Saturday, August 25, 2012

Aim for Progress, Not Perfection

The title of this post came from something a Mom said in her book, "Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison" when she was discussing mealtimes. This was shared to us by our main moderator at our Parents Circle Meeting to cap our Family Meals topic last Monday.

It resonated so much in me, because it is something most parents forget. Something I always forget. In all discipline issues, we expect learning and transformation to happen overnight.

How could he be so impolite? Why can't he handle his emotions? Why won't he eat fast? Why can't he be more like this and that? Why can't he button his shirt when he already knows how? Why can't he read yet? How could he not know this and that?

I have probably thought and said worse than that list above... and how unfair and unfaithful of me. My child is learning. That is a process, not an answer. My child is young and still developing. He does not have my capacity for memory, understanding, empathy. My child is a child, not a little adult I can reason with at my level. My child needs me to see the effort he exerts, not nitpick on what is not yet done perfectly.

For shame... Mommy.

So, now... I try to check myself, in all the little things, if I am aiming for perfection and if I cannot see progress. And however subtly, I believe Yakee knows there is an extra effort being exerted... and he responds.

It hasn't been all roses since Monday... but I at least look at them with polished eyes.

(More on the things we talked about that Monday in future posts...)

Friday, August 24, 2012

On Checkups and Checkups

My friend Judy shared to me that she brings her kids to Jake Tan and Dr. Cricket Chen. Jake Tan is an anthroposophist healer (whose brother is premier herbalist in the country) and Dr. Cricket Chen is a homeopathic doctor.

I have discussed going to the same people for Yakee's asthma management. Though our allergist has been great and pretty conservative with medicine prescriptions, I am really antsy that we're all taking drugs for months and cannot accept that this will be the case from hereon. There has to be a better way for our livers!

Meanwhile, hubs has just attended a free medical checkup with Sonylife (where we purchased insurance from). He suspects they conduct such so they can better estimate term insurance rates and their cashflow for their members.

Sigh. All these health issues are making me down... especially since I now have to nurse migraines for every period.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Son, the Empath

When someone you know dies, you get confronted by your own mortality.

As I was listening to my SIL relate to me the last days of her mother at the wake, I would sometimes get misty-eyed thinking about how things would be like if I die when my sons are still so young. Would they be as hyper as my nephew was then? Would they cry? Will they also miss naps during the wake? Who will comfort them? How will my husband be like as a parent without me?

When I got home, I came home to a crying Yakee who has been upset for a while, moaning for me. That started his most recent "I don't want you to leave me" phase.

Yesterday, hubby and I attended the burial and chose to leave the kiddos behind so they won't be exposed to the elements and viruses anymore. During the drive, I couldn't help bringing up the subject of death... and wondering aloud if people would even go to my wake, and where I would have my wake, and where I will be buried. Hubs got sad with all the talk... and I guess, the thought of death weighed heavy on me.

When Yakee was upset last night, he cried and cried to me about not wanting me to leave him alone. I took it at face value and explained that we never leave him alone and that we take care of ourselves so we could come back. That was before dinner. I repeated the same to hubs within Yakee's hearing just so it's reinforced that his parents love him and will do their best to come back.

You see, it's hard making promises when we're very much at the mercy of fate.

Oh, we also told him that, chances are, when he's growon older and bigger, he's the one who is going to leave us behind... as he travels and tries new things, and mabe start a family of his own. And that's okay.

But... last night, Yakee couldn't sleep. Then he cried and cried again and it came out that he doesn't want me to die. I had to hold him close and tell him that everybody dies, and that I hope God hears our evening prayers to let hubs and I parent him for a long time. I told him that we all go to heaven after... and backtracked and said, we all start in heaven then God sends us on a mission here on earth, which is why we were born. Then, after our mission is done, God recalls us back to heaven. I explained that it's always sad losing loved ones, but since the loved ones go to heaven... they're happy there and will just wait for those they left behind. I also reminded him that he is in my heart and I am in his, so that dead or not, even if I wasn't by his side, a part of me remains with him.

