Rob Pruitt: You Are Nothing But A…

.. second-rate, trying hard, COPYCAT!!! (throws drink in face).

I’m a Threadless fan. It just so happens that the daddy of Basti’s BGF (yes, Best Girl Friend) is AJ Dimarucot, the wicked designer of amazing tshirts. One of the most popular Threadless designs is called When Pandas Attack:

Photo courtesy of Threadless/ajdimarucot.com

And then there’s Rob Pruitt, a New York-based “artist” who lifts the design and tries to pass it off as his own in a painting, using “appropriation” as an excuse.

"Original" Painting, my foot

I’d be so vexed if somebody used my husband’s paintings without his permission. Read more about it here.

Motherhood: Information vs. Instinct

So let me tell you a little bit of what I used to do.

I was a Gymboree teacher. Not just any Gymboree teacher, I was a KICK-ASS Gymboree teacher. I worked in Gymborees Rockwell, Shangri-la and Polo Club, teaching children and training all Gymboree Philippines teacher wanna-bees. I moved to China in ’06 to work in Gymboree Dalian where my classes were full, had waiting lists, parents crying when I left and my boss offering me double my salary just to stay.

I say this without modesty to give you an idea of the multitude of early childhood information and tools I’ve got in my pocket. I spent 7 years working with children from 0 to 4 so you would think that I’d have some sort of sophisticated system for Basti’s everyday activities, yes?

What I know: 16 lullabyes in 16 different musical styles that range from Cajun to Surf to Rock N’ Roll to African.

What I sing on instinct:

  • The closing credits song from Voltes V
  • Eternal Flame
  • Stay Awake from Mary Poppins (because I watched it on Betamax everyday)
  • Tuppence from Mary Poppins (see previous note)
  • Defying Gravity from Wicked

What I know: A multitude of body awareness rhymes and songs for children 0 to 6 months

What I do: “A-koochee-koochee kooo!!!”

What I know: Lap ride songs

What I do: “Yah, tigidig, tigidig, tigidig!”

What I know: 16 different peekaboo songs

What I do: “BULAGAAAA!”

When I have some time to breathe and think, the Gymboree knowledge does emerge and we have our own little Level 1 class on our playmat. But my experience has really got me thinking. When push comes to shove, my childhood and personality emerges, not my Gymboree brain. Motherhood, as much as it is an instinct, is something that we have to learn, and think about. Case in point: breastfeeding! It may seem like the most natural thing in the world, but it is something both you and baby need to learn together.

I’m trying to become more aware of what my baby needs from me right now, and I have to balance it with what I need as well. Happy mommies = happy babies, yes?

Last Weekend: A Picture-Happy Post

Twas a busy busy weekend for Basti last weekend, hence, a busy busy day for me. Though the weekend was chocful of mommy sales, I chose to steer clear as The Painter has promised to let me get the diaper bag I wanted and shop for a new stroller (one that Basti might like better). Though I’m quite happy wearing Basti, it would be nice to be able to put him down when I eat or go to the bathroom.

Our first stop for the weekend was Deovir and consequently, Caveman & Yeti for a taste of their mango concoction. I had it with nata de coco and it was delish.

Caveman & Yeti, you make SM North Edsa bearable

Dazzle says though, that for every order of the Strawberry Heart ice, a portion of the proceeds go to the Got Heart Foundation. I’ll order that more often from now on (it’s my favorite so far, anyway).

Then it was the Saturday playgroup at baby Thomas’ place along with the other babies from our birthing class.

Thomas had all sorts of baby gear that Basti loved, like this playgym,

and the Bumbo chair.

Now, before you guys scream, “Recall!!!!” on me, I researched on why the Bumbo was recalled in the first place. Turns out the injuries sustained by babies on the Bumbo came from parents leaving their child unattended, sometimes on top of places like tables, kitchen countertops, washing machines, etc. Now Bumbo has to put a warning sticker saying it should not be used on unsafe surfaces. HELLO. Some people just shouldn’t be parents, really. The Painter wants to get one.

We went to my mother’s house afterwards and I snuck out while Basti was sleeping to do this:

And it’s done.

We spent Sunday at Lexi’s 7th birthday.

Photo by Ditoy Aguila

Basti looks so cute, but so not having fun. Why so sungit, anak?

Basti’s Ninang Gel, the super-baker behind Swell Sweets, made the cake.

Photo by Ditoy Aguila

Ninang Gel also made my wedding cake, and Basti’s baptism cake.

And, to top it off, she’s gorgyuzzz. All my friends are so pretty.

Not with any bias, you guys should check out her website. She has this awesome flowerpot cake, and the cake she made for Judy Ann’s baby shower was breathtaking!!

