Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye, Bye Year

How was I as a mother this 2009?

I was not very consistent, but I was very intentional. I attended seminars, I read books, and I was open to different parenting techniques. Plus, I embraced breastfeeding and sign language and intentional parenting in a level I haven't before. Weirdly enough, I became someone mothers turned to for information and support, for guidance and comfort.

But like what I said, I was not very consistent. I still didn't enforce a routine and I still got stressed because I wanted to control my child. I was also not that consistent in discipline so I struggled more over it.

But did I enjoy myself as a Mom? I sure did.

I relished every milestone reached by my son. Sometimes, I can even afford to feel validated because of how happy and healthy he is. And I still enjoy cuddling to him everyday, still enjoy the fact that I am a Mom, still look forward to the days when we'd really get to talk and learn about the many wonders of the world together, and still mourn the fact that every step forward is a step away from the baby that he was.

So yeah, I am still immensely grateful, privileged and blessed that I am a Mom. May I be a better one next year!

Travel Plans for Next Year

It's too soon to plan orlando vacations, or too impractical, since we really don't have the money for it yet, but we're already planning trips for the first half of next year. See, we have to allocate money for the plane fares if we're ever going to Marinduque, and this time, Yakee won't be travelling free anymore. That means he's also paying terminal fee already.

And then there's his swimming lessons and possibly, Kindermusik lessons. Am also wondering if I should enrol him in CFA's reading program already. Maybe if I don't get to teach him satisfactorily enough the first half of 2010, I will.

Even a HongKong trip will have to wait for when Yakee's old enough to really appreciate it, and not demand to be carried around everywhere. I am wondering if it's too soon for a Donsol or back-to-Coron trip though... or if we should just go somewhere else in Visayas where there'd be a beach he can enjoy.

It's good to dream, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here's To Not Bingeing

Okay, I am not exactly starving either. But at least am not bingeing. Plus, since they liked my paksiw adobo so much and I made squash soup after Christmas, we've had relatively healthier viands and weren't living on liempo and barbecue.

But I really cringe at how much I'd weigh come next week. I know I'd probably need fat burners!!! But at least, am not bingeing. There's no ice cream and I can't afford to eat too much sweets because of my cough and sensitive throat. So we also don't live on cake. And we'd be baking cookies tomorrow but it's mostly for New Year consumption.

Already, MIL is preparing to bake apple pie, make callos and chicken galantina and fruit salad. I only really eat the chicken part of the galantina (I don't like the stuffing) and maybe the sauce of the callos.

Now, I should cut down on rice.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yearend Plans

First, there will be baking of cookies. And cooking of fattening foods for Media Noche. But hubs and I are also going to scout their area for manufactured homes within our budget (read: something we hope we can afford). Condos are out of the question but a townhouse without a yard will do. They have parks here anyway for my overactive son so he will get to run about and enjoy some fresh air at least.

The important thing is to make owning a home a priority come next year. Other things are sure to fall into place once that one's been settled.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stubborn Gift Giver

One niece of mine has been vocal about not wanting books as Christmas present. I also know for a fact that my other nephews won't be too keen on getting books as presents. But I was intent on giving books and Filipino products and recycling/reusing stuff for packaging. Plus, because my son is leaping and bounding in learning, I am more excited about books than before.

So I gave books and just gritted my teeth for the lackluster reception to them. If there's one of them who will someday thank me, however silently, for having given a particular book, then that's enough repayment for all the hassle and expense. If there's one of them who will grow up knowing about Symbol LS2208 bar code scanners and astronauts and dinosaurs, if one of them will absolutely love mythology and the classics, if one of them will grow up with a passion for reading and learning like I do, then I can say that this Christmas, I invested well.


My son says WOW to his own books again and again. He'd love remote control cars and play with singing puppy dogs and flying planes, but his love for books and stories is apparent. I couldn't be prouder, or happier :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Mother's Voice Chases Away Night Terrors

Son had a bad case of night terrors just an hour or so ago. It was the first time he couldn't be consoled and sounded like he was in pain. But I also couldn't say that he was fully awake. He was not even calling out to me, which he usually does when he has such episodes.

For five minutes, no amount of "mommy's here baby, it's okay" could pacify him. And then I asked him softly if he wanted me to sing, and he immediately stopped crying. And I hummed his current favorite song (Tuhog na Bulaklak, Flores de Mayo song) and he quited down and later settled back to sleep.

That's how I know he wasn't really hurting over anything. In a way, I shouldn't be touched that I have that effect on him because he's also probably working all the spanking and bad blood between us these past few days in his psyche. Sigh.

It's the lack of sleep and PMS and his greater demands that is making me hellbent on maintaining control. I keep forgetting that am not here to control him, but to guide him and inspire him.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Overweight and Dowdy

I tried shopping for clothes. I really did. I even mustered the courage and energy to fit clothes.

I am sure there are clothes that would still look good on me but the thing is, I feel ugly and dowdy. So the shopping is always not a success. I have projected to really diet and exercise next year/month because I know dieting over the Holidays is like asking for ice cream not to melt in your hands in the height of summer. And thankfully, slight coughs and colds have rendered me disinterested with sweets. My only craving these days is KFC (an order of 1 piece chicken and Go-Go sandwich). But really, I am trying hard to look for ways and means to keep myself inspired and committed next month.

I don't want to have to check out new life insurance rates because my weight is issue enough to make me worried about dying young. Plus, I have to prove that I love my son enough to keep his Mom around for a number of years yet (God willing) and to raise him seeing that eating and living healthy is doable and fun. I've seen enough of cancer to last me a lifetime...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Games, Games, Games

For my fellow Moms who have the time, online games being offered in Facebook are more than enough. They even team up with others to exchange harvests and cows. I don't know how many times I've been given a cow or cupcake but I just really don't have the time to be addicted there.

For sure, games and toys will also populate Christmas trees this year. My niece wanted a Baby Alive and some nephews wanted their own PSP consoles. For one godson who is into online games, however, its new PC games that will rock. He has already hinted on his preferences (Double Play - Jewel Quest Mysteries and Mysterious City Cairo and Samantha Swift and the Mystery of Atlantis). Yeah, I guess he's into old civilizations and stuff. That is one good thing I can say for these games, they get kids interested in folklore and history, in myths and legends, in building and farming.

I can just imagine parents already ordering such games online, or are now making a beeline in stores, hoping to avoid the worst of Christmas rush but still get frustrated with crowds and long lines and possibly out of stock products.

I wonder how many of them know that they can just download some free games instead? Or, if they didn't get a particular game or toy in time, that they can still amuse their child with easy to download games without having to worry about installation and viruses. They just probably have to Google it well and read reviews/testimonials in the sites.

Oh well. At least my son is still only two years old and is still more into stacking cups and blocks. Then again, we're giving him a potty trainer as gift this year. Hehe. Well, I supposedly won a game from Hasbro anyway, so that's another gift.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cruises Whoring Suri Out

Suri was spotted looking really cute in Spain. She really is such a cute child and dresses really look great on her. But heels, make up and dangly earrings on a 3-year old who's just supposedly walking about? Plus, if it wasn't really cold, how come everyone around her had proper shoes and wore long-sleeved ensembles?

Some of the commenters were right. This is very reminiscent of Jon Benet and I wouldn't be surprised if ten years from now, she is filing for emancipation already.

This also reminds me again of how some parents (moms mostly) will go all out prettifying, sexifying their little girls up... but would cry desperate tears when 15 years down the line, their daughter comes home pregnant.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cobain's Daughter All Grown Up

Frances Bean, Kurt Cobain's daughter, is already 17 years old and fighting her Mom in court to release her from her custody.

I wasn't really a Nirvana fan but I loved Kurt's pictures in all the tabloids carrying little Frances Bean, holding her bottle or actually feeding her. That made him cool as a rockstar for me. It was only after he died that I really listened to his music.

Fast forward to now. Frances Bean is pale, reminds me of that Osbourne girl, and not (yet) cashing in on her parent's fame and notoriety. She hasn't been caught without panties, drunk, doing drugs, etc (as far as I can tell). Hopefully, somewhere, somehow, that is making Kurt smile.

But it's a tragedy that she doesn't have a great relationship with her Mom. It could be Courtney's still doing drugs. It could be that Frances just wants to hold all her money. But really, what it boils down to is that one of them is not making good choices.

For Frances' sake, I hope it's her Mom and that she live a less chaotic and absolutely drug-free life.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Carolling Starts Tonight

All this time, I have been putting P1 coins in a piggy bank in anticipation of carollers. My son, being an avid fan of anything and everything that makes music, actually listens to them. So of course we feel we have to pay them to continue playing.

Last year, both kids really had a blast. I think it's akin to being serenaded for them. I remember how I even felt humbled again by the fact that the instruments my son and nephew were playing were newer or possibly more costly than the ones the carollers were using. After all, some of them were just banging spoons together. And this year, my son has a better drum, two xylophones, a tambourine, two harmonicas, two recorders, a trumpet, a ukelele and a maracas.

Well, we will run out of coins... but I guess carollers will have field day going to our house. And nobody really loses because we're always happy when our son is happy.

