A Tubby Tabby, Three Konekos, and a Life with Hello Kitty and Autism

The Gift

November 18th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

the-gift-01Two weeks ago, I was absolutely strapped for cash. For the first time in a really long time, I lost track of all my spending and ended up not having a lot to spare. Yes, it would have been very easy to ask my husband for more money, and I know he would have found a way to give it too, even if it hurts (he is that kind, thank You, Lord), BUT having just a smidgen of pride left, I decided not to. I thought that since I created this problem, I ought to learn from it. For the next two weeks, I decided, I would have to be content with having less than P300 in my pocket, and I would have to tighten my finances and curb any impulse to buy anything.

It sounds rather silly, thinking about my predicament, especially since so many people in our country actually do subsist on so much less. I think that was what put it in perspective for me. And so, while this little worrying thought (the persistent what-if?) nagged at the back of my head, I was able to put it aside and not dwell too much on it.

One Friday, as I did my normal thrice-weekly run, I was drawn to a chapel along my route. I heard voices singing and I felt compelled to come in to listen to mass. When Offertory came, I got what I was carrying on me (PhP200) and dropped half in the collections basket. “God, please, just take care of me,” I whispered a silent prayer. As mass ended, I felt incredibly lighter and worry-free. For the first time in days, I could even smile about my last P100 bill.

When I got home that day, my inbox was filled with news of sales and new items for Hello Kitty collectors. I enjoyed looking at them as I browsed through pictures. I opened my network accounts, reading through news of friends and relatives. One item caught my eye and I hurriedly clicked on the link. One of my generous friends, Sonia, had held a special raffle of Hello Kitty items in honor of her birthday, and to my surprise, I had won! First prize, can you imagine that!


I’ve never really been lucky in games of chance and  raffles; I’ve never won anything remotely interesting in my life from any of them (well, except for a golf cap I got as 15th consolation prize  from a Tropical Hut promo when I was 13), so this was both a blessing and a surprise. I was so giddy  with excitement that I called everyone in the house and showed them the lovely HK cosmetic carry case I had won. We jumped up and down and shrieked and laughed. Judging from our reactions, you’d think I’d have won the lotto.

That night, before I went to bed, I thought about how God really took care of me that day. Of how he gave me a gift to remind me that His love heals all worries. My troubles seem silly and petty when seen against the backdrop of the world’s greater problems, but I think of this incident as a little nudge from God, reminding me to be faithful.

So thank you, dear Sonia, for your generous gesture of sharing. And thank you, dear Lord, always, for Your gifts of friends and love in my life always.

Kitty Kitty Bo Bitty Banana Fana Fo Fitty…

November 13th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

how-kitty-got-to-meI didn’t get around to posting this before, and now that I have some free time on my hands, I thought I’d introduce you to the newest member of our family, Kitty Bee (as in Kitty B or Kitty Brown). She arrived via US Postal Service on October 7 this year, but I’ve listed her birthdate as September 20 on her Build A Bear birth certificate because she was an anniversary gift. A found her online and brought her home (well, technically, he didn’t because she travelled all the way from the US). I had known she was coming but I didn’t expect her to come home to me in a yummy Sun Chips box!

hellokitty1This was how she looked online, as advertised by her first mommy. A checked Build A Bear’s online store then but at the time of his search, Tropical Kitty was no longer available. So, he searched for sites that still carried this kind of doll, and although he paid a premium for her, he was happy to do so for me. Alas! A month later, BAB’s online store restocked with these babies! Ah well…. (Click thumbnails to see full size.)

And this is how she looks like now.


I’ve been having so much fun with my newest baby; she is sooo cuddly and cute! Morever, she’s so much easier to dress. She fits in small-sized infants’ clothes and by a stroke of good fortune,  Sanrio carries licensed baby wear here in the country. I was able to get her an assortment of clothes at Gift Gate’s latest sale. :-)

Of course, this introduction will not be complete without the requisite fashion show:

Here she is in nightclothes, In fashion wear (see inset picture of how it looks in the back), in a flirty dress with ruffles at the hem, in a pink skirt and blouse, in sports wear, in Sesame Street jammies, and even a poodle skirt and knitted sweater! Isn’t she the cutest thing? 


