Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One of Yakee's Dreams

It amuses me sometimes the things that Yakee has expressed interest in becoming.

There's the fireman.

A superhero.

A teacher at St. Michael.

Recently, it's becoming a vet (because we're reading a storybook on dog bites, and he's keen on being a doctor for animals rather than a doctor for people). Now, I don't know if Veterinarian Jobs are in demand here but it's nice that he's really attracted to nurturing roles. It gives me hope that whatever I'm doing is good enough and will pay off... and that he will learn gentleness in his own good time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Ration My Son, Do You?

We are not super rich people. But we are still pretty much blessed materially.

One issue I have been battling with inside is rationing my son.

He likes doodling, so I provide scratch paper. I even make a visit to my former office to ask for a bound set of scratch paper which we use for drawing, doodling, painting, and making paper planes with. Even cutting. I'd seldom give him a clean sheet... even if we can afford to buy reams of paper.

And I also give him, say, 2 pages to paint on at a time.

For his coloring books... I rip a page and get him to color that page, not let him have his way with the entire coloring book. If I did, I knew he'd just swipe his crayons on each page... and then refuse to color that page again in the future.

When he's painting, I use a palette and we put paints there, and that's it for his painting session. I made the mistake before of buying the cheapie sets where every color is in the container and he'd only pour water on all the colors. So, I bought the more expensive tubed paints and just give him enough for a painting session (around 5 colors max at a time).

I don't put out all the toys given to him nor do I let him open everything. I actually feel I should work on this more because he still has over 20 toys out right now, and that's way too many toys for a child to really appreciate. He has over 24 tubs of play dough, but he can only play with 5-6 colors at a time... so the rest are still unopened, waiting their turn. And when he doesn't pack his toys away or are scattering them, they are put on timeout.

Makes one think sometimes, what's the purpose of a toy if it cannot be played with, right? But, how else do I teach him about treating things right and valuing the gift/love/work that was behind the toy?

And then let's go to food.

Do you know, I sometimes have to kick the hubs (lightly) to remind him not to give our son his share of Oreo? And that I only buy the single-serve packs... or that one roll which we have to stretch for at least two days? Yes, we do allow Yakee sometimes to have 3 cookies while we only get 1 or 2 each... but I insist that he really only has 3. Even if we can afford to let him have that entire roll. Not healthy though, and I don't mean physically.

When we have pizza, Yakee also only likes the pineapples and we do give him most of our share... but I also remind everyone not to give him all, or worse, let him eat up all the pineapples. I also insist that he eat an entire pizza, not just the pineapples. I remind him others also want the pineapples. Or the shrimps. Or the eggs.

Sometimes, I think I am mean. I've had a lifetime of 30+ years to eat pineapples... why not give all of mine to my son? Hubs thinks the same and it literally hurts him to deny his child 'more' of any food.

But... I have this great fear. I don't want to raise kids with an unrealistic notion of entitlement. It's our job to provide for them, but I want them to grow with the idea that it's their job to be careful, prudent and appreciative of what we provide.

I don't want my son to think that he can get all the pineapples and that it's okay (unless it's his own pizza). I want him to learn to eat something he doesn't like so much to get something he likes a lot. I don't want to set him up for a limitless expectation of resources without understanding yet how much work goes into providing those things... I don't want him to grow up thinking that just because he can pay for something means he also need not think of the implications (like wasted paper and trees... wasted water and well, water... wasted food and starving kids elsewhere... broken toys and wasted time and energy his father spent working, away from us).

So, yeah. When we're in the mall and my son asks me to buy something... I MAY allow it if it's food or a book, but definitely not a toy. Even if he says, "pretty please." Even if we can afford it. Even if it's only P25. Even if it's really cute.

And he can only put a maximum of two treats in the grocery cart (I don't count yogurt milk and Yakult as treat since, though it's processed stuff, it helps him poop, hehe), which is usually cookies (Ben 10 or Oreo) and Yan-Yan. That's okay since we only grocery shop once a month.

I set limits. I ration. I have learned not to feel bad about it, even if I do wonder sometimes if I am right... but the more important thing is, my heart is in the right place.

An overabundance of material things never really did anyone good... and an abundance of love includes tough love.


