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Writer’s Block

Some time ago, Pao and I were discussing about how he couldn’t write about things that were too personal. And I found that a little weird. I always found it easier to blog when I’m in the heights (or is it depths?) of my emotions. Then, this happened.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my bad mommy day. Little did I know that that was the start of one of the worst weeks of my life. The little one contracted a viral infection a few days later. From Thursday all the way to the following Monday her fever was in the 38.5 to 40 degree zone. No, her viral infection was not related to her encounter with the electric fan. That wound quickly healed and was the least of our problems.

After 5 days of fever, an emergency room trip (where the doctors ruled out dengue, thank god), and antibiotic treatments, her fever finally broke. A week later, she’s back to her normal happy self. The week after that, she already gained  back the weight she lost. Pao and I eventually got sick, but that’s ok. Meia’s health is all that matters.

I tried writing a blow by blow account of what happened to us during that week. I thought I’d detail out what we did, what the pediatrician said, how Meia was, etc. etc. as a guide for other parents but I just couldn’t. The words  won’t come out. My recollection of that hellish week is a jumble of thoughts, feelings, and lots and lots of worrying. And praying. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed that hard before.

We love you, bear. Please don’t get sick on us again.

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Posted by on 10/19/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

Bad Mommy Day

I know I should be writing about our Singapore trip, but I just had to share this with you.

Last Monday, someone decided to poke her itty bitty hand inside the electric fan while it was turned on.

I was right beside her when that happened. She asked for her water, so I turned my back to get it for her. Then I heard a loud “NO!” from the bear’s grandmother, then I saw (in slow motion, just like in the movies) Meia put her forefinger inside the fan. I wanted to die when I heard her cry out. It was horrible.

I hugged her and hugged her until she stopped crying. We put betadine on the wound and had her play with water to clean the injury. After 10 minutes or so, the bear was back to her happy self. She didn’t even flinch when we washed her hands with soap.

As for me, I spent the rest of the night moping in bed. Seriously. I remember the first time I had my heart broken, I spent about an hour each day crying (I would time myself so I wouldn’t become too pathetic). After that hour, I would force myself to do normal things for the rest of the day. That was because I poured my heart out to a guy who believed that he had no feelings for me (HAH!). And for Meia’s admittedly small flesh wound? I became completely and utterly useless. My husband (who has since then seen the error of his ways *ahem*) tried to talk to me that night but I was having none of it. I was the one nearest to her, you see, and I could have prevented the whole incident if I only had another pair of eyes on the back of my head. Whatever. I still know I could have done something. But I didn’t. I failed. Fuck me, I am such a bad mother. So I just slept the night away.

It’s been a couple of days and I am feeling a bit better. I still cringe whenever I look at the fan (we already replaced one of them with a bladeless model but the wind isn’t just the same). I still mentally kick myself whenever I see her wound and remember her cries and the tears streaming down her face. I know I don’t suck as a mom, I know I try to give it my best, and things are not always going to go my way. I know that, but I don’t know that, you know what I mean?

I love you my little one. I know I can’t protect you from everything, but I’m sure as hell going to try.

This is her after a doctor’s appointment. She rarely feels the injections.

 
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Posted by on 09/27/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

We’re Back!

We’re finally back from our last first ever out-of-the-country trip with the bouncing bear. It’s been a stressful and yet unbelievably wonderful 5 days. Most of last month was spent preparing for the trip, and with that and work, I haven’t had the time to update this blog. But all that preparation was worth it. I will try to tell you all about it in the next couple of weeks or so but for now, here’s a picture that captures the essence of the trip.

Image

It feels so good to be home!

 
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Posted by on 09/20/2012 in Uncategorized

 

Love You Forever

Recently, I discovered this book:

Image borrowed from wikimedia

To be honest, I don’t think I would notice this book if I saw this in a bookstore. The cover art is good, but it’s a bit dated (it was originally published in 1986!). Plus, it looks like a potty training book :p While the pedia has been reminding us to start potty training the bear soon, we’re putting it off until my husband and I are good and ready.

Anyway, someone mentioned this book in one of the e-groups I belong to and I decided to take a look. Unfortunately, I did so while taking a short break at the office, and quickly started tearing up. The story is simple enough – it is about the love of a mother for her son. She shows her love by stalking him everywhere and singing this simple song for him:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

You can read the text of the book here.

I still remember the first few weeks after I gave birth to the bear — I couldn’t believe that I could love someone so much. In the midst of being overwhelmed with the tremendous gift that I received, I also realized the depth of my parents’ love for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know they do, while I wasn’t the perfect daughter, I wasn’t a bad kid either, but I didn’t know they love me that much.

