Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week's Report

Yamee had his fussy nights again, which required me to go downstairs and put him to sleep there before we get to enjoy the cool air of the aircon.

Yakee got fever last Wednesday, and Yamee had fever Saturday afternoon. Both also had colds and allergic rhinitis. We were advised to start steaming and nebulizing again, just so they'd be ready for their swimming lessons. I have cooked most days of the week, and hubs ended the week with sweet and sour fish.

Yakee watched The Avengers with Pappie, and saw Mac and Me on TV. Yamee mastered the art of climbing ledges and sitting precariously anywhere.

Hubs and I sorted some of our things. I made Yakee wear an old sterling silver jewelry I have that hubby gave to me years ago. It was a key pendant on a simple chain because I loved keys then... and Yakee was able to break the key within an hour. So much for accessorizing him.

I have been learning to take charge of the home and the chores. Yakee has been eager to help, not always to my advantage, but he's also throwing tantrums a lot of times because I cannot play.

We have also taken to sleeping the afternoon heat off... which makes for super late bedtimes, but what can we do? It's just so horribly hot... and I can't make them nap with the aircon on because that might just make the allergic rhinitis/asthma worse.


But in case you haven't noticed, we survived. And hubs said, he thinks our meals are extra delicious (for the two of us) becase we know that we cooked it ourselves.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Surviving and Struggling

The heat isn't helping.

Yamee teething isn't helping.

Yakee being very demanding, restless, then sick isn't helping.

My eczema isn't helping.

My stress isn't helping.

This week, I have spanked Yakee two or three times because of how he is treating Yamee while I struggled with chores. I have spanked Yamee for throwing the weighing scale off the stairs in one of his late-night attempts not to sleep.

Last night, when both boys refused to eat, I started tearing up... and when hubby got home, I left them for a while to play Words with Friends while fighting back tears.

But weirdly enough, after asking some Mom friends to pray for me since I am really struggling, I felt a little better.

It's hard to remember that the reason why my kids are whiny, demanding and unmanageable is me. But it is. In the stress of bargaining with the errant helper to return the stolen goods and adjusting to a life without my cousin (who I really miss too, not just because she helped us out), I have forgotten that they actually pick up MY stress and get confused by it. Leading to mayhem. Chaos.

Hopefully, Yakee does believe it when I say that even when my temper is short, I do love him and his brother.

And please, please God... don't let them be sick anymore. Not only have we paid for the swimming lessons, I really want them to have that this summer.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Why We'd Be Back in Guimaras

Of course, we want to try and see other places. But I really fell for Alubihod Beach where Raymen Beach Resort is, in Guimaras. When we were there, it was private enough and the sand and water were just so clean, it was heaven for little kids.

hubs taught Yakee to look for crabs (those tiny white ones that make holes in the sand) and Yamee loved trying to squash them

we often forget (thankfully, I didn't) that it's easy to amuse the kids... just leave them somewhere they can explore and build

and I fully understood why a sandbox is pedagogically necessary in Waldorf schools  when I observed them and just let them be

Yamee expresses concentration with his lips

and this is the moment when he started a fascination with sand on his body

and Yakee... well, he's always loved the beach

Since the place was clean, the staff friendly, the restaurant food was great (for the money)... and they had cable TV, it seems like the perfect place to just let kids enjoy an unspoiled beach. Of course, where sand goes, Boracay's is still the finest.... but the area is also super commercialized already.

So, someday, I want to go back and just let my sons frolic in Guimaras beaches. Maybe they can go swimming naked again, haha, at Guisi beach.

My Boys and their Voices

One of the things that are really distinctly different about my boys is their voice. Yakee still sounds like a girl since he talks and shrieks in a high-pitched voice still, like a regular young boy. Yamee, however, interjects and expresses delight in a deeper voice. He only gets high-pitched when he shrieks at his older brother.

I wondered aloud yesterday how Yakee's voice will be like when it starts breaking in adolescence. Hubs joked that maybe the boys will switch and Yakee will have a deep voice in adulthood, while Yamee will have a shrieky one. Haha.

Well, I know we're far from days of myoripped reviews for image-conscious boys and I really don't want for time to slip any faster than it's already going (because my boys aren't babies anymore! sniff, sniff)... but I sort of can't wait for the boys to be actually talking, not just communicating through intent.