Later on, he asked if he could play in heaven and I said yes... and he said he'd like that.

And finally, he was pacified. But it took half an hour (and much of me silently talking to his angel) before he fell asleep.

And when he fell asleep, I 'invoked' things for him :D (yes baby, Mommy is Waldorf this way)

I really should not be dwelling on morbid possibilities...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Natural Toys and Things

Like what I told a friend recently, I am embracing Waldorf education and parenting, but my sons still have mostly plastic toys. After all, I have invested in Duplo blocks and play dough molds... and they still have all those unopened ones.

But I am slowly making the transition to more natural toys. I have this wooden blocks and marbles set in my Amazon cart... and a list of toys I want for the boys that cost a total of over P20k. Just a list, yes, because I don't want to just keep buying and buying. Oh, I have ordered wooden castanets for the boys already (someday, who knows, their own wooden recorders and maybe a calf skin tambourine or drum) and a wooden top and some other wooden toys (like this one where you try to get a wooden ball in a hole). I am also thinking of getting this Anatex Magnet Express, in preparation for writing and better grip/fine motor skills.

Meanwhile, the boys paint more using flour and food color, instead of the usual watercolor made by artificial dyes. Little by little, we'd get to the more natural stuff. The important thing is that each activity is experienced and enjoyed, so they will learn :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stories While Feeding

I'm sure I'm not the only breastfeeding mom who has wondered or thought about it. It's also more evident when I was away for several hours and my precious wasn't able to snack/touch base/recharge for a long time... but I feel, when he nurses at night, he also somehow tells me about his day.

There are times he'd just really suckle and sleep, exhausted from what he was up to the whole time I was away.

There are times when he wouldn't be doing a lot of suckling, but he'd be doing a lot of touching and sighing, as if to re-create me in his senses.

There are times when he'd be suckling like crazy, demanding from me, or berating me for being away for a long time.

There are times when he'd actually whimper a little while feeding, as if telling me how lost he felt without me.

There are times when he's just really playful, naughty and refuse to settle down... telling me he's had too much excitement when I was out.

No matter what he tells me, the magical thing really is the fact that breastfeeding provides me with these opportunities to reconnect. And again, what a privilege to be the one who can truly end his day perfectly... every day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Discipline Strategies That May Work For You

My friend Liv shared with us a link to a list of Quirky Discipline Rules that Work and loved the article.

We are implementing most of it already in various ways and forms. I generally adjusted my computer/work time to the time when they're sleeping (so, at night) or I forewarn them that I am busy with something. I am slowly letting them do chores with me, even if it takes a longer time getting accomplished. I am clear with most house rules and maybe about 90% consistent. When Yakee says 'he is bored', I ask him to clean our wall. He doesn't really know what bored is, he just liked saying it for effect, something he got from our niece.

But what I liked most about the article is Rule Number Two. See, it never occurred to me that I could stop working. I have always wondered how long till I can rest but never thought of setting a time when the Mom office will close (except for the breastaurant, but even that, I am slowly preparing Yamee to just sleep through the night and not nurse anymore after brushing his teeth) and the Mom duties will stop.

So, now I feel super empowered! Hopefully, hubby WILL be supportive in getting me to finish all by 9 PM.

One thing I realized too when I had my HALLELUJAH moment over that rule is that... the world won't end if the kids go to bed unbrushed, uncleaned or whatever else for a night. Because I know they would be more cooperative the next day (since the highlight of bedtime is story time).

Isn't that liberating? :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Life In A Box

Hubby was in the mood to spring clean... and so he really went all out and even borrowed their office shredder. Sometimes, he would pause though, showing me old ticket stubs of concerts and shows we went to. He couldn't bear to shred my old letters, but just took a pic of his ex's letters then disposed of them :)

This reminded me of what a fried said they do for their kids. They don't keep ALL the doodles and pictures and old things, but they do keep some in one box. The hospital bracelet when they were born. The first foot or hand print. The first movie ticket. Maybe a baptismal certificate. A drawing or two, per year of life.