The bear and my mom watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

What’s great about this book is that, through a simple story, it captures the essence of that love.

I love you forever, bear. I’ll like you for always and as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Even though when we tell you to smile, this is what you do.

You can get a copy of Robert Munsch’s book here. For those in the Philippines, you may get it here.

 
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Posted by on 08/09/2012 in Uncategorized

 

Karma is a Book of Opposites

Background

Being the daughter of avid readers, the bear was exposed to books at an early age.

Now at 16 months, she has destroyed read more books than we can count. We have gone through 2 copies of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ Blueberry Girl. Her copy of The Dangerous Alphabet (also by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Gris Grimly) is barely alive, kept together by miles and miles of clear tape. The pages of her favorite Mickey Mouse clubhouse book, Look Before You Leap, have been taken out of its spine. We are raising a voracious reader and we have half-eaten corners of books to prove it.

One of the books we got her was Jane Yolen and Mark Teague’s How Do Dinosaurs Go Up and Down?. The husband grew up on dinosaur books and couldn’t help but try to pass on the love for them pre-historic creatures.

The culprit

We were all fooled. 

In theory, the book is pretty darn cool. The illustrations are wonderful, it’s lift the flap so there is some sort of interaction between the bear and the book, and it’s very sturdy and can withstand the abuses of a toddler who doesn’t know her own strength. The downside? It’s a book of opposites. I know it says so on the cover, but being first time parents, we didn’t grasp the full implications of teaching our little smart ass girl the concept of opposites.

After a few weeks of getting used to the book (at first the pictures of dinosaurs scared her), she started reading it more often. Now, she can even “read” the book with us.

It starts off innocently enough. Up and down.

From Amazon.com’s preview

But then it gets trickier. We go into slow and fast and eventually, quiet and loud.

How this Book has Ruined Affected Our Life

  • The bear has been running since she learned how to walk. So just last week, when she was tripping all over her feet, we told her to be a “slow dinosaur.” And how does she respond? She said the word “fast” and started running even faster.
  • Sometimes she also wakes up in the middle of the night and starts shouting “daaadddddy!” on the top of her lungs. As she sleeps next to her dad, of course it’s bound to wake him up. So I tell the bear to be a “quiet dinosaur” and let her daddy sleep. But what does she do? She laughs loudly, because (obviously) that is what the loud dinosaur does.

Conclusion

While How Do Dinosaurs Go Up and Down? is a good book, I would suggest that before giving it to your little one, to think long and hard whether you or your spouse have a family history of smart asses. That was our mistake. As being a smart ass is an occupational hazard (we are both lawyers), the hubby and I are finally getting a dose of our own medicine. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.

 
 

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At a Loss for Words

It’s been more than a month since my last post. For some reason, I’m finding it harder and harder to write. I am bursting with happiness and I wish I could share it with everyone. But how can I explain how it feels to have the bear touch my cheek as she falls asleep beside me on the bed? Or when she holds my hand while watching her show? No words can accurately capture how I feel when she runs around the house while shouting “weeee” or when she successfully identifies a color (although we’re still having trouble differentiating blue from green), or when she calls me ‘Mommy’ (or “maaaaaaaammmmmmyyy!!!!”)? These everyday things, everyday moments – they seem so common and normal and boring. Only they’re not to me. I look forward to each one of them and I wish I could articulate how happy they make me.

I actually tried a few weeks back. I successfully typed this on my blackberry while Meia was down for her afternoon nap. I was the one to put her to sleep. Unfortunately, she ended up sleeping on my arm, pinning me to the bed with her.

My eyes are tearing as I watch my little girl sleep. She is so precious and I feel extremely blessed to have her. We are facing each other on the bed – she, lying on my left arm, trapping it into place. Her hand is on my chest, and her leg on my hip. I can’t believe how beautiful she is.

I was planning on writing a bit more, but then she woke up.

Don’t get me wrong, not everything in my life is perfect. I left a job I loved so that I can be home by 6pm each night (without having to bring home work) and have my weekends free. Right now, I am still trying to figure out what the hell I should do with my career. But those thoughts are quickly forgotten the moment I see my family.

It’s funny how much of a softie I’ve become.

So there’s my update. Each day is filled with precious moments like this:

Meia playing peek-a-boo behind her favorite stuffed toy – a Mickey Mouse plushy

And I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.

 
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Posted by on 06/11/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

Goodbyes and Thank yous

Today, I packed away my breast pump.

