Friday, December 18, 2009

Fourteen on the 18th

She turns 14 months today.


And yes, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of saying this - time flies sooooo fast.

There are still moments when I couldn’t believe we have a little walking doll (sometimes running) around the house. I don't think I'll ever lose that sense of disbelief.

Fourteen is a forgettable number but what makes this day significant is the fact that this also marks the anniversary of the day I learned I was ‘nurturing’ a very large tumor on my left breast. I was flooded with sadness recollecting that but I immediately shifted my gaze to the bubbly toddler beside me and all that sadness just felt like a soap bubble popping on thin air. I wish I can take her anywhere. She’s the only thing that makes me forget I have problems to face and issues to resolve.

There will never be words to express how thankful I am to God for sending me this little bundle of joy. December was always a difficult month for me. And this was also a tough year to face but having her around made it a whole lot easier for me and her dad to get through all those challenges we encountered.

I pray that she will never, ever get tired of eating her fruits and veggies. I also pray that she’d be kept away from harm as she continues to explore the great, wide world around her. She’s such a curious toddler and she really enjoys discovering new things. I also hope that we parents would be more educated on how to better preserve this wonderful gift of nature that God has sent us so this little lady could also enjoy them in her lifetime.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bittersweet Thoughts (hehe)

Stumbling into pictures like this always make my heart flutter.

She's looking really healthy. And all grown up. It makes me think where all the months have gone.

Watching your baby grow each day is bittersweet.

It's heaven seeing one milestone to another but at the same time, it's sad to think that they are slowly starting to be independent and the time will come they won't be as needy of you as they were before.

It has not been a month yet since we celebrated her 1st birthday but we're really starting to feel like the baby's gone now. She now moves around the house like she has business of her own. Oh dear, dear Maia...don't grow up so fast okay? Mommy and Daddy still love to carry you once in a while. Even if you weigh a ton heavier than before. Hehe. And we still love to hele you to sleep.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Signing Time with Maia



My nephew, Gogol, spoke late. So my sister taught him how to sign. This helped them get through his toddler years. Baby signing was an activity that Gogol really enjoyed.

Since baby signing was really useful with her and Gogol, my sister encouraged me to do the same with Maia. When Maia was just 6 months, she would send me video files of baby signing that she downloaded from you tube.

I tried to teach Maia when she started showing signs of being sociable at around her 9th month but I admit, baby signing really takes a lot of patience and hardwork. We've taught her the signs for milk, water, book and sleep but we never took off after these. At the back of my mind though, I still really want to keep on teaching her more until she starts talking. After all, any form of communication other than screaming or wailing is always good for our household.

This morning while browsing through Baby Center, I stumbled into a baby signing article. They listed a couple of basic signs that I think we can still apply with Maia. So starting today, I vowed to introduce 2 signs per week. Until she shows some signs of mastery on them.

Here's the list that I found in Baby Center:

• 'food' -- put your finger tips to your lips

• 'all gone' -- move your hand, palm up, backwards and forwards

• 'scared' -- tap your chest again and again

• 'hot' -- put your hand out and withdraw it quickly

• 'where?' -- shrug your shoulders, with your palms held out

• 'rabbit' -- wrinkling up your nose or hold up two fingers

• 'car' -- steer an imaginary wheel

• 'book' -- holding hands flat with palms up

I'll add more signs to this list as I learn them. I do hope Maia and I will succeed in this attempt just as Gogol and her Nanay did. Wish us luck!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Maia Goes Trick or Treating for the First Time

TRICK OR TREATING GOODIES

Last year, when our village held the Halloween party I had just given birth and Tibs was still apprehensive to let us join the party. So we passed on that one. This year since Maia's a lot older, we are happy to finally be able to participate.


Midway thru the program however, she started sneezing non-stop. Fearing another trip to the hospital, we decided to cut the party mood short and bring her home. 

We were hoping that she could still join her friends at trick or treating after the party but the program finished late and she was already asleep when kids came knocking our doors to ask for treats. Oh well, better luck next year then. At least the costume was not wasted (had we waited for a few more days though, it would have been extra difficult to get her into it already).



TRYING OUT HER COSTUME

LITTLE FAIRY GOES TRICK OR TREATING WITH MOM AND DAD

Baby Signing with Maia



My nephew, Gogol, spoke late. So my sister taught him how to sign. This helped them get through his toddler years. Baby signing was an activity that Gogol really enjoyed.

Since baby signing was really useful with her and Gogol, my sister encouraged me to do the same with Maia. When Maia was just 6 months, she would send me video files of baby signing that she downloaded from you tube.

I tried to teach Maia when she started showing signs of being sociable at around her 9th month but I admit, baby signing really takes a lot of patience and hardwork. We've taught her the signs for milk, water, book and sleep but we never took off after these. At the back of my mind though, I still really want to keep on teaching her more until she starts talking. After all, any form of communication other than screaming or wailing is always good for our household.

