Posts tagged ‘family ‘

What would your mother say….about teens and alcohol?

It’s Wednesday, aka Moms Council Day! Here is the question of the week and my answer below. If you want to read the setup, as well as what the rest of the Peanut Gallery had to say, here’s the link. Hit or miss, I’d love to hear what you think….

Q: How have you, or how would you, address the topic of alcohol with your teen? Do you think allowing your teen a small glass of wine with dinner on occasion is wrong?

A: I’ve allowed my teenage son a supervised sip of alcohol from time to time – occasion permitting. Do I think a taste of champagne during holidays, or a sip of my cocktail at a wedding, is committing my son to a lifetime of alcoholism? The answer would be no. My husband and I will often have wine with dinner, or even a stronger offering, many times in front of our children. We choose not to hide, because by doing so we are categorizing alcohol consumption as wrong and forbidden, and in the eyes of a teenager this can be perceived as glamorous. Better to behave as if wine or a cocktail is an accepted and normal part of life, within moderation. The struggle has been more about the discussion of alcohol with my teenager. He’s aware of the consequences of underage drinking, as well as the dangers of drinking and driving. Our deal of the moment involves a “no questions asked policy” as long as he calls me for a pick up from any situation involving alcohol. Not exactly perfect, but better than him driving or catching a ride from someone intoxicated. My preferable situation would have him stay away from such parties, or for that matter, any gatherings using the dreaded red plastic cup.


1 comment March 30, 2011

Drinks anyone?

I just watched the first two installments of the remake of Mildred Pierce, and a particular scene caught my attention.

Bert Pierce was offered a cocktail by his daughter, and Mildred dutifully went into the kitchen to fix the drinks. Except she poured four scotch and waters—one for her, one for her estranged husband, and one each for their young daughters! Really? The youngest one was barely nine years old, if she was day.

So that got me thinking….What was my first “official” cocktail? The sloe gin fizz my cousin Faith and I—we were 12– shared at an older cousin’s high school party doesn’t count, nor did the countless red cups of beer years later.

My first real cocktail was a Manhattan. I was 21 years old, and out to dinner with my parents and their office staff. Wanting to feel grown up and mature, I ordered something other than my usual Diet Coke—or was it a Tab? I had just finished reading Catcher in the Rye for the umpteenth time, and recalled it was Holden Caulfield’s go-to drink.

It tasted horrible, sickly sweet, and so strong you could smell the alcohol before the glass was placed on the table. The only consolation was the cherry plopped in for garnish. I gamely finished the drink, as my parents’ eyebrows raised in disapproval.

My second drink was a Tab.

What was your first official cocktail?

5 comments March 29, 2011

What would your mother say….about unruly neighborhood kids?

It’s Wednesday, aka Moms Council Day! Here is the question of the week and my answer below. If you want to read the setup, as well as what the rest of the Peanut Gallery had to say, here’s the link. Hit or miss, I’d love to hear what you think….


Scene: You’re playing outside with your children and little Johnny comes along to join the fun…again. He’s a nice kid, but can get overly excited, and even aggressive, at times. He also stays on your side of the block for hours on end, without any parental checking-up-on.

Question: How do you address the situation with the neighbor? Are you responsible for the safety and well-being of this child (in addition to your own) since you’re the only adult present?

My Answer: In my neck of the woods, moms act as cook, nurse, craft leader, playground supervisor and disciplinarian to all children, regardless of whether those kids are her own. I wouldn’t say it’s my adult responsibility to assure the safety and well-being of a child not my own, but certainly my neighborly responsibility. But it’s also my neighborly responsibility to be upfront with the parents, especially if the situation is ongoing. The scenario presented assumes the mother is being negligent with her child. The question that begs to be answered is “why?” Is there a situation that keeps the parent from supervising their child’s outdoor play? Young siblings, work, or illnesses are some possible guesses, as is plain old parental fatigue. If it’s a real situation and I can lend a hand, then sure I’ll be happy to do just that. However, if the mother sees me as a free babysitter in order to chat on the phone or shop online, then it’s an entirely different story. I would insist she be present when her child plays outside, or sadly, discourage my own kids from playing with hers. Who wouldn’t want to be considered Best Mom of the neighborhood, but if the adjective “schmuck” comes with the title, I politely decline.”

4 comments March 9, 2011

My Lenten sacrifice

The topic of conversation at the dinner table last night: what to give up for Lent. The kids tossed around a few of the obvious: gum, candy, soda, picking on siblings. My younger son is leaning towards giving up chocolate and candy, but hardly a stretch since he lacks a sweet tooth; my daughter mentioned handing over her iTouch, but thought better of it (chicken!).

When pressed on what I was giving up for Lent, I felt the need to show a good example of self-denial and sacrifice—which is what this is all about anyway. Shopping? No, since that would include grocery shopping, and we all need food and toilet paper. Television? It’s the age of DVR, so I can always catch up after Easter time. Facebook? Heck, no! How else can I strong-arm family and friends to repost Too Boots on their pages?

So after momentous decision, I’ve decided to give up…….RICE.

A sacrifice indeed. While it’s considered a staple grain in many countries, my fellow Filipinos and most Asians know it’s much more than a side dish or extender. We build our meals around it, heaping tasty morsels of meat, fish, and gravy over a mound of rice. We never feel full unless we eat rice. Pancit, our national dish, is made from rice noodles. The correct method of cooking rice is one of the first tasks we teach our children. We even have our favorite brands (Three Horse Jasmine!) and buy it by the 50lb bag to store in fancy rice dispensers. We eat it 3x a day—breakfast, lunch, dinner, and if you’re lucky, dessert is a glutinous rice confection, too.