Of course, little Kitty White (my Dress Me Kitty) will always be my baby, and she gets in her share of the clothing action too. Here they are in matching clothes.


A is now on the lookout for the first edition Kitty Build A Bear doll. With rumors flting fast that there might be a Christmas BAB Kitty, I’m on the net everyday waiting for announcements. I can’t wait to adopt more Kitty children- they do make my days happier!


What Kind Of World Do We Want?

November 11th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

This video was created by Alex as a gift for Alphonse’s 14th birthday last November 3. We previewed this video to relatives on our family celebration last Sunday, November 9. Alex worked over this after classes, scanning old pictures, writing and rewriting the text, and threading them to become a story. I hope you like this as much as we do. My boys make me very proud.

Guitar Hero-Kitty Rockin’ Momma

October 31st, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

This is a DIY project I did over the weekend, using a laptop vinyl skin I purchased online. I first created a template using tracing paper, and transferred the pattern on the vinyl. I also hand cut all the holes with a cutter. The entire project lasted more than hour but it was worth it. Now I rock to Guitar Hero inspired by Hello Kitty. What could be cooler than that?

Hello Kitty + Guitar Hero= Guitar Hero-Kitty Rockin’ Momma

“Take Me, I’ll Follow”

October 16th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

Some days, it’s hard to stop writing about everything going in on one’s life. And yet other days, there are things and events that are so poignant that words don’t do them justice, however much you try. This is one such time.

These last two weeks, as Alphonse recuperated from his illness, he has been less active and more prone to lying down silently, deep in thought. His two hour lunch, which also used to be time to de-stress from his morning activities, used to be a time for play and carousing. These days, he reclines in an old sofa and listens to music on a CD player as he whiles away his few hours of rest. Sometimes, he even falls asleep, and this is new as he hasn’t taken a nap since he was seven.

We noticed the changes in him but we felt that between his illness and the colder weather, perhaps, he was simply attuned to his body’s new needs. And then, we noticed something else. His nanny uses a cellular phone/mp3 player to give him alternative choices for music (a lot of old songs and some Original Pilipino Music and) and he has taken to one particular song. When this plays, he smiles and makes a grab for the phone to put it near his ear. And once the song is done, he hands it back to her and motions for her to play it again. As a result, this song is played continuously on a loop most afternoons, the only one that never fails to make him smile. The song? “Take Me, I’ll Follow.”

I just discovered this recently, and knowing this, I wondered with amazement how it is that Alphonse can speak to us without even saying a word. (Remember, his previous favorite was “Miracle Child?”) Last night, as I read the lyrics to his favorite song, the one he asks for over and over again to be played, it dawned on me that perhaps this song expresses feelings that he can’t verbalize. And with this understanding, I started to cry, more for joy than anything else, for this son who never needed the world before. 

Read the lyrics below and pretend it is Alphonse speaking:

Take Me, I’ll Follow

Tired of feeling all by myself
Being so different
From everyone else
Somehow you knew
I needed your help
Be my friend forever
I never found
My star in the night
Feeling my dream was
Far from my sight
You came along and
I saw the light
We’ll be friends forever
I can’t face the
Thought of you leaving
So take me along
I swear I’ll be strong
(If/when) you take me
Wherever you go
I wanna learn the things
That you know
Now that you
Made me believe
I want you to take me
‘Cause I long to be able
To see the things
That you see
know that whatever you do
I’ll follow you
Somebody must have
Sent you to me
What do I have
You could possibly need
All I can give is my guarantee
We’ll be friends forever
Repeat chorus
Teach me more in
Each passing hour
By your side
I know I will cover
Is it true that
You have the power
To capture this moment in time
Take me wherever you go
I wanna learn the things
That you know
Now that you made me believe
I want you to take me
‘Cause I long to be able
To see the things
That you see
Know that
Whatever you do
I’ll follow you