This morning while browsing through Baby Center, I stumbled into a baby signing article. They listed a couple of basic signs that I think we can still apply with Maia. So starting today, I vowed to introduce 2 signs per week. Until she shows some signs of mastery on them.

Here's the list that I found in Baby Center:

• 'food' -- put your finger tips to your lips

• 'all gone' -- move your hand, palm up, backwards and forwards

• 'scared' -- tap your chest again and again

• 'hot' -- put your hand out and withdraw it quickly

• 'where?' -- shrug your shoulders, with your palms held out

• 'rabbit' -- wrinkling up your nose or hold up two fingers

• 'car' -- steer an imaginary wheel

• 'book' -- holding hands flat with palms up

I'll add more signs to this list as I learn them. I do hope Maia and I will succeed in this attempt just as Gogol and her Nanay did. Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rakentur Puppetshow @ Maia Isobel Paras' First Birthday Party

Link

Sharing from Rakentur's multiply site. Glad they were able to capture part of the show on video.

Thanks again Rizchelle to you and your team!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Styes and other eye problems

Maia has this stye thing most probably. The corner of her left eye seemed reddish when she woke up this morning and it has now spread on the base of the whole eye.

I was a little bit panicky when I saw that the swelling was progressing/spreading but this article sort of calmed me. I hope it doesn't get worse tomorrow. Otherwise I might be forced to bring her to her nearest pedia again...which I'm really not keen on doing because we're planning to bring her back to Dra. Chen this weekend for her well-baby check up. Yay we're one year old!

She's been very cheery the whole day so I'm glad that swelling didn't bother her a bit. Meanwhile, we just continue with the hot compresses. We had a couple of walking practice this afternoon. I guess she's trying to impress Mommy.

Please pray for this little makulit but super charming and sweet baby of ours. She's just too curious of the world out there. We do not want another trip to the doctor to stop her from her daily adventures.

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update: as I've been seeing some traffic pointing to this specific topic, let me just list some helpful links here on Styes and some home remedies for it. I would suggest though to take your kid to the pedia once the swelling progresses because it might be some sort of infection that needs some professional medical attention. My kid's stye only lasted for 2 days and the swelling let up on the 3rd day

- What is a Stye?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A great journey

It's been one great journey.

This thing they call motherhood.

Today I celebrate a milestone ...along with my dearest treasure in this whole wide world - my dear little Maia.

It's been a year of ups and downs. I learned so much in just one year. I've became a totally different person in just one year.

And now a look forward to more learnings to come.

Motherhood is such a wonderful journey I am oftentimes rendered speechless and spellbounded.

Happiness. Pure bliss. I guess that's the best description I have for it at the moment.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Time to shake off the disbelief

She turns 1 in a couple of days.
And I still would often stare at her in disbelief.
Sometimes, I admit I would still pinch myself.
Just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
This might not be a role that I've dreamt of having
Nor a job that I've always planned to have
Or an event that I've OC'd down to its simplest details
But I want you to know that you will always be one of the best things (if not the best) that ever happened to me, baby.
YOU MADE ME A MOM and made me realize that LIFE is indeed worth living.
I love you, Maia.
Thank you for giving me back my life.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Will that day ever come?

Maia ran out of milk this morning.

Well, that was not intentional of course. It's just that she was supposed to graduate to toddler formula now and we're trying out 2 different brands. She liked the first one. She finished the sampler pack fast. But the second one, she obviously did not. The baby bottled suffered the blow as she threw it immediately after tasting the milk. Poor bottle.

Anyways, so I had to head off to the nearest Mercury drug store outlet to get her milk supply before I head off to work. To save myself a trip back home, she and yaya Inday had to come with me to the store. She had fun, we could tell.

After we've paid for our purchases I took them back to the jeepney terminal and send her and ate Inday home. She was cheery though. Probably because she really enjoys jeepney rides and the sights outside of the house.

I was a different story though. I almost cried while saying bye-bye. I was standing there waiting for the jeepney to leave...still waving my hand saying bye-bye baby. My heart's being torn into pieces. This was not the first time...but it felt like it was.

I wonder if I'll ever get past days and moments like this. Or if the day that I'll never have to say bye-bye to her on a weekday will ever come. I am fervently praying for the latter.

As I head to the direction of my office, I kept saying in my head "Just one more year, baby."

I hope God gives me the wisdom to make the right decision when that time comes.

For now, I have the mortgage to think of. And a lot of other projects lined up for next year. Just one year.

Right now though. That seems like eternity.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Tips in giving relief to disaster victims from INQUIRER.net

Link

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prayers will see us through

Prayers do not only give us hope, it gives us strength in times of dire need. I can personally attest to that. So as another typhoon (a super typhoon even) approaches this badly beaten country of ours over the weekend, let's all keep praying for everybody's safety.

I am sharing this prayer that was passed on to me via SMS. Please share to encourage people to pray.

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Dear Lord, we fervently pray for your intercession so that our nation will be spared from another threatening typhoon.

Our suffering people have not yet recovered from Ondoy's wrath.

Please prevent Pepeng from hitting any of our islands. Save us from further calamities by embracing our country with your protective grace and merciful blessings. AMEN.