Can't Hear If You're Shouting

One trick I have heard of but have somehow forgotten is just that... to tell a screaming child that you either can't hear or understand him/her because he/she was shouting. What I do is tell my son usually that, "crying and screaming won't help him get what he wants" or that "Mommy cannot help a boy who's just whining and throwing tantrums". I guess it's the same principle but seeing two friends use it on our friend's child reminded me that I could use the tactic better.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mommy Realizations

One great thing about meeting up with friends is that you ealize that your child isn't the only driving his parent crazy. I rant and rant about my son's demands but in truth, he's just really like the rest of other kids out there. My friends' girls are all dynamos as well.

Great thing though that Yakee didn't throw tantrums much last Sunday at Festival Mall in Alabang. At one point, he was really overstimulated and sleepy and kept hurting me, and I know my friends were looking at me how i'd handle him. But generally, I know we passed with flying colors. I got many slaps but still nothing major that I'd have lost my good mood.

As a bad reward though, we let him have his way with Pappie's drink, which was Dark Cherry Mocha. Hehe.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rising to the Challenge

Last night, I attended a Christmas party with my counselor friends from way, way back. Anyway, I was able to discuss more fully an income opportunity with a friend who's going into the party planning business. She will attend a seminar on balloon designs while her brother has already mastered the art of face painting (because he used to also do tattoos).

I will have to master Photoshop more to really be her invitation designer contact. But at least I can make decent layouts already and there are a lot of commercial use freebie kits already out there I can start working with. In time, I may have to pay for more kits that are commercial use, but at least that would be business investment anyway. Who knows, I may even be able to really moonlight and design wedding invitations.

And then, one of our friends make chocolate treats (I even bought one designed to be a house, complete with chocolate Christmas tree). This is it. We're moms now and need to expand our horizons.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feeling Helpless

We really can't afford Outer Banks vacations, or even a trip abroad just right now. But we're blessed enough to have roof over our head, cloths on our back, some money in the bank, etc.

My cousin found two families at the Plaza de Dilao with two infants exposed to the elements. One is just 3 weeks old, the other 4 months old. She was affected by their plight and was asking me if I haven't kept some of my son's socks.

Good thing I actually still had 4 pairs of infant socks. But I'm at a loss because I really gave away my son's stuff already for Typhoon Ondoy victims.

The only things I have saved for myself were two newborn onesies (one I gave to my cousin to give away to the baby) and the other things that are still here, I have promised already to a Mom. My son's past two years old... I really have no more newborn stuff to give.


Now, I should really seek them out and try to convince the Mom of the 3-week old to nurse the 4-month old, whose Mom is working as a maid somewhere. And I should see what we can give to those families.

I can't save every child... but that doesn't mean I don't wish I could.


A friend is also enlisting my help to help her get her future niece/nephew adopted. See, her brother (and his wife) are drug addicts and they already have a one year old. The wife is pregnant again and they usually vanish for several days and are unemployed because of their addiction so my friend and her Mom wants to have the new baby adopted. They even want to just sneak the newborn away and bring it to me so that her brother couldn't go after it anymore.

I didn't want that though because I know it's kidnapping. Plus, my heart always go out to adoptive parents whose hopes get high one minute and get dashed the next. So i'd rather adoptive parents pick the baby up from the hospital... give their names to be placed on the birth certificate instead.

Yes, I am a little ashamed to say that there are cases where I also don't like how the DSWD system works.


All these babies needing to be saved...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guilty Working Mom

the funny thing is, I am working from home. And I worked mostly very early this morning while son was asleep. And I woke up with him, nurse him, play with him, policed him and his cousin, put him down for a nap and he is playing near me. But I already miss him. And I already feel I am neglecting him. To think there have been many times before when am actually just Plurking the day away so me in front of the computer isn't anything new.

But now I feel guilty.

Now I feel he's being deprived, neglected, shortchanged.

To think he's also clearly proven that he could actually play by himself... that it only seemed he couldn't before because he really could engage me to stop whatever I was doing for him. I still stopped today but I guess he could also sense that I was seriously at work this afternoon.

Sigh. I don't know how working moms can do it. Eventhough my child isn't complaining, I look at him and feel like i've been bad to him all day.


But Mommy really loves him.

Homeschooling Thoughts

At the World Bazaar yesterday, we almost bought a bedroom and accessories set because I wanted the toy rack. But I knew that was being impractical but hubby also said that we could use the table and chairs for our homeschooling days soon. Two years can fly so fast after all.

Maybe next year, I will start browsing curriculum online to see what is being offered and weigh what will also seem as a perfect fit. I also intend to attend next year's homeschooling conference and continue attending the seminars being aranged by The Masters Academy. Right now, however, I am still really torn between three homeschooling institutions.

The Masters Academy is a school I am already sort of at home with, because they initiate the homeschooling conference and I've attended one Learning Styles seminar with them. Being affiliated with CCF, I also know that they're really intent on values formation and that their parents are a warm lot.

School of Tomorrow, on the other hand, is where a friend's son is enrolled. Supposedly also, it has the best curriculum of all the homeschoolings institutions here. It's also Christian-based and there is a regular school in Las Piñas should I ever want to enrol my child in a regular school already.

Catholic Filipino Academy seems to be the only Catholic-based one and is actually the most affordable. It's being run by Bo Sanchez.

I still don't know which homeschooling curriculum best fits our family and which one will offer the best support system to homeschooling parents. It's great, however, that the pinoyhomeschool yahoogroups is also able to provide support, information and resources to parents who are feeling lost or overwhelmed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Still on a Homeschooling Road

SIL asked me when I'm going to enrol Yakee in a homeschooling program. I explained to her that homeschooling orgs believe in "better later than sooner" and are usually strict about not enrolling a child in a program before the child is four years old.

I still have 1.5 years before I enrol Yakee into anything (apart from swimming lessons again next summer). But oh, how time really passes. Soon, I will be making first communion invitations for him and getting anxious because I will be sending him to a regular school already the following year. First communion is given at Grade 6, right? I really only plan to homeschool my kids till Grade 6 and want them to go through adolescents in the company of other adolescents. Hopefully, 12 years in my company has fortified them enough to face peer pressure with grace and wisdom.

But anyway, that's looking way ahead. Right now, I am just buying my son books and reading to him and letting him lead me to what interests him.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spanked The Son

Spanked Yakee last night. Gave him three calculated thumps on his bottom for running up and down the stairs. Granted, I was already annoyed that he kept plucking the Christmas tree decor and has broken several (and I can't help but calculate the cost of what's broken already) but I have also told myself that we put up a tree for him, so he should be allowed to enjoy it the way he pleases. I thought of dismantling the tree and just putting it up when he can appreciate it... but what is appreciation really? When he's around 7, I doubt he'll look at the tree and delight in it as he does now.

But I lost my cool when he went running up and down the stairs, sometimes even turning, with the trimmings in his arms. Plus, he really refuses to listen most of the time!!!


I need to find more ways to parent him. I try my best not to spank but even talking him through before and during something sometimes doesn't cut it anymore. Even removal of privileges and awarding of some don't get noticed.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Laundry Matters

We were not so environmental where laundry is concerned. We've used fabric softeners ever since, even with Yakee's initial layette, but used Perla soap to wash his clothes.

And we still use fabric softener on his clothes now, but use Tide bar on his clothes already. At least we don't need water softener here in Manila. Less chemicals used is still less chemicals used.

Thankfully though, Yakee isn't extra sensitive. And since we hand wash our clothes, we also make sure we rinse well after getting all the dirt out.

What about you, who washes your kid's clothes and what productsdo you use?

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Anvil Shopping Spree

Every December, Anvil Publishing holds a Book Sale. When I heard that you could buy Archie Comic Books for as cheap as P5 (well, I bought mine for P10 each), I really decided to at least check it out. Plus, I wanted to see if they're selling storybooks which I could give away as Christmas gifts.

Well, taxis are hard to get these days so we had to commute. I had the brilliantidea of letting my son tag along. But at least there wasn't any major traffic.

Most of the books are kinda dusty. Good thing nobody was smoking Rocky Patel cigars there because the dust on the books was already enough to make my son's eyes puff and all of us itch. But the staff was gracious enough to direct us to their washrooms.

There were a lot of inspirational books, Michael Crichton's The Lost World, old storybooks selling for P10 each, old Archie Comic Books (but only two titles remain). The Kwento ni Lola Basyang storbyooks are being sold at 20% discount but they didn't have a whole set out (plus, we already have a whole set which we bought at 15% off when we attended a parenting seminar before).

My splurge buys? Barney coloring and sticker book because it was only half-price off and a new storybook (a brother with autism) that's only 20% off. Those cost me P169.

But the rest of the books, I bought for P1,012.00 and am talking of 77 books (including a set of Toy Story stickers and sticker book).

We were already going home when one of the staff mentioned that they're bringing in Magic School Bus books and a mom said that she'd return for them. I was curious so we had merienda and returned for the books. They cost P20/pc but I decided to buy one of each (and some extra to give away). It's silly but I believed them that it's big in the US (plus, the books seemed very informative).

I actually bought a lot of storybook extras, because am retaining a copy for our mini library and giving away some to nieces and nephews.

While waiting for the Magic School Bus books, Yakee had me read The Mahiwagang Biyulin. I've actually memorized this story and can tell it while also signing half of the words.

