Kids Read #2: Pop-Up Sea by Patrick Watson

I think there are good books to be found everywhere. It doesn’t have to be in a Kinokuniya or a Power Books.

At the neighborhood grocery store, Fairprice, sometimes there’s a table set up opposite the cashiers on the way out to the rest of the food stalls and kiosks. It has children’s books displayed for sale. I like to check it out sometimes, after we’re done with our weekly shopping.

These are not Newbery Medal winners or New York Times’ bestsellers or anything fancy like that – they’re run-of-the-mill ABC picture books, or board books with 123s or shapes and colors. A lot of it is movie merchandise: coloring books with black and white outlines of Elsa and Anna, Nemo and Dory, or that dinosaur from the other Pixar film that everybody promptly forgot.

Sometimes there are quiet gems though: second-hand copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, good quality board books from DK, and well-made pop-up books.

I love the pop-ups. Seeing them there at Fairprice reminded me of one of Squishy’s current favorites, Pop-Up Sea published by Grandreams Inc.

popup sea 1

(Full disclosure: Pop-Up Sea is actually one of Squishy’s hand-me-down books my now 20-something year old sister used to own. Yes, you read that right, it’s a 20-year old book. As far as kids’ books go it’s ancient, but it’s in excellent enough shape that my son is able to enjoy it in 2016. This is a testament to my mom’s talent at safekeeping stuff — will tell you more about Squishy’s other hand-me-down books in a later post. You won’t be able to find Pop-Up Sea in a bookstore these days, but it’s still available on eBay. Even the publisher Grandreams seems to have folded. The last book it published was back in 2011.)

What I love about Pop-Up Sea is that the pictures, for lack of a better word, actually pop.

The back cover of the book names two “Paper Engineers” – including the man who wrote the text, Patrick Watson – who I assume were responsible for making the dolphin and the stingray look like they’re practically swimming out of the page.

popup sea 3

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If you angle the book just right Mr. Walrus almost looks like he’s about to give you a wet hug.

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If you move the pages up and down the scary-looking moray eel with its small sharp teeth can practically give you a bite.

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No wonder Squishy loves it.



Pop-Up Sea (Grandreams Inc.)
Text by Patrick Watson
Paper Engineering by Patrick Watson and Matt Rickard



A Little Dose of Fitspiration

I bumped into a friend the other day while buying lunch. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time, and the first thing he told me was, “Ang laki mo na.” (“You’re so big now.”)

Knowing this friend’s personality, the first thing that came to my mind was it was likely a good-natured tease, period.

The second thing that came to my mind was well, that still doesn’t excuse the asshole-ery of his offhand comment. My body is not open to your snap judgments, fuck you very much. Skipped the day your mom taught you manners, hmm?

(Clearly I was hangry and at my peak inner bitch. I’m sorry – this was before I had lunch.)

Source: someecards

As you can tell from an earlier post, I’m still in the process of losing the post pregnancy weight and then some, with a goal of ideally losing some 10kg total.

This isn’t easy with diastasis recti (working on it) and a tendency to snack (working on this too).

That said, I’m also in the process of accepting that while I’m trying my best to get my belly back in its original shape, I may fail. And that’s okay. It won’t be the end of the world.

To mamas out there in a similar space as me, here are a few things you can do to either a) get you out of your funk or b) inspire you to go WORK that indoor bike.

1. EMPOWER YOURSELF with professional runner Stephanie Rothstein Bruce’s Instagram, where she posts inspirational snaps of her running and rocking a sports bra – as well as her own diastasis recti experience. One look at her training photos for the Rio Olympics and boom, I find the energy to do a quick 30-Day Shred video at 11pm on a weeknight after a full day at work.

2. DANCE with Live Love Party TV’s fun Zumba videos! I’m currently obsessed with them — I find them an excellent way to warm up for my workout. The dance steps aren’t intimidating, I got the hang of it after watching the video a few times. The songs are hip Top 40 hits. I also love that one of the lead choreographers, Madelle, did quite a few of the videos while preggy with her fifth (!) baby. Here she is with her husband, Prince. #FitnessGoals
3. LAUGH at mama Rita Templeton’s letter to her very own “Flap of Weird Abdominal Skin That Appeared After I Gave Birth.” Yes ladies, these unwanted flaps and mommy pooches and jelly bellies are the things no one ever really tells new mums about.
Bottom line, Flap, I’m tired of your shit. Nobody warned me you’d show up, and you damn well weren’t invited. But here you are, hanging loose like a freeloading basement-dweller on his mama’s couch. I can’t seem to exercise you away, and the guilt trip doesn’t appear to be working, so I guess I’m just going to have to keep searching the racks for extra-long shirts and try to accept your existence—for now. But you’d better believe that if I ever come across a windfall of cash, I’ll go straight from the bank to the nearest plastic surgery center where you’ll be swiftly and mercilessly evicted.
This is what I saw in those marks on her belly: I am her baby. I was her sleepless nights. I was her heartburn. I was her breathlessness and inability to find a comfortable position in bed. I was her wish for the last four weeks to just get here already. And then, there we were — a lifetime of joy and support and struggle and bond and laughs and cries. And she would soon be taking my marks with her.
Or sniffle, head high, after reading mama Ellen Lonon’s ‘The Luxury Of Not Giving A Damn’:
To any woman considering procreation, I encourage you to accept your averageness. If your hair wasn’t thick and shiny before the epic hormonal shift of pregnancy, it won’t be any more so on the other side. If you’ve never had the type of breasts that mocked gravity with only a thin layer of cotton between them and the world, you won’t be shocked to find you still need a bra after producing (and extracting) approximately 224 gallons of milk.
Let it all go, and marvel at the gifts your body has given you. Because you’re about to become a mother. Your body will do what you need it to. There’s nothing average about that.
To get a different perspective, I showed this sweet essay on Fatherly from a husband on his wife’s post-partum body to the Hubby. I asked him what he thought about mine.

He gave me a kiss. “Love it.”

‘Nuff said.

For The Kids

We had friends over yesterday for a baking session.


It was also a farewell party for one of them. She was going back to the Philippines for her kids.

She described how, on her last visit, her preschool daughter and 3-year old son cried all the way to NAIA when they realized the car had made a turn to Skyway, towards the airport, instead of back home to Cavite.

It made her think.

About the time she went to the house she owned and saved for, a house that she carefully constructed (and reluctantly rented out, since no one was going to stay there), only to find the tenant had drilled a huge hole in the wall between two rooms and had left the kitchen and the rest of the house in a sad state of uncleanliness and disrepair. She had tasked relatives to look after the house while she was away.

About those times she felt frustrated whenever she assured her daughter over Skype that homework grades didn’t have to be perfect as long as the child was learning – only to hear in the background her dad (the kids’ grandpa) say, “Hindi, dapat perfect!”

About the challenges of parenting from afar, of kids getting confusing messages from their primary caregivers and their parents abroad.

About the time when her son asked her why she had to leave, and she didn’t know what to say.


So, she made her calculations, discussed with her husband. They figured the family could manage financially on her husband’s income. She made plans for a business of her own.

She handed in her resignation after she arrived back in Singapore, the day after that airport incident.

All of her hard work as an overseas worker wouldn’t matter in the end anyway, she said, if one of her children grew up unkind, a burden to the community, or went astray.

She wouldn’t be able to turn back time and change things if that happened.

Time was one thing you couldn’t save for.

Time was one thing you couldn’t take back.


Good luck L, and I hope your neighborhood bakery business takes off.