At least once a week, Lia and I go out for a day – just the two of us. We’d take public transportation and just enjoy ourselves. She loves pedicabs and tricycles. She loves looking out of the bus window, with her hair blowing in her face. She also loves to take off her footwear and get on an utterly “relaxing” ride.

We usually hang out at various stores. The local department stores are so fun. They have a lot of cheap stuff that Lia and I just adore. We go home with either nothing or  just about the weirdest stuff, like a big orange strainer that she insisted on putting on my head, like a hat, and a salt shaker.

We’d walk down the streets hand in hand, buying little trinkets and munching on fruits and other food bought from sidewalk vendors. Sometimes its maruya or puto bucayo and sometimes its lollipop or gummy bears or popsicles.

Yesterday we went for a little walk in Naga and passed by a preschool. I have long thought about taking Lia to school but could not find one that accepted toddlers her age. She saw the slide and see-saw and insisted on coming in. I grabbed the opportunity to inquire at the office since we were already there. Lia would be spending half her time in Manila and half her time in the province so I needed to know the possible arrangements, and of course, costs.

The teacher showed Lia a huge alphabet book and asked to identify the objects. We made it all the way to letter O before she lost interest.

Then she was asked to identify shapes – circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, star, heart…

She also had a paper and pen on the desk in front of her and I saw her drawing while answering the teacher’s questions. Glancing up to answer every time she was asked “What’s this?” When the teacher pointed out the circle on the book, Lia said, “Here, circle, like this,” and I looked down to see what she had been drawing, and she had been drawing flowers and a swimming fish in the middle of a pond. In my head, I was like, “WOW.”

Then she was asked to identify colors. She knows red, yellow, blue, orange, green, violet, white and pink.

And lastly, she was asked to count. Lia can count from 1 to ten all on her own and she can also identify them when she sees them. She says, “Mama, number!” then proceeds to point out the number.

I sat there and felt like a real (and old!) parent, watching my daughter, beaming with pride. The teacher said, “Mukhang naturuan na pala to ni Mama. Kaya naman pala gusto nang ipasok sa school.”

I told the teacher I’d bring her back January.

I came home and went on the internet to look up what I should be watching out for in terms of Lia’s developmental milestones. I have not done that in what seems like ages.

Though Lia speaks gibberish half the time, she talks A LOT. She uses a lot of ME, MINE, you and yours BUT still refuses to answer to the question, “What is your name?” Sometimes she answers, “Me, baby!” Pangasar, I think. Just like she refused to learn the game “Close Open” when she was younger. She’d just look at us then look away in what seemed like her version of rolling her eyes.

She not only draws vertical lines and circles, from the picture I saw her draw at the school, she was making flowers, trees, and fish on a pond!

She’s also learned big and small. Like when she’s putting on a shirt and it can’t get through her head, she says, “Mama, its small! Big me!”

She sings a lot too. She sings “Twinkle, Twinkle”, “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “The More We Get Together” all on her own. Sometimes she makes up the lyrics but the tune is intact. When I try to sing with her, she shushes me and says, “Me sing! Me!” She sings a LOT, and dances a lot. And plays the piano a lot. I often see her holding her hand to her ear and then humming tunes. It’s really quite enough to make me roll my eyes.

There’s not a lot of things that make me happy these days. Only Lia. I guess that’s how it’s going to be for a long time.