Tooth Fairy Not Welcome!

David was a boy who loved taking care of his teeth. He brushed it and made sure it stayed clean all day. He didn’t eat sweets so as not to get tooth decay. Everybody complimented him for his perfectly white milk teeth.

But as with all milk teeth, one day, David found one of them loose.

“Mom!” David panicked. “There’s something wrong with my front tooth!”

Mom checked it out and smiled. “Oh David, a new one is getting ready to come out!”

“But I like this one,” David frowned.

“Don’t worry, when it comes off, the tooth fairy will replace it with a shiny new coin.”

“But I don’t want a new coin. I want my tooth to stay put!”

Despite David’s best efforts and most diligent brushing, the tooth came off. And just like Mom said, the tooth fairy left a coin under David’s bed, and his pearly white tooth disappeared.

Just when David was getting used to his growing new tooth, another one started wiggling.

Oh no! David muttered under his breath. I’m keeping this away from the tooth fairy.

When it came off, instead of burying it under his pillow, he hid it in his pajama pocket.

The next day, David emptied his pocket, but was surprised to find a coin instead of a tooth.

Stay away from my teeth! David grumbled.

Every time another tooth came out, he hid it! He tried hiding it in his toy box, in a bottle, on top of his highest shelf. He even hid it under lock and key. But the tooth fairy always found his tooth.

Finally, he was down to his last milk tooth. He was determined to keep this one. He thought to put it in the last place the fairy would check. He put it inside his dad’s tool box and locked it in the shed.

David was so tired and sad. He knew that no matter what he did, the tooth fairy would always find his tooth.

The next day, he dragged himself from bed, and expected another coin in his father’s tool box.

When he opened the box, he broke into a huge smile. Wrapped in a big bow was all his milk teeth arranged in a cast. Attached to it was a note sprinkled with glittery dust.

It read:

Dear David, 

It was fun playing hide and seek with your teeth! 

Thanks for taking such good care of it! As a reward, I organized it for you to keep! 

Smile!

Denty the Tooth Fairy

ZsaZsa Goes to Benguet!

 

“We are going home to Benguet!” Mama announced over breakfast one morning.

“Benguet?!” I whined. “Do we have to?” From Papa’s stories of his trips there, Benguet was this faraway province on top of a mountain. I just knew the long trip was going to be boooring!

“Yes, we have to. We are going to visit our family, and our tribe–the Igorots of Bay-yo,” Mama said with a smile.

“Mama!” I wailed as I crossed my hands over my chest and growled. I didn’t like to be called an Igorot. My classmates teased me when I first introduced myself as an Igorot, and from then on, I stopped mentioning it to anyone.

“I’m sorry, ZsaZsa, but I don’t understand you,” she said patiently. “We come from a long line of native Filipinos. Before the Spaniards came, we were already here, growing our crops, developing our crafts, and caring for our families! You should be proud to belong to such a unique group.”

I sighed. Mama looked long and hard at me, as if saying that I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I had lived in Manila all seven years of my life. I knew the noisy horns of our jeeps, the colorful billboards along our paved roads, and the people dressed in their uniforms going to work and school. But I knew nothing of Benguet, except that it was high up in the mountains and that we belonged to a tribe.

Finally, it was the day of our trip. Papa woke me up early. “It’s a long trip, honey. Pack your jacket because its going to be cold.”

“Why are we called Igorot anyway?” I asked, still cranky that I had been woken up.

“Well, our name literally means that we are from the mountains,” Mama explained.

“Ok, now I know what an Igorot is. We don’t have to actually go there,” I said, hoping to still change their minds.

“We can’t just tell you what an Igorot is. You have to see it for your own eyes. You have to experience what it is like to be from the mountains.” Mama raised an eyebrow at me.

The rocking of the car lulled me to sleep. When I woke up, we were by the road on the mountainside.

“Just in time!” Papa said. “Look at the zigzag roads we are passing through!”

Even I couldn’t help but stare at the roads we were passing. Beside us was the mountain, and we were going around it. The view of the pines trees and the clouds touching the mountain took my breath away. I opened my window slightly and felt the cold wind hit my face.

Mama pointed to me the sides of the mountains with what seemed to be carved flooring. “See those? That is how we planted. Even if it is very hard to plant on mountains, the Igorots were able to figure out how to do it. We call our rice fields kapayyew.”

“Wow!” I couldn’t help but smile. “It looks wonderful, Mama. Can we see it up close?” She nodded eagerly.

Finally, we had arrived! Everyone was dressed in colorful woven fabric.

“I’m glad you’re here!” An elderly woman approached us.

“Yes, it’s time for ZsaZsa to know her roots,” Mama said.

“Let’s get you dressed so that we can teach you how to dance the Bendian!”

Mama dressed me in the same striped cloth and wrapped a thin woven belt around my head. It was fun hopping and raising my hands together with the children of the tribe. Then we shared a meal of Pinikpikan and Innasin. I was excited to try everything. The elders told me stories of my parents and they were very nice in answering all my questions. I even took many pictures with them. When the day ended, Mama sat beside me.

