CONVERSATIONS With Ricky Lo — The Lims are all April-born — Niño Jefferson Lim on April 27 (Taurus), his wife Krista Ranillo on April 25 (Taurus) and their first-born Nate Jacob on April 5 (Aries).

So we were not surprised when they showed up all in red for a belated birthday dinner at Kisho, a seafood restaurant a few blocks away from the Lims’ brand-new house in this city which happens to be, according to Niño, “one of the safest and most ideal” places to live in California. Even Krista’s brother Kevin, who was visiting from Guam, was in red; and so were Little NJ’s nannies Cora Calimoso and Emy Cruz.

It’s the Chinese in him, said Niño who speaks fluent Chinese. (Trivia: Did you know that he graduated summa cum laude with a Business Administration degree from University of Southern California; while Krista finished AB Interdisciplinary Studies “with honors” at Ateneo?)

Valencia is where the couple’s good friends Jessica Rodriguez and husband David Bunevacz and their children live in the same neighborhood as Taylor Lautner (of Twilight fame). The other residents are mostly white.

Kisho is Krista and Niño’s newest favorite restaurant, and that’s where they treat friends both from the US and the Philippines. Our group included Tim Evans (of the US Immigration), immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles and The STAR L.A. correspondent Raymond de Asis Lo.

It was a sizzling dinner, literally. We sat around a square table equipped with grill in the middle on which the Korean cook fried our rice with a little “show,” dribbling the eggs before he broke the shells. Throughout the dinner, the grill sizzled with prawns, primecut steaks, veggies, etc. fried in cholesterol-free oil. The same activity was going on on the two tables to our left and to our right, occupied by groups who were also celebrating birthdays. How did we know? The waiters hopped from one table to the other offering each a birthday cake with one lighted candle, singing Happy Birthday to the celebrators made to wear bunny bonnets.

Little NJ, who shares not only his parents’ looks, was unmindful of the hustle and bustle around him. All he did was sleep, briefly opening his eyes when we touched him or gently prodded him to smile when we took his pictures. The nannies saw to it that he was shielded from the smoke coming from the grill.

Krista’s baby is, no doubt, the much-awaited showbiz baby, coming into the world exactly nine months after his parents got married in civil rites in July last year, followed by another one in Jewish rites. They planned to marry in church in the Philippines in November last year, until Krista got pregnant. The wedding has been postponed indefinitely. Take a closer look at his pictures. Weighing 8.6 lbs. and measuring 20 inches at birth (at 2:16 p.m. at a hospital in Glendale, California, by natural delivery), NJ is the sum total of Krista and Niño’s prominent features, isn’t he? For sure, the boy will also inherit his parents’ intelligence.

After the dinner, Niño invited us to take a look at their new house, but please not to take pictures yet because it’s undergoing finishing touches. The two-storey house is located along a man-made lake, right across from the clubhouse. The zoning was planned in such a way that there are only two corner houses, one of them the Lims’.

“We plan to have the house blessed middle of July in time for NJ’s baptism and my mom’s birthday,” volunteered Niño.

Because there was no furniture yet, we sat with Krista at the foot of the stairs to the second floor for a casual chat. Little NJ was fast asleep in the crib, with Krista every now and then lifting him and cuddling him. Big NJ begged off from the interview but agreed to have his picture taken with his mag-ina.

Who chose the name Nate (not Nathan according to earlier reports) Jacob?

“It was me. I wanted Niño and our baby to have the same initials. I chose Nate, which is the first name of the star of my favorite TV show. Niño chose Jacob, from The Bible.”

Isn’t NJ a cry baby?

“No, he’s not. He’s super-bait, sanay sa pa-picture-picture, sanay sa ingay. Maliit pa lang showbiz na. Hehehehehe. Even when I’m breastfeeding him, smile siya nang smile.

Until when are you breastfeeding him?

“Hangga’t kaya ko. Ang hirap pala! Now I sympathize with all mothers out there. Now I realize what mothers have to go through for their babies. When we go out, I transfer my milk into NJ’s feeding bottles.”

How’s Niño as a father? (Niño has children from a previous marriage.)

“He’s very good in preparing feeding bottles and changing NJ’s pampers. Magaling siya! Kapag umiiyak si NJ, he stops when Niño carries him. Gustong-gusto ni NJ na si Niño ang nagkakarga sa kanya. Actually, when I was pregnant, when Niño touched my tummy, si NJ sipa nang sipa. That must be why hinahanap-hanap niya ‘yung touch ni Niño.”

Have you chosen NJ’s godparents? Krista and Niño at the birthday dinner with your Conversationalist and Immigration lawyer Jemela Nettles (rightmost)...

“Yes, we have. Secret muna kung sinu-sino sila.”

How has the birth of NJ changed your outlook and your life?

“Malaking change. I would hear mothers say that giving birth change their lives radically. Now I understand why. NJ has become my and Niño’s priority. Our world now revolves around him. Dati-rati, I would go out anytime I wanted to. Now, hindi ako umaalis ng bahay na hindi ko kasama si NJ. Otherwise, I would be worrying about him. I’m at peace now; masaya ako, my life is complete.”

NJ was so big at birth. Didn’t you have a hard time?

“Hmmmmm, okey lang because I really wanted to give birth the natural way. But I didn’t know that NJ would be that big. Niño was so supportive. He was there with me in the delivery room, helping me push and counting, ‘One, two, three, push!’ He would do it fast and then slowly, and I would tell him, ‘Bilisan mo ang pagbilang, bilisan mo!’ We were so funny.”

How do you carry NJ? ...Krista’s brother Kevin (left) and Tim Evans (of the US Immigration)...

(Lifting baby from crib) “Like this. To put him to sleep, kailangan kargahin siya. Mahilig siya matulog sa chest ko.”

Do you sing to him?

“No. Baka sa halip na makatulog ay magising siya.”

Did you make NJ listen to music when he was inside your tummy?

“Yes. Niño and I made NJ listen to classical music. Maganda daw ang effect ng classical music sa baby.”

(Photo- with NJ’s nannies Emy Cruz and Cora Calimoso)

How many more children do you and Niño plan to have? ...with STAR L.A. correspondent Raymond de Asis Lo...

“Gusto ni Niño another one next year kasi suwerte daw dahil Year of the Dragon. But it’s hard. I want to recover first before we plan on another one. Besides, I want to enjoy the company of NJ first. I want to see him grow up. I want to be with him when he grows his first tooth, when he takes his first step, when he mumbles his first word. I don’t want to miss every moment of his growing up.”

By the way, are you still pushing through with your church wedding?

“Yes, of course! Siguro when NJ is big enough so he can be a member of the entourage.”

How’s married life so far?

“Very happy! I couldn’t ask for more. I couldn’t have married somebody better.” ...and with NJ’s nannies Emy Cruz and Cora Calimoso

Any plans for your showbiz career?

“On-hold muna ang showbiz. Si NJ muna ang aasikasuhin ko.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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