Letters to my Baby #49: Happy Awesome 2!

Dear Baby Love,

Happy birthday, sweetheart!

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I can’t believe it’s been two years since I first laid eyes on you, Baby Love. The world around me just faded in the background when I first met you. And now that you’ve turned 2, it still feels the same – the world still fades into the background whenever I see you, especially when you flash those sweetest smiles of yours that melts the heart.

You are perfect. And you make me proud with all the achievements and milestones you meet, no matter how big or small. I couldn’t have asked for more, sweetheart, maybe except for time to go a bit slower so I can enjoy more time with you. It’s been getting a bit harder catching up with your growth and sometimes I am afraid that I will miss things.

For these last 12 months, I have seen you transition from being a baby to being a toddler. I couldn’t carry you anymore the way that I carried you when you were less than a year old. You have grown a lot taller as well, and a lot heavier for that matter. I love seeing your amazement with the things around you and I love that you get to easily enjoy the smalls things around you as well. You are well into the stage of discovery, sweetheart, and I know that for the next several months, your sense of discovery will be taken to new heights. I am looking forward to it, baby. :)

If others say terrible two’s, I’d say, welcome to awesome two, sweetheart! This will be one of the most awesome time in your life, I guarantee you that. :) There will  be a lot of learnings and discoveries and, this time, there will be a lot more experiences that you will get to enjoy (even if some would say that you wouldn’t remember when you grow up). I will get to know a lot more about you as well as you will grow into the person that you are destined to be.

I am excited for you, sweetheart! And I am looking forward to making more memories with you on your second year. Happy birthday, baby love. Mum loves you so much, don’t you ever forget that! <3

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Love, Mum! <3 <3 <3

Time to Breathe…

I’ve been stressing myself out for the past few months now, it seems. Small, irrelevant things that I shouldn’t be giving the time of day but for some reason, those small stuff occupied a large part of my daily thoughts. I’ve been out of focus, not at-par with my standard in terms of my job performance (I deliver somehow, but I am not satisfied with how I’ve done it), I’ve been procrastinating on some things, and my writing sucks for quite some time. (Yep, I kinda noticed that).

Breathe-in-breathe-out technique sometimes doesn’t do its job any longer. It seems that I am always trying to run after something that always elude my reach. I wake up tired, I end my day tired, everything seems to be such a boring routine. I try to regroup but get suck back into the merry-go-round of whatever. I can’t even describe it.

Sometimes I do think that I am depressed. You know that feeling of being suffocated by all the things around you? I’m kinda feeling that. But more often than not, I think I just need a vacation. I need some time alone to think, to plan, to set my goals straight, and to come up with a strategy to achieve those goals. I need time to breathe. Really breathe. And let go of all the things that are bothering me.

There are times that I look back at my life and think, did I achieve anything relevant in the last decade that I can be proud of? Maybe a few, I am not sure. Or probably I am just setting such high expectations of myself, so high that I myself cannot achieve it. I guess that’s one.

One thing’s clear to me, though: I need to step away from my own chaotic mind and assess the damage I’ve done (well, figuratively). I think I can salvage some and work my way to setting those pieces of the puzzle straight. I just need to find the time to do so…

 

The Mommy Wars…

Breastfeeding vs. Formula feeding

Cloth diaper vs. Disposable diaper

Stay-at-home Mom vs. Working Mom

Co-sleeping vs. Crib

And the list goes on and on and on and on…

Before I got pregnant, I was oblivious to this war going on in the Mommy world. When I got pregnant, I got a glimpse of the options out there. What I didn’t realize was that, those options are creating a huge gap among mothers to the point that one is being bullied because of the choices she made.

Let’s run through the four I have identified above and I will try to give my two-cents for each:

Breastfeeding vs. Formula feeding

A lot of us first-time Moms really want to breastfeed our babies from the time they enter this world until it is time for them to be weaned. We all know the benefits of breastmilk compared to formula milk. We’ve heard the stories, we’ve read the reviews and comparison and all that. For those Moms that were able to breastfeed their babies until they weaned, good job to you! If you are a breastfeeding advocate, good for you as well. Us Mommies who had to give up breast feeding for whatever reasons (medical reasons for one), we envy you. Truly. You didn’t (don’t) have to spend thousands on formula milk every month and you always get the bonding moment with your babies during feeding time.