“Did you have a good time today?” She asked as I smiled sleepily.

“I had the best day! Thank you for bringing me to Benguet. I can’t wait to show my classmates pictures of our tribe!” I said as I kissed her goodnight.

 

Jenny’s Parade

I wrote this for a friend of mine who had a sister with Down syndrome. She told me that one of her sister’s dreams was to walk in the May flower parade of their province, but she was never invited. This is her alternate story, with a happier ending.

Jenny’s Parade

Anicia woke up early, showered and dressed. She ran down the stairs for breakfast and woofed down her pancakes and bacon.

“Nervous?” Anicia’s mom asked, looking at her daughter with raised eyebrows.

“I know she’s getting in,” Anicia said with more confidence than she felt.

Today was the tryouts for children who wanted to participate in the annual flower parade. Her younger sister, Jenny, loved the parade ever since the first time she watched it. Jenny had always pointed to the fairies with wings, while looking at her sister with her beautiful, upward slanting eyes, as if telling Anicia that she wanted to be one of them. But at three years old, Jenny still couldn’t walk on her own, and walking without help was basically the only requirement for her to join. And so, Anicia vowed to practice walking with her sister every day for one whole year before going to tryouts.

Anicia smiled as her dad helped Jenny down the stairs. Jenny was wearing a crown of flowers on her hair, a big smile etched across her face. Both she and Jennifer had a cheerful disposition, long, brown hair and caramel-colored eyes. But, their similarities ended there.

Anicia could still remember the first time she met her baby sister some four years ago. It took a while for her mom and her sister to come back from the hospital and she asked her dad what was taking them so long.

“Your sister has to undergo a lot of tests,” her dad said. “I’ll explain better when you see her face to face.

When it was time for her new sister to be brought home, Anicia jumped up and down, shouting, “Lemme see! Lemme see!”

Her mom moved very slowly, and sat down on the couch, showing Anicia the baby in her arms. “Anicia, meet Jennifer.”

Anicia looked at the baby’s face. Jenny had warm eyes that slanted upwards, a cute button nose, and tiny ears. Mom and Dad explained to Anicia that there was one more special thing about her sister—Jennifer had an extra chromosome.

“What is a kro-muh-soam and why does she get an extra one?” Anicia asked her father.

“Well, chromosomes are things that shape the way you look. Half of the forty-six chromosomes in you came from me, while the other half came from your mother. That’s why you look a bit like both of us.”

“Oh, so you mean my sister has forty six plus one chromosomes then,” Anicia said, holding her index finger up.

“Yes she has,” Dad replied while nodding his head. “She has Down syndrome and that is why she may not look exactly like you.”

“She does look like me too!” Anicia argued as she looked at her beautiful sleeping sister.

But as they both grew up, Anicia soon found out that her father was right. Anicia also noticed that while she and everything around them moved very fast, her sister’s world was different. It took a while for Jenny to start speaking. Mom was always doing something for Jenny, even as her sister grew up. She helped her eat, get dressed, and clean herself. Dad was the same. He was always carrying Jenny whenever they had to go out and it was just barely a year ago that she started standing up, still with her father’s hand to give support.

Anicia always wondered to herself, “What can I do for Jennifer?” And the summer when she saw how happy her sister was while watching the parade gave her the answer she needed!

“I’m going to help Jenny enter the flower parade!” Anicia declared to her parents one afternoon.

“That’s nice, dear,” Mom said, as she looked at Dad for approval.

“You need to practice because Jen is still finding her balance,” Dad reminded Anicia.

“And you need lots of patience,” Mom added.

Anicia nodded, excited to work on training her sister. But everything was easier said than done. Sometimes, Jenny just wanted to sit in the garden and watch the bugs on their lawn. And then there were times she would hide her slippers from Anicia. At first, Anicia complained to her mom.

“She won’t listen to me,” Anicia said. “I give up!”

“She will, but maybe it will be better if you just enjoy what she likes doing first before trying to make her do your thing,” Mom suggested.

And so, Anicia tried slowing down. When Jenny wanted to pick flowers, Anicia would pick with her. When she wanted to rest and just look at the clouds, Anicia rested with her. Pretty soon, Anicia found herself laughing with Jenny, and enjoying even the quiet times with her sister. Sometimes, Jenny would try to stand up on her own, and Anicia would clap for her whenever she was successful. In her mind, Anicia decided that whether or not Jenny would make it, they would give the tryouts a shot.

Finally, it was the big day! With her whole family in tow, Anicia gave Jenny two thumbs up as her mom went to the booth to register their names. Anicia’s heart almost jumped out of her chest when she heard her sister’s name being called to walk to the front. Her father carefully brought Jenny down. She sat on the floor at first and looked at Anicia.

“C’mon Jenny, you can do it!” Anicia smiled at her sister. Jenny looked at the faces of her mom and dad and then very slowly, pushed herself from the ground. She walked a bit wobbly at first, but made it to the front without even looking back.

“Yes!” Anicia hollered. “That’s my sister!”

Anicia and Jenny walked hand in hand that summer on Jenny’s first flower parade. Both wore matching fairy dresses with sparkly wings. They waved at everyone they passed and ended the day with a scoop of ice cream each. It was the sisters’ best summer yet.