Hopefully, Yakee wouldn't ever outgrow his love for books :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Possible Whys

I am still looking forward to my son's WHY phase. I know most parents just really got annoyed but hopefully, I don't and hopefully, I can inspire learning when he starts asking one question after another.

It's not that far now, since we can understand his words 50-75% of the time. I can't help but wonder what things he'd be asking me about first. Will he be asking about cars and what an rv breakdown is? Will he be asking about helicopters and planes that will get me buying a globe for him and different plane models? Will he be asking about food, and challenging his routines? Will he want me to map the dinosaur era for him? Will he ask questions about why Jesus was born?

I can't wait. It'd be a whole new world for him and like a rebirth for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wish Granted

There is this Ally McBeal scene wherein Ally was telling Renee that she wants to get married, to grow old with someone and have babies and get fat.

Well, I am fat now, due to my fault mostly, and certainly not helped by my age and pregnancy. And with the upcoming wedding I am to attend, I am feeling every bit sad about my lumpy shape again.

But... even when I think of my glorious days as a thin woman, I really cannot find it in me to wish for those days again. I am really happier now. It's only really important socials that get me feeling anxious and insecure but other than that, am happy in my own skin.

So maybe I will just attitude myself along with whatever dress I wear on Sunday. I am a Mom after all, always wanted to be, and should be glad that my wish was granted :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Keeping My Child Healthy

Recent happenings in our home had me reflect on the changes we've made and the practices we have that aim to keep him healthy. Firstly, my husband and I talked about how important it is that our kids be healthy. That meant having to improve on certain practices from the families we came from and learn, basically, from our parents' mistakes and bad habits.

And then of course, there was that decision for me to be a stay-at-home Mom (SAHM). This way, I was able to ensure that I can monitor what happens to my child and what he eats. There was never a desire to be obsessive about it, but we wanted to be vigilant about keeping him healthy.

So I breastfed. Despite the struggles and exhaustion and my own mother pushing me to mix-feed, I kept at breastfeeding. My own husband even went to two breastfeeding seminars with me so he could fully support me. I roomed in my child as soon as his pedia allowed it, so we could breastfeed everytime he wanted to and so that my loving touch could also help boost his yet immature immune system.

We exposed him to morning sun rays and people, but do not frequent crowded places and certainly do not take him everywhere. And we had the necessary vaccines administered to him on time. It's also great that he had a main pedia and an HMO-pedia to turn to when he gets sick.

When he started solids, we were faithful with mashed vegetables aside from commercially-prepared baby food. And when his pedia declared he could have table food already, we sustained him with long-trusted Filipino dishes that are rich in vegetable broth like tinola, sinigang and nilaga. We could have fed him brown rice for a healthier fare, I guess, but since we use white rice, we just prepare his meals part-rice and part-vegetable. I also puree different vegetables together with some meat and make this into soups for his rice, not only for variety in taste but also variety in nutrition.

There are seldom junk food (say, chocolates) in the house and these treats are given in controlled portions and not everyday. Of course, we allow him ice cream and cake and cookies, but as treats after a good meal, and not as snacks. And softdrinks and other instant powdered juice are definitely out of the question.

We also give him fresh milk over powdered milk for kids, which is usually sweeter. Too much sweets in one's diet compromises the immune system, after all, so I really made sure that if he wants sweets, he will get them from fruits instead. My son is a slave to bananas, grapes, apples and pineapples. And we avoid processed food (except maybe cheese) as much as we can for they often contain high amounts of sodium. So for snacks, my son has biscuits and crackers or corn on the cob or porridge or oatmeal, not chips.

One other healthy habit that I developed is checking food labels. Some brands come out with supposedly kid-friendly snacks but if you check out the label, they're high in sugar and salt.

But health is not just nutrition. Exercise is also very, very important. So aside from letting my child run about, instead of keeping him confined, we also make sure to limit TV time. And we don't buy him video games and other personal gaming consoles because we'd rather he engages in play where he'd actually move. We let him stack his blocks, play his guitar or drums or go jumping on the bed instead. And we look for TV programs that require dancing to get him moving as well.

When the weather is good, we take him outdoors. Last summer, we also enrolled him in swimming class so he'd learn to swim early and to strengthen his lungs. When we have money and time for trips, we also generally make sure there's swimming involved so he can play without getting too hot. And seldom do we take him to a mall for entertainment, usually it's really for errands and we allow him to help now by pushing the cart.

My son is only two. Feeding him will continue being a challenge as he grows more and more independent and smart. Making sure he also continues being active will also be a challenge. But we remain believers in the value of good nutrition and healthy habits for our son. It's actually not that hard now, what with more and more websites like Immunity Foundation providing tips and tricks in keeping kids healthy and more and more parents being aware of how our own habits in childhood resulted in diabetes and hypertension problems in our 30s. But still, I hope more parents will quit with the fastfood treats and mall trips and go to the park instead.

And yes, now am assured we've laid a great foundation for my son's resistance.

All's Well That Ends Well

Last Thursday, I was devastated because the HMO pedia said that my son had typhoid and could have primary complex. Primary complex, I understood how easily one can get it because it's literally in Philippine air. And since my son was going through a bad bout of coughs and colds, his respiratory tract was already compromised. But typhoid behooved me! We eat at home 95% of the time!!!

But anyway, we consulted my son's main pedia for a second opinion and my son was declared well. We do have to watch out for primary complex signs but other than that, he was not prescribed any new medicine or vitamin.

And I had forgotten to update my sister but I had told her of the sad news before, so she told my father and my Dad texted me this morning asking what meds my son is taking because he might be able to buy it from the U.S. :) Sweet, isn't he? I just reminded him to make sure they take vitamins, eat healthy, and possibly replace their furnace filters so they won't have as much cold or allergies this winter time over there in Michigan. I also told them to start taking fish oil supplements.

And my son continues to thrive and play and harass us, his parents. So I guess he really is a healthy child who just had colds. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Overprotective Parents

A long, long time ago, when I was not even married yet, I think, I worried about getting a car with my future groom. It was irrational but I felt that having a car will groom me and our future kids to lead pampered, dependent lives. Well, we have a car now and I do think thrice about commuting to far-flung places but I still use the jeep. And i've let my son ride in one (even buses going to Las Piñas!).

I have enrolled my son in swimming lessons but he generally stays and plays home with me, my cousin and my husband. He's not out of the house everyday to attend some class at age 2. I have taught him sign language but not yet his alphabet. And though we can afford, and even have some, fancy electronic toys that supposedly boost intelligence, I allow my child to play with pots and pans instead. It's lovely seeing him wearing pails, baskets, bowls, colanders and even fruitcake boxes as hats.

Anyway, this article is such an eye-opener and reality checker. I know a lot of parents really just mean well. But if love needs air to breathe and space to grow, chidlren need them more.

Let's love them and guide them and support them... and the only thing they need to succeed in future is the knowledge that 1)they effect their destiny, 2)they are human and will commit mistakes and will always have limitations, and 3)they have a family.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Help Me Pray for Baby Janina Perianne

A N@wie sister recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl they named Janina Perianne. She's just as perfect as can be, however, she was also born with Apert's Syndrome. She's a month old now and is thriving but she also needs a lot of tests, possibly some surgeries, and a lot of little and big miracles to help her lead a normal, healthy life.

Please help me pray for her, that she be resilient and brave and stay happy despite all the treatments. And help me pray for her family, that they may find support and resources to provide Janina what she needs.

Thank you.

Home Owning

Since our current home was not really affected that much by typhoon Ondoy, I really have no idea how it is for those who were. I understand though that many decided to sell their homes instead rather than stay in their old villages. Most probably, some of them are still paying for housing loans used to build those homes. Chances are, there were some who were affected so badly that they just couldn't afford the payments anymore, especially given the recession and the massive loss of property they may have sustained.

So for their sake, I hope there are already institutions in place here that offer credit counseling like in the US. Since the US economy is also suffering greatly from the recession, and foreclosures are common, companies like Consolidated Credit are invaluable to home owners and whatever housing-related problems they may have. Such companies also offer other services like mortgage default, money/debt management counseling, and reverse equity mortgage counseling. Debt consolidation, where you can take out a loan with really low interests and fixed rates to pay off many others, at a time you're really down is very helpful as well. I hear that in cases where the debtor is in danger of bankruptcy, a debt consolidator can buy the loan at a discount. Now that's true help ina time of crisis!

Maybe home owners should be approaching banks and established insurance companies to see if thse are offered in the country already.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Missed the Gossip

Right now, I am catching up on celebrity mommy news at Babyrazzi. I know they're rich and their kids will grow up having their own home theater systems and perfumes named after them and that they will start trends themselves so they really live in an alternate reality. But some of them had the same issues I did (like post partum blues) and am sure mothers everywhere will agree that being a mom sort of puts you ina different league and you'd always feel one with other moms.

So allow me to marvel at the fashionable maternity wear and outlandish names in the meantime... my baby is sleeping anyway.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Giving Children Medicine

My son is actually a lot better than other kids about taking medicine. He doesn't love them exactlt but he's usually very cooperative. He doesn't rage so much, as if he's being poisoned.