So wish me luck and hold me accountable. It’s going to be a long 40 days….

4 comments March 8, 2011

I think I have a low grade bieber fever…

I brought my daughter to the new Justin Bieber movie with no other expectation except a bucket of popcorn, with a fair sprinkling of SnoCaps. (Any one who knows me can attest I often sleep through movies) Guess what happened? Not only did I stay awake; I had a great time.

For those of you living under a rock, Justin Bieber is the latest dancing/singing/acting phenom pulling on the heartstrings of tween and teen girls worldwide. He’s achieved his superstar status without the help of a Disney or Nickelodeon platform, instead using the Internet as his vehicle. Plus it doesn’t hurt having the support and Rolodexes of L.A. Reid and Usher.

As soon as the movie started, and we donned our required 3D glasses (yes, this movie is–ugh–in 3D), girls started screaming in Dolby digital surround sound. The Justin Bieber story, told via baby pix, home movies, and personal interviews, was interspersed with rehearsal clips for his upcoming Madison Square Garden debut. While the movie made you feel as if you were at one of his concerts, I liked his personal story even more. This is what I learned:

  • He was raised in Stratford, Ontario (for literature buffs, the site of the annual Shakespeare Festival) by a single mom, with the support of his grandparents.
  • He showed an early talent for singing, drums, and guitar.
  • He keeps in close contact with a handful of childhood friends.
  • His mom posted early performances on YouTube for out-of-town relatives.
  • He favors the color purple, basketball shoes, and baseball hats worn backwards.
  • He can solve a Rubik’s Cube in under two minutes.
  • He is closely monitored by his peeps.
  • He’s a white boy, but doesn’t dance like one.
  • He makes girls crazy.

But Justin Bieber is safe. He’s good-looking without being overly so; innocent with a touch of shy sex appeal. He has a great head of hair. He also has, as one would expect, a fair number of putter-downers who critique his songs, appearance, and authenticity. So let them. No one at the 7:20 show cared about anything but his music, his dance moves, and having a great time. Girls, and some moms too, were singing with him and clapping to the beat, and by the end of the movie were dancing in the aisles. Everyone left the theater in smiles.

Just as I had Donny Osmond* to make me feel the way only a teeny-bopper could make me feel, I am glad my daughter and nieces have the Bieber.

*You knew I had to squeeze Donny somewhere in this post. Come to think of it, doesn’t Justin Bieber look like Donny Osmond?!?


3 comments February 26, 2011

I. am. Boots.

Ms Boots Anson-Roa

My given names are beautiful. Maria, after the mother of Christianity. Felicitas, a family name shared by my mother and maternal great-grandmother. Yet I am not commonly called either of those names. I am, for better or worse, referred to as Boots.

This nickname was gifted, or burdened, by Lourdes, my godmother or Ninang who interestingly enough has a funny moniker of her own: Baby. (We’ll have to save that for another post!) At the time I was born, Ninang Baby was fascinated by the Manila starlet Boots Anson-Roa. Tall, thin, famous, and movie star gorgeous, perhaps Ninang Baby wished all those traits on her new goddaughter. I possess, alas, none of those qualities, but the name stuck.

“Did you wear lots of boots as a child” “These boots are made for walking” “Puss in boots” I’ve heard them all. As a child, I would shrug, and give the above mentioned explanation. After a while I just smiled and stayed quiet. It certainly didn’t help that Ninang Baby gave her daughters beautiful, glamorous, and no-need-to-explain names: Beverly, Abigail, and Claudette.

As a pre-teen I hated my name. Especially when my Lola Inay or grandmother, visiting for the summer months, would start gift and souvenier shopping for all the cousins back home. With so many grandchildren, it was easier to get the same gift for all. A particular gift that still sticks in my memory were these ceramic necklaces, each one scripted with a girl’s name. One by one a ceramic necklace was purchased, wrapped, and deposited into the treasure trove that is the balikbayan box. Beth. Christina. Ella. Beverly. Abigail. Claudette. Cat. Liesel. Leslie. And no matter how many times Lola Inay scoured the displays at Claire’s, I knew there would be none for me.

Not that I didn’t give up without a fight. During the fourth grade and after a Gilligan’s Island marathon, I announced to my family and friends to refer to me as MaryAnn. Because, 1) people admire Ginger, but love MaryAnn; 2) I liked the way I wrote the cursive M, uppercase; and 3) I would finally score the coveted ceramic necklace! This went on for a good three months, until one by one, family and friends reverted back to the shoe name. Sigh. **Though funny enough, a recent FaceBook friend request inquired if I once went by the name MaryAnn**

Later on I grew to like, ok tolerate, my name. In a way it set me apart. Boots was easy enough for substitute teachers to pronounce during roll call. Say it loud and it sounds strong, one syllable. Say it soft and it can sound mysterious…or meek. During the eighties, say it any which way, and it just sounded preppy.

Flash forward **ty years. I am still called Boots, and sometimes Bootsie, Butch, and even Pretty Bootsie (god love my nieces and nephews). But I am also referred to as wife, mother, sister, cousin, in-law, friend. I am Boots, after all, for better or worse.

11 comments February 24, 2011

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