However, let us not bully those Moms who had to formula feed their babies. Why? Because you don’t know the reason why they have to. All the arguments I’ve read online always say something about it being the Mom’s decision because she didn’t want to breastfeed for fear of having saggy boobs after. Seriously. I planned to breastfeed my baby for as long as I could before I gave birth to him. I was glad that I was able to do so even if it was only for less than two months. Given all his hospitalization during the first month, I was asked by the pedia to stop breastfeeding first to isolate my breastmilk as a cause of his diagnosis. Unfortunately, I was never able to get back to breastfeeding after all those hospitalization because I had to go back to work (my maternity leave was over). I had no choice but to formula feed because we had to monitor his milk intake (we even had a chart of his consumption per day) to make sure that he was getting the nourishment he needed. There are also Moms out there who have inverted nipples. I actually don’t know how that works but from what I’ve been told, if you have inverted nipples, breastfeeding is painful. While others may have high pain tolerance and will endure the pain while breastfeeding just so they can breastfeed, there are also Moms who are unfortunate not to have that kind of tolerance and the pain is excruciating for them. These are only a couple of reasons but I do know that there are a lot more out there. No matter how much we want to breastfeed, we just couldn’t. And don’t every say that these are only excuses not to. If there is one thing in the world that we wanted to have done right, it would be breastfeeding.

So, if someone asks about which formula is better, please do not insist on breastfeeding because more often than not, it pains the mothers who cannot and sometimes, it is insulting. If a mother asked which breastmilk is better: warmed or cooled, then go ahead and discuss all you want about breastfeeding techniques and all that stuff. Formula feeders respect breastfeeders. I think the same respect should be given vice versa.

Cloth diaper vs. Disposable diaper

O.M.G. The lengths of conversations I’ve read about this. From what I know, I was cloth diapered as a baby. My brother, too. My sister as well as my youngest brother used cloth diaper and disposable diaper alternately. I remember pricking my youngest brother with the large pin, too, when I was young and trying to change his diaper.

With my son, I planned to alternately use cloth diaper and disposable diaper. But given that I gave birth in the mountain city in August when it is the middle of the rainy season, we went with disposable diaper instead. Why? Because it takes effort to wash and let dry the cloth diapers when you are in the mountain city without a proper dryer. Given that I am a single Mom, my Mom and my sister are the ones helping me out. My Mom has a job and my sister has her own business and asking them to handwash my son’s dirty nappies will take a lot of time. One of my officemate decided to cloth diaper and she was able to make it work. She washed while her husband looks after the baby. Something that is not going to be very feasible for a single working Mom to do.

Stay-at-home Mom vs. Working Mom

This war will never end, I guess. This is the one argument that has gone too far, in my opinion, to the point that there are bullying happening already.

For a single mom, staying at home to take care of kids is not as feasible as it seems. I mean, we have to work to earn money to buy the things our babies need, pay the bills, and buy food. If you have millions stashed somewhere and you think you will never run out of funds no matter what, good for you. But the majority of us needs to work for a living. Given the expensive cost of living these days, even couples have to work to make ends meet.

Sometimes I really do think that some of those SAHMs are just bitter because they are not working/earning their own money and has to depend on their partners/families to provide. That’s why they bully those working moms trying their best to manage work and home time. While SAHMs complain about doing all the chores and taking care of kids day in and day out, I – as a single working mom with a son living 200+kilometers away from me – envies those SAHMs who gets to spend the whole day everyday with their kids. I think other working moms feel the same, too. They spend 8-10 hours at work and only get to spend a few waking hours with their kids. At least they still get to spend time with them daily. What about those OFW Moms?

Co-sleeping vs. Crib

Before I gave birth, I asked my Mom to look for cribs for my baby. I was planning on buying one but we were also concerned about the space. We didn’t have space in the house. I ended up co-sleeping my with baby. I was really scared because I might roll over him while I slept. Fortunately, I didn’t. Almost, but not quite. And for that first month, co-sleeping made it easier to feed him him the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t have to get out of bed to go pick him up. My son started sleeping in a crib when he turned a year old because we were trying to teach him not to “swim” on the bed while sleeping. LOL! Whenever he’s with me though, we co-sleep. :P

 

To be honest, I really don’t see any reason for mothers out there to fight over which option is better. One likes to breastfeed while one opted to formula feed. So what? The question is, are both mothers trying their best to provide the best nourishment for their babies? I would think so.

Who fights over cloth diaper and disposable diaper that can really, truly provide a reasonable and logical answer that will convince one to choose? There will always be a “but…” for every point you dish out either way.