But... he does have a hard time keeping some meds down. Especially antibiotics and the antihistamine Aerius. So these tips on giving children medicine, though very helpful, do not really apply to us. Then again, I may need to work on my coaxing skills and timing skills. Like this morning. I had thought some breastmilk is enough for his tummy to accept the Augmentin. Maybe it was, but I also immediately gave Tempra too. Then again, to defend myself, he was running a really high fever.

Thankfully though, he kept the second dose of Augmentin and slept just fine without barfing. Hopefully, I just really have to keep his tummy full and time the meds right.

Sigh, Sigh, Sigh

Now my son has acute otitis media. We have to change his antibiotics because the basic dose of amoxicillin isn't doing a great job in combating the infection. Sigh.

But at least I can breathe a sigh of relief that his lungs are clear and his blood test showed no great infection or platelet count drop.

Part of me is worried that someone will blame me for him getting sick... say, suggest that am not doing a great job at it. Well, I would have probably killed that person but I guess mothers are their own worst critic. I can't help but ask how I failed... but except for dipping him in the pool while he had colds, I really can't think of any other lapse of judgment. And though we're paying dearly now, I also know I couldn't have possibly banned my son from the pool that weekend... but yeah, had I known, we wouldn't have dipped him under water talaga.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Of Medicines and Ear Infections

In a way, am still thankful that I was spared till now. Some babies had ear infections when they were actually babies. My Yakee is already a sturdy two-year old, one that can even take medicines in teaspoons and not just drops.

But still, it has been a really trying two days since I deduced that he may have an ear infection. I should have thought of that immediately that Sunday night he winced when I was cleaning his ear. It's otitis externa, and am telling you, even the best wrinkle cream cannot possibly remove the wear and tear on Mommy for the past two days. Mostly, the exhaustion is on administering the medicines because he has to take paracetamol, decongestant, expectorant and antibiotics. And I have to make sure the ear drops actually get to pool in his ears and soften his impacted ear wax, which will be flushed this Saturday.

I don't even give him his regular vitamins anymore... to give him a rest from the droppers.

Son is experiencing diarrhea from the antibiotics and am paranoid to my wits' end because the last time he was given antibiotics, he ended up being too sensitive and succumbing to a bad gastroenteritis spell. One that landed him in the hospital for almost a week.

I cannot, will not, do not want that to happen again!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Proud to be a Breastfeeding Mom

There are some mothers who breastfed because they were told to do so. So they did it and that was that.

There are some mothers who breastfed because it's supposed to be the best and they want to be good mothers. So they did it and that was that.

There are some mothers who breastfed because they were stay-at-home Moms or were poor and felt they had no choice. So they did it and that was that.

And then there are some like us... not everyone of us started out fine, not everyone of us had the right support group, or the correct information, or the ideal birthing scenario or healthy baby. Not everyone of us was exclusively breastfeeding at first and some of us even had sores and infections and whatever else breast-related pain. Heck, some of us even had babies who refused to latch, period. But somehow, breastfeeding became a personal thing for us. We fell in love with it, its benefits, its rewards. So despite the initial discomfort and the exhaustion over being at the beck and bawl of a wee babe, we kept on. And we started reading up about it. And we started egging friends and family to do it. And we dressed for it. And we did it in public. And we can talk for hours on end about it. It's become part of our belief system, our lifestyle, our child's babyhood. And however way you shake us, and though we can respect other moms' decisions, a part of us will never, ever understand again how other moms can choose not to breastfeed.

Somehow, in the course of the conversion, breastfeeding has become as natural to us as breathing, eating, loving and mothering. Suggest to us that we stop cold turkey and we feel threatened, that we're being stripped of rights.

Any fertile woman, heck, even a teener, CAN technically become a mother by getting pregnant. And with modern medicine, giving birth isn't anymore the one-foot-in-the-grave thing that it used to be. But breastfeeding still remains to be as much of the motherly sacrifice as it was hundreds of years ago.

And thus, donated breastmilk can nothing be but pure love in milk bottles.

I'm blessed to be a Mom. I'm proud to be a breastfeeding mom.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sick and Sick

First off, am down with allergic rhinitis. Must be the grass in the resort we stayed in that's giving me the sniffles. Sigh.

And though I should be sleeping, I am uploading pictures of our swimming party and is absolutely horrified of my flab. Should I reconsider Wii and ask hubs to buy wii accessories already? Or a gym membership? I don't want to go on a crash diet and it's not like am pigging out all the time. Heck, last weekend, I only ate one whole crab. Normally, i'd have consumed at least three that entire time.

Howell. Son woke up...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Uploading Pics

Thanks to many sites like Flickr, Photobucket, Pbase and Multiply, mothers everywhere get free online backup for their photos. And I always encourage fellow moms to be vigilant about this because I seriously cannot imagine losing pictures in case my hard disk crashes.

We took it a step further though. We have a paid Smugmug account. So I was kinda chagrined that Multiply is now offering their Premium account for like P800 only, but then again, it'd be such a hassle trasnferring all my files there. Plus, our Smugmug account also hosts my blog pics. It would be a bigger hassle changing all those URLs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Opps Please!

A friend wonderfully thought of me for an income opportunity requiring me to just write an advertorial for a certain product. It required me to submit my blog traffic statistics though and this blog didn't make the cut. So now am wondering if I should use some seo software soon to boost traffic in my blogs so that I will have more blogging opportunities as well. I really should be more entrepreneurial in my endeavos here at home to get some extra income for more spending money.


If only I can sell things!

Halloween Binge


We spent the long weekend at my in-laws and I binged again. I didn't eat a lot of the regular food but I ate half a gallon of ice cream the entire time we were there. If news of this reaches my SIL in Dubai, she just might send me some Kettlebells for "strength conditioning and permanent fat loss". Because really, though I am not yet round, I am very, very, very wide. It's just a matter of time before I become as round as siopao.

And it's the Holidays too. How do I deprive myself of food during the Holidays? What do I do with the rest of Snickers here at home? Ugh. Gluttony.


I did binge on veggie soup and veggie viands there. I hope the effort counts.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Proof of Motherhood

I was chatting with a friend the other day, whose daughter is my godchild and was running a fever. Aside from encouraging her to go to the doctor and discussing malady possibilities, I was also telling her that babies really get sick and though it's sad, it's how they naturally make themselves immune and healthier when they grow up.

Then we got to talking about our babies' bowel movements and I laughingly said that it's one of the surest proof of motherhood: that our happiness depends partly on our child's poop. Regular dirty diapers without the baby/child straining is such a priceless form of happiness, no Honeywell Barcode Scanner will ever register a cost to it. But Moms know that the price for that kind of happiness is our sanity... because since babies' systems are still developing, they will have days of straining and days of pooping lots of times on the same diet, and in this interim, a Mom will be gnashing her teeth, wondering what to do.

For a while, I stopped giving my son apples because he was getting constipated. But lately, the more apples he eats, the more times he poops. Sigh.

Maybe it gets better with the next child. I don't know yet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sta. Rosa Breastfeeding Mission

When calls for volunteers happen, I check my schedule, weigh my priorities, and go blindly when am available. I'm a volunteer, I just show up.

Unfortunately for us, since LATCH moms ARE moms, our kids sometimes get sick. So there I was, Monday morning, shocked because the UNICEF Consultant endorsing us to Sta. Rosa's LGU was asking who's going to step up to be team leader for the day. The hardcore LATCHers were not there and our leaders all had to stay with sick kids. Worse, we didn't check mails during the weekend so we were there with no idea who else was coming and what not.

It turned out, from a group of 7-10 volunteers, we were downsized to 4. In the van, we were all looking at each other wondering how we'll manage since we had no idea really what to expect. But I reminded our group that we are breastfeeding moms and therefore had superpowers.

Due to coordination issues, we were not so efficient that day. We could have gone to two evacuation centers but only managed one. It also didn't help that Sta. Rosa is way over in Laguna. And I am sad to report that only two of the eighteen evacuation centers are not submerged in water still.

But dare I say, we did good on that mission? :)

There were lots of room for improvement. I myself felt I should have emphasized again and again the importance of breastfeeding during calamities, but I felt some sort of disconnect for them because it's been a month already. Their homes, if they can recover them, are expected to remain submerged till December.

But like what I said, we did good on that mission. And I would like to acknowledge the Sta. Rosa Market evacuees because of their cooperation. And the DSWD staff (Jojo) who was really helpful. I am not so fond of the LGU people who assisted us because their 'staff and volunteers' were going over the goodie bags intended for the Mom Evacuees even before we were finished giving to the Moms... some even got from us and then later asked our driver for more.

Oh of course, LATCHers rock!!! It's nice being given an opportunity to step up. I don't even know how effective I am a speaker but at least I realized that I could do it for hours, everyday, and love what am doing. And I know I connected to the crowd somehow...

But yes, prizes like a bar of soap or cooking oil is incentive enough to get anybody participating :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Ko Ito

Forget what to do make of the insurance quote you're considering for a while and shop, shop, shop! Well, at least consider them as gifts to your baby or nieces/nephews and godchildren for Christmas. And this kind of shopping, you can do from your own home. Won't even take longer than 30 minutes!

Baby Ko Ito currently offers Gap, Carters, Osh Kosh and Hus Puppies baby/children's clothes, nursing covers and thermal totes for milk bottles on the go.