Physics Of Life

October 8th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

I hope my son does not read this post (Pshew! He’s still preoccupied with his school projects, thank God!) as I do not condone or encourage truancy. But last week, well, last week was different. Alphonse was downed  by a severe sytemic viral illness that had us worried sick, and a few days later, perhaps from all that worrying, I followed suit. I would’ve taken pictures of the rashes in my face had I been imbued with a little more energy those days. And while I certainly tried to keep up with my household duties despite the fever, joint pains, headaches, and rashes, for the most part, I let my body recover, languishing in the warm feelings of playing hookey for a whole week.

A whole week. That to me was a slice of heaven.

Now that I am all better, I feel like inertia has set upon me. Newton’s First law of Motion tells us that “a body at rest will stay at rest unless an outside force acts on it,” and truth to tell, I still wait for that outside force to lift me from the doldrums. I scan the horizon of my life and don’t seen anything remotely coming. And so I wait.

Tonight, however, I have to rouse myself from my stuporous half-life and walk out the door and be a real human being for a change. Tonight, my Alphonse will be left in excellent care while A and I indulge in family time with just Alex. This boy needs it, I can feel it. And despite the resistance my body feels, despite the wishy-washy half-sentiments about the whole thing, I need to force down the rising tide of panic I feel and be there for him and for A.  

Time to wake up, girl. You are your own external force.

Look, No Hands!

September 24th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

What do you do when you want to carry your Kitty baby but like any other multitasking mom, you have other things to do with your hands?

Look at the pictures below and you’ll see how a handy mini-baby/plush carrier can free your hands to do other things.  

(This is what it the plush carrier looks like, sans Kitty.)

Okay, okay, I look a little foolish (if you see me in public, be sure to say hello!) but I like my Kitty so I don’t really mind if anyone stares at me funny. Hhmmmpphh!

(How I Found) The Ultimate Love Connection

September 20th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

This is for A, love of my life, who has given me 17 great years of The Ultimate Love Connection. Thank you for loving me even when I am mental, for bearing with me even when I am exasperating, and for sharing with me the best 27 years of my life. We made this happen, you and I.

Happy Anniversary, love.


Sometimes, I wish that I had fallen in love with A much earlier. I think of our five years of friendship before we became a couple, and I regret that we were too blind to see each other as anything else other than friends. A likes to tell me, however, that it is the sum of our experiences that makes us who we are, and  we were led to each other only at the particular moment when we were ready.  Perhaps, changing the past will change the future, and if that is so, I can live with the follies of my youth.

Surviving Mr. Wrong*

Over a gallon of ice cream, my friend and I once pondered about ever meeting the perfect man. We were both embroiled in serious relationships then, two young women in our early twenties, prime examples of independent, strong-willed, tenacious creatures of the nineties. We wanted to be sure that we had what a swank yuppies’ magazine dubbed as “the ultimate love connection.”

It was late December, and we were on night duty at the intensive care ward of a government hospital. We were still too low in the totem pole of hospital hierarchy to warrant our own lounge, and so we made do in a cramped little corner of the nurses’ station, wearily scooping spoonful after spoonful of ice cream.

“What do you think, P?” she suddenly blurted in between mouthfuls of cookies and cream.

“You and he-who-must-not-be-named?” I swallowed the last bit of Oreo cookie stuck between my front teeth. “What of him?”

“You think we’ll last? I mean, we’ve gone through the answers at the back of this magazine and it says we’re doing just well. Not perfect, but it says we’re okay.” She looked at me doubtfully.
“Not perfect, huh? Then again, who has one? A perfect love connection, I mean?”

“Well, looks like you got it all right …” she replied unhappily.

“Uhm … I’m fessing up … I looked at the answers right after I bought that magazine.”

“You did not! Did you? Hey, be serious, okay?”