So how was your weekend?

4 Months, No Yaya

I bet there is at least one person I know who’s placing a mental bet on how long I’m going to last without a yaya. Well, hand over the moolah, whoever you are, because there is no way I’m getting one anytime soon.

Ok, so it’s hard. Our all-around girl is busy all the time with everything else around the house that I seldom ask her to watch Basti. And when The Painter zones out, there is no way you can persuade him to do anything but paint. Breaking his painting streak will cause more chaos so I don’t even try. So yes, there are times I miss meals, or eat with Basti on my lap (and crumbs on his head), and have unwashed hair. I go everywhere with Basti, be it the supermarket, parties, wakes, funerals, or weddings. The only time I really bring our maid with me out is when I have to do groceries, because even I admit it’s hard to push a cart, and grab groceries with a baby in tow. I’m also lucky that my parents have retired and are only too happy to drive and accompany me when I have to go anywhere. (The Painter doesn’t drive. I drove for the two of us and did all errands until the day before I delivered! But he’s actually signing up for driving lessons already. Next shopping item: Car Seat!)

It’s made even harder that Basti HATES his stroller so much that I’ve stopped bringing it. It’s just one more thing to carry and we don’t need any more of that, do we? People ask me how I became so adept at babywearing at such a short time. Oh believe me, it has nothing to do with my mad skillz (ok, maybe just a little bit), but everything to do with sore arms and the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome.

But really? It’s not as hard as I thought it would be. When I read and hear about yaya woes I’m glad I’m free of that. I see mommies walking leisurely around the mall, with yayas trailing at their footsteps carrying the baby and I can’t imagine that to be me. I do envy their composure and how their outfits look like they actually took time to put it together, but at the end of the day, I’d really much rather it be my skin my baby touches and not a stranger. I hear of couples who have been able to take a weekend off without their infant, leaving the baby in the care of lola and yaya, with instructions and bottles and frozen milk and I think… “When will Orley and I be able to go off on our own? When Basti’s 21?” But again, I can’t imagine even one night away from my child.

Sure I have meltdowns. There were times that I think I really need a drink (even if I don’t drink), and I admit there have been moments that I left Basti to squirm for a few minutes in his cot just so I could rest my arms for 5 minutes. I’ve sat alone at home with the baby while my husband goes to exhibits, while my girl friends go out for a night out, and while my siblings watch a movie together.

But at night, when he turns on his side on his own to snuggle up to me, I know it’s all going to be worth it someday.

P.S. Watch this space for something that I’ve had brewing for a few weeks. Just finalizing some details. I ask you this… Are you feeling lucky??? 😀

SaYa How-To: The Front Carry

One of my readers, Yanna, messaged me on Facebook that she was having the same dilemma as I did with Basti. Her baby Sahaya, was no longer comfortable with the kangaroo carry in the SaYa, but wasn’t taking well to a pouch or a ring sling. She asked for advice on another position to carry Sahaya in the SaYa. (Sahaya in the Sa-ha-Ya. Ok ah. Just saying… wala lang. Carry on!)

I do a front-carry with Basti when he lets me (our record for the front-carry is 20 minutes) and here’s how I do it with the SaYa. (Please don’t mind The Painter taking his pre-painting nap on the sofa behind. Hee hee!)

First, put on the SaYa. I explained my style in a previous post.

With your baby in burping position, slip your hand under the lead sling…

And thread your baby’s leg through it.

Spread the fabric of the lead sling across your baby’s bottom and back to come up with something like this.

Next, get the support sling and thread your baby’s other leg through it…

Before bringing the fabric up to cover his bottom.

Then, just like in my previous demo of the SaYa Kangaroo Carry, put your arm through the support sling on your side…

And slide it over your shoulder.

Again.. SaYa Success!

Here’s a side view of the SaYa front carry.

Basti doesn’t really like this position very much as of now, but I think he’s getting used to it. Hope this helps!

Moms On The Floor: Breathe, Sing, Shop!

Aside from the occasional mommy-geared event I would produce with the different production outfits I used to work with, I wasn’t aware that mommy events were HUGE and were EVERYWHERE. I think I just sort of glazed over them as a single gal. Well, not anymore.

Last weekend, I trooped over with my friends Marilen, Hans and their little baby boy Santiago to Mommy Mundo‘s Moms On The Floor event at Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street.

There were booths, booths, booths and we went home with quite a bit of swag. There was a nursing top at the Mommy Matters booth I wanted. Must contact Candace to get it!!!

Maricel of Medela, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. (You’re so thin, ha!!! Winner!)

Isn’t Santiago such a cutie-pie?