I'm seriously loving the pajama sets!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chari-Tees from Blisfulbabes

What will go well with a mom's Naot sandals? Why, a Graphic Tee from the Mother Tongue line of Blisfulbabes, of course!

These are commemorative tees for Blisfulbabes 10th year anniversary of making fashionable nursing wear. What's even better is that for every piece sold, P100 goes to L.A.T.C.H.

LATCH (Lactation Attachment Training Counselling and Help) is a non-profit organization working with the country's top hospitals and doctors to establish quality lactation education and peer counselling services. They hold monthly workshops for expectant couples at The Medical City where their office/breastfeeding clinic is based. For more information on the group, log on to

Head over to Made For Mama to order your shirt, or order some as gifts for the coming Holidays :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

DD Ladies

DDU is Dirty Dozen Unlimited, the unofficial name of hubby's high school peer group. Now, most of them are married and have kids, and most of the wives are on the family way for 2nd and 3rd offsprings already. And two girlfriends are currently pregnant. Thus, we couldn't call ourselves DD Wives since we're not all technically married to the DD guy who got us pregnant.

Anyway, one of us sort of started a mailing list just for us DD Ladies, and she started by talking pregnancy. As an introduction, I in turn said that I was the breastfeeding counselor among the wives, not that the other wives didn't know as much about about breastfeeding. I was wondering if I should have added that they could run to me for digiscrapping needs, like baptism invites or holiday invitations layouts. It would be a privilege but I was also worried that they might expect marvelous things from me when I only know basic Photoshop.

Still, it is rather nice to be part of the group. I'm hoping our kids will grow up knowing each other, playing with each other ocassionally and becoming friends in time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not That Sad

In hubs' barkada, we were the only ones not pregnant right now who could be (married and without an infant). Another friend is preggy in the Berks too.

And I have my period.

Normally, such news would have gotten me depressed and stress eating. Normally, i'd be walking around a little angry and lots moody. But am not. This surprised me even because I have not been nursing at night (normally, i'd have hoped that increased the chances of me getting preggy). Also, I was delayed for a week and didn't even think of testing.

Of course, there were moments of hoping but at least am not that affected by it. I guess it's because am preoccupied with my volunteer work and having other things to worry about. Hubs says I am perkier these days too. And I really do feel happier.

And I wish our friends a happy pregnancy!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

8 Weight Loss Secrets From Around the World

by Reader's Digest Magazine, on Fri Oct 2, 2009 9:32am PDT

Whatever happened to just enjoying good food, in moderation, without guilt? These global tricks reveal it's possible, and show you how.

1. Stop eating before you're full. The Okinawans, whose average BMI is 21.5 for those who eat a traditional diet, call this hara hachi bu, or eating till you're 80 percent full. Of course, we're not suggesting that you leave the table hungry. But eating until the buttons pop stretches the stomach by about 20 percent each time you do it, so you inevitably need more food to feel satisfied, explains Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Diet Plan. He says that putting your fork down "when you feel that first twinge of fullness" gives your brain a chance to realize that you are full before you overdo it.

~ unfortunately, I have problems stopping when am full. sometimes even, I seem to want to eat more even whe3n I already feel full.

2. Drizzle on the healthy oils. Healthy fats like olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet, and canola oil, a staple of Okinawans, make vegetables tastier, so you're likely to eat more of them. And, as we know, eating a diet rich in produce is key to maintaining a healthy weight.

~ i love butter! but am also starting to love veggies more, which I never thought was possible.

3. When you're eating, just eat. No other culture multitasks meals the way Americans do with our TV dinners, fast-food drive-throughs and grab-'n-go food that's designed to fit into a car cup holder and be eaten with one hand. In Japan, it's considered rude to eat while walking. And you'll never catch the French gulping coffee in the car. "In France, there are no car cup holders because you don't drink coffee while driving," explains Will Clower, PhD, author of The Fat Fallacy : The French Diet Secrets to Permanent Weight Loss. "Eating and drinking aren't errands. It's not what you do on the way to something else." Good advice. When you're distracted by work, traffic or the TV, you're apt to overeat without even realizing it, notes Dean Ornish, MD, author of Eat More, Weigh Less. "If you really pay attention to what you're eating, you enjoy it more fully and don't need as much food."

4. Get moving. People in Asian countries, France and the Mediterranean tend to be slim because they're more active. Not that they spend hours at the gym; they simply walk a lot.

~ I have running shoes now so I really should start running in them!!! I don't have ellipticals I can use but we also have a treadmill that I should be using everyday.

5. Enjoy regular meals. One reason French women don't get fat is because French women eat three meals a day. You may think skipping meals cuts calories, but all it does is evoke a primal "fear of hunger response" that causes overeating later, explains Dr. David Katz, MD, author of The Way to Eat. "Throughout most of our history, we had too little to eat. So when you go for long periods without eating, you stir up all that native programming, which says eat like crazy when you can, because all too often you can't." Start with breakfast. Studies show that breakfast-eaters are slimmer than skippers.

~ this is why am getting annoyed with my cousin... she refuses to eat sometimes, telling me she doesn't feel hungry... and then later complaining she fels faint. I keep telling her that she needs to eat still even while trying to losew weight but she wouldn't listen. Now, it's affecting her blood pressure too.

6. Dine with others. Eating with family or friends vs. alone in your car, at your desk or on the couch is part and parcel of traditional cultures. Not only does camaraderie make the meal more enjoyable, it's slimming. "Eating with others restrains your own behavior," notes Dr. Katz. "You eat more slowly, which increases the likelihood that you'll register when you're full before you've eaten more than you should."

~ then again, dining with others can be distraction enough for one to overeat. Sometimes, the wonderful conversations just keep my appetite up!

7. Chow down only when you're hungry. Americans eat for all sorts of reasons besides hunger, especially from boredom, loneliness, stress or fear, a foreign concept in other cultures. "You can't make food the solution to every issue in your life and expect to be thin," says Dr. Katz. "If you eat from boredom, find a hobby. If you eat to relieve stress, learn meditation or yoga."

~ I eat when am hungry and during meal times, even when i've just eaten. It's a compulsion!!!

8. Have a glass of wine. A staple of French and Mediterranean tables, wine adds joy to the meal, and because it contains potent antioxidants, is at least partly responsible for why these cultures traditionally have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality despite their higher-fat diets. And while some studies show that we tend to eat more when we drink, a Finnish study actually found that male drinkers were leaner than abstainers.

~ this one I really can'd do. I just don't dig alcoholic drinks and artificial buzz.

I know there is hope for Mommy Mec yet, but I really have to start doing the work if I want to be eliciting whistles again. Hehe.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Generosity Rewarded

Tomorrow, I am going on another breastfeeding mission with LATCH. I decided to scour our cabinets for anything to give and had time to go through my son's drawers which I didn't have last time. So there I was, unfolding and folding clothes and sorting them in three piles... one for a preggy woman I promised infant layette to (though i've really given most of my son's already), one for my cousin's son who is about a year younger, and one for Ondoy victims. Suddenly, I got really, really sad. See, I was going through my "posterity stash" already as well and parting with really favorite items. So I started texting friends who I know would understand.

It's not that I was having second thoughts about giving those things away. After that boy who died, I could never have second thoughts about giving away stuff anymore. But it really felt like a thousand pin pricks in the heart to be parting with them, because it's also like saying goodbye to those times. To my son's babyhood. The memories just kept crashing down and I ended up crying fat, hot tears over sleeper suits from his crybaby nights, and the pink jumpsuit that he looked great in, and the polos that made him look more like a boy and less of a baby, the slippers I bought instead of getting my own, etc.

I guess in a way, I had it coming. My son just turned two years. I have been a mom for that long (and nine months). I survived. And I can't help but find the fact that my baby is no longer a baby really bittersweet. Of course, I shall mourn.

And it's PMS time.


Like what a friend would often say, cheerful givers are cheerfully rewarded as well. Within an hour of finishing the packing of those things to be given to Ondoy victims, my parents' packages arrived. It's two boxes of goodies for my son and nephew.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Milk Donation Drop Off Points


~ PGH-Lactation Unit 5458400 local 3409 (Thess, Tina or Grace)

Quezon City

~ 21 Queensville cor Goldstar Sts., White Plains Subd, QC (0917 529 5121 Amelia)
~ Unit 7 Mariposa Square , 24 C Benitez St., Cubao, QC (0917 846 4987 Rosanna)
~ 17F Green Grove Villa, Lantana Rd., New Manila, QC (413 7340 Dr. Mianne)

~ 38 San Miguel Court, Celery Drive, Valle Verde 5, Pasig (636 2869 Dr. Zeka)

~ Lantau Dimsum, 3rd Floor Food Court, South Gate Mall, Pasong Tamo cor EDSA (664-4645 Ana)

~ 43 Sycip St., Pacific Malayan Village, Alabang (0917 5060440 Dr. Maisa)

~ 25 Chemistry St.,Scienceville, Paranaque (House is at end of Russia St., beside Mary Help of Christians (0917 842 8530 Dr. Ina)

Helping 2-Year Olds Speak More Clearly

I found a trick that rang TRUE and GOOD for me... reposting from Babycenter

As a toddler develops speech and language skills, it is important to model, rather than demand. For example, avoid asking questions like, "is this a truck?" or telling him to "say truck" but instead model or demonstrate what you would like him to say. This is a tried-and-true SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist) technique. An example of modeling would be to hold up the object and say, "truck" pause, "this is a truck", pause, "my truck" pause, "fast truck", pause, "truck". You may feel silly and you may have to say the word 50 times, but eventually he will attempt the word on his own. As for articulation (how the word sounds) certain errors are typical for certain ages; it is when they do not improve over months/years that intervention is needed. Also, if a child has had several ear infections per year (especially ones that last longer than the typical 10-day antibiotic run) ask your doctor to refer you to an ENT or audiologist for a full evaluation. (From an SLP and mom!)

