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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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Happy Birthday, Bouncing Bear!

My little bear just turned one! My infant has now transformed into a toddler – and I couldn’t be any happier.

We had a wonderful event-filled birthday weekend. I’ll tell you all about it next time as I’m having difficulty finding time to blog. Work is getting a little crazy plus there’s that dreaded exam next week that I haven’t even studied for. At the home front, I’m trying to finish as much as I can of What to Expect – The Second Year (turns out that this edition of the book is arranged by topic and not by age, so I couldn’t get away with reading a chapter a month!). I’m also doing as much research as I can on the bear’s new diet. Then there’s weaning. Seems like only yesterday that I was learning how to breastfeed, and now it’s time for me to stop. 😦

In the meantime, let me share with you some of our pictures from Meia’s birthday weekend as well as a beautiful post by the hubby over at his Facebook page.

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Meia’s First Birthday

by Paolo Chikiamco on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 2:43pm ·

I’m a writer, so it’s strange for me to be so averse to distilling an experience down to a thousand words or so. Still, that’s exactly how I feel about fatherhood. Meia’s just celebrated her first birthday, and still I feel that it’s somehow to early to start writing about it, as if these past few months could dissipate like a bubble when forced to bear the weight of my words. Maybe someday. But I’m still a writer, and I still feel the need to express in language what the experience has been like for me. For now, the words of others will have to suffice.

“If anything Fatherhood has made me more of a person.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and sadder.

I’m more aware of the moment, and more anxious for the future. I’m angrier and more content.

I’m more patient and more frustrated, much more mentally stimulated and a lot more bored.

It’s a very long shopping list of contradictory emotions often experienced simultaneously.

I’m a prince and stepmother, king and stepsister, horsey and fairy god-mother.

I’m a slob and chauffeur, teacher and pupil, nurse and sergeant major.

Dispenser of hugs, sympathy, ultimatums, and, moral guidance. The manners police and the hygienist.

I’m a chemist and cash dispenser.

Dancer and tickler. Monster.

Bum wiper and bather. Grump and storyteller.

Tyrant, pushover, builder, and cleaning lady.

Husband and son.

Dad.”

~ From “Little Star” by Andi Watson, a book I bought years ago, and kept unread until Meia was born, somehow knowing–yes, even then–that it would capture the experience almost perfectly.

Happy birthday Little Star. Your mom and I love you very much.

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Posted by on 03/08/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

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Mixed Emotions

Meia turns a year this coming Saturday. Wow. Whoever said that the days are long and the years are fast was correct. There were times when I just wanted the day to end so I can start fresh – a day without leaking diapers, witching hours, and bottle wars. And yet, here we are. One year gone and I honestly don’t know where it went.

When Meia was born, I promised myself that I’d stop breastfeeding when she turned a year old. I needed to get my life back, I thought. So for one year, I turned down most (if not all) invitations to hang out with friends unless (i) I could be home in 2-3 hours’ time (I really wasn’t comfortable pumping in a bathroom, and as far as I know, only Eastwood Mall has a decent breastfeeding room), or (ii) they were held in my house. I haven’t had a sip of coffee or caffeinated tea (or milk tea for that matter) or eaten anything coffee flavored since I learned I was pregnant. Exercise went out the window as it adversely affected my milk supply. Malunggay became my go to vegetable/vitamin. My pumping kit was my constant companion.

My sacrifice paid off. I am proud to say that Meia is still exclusively breastfed – almost 12 months in and yet she has never tasted formula (not that there’s anything wrong with formula). Four months in my breastfeeding journey, I had to buy a chest freezer since we needed more space to store my frozen milk. Less than two months later, I had to start donating since 4 cubic feet wasn’t enough to keep my milk stash.

At first, I pumped every 2 hours. When I went back to work, I moved it to every 3 hours. Sometime December or January, I decided to space my pumping time further apart to every 4 hours, then 5, and now 6. My milk supply has of course decreased as a result — I just found out that the yaya had to defrost milk for the first time in months today. And I don’t know how I feel about that.

On the one hand, I know that I had given my little bear the recommended one year’s supply of breastmilk (I have enough stash to last until her birthday) and that I can now transition her to cow’s milk. At the same time, I find myself reaching for another lactation cookie (my third today) that my friend, the Marshmallow Mama, generously provided me last Sunday, hoping that it will do its magic and that the yaya won’t have to defrost milk tomorrow.