I told hubs that maybe we should start on those for our kiddos. It's a good thing we can really just take pictures now of all their artwork and 'letters' and projects and compile those in minute-size hard disks. Life in a box. When they grow up, they'd have some mementos but won't get asthma attacks going through piles and piles of sentimentality.

It's a good thing too that motherhood sort of cured me of my anal retentive tendencies.

Now... to let go of more things and make space for new... memories and activities.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Where Is The Yarn?


My mom packed all the yarn I bought in the door-to-door box that they're planning to ship to us. Unfortunately, that arrives in maybe mid-November, if I am lucky. And she made sure to pick and pack the loveliest ones... the ones I need to make her and my sister scarves.

(Incidentally, my nieces are also asking for crocheted scarves! Asking me for book bags for high school girls would be far easier to deliver since I am not a master crocheter!)

So... now I would have less than a month to crochet their scarves in time for their arrival. After that, it would be hard to hide what I am crafting since they will be all over the place. And what good would it do to have them checking how their Christmas gift is going?


 Wonder now if I should just buy more, so maybe my cousins or my Dad could bring them when they go back here.


Tomorrow Is Donation Time

In a way, I am excited to give things away... not really because it may mean I can shop for new ones again (but that's a perk, of course... and the kids ARE growing and need wardrobe adjustments from time to time) but that I may be able to breathe better in our home.

Of course, hopefully the search for donatable items won't aggravate the sinus allergy that has kept me down all day today (because I 'rescued' some stuff from possible flooding).

I realized  I have so many slippers of Yakee's that I was keeping... since Yamee prefers bigger-sized slippers anyway, now I can give away what he's using without guilt.

I also just hope I can go to UP-PGh to drop off the things... because though LBC accepts donations now, few trust them because their parcels aren't delivered on time.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reorganizing Ideas During the Typhoon

As I was trying to figure out which of our stuff downstairs to save, and how to save them, I couldn't help but also get ideas about reorganizing our stuff. I definitely need to put the books higher up, so my kids will not just yank at them at will (but wait, isn't that a good thing? haha... maybe I'll have an accessible bookcase and rotate things there).

I definitely need more covered shelves because I really cannot tolerate dust anymore.

And yes, we need to throw a lot of things away... and have sturdier stuff too. I'm dreaming of actual desks (and a desk name plate for each of us) just so we know our spaces and will be limited to those speific areas for most of our endeavors. Because, right now, I have some things and Yakee has some toys on hubs' work space.

Having their play area under the stairs isn't a good idea anymore because our roof leak is right above the stairs, and water tends to drip down to the first floor too. And defnitely, we need to throw more stuff away... not to make room for new ones, but to have everything simpler and more used.

I just hope I'll work at it after the flood watch... without getting sick too!

Breastfeeding is Feminism In Its Purest Form

I have often said to new moms that they should trust that the God who blessed them with a child and allowed them to grow that child within them will also allow them to grow that child outside them.

And usually, I have found that the lack of information and support is what was lacking in every story wherein breastfeeding wasn't succesful. It's very crucial for new mothers to know that it's not really just breastfeeding or formula feeding, because breastfeeding can happen and be achieved in many ways. Most problems aren't deal breakers and shouldn't be... and formula feeding, though it has its merits, isn't THE solution for all feeding problems. It's handy, convenient and yes, calorie-rich... but it is also processed and dead. A lot of children now are reistering so many illnesses and handicaps, like allergies, and it would be stupid to deny that our diet had an effect on that. So, who's to say what their problems will be because of formula feeding?

And now that there is a crisis again, for sure, there will be a deluge of formula or powdered milk donations. How useful would these be if the people they are given to won't have the sterile water and equipment to prepare it? Sure, it will fill tummies and shush babies, but what happens when these same babies get diarrhea, or catch colds and other infections?