We prompt Yakee lots of times ("this is a door, can you say door?") but I will try this tactic. I am actually not concerned about my son's speech development. It's not as fast as other kids but I know he's developing nicely. And like what I told his pedia yesterday, he does know over a hundred words and can say these words with me being able to understand what he meant, apart from the words that he knows and understands but cannot say clearly yet.

So why would I try another tactic if am not worried? Well because, there is always room for improvement. :)


I am looking at the next developmental milestones I can expect from my child in the next six months. Already, he's doing the physical/psychomotor ones (like jumping with both feet, balancing on one foot, washing and drying his hands) so I guess that's really his strength.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Looking for Breastfeeding Mission Volunteers

LATCH is looking for breastfeeding mission volunteers to go to Sta. Rosa, laguna either on Friday or Saturday (depending on when most of the LATCHers are free) as UNICEF has informed us that the need for such a mission in that area is great. UNICEF will be providing transportation for all. Volunteers are expected to assist in rallying the moms to the assembly area, taking down information, distributing goods and prizes (we play a Breastfeeding Myths game) and maybe helping out in cup feeding breastmilk to babies who need it.

The exercise probably won't result in weight loss slimming pills can give you, but it at least stretches perspective. Plus, volunteers may learn a thing or two from the game.

They say that the number one problem in evac centers right now are lung-related diseases. The next is diarrhea. We're trying to save infants from dying from diarrhea, so please help us.

Moms for Moms

Moms for Moms started out from Handy Dandy Diapers. Miss Rea Gomez Harrow's diaper business got her aware and touched by the plight of the babies born at Fabella Hospital. She decided to help and part of her earnings from her diaper business go to diaper donations for the babies born at Fabella's NICU.

Last October 06, I read Carlos Celdran's FB alert that volunteers are needed to help repack goods and the venue was only in Malate. I was itching to volunteer in repacking goods but didn't have the heart to go to far-flung places like QC so it was a perfect opportunity. We repacked goods good for 500 recipients, each bag containing baby food, formula, water, cereals, baby clothes, diapers, vitamins and common medicines and laundry detergent. The goods were for Montalban, Rizal evacuees.

I was glad to know that donations were pouring in at Moms for Moms for Ondoy victims. I was also glad to be of help and look forward to joining them at their trips to Fabella, where I can double as breastfeeding counselor as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Breastfeeding Mission at Ultra

Last October 8, 2009, six of us LATCHERS went to ULTRA for a breastfeeding mission. We had some donated goods with us (soap and old clothes and sanitary napkins) and a whole chest of frozen breastmilk.

Pasig was experiencing brownouts then so there was no power that time. Thank goodness the skies were overcast so it wasn't that hot. I am not sure anymore if the building we went to (the one with the bleachers) was Bldg. 1 but anyway, people were sleeping in the main court while some are hanging out at the bleachers and drying their clothes there. I did not have the guts to take pictures of their plight anymore, I feel, they've been documented enough already.

Anyway, we gathered as best we could all the moms in one area of the bleachers and grouped them according to baby's age. I took down the names for the preggy moms while others handled those who are exclusively breastfeeding or mixed feeding 0-6 month babies, those with 7-12 month babies, and all the rest of the other moms who wanted to join. We couldm't use the mic because there was no power and had to shout ourselves hoarse in order to be heard. At one time, we were lent a megaphone but we couldn't use it a long time because the people managing the evacuees needed it.

Basically, since they reported to be a generally breastfeeding population (about 120 moms in all, 90% of which said they were breastfeeding), we just turned the talk into a myths contest thing. We asked questions on popular breastfeeding myths and got someone to answer. We then elaborated on the answers and corrected wrong notions. And we also gave a prize to the mommy who answered. The moms turned out very participative (the lure of toys for their kids or that they were a little bored din) so although we'd have appreciated a census and a better venue than the bleachers, it still proved a rewarding experience.

We also did not need our chest of breastmilk much as most of them were breastfeeding. It was so frozen too that the little we thawed, we had to thaw using a pot of hot water.

Another group was preparing to distribute goods there and when one of the LATCHers found out they planned to dole out formula milk, we got the doctor from Pasig and DOH representative present to talk them out of it.

We answered their questions as best we could but couldn't do any more one-on-one counseling. We also might come back again to hold the same for those in Bldg. 2.

we were on the news!

be a LATCH fan!


Let me just also share a snippet of the minutes sent to us by Dr. Zeka Tatad To of her meeting with UNICEF, WHO, DOH, IYCF, Arugaan and other NGOs that started this all.

The goal of collecting breastmilk is to be able to provide temporary relief to mothers/infants where the mother is too ill to breastfeed, or the baby is fully dependent on formula. The goal of the program is to get as many mothers as possible to return to exclusive breastfeeding, and to protect those who are already breastfeeding so that they continue to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months and then continue to breastfeed with the addition of complementary food.

It was shared during the meeting that other countries in Europe and America have come to the realization that the widespread use of formula in a disaster is harmful, and have agreed that formula donations will not be accepted. Someone also shared a study done during the 1940s of babies who were born in concentration camps and breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months and then onwards. 100% of these babies survived beyond 3 years of age despite the dreadful conditions. This survival rate was higher than that of their parents.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happier Mom

Volunteering has greatly improved my mood recently. Maybe because it gives me a different kind of purpose, one that's separate from the home. And although I feel twinges of guilt for being away from my son some afternoons, I noticed that he's not the worse for it anyway. In fact, ever since he turned two, he's happy as a lark again. And I love coming home to him and having him greet me with kisses and arms open wide for a hug (except when I come from evac centers, of course, I rush to take a bath first before even touching him).

Plus, I tell my son that Mommy is doing this for selfish reasons. One, it makes her feel good. Two, it's a like a deposit made to the great big bank of karma. Since Ondoy spared us, it's the least we can do to the less fortunate. And maybe, just maybe, if someday we don't get spared, that life and others will be equally kind and helpful.


Meanwhile, my heart is breaking over news of so many pregnant women delivering prematurely from the stress (as what happened to Manila residents with Ondoy) up North, and their LGUs not being equipped to really handle such a catastrophe. And what about the kids? Can you imagine the cold in Baguio and Benguet? What if it's still raining in some parts, how are the kids to keep themselves warm when aid will not get there as fast??? What of the older folks?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday To Us

I can't remember wanting to scream all the time... not since my teenage years, at least.

And I mean it when I say that I really sometimes wish the world will just swallow me whole, because it's either that or i'll commit suicide just because I want an end to all the frustrations.

And it's a miracle how I survived all those sleepless nights from before, and how I can get up with you even when I still haven't had any sleep.

And am sick of all the guilt I feel, when I leave you behind for some ME time, when I try to enforce rules, when I have to suffer your tears, when I am not as glamorous looking, or we're not as rich as other parents. And am exhausted with all the worries and fears, always having to second-guess myself, always having to think things through and weigh everything. I am tired of planning around you, your feeding and sleeping times, and what would be of interest to you. Always, I wonder how I am damaging you, what lasting impression and insecurity my parenting brings you.

And I hate having to win you over again and again and again.

Yes, I hate not being able to control you.

And yes, despite all the interesting times of my past, I feel that i've only started really living when I married your father. And despite all the other things I am and could be, being a mother to you trumps every other conceivable purpose I may ever have.

I live to see your smile, to hear you laugh, to watch you unfold. And I relish every proof that you are your own person, with your own quirks and desires and personality. And I cannot enjoy anything new anymore if I can't share it with you, however indirectly. Nothing is beautiful, fantastic, awesome anymore if I can't see it from your eyes.

And you and Pappie make me feel beautiful and perfect, with just a smile.

Nothing will ever beat the privilege of being the one person who makes you feel the world is alright. And introducing you to the world around you, guiding your learning, encouraging your passions... that brings back innocence in my life and allows me to hope and dream and keep the faith that what I do and who I am is enough. That you are loved and growing up loving is such a worthy cause, and I am privileged to enjoy heaven everyday in your hugs and kisses.

Nothing will ever make me feel more blessed... more rewarded... and trusted. And the everyday struggles all grow blurry in my mind while the memories in my heart take root and take a life all their own.

Happy birthday, my son. And happy birthday to me as a mother too. It's been two years of breastfeeding and nappy changes and staying home and nurturing you full-time. It's also been two years of adventure others can only hope for.

I love you. Thank you for making me Mom.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Emergency Bag

Many people have started coming up with a list of things they think should be in one's emergency bag. Especially since many were caught unaware of the floods from Ondoy last week, people are now aware and more vigilant. Some even consider the recent tragedy a sure fat burner because of all the stress it brought and the fears it awakened.