SAHM and working mom? Ugh, this argument really is getting old. Seriously, Moms, grow up, will ya?

We can always plan the way we would like to project ourselves as Moms but sometimes, circumstances doesn’t allow us to put our ideal into reality. There’s no need to create disputes and gaps just because we think we are better than others. We do not know what each Moms have to go through to reach to a decision so we do not have the right to criticize them for making a decision so against our own so-called “principles”.

I still have a lot of things that I would like to really say about these Mommy wars but to sum it all up – These mommy wars are so petty that those participating in it are like kids fighting each other but with the same goal in the end. Get what I mean?

I really do hope that these wars end soon and maybe re-start the old school way of doing things – creating a community of mothers who help each other regardless of the options they took. Let’s make mommyhood easy for all of us, okay?

 

Manila Workshops: Practical Enterpreneur Series

Ever thought of leaving the rat race, aka employment world, and start your own business but clueless on how to start or where to begin? Nowadays, employment alone is not enough and I know that a lot of us are thinking of having our own business one day, some day. Great news  because Manila Workshops has a series of topics that will definitely help you kickstart your business.

Here are the topics and schedules:

How to Prepare for the Entrepreneurial Life

Date: August 8, 2015
Time: 10AM – 3PM
Venue: 10th floor, One Global, BGC
Learning Fee: Php 1,990.00

How to Write Your Business Plan and Investor Pitch

Date: August 15, 2015
Time: 10AM – 3PM
Venue: 10th floor, One Global, BGC
Learning Fee: Php 1,990.00

How to Manage the Marketing Function

Date: August 22, 2015
Time: 10AM – 3PM
Venue: 10th floor, One Global, BGC
Learning Fee: Php 1,990.00

How to Manage Operations and Quality

Date: August 22, 2015
Time: 10AM – 3PM
Venue: 10th floor, One Global, BGC
Learning Fee: Php 1,990.00

How to Manage Human Resources

Date: September 5, 2015
Time: 10AM – 3PM
Venue: 10th floor, One Global, BGC
Learning Fee: Php 1,990.00

How to Manage Your Business’ Finances

Date: September 12, 2015
Time: 10AM – 3PM
Venue: 10th floor, One Global, BGC
Learning Fee: Php 1,990.00

 

I am definitely going to use this line: “But wait! There’s more!” :D

A special rate for 3 topics is on sale for Php 5,000 (save Php 970)

If you opt to register for all 6 topics, a special rate of Php 9,990 (save Php 1,950) is offered.

Sale for the special rates goes on until September 12, 2015 at 12AM.

Please use referral code ZALAPRACENTREP_1 when you register.

For more information, email chinky.magtibay@manilaworkshops.com.

 

Mommy Mode…

It’s been a pretty hectic time for me the last week and a half. I brought Little Z to the big metro last July 5th for a 3-week stay with me due to several doctors’ appointments. His yaya (yes, my son now has a yaya) and my sister came along. My sister stayed the first week just to assist the yaya to transition. However, last July 15th, after his cardio check up in St. Lukes’ BGC, I had to send his yaya back home due to medical reasons. I am not going to divulge more on that (since it is private) but suffice it to say that it was an undisclosed condition which really irked me. Since then, it was just Z and I.

After sending the yaya off, I had some sort of panic attack, if you may. I didn’t know if I can manage taking care of my son on my own. Will I be able to feed him on time? How will I manage getting him ready for his appointments and making sure we have all the necessary stuff needed to making sure that I am properly dressed as well before we leave the house? Will I have enough energy to ensure that I get everything in order and the house clean for Z? I was stressing myself out that night.

The last week and a half was the longest time that Z and I have been together on our own. Just the two of us. I got to play full-time Mommy to my unico hijo. And I loved every single moment of it. :)

We started our time together with an early appointment with the pedia-cardio for Z’s 2d echo then we had to visit another doctor at a different hospital. This time, it was the development pedia. It rained hard that afternoon as well so Z and I napped for an hour while stuck in traffic. LOL! We also dropped by my office that afternoon to pick up something that I forgot to bring home.

Stuck in traffic on the way home

Stuck in traffic on the way home

The next day was a holiday and I have already committed to report to work to cover for my team. Given that I cannot leave my son alone (duh!), I had to ask permission from the bosses to bring him to work while I get a few things done. Thank God I was allowed to bring him with me. I didn’t take photos that day but I was really surprised that Z was well-behaved the whole time we were at the office that I was able to get a few things done. He only became restless about an hour before we were due to leave. :D

For those few days, I was giving myself a pat on the back for somehow doing a good job. :D

Last week was a little bit of a different story though. I had to establish a routine to ensure that I get everything done. I had to have a mental checklist as well (I actually almost wrote it down to make sure I didn’t miss anything).