The other day though, without meaning to, Yakee said "water" again. Unlike his brother (who we may have been more consistent with), he's gotten to signing MORE for anything he wants, mostly food, so there's still a lot of second guessing with him. Then he said the word, then refused to repeat it again, much to his father's dismay (because he never hears Yamee talk).

Each child is different... but in the long run, may I be the kind of mother who teaches them to have a voice of their own :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rough Play and Boys

I know that in actuality, even girls can play rough. But well. my boys are typical boys... only, Yakee of course has a great advantage being older. He can easily make Yamee lose his balance, for one thing. And every little curiosity that Yakee wants to test, he does it on Yamee.

Yakee has had his fair share of tumbles but Yamee somehow having to go through falls from a dressing table stool, or the sofa, or the bed... or being caught in blankets, stuck in boxes or tripping on his own feet, scattered toys or his Kuya's limbs... all these break my heart.

Sometimes, though it's no one's fault, they both get carried away. Usually, we end up scolding Yakee to mind since he's the older one, and I know it's really unfair since he's also still only a child. Sometimes, after getting hurt, Yamee would have this look of expectancy for Kuya to be scolded or a toy be taken away from his older brother or for his brother to be made to give way for him... and of course, we also do not give in to that.

So, it's usually tears and wails from Yamee everyday... and shrieks and laughter from Yakee followed by some natural consequence.

It's exhausting!

What stretches me even more is when they insist that I be part of the rough play. It sucks to have two pairs of elbows knocking the breath out of you...

Rough play and boys... I really can't wait till they start wushu lessons... and take up knitting. Haha.

Music Gadgets and My Sons

I'm one of those who could remember a time when headphones weren't common and it was the height of cool to be sporting one. Then again, even cd players then were not really very handy to strut with, twas much better to have a really loud radio instead.

But now, technology has made leaps and bounds that even kids have their own media players. My eldest is allowed my old media player for his Disney and dance songs... and sometimes, we do let him use earphones for it. Only sometimes, yes, because I don't want to train him in tuning us out just yet, or get him so used to loud music blaring in his ears. There's plenty of time for C Tech Bass headphone amps someday, when he's really into different genres already and maybe even mixing his own music. Plus, it's good to share music. I have raised both in Beatles songs and I now also know a lot of nursery rhymes and songs. Lately, I have also introduced them to recorder tunes... and my son has made a makeshift lyre. But I know he would probabaly ask for an electric guitar first.

Well, so long as we keep dancing, right? :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Levelling Up

I have to be honest, I've been a spoiled Mom. Not only do I have a loving husband who supported my decision to stay at home, we also had my cousin to help us out. Being older, I let her run the household and be in charge of the food and chores. She also played the role of a second mother for my sons. I trusted her and in her love for my sons... so even though we both had complaints, we were a team for our sons.

But she is leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow in pursuit of better income opportunities because she has nieces and nephews to support, and only herself to depend on. Now... not only do I need to take charge of domestic chores, I also had to open our home again to a stranger.

If I didn't have eczema on my hands, we could have maybe worked the setup out... but not having a regular babysitter would also affect Yakee's attendance to St. Michael as well as our other plans. And because we wanted the new helper trained, we approached an agency and got a new helper before my cousin left.

She was fetched last Wednesday, started work last Thursday, even endeared herself to me by taking charge of really watching and looking for Yakee in the playground yesterday... only to leave the house without her things, and with my two old phones today... phones I kept because I have not saved the text contents somewhere else.

It is so heartbreaking to hear Yakee pray that we find her... because he has attached himself to her as a coping mechanism to what he perceives to be a great loss... my cousin is his second Mom. He grew up in my cousin's care! And now this, betrayed and left by the person he thought to turn to.

And oh, I dare not think of all the messages I saved... from the time Py died, to reassuring words from my MIL when we weren't getting pregnant, or when I was on bed rest... thoughtful words from my mom and quotes from my friends... and the everyday testament to how loved I am by my husband...

The Mom in me is scared that Yakee will regress by wetting the bed and whining and being demanding more... and that Yamee's speech will get all the more delayed. I am scared that, out of frustration, I'd make the boys my emotional punching bags. I'm scared that I can't hack it once my hands start itching and bleeding... I could go on and on and on.

But thankfully, I perceive the error in my fears. I am not my sons' mom because I had help. I just am and our love for each other will prevail. And things changing doesn't mean they're changing for the bad... just the different. We will adjust, I know it.

May I just have the grace to see my family through.