October

October is supposed to be a good month for me.

This month I will celebrate the most important milestones of my lifetime. Me being a wife and me being a mom. The former is marked at 2 and the latter at 1.

Watching the news on TV is just so heartbreaking I lost all the excitement of preparing for Maia's first bday. I just feel like it's so inappropriate for us to be celebrating when a lot of our brothers and sisters are suffering.

I am torn. But I also feel that Maia deserves this. And that I need to make the effort of making it special. Haaay. Dear Lord, I need your help on this. Please give me the strength to finish everything in 2 weeks.

And by the way, October is breast cancer awareness month too. This was really supposed to be a good month for me. Please. Please Dear God...pagbigyan mo na ako. Damay na din mga kababayan ko if ever.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Saturday Morning

You woke up early as usual. 5am. Mommy looked out the window and felt sad, they won't be able to jog again. Her and daddy had been missing their daily jogs lately. The rain hasn't stopped for the last 2 days.

You were supposed to be at Doc Armendi's clinic by 8am for your IPD shot. Mommy was determined to brave the rain. But Daddy insisted we all stay indoors. At around 11am, news started pouring in. Nightmare has started for some of our brothers and sisters. Mommy could not stop the tears from falling. Shots of people begging for help on top of their rooftops, rooftops awashed by floodwater with people begging for rescue on top of it (and hearing later on that only one survived among them), kids rendered homeless due to flooding, people stranded on the streets for almost a day, handicapped people braving flooded streets just to escape drowning, and a lot more other pictures that are just so heartbreaking to see.

The day after is even worse. People grieving for properties lost and even worse people grieving for loved ones dead or missing.

What caused this sudden flooding? Can we prevent this from happening again?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

11 months and little steps

To our dearest Maia-powkoo,

Here we are again - Mommy attempting to recall everything that took place during your journey to your 11th month. I am writing this with you singing in the background. It would really be great if you'd grow up with a good singing voice. Mom and Dad will surely enjoy listening to you!

The last few weeks was a very rough ride for us. We were back at the hospital again. A day (Tuesday) before our admission, you were just diagnosed of having swollen tonsils and was sent home with a mild antibiotic prescription. Mommy's nerves were calmed a bit by that diagnosis. But come Wednesday morning you vomitted. Not just once but 3 times. Mommy was hesitant to bring you to the ER at first but you were growing weaker and weaker by the minute you really left me with no choice. For the nth time my mother's instinct turned out correct, you were indeed already dehydrated and the nurses had to hook you again on IV to put back the lost fluids in your body. The insertion process was again another torturous moment (and they had to reinsert it 4 times and leave you with 10 puncture marks) I'd rather not go through the details anymore. Starting that day, I had been lobbying with Dear Jesus not to let you go thru that again.  I hope He heard us. :) Just to be sure though, you are now taking probiotic supplements to boost your immune system. I hope it really works. You need the hospital break baby. We all do.

But moving on to the fascinating stories. This month you started taking your little steps. You can now stand on your own as long as you not aware that you are that is. As soon as you realize what's happening you lose your balance. But no worries baby, you take your time with the practice steps. Mom and Dad are just as eager to hold your hand while you take those tiny steps towards your independence. Independence is sometimes a scary word. But to us baby, whatever is best we'll always be there to support.

Reading, Singing and Dancing are some of your favorite activities these days. Apart from of course your daily tour of our village, you always love to hear Mom or Ate Inday read you something. You'd clap your hands or wave frantically as a sign of excitement. We would always catch you humming a tune (of something that we really could not put a title yet) whether you're playing or leafing thru the pages of your board book. And just a few days ago, Mommy caught you jumping each time a catchy tune is played on TV. You are really one fascinating baby.

As of this writing here's a rundown of your top faves:

Food - Brown rice and Mashed Squash (the ultimate fave, I guess since you never get tired of it)

Snack - Ponzdrop cookies from Iloilo. Now Lola Joyce is going to hoard boxes when she comes back to visit. She doesn't want you to run out of these.

Fruit - Red grapes (painstakingly skinned by Mom one-by-one)

Toy - Eddy the bear

Book - (still) Puppy Dog

Activity - Reading (and eating off the book leaves)

Bedtime Song - Heal the World (by MJ)

You now consume about 4-5 diapers a day and take at least 9 ounces of milk in one sitting. However you seem to be sleeping less and less, currently you take just 2 naps during the day (averaging an hour each) and still 7pm-5am at night. But the good thing is -- you are now able to sleep through the night. Although there are days when you'd suddenly wake up at night and jump on the bed as if its morning playtime already. Of course Mom or Dad would happily oblige with your playtime request, with sleepy grins on their faces.

You also learned a part of the body this month - the NOSE! And you also now give in to Mom or Dad's request for a kiss. Most days though, your sweet gesture is defined by a forehead bump. When you want to make lambing with Mom or Dad, you would bump our foreheads repeatedly. Then laugh your heart out after. Hahaha. We'd all end up laughing.