My emergency bag consisted of my Philam Insurance plans, our passports, all my jewelry & accessories (mostly given by hubs), our rings, a pair of socks for Yakee (I don't know why but it felt right to put those there), all our money and cards, all our memory cards (in case I haven't sved any from one of them yet), the Starbucks planner that hubby and I wrote love letters to each other in, Yakee's Baby Book (for his chek-ups) and the DVD copy of our wedding video. Weirdly enough, I did not pack any camera there but I packed all cellphone chargers. I also did not pack our external hard disk :D So yeah, it was still very incomplete.

But having saved most of our pics online, I wasn't that worried about pictures anymore.

I should really update it and keep everything in one place. And we don't really have riches yet to lose, all that makes me feel rich are my pictures and journals about my family life. I just wanted to make sure that we need not end in evac centers and we had ready IDs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

UP-PGH Disaster Relief Operation and Breastfeeding Mission in Cainta

First, there was a call for breastmilk donations. Reports of infants experiencing diarrhea due to formula feeding (either badly-prepared formula or non-sterile water and feeding bottles) have started to alarm authorities. UP-PGH (spearheaded by Dr. Mianne Silvestre and Dr. Jessa Zareno), in coordination/cooperation with Arugaan (Nanay Innes Fernandez, Lita Nery and Velvet Roxas) and the Medela Clinic (which donated the feeding cups) rallied breastfeeding supporters to get the word out.

Facebook, Twitter and Plurk as well as text messaging all proved very useful tools in getting mommies from all over Manila to donate milk. People offered to be drop-off points, others offered to pick-up the frozen milk and bring them to PGH for pasteurization. The response was just overwhelming. We had three chestfuls of frozen breastmilk that day, leaving behind two freezerfuls at PGH.

Meanwhile, of course, relief goods also poured in PGH and medical paraphernalia as well as drugs were set aside for the medical mission. Four buses of volunteers were brought to Cainta last October 02 (at Kabisig Elementary School and Ynares Covered Court), some to distribute relief goods, some for the medical mission (nurses to perform vital signs and preliminary interview, doctors to conduct diagnosis, pharmacists to distribute prescriptions, and pharmacy counselors to discuss correct administration of drugs), and the lactation support group to distribute breastmilk and provide breastfeeding counseling and support.

One complaint about the whole thing is the fact that the call time for volunteers was 6-6:30 AM but we ended up still waiting for more volunteers at 8 AM. Of course, the breastmilk went ahead of the buses and I should have gone with it and not joined the volunteers assembly. So I generally missed the entire thing at Kabisig.

Kabisig Elementary School was the evacuation center for the people in Cainta who were really affected by Ondoy. They were the ones living near the floodway, whose homes were washed away. I am not entirely sure why the medical mission did not set up there and it seems, settlers there were not advised that they were to go to Ynares Covered Court for medical check-ups. Of course, when we told them about that, they all complained that they didn't have any means to go there... and it is some 1.5 kilometers away, an easy walking distance (if you don't mind the heat) if you're not sick, old or half-starving like they were.

From what I gathered though, breastmilk WAS dispensed to infants who needed it, and those with infants were gathered to be encouraged to breastfeed more and give formula less. They were given information (such as proper positioning and latching), strategies (switch nursing among themselves to help boost milk supply, relactate or encourage an infant to suckle), and some goodies (mommy and infant clothes from PGH, Prolacta breastfeeding kits, literature, etc). Velvet Roxas came with two wet nurses (with their babies) which helped a lot in getting the information across. Jenny Medina of LATCH conducted interviews and counseling with the moms there. Dr. Jessa Zareno was interviewed by some TV station. Nanay Innes also gave a short talk with the mothers to encourage them to breastfeed, then later on went to ANC to be interviewed on breastfeeding and its role in volunteerism and heroism after Ondoy.

Anyway, as all volunteers coming from PGH were dropped off at Ynares, we got a van to bring us to Kabisig. But since we arrived there late, we didn't have anything to do except maybe wait for the next feeding (after three hours or so). I suggested that we bring part of the milk to Ynares and we all ended up going there. They did leave milk behind for the infants staying at Kabisig but couldn't leave more because there's no refrigerator to store the milk in.

Being a covered court, the second venue was really conducive for the medical mission. They made space for us in the chapel which we shared with nuns dispensing relief goods. The pharmacists and doctors all included instructions that those with infants have to pass by us before submitting their records and leaving (the documentation, written on yellow pad, will be submitted to the local government for reference by other medical missions and for follow-up). But since filling prescriptions took time, we later ended up cajoling those in line to drop by first in the chapel.

Some obliged us. Some immediately left after realizing we're not dispensing relief goods. Some didn't want to leave their positions in line.

Wonderfully enough, a lot of those with infants/babies were breastfeeding or mixed feeding so it was just really a matter of encouraging the mixed-feeders to drop the formula. Some of those with babies 8 months and older who reported that they were breastfeeding exclusively were given rewards in the form of shirts. "Spoil the breastfeeding mom!" after all :)

Since we had some thawed milk that we had to distribute or throw away, we resorted to going up and down the line and giving away milk, even to toddlers. PGH-NICU could have probably given away all the breastmilk but doing so would have defeated the purpose of the mission: to get mothers to breastfeed. See, that would just make it a milk doleout, healthier than formula maybe, but a doleout just the same. But the thawed milk, we gave away, of course, out of consideration to the mommies who painstakingly pumped and donated them. We didn't even consume everything in one chest, but they agreed that since that chest has been opened several times already, the milk there will be used in PGH-NICU and given away to the children in PGH's pediatrics ward. The milk in the two other chests remained frozen so they were returned to the freezers.

Others who want to organize their own breastfeeding missions can probably coordinate with PGH and get access to their milk resource. But the goal must always be to give the breastmilk to infants on formula, while encouraging breastfeeding mothers to continue doing so.

The misson ended around 2 PM and we immediately headed home for fear of Pepeng, which thankfully did not cause further devastation.

And now, in pictures:

breastmilk being loaded into the van at PGH

breastmilk awaiting recipients at Kabisig

newly-arrived LCS volunteers at Kabisig with nothing to do

volunteer doctors at Ynares Covered Court

view of the line/crowd waiting for prescriptions

stage served as the pharmacy

doctor at work

Velvet teaching a mother of twins the football hold (not this pic),
the cross cradle hold (this pic) and that nursing twins is possible

one of the babies getting breastmilk

some of the volunteers and PGH staff

One of the doctors with us was so moved by the experience that she even attempted to play wet nurse. Unfortunately, the baby was already so full from her own mother's milk. It was really amazing that so many from that area were breastfeeding :)

Oh, they also gave breastfeeding moms Vitamin A :)

My only real interview was of a Mom with a one year old who only breastfed for two weeks. She was not interested in relactating (and given the time frame and situation, it would require a lot of support and work on her part for that to happen) but I hope I was able to correct her notions of empacho (because she was not feeding her baby at night, and feeding her only twice a day) and encourage her to offer more solids so that the baby's formula requirement will be reduced. It was especially important since they don't have clean water yet and she had to ask me for a liter of mineral water to make her baby's formula. And I couldn't give her breastmilk that time because they were still in Kabisig then.

One other wonderful thing, I think, is that the LCS volunteers loved feeding the babies so much that they're asking the PGH-NICU doctors if they can volunteer regularly at the NICU. This is very important because these are single, medical students who are now in a position to be the breastfeeding advocate doctors of the future.


UNICEF is organizing breastfeeding support missions in the many evacuation centers. Those may not prove as easy as this one (because we need not go through muck and mire to get to the displaced) and chances are, we will not be appreciated by half of the people if we're not bringing goodies as well... but still, the breastfeeding campaign has to be done and the babies have to be saved yet again.


Love thy own... and I not only love LATCH but I am ever proud of my breastfeeding circle. Not only did many of our people donated milk and rallied their friends to also donate, but we also offered to be drop-off points or to pick-up milk. We even got our friends to do the same, relying on friendships and contacts to really facilitate the milk donation. We appealed to Facebook friends and used up our load in text brigades. Amelia Alba even prepared 500 packs of noodles to be given away to breastfeeding moms (told you, spoil the breastfeeding mom!). And now, we're responding to UNICEF's call for volunteers again.


Just to explain further (because even I am still learning this paradigm shift), breastfeeding missions do not hope to dispense breastmilk as if they're formula to be fed to babies. Breastfeeding missions are about getting mothers to breastfeed, breastfeed more and breastfeed again. What we want is for them to have the information and suppport to sustain their own infants after we've gone.

Breastmilk donations are given to really premature babies, babies whose mothers cannot nurse them just yet, babies in emergency situations, sick babies and orphaned babies. But they are only given for a short period of time, when they're critical, but means for sustaining the babies is the goal. That's where breastfeeding, a mother's commitment, a community's support and the help of shelters, LGUs, concerned citizens, etc. come in.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Luggage or Stage?

Last August, I convinced my darling husband to buy a new set of luggage. We still cannot afford a Samsonite luggage but we were very happy with the red one we bought. It's very easy to push and turn.