I just thank God that Yakee has learned to accept most of his limits. He will test them at times but generally, he knows "enough" means "enough." I also like that he trusts us when we sya there's plenty for another day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Scare

Sunday night, Yamee was fussy and bit me on the left nip.

Later, I felt a pain and a lump. That same night, the painful lump became a throbbing mess. Then. I didn't know if it was because of the lump or purely coincidental (it could have been a virus), I woke up feeling out of sorts. Then I felt super achy. I couldn't even lay down properly because my hip bones and backbone hurt. Everything hurt and just a brush on my chest wasenough to send me shaking from pain, what more a kick to it.

I was useless, I just slept all day. My kids' clamor for attention fell on deaf ears mostly because I really couldn't attend to them. I was in so much pain, I also think there wasn't enough milk coming out of me for the most part of the day, so Yamee was super frustrated... and he vented by being more carefree than usual: standing on top of the bed's edge and other unstable surfaces, like a toy firetruck.

I literally bawled on the floor at least twice, because Yamee managed to zero in on my breast with a foot or with his head... and I even had to deny myself Yakee's hugs because I couldn't bear to be touched.

That kind of pain.

It was horrible.

Good thing I did feel better lst night, felt better again today. I am on high dose antibiotics for the lump on my breast, which is probably mastitis due to a plugged milk duct that got infected because Yamee was putting dirty things in his mouth then nursing from me.

But for a day, I think I felt how someone with a terminal illness, like breast cancer, feels... and with young kids too. Briefly, I thought, if life throws us that kind of curve ball, we really don't have the financial resources... and maybe the emotional resources. Who will take care of me and my sons, because hubs will now have to work double time? How will I manage my stress over not being able to care for my sons? How will it impact my kids to see a mom so weak and in need of care?


Hopefully, the meds will do their magic and my breast ultrasound next week will show the lump gone.

God, please spare this family from cancer... if not forever, at least, now that the kids are still so young. Please. Thank you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 30-Day Mommy Challenge

A friend shared this in our FB group and I wanted to blog it so i'd remember it better... and just maybe, more moms will take up the challenge.

I'm thinking of doing it as my own Christmas countdown... for my sons. Click on the picture for a bigger, printable picture.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Good Read

This blog post is a very good read because it admits to one and all that homeschooling also produces unhappy, rebellious kids.

But whether homeschooling or not, one must read this... because the point really has nothing to do with homeschooling, but more about how even the most intentional parenting can produce sad or bad kids. Reading the comments though will offer some hope that the sad, bad kids do grow up in the end and make better choices. One can hope but really, no guarantees.

I have thought about it. Either of my sons could end up researching bomb making, or finding out crazy uses for a braided metal hose, or not going to college, or ending up HIV positive, or becoming a teenage dad. I can't say I have imagined the worst things they could be doing but I have thought everything possible. That is why I have also always reminded myself that I won't homeschool out of fear (that my kids will be bullied, that my kids will be exposed to germs, or unrealistic standards and comparisons, or that they would grow up with no values, etc) but out of purpose (I want us to grow as a family together, for them to really pick up values from the home, for us to be more invested in our parenting and child-rearing, for us to be forced to spend more time together, etc).

But my children will become adults someday... and who knows how they will respond to our parenting, to future circumstance, to other cultural changes and influences. Someday, they will choose for themselves... or need to wander a little if only to KNOW that HOME is where they belong. I have to keep in mind that the rewards of the things I have chosen to do for them are in itself, and not really in some distant future (though there could be something there still).

I breastfed for the short and long term benefits... sure... but reduced cancer and diabetes risks or not, I enjoyed breastfeeding them and bonding with them that way. It enriched our relationship.

I stayed home so I can nurture them all the time, and that is the reward, the having been there when they hit their firsts, the being there when they need hugs, disciplining, and empowerment. My staying home may or may not make for happier adults but the important thing is we had a chance to spend our days together.

I am planning to homeschool even if I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility and it may make for a more or less rounded kid... but again, the important thing is that I will become more so my kids can be more... and we still spend more time together.