Lastly, you now chase after Mommy when she bades goobye. One of these days baby, maybe Mom can stay home with you a lot longer. For now, just stay happy ha? And healthy, of course. And we'll all be fine. Doc said you were born a fighter...keep it that way baby. Sometimes, the only thing that keeps Mommy going is that smiling toothy face of yours. Seeing those 4 teeth of yours when you smile definitely takes all the blues away.

Love you Maia.

~Mommy (and Daddy too)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mom's letter on your 10th

dearest maia,

mommy is writing this with a big grin on her face. she can't help but recall your lengthy talking stint late last night. you have turned into a really really naughty talkative baby, but in a really really cute way.

mommy went home really late last night and missed our prayer session. this was the first time in ages and she felt guilty she was not able to spend those precious few minutes with you before you're finally tucked to sleep. but i guess you can sense when mommy's feeling really bad, you woke up around midnight and played with her and daddy. i forgot all the problems i encountered during the day. you always never fail put a smile to mommy's heavy heart.

when you were just a few days old, mommy vowed to write to you and recount your milestones every month. but what mommy thought to be a such a mundane thing to do turned out to be something she could only squeeze in on lazy days or crappy days like this one. but it's a good thing baby, that means that recounting your milestones is one of the best therapy mommy could ever have.

so how's our journey so far? in the past weeks, you have mastered the art of 'cruise control'. you easily maneuver your way around our house as long as there's furniture to hold on to. crawling has become second-nature to you and you easily crawl your way through our tiny house. sometimes your leave daddy stricken with awe especially when you'd crawl your way to the door to greet him when he arrives from work. you do that for just a few seconds! 

these days your favorite is our pantry. you like to pull out the groceries and utensils that the cabinet houses. after you pulled something out and realized you did something wrong, you'd laugh as if to melt our hearts first before we get to assess the actual damage. you are such a sweet but mischievous baby. mommy sometimes wonder where you got that from.

one time when mommy  was desperately trying to put you to sleep your attention was moved by a sound from outside the house. guess what you did? you moved aside the curtain that mommy used to cover the window to prevent you from seeing the streetlights. you seem to grow smarter and smarter everyday all of these changes seem overwhelming at times.

you now recognize what the word 'NO' means. especially when it's coming from daddy. you would move your head from side to side each time daddy utters 'NO! Maia' we'd end up laughing!

you also like to play hide and seek. your most fave hiding spot is our bedroom curtain. and you love it when mommy hides under the sheets. you would frantically pull them to find mommy under. and when you find mommy, you'd laugh heartily. hay baby, your laughter and voice fills our house with soooo much happiness.

your fave food right now is still mashed kalabasa and chunky mashed potato flavored with raspberry or banana yoghurt. you also started eating spinach which is a good thing. you started with egg yolks and you seem to love that as well. but despite all this solid intake, you still love love love to drink your milk. from just 4-5 6oz bottles before you now down about 7 bottles max in a day. you appetite is appalling. yet you don't really grow fat. probably it's your metabolism since you're such a wriggly squirmy baby.

finally, the greatest milestone for this month is your two tiny pearls finally saying "hello!" to us. mommy was so thrilled to see them erupt. now, if only mommy can take a snapshot of them two...that would top everything off! :)

so there baby...those are the things that mommy can recall for now. i'm sure i missed to write down a lot of them. forgive mommy, it's probably due to aging. hehe.

happy 10th month, maia. mom and daddy loves you very very much!

 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nine!

Improvised cake and art direction c/o Daddy T
We welcomed her 9th month at the hospital. A bit sad but we're nevertheless very thankful we got a signal from her doctor to go home on the same day. We celebrated the day by cooking our favorite sopas (sakto for the rainy day) and had Maia blow her traditional monthly cake (hehe...we had to improvise). 


Current favorites - mashed squash with malunggay and The Greatest Gift of All

Aside from the 1am trip to the ER and our 4-day stay at the hospital, Maia's journey towards her 9th month was filled with so many milestones. 


She's probably itching to leave the hospital already. She never liked being confined for long.

She's now learned to climb up and down our sofa (still struggling to climb up our bed though), learned to balance herself and stand with out support for a few exciting seconds, has been eating more and more solids, and most importantly called Dah-deeee for the first time (albeit indiscriminately) at the height of a crying fit at the ER. Tibs ears were flapping with glee despite of the situation at hand. I was green with envy but couldn't stop myself from grinning.


Hospital bracelet managed to stay on her wrist for about 3 hours. Found it under the bed after that.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bye-byes and Flying Kisses

Dear Maia,



I was looking at the sole picture the nurse took of us at the recovery room of LPDH a few hours after I delivered you and could not belief that was only 8 months ago. You're now far from that tiny wrinkly baby that I once held in that hospital room.

