Category Archives: Motherhood

What? No Brakes? : Johnson’s My Kid’s Growing Up So Fast Contest

EDIT (11/09/11): This post won one of the four spots in the contest! Thank you Johnson’s and Nuffnang!

The winner of the caption contest is: rdnofera! Thanks for the title – “Move Over Van Gogh, ‘Coz I’m Gonna Van GROW”. You will receive a Johnson’s Gift Pack!

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I’ve made no secret of my dreams and aspirations for Basti’s future. I’ve got my fingers crossed that he will take after his father, and become a world-class visual artist who will do his country proud. Just in case my penchant for performing is in him somewhere, I’ve also got dance and theater classes in the wings, if he wants them.

I have it all planned. He starts experiential art lessons this month in Gymboree; just textures, colors, shapes and forms, nothing formal, just art appreciation disguised as play. I already know the easels I want to buy him when he turns 3, 7, 12, 16 and 25 years old. I know which school to send him to if homeschool doesn’t work out, and his whole life will be filled with exhibits, painting sessions with his father, sketching and photography trips. I seem prepared, don’t I?

And then, just a week or so ago, my little baby boy grabbed a brush from his father’s stash and did this:

My kid's growing up so fast, and can't wait to be like his dad.

My heart broke into a thousand little pieces. My little boy is growing up way too fast. Right then and there, I decided to slow down my ambitious plans and relish the days I have with my kiddo.

Even if Basti can jump from platforms and run down the street, he still likes to take a nap in my arms and nurse at my breast. He can work the iPad like a big kid but still squeals in delight when I sing The Wheels On The Bus in funny voices. He stomps his feet and pouts when he doesn’t get his way, but after the tantrum, my little Basti crawls into my lap and gives me a hug.

One of our favorite things to do is bath time. He loves water, just like me. Since birth, we’ve been using the Johnson’s Baby bath line on him.

He is changing before my eyes but his skin is still like a baby’s. We still need the gentle care of JOHNSON’s Baby Milk, with Vitamins A&E and 100% more milk proteins to nourish developing skin. I particularly can’t get enough of the feel and smell of Johnson’s Baby Milk bath on his skin and hair. It turns my little man into a baby all over again.

I was packing up the last of his onesies, the last articles of clothing that symbolized Basti’s baby-ness. It was not without drama; for each onesie I put in the bin, there was a little prick in my tummy, a tug at my heart, and the ubiquitous single-tear-on-the-cheek that has sold lots of airtime on teleseryes. At the same time, I was sorting our freshly-laundered clothes, which included the bigger-boy clothes that would make up Basti’s new wardrobe. I sighed at how huge they were compared to his baby wear, but I also smiled at how tiny they looked next to his dad’s clothing. He has a long way to go still; he’ll be my little baby for a few more years.

So until we cut the ribbon on his first one-man show or support him on whatever path he chooses to take , we’ll be here, cheering him on his journey. He won’t be a baby forever, but one thing I want to teach him is to never stop growing up.

So, guys – what do you think would make a good title for Basti’s painting picture? The best title deserves a Johnson’s gift pack!

  • First, leave a comment with a creative and relevant title for Basti’s pic, along with your Facebook name.
  • Validate your entry by liking the Johnson’s Baby World of Firsts page on Facebook.
  • The reader with the best title wins!
  • Submission of comments with titles is from October 7 to October 21, 2011.
I can’t wait to hear your title suggestions!

All Hail The “Naughty” Children

A Gymboree co-teacher showed me a blog entry last week. In it, the mom recounts her experience with a certain dance school where she took her 3-year old daughter for her first ballet class. In a nutshell, the little girl’s ballerina dreams were crushed because the dance teacher said things like, “Put her in her place”, “I am getting mad”, “She does not know how to obey” and finally…

“We will show her we are disciplined here and naughty kids go to Gymboree.”

WOW. Three years old. She was lifted off the class floor and unceremoniously dumped in her mom’s arms, from what I gather. “Give her mom a refund”, the teacher said.

Needless to say, the poor child was heartbroken and my own heart was crushed. All she wanted to do was wear a tutu and pink slippers and dance, dance, dance. Apart from that, my eyebrows shot up a mile with the statement regarding Gymboree. We’ve always been proud in the way we relate to children and their parents. We’re very hands-on and their children become a part of our lives. In my ten years of being a Gymboree teacher, never have I heard that Gymboree is for “naughty children.” It was said so pointedly and even the other children were parroting it – “Naughty children go to Gymboree!!”