If it doesn't matter how you feed your child, then why are you making sure to eat vegetables or avoid carinderia food or even wash your hands while preparing food? Why do you take care of what you put in your mouth, and then defend a choice you made when you probably didn't have the right information and support?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nails' Future Best Friend

Eczema on my hands meant brittle and uneven nails, even in the best of times. Sometimes, they wreak havoc to my clothes and other linen as they snag threads. They have also gotten quite thin in places that it's like clipping baby nails sometimes.

One thing that helps is filing them but the usual file that comes along with a nail cutter does not do the job well. For one thing, it is like too hard or something and I end up getting hurt, or with more uneven nails. Plus, yeah, I think nail filing is a skill that has to be mastered.

Now that we have been trapped inside the house and going online is harder to resist, I chanced upon a site called and couldn't help but want some of the nail files they offer. The files are made from Czech glass, which is supposedly made to last (and service for) a lifetime.

Particularly amazing are the glass nail files and crystal nail files that are supposed to be really gentler on nails. I can't help but think right now of investing in one of their fab manicure sets... for my sister. She's the one girly enough to dig something that comes in pink leather. And, she has the nails that require regular filing.

If the rains do not stop soon, my fingers just might start ordering!

Afraid to Fall Asleep

The rains have been incessant... and I am sooo tired already but I am scared to sleep.

I am unsure whether I should pack a Go Bag now, because I'm thinking... where would we go if it's totally flooded in our street anyway? This is our home. And I also hope I can save my parents' home since they're not here. Hubby, on the other hand, is resigned to whatever fate will bring to our door. After all, if our homes get flooded like back in Ondoy, what can we really do but just pick up the pieces after?


I am worried about our possessions... and where to get the money to repair and replace them.

I am worried about my boys, and how to keep them safe (I think they couldn't sleep earlier because my stress was palpable).

Yakee prayed for sun... I hope to God He grants his prayer. I know many others have stormed the heavens with their pleas for the rains to stop.

Oh God, just please let us all be alright. In the end, that's the only thing that matters.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Because He Has Asthma

In Waldorf Education, it is believed that 7 years old is the start of the feeling stage for developing children... and they want to help this along by fortifying the respiratory system through recorder playing. Huffing and puffing through a recorder is supposed to help practice the lungs and airways, so a child will also be less tight about his emotions.

Now, Yakee has asthma. When it was first made official at the doctor's clinic, I was ready to go and get us some getzen trumpet for him. Haha. Good thing I was able to remind myself that either I have to learn to play the instrument first, or get him to attend classes for it already. And no, I don't think Yakee is at a stage where he can attend formal lessons.

Plus, I'd really rather, if he takes music lessons, he will learn to play instruments the Suzuki way (if not through attendance at a Waldorf school).

But I guess, I have a year or two to really master the recorder, just so I can start my son on easy songs. It's not just about embracing Waldorf now, it's conquering his asthma.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The St. Michael Dream

A friend directed me to this video which aimed to give people (those not from the Waldorf community) an idea of what a Waldorf/Steiner school is. I can't help but utter a silent prayer, really, for St. Michael's plans to expand.

On one hand, St. Michael is in an area where the market is rich with potential enrolees. The Rockwell/The Fort area is teeming with expats who have heard of Waldorf education. They're also the ones more likely to afford it, and will be enticed to do it here because it's so much cheaper here.

On the other hand, expats come and go. And real estate in Makati costs high. The foremost concern of us parents have always been, "how much would it cost when we start?"

I admit, I have to accept that for the same price, I could do more for my two boys than if we push to send Yakee in a Waldorf Kindergarten. That's the compromise we have to make, pending greater resources or other changes.

But a true-blue Steiner school is the dream. I don't care if parents and teachers alike will be forever fighting over how best to implement Steiner's vision... so long as we're all striving together to carve a safe space where our kids can grow and learn and self-realize.

For my part, I leave it up to God on how He thinks our journey down this path should go.

Cleaning Gentlemen

Say, a crumb of muffin falls on the floor or some milk gets spilled. Yamee would automatically (and very enthusiastically) get the broom (complete with the dust pan) or the mop and clean up the mess.