Today for example, I was hurriedly leaving for work and tried to pick you up from your crawling space and hand you over to Ate Jo when you suddenly clung to my legs like you're clinging to dear life. Mommy could not help but laugh. It's the first time that you clung that hard and truth be told, Mommy's heart leaped. You were missing Mommy after all. She's sorry she has to leave but was happy to know you really wanted her to stay. Someday baby, maybe Daddy can afford to have Mommy stay with you for good. Let's keep praying for that. But today Mommy has to go to work. Thank you for not crying and for not making it harder for me to go to work today. You bid bye-bye and blew me a kiss. That was enough fuel for my day :) I love you, Maia.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Failure and Imagination

This is just a repost of JK Rowling's speech that I read from this blog (which I am now starting to love). I enjoyed reading it and is very inspiring. I thought I'd share it with you.

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“The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” by JK Rowling ( Commencement Address, at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association)

 

President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates.

The first thing I would like to say is ‘thank you.’ Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I’ve experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and fool myself into believing I am at the world’s best-educated Harry Potter convention.

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can’t remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the ‘gay wizard’ joke, I’ve still come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step towards personal improvement.

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that has expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension.

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents’ car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.

At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London.

There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.

Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government. Visitors to our office included those who had come to give information, or to try and find out what had happened to those they had been forced to leave behind.

I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.

And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just given him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country’s regime, his mother had been seized and executed.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard and read.

And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before.

Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people’s minds, imagine themselves into other people’s places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.

What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.

So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
I wish you all very good lives.
Thank you very much.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Separation Anxiety Attacks...Me!

I've been religiously missing the morning pick ups of our company shuttle for the past few months. Read: Months already. To be more precise, past 5 months and 22 days. Haha. That goes back to the time I got back to work after my 2-month long maternity leave.

On the last week of March of this year, we started coming in at 9am. My busmates told me that won't leave me anymore excuses for missing the pick up since I now have 30 extra minutes to prep up. But hell no. I came in a lot more later after we've shifted to the new work schedule. It sucks. Who likes being late for work?? But then, each day that I try to leave home early my daughter's magnetic smile just seem to pull me back in for a few more minutes of cuddling and giggling. I don't know. I always feel that a few extra minutes with her will never compare to a comfortable seat in the shuttle.

l've recently read in Baby Center that this month one of the milestones that we might experience is separation anxiety. The article's right I AM now experiencing chronic Separation Anxiety Attacks...each and every morning that I leave the house. Sigh. Is there a cure available for this illness?????

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Grocery Trip

Today marks the first time Maia went to mass in a mall. We were not very excited for this trip though. However, we were left with no choice but to bring her along since the yaya was not back yet. We had to make this trip because we were also scheduled to pick up our wedding album from Maia's Ninang Lala.

She wore the dress that Ninang Ching sent to her all the way from New York when she was still 5 months old. Now it fit her really well. She just had to grow a bit taller pa. But she looked really pretty, didn't she?



This was very tiring for me as I had to carry her all through out the duration of the mass. She went to sleep a few minutes after the mass started. And it seemed the atmosphere was very conducive for her since she slept up until we were done with our grocery shopping.

When she woke up however, she was giggling. Giggling at every person we meet on our way out of the grocery. She even squirmed a bit when she saw kids riding inside grocery carts. She wanted to join in! Haha. My little Maia is one curious cat.

If not for the AH1N1 scare I would have loved to stay with Maia there a little bit longer. I just love it when she has this amazed look painted on her face. It makes me feel like the experience is teaching her a lot.

Despite the look of enjoyment from this little lady, Mommy and Daddy is still determined to get her away from the mall environment not until she's old enough to understand that the mall is not a playground. Ha ha. Kill joy parents ano?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

80% less plastic

Today is market day for me. Our helper takes her days off on Saturdays and since today we were up early to take Maia for a walk, I decided to do the marketing after our morning stroll.

It was the first time I made a conscious effort to take a cloth bag with me to the market. I knew I still couldn't place the wet stuff on it but I'm sure I can still save our trash a couple of plastic bags so I grabbed this souvenir bag that I recently got from Mom Expo and left for the nearby public market.  Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.


When I got there I wanted to insist to have the fish and meat that I purchased placed in my cloth bag but I felt like I'm really, really going to look foolish dragging a cloth bag dripping with fish blood around so I halfheartedly accepted my first purchases in plastic bags.

I was excited to head to the veggies section though. I felt good placing my first purchases inside the cloth bag and hearing the lady I purchased my fresh veggies from say, “Ayaw mo nang dumami pa basura ano?” I felt like I somehow made them think of the advantages of using cloth bags. I know people are already aware that plastic is really destroying our environment but I guess seeing somebody point it out first hand makes a lot of difference.

Reaching home, I was thrilled to report my achievement to the hubby. I’m just really happy of what I did this morning. 80% less plastic is a start. I’ll impose this practice on our household from this day on. I know this is really mundane-thinking. But allow me to enjoy my little happy moment. Today, I just felt like I did something BIG to make the world a better place for Maia.

 

 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There's No Stopping Her

One milestone after another...from one amazing trick to another...there's really no stopping this little lady from growing up! Last Sunday, we caught her pulling herself up during our playtime.