 
 

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Birthdays are Special

I was never really fond of celebrating my birthday. I never really felt that my birthday was any different or any  more special than the other days of the year. Sure, I received my fair share of birthday gifts and my parents always made sure to buy me a huge birthday cake, but I knew that time didn’t stop just because I was born x years ago today. I still had to go to school (and usually our periodical tests would be scheduled right around that time – ugh), my parents still had to go to work, and when I’d watch the news, I’d learn that crimes still happened and people still suffered/died even though it was my birthday.

But that all changed when the bear arrived. I’ve come to realize that birthdays (her birthday in particular) are special.

As a mother, I have learned to appreciate birthdays as celebrations of life and love. Meia’s birthday is an opportunity for me to remember how one (lunar) year ago, the bear came into this world (a few weeks early I might add) and made Pao and I feel like the luckiest — and most sleep deprived — people on earth. While I cannot deny that the rest of the world kept turning on the day of Meia’s birth, it wasn’t quite the same world as it was the second before she was born. For one, it became less painful (I was finished with labor after all).

Happy chinese birthday, little one. I know, I know, it’s just your birthday according to the lunar calendar, but I can’t help it. I get all teary-eyed whenever I think of how much you’ve grown over the past (lunar) year. From a 5 pound eating and pooping machine you are now a 17 pound eating and pooping machine. From being asleep most of the day and awake most of the night, you now know when exactly to sleep (just as we are about to leave the house) and when exactly to wake up (when I am about to sleep). You are now smarter and more efficient in your mommy annoying ways and I love you more for it. Your arrival has made the world more beautiful, more colorful, more challenging, and more rewarding.

 
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Posted by on 02/22/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

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Meia’s Birthday Countdown: Birth Story

In a month’s time, Meia will turn a year old! It’s been one hell of a ride, but I’m sure that the best is yet to come. While we’re counting down to Meia’s big day (parang kasal!), allow me to reminisce and tell you all about her birth story.

As I’ve mentioned here, I gave birth 37 weeks and 3 days into my pregnancy.

That morning was like any other. I woke up, checked to see if she was kicking (due to my paranoia, I’d gotten into the habit of counting kicks) and proceeded to nest clean the house. By noon, I started feeling a bit weird, like I needed to go to the bathroom. The right side of my belly felt a bit tight but I dismissed it, thinking it was nothing.

[That’s how smart I am. I’ve been having contractions since I was 2 months pregnant and I couldn’t recognize one even if it went up to me, said hi, and introduced itself as a contraction. In my defense, I remember the intern from my last hospital stay telling me that the whole belly tightens up during a contraction. Since only the right side was tight, I reckoned it was nothing. Brilliant, Shaps. Just brilliant.]

By 3pm, I discovered an old keyboard cover for the husband’s Mac. It used to be white, but was now an awful shade of gray. I went to the sink and started to clean it vigorously. I must have spent around an hour trying to get all the dirt out.

By 5pm, I realized I was bleeding. It wasn’t like the spotting from before – there was more blood now. Tummy was still getting tight every now and then and I still felt like going to the bathroom. For the first time though, I didn’t want to check myself into the hospital because (wait for it) I wanted to watch American Idol. Ha.

I've had a music crush on Steven Tyler since I was in high school. Picture credits: http://www.sexysteventyler.com

I waited a bit for the bleeding to subside but it didn’t. After a while, I told Pao we needed to go to the hospital. I also called my OB. My doctor told me that I might be in labor but I was like, nah. No contractions! Aren’t contractions necessary for labor? Toink.

By 630pm, the intern examined me and asked me if I was in pain. Apparently, my water bag already ruptured (when it happened, I had no idea) and I was  5 cm dilated. The baby was arriving! And I didn’t get to shower before going to the hospital, dammit! The doctors estimated that I’d give birth around 1am the next morning.

By 9pm, the anesthesiologist arrived. They wheeled me into the operating room so she could hook me up. (No way was I going to do lamaze.) I was still feeling a bit chatty. I wasn’t in pain but I started getting uncomfortable.

While waiting for a space between contractions so the anesthesiologist could insert the needle, my OB arrived. Then it got painful really fast. This must be how Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) felt in Aliens, I thought. My OB examined me and we were all surprised to find out that I was already at 10cm – the baby was crowning! The resident had to run to get to Pao, who was waiting in the room with my mother-in-law, to make sure he witnessed Meia’s birth. He almost didn’t make it.