In Gymboree, we sing a welcome song, clapping our hands, encouraging the children to do the same. Some of them will do so, but most of them will not. Most of them will stand up and dance the Welcome song instead. When I ask my kids to roll the ball down the slide, they sometimes throw it over the side in delight. When I ask them to walk in a circle, they sometimes wander off to sit on the Rocky Horse or stand by the bridge and watch us from there. We don’t raise our eyebrows at them, or ask them to put their hands behind their back while they stand. How can we, when us teachers sometimes look like this:

 

Hey don’t get me wrong. I am ALL for discipline and I abhor self-entitlement. But I believe there’s an appropriate disciplinary style for each stage in life. And asking a three-year old to stand still and “behave” while she is in a beautiful pink tutu and ballet slippers with beautiful music filling the room is not just wrong, but cruel.

In Gymboree we encourage our children to explore with their senses –  to feel, to see, to hear, to sing. We guide them up foam steps and over wooden platforms, go under boxes and peer through rungs while pretending to be a sleepy bear. We fly parachutes over their heads and tickle their tummies with streams of bubbles and feathers and foam. We stamp their hands, feet, foreheads and noses, paint their fingers, faces and arms, getting splashed with color from head to toe. Along the way they learn to grope and to grasp, not just with their hands and fingers but also with their minds and hearts. We sing at the top of our voices, make silly faces and animal sounds, throw scarves in the air and hide in tunnels. The children learn that a circle is not just a shape but also a place to gather with friends. They discover that foam blocks can turn into igloos and skyscrapers, that balls can be apples today and pumpkins tomorrow. What we call socialization, dynamic balance, concept development and fine motor skills, they call play. For us teachers, seeing these babies blossom in front of our eyes is a privilege and a gift.

The children love music and they love to dance. They love to sing, they love to paint and they love to jump off platforms. So would that be the definition of “naughty”? Then if that’s so, well then.. C’mon naughty children!! Let’s all go to Gymboree!!!

KFC Salutes The Super Moms!

Moms give birth to a child, take care of a child, raise that child not to be a serial killer, have good table manners and somehow grow up to have their own kids. On the side she takes care of the house, changes light bulbs, cooks meals, defrosts, wears high heels, take care of that man she married, and finds time to read a book, write a journal, start a blog and retouch her manicure.

Whew.

Now that I’m a mother myself, I sometimes wonder where I get the energy. And then I think about the thousands of mothers out there who are in the same boat as I am. Hey, mother-to-mother, you’re the shiznaz, lady.

Of course we all have our little tips and tricks in order to achieve super mom-ness or to simply stay sane. They don’t have to be mind-blowing, earth-shaking discoveries. Sometimes, what our mush brains need are the simplest things.

Breastfeeding. As a stay-at-home-mom, I have the privilege of directly breastfeeding my child on-demand. Sure I tried to pump, store and bottle-feed, but that was more trouble for me! I’m glad to take these steps off my to-do list: sterilizing, washing and keeping bottles, pumping, storing milk, cleaning the pump, storing the pump, bringing the pump. After 5 attempts with 5 different bottle brands, I decided to just pump for sharing milk and feed Basti direct. Sure it entails a bit of sacrifice: no nights out, no going to places where kids aren’t welcome, challenging shopping choices (everything has to have boob-access), going to meetings with the baby, etc. But it also meant I never had to worry about Basti’s feedings, EVER. And it made for a very light diaper bag too.

Put the makeup on, lady. Motherhood can be stressful, but you don’t have to look it! In the early (and bleary-eyed) days of motherhood, prettying up was low on my awareness list. A glimpse of myself in a mall window reflection stopped me in my tracks. WHO THE HELL WAS THAT. I am blessed that my husband thinks that new clothes, parlor visits and manicures are necessities, not luxuries. He thinks part of our contribution to this earth is being beautiful, as the fairer sex. This is how our conversation usually goes when it’s on this subject.

Me: “Babe, I need new clothes. Can I buy a new dress?”
The Painter: “Make it two!”

or…

Me: “Babe, I’m going to the salon to get my hair done.”
The Painter: “Good!”

He’s a man of few words. Short, but effective. Hehe. Artists!! I love them!!

Also, my friends know this: I almost never go out without concealer, eyebrows, blush and gloss. Be it the grocery, the pediatrician, a milk-tea run, whatever. You never know who you might run to in this little village called Metro Manila and looking decent does a lot for your self-esteem when you do see someone you know. I’m done making excuses. “I just gave birth” lost its credibility a few months ago and “Gosh, sorry I’m so harassed” is just sad. Happy, pretty mom = happy baby.