There's just so much changes going on, I'm missing a lot from her infancy days already! For one, I miss the smell...she hardly sweated before she really smelled like a newborn baby all day long. But now...well...she smells like a toddler already a few minutes after we bathe her. :(

The only thing that has not changed though is that gummy, yummy smile she so generously offers to greet Mommy and Daddy when they get home from work.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ma-Da-Ba

Today we discovered that Maia has started talking already. Of course, still the gibberish talk. But as most parents would react, hearing the two syllable words (or in this case multiple syllables) were like music to our ears.

She was munching on a toy this morning (or was it her hairbrush? couldn't remember now...) when she started saying...Ma-Da-Ababababababa. We were dumbfounded - her dad and me...but her reaction was to just look up and giggle at us. It was then that her yaya shared that she's been talking for the past couple of days already. We just didn't notice because when we reach home our playtime would usually just consists of giggles...giggles and more giggles. Which is actually fine with us since her giggles still qualify as the best stressbuster for us.

I caught some of the talking moments again on video later today when the 3 of us are preparing for our afternoon siesta. I am still hoping for a replay of this morning though. I will post the video as soon as Maia grants me my wish. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Am I A Bad Mommy?

I never expected to get this emotional after months of enjoying my new role as a mother. Yes after everything that I went through from day one of my pregnancy up until now I immensely enjoyed the journey. I never dreamt of all this so up to this day it amazes me how natural this all felt.

The past seven months were never a breeze though. For first time moms like me who live far from their immediate family, most of the decisions would be based on trial and error. I did try my very best to compensate this lack of immediate help by educating myself through reading and taking notes but as most mommies would later on realize, at the end of the day, you will still rely entirely on your mommy instincts. The books can only help as much.

Anyways, as I was saying it was never easy for us - being first time parents. At first we thought that we've already hurdled the most difficult stage of all this. Receiving the news of me having phyllodes tumor when I was still struggling to breastfeed Maia at two months was quite a blow. But my instincts guided me to take the decision that would be most beneficial for our family. I was bent on breastfeeding Maia for a much longer time but then I knew that only radical mastectomy will buy us the most essential thing that she needs - TIME with her Mom. Learning later on that the tumor was malignant was even more difficult to take but by God's grace getting clear scans soon after was such a relief. We thought we survived the first 3 months, all else should be easy breezy by now.

But alas...how wrong can we get? It seems that the difficult part is just starting to unfold.

Later this afternoon, I called home to check on how Maia was doing. Imagine my horror upon receiving news that she got locked inside our house ALONE for almost 30 minutes earlier today! What's even worst was she was left on the floor and not inside her crib. I almost dropped the phone if not for the repeated assurance from her yaya that Maia is okay and is now back in her usual giggly self. I still wanted to go home that instant though. Good thing, it was raining really hard I still had time to collect myself together and calm myself up.

Thirty minutes later, while I was on my way home, I could not help but replay the scene (as described by the yaya) in my head and I could not help but think of the what ifs. I suddenly felt like I failed my Motherhood test today. I felt like I am not doing my best to keep Maia away from harm's way.

Today, I felt like I was a really, really bad Mommy. Sigh. Am I Maia?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maia Stands Proud


Maia learned to stand up on her own a few days ago. I was lucky to be at home to witness it firsthand. Earlier on, I was really afraid I would miss out on a lot of her firsts but I got lucky my baby learned to wait on Mommy. Here's a video I took on that day that she learned to pull herself up on her crib. This was not the actual first standing scene but it's a good thing I was still able to take a souvenir video on that same day :)

Since Maia's birth I have now become a camera whore...all for my baby. These days however, pictures are becoming rare since she's so squirmy I can't make her stay on one spot for at least 5 seconds.  She now moves pretty fast and is pretty scary to be left out on the bed. So the 3 of us, Tibs, the yaya and me are on 24/7 Maia Patrol. Everyday is starting to be really exhausting with us trying to make time after coming home from a full day spent at work but the excitement of knowing what milestone comes next for our baby definitely wipes the exhaustion away.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baby proofing for Maia


These past week marked a lot of firsts for her...including her first fall off our bed. This is one first though that I'm glad I was not at home to witness. But it seems my baby inherited my strong personality, her yaya reported almost immediately after the fall that she never cried when she fell off. Good thing, one of her favorite pillows cushioned the fall she only got a very small bump on her head. I now accidents like this are pretty hard to avoid. But then I guess it would not hurt to prevent some of them. The praning side of me did not stop until Tibs gave in and decided to buy some baby proofing supplies. We're only about 20% done but it's a start. We're still looking for the other stuff that would complete our babyproofing supplies. So far, we found some in Rustan's and Ace Hardware.