I Should Think More Positively

Just several hours from now, Yakee will start his summer swimming lessons again... hopefully, he has completely recovered from his allergic rhinitis and colds from a month ago. opefully, the late night tonight hasn't compromised his immunity. Hopefully, he won't get swimmer's ear at all.

I have never experienced this kind of trepidation about his swimming lessons. He's had 3 already... this is his 4th. But life has really not been smooth where his health is concerned ever since last year, when we all came down with allergic woes that refuse to go away.


Yamee will start his first lessons on Tuesday.

More importantly though, I really hope I won't be shot down by our allergies and more particularly, Yakee's developing asthma. We need to keep embracing the outdoors. We should pursue a new car that can accommodate a car bike rack for us when we go out-of-town. I want us to keep travelling and exploring. I want us to see winter, conquer rainforests and watch the sun set from different parts of the world... so swimming lessons shouldn't cause me this much anxiety. it will rub off on my sons and they might start thinking they can't hack it.


Meanwhile, I think our new helper is also an allergic person. She has told us about being allergic to seafood... but even changes in temperature get her coughing. Yikes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moving Storybook Workshop at St. Michael

On one hand, it was more of a painting session with a lot of chit chat for two afternoons because that's what we mostly did: paint.

On the other hand, it was wonderful to see all the finished/unfinished products because of all the idea prompts you get. Anyway, a moving storybook is basically a favorite book, verse or made-up one brought to life using moving pictures. And since Waldorf believes in the soul of painting, it was the main medium we used. It's an alternative to having a story table and making puppets and is intended to be used without books (you can cheat and write the verse at the back, in case you forget... but you can also just make up stories). It's goal is to also be part of a bedtime routine, instead of story reading from books (because Waldorf is all about storytelling, not reading). Again, the reason for that is that it is more soulful, less contrived and more open to the use of the imagination.

The first day, I was really unprepared to be creative. I started out hoping to paint a sea scenery then ended up with a river one. The next day, I came more prepared as I had planned on a castle-dragon-knight scene.

And let me tell you... the expression on Yakee's face was priceless when I brought out the first scene and proceeded to tell him a short, impromptu story about an afternoon where he and Yamee are exploring, and he was encouraging Yamee to learn to jump over the river. You could see that he felt loved, that the gift was a very personal one, and that it was really, really appreciated. He was really upset when I couldn't use the storyboard again before bedtime because there were a lot of moths and we couldn't open any lights in the bedroom.

So, yeah, I think when he sees that  I painted a castle scene for him, he might start getting teary from the joy of it.

Yamee... well, he liked mommy's painting too... but he wanted to get the boys on popsickle sticks, and tear the painting in two (just because he saw the slit).

Anyway, here's sharing what my classmates (love using this word 'coz it makes me feel i'm back to school again just because I am learning a lot with such classes) made and some of our pics as we were creatively busy.

though I said chit chat, we didn't really gab and gossip... we were all really busy with our projects

the window will be showing two seasons :)

while this one will be showing the cycle of sunshine, clouds, rain and rainbow

this one is going to be a Narnia cabinet showing nature themes

this one shows trees dying/disappearing, as Mrs. Fajilan's homage to the pine trees cut down in Baguio; and they are also starting a Waldorf school in Tablas, Romblon (yey!)

the wheel will show different things flying in the sky

the Mom in the middle made a storybook about their trip to Bohol and that is such a great prompt: to reinforce memories through storytelling this way

the storyboard that delighted Yakee (he's the one in red shorts, Yamee is in purple)

me with the castle one and our mentor Tita Malou (and her boat); I tried copying the dragon in one of her paintings for this one (looked more like a stunted alligator but wth)

the best thing we learned from this class is that we could do it, and do it with soul... and how such gatherings help the kids, our kids, in Waldorf schools

I missed the doll-making class (amazing that regular people can make such lovely dolls!) and will have to miss the crochet class since it will conflict with my sons' pending swimming lessons. But this was really fun, fun, fun... enough to make me buy watercolor paper, new watercolor tube paints (i'd invest in the Stockmar brands someday, when I have a better handle of painting at home with the kids) and other art stuff to make more storybooks.

I also realized... I like strong colors so much. I want to paint more dreamy scenes and less concrete, detailed ones :)

Now, moving storybooks are more fun right? :) Really versatile too!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yakee, Mommy and Movement

Yakee is very physical in the sense that his balance is good, he can run fast, climb walls and is hard put to stay still. But it was only recently that I started attempting to teach him guided physical activities.

