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“Tmjdtmtgjdtjm”.

I smiled at my inbox.  I just greeted my sister a happy birthday and that was her reply.  My niece, who was turning four this January, clearly answered for her momma.  A few seconds later, my sister sent the message “thanks, thanks!”.

We’ve been getting a lot of similar messages from my niece lately.  We have just ascertained that what we thought of her merely memorizing her storybooks is actually her having learned to read short words at a very young age.

When hubby was visiting her in Manila recently, I was sending him a message and it turned out my niece was the one who was tinkering with his cellphone.  When the message alerted, my niece opened it and said out loud “bago diay”.  Shocked, my hubby grabbed the cellphone and indeed it was “bago diay”.  When he asked my niece if she could read already, she merely laughed out loud.  Still in doubt, after attending his meeting the next day, hubby made a short trip to a nearby bookstore and bought books for my niece.  When he got in, he called my niece and told her that they read the new books.  Except for long words such as “continuation”, my niece pretty much read the book to his amazement.

That is why, now, every time she gets the chance, my niece plays with the phone of my sister, go to her contacts and call either her “granny”, or “tante doc”, or “tito boboy” or “mommy yen” or “uncle boy”.  She can now read names in the contacts menu.  In the past, it was so hard to get her to talk when she didn’t want to talk to us because she’s busy with something else.  Now that it’s her calling, it’s usually when she wants to say something important (mommy yen, we have a christmas tree!), or tell on her mom (granny, momma spanked me, tell momma not to spank me), or to say she’s sick (tante doc, I’m sick) and her conversations are always long that it is usually us who tell her it’s time to stop.  If she calls me, it means me only.  Last time, she called me, I passed the phone to hubby because I know he wants to hear her, but the instant my niece heard his voice, she let out a shriek and said “i don’t want to talk to you” and hung up.  A little later, my phone rang again and this time, I answered it.  When she heard me, she told me she called earlier but it was her uncle who answered.

These days, our message inbox are full of her unreadable messages as well.  It was my mother who started answering her back with nonsensical messages too.  However, tante doc said that when she was beside kiddie when she was writing her “message” she said “i’ll text granny and tell her to sleep already”.  Tante doc told her granny can’t understand her message and she arrogantly replied “I’m speaking in Tagalog tante doc”. My sister said that every time my niece sends a message, she says to herself, “this is i love you” “this is i miss you” in tagalog.  After knowing that, every time I receive her virus looking messages, I always text back and write short words in capital letters like “HI BABY. WE MISS YOU”.  She answers immediately too.  One time, I called her after several exchange of messages.  I asked her if she read my message and she said “Yes, you told me what are you doing there nadine girl”.  Hahaha, she can read indeed.

It’s Christmas time already and I’m at a loss.  What should I give her?  I want to give her an MP3 player because she really enjoys listening to music – she always grabs my cellphone and go to my playlists and listens to my collection while waiting for sleep to come.  I also want to give her her own cellphone because she’s been complaining why she doesn’t have her own.  Unfortunately, she’s still too young to receive such techie gifts from me and I know my sister will kill me if I dare give her either.  So until she grows up, I guess we will have to endure her borrowing our phones.

In the meantime, I’ll make sure to teach her how to type messages in the phone when she visits for Christmas.

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