Here's a babyproofing cheatlist that I've put together from my readings -
· Keep coins, small toys, nail scissors, and balloons -- any item that is small enough to fit inside a cardboard toilet paper roll -- out of infant's reach.
· Remove mobiles and other hanging toys from the crib as soon as your child can reach up and touch them.
· Shorten drapery and blind cords.
· Remove the plastic end caps on doorstops, or replace the stops with a one-piece design.
· Drill breathing holes into any closed containers that you are using as toy box in case a child gets trapped inside. (And install safety hinges on toy boxes, or buy one with a removable lid to prevent pinched fingers.)
· Lock any potentially dangerous substance in an upper-level cabinet. This includes alcoholic beverages, household cleaning formulas, laundry supplies, medications (including nonprescription varieties like vitamins, children's Tylenol or Advil), paint, kerosene, gasoline, charcoal, lighter fluid, bug spray, pesticides, and fertilizers.
· Place houseplants out of children's reach; know the names of all plants in case a child eats one of them.
· Cover every electrical outlet in your home with a child-resistant outlet cover (the plastic plugs are easy to pry out).
· Install ground fault circuit interrupters on outlets near sinks and bathtubs since they stop the electrical current when an appliance gets wet.
· Install hardware-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways with two or more steps. (good thing we do not have stairs at home)
· Pad the edges of coffee tables and brick or tile fireplaces.
· Remove the crib bumper pad as soon as your infant can get up on all fours since baby may use it as a step to climb out.
· Position audio/video equipment so children cannot pull televisions or stereos off furniture. · Keep appliance cords wrapped short so children cannot pull coffee makers, toasters, and other appliances.
· Secure bookshelves, entertainment centers, and bureaus to walls since they can topple onto children who use furniture to pull up and stand.  (good thing we also do not have bookshelves to worry about)
· Familiarize and memorize emergency numbers and first aid procedures. (this I have yet to master)
· Most importantly, BE VIGILANT and JUST REMEMBER TO NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY ALONE not even for a MOMENT if he/she is not contained on a babyproofed environment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Adventures






So how did my mother's day go? Well, it was a tiring but fun-filled day for me, Tibs and Maia!
We started the day of course with Maia's early wake up call for playtime. So at 530 in the morning we were already up and about...since our camera's broken we had to wait for the sun to come up before we were able to take pictures...


Maia was having fun as usual...climbing pillows that we placed all over the bed. Sometimes, even climbing over me...only to giggle upon seeing his dad on the other side...sometimes, I forget she's only a six month old baby...she acts like a one year old already!


We got tired of the usual bedroom view so we moved to our next favorite place which is...our Living room! Haha...now Maia has plenty of space to show off new tricks. One of them is picking up her books and licking them all over! Haha...plus...a-mommy-i-can-now-stand-up-without-your-help show off!

After breakfast Tibs and I prepared to leave for our date...hehehe..yiheee...after 6 months <would you believe???>

We planned on dropping by at the Expomom Bazaar in Rockwell since I do have some stuff that I ordered from Indigo Baby thatI plan to pick up there. We arrived at Rockwell early and decided to check out the baby stores first before heading to the bazaar. We found a couple of shops that we regret not visiting before. We would have bought better supplies for Maia if we checked out the shops there...but well...better luck next time Mommy!
When we reached the bazaar we went straight to the Indigo Baby booth first to get my order...I met Yummymum Denise but she was really busy with some customers so we did not really bother her na. I got the stuff I ordered and we checked out their other displays. They're displaying Saya...a new baby pouch design which is going to be available very, very soon. I'm thinking of getting one...I think Maia will enjoy riding on a new pouch soon! Anyways, here's what we got for Maia from the bazaar...oh oh...i dont have a picture to post but we also got her an organic baby shampoo called Kid's  Nature. It smells really good...and its loaded with nothing but the good stuff. Maia seems to be enjoying it.


After checking out the other exhibitor's we headed to Greenbelt for lunch and attend Sunday Mass.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mommy's First...

...official mother's day!

Let me share a conversation between me and Tibs over dinner last weekend:

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Me: Ei beb, mother's day na next Sunday!

Tibs: Ha? Wow beb...finally...it's official! Last year, soon to be ka pa lang...now, Mommy ka na talaga! <hugs me then goes silent>

Me: Uh-huh...saya no? <looks at Tibs> Naiiyak ka?????!!!!???

Tibs: Ano ba!!??? Bakit mo pinansin...e sa rush of emotions eh...

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Funny lang sya pa ang naiyak. hehehe...

It actually feels great pala...to have one special day all for me <i mean, apart from my bday>.

What's even better is I'm sharing this with many friends, a sister and most especially -- MY Mom!

It might have taken me one heck of an experience to finally emphatize with Mommy but I am glad I'm now able to understand her. I still have a long way to go...and I'm glad my Mom is still here to guide me through.

Mom, a million thanks will never be enough to repay all the hardwork you've put into raising me and my siblings. I love you very very much! I wish and pray that things will be a lot better for you in the coming days. :)

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

TO ALL MOTHER'S ALL OVER THE WORLD!

And he caved in...

He finally gave in to my long-time request...

...Tibs finally cooked dinner! And the pasta dish turned out to be really good. Even if it was not an original (since it's a recipe of mine), I was surprised he actually gave justice to my recipe. It turned out really yummy and I came back for a second serving.