I realized how hard it is to teach/do basic calisthenics. My arms  tend to give out before his, haha. Recently, I also taught Yakee the eurythmic movements for Hallelujah because that's all I remember now from our class, I have forgotten the alphabet. So, we do the Hallelujah every other day or so. I still cannot get him to do it while tracing a star on the floor though. And I love it that after he's done, he also starts doing jumping jacks (maybe because of the A movements).

Hopefully, I can keep this up. I don't know any formal dances but it would be fun if we're dancing and exercising together way into his teens, with home theater speakers blaring. Maybe I'd even learn eurythmic sword fighting to teach the boys someday, it would be fun to see them doing that!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yakee on Ants, Death and Being an Older Brother

There was a dead cockroach outside our home yesterday, and my toddler bounced outside directly onto the path of the scavenging ants. I heard Yakee start scolding him, and I was also called to intervene. Yakee reminded me that his younger brother was shoeless and could be bitten. Cute, right?

But I did say he was scolding his younger brother right? He basically scolded Yamee for killing some ants, and went on to say the younger one better go inside while he looks for the ant cemetery.

Yakee kept repeating the words 'ant cemetery' and I was really amazed at how he just assumed there was one. I was also thinking of how ironic it is that he assumed there is one, when ants usually scavenge off any dead animal's corpse. Remember that question about whether ants also get scavenged by ants when they die?

I posted that on Facebook and a friend told me that ants actually gather the bodies of their dead ones and put them in the center of their ant colony. This, he knew, from having ant farms as a child. What do you know, my son's instinct was spot on! And I'm actually thinking that this is another nudge for me to get an art farm for the boys someday.

And then I think about all the other conversations I have had with my eldest on death. His everyday questions of whether I'd die has ceased. Now, if he ever mentions death, it's usually him pretending to die. And how my heart twinges a little for that someday where death conversations would be serious, real... and maybe even close.

We may never ever go to casket sales (unless it's our business) but I sure do wish we could raise the boys with a working relationship with their parents' mortality. Who knows, we may even consult them for some funeral advice, just so we can get their inputs on what will make things a little more convenient for them. I have started on a living will of sorts, details about the funeral that I want... but I think I have lost that file. And well, embracing Waldorf has made me reconsider cremation.

I know that's still far into the future. But everytime I realize how much my boys have grown, I also seem to get a taste of graduations, teenage years, marriage and a time when we don't see each other all the time anymore.


But as they say, parenting is a slow process of letting go. But for now, yes, I will consider the ant farm (preferably when Yamee is around five years old already and more likely to respect the creatures).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Best Cooker

My cousin helper/part-time babysitter is still vacationing so I had to fend for my sons for  a few days... meaning I had to cook.

Yesterday, I cooked tinola and they loved that.

Today, I made Yakee fried rice which he loved. For dinner, I cooked tuna pasta because I was itching to use the Parmesan Cheese we got from my parents. It was a hit... especially since I had Yakee crumble bacon on top of it and put cheese himself. When hubby got home, he 'taught' his father how to 'make' the pasta and had second helpings. Then he told me, "Mommy, you are the best cooker!"

We have always tried correcting him that he means 'cook' or 'chef' but 'cooker' has stuck and it's still a great compliment. It's also a reminder to me to cook more for the family... not just because I'd at least know what goes into what they eat, but also because it could be a bonding activity for me and my sons.

I'm just a little sad though because I do pay a high price for cooking... literally and figuratively. The eczema on my hands are aggravated everytime I get my hands wet, chop up stuff like ginger or onions, or experience heat. I could use disposable food preparation gloves, I guess, but that feels awkward.

But I really should go back to having my sons involved in the cooking process. Yakee was a little miffed that he did not break the spaghetti noodles  before they went into the pot but I reminded him he was playing slide with his brother on our sofa bed.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thanks to Mom Communities

One of the things that was brought up in the J&J event I attended was how new generation Moms are tech-savvy moms. We use gadgets and technology to make things easier for us as well as enrich our everyday lives. Part of this is getting connected to other mothers/parents through e-groups (I thank N@W for this), mom forums (I relied and shared heavily on Pinoyexchange and Gtalk) and mom blogs. Usually, you gravitate towards parents who share the same points of view and ideals, but sometimes, you're also intrigued by how passionate others can be in the choices they have made. Sometimes, you are drawn by celebrities, sometimes, by a voice that invokes a sense of authority.