My son wakes up very early, between 6-7AM. That is my midnight, to be honest. But I had to wake up as well. He would wrestle me once he wakes up then he would get my tablet (meaning he wants to watch his nursery rhymes). I would play his app and as soon as he settled down watching, I would get up and cook his breakfast. I rarely eat breakfast so I didn’t have to think of that.

Between 7-8AM, Z will have his breakfast. By 830AM, he will have his bath. He enjoys his bath so much that I let him play for a few minutes before rinsing him off. :)

Bath time!

Bath time!

Since the sun was out last week, every morning, we would go down to the pool side and walk around. More often than not, Z wanted to be carried and if he wanted to walk, he would walk towards the edge of the pool. He actually wanted to get in the water but since it had been raining the week before, I didn’t risk getting him into the pool just yet.

His lunch time is now a bit earlier than before. I started feeding him lunch by 1130AM so he can take his nap by 1230PM. Since a few weeks ago, he naps twice a day – in the morning and late in the afternoon. But since his development pedia recommended that no nap times after 3PM, I had to start adjusting.

While eating lunch...

While eating lunch…

I take a nap in the afternoon, too. :D I needed to re-energize for the afternoon activities of the little boy. :D

Once he wakes up from his nap, either we would go to the mall and look for ride-ons or play outside with the other kids. 11143160_10204945975626060_1239269516589517123_n

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In the evening, I prepare Z’s dinner, feed him and then he takes his evening bath. Yes, my son takes a bath twice a day whenever he’s here in the big metro. It has been our practice since he was 2 months old. :) Just like in the mornings, I let him play a bit before rinsing him off. Then we Skype his my Mom and let Z play in the living room. We practice walking and I am proud to say that I was able to teach him how to kick a ball. That kid has a great kick, too. :)

By 8-830PM, he would look for milk and will pull me up and we would walk to the room. He would get on the bed while I make his milk and then we would read his book. Between 830-9PM, I would put him to sleep. The earliest I got him to sleep was by 8PM. But that was because he was tired after therapy and walking around and not enough afternoon nap.

Once he’s asleep, it was no relax mode for this Mommy just yet. I had to pick up all his toys (which he would throw all over the living room while playing), sweep and mop the floor, wash the dishes, wash Z’s bottles and feeding bowls, wash his clothes and throw the garbage. In between all those chores, I would check my mail and answer a few, eat my dinner and join conference calls whenever I could. By the time I get into bed, it would be around 1AM.

For one whole week, day in and day out, that was our routine. It was exhausting to say the least. But at the end of the day, no matter how exhausted I felt, no matter how sleepy I was, I would spend a few minutes just watching my son sleep beside me and I wonder how I got to be so lucky to have this little boy that I call my son.

For a week and a half, I was a full-time, hands-on Mommy to my son. It was tiring, it was exhausting. I lacked sleep, my back hurts so bad (up to this day), my arm felt so numb I was scared that it would fall off, I had to deal with toddler tantrums, too. But I didn’t complain. I couldn’t complain. Because experiencing what I went through was very fulfilling. I loved every minute of it. I felt needed and I felt loved. And spending that much time with my son is priceless. I would like to think that we were able to establish a stronger bond than ever before, too.

Who would complain when you get unlimited kisses and hugs from the sweetest little boy ever? <3

My heart, my soul. The love of my life <3

My heart, my soul. The love of my life <3

 

 

 

Letters to My Baby #48: Just the Two of Us…

Dear Baby Love,

For the past week and a half, it was just the two of us here in the big metro, literally. Your nanny had to go home unexpectedly due to medical reasons. So instead of me working for the past few days, I have spent all day and all night with you.

This is the first time that I have been alone with you for this long. I asked myself several times if I can do it – if I can be a full-time, hands-on Mom to you for several days.  I knew I had to take it one day at a time.

I have enjoyed spending the last several days with you, sweetheart. I was able to know you a whole lot more and you have also made me feel that somehow, I have what it takes to be a Mom to a very special little boy.