And at 9:45pm, after 3 hours of “labor”, the bouncing bear made her debut to the world. She was small and wrinkly and beautiful and perfect.

By 10pm, she was wheeled in the nursery and her bassinet was placed next to a baby boy’s. Pao claims that she scowled at the other baby and he started to wail.

Fifteen minutes old and already making her first boy cry. That’s my girl.

 
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Posted by on 02/09/2012 in Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

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Kairos Time

Over the long Chinese New Year weekend, I came across Glennon Melton‘s article, “Don’t Carpe Diem“, over at the Huffington Post. It was so beautiful, I shared it immediately with my Facebook friends.

Melton talked about the two kinds of time: Chronos and Kairos. Here’s an excerpt:

“There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.”

You can read the rest of her article here.

Since our nanny is currently enjoying her month-long vacay (8 days down, 25 to go!), and our all around maid, N, who graciously took over the nanny duties, was training her substitute, Paolo and I decided to bring Meia to Little Gym on our own.

I won’t lie: it was tiring. How a small infant can have so much energy is beyond me. Plus, someone apparently told her it was opposite day so she did her best to drive us insane. Case in point:

  • When the teacher asked her to tap the tambourine, she cried and hung on to me for dear life. Later, when the teacher dismissed the class, she crawled towards the tambourine and started tapping it like there was no tomorrow. We had to pry it from her little hands and drag her away from the gym since the next class was about to start.
  • Meia is also the youngest in her group – she is the only one who still can’t walk on her own. Although she does like it when we hold her by the torso and let her practice “walk.” We do this all the time at home. Sometimes, this is all she wants to do an entire afternoon, much to the dismay of our aching backs. (I don’t think I’ll ever stand straight again.) When it was time to “walk” in class, Meia started crawling. She kept complaining and wriggling out of our arms until we finally gave in and let her crawl.
  • Perhaps out of consideration for Meia, the teacher asked all the students to do a bear crawl. Now, Meia is an expert bear crawler – been bear crawling (if such a term existed) for the past 3 or so months. What does she do come bear crawling time? That’s right. She stops. moving. completely. Dammit.

So by 11pm, Pao and I were zonked out. We would have slept too, had Meia not woken up every hour until 6am. Argh.

The next day, we were at it again. This time, we brought Meia to Bonifacio High Street. While Pao was parking the car, Meia and I were in Gap taking advantage of the air-con when we saw this:

Ugh. It was too cute. I had to let her try it on. And she loved it. And so, we bought it.

Babies are so difficult to take care of. They cry a lot. They need to be fed every 2-3 hours. They poop at the most inconvenient times. They crawl when they should be walking, walk when they should be crawling. Just when you thought you could sneak in a shower while they are asleep, they decide to wake up and make a terrible fuss. And no, they don’t stir just as you are about to go into the bathroom, that would be too easy. They wake up crying after you’ve taken off your clothes, stepped into the shower, and while your hair is full of shampoo.

But ask a parent how it is like to have kids. Usually, they’ll tell you it is one of the most wonderful life-altering experiences. They’re not lying. It’s just that they are remembering those moments in Kairos time and these moments more than make up for the otherwise frenetic day they just had.

It’s like going home exhausted from Little Gym, going through the pictures in your camera, and seeing this:

Meia, after a good spinach meal

Or buying an expensive pair of sunglasses for your almost 11 month old, putting it on her, and seeing this:

Artistahin

Kairos.

 
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Posted by on 01/24/2012 in Good Reads, Parenthood, Uncategorized

 

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Life is Good

It’s been a couple of weeks since Pao was hospitalized. (He had atypical pneumonia and sinusitis. No dengue, thank god.) We were stuck in the hospital for a week and he was on bed rest for another week after that. It was a hectic 2 weeks for me, to say the least. But that’s over now. Pao is on the way to full recovery — he still gets tired but not like before.

So last Sunday we finally had our family pictorial. This was originally scheduled for November 7, but we were only being discharged from the hospital then so we had to move it back.

We just received the pictures from Sheila Catilo, and when I was going through them, I can’t help but feel how lucky I am. Let me count the ways:

I have no reason to complain. Life is good.

Thanks again, Sheila for the awesome pics!

 
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Posted by on 12/04/2011 in Parenthood, Things to Do, Uncategorized

 

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