Did You Know?

Babies with Down Syndrome have Hypotonia (or low muscle tone) which is why it takes them a little longer to walk, talk and eat the same as others. But, with hard work and support from family members, they get there!

The Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon (and Brought Down a Crown of Stars): Tales from Mother Chouette

Hibbou was too excited to go to bed. She had one too many sweet treats and she was hopping about the nest more than usual.

“Come and sit here, Hibbou.” Mother Chouette called her owlet. “I will read you a story of a famous cow who was just as jumpy as you are.”

Once upon a full moon, a very pregnant cow laid upon the hay and moo-ed loudly for she knew it was about time for her to give birth. She laid on her side as the baby inside her kicked and bounced. And then all of a sudden, it didn’t move at all. Just as she was getting ready to stand up (for she thought the baby had changed its mind), out jumped the calf. Thus was born Skipper, the jumping calf.

Skipper learned early on that jumping was his special gift. While his peers usually pranced and hopped every time they saw something different, Skipper always jumped the highest. He jumped over anthills, fences, and soon enough, over ladders as well. Instead of munching on grass, Skipper would jump to grab the juiciest leaves on the tallest trees.

One night before bedtime, Momma Cow told Skipper that he was born during a full moon.

“What’s a full moon?” Skipper asked his mom.

“It’s a moon just like that one,” Momma Cow pointed to the shiny white platter in the night sky.

Skipper couldn’t contain his excitement. “Someday, I’m jumping over the moon!”

Momma Cow chuckled at her son’s words. “That’s too high, even for you.”

But Skipper would not hear of this. He practiced every day and jumped over taller and taller objects. As he grew into a young calf, he began jumping over the roof of his master’s house. Soon, he could jump over a mountain with ease.

Finally, he once again saw the full moon and knew he was ready to give it his best try. He closed his eyes, bent his knees and soared through the skies!

When Skipper opened his eyes, he was already above the moon.

“Yahoo, I did it!” Skipper hollered. “Wait till I tell my friends about this!”

When he had landed on the ground, he felt something heavy on his head. He quickly headed to the nearest pond to see if there was something stuck to his horns. When he looked at his reflection, he saw a crown of glittering stars on his head.

“Now my friends will believe that I reached the moon,” Skipper admired the reflection of his shiny crown. But just as he was about to sleep (for the business of jumping can get quite tiring), he heard whimpering in his ears.

“Who’s making all that noise? I’m trying to sleep here!” Skipper shouted to no one in particular.

“It is us,” his crown spoke. “We are the stars entangled in your horns. Please jump over the moon again so that we can go back to our home.”

“Oh no,” Skipper said as he shook his head. “You’re my prize for being the highest jumper in the world!” Skipper puffed his chest with pride. “Now quiet down so that I may get some sleep.”

The next day, Skipper showed his mom his crown of stars and how he got it. Then, he went to all the animals in the farm to show his trophy. When everyone in the village knew, he jumped to the other villages to show his crown of stars. Finally, everybody was quite sick and tired of hearing the story of how he had jumped over the moon and came back with stars on his horn. But still, Skipper would not stop, always jumping from one place to the next to tell anyone willing to listen of his amazing achievement.

One day, when he was telling a group of young calves the story, one had the guts to cut him off.

“Are you sure those are stars on your head?” The spotted calf said with raised eyebrows. “It just looks like a bunch of grayish rocks to me.”

Skipper was shocked. He jumped to the nearest pond to view his reflection. True enough, the stars were almost out of light!

“Why aren’t you shining?” The frustrated Skipper asked the stars.

“We are sad and lonely for this is not our home,” the stars said. “We will lose all our light if you don’t bring us back to the night sky,” they sobbed inconsolably.

Skipper finally felt sad for them. He didn’t want the stars to die because of him. But he had wasted a lot of time, going from village to village to spread his tale. He was no longer a young calf, but an old bull. Could he still jump over the moon a second time?

Skipper practiced again and again until the full moon was upon the farm at last. Then, gathering all his strength, he jumped the best he could.

Farm animals from all over the world say that they saw the shape of a cow jumping over the moon that night. But, none saw one coming back to the ground. Others believe that the great jumper became one of the stars in the vast sky.

The end.

Hibbou hopped to the window and looked for a group of stars shaped like a bull. “There he is, mama!”

Mother Chouette nodded and smiled.  

Be Back by 12!

Cinderspectarella is turning into a very beautiful girl! See what she looks like when she first arrives at the prince’s castle!

*Excerpt from the book, Cinderspectarella

“When she entered, all eyes were upon her, and word quickly spread about an unknown beautiful bespectacled lady in blue.

The prince was expecting the usual boring princesses would attend. So when he saw Cinderella, he stopped in his tracks. There was something so real and natural about her. Yes, she was beautiful, but she wasn’t ashamed to wear glasses. She looked smart and confident as she walked through the ballroom. The prince invited Cinderella to dance, and dance they did until the clock struck 12.”

All Eyes on Cinderspectarella!