Creative and purposeful procrastination. There are probably a million and one minute issues I should deal with everyday, but I choose not to. I’ve learned that there are things that simply don’t need or deserve my attention. Right now I need every bit of oomph I can get to keep up with my titter-tottering toddler who has a liking for taking baths in the toilet bowl and rolling around on the kitchen floor. This is a time when procrastinating works for me. I used to have to-do lists, now I have to-do scraps. As in scraps of paper. When something comes to mind, I take a piece of paper – a receipt, the corner of a flyer, a piece of the neighbor’s newspaper (I know, I know) – and I write it down. It can be something as inane as “Buy a new sponge” or something like, “Read the Book of Esther again and review the points of a submissive biblical woman”. When I clean out my pockets, my purse or Basti’s diaper bags, I dump all these scraps into the top drawer of my desk organizer and go through them. The immediate matters get typed in to my iPhone with an alarm, and the rest get saved for later. Or blogged. Like this entry.

Shrug it off. There are days when the laundry isn’t done. Or the floor isn’t that clean. Or your bed is in shambles. Or your lunch menu reads like a bad diner’s blackboard. Or the baby didn’t bathe today. So what? You’re allowed to a lapse here and there, and there’s no good that can come out from feeling guilty about it. I used to be such a control-freak and I let that go when a huge part of my life became subject to the schedule of a little person. I’ve learned to accept my imperfections, knowing that I will be forgiven for them.

Be the best you can be, according to your rules. Who wouldn’t want to be a cloth-diapering, breastfeeding, eco-friendly, BPA-free, germ-free, all-natural, low-sodium, organic household? I did cloth-diapering until I just couldn’t anymore. I buy organic when I can and only IF I can. While I want to homeschool, I’m open to sending Basti to pre-school for a few years so I could possibly have another child, or just regain my wits. At the end, we’re all just trying to be the best mothers we can be. I’ve learned to ignore sanctimonious people who judge other moms who raise their children apart from what they think SHOULD be the way (i.e. THEIR way and no one else’s). Whether you’re a Tiger Mother, or a pansy, a breastfeeder or a formula-user, a hands-on mother or a three-nanny household, we all share a common denominator: we deal. We find our balance. We do our best and pray that we don’t fail (but we do, sometimes!)

So what are your ways to Super Mom-ness? Share them and get a chance to win these fabulous prizes from KFC:

  • Feature in Lifestyle Network
  • Feature in Working Mom magazine
  • 1 year supply of KFC bucket meals (54 buckets)
  • Manila Ocean Park Ultimate Experience
  • Hotel H2O Overnight Accommodation
  • Anti-stress body wrap and mind and body flow massage from The Spa

While all moms are good, KFC is looking for the Super Moms that are SO GOOD. Log on to www.kfc.com.ph/supermom, register, post a picture of you and your family enjoying a KFC bucket and share your own tips for being the Super Mom that you are. It can be anything, from how you find time for yourself, for your family, or how you balance work and family life.

SO GOOD, right? I’d love it if you would leave a comment and share your tips with me too!

 

OA No More?

OA: acronym for “Over-Acting”, signifying an exaggerated response to a situation.

Earlier this month, Jenny of Mama.Baby.Love posted a question on Facebook and Twitter. It was about this book, and whether or not we liked it.

I confess I got this book the moment I learned I was pregnant. It seemed like everyone I knew who were pregnant read this (or bought it, at least) and it seemed like the best choice for clueless, first-time mommies like me. I read it, swore I would follow the Best Odds diet, until I came across a section that read something like this:

“When in a developing country, avoid eating locally and drinking the local water at all costs.”

And that’s when I decided to throw the book out the window stop reading and just go basic. I stuck to drinking my pre-natal vitamins, drinking enough water, eating fruits and veggies and keeping active (read: no lying around eating doughnuts). I ate sashimi, even the kinilaw that my husband prepared for me when we were at the seaside in Cebu, and drank coffee once a week. Basti’s ok.

But “OA” came back when Basti was born. I remember putting him in the crib, settling down to snooze till the next feeding and getting up to check if he was breathing every 2 minutes. I was also constantly watching the air for mosquitoes, flies and insects still unknown to man that may inflict some sort of disease on my little boy. Going out was a chore. I had cotton balls, wipes, cotton buds, thermometer, Paracetamol, alcohol, a spray bottle of water, nursing cover, 2 clothe diapers, TEN disposable diapers, 2 receiving blankets and 4 changes of clothes. It’s a good thing I’m a breastfeeding mommy or that would’ve included a whole other bag of bottles, formula and who knows what else.

