BECAUSE babies tend to mutter a lot of gibberish, there’s a chance that she will get lucky and cobble a couple of syllables that would sound like a legit word. So the rule the wife and I had for determining Isay’s first word would be that she actually has an understanding of what she is saying.
Isay’s first word was mama. Sometimes, that would morph into ma-me. But it was her first word because she understands what she wants when she says mama. She wants her mother.
It’s understandable. Not only is mama made up of the two easiest syllables for babies, Isay and her mom are like best friends.
I guess the first and most celebrated milestone of any baby is the day she turns one. There are people who plan these events like they were planning weddings. Seriously. The wife began making plans for Isay’s first birth anniversary the day after she was baptized. Isay was just four months old during her christening.
It’s a funny thing because if you really think about it, the one birthday you’re bound to have absolutely no recollection of is your first.
But in an age where you can easily pack memories into digital packages and unbox them years later looking like they happened just yesterday, celebrating a first birthday gives you a chance to create time capsules that you can show your kid when she grows up—you know, to give her an idea what the world was like when she turned one.
(Before I begin, allow me to apologize for not having posted for quite some time. Three months, yes? Between covering Manny Pacquiao’s last fight and some seismic shifts in the office, things have been pretty hectic my end and there was little time to update my blogs. Hope this post makes up for lost time.)
I had always been fascinated with the word ever since I encountered it a few years ago.
It is said that the word, which has Welsh roots, has no direct English translation. After cursory research on it, I understood why. English even struggles to define hiraeth. I came across several attempts to define the word in English, and three caught my attention. There are dictionaries that refer to it as that intense longing or yearning for one’s homeland. Some define it as some sort of melancholic homesickness for a home one can never return to. Then there is my favorite: A longing; a heart-gutting yearning to belong that dissipates only after one finally finds his home.
That last definition is what resonates with me a lot.
LONG before Isay turned six months old, my wife and I had already discussed getting her on solid food. The little bunny had been exclusively breastfeeding before that and it was time to amp up her feeding time.
(Note: She still breastfeeds. When my wife is at work, she nurses expressed milk from the bottle. We are hoping this lasts as long as it can. The benefits have been invaluable, to say the least. We always tell friends and family how, during a flu epidemic that rocked the house, Isay was the only one untouched.)
We had previously spoken to Isay’s pedia and read up on every available literature we could get our hands on. We went through everything we learned and deciced to begin the next chapter of Isay’s life.
WAY before Isay turned six months old, the wife and I had decided to make it special by taking her on her first airplane ride. When picking a destination, we settled on Hong Kong, so that we could take the little bunny to Disneyland.
During the course of the planning, we decided to bring the wife’s parents along for some family bonding time. Since it was the first time Isay would be on a trip, we made sure we combed through every possible situation we would face. Airplane rides, train rides, long walks, long days. Since Isay could only appreciate this trip through pictures, we wanted to make sure she would be at least comfortable the whole four days we would be in HK.
Why travel? Because we want her to get comfortable going to different places and visiting different cultures. If there is one thing we want our baby to develop, it’s a sense of adventure and discovery, the joy of traveling.
There’s been a lot of activity lately in the office and in between raising a child and running to different meetings, it was difficult to wedge in blogging hours into the schedule. Every real available break would be spent resting. I guess it comes with age, this need to pause and slow down after every stretch of living life at breakneck speed.
And it’s not like there’s a lot of available rest hours, not when you have a tiny bundle of smiles grabbing at your shirt and eager for playtime.
Plus, even when the little one decides to sleep, you can’t join her. Not now. Not until she’s old enough to realize it isn’t wise to roll over to the edge of the bed.
FOR Isay’s fifth month, her christening stands out as the most significant moment. There’s a reason we waited what people felt was too long to have her baptized. Especially since we live in a country where superstition still has its talons sunk in its psyche. Oldtimers say that it is never good to make long trips before a child’s baptism. And Isay has been traveling to Nueva Ecija quite a bit.
But we wanted her to be physically strong enough to endure the solemn and the social parts of christening. People would want to carry her, we assumed, and we needed to be sure that her body was strong enough so she wouldn’t require overly delicate cradling.
About the title of this post. Let me tell you a story…