Yes, sometimes, these moms get you shopping for things you don't really need... but they also remind you to take care of yourself.

Yes, sometimes, these moms get you questioning your parenting beliefs and styles... but they also remind you that the love, in however way it is expressed, is the same.

Yes, sometimes, these moms get you feeling guilty about your setup or choices you have made... but they also challenge you to imagine new possibilities and ways of life.

Sure, these moms sometimes just get you feeling envious of what they have or whatever is going on in their lives. Travels particularly get to me because I want to do more of that but I am limited by money (mostly). Still, these are the same moms who will also remind you how to save better, or where to get good deals.

Some of these moms make you feel ashamed for struggling every day in parenting, but they're also the first to remind you to aim at just being a good enough Mom. And you share your woes and battles and even scars... and learn from those with older ones.

What's funny is that these moms also get you wanting to have more babies when they have new ones, because that reminds you of how wonderful a gift it truly is to have a newborn. And you anticipate with them so you also sort of end up getting pregnant many times over, and giving birth a hundred times, and going through breastfeeding in the first weeks every month.

And yes, your heart also breaks each time there is a miscarriage... or a child lost. And the first thing you do is go to your child (who may or may not have annoyed you like crazy just a few minutes earlier) and hug that child, or tell that child he is loved.

Back in the day, it's a circle of female family members that served this purpose for a new mother... and it would only be great if all the ones in that circle are there out of nothing but love and a sense of duty. Unfortunately, there were enough meddling matriarchs back then that helped disempower a new mom. But not so much today... and new gen Moms like myself enjoy the choice of who to bond with, learn from, share with and grow with. The fact that we may never even meet in person does not deny us lasting friendships, and therein lies the magic.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Farming in the City

Nope, I'm not talking about Farmville.

While uploading our many pictures of our Iloilo-Bacolod trip, I noticed this shot at Garin Farm.

In case you can't read the sign, it basically says that space and location is not an issue, you can still grow your own food (and not just plants too) even in small spaces. Look at this, you don't need land and would never need to go over reel mower reviews because you can just plant basic crops using scrap materials (in this case, cutout tires for radish, tomatoes, kangkong and sweet potato) and hang them on a wall. Basic ingredients for Filipino staple dishes like sinigang.

I was really excited by this and thought it would be something wonderful that I can do with my sons... I am sure harvesting the produce and eating those will prove more meaningful for them.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More Heaven Around Them

I have been meaning to blog about this but I keep forgetting.

At the basic eurythmy class I attended, our mentor said something about children having more heaven around them. In Waldorf-speak, it has more to do with a child's spirit still incarnating, making the child more sensitive to the spirits. It also means that children are cared for more by these spirits. Once a person reaches the age of 21, he has more or less fully incarnated already and is on his own. He does not depend on the spirits for guidance because he has enough life experience already to really make his own choices and be master of his destiny.

Children have more heaven around them. That's why even infants falling off beds are usually unharmed... or they're none the worse for wear after a tumble... or how hanging address signs do not result in serious injuries for a toddler... even how they recover fast from trauma or tragedy, or beat a disease.

I know... kids get hurt and sick, but haven't you marvelled at how a child should have been worse after an incident but wasn't? Heck, my 17-month old can be on top of the stairs and jumping about as he throws balls towards his older brother at the bottom of the stairs.... but not fall off the stairs (this happened under my father's watch, suffice it to say, I was aghast to find them like that). My eldest can balance himself on top of backrests and beams and fences and even balls and only seldom fall down.

They have more heaven around them. It's just as simple as that.

But there's another thing. In Waldorf education, we were taught that teachers/nurturers/parents throw an invisible cloak around their charges. A teacher uses this cloak to protect her students from being disrupted, excited or scared of visitors. Parents use this cloak to have an ever fixed 'eye' on the kids as they go about their tasks.

I like to think that cloak we parents throw over our children is also 'more heaven around them' :) And yes, it usually means less concern for our well-being sometimes but that love (and the prayers) protect our kids from everyday harm.

I think of attachment parenting and think that children who felt self-assured to explore the world and grow up trying new things are people who felt this cloak as almost tangible... palpable... because the attachment was strong, so was the heaven around them.

And I am slowly realizing that when I am out-of-sorts and feeling disconnected with my mothering, more harm happens to my kids. They fall down more and squabble more. There is less heaven around them.

Now, isn't it sorta neat that I am the heaven around my child? :) (such a big responsibility too).