Paranoia is a common thing for new mothers, and I was an easy target. I soon found out that babies are actually harder to break than I thought and the baby bag got pared down to a change of clothes, a couple of diapers and wipes. Sometimes I just bring my Taffy Clutch from Manila Baby Shop and everything else (sippy cup, snacks) are in my own purse.

photo courtesy of Manila Baby Shop
photo courtesy of Manila Baby Shop

(I love Manila Baby Shop products. Super affordable, well made, awesome designs)

But. I know this is not the end. Basti is walking already and I feel the paranoia creeping up in my heart. Soon I will worry about cuts and scrapes, bruises and bleeding lips, schoolyard bullies, drugs, loose women and rock and roll.

Oh motherhood!

1

Going from this:

To this:

..was way too fast.

I’m looking forward to more of this:

And I will try to be strong because there will surely be more of this too:

Happy birthday to my little crabby boy, Sebastian. I love you so so much.

The Guilty Mama

We attended our first birthday party of the season last Sunday. Here’s Basti in his party hat:

The party is the first of a series of birthday parties for the children of our birthing class. Basti is celebrating his birthday at the end of the month. What have I got planned?

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

For a former events planner, I am famously allergic to planning one of my own. Maybe it’s because I did it as a job for so long that I don’t want to do it myself? It’s already April 4th and Orley and I still stare at each other blankly when the matter of Basti’s birthday comes up. Truth is, I don’t want a party. I want to go on a trip, but that is going to be something spontaneous if it happens because Orley is up to his eyeballs in work.

Basti’s birthday party is not the only thing I’m guilty about. His baptism was also last minute, just food on the table and a few friends. Have I told you guys about my wedding? Orley and I signed some stuff at cityhall.

We had lunch at Causeway Bay.

And had a dinner cooked by my lola held at her house for my family and some friends.

No fuss, no hustle-and-bustle. Just get it done. That’s how Orley and I live our lives. We’ve never “celebrated” our anniversary.

Am I awful for applying the same philosophy to my son? I see pictures of these birthday parties that have planners, booths and themes and they make me want to go under the covers and sleep.

Three weeks to go and I have to find the initiative, drive and inspiration to celebrate Basti’s birthday. Somehow. I wish I were more maarte.

The TV Dilemma

First of all, my apologies for the semi-neglect (okay, FULL ON neglect) of this blog. Work and moving drove me insane.

 

I think most moms have read this line on a blog, a parenting site or an article somewhere:

No television for children under 2 years old.

Right.

Well, not for me.

I have to admit I have the TV on in Basti’s playroom when we play together, and it’s not tuned in to Playhouse Disney or playing a Baby Einstein DVD either. (Mainly because Baby Einstein bores the heck out of Basti) When I’m watching Basti, I watch my shows. I do sometimes watch Disney and Pixar movies, and Basti likes that. We watched Ratatouille the other day.

Hey I grew up watching TV with my mom. I learned Filipino and developed an appreciation for cinema by watching PPP (Piling Piling Pelikula) after Eat Bulaga on RPN  9. I learned English with Sesame Street.

The only show I don’t let Basti watch is Willing Willy. Flat out, NO.

But Showtime is his favorite. Chant “Party party!” to Basti and he raises his arms up and down and starts to dance. He responds more to R&B than nursery rhymes, and is more familiar with Usher than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He likes watching Glee with me and dances to the opening credits of Hawaii Five-0.

So that’s my “bad parent” confession of the day. What’s yours?

Basti, Steady

I posted this on my Facebook status:

(Me) doesn’t get the obsession about babies being “advanced”. Basti, my darling, take your sweet time growing up. you hear? Steady ka lang.

A week doesn’t pass that I don’t hear some sort of comment or question about Basti’s developmental progress, and how other babies his age are faring either “worse” or “better”. It annoys me.

Seriously, what is with the obsession for babies to be ahead of their developmental milestones? Why the rush anyway?

It’s time for that chicken-and-the-egg question. Did formula companies instill the need for early baby advancement in parents or was it the parents who urged  companies to base their marketing for formula on creating the “super baby”? Just asking. What do you guys think?

As for me, as long as Basti is on track, happy and growing up well within the WHO growth charts, I don’t see any reason why I should try and push him beyond that. Admit it; this competition, the quest for the “Super Baby” is all about the parent, and never about the child.

Have you guys seen this ad on TV about the “Your Baby Can Read” video series? Watching it makes you feel everyone else’s baby is reading except yours. I was going to buy it, succumbing to the pressure, and while I was scrambling around for my credit card thinking, “Basti will read at 8 months.. Basti will read at 8 months!”.. I suddenly realized… so what if he does? What’s wrong with getting around to reading at the REAL reading age anyway? I didn’t read till I was three and I’m fine. So are you.

