TV the countdown on Times Square, NY. I always cook sotanghon (bean thread) soup, which my kids enjoy as well.

Now that I am an adult, I know that there is no logic behind these traditions. But we grew up with these customs and beliefs. And I guess we hold on to them to cherish our childhood and our roots.