“Okay, I think you and he-who-must-not be-named are perfect for each other. How long have you been together, five years? Don’t sweat it, girl. You’ll stay together for a long time. You’ve finally met Mr. Right.” And with that, I scraped the last spoon clean.

I was wrong. Dead wrong. Sometime in the “long time” that I predicted, they broke up.

I think of this episode in my life and wonder how I ever thought of myself as an expert in “love connections.” Throughout my adult life, I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to stories of broken hearts, as I have also spent an equal amount of time dishing out well-worn advice for the lovelorn. All these, coming from a woman tutored in the art of romantic love by a guru whose claim to fame is having had the most number of boyfriends by age 25 (I lost count after 49).

My friend and I spent hours on the phone after this most unfortunate breakup. We were each other’s therapists as she poured her heartbreak to me. One day, after months of the most grueling and intensive phone therapy, she asked me how I could be so resilient in the face of adversity.

“Simple, friend. Meet the only woman dumped by the same man twice and lived to tell the tale.”

She gasped. Read the rest of this entry »

For Sanrio Fans Club Members

September 19th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

Just a last minute reminder for Sanrio Fans Club Members:


See you tomorrow!

Smile, Baby, Smile

September 18th, 2008 by okasaneko:hellokitty.com

Last week, I wrote about adolescent angst and how it’s making itself felt in my household of two teenagers (technically, both my boys are teenagers by chronological ages, but the young one is still a little child in many, many ways). Of late, it has been one issue after another: late bedtimes, chronic daytime sleepiness, inattention and apparent deafness (or just selective hearing), repeated (^nth power) requests to use Yahoo Messenger, and worse, going through a PhP300 prepaid cellphone load in just a matter of days!

We’ve slowly adjusted our household rules to address these issues. For example, his late nights do not worry or bother me as much as it did in the beginning. Studies have shown that the period of adolescence brings about a change in circadian rhythms. While the the sleep-related hormone melatonin remains at a constant level from childhood to adolescence, alterations in the timing of its secretion by the pineal gland affect their sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin secretion occurs later at night, making early sleep difficult, and turns off later in the morning, making early wake-up time just as difficult.  

Alex, who used to have a 10 pm bedtime at age 12, now can’t sleep earlier than midnight, and this we understand and accept fully. On a regular school day, he averages only five and a half hours of sleep (12 MN to 5:30 am) as school starts at 7 :45 in the morning. Thus, on weekends, if his schedule allows for it, we let him stay in bed longer to make up for lost sleep.

The other issues are a bit trickier. When he “seems deaf,” do I just repeat myself? YM requests must  answer a need, and not necessarily a want (like, is it for homework, or for socialization), but I find myself questioning and second-guessing myself if I limit his social interactions with this rule. Ahh, no easy answers, it seems.

And lastly, the sudden burgeoning of his cellphone load expense. Last year, PhP300 lasted him two months, but now, we see his load dwindling in a matter of weeks, days even. To instill in him some fiscal responsibility, we decided to make him buy for himself every other load card he needs. So,  on an alternate loading schedule, we share in the burden of his expense.

I find myself thinking about him more and more these days. I worry about him now more than I do his differently abled brother. Autism is difficult, true, but at least we have a clearer sense of how much Alphonse needs us and how long we will be in his life.  With Alex, there are so many possibilities- a million potential outcomes, it seems- that I worry about the choices he makes and how it will affect his future. The changes that seem to come almost every day leave me unsettled, wistful, and nostalgic. Sigh.

Every now and then, though, I still see glimpses of the little boy who followed me around shouting “I love you, Mama’ in sing-song fashion. Of the chubby six-year-old boy who refused to leave my side. Of the twelve-year-old who broke out in song every chance he could get, singing the Les Miserables libretto by heart. 

On a day like this, when he and his father exchanged ridiculously funny messages on SMS.

And on a day like this, I just have to remind myself to stop worrying and to “Smile, baby, just smile.”

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