With parents who look like this, you can’t miss.

Basti wore his Dr. Seuss onesie, a gift from my friend, Iya.

There were nice activities, such as Laughter Yoga, Kindermusik, a baby massage demo and Breathworks.

Some of us from birthing class even ran into each other for a mini-reunion!

Ana and Ozzy

But alas, the activities were too much for my little Basti. Here’s his valiant effort to stay awake during Kindermusik.

Dozing off in 3…2….1…

And pretty soon, he was snug as a bug in the sling.

Shhhhhh…

We had tons of fun. Thanks Mommy Mundo! I hope to be there at your Clearance Sale at the Big Red Barn next weekend. MORE SHOPPING!!!!

 

The Ramen Bar and the Eastwood Breastfeeding Room

I promised I would treat the family to dinner sometime, and so I did last night. We decided to try out The Ramen Bar, opened by a fellow PhilMUGger and birthing class classmate, Charlie Paw. I also wanted to see the Eastwood breastfeeding room.

Simple menu, with just a handful of appetizers, ramen varieties, and just one each of a rice bowl and dessert. If they are planning to expand the menu in the future, I think what they currently have is a good way to introduce themselves. I will not claim to be a ramen expert (or a food expert, for that matter) but I do know what I like. I have a chef for a brother; does that make me any more credible or just makes it more obvious that my family loves to eat?

Good ramen.

Supposed to be good for 1-2 people. Uh, good for one Eliza only.

I couldn’t take a picture of the pork buns because they were gone before I could snap a shot. Okay I admit, I ate them up. Fast.

My sister approves.

Yapi likes

To this day we need to figure out how my sister became part-Japanese.

Here’s the Eastwood breastfeeding station.

Comfy chairs, changing area, dedicated airconditioning and breastfeeding information on the walls. Great job L.A.T.C.H. and Eastwood Mall!

I also have a new thing on my I Want Need This List that I saw at Babyland:

Lassig Shoulder Diaper Bag

I wonder if The Painter will indulge me?

The Voice of Vanity: A Mommy’s Beauty Blues

I am vain.

No, I’m not.

I am VERY, VERY vain. This doesn’t come from any particular pride about my looks. I just like being presentable, even if I’m not fashionable. (It’s been a long road of jeans, flipflops and t-shirts for me, mostly from Threadless)

So, you can just imagine how the toll of pregnancy on my body affected me. It’s a downward spiral and if you don’t fight against it, it will take you to The-Mom-Who-Never-Recovered Land. Hel-looooooo sweatpants.

When I just gave birth, all my senses were smothered. I didn’t like the way I looked, smelled or sounded. I swear if anyone bit me they would say I even tasted bad. Those were the days when sleep deprivation was at its peak, hormones were raging, tear ducts were overproductive and you didn’t even have time for a proper bath.

Things are better now, I give you that. But let me give you a rundown of what I used to do to myself regularly:

  • A monthly facial
  • A monthly head-to-toe waxing of what needs to be waxed
  • Eyebrow tattoo touchups every 2 months
  • Regular mani-pedi and footspa
  • A weekly massage
  • Go to the gym 4-5 times a week
  • Run 5k twice a week (everyday when I was in China)

I used to wear 4-inch heels for going out, and my makeup kit could rival a professional’s. I even thought of taking classes to be a professional makeup artist.

When I just gave birth, all I did to go out was put on a ponytail and a clean shirt. At least now, I make an effort to put on the Laura Mercier, a dusting of Bare Escentuals and even a little Nars on the cheeks. I’m getting there, one step at a time.

But as for the rest of me… WOE!!! The thing that bothers me most is my post-partum tummy. Will it ever go away? Mommies who’ve been there? Insights? I was out one day and someone asked me.. “How far along are you?” I point to Basti being carried by Lolo Jun and I say, “3 months”. Yes, go ahead and eat your shoe.

Things are better these days, I’ve got to say. I’m back to pre-pregnancy weight (but still need to lose because I wasn’t thin to begin with) thanks to breastfeeding. My skin is clear again, a sign of exiting hormones. Good for the skin, bad for the hair. At 4 months, post-pregnancy hair loss has me finding clumps of my hair on my pillow, in the shower drain and in my hand when I take out my hair clip. It’s alarming to say the least, and it’s supposed to normalize in 12 months. Zoiks.

It took me two years to grow out my hair from cutting it this short:

Because me wants to look like this again:

Photography by Dominique James

BONGGA diba??? Please tell me it’s possible, LORD!!!!!