I haven’t been expressing milk for a couple of weeks now. Paolo and I agreed to wean her off the breast when Meia hit a year old for a variety of reasons.

It took a few weeks, but we finally got there. We were lucky – since I work full-time, Meia’s used to drinking milk from the bottle (a far cry from the bottle wars). I would only feed her direct when she’d wake up in the middle of the night or during weekends when the yaya is on leave and I was too lazy to pump. A few days after her first birthday, I noticed that she drank less and less at night. Sometimes, she would only suck for less than a minute, for comfort it seems, then would fall asleep right away. Eventually, my supply dried up and I no longer needed to pump milk.

I feel so liberated and at the same time, completely and utterly useless. I now have a little bit more time in my hands, so I have rediscovered my passion for reading. I have started exercising which I couldn’t do before since it adversely affected my supply. I could go out for more than 3 hours at a time without lugging around my gear and worrying about where I could pump. At the same time, whenever Meia makes the milk sign, I can  no longer do anything to help except look for the yaya or my husband to give her what she wants. Whenever I buy formula, I can feel my inner lactivist shaking her head disapprovingly. (While we still have over a month’s supply of breast milk, we’ve started mixed feeding to help Meia with the transition.)

A part of me still can’t believe that I am actually looking back at my breastfeeding year fondly. I remember the first few days when I wasn’t sure if milk was coming out. I remember coming home from the hospital and Meia crying because she was hungry and at the same time rejecting my breast. Back then, we had to run to the drugstore to buy her sterilized water to dissolve sugar in then. I still get stressed thinking about that god awful hour. I remember the plugged ducts and nipple blisters. I remember being too tired and falling asleep while nursing her (I never nursed in the sleep lying position, so falling asleep while breastfeeding was not okay). I remember not being able to go out because I had to be on standby in case she got hungry even before her schedule. I remember the cluster feeding and our marathon 1 to 2 hour nursing sessions. I remember feeling insecure whenever I looked at other breastfed babies – they looked so big compared to Meia. I remember going to starbucks and not being able to buy anything because they were all caffeinated.

Breastfeeding is easily one of the most difficult things I’ve done but I’m happy that I decided to persevere despite the many hardships that came with it.

Aside from, of course, being able to give Meia the best nutrition available, breastfeeding made a huge impact in my life. I learned to be more selfless and more giving. My body, my time, my life were no longer mine – I had a little one who was completely dependent on me and I was more than happy to share everything I had with her. For me, this is different from pregnancy because breastfeeding is a choice – I chose to share these things with my daughter even though technically, I could have given her formula and she would still grow up okay. When you’re pregnant on the other hand, you have no choice since everything you eat, everything you do to your body, automatically affects the baby. (And no, abortion is never an option.)

Breastfeeding also gave me the opportunity to have quiet time with my daughter. While nursing, I am able to enjoy her company away from the prying eyes of well-meaning friends and relatives. Breastfeeding allowed me to foster deeper relationships with friends who are also breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding has also allowed me to meet and help other struggling moms in their journey.

As I pack away my pump, I feel extremely grateful for the year that was and for everyone who has helped and supported me in my journey. Special shout out goes to the hubby, for always cheering me on. For mommy friends such as Nats and April and the rest of the Tazian moms for their kind words of support. For Didi and Jean who helped me when my shields broke. For Concep, who let me use her sterilizer and bother her at work when the dreaded ants infiltrated my pump parts. For my relatives who, while unfamiliar with breastfeeding, eventually learned to stop asking if Meia was having enough to eat and who understood why I was a no show to most family events during the first few months of her life. For my other friends who I don’t see anymore because my life was overtaken by boobs, milk, and nappies. For RPJ and the rest of my former bosses and officemates, for lining the glass walls of my room with manila paper and scheduling meetings around my pumping schedule. For my current bosses and officemates, for not asking any questions whenever I disappeared for 20-30 minutes inside the conference room. For Joyce (of The Marshmallow Mama) and Paola (of Mommy Treats), for making yummy lactation goodies. For the internets for websites such as Kellymom and Chronicles of a Nursing Mom, which were my go to resources when it came to breastfeeding concerns. And most especially for Meia, for bearing with me and patiently drinking her milk from me even when my supply was low, I was smelly (I was probably smelly back then, I would only had a few minutes to shower before I’d hear her stir and look for me), cranky, awkward, and obviously a mommy and breastfeeding neophyte.

 
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Posted by on 05/01/2012 in Breastfeeding, Parenthood

 

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