Yakee, while in the middle of a tantrum earlier, was asked by his father to sweep the floor and he eadily stopped all the whining. As he gave his all in sweeping  the floor, and even sang while he did it, I couldn't help but wonder where all the tantrum went.

Amazing, right?

So, just maybe, if we ever get to migrate and join my family in Michigan, the boys could work for my uncle's cleaning services. It would be cool part-time work and all of my father's siblings (my Mom and him included) have actually done it. After all, it pays good money and most of them are neat freaks!

Incidentally, I once chanced upon this website for  office cleaning services in Wisconsin and was really impressed at the extent to which they disinfect and scrub and air and do everything else to clean spaces. I liked that they highlighted changing their cleaning tools regularly and that they target high-traffic areas. It's also great that such services are reachable by e-mail because some people (like me) are just really too lazy to pick up the phone even.

Now... I just hope this cleanliness streak will never wane for my boys. I might just end up with a spic and span kitchen just yet.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Breastfeeding Reinvented Me

Because it is breasfeeding month, and I may be breastfeeding my LAST child (who has lately been going without feeding from me most of the day), I felt compelled to write a poem about breastfeeding... and here it is :)

I really hope other Moms out there would see beyond the sleepless nights and feelings of abuse and exploitation that comes during the first few weeks when you're just learning the ropes of breastfeeding well, and meeting a newborn's needs.

Baby, I'm Amazed

While walking to Power Plant Mall from school, I happened to notice the sky and had this resultant conversation.

Me: Oh my, Iakob look at the clouds. I think it might rain again.
Yakee: Hmmm... I think Jesus said, "No rain until my son Iakob is home."

Sure enough, it was still only drizzling when we got home after our date. And that was over an hour away because we still had ice cream, browsed through books at National Bookstore and shopped for groceries before we hailed a cab for home.

What amazed me so much that time was that it was the first time Yakee showed faith in a Higher Power. Sure, we pray every night and I prompt him to thank God for our blessings, but it was the first time he showed me an appreciation for the divine. I know the conversation meant nothing to him but for me, it was such a profound leap into being a person of faith.

I had other wonderful conversations with Yakee today and a part of me couldn't keep up with how his mind is evolving. But really, baby, I'm amazed.


On a related note, I hope Yakee won't feel he has to share the fact that his father is collecting urine (haha, people might mistake him to be conducting home paternity tests) with his friends at school tomorrow. But, really, I'm also just glad that he's not messing with his father's stuff in the toilet (we're waiting for hubs to pass kidney stones).

And it's Yamee that's driving me crazy, actually, from climbing onto shelves (one that contains a myriad of little things... like medicine... and flour!) and unravelling my yarn balls.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sorry, Darlings

I became a scolding, shouting mess again yesterday... well, I wasn't shouting the whole day but it was a long time since I last felt I needed to shout. I was really not in control of myself and my situation with the kids in some occasions --- something I have had progress with.


Nothing really bad happened... though I really felt I lost ground with the 'better attitude' I got going for a while. I was just really exhausted after days of stress and having to go back and forth places. I was also being eaten by guilt from leaving Yamee behind for long periods of time. A part of me believes that I still shouldn't be letting him go without me for that long, haha, and for no good reason (the Waldorf crash course was a different case because that was to help improve how I parent).

But it cannot be helped. Having me back was stressor enough and the boys started pretty early (upon waking up, fighting over who's going to get my phone for me). Having Pappie back from the hospital was just too much. And yeah, sugar high from grapes.

It also wouldn't have been an issue if I was leaving them with my cousin, whom I trust. But I left them with our helper, a stranger still, someone who I do not see able to provide the mothering I feel my sons deserve. Thankfully, God has been really kind this time because our helper seems to really like my kids. She has been hard at work building Lego towers and drawing for my kids. The other day, I also came home to Yamee shrieking with laughter because our angel of a helper was playing with him.

I am just happy to be back with my sons again. Having to be away from them made me realize yet again how it would kill me if I have to go back to work. I cannot stand the separation!