Parenting in the Pandemic: Four

I can’t believe it’s been four years.

Lucas’ birthday has always been a production number, or a weekend getaway. On his first birthday, we went to the beach.

On his second birthday, we had a staycation in Manila and went museum-hopping.

Last year we took him to a really big indoor play place with a trampoline park and an excavator. He and Ate Nixi rode some go-karts and had pizza.

We can’t do any of those things this year.

On Monday we ran a few errands. We also managed a quick meet-up with my close friends, to exchange gifts. He was able to have some ice cream, and they greeted him a happy birthday. But we couldn’t really celebrate with family or friends.

So Oneal and I decided on a scavenger hunt.

One night, while Lucas was in the bath, I snuck the gifts out into the living room and wrapped them, then I hid them in my mom’s closet. Teatan Mary Ann and Ninang Trish had also sent gifts, and I kept them out of sight. The night before Lucas’s birthday, Oneal stayed up until 5am, drawing a map on manila paper. On the big day, while Lucas was in the shower, I hurriedly wrote out clues on art paper, using his colored pens. While he was in class, I hid the gifts in my mom’s room, and my brother’s room, and in the laundry baskets, and under the Christmas tree.

We weren’t the only ones who had planned surprises for Lucas! We had told his teacher that it was his birthday, and she sent a birthday cake, from Cielin’s all the way in BF Homes. His Ninang Issa sent a birthday present too.

We had Paw Patrol cupcakes made by Tita Jovan and Tita Earnest.

When we picked them up on Tuesday, we were so happy to be surprised with gifts from Tita Jovan (dinosaur finger puppets!) and Ninang Karen (a freestanding whiteboard with lovely colored markers!).

As class was ending, Oneal sent me a message, and I went into the room with the cake from Teacher Candice. He was so happy and he had such a big smile as his classmates sang. After school, he insisted that we all have a slice of cake.

When we had finished our cake, we finally started on the scavenger hunt. We got the map and the clues, and as I read the clues, Lucas figured out where to go and where to look. My mom and my brother helped him search. Every time he found a gift, he tore the wrapper open. Every time he opened a gift, he played with it for a little while before going off in search of the next one.

I was pleasantly surprised that he was so eager to finish the hunt, that he didn’t just sit down and play with his toys. When the hunt ended, and Lucas was in the garden with the final gift (a scooter), both my mom and my brother said, “You’re probably gonna have to do this hunt every year.”

And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind. It was as much fun for us as it was for him. Maybe we’ll do it again for Christmas!

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