So many children now are overstressed and overscheduled. They don’t even have time to just play. Even their playtime has to “productive”. If not, they’re usually in front of game consoles or DVDs. In my youth, playing meant going outside in the dirt to gather plants and flowers for my sidewalk “store”. People would pay me stones for something I “cooked” in my palayok from the market. My friend Carina remembers how she was let out of the house with a bike and instructions to come back before dark.

So instead of buying the “Your Baby Can Read” series, I’d much rather buy some nice wooden toys, a kiddie easel, finger paint, butcher paper and a huge tub for playing with mud, shaving cream or sand (or all of that at the same time). Don’t get me wrong; I’m buying books – LOADS of them (I do my bargain children’s book shopping at Books For Less. Seriously, some of them look almost brand new) but I am not going to force Basti to read, not till he’s good and ready.

And all of those programs that promise to get my child’s IQ higher, enhance his math skills, or make him read at lightning speed, you’re not getting a cent from me!

Gymbo, We Meet Again

I said goodbye to Gymbo in 2008. At first I showed up occasionally to sub for  desperate teachers-slash-friends, and then I just stopped teaching altogether, especially when I got pregnant.

And then Basti was born. Now at 6 months, he is fully interacting with the grand total of 3 adults in our household and I felt he needed other faces to see. I wanted him to interact with babies his own age already. With much delight, I donned my Gymboree uniform again for a grand reunion with Gymbo The Clown.

gymboree shangrila

I think he had fun, even though he was so sleepy during his actual class. He liked song time and dance time the most, and stared in wonder when bubbles were floating overhead. He loved seeing the parachute colors and laughed when the parachute breeze hit him.

gymboree shangrila

gymboree shangrila

It’s fun being on the other side of a Gymboree class. I always had fun teaching, but it’s way different when you’re attending the class with your own baby. I think I grew as a teacher just by attending that one class alone. I can’t wait to see Basti grow through the levels and interact more with the children and the playfloor as he gets bigger and bigger.

P.S. I’m done gathering all the entries for the giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone for joining! 303 entries in total, whew! Watch out the the announcement of winners!

Do I Look Nuts To You?

My friend Pia asked me this question: don’t you go crazy being a stay-at-home mom? The reason being, she wants to be one, someday. I told her to go for it, more so because her two kids are “grown” (can walk, can talk).

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question. Some people don’t even ask me anymore, they just ASSUME I’m cuckoo for being a stay-at-home mom. I suspect this is corollary to what my life used to be like, because the assumption comes a lot from people who know me in real life. Some people can’t even believe I’m a stay-at-home mom and not a work-at-home mom.

Most of the people who think I’m nuts assume such is because they can’t believe I can stay home and do “nothing” all day. All the moms out there can also tell that the people who make such assumptions are single and don’t have kids. Single ladies, when you have a baby, there is no such thing as doing “nothing” anymore. Sometimes you feel like you even have to schedule breathing into your day. Let it be known that I am a busy, busy woman, for someone who does “nothing”. My day starts at 6:30am, when Basti wakes, and ends at 1-2am. At night is the only time I really ever have to myself and to work.

Sure, I have to admit I sometimes get into a rut. I forget what day of the week it is because I do almost the same thing everyday. I go to the grocery and am tempted to buy just canned goods because Menu is a B-A-D word. When Basti wakes me up at 6:30am I sometimes plead for him to go back to sleep. There are times that I really do feel I have 5 minutes left before I go completely insane, and I have to give myself a shake, do a jig around the room, and everything goes back to A-Ok.

When I come to the end of my rope, I climb back again with thoughts of how fun it’s going to be very soon. Basti is starting solids next week, and with his growing appetite will come the necessity to come up with new menu items, something I’m excited to do. When Basti crawls there will be more places more us to explore, more so when he starts walking. When he starts to talk there will be questions, and stories, and books and loads of things to learn and talk about. I’m excited to play dress-up, pretend play and get all messy playing with mud, clay and shaving cream. I’m so excited to buy him his little easel and watch him copy his father as he works. I’m excited to introduce him to everything I used to do: scuba diving, horses, theater, climbing, and watch and see where his interests will lead him. I’m excited to buy him a bike. I’m excited to start school at home.

But for today, I will hug and kiss Basti, and squeeze him tight, because he’s growing up way too fast!!!

P.S. One and a half week to go before the end of the blog giveaway. Have you all your entries yet???