Nevermind the backpains and the numbing arms from carrying you whenever you don’t feel like walking. And that is apart from carrying our bag. Nevermind that no matter how exhausted I feel at the end of the day after taking care of your needs plus doing all the chores. Nevermind all those because every night these past few days, whenever I get into bed beside you(after trying to fix your position so you won’t be spread-eagled on the bed LOL), I watch you sleep peacefully and I am reminded of all the fun things we’ve done throughout the day and that makes me smile.

Tomorrow, I will be bringing you home again to the mountain city. While everyone at home are excited to see you, I am starting to feel sad because this place will once again be lonely and empty. I will definitely miss having you here. I will miss coming home to find you already asleep and waking up to your toothy smile while pulling all my hair, I will miss jumping on the bed with you while singing “Five Little Monkeys”, I will miss chasing after you while to crawl your way to the kitchen. I will definitely miss hearing your laughter.

Thank you, my son, for making me feel like a real Mom for these past few days. Those days will be forever cherished and I will make sure that we get to spend that much time or more with each other again.

I love you so much, sweetheart. There is still so much more that I would like to tell you but I guess I will have to tell you all those some other time.

Love,

Mum

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PS: you are already asleep beside me but I am already starting to miss you…

 

 

Pagdakkelan…

I am not sure if I spelled that correctly but that is an Ilocano term meaning to grow or for growth. Something to that effect.

This word got stuck in my head the whole day. You see,  last Tuesday, I celebrated my birthday. Wednesday night, after Z’s pedia-cardio appointment, I had to send his nanny home for medical reasons. Nothing contagious or anything. His nanny had to immediately see her OB for a scheduled D&C, I believe. So today is the beginning of my being yaya-less, so to speak.

It has been a busy day. I had to wake up early to cook Z’s food, feed him, bathe him, take a bath myself, fix our stuff (making sure that I bring everything we need) before leaving for a 10 AM appointment at Philippine Children’s Medical Center for Z’s 2d-echo. That is about 10km away from the house. We arrived at PCMC at almost half past 10AM due to heavy traffic. The doctor arrived at 11:30AM so we had an hour to wait.

Backtracking for a moment. When Z was about three months’ old, we found out that he has a small hole in his heart – ASD or atrial septal defect. It was not something to be really concerned about since the hole closes on its own. Earlier’s finding is that Z still has a 4.5mm hole. No medication was provided and it is still not much of a big concern for now. However, a repeat 2d-echo needs to be done after one year to check if the hole will completely close.

Right after, we then had to rush to St Lukes for another scheduled appointment. This time, it is with a development pedia. Do you know that it is so hard to schedule an appointment with a dev-pedia? It takes months before you can get an appointment. We got lucky that we were able to get a schedule within this month.

While I already have an inkling of what the delays my son has to catch up on, hearing it from a doctor is quite crushing. The assessment? My son’s development is for 7-8 months old. Z is already 22.5 months. Apart from that, he is within the autism spectrum. He may or may not have it. It is still early to tell.

Given the assessment, we have to work doubly hard for Z to catch up on his development before his birthday. How am I supposed to teach him to say 50 words in a month’s time? #overwhelmed

It is my fault that he has not been hitting his milestones that well. 😥 I have to start prioritizing my son’s welfare more so he can catch up.

It rained this afternoon as well. Good thing we were able to get a ride from the hospital. I decided to drop by the office to pick up something first before going home. The usual half an hour to 45 minute-ride took us about an hour and a half due to very heavy traffic. Cars were barely moving. Z and I took a nap while the driver ate finished off his snack. 😁 It took us another 30 minutes of waiting for a ride home and about 30 minutes transit time (for a 10-minute or less drive on normal days).

So we got home, I fed Z, bathed him (yes, he takes a bath twice whenever he’s here in the big metro), had a Skype session with my Mom before putting Z to bed. Then I had to fix food for myself, too, since I had barely eaten the whole day. I had to fix Z’s stuff, clean the house a bit, wash Z’s bottles and food containers, wash the dishes before taking a quick shower myself.

Doing all those things on my own without any help is very, very exhausting. Good thing that Z never threw a tantrum the whole day, too. Still, it is hard. I don’t know how others do this, to be honest.

So, going back to the word, pagdakkelan. This word got stuck in my head because since I turned a year older, I feel like I have been dealing with real grown up problems – deciding to send off the nanny on the basis oh her health, bringing Z to doctor’s appointments all alone, taking care the whole day. It kind of makes me feel like I am growing up. Maybe this is a turning point of mt life. Or maybe, life is just pushing me to be more matured. Or something.

Oh well.