It's a bit disappointing though since our camera's still broken, I was not able to get nice pictures for souvenir. I just thought I needed to document it since it might take sometime again before he does this again. I guess it will have to take another Mother's day celebration before I get to convince him to take over kitchen duties again.

But then again, I'm happy he finally gave in to my plea...<babaw ng kaligayahan eh ano?>  Love you sweetie!!!!!!

Now I'm off to do the dishes.

Thank you for the gifts Ninang Ching and Tito Bogs

I wore one of them today! Bagay bagay gid sa akon! Hihi...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Baby Steps


Maia's first baby steps out of the walker!!!!! Saya! I could not put into writing yung feeling yet...(well maybe later pag nakarecover na ako...)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Surprises for Mommy

Hello Baby...

Yesterday was a milestone. You finally learned to sit up and do close-open with your tiny little hands. Mommy was in a state of shock she only managed to nudge Daddy and point straight at you. Daddy was laughing really hard.

Today, you did something again for Mommy, here's a post from my multiply site:

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As if yesterday's milestones were not enough, Maia did something today that really melted my heart.

I was trying to put her to sleep tonight. We did our usual stuff...roll over the bed (as in all over the bed), shared her favorite story (it was actually her birthing story), butt-patting (she actually likes it better when Daddy does this to her) and lastly, lullaby singing. When she was about to fall asleep, she rolled over to me and laid her head on my feet. I felt she wasn't very comfortable with the position so I slid a pillow underneath her head to cushion it.

And as if to tell me how she appreciated the gesture, she looked straight at me and raised her tiny little hands to caress my face. I was singing her favorite, "twinkle, twinkle little star" at that time...I almost choked on the lyrics. I felt really teary-eyed. I was so touched by her gesture.

I know at 6 months she's not yet capable of understanding emotions but I felt at that moment that she did in fact convey a message of thanks.

At times like this, all the exhaustion and pain just melts away. :)

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Yes baby, you always never never ever fail to make Mommy's heart leap.

Motherhood Awes

As if yesterday's milestones were not enough, Maia did something today that really melted my heart.

I was trying to put her to sleep tonight. We did our usual stuff - roll over the bed (as in all over the bed), shared her favorite story (which is actually her birthing story), butt-patting (she likes it better when Daddy's the one doing it to her though) and lastly, lullaby singing. When she was about to fall asleep, she rolled over to me and laid her head on my feet. I felt she wasn't very comfortable in that position so I slid a pillow underneath her head to cushion it.

And as if to tell me how she appreciated the gesture, she looked straight at me and raised her tiny little hands to caress my face. I was singing her favorite, "twinkle, twinkle little star" at that time...I almost choked on the lyrics. I felt really teary-eyed. I was so touched by her gesture.

I know at 6 months she's not yet capable of understanding emotions but I felt at that moment that she did in fact convey a message of thanks.

At times like this, all the exhaustion and pain just melts away. :)



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kulitan Moment with Maia

I took this video just tonight. We were trying to put her to sleep but she's still so lively that Tibs decided to just put her down and let her burn all that excess energy.

Eventually naman, natulog na din sya on her own like she always does (and most probably sa sobrang pagod na din from playing almost the entire afternoon).

Watch out for that split second pa-cute moment at around a minute and 10 seconds into the entire video. Sobrang funny niya, di ko napigilan na sarili kong tumawa. Haha. Nasira tuloy video sa ingay ng tawa ko. Hope you enjoy this video as much as we did! :)


Rainy days on summer

It’s been raining like crazy for almost two weeks now. When I woke up this morning, I almost forgot that it’s still summer. Maia was a little cold and had stuffy nose I starting blaming the rain. But then it occurred to me that this is still better than the humid summer air that we had a few weeks back.

When I was still in school, the onset of rain makes me feel poignant. I’d stare gloomily at my bedroom window and watch raindrops splash feeling devoid at the same time. Summer was something I used to look forward back then because it gives me an excuse to rest my mind and stay on idle mode for weeks. Rain ruins all that and I guess its reality sinking in - that vacation is over and that school season would be back very soon.

Now that I’m older though, rain invokes a totally different emotion. It is something that I and my husband now welcome. Apart from the bed weather feel (::wink::), it gives us an excuse to stay indoors and enjoy day-long DVD marathons of missed movies or episodes of our favorite TV shows. Or sometimes we would squeeze in a game or two our favorite board game. And if I am in the mood to cook, that day would define our idea of the ultimate bonding experience already.

The only thing that keeps me from completely enjoying the arrival of rain on Mid-summer is the issue of weather pattern change. The whole concept scares me. I’m afraid to find out if there’s indeed a deeper reason behind the relentless rains we've been experiencing lately. I hope this is just something temporary. I would like to still share many summers and rainy seasons with Maia...at the same month of the year that I used to experience them when I was still young.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maia's First Vacation

Maia's going on her first plane trip today. We're visiting my parents in Antique and stopping over in Iloilo and Guimaras for some summer fun before finally relaxing at home with my parents.

I started packing