Unfortunately, we threw away the big plastic wrap for the luggage so it had to sit, inviting dust, in our living area for a while. I was looking for an extra large garbage bag to put it in. Meanwhile, my son has found it a good stage and he'd often make it lie on the floor, step on it with his guitar, and 'perform' on it.

So now, eventhough I have the bag to put it in, I cannot bear remove what has become my son's stage. Hehe.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PGH-NICU Will Go To Cainta

PGH-NICU is going to Cainta on Friday for cupfeeding breastmilk to flood babies. As of 5 PM today, there were 42 liters of breastmilk donated. More donations are welcome. Volunteers are needed to help cupfeed the babies (and for wet nursing). Please contact Thess, Tina or Grace at 5548400 local 3409 for more info and to register for the breastfeeding drive.

There's a Manila Chapter that will meet at PGH at 6 AM Friday and a QC chapter to go to Cainta directly.


Please repost!!!

Get Volunteering

Since school is out anyway, and cable is erratic, and your kids may be bored out of their minds, go and do volunteer work with them.

You can go to PGH, Red Cross, Caritas Manila, Ateneo... in fact, any big school or Church in your area. The internet is also replete with information on where to go and where you may be needed. This is a perfect opportunity to teach them about involvement and nationalism, about environmental and health issues, about breastfeeding and why it's most important.

You don't need to memorize the Encyclopedia Brittanica, have millions to give away, know the best acne treatment or have the ability to conjure up food... you just have to care and give of your time and energy.

Breastfeeding Moms: Help Please

Calling all breastfeeding mommies out there... your life-saving breastmilk is needed! The Medela House is open till 3pm today for milk donations. You can pump here and store in our bags. These donations will be given to PGH and will be made available to children at the different evacuation centers. While you are at the Medela House, you can also drop off any relief item you may have (food, clothes, towels, blankets, shoes, slippers, etc.) as we will be donating these at 3pm to the Xavier School to assist them in their relief efforts. Finally, MedelaMoms is looking for partners as they subsidize the cost of their disposable cups. If you want to donate cups (that will be used by volunteers to cupfeed babies in the different evac centers), contact us at 0917-5614366 or 7386272. We accept bank deposits. A cup will be P30 each only for this worthy cause. We will be accepting donations till 3 pm only. Dr. Silvestre (head of Milk Bank unit in PGH) will be collecting all donations after 3pm. Thank you!


Those who can't make it today, you may deliver your milk to:

1. Dr Zeka Tatad-To, 38 San Miguel Court, Celery Drive, VV5. (contact:, 0917 8886288)

2. Dr Mi-Anne Silvestre, 17F Greengrove Villa, Lantana Road, New Manila

3. PGH Lactation Unit, 4F Central Block (contact: 5548400 local 3409, look for Thess, Tina, Grace)

If you need the milk picked up, please coordinate with Dr Zeka.

Thanks so much, Bfg Mommies!!!


It saddens me that I never regularly pumped so I really cannot donate breastmilk, especially now that my Yakee is only nursing for sleep once or twice during the day.

And as much as I want to be a wet nurse, my hubby is against it (he is fearful i'd bring Yakee diseases) and I have to respect his fears and feelings because he has been nothing but supportive of me.

A Mommy's Power

I know, it's not really something to be abused and be proud of... but sometimes, it really makes me smile that I am the most important person for my son. That just being slightly threatened that i'm coming up without him sends him into a flurry of action, jumping off his Pappie's lap and flinging his arms wide open, saying "carry, carry" (well, more, "ke-yi" really).

But with great power comes great responsibility (hello Spiderman). So it's also my task to be the first to applaud and acknowledge and smile. It's my task to calm him down, explain him things and pretend to understand his babble. It's my task to care for him and nurse him back to health and allay his fears. My arms always has to be open when he needs a hug. And I should be the last to reject him or deny him affection. I should be the last person unavailable to him.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Breastfeeding and Disasters

Eventhough my son is not an infant anymore, part of my relief during the trying weekeend was the fact that he is a breastfed baby. When he slipped in the floodwater and I was scared that he drank some and would get sick soon, part of me consoled myself with the fact that offering my breast will give him some sort of protection because of the antibodies and probiotics in it.

And whenever I hear on the news a plea for help because people with an infant were trapped on a roof somewhere, I pray silently... "Please God, let the baby be breastfed."

And now, there are 300,000 displaced, people who may not have a home to return to anymore to receive their holiday cards in. How many of these are babies? How many of them are breastfed? What if they are given formula without clean bottles and sterile water? Would the poor know how to properly make one? Would a scared refugee follow the specifications in the can if she's not sure where and when to get the next one? And when you're stuck somewhere and didn't breastfeed, you've just ensured that your baby will suffer possibly dire consequences.

I worry.

Maybe it's not yet too late to call some radio station later to voice this out.


Studies show that in disaster situations non-breastfed infants can be 50 times more likely to need hospital treatment than breastfed infants, and they are much more likely to die. Breastfeeding a vital disaster response: Are you ready?


The Importance of Breastfeeding During Natural Disasters

Breastfeeding saves lives in emergencies

Breastfeeding and Calamities

Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency REsponse

Breastfeeding and Emergency Situations

Breastfeeding: A crucial priority for child survival in emergencies

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rebecca Gayheart: Pregnant and Smoking

After the video leak of her and hubby McSteamy plus that Miss America, all naked and all high, I can't say am surprised that Rebecca gayheart is pregnant AND smoking. But of course, it's one annoying thing to have somebody popular doing this in public because campaigns being made against such a thing get invalidated somehow.

See Rebecca in all her pregnancy glory. I hope her child burns her for this.

Read up on Pregnancy and Smoking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Mommy Thing

Do you guys notice one of the quotes in my sidebar that goes something along like, "Jacket: Something a child is made to wear when his mother is feeling chilly." I love that quote because it's so true.

Every night, we sleep in an air-conditioned room. And every night, I wrap my body in my malong because I feel cold. And I struggle with my son all night, every night, because he goes around the bed, sleeping in different positions. I can't stop myself, I have to put a blanket on him, usually sharing mine (because he's slept on top of his). But that would cause him to stir in his sleep and start kicking the blanket off. The minute he feels the blanket on his feet (which I wanted to keep warm in the first place), he'd wake and protest.

But I simply cannot bear the thought that his feet will get cold (even if they're not).

And though I have been looking for those sleeper suits that come with sock-like portions, I also really don't want to use any for him because he tends to play some first before bedtime. That would just result in many slips and tumbles for my over-active child.

So every night, we have this blanket struggle dance.

Good thing we don't need an electric blanket in this tropical climate, huh? Then again, maybe if it's that cold, he'd let Mommy do the blanket thing.

Oh, and it's not that he doesn't like being warm because he absolutely forces his father to the wall sometimes, because he likes snuggling close to his Pappie.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's My Birthday But...

... I may just ask hubs for us to go to the Expo Kids at Rockwell instead on October 03.

Yes, first off, I cannot seem to avoid sales these days. I like to shop and shop. Plus, at least, for P25/ea, our darling son will have his feel of stimulation and activities. I'll just schedule my meeting with friends some other time.

Yes, I am such a Mommy now!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


MIL reorganized their home and turned the furniture layout upside down. They even switched beds, and am talking transfering beds between three rooms up and down the stairs.

Meanwhile, here at home, we had part of the ceiling fixed and re-painted. So now we're going to sleep here downstairs because our bedroom still smells of the something that my cousin used on the ceiling.

Sigh. Times like these really make me daydream more about my dream home, and polishing a stone bathroom sink and stacking plastic chests in a closet and having frosted glasses for my kids' bedroom doors. And of course, having a homeschooling nook and a yard.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Frumpy Mummy

Part of the reason why I really should start exercising soon (I still haven't hit the treadmill because I still have my period and I hate being sweaty and having my period!) is because I really don't want to be a frumpy Mommy. But in a way, I have become one. I mean, I don't even comb my hair all day when am at home! I may take a bath twice a day but you know, I wear my ragged pambahays (because really, they're the most comfy!) all the time. They may not be dasters but even tank tops and shorts can look bad on misshapen bodies. Hehe.

Good thing though I won't ever be in this position though. And I really hope to make homeschooling work so as not to deal with cliques at the school gate.

I have vowed to start combing my hair and even putting on lisptick even when am home. I have yet to keep that vow. :D

I have even stopped putting on lotion regularly. Yikes. Good thing hubby loves me but really, I shouldn't let myself go at the age of (turning) 32!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mommy Shopping

I splurged yesterday. I spent some P1k I think and managed to buy the following:

2 adjustable plaid shorts for Yakee
1 belt for Yakee
1 pair of slippers for me
1 pair of shoes for a niece
Great expectations book for niece
Frankenstein book for nice
musical instruments chart for Yakee
drum for Yakee
The First Four Years book for me
Pioneer sisters book for me
Amelia Bedelia, Rocket Scientist (for both Mommy and Yakee)
Honey-scented hand wash

Yup. All that for just P1k. It helps when the books cost an average of P50 and the shorts were only P125 each. I was even kidding hubs that I may not need diet supplements at al, I can just shop till I drop as a form of exercise! :)

Oooh, I really can't wait for the Manila Book fair!!! I am going to make a list of gift recipients already so I won't forget!