Because in the end, time is all we ever get... and get to give. And time together with my kids will always be priceless.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One Brother

While checking out our scanner software because I have a lot of scanning and printing to do for the boys' party, I chanced upon this quote and just had to scrap it. Yes, I was also downloading digiscrapping kits... I always multi task after all, or try to. Anyway, I got goosebumps reading the quote and thought about how i'd love for my boys to be each other's keeper... and to think of each other as so unique and so indispensable and necessary.

No one else will be like their brother.

So, I scrapped away... then checked out the rest of the song. Yikes. It seems to be some sort of eulogy to a departed brother. But somber mood aside, dead or alive, I still want Yakee and Yamee to think the world of each other.

I have so many wishes for my kids... but this one is sooo close to my heart. Because... it would mean we've really raised them with the idea that love gets multiplied... not divided between the two of them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shooting for the Benefits, Extending the Love

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (November). For this month, participants share their experiences on extended breastfeeding. This includes tips to moms with young babies, as well as barriers and myths which discourage extended nursing. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

Studies show that for mothers and babies to enjoy breastfeeding benefits like reduced cancer risks for both, they have to be breastfeeding for at least two years.

There was no question in my mind that I would go the full two years... at least. I only stopped after two years and four months with my first because I really believed breastfeeding was keeping me from getting pregnant so I weaned him. True enough, after a month of weaning, I got pregnant again. But I digress.

My son was already signing, running, singing, dancing, performing a multitude of other antics... and still breastfeeding from me. The hardest part of it was that he became so long for my lap. But after the first year, it was really almost a breeze.

I did not require breastfeeding bras anymore, nor breastfeeding-friendly tops... because I could just feed him in the car on the way and not bring my girls out anymore during an event. I did not have to hurry home or pump milk for him because he could already drink fresh milk if he so wished while I am away. He did not need to nurse as often anymore, so I also felt my body was my own again (maybe... 70% of the time?). And in the few occasions when he asked for milk in public, I had no problems cradling him in my arms and giving him that comfort.

What's more, it was still the easiest way to shut him up if I needed peace and quiet.

And best of all, breastfeeding continued to provide the sweetest moments of our days... hugging each other that way, smiling at each other with faces that close. The challenges of having a toddler were always offset by those moments of calm and gentleness.

Now... my second boy is turning one year old next week. I plan to breastfeed him till he's maybe 3 because now, I am invoking the contraceptive effect in me (note: breastfeeding as a family planning method is only really effective in the first 6 months, if exclusive breasfeeding and menses have not yet returned). Plus, if he's my last child... I think I'd really want to prolong this kind of intimacy. Somehow, I think babyhood truly ends when they stop depending on their mothers for some sort of physical need.

My advice to other breastfeeding moms who cannot imagine lasting as long... just take it one day at a time. Wean when both of you aren't benefitting from the relationship anymore. Smile when strangers cast you a questioning look when you're breastfeeding a child that, just a minute ago was running faster than they're walking... after all, in your arms lay one of the most beautiful creations in this world, and he is entitled to his mother's love.


Please visit the rest of the entries for this month's carnival

J and the Three Boys - No more "de-de"

My Mommyology - My Extended Breastfeeding Experience

Mommyluscious - Breastfeeding for Two Beyond Two

Truly Rich Mom - On Extended Breastfeeding (a perfectly normal thing to do)

Life of a Babywearing and Breastfeeding Mommy - Still breastfeeding after 2 years

Got To Believe - Breastfeeding Room Story

Apples and Dumplings - My Constant Challenge with Extending Breastfeeding

Mommy Kuwentos - Challenges and Rewards of Extended Breastfeeding

The Odyssey of Dinna - Nurturing Rafael: Extended Breastfeeding, Stretching Some More Lovin'

Legally Mom - Breastfeeding Beyond 1 Year: Barriers and Issues

Homeschooling Mommy - Yes, I've Got Milk

SOlovelyN - As long as he wants, I can

Touring Kitty - Extended Breastfeeding is Possible

SassyBiatcheMom's World - 1.4 and still breastfeeding

Mec as Mom - Shooting for the Benefits, Extending the Love

Chronicles of a Nursing Mom - Barriers/Myths vs. Extended Breastfeeding