Pump Perplexed No More: Spectra Dew 300

I posted a while back that I was undecided on which breastpump to get. Initially, I had wanted to order a Medela Freestyle, but then thought that a double-electric hands-free pump that’s quite expensive is simply, OA (for a stay-at-home mom, at least. I would definitely recommend the Freestyle for working moms).

I was contemplating the Medela Swing:

But then, a contest on the Babymama Facebook page turned my attention to the Spectra line of breastpumps. I entered a contest to win a free one, but didn’t rally enough votes so I conceded early, and booked a trial with Babymama’s Mi’ann Reyes-Oblea.

Before anything else, I have to say that the main come-on of the Spectra line to me was the price. If any of you have been reading between the lines of my shopping posts, you would notice that I am hopelessly thrifty. Any great product with an affordable price is good news to me. Medela is a GREAT brand, but the P6,000 price tag, double-electric Spectra Dew 300 seemed like a good deal.

Photo courtesy of Babymama

So off I went to Mi’ann’s place to try out the pumps right after attending the La Leche League breastfeeding support group at the Podium. (There’s one more on Sept. 18, 11am at Baby & Co. Podium. Please go if you are planning to breastfeed, or already breastfeeding) Out of the three pumps that Babymama offers, the Spectra Dew 3oo was a fit for me because:

1. As a stay-at-home mom, a desktop pump was fine for me.

2. Because I only planned to pump occasionally, there was no need for anything like a hospital-grade pump.

3. My milk started to flow immediately after I tried it, and I was able to pump out 3oz, just at the trial!

Right then and there, I went ahead and bought the pump. I got Spectra breastmilk storage bags and icepacks for free as well!

That was almost two weeks ago and here is my assessment so far:

1. The pump is quiet as advertised. My baby is a really light sleeper and he doesn’t even stir when I pump while he sleeps.

2. The parts are really easy to clean.

3. The output is great and I only felt a little discomfort when I started pumping. After that, it was a breeze.

I sometimes have a problem with the suction level. I notice it varies with every use. I don’t know if it’s the pump, the membrane, the hose… HEY, do I look like a breastpump technician to you? Must text Mi’ann.

Other than that I’m quite happy that I bought a pump for less than half the price of the Freestyle, a double electric at that!

Now if only Basti would finally take the bottle. That’s a whole different blog entry!!!

P.S. Because Basti still hasn’t taken the bottle, all my pumped milk has been going to a beautiful little girl named Gia. Her mom sent this to Basti as thanks!

Though Basti is more than happy to share his milk with his future BGF – Best Girl Friend. (Baka patayin ako ni Daddy AJ if I say Girlfriend, hee hee!) Thank you Tita Audrey! Love, Basti.

A Word About Art

“Being a painter’s wife must be exciting. You must really know a lot about art.”

Hehe.

NO.

Truth of the matter is, when it comes to art, wine and music, I’m pretty much a simple-minded person. My take on the world is pretty much how I am as a person. With me, it’s what you see is what you get. So with everything else, I don’t like things that are too “deep”.

With music, let’s face it, I am the Pop Queen. I love Madonna, girl groups like Atomic Kitten and Sugababes, I dance to Single Ladies, and heck, I’m even starting to hum Justin Bieber.

And with wine… I don’t even drink wine. “Would you like a nice glass of red wine with your steak?” “No thank you, I’d rather have a Coke.”

I generally stopped drinking, save for a rare vodka-Sprite, more so now that I’m nursing.

So when it comes to art.. well, let’s just say one of the reasons I really appreciated Orley’s work when he was still wooing me is because he’s a realist. I actually understand his work. And if his painting did have some sort of other message or meaning, at the very least I could appreciate the skill it took to execute.

"The Cornpicker" by Orley Ypon, 2009

We go to art exhibits all the time – different artists, different genres, different temperaments (but almost always the same caterer) and sometimes I feel like I’m only there for the food.

Granted, I know more now than I knew then. Sometimes an abstract painting would actually get a rise out of me. If it’s not the shapes, it’s the color or just the general flow of the piece. Don’t ask me to explain it though. All you’ll get from me is a blank look.

In the modern art world, I really am generally lost in translation. There’s work that strikes me as “pa-art”, or work for art’s sake and totally devoid of any skill or mastery, and that just doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t believe art has to be vulgar to make a statement either. A painting doesn’t always need to be happy; I’ve seen some sadness and wistfulness in some work and those moved me too. I generally steer away from angry or bitter paintings. Even in real life, I try to avoid those emotions as I think they are a waste of time. And chocolate.

So don’t look at me for Art Advice. Ask The Painter. I’m just The Painter’s Wife. I’m his partner, his cordon sanitaire, his webmaster, treasurer and stylist. I could tell you, though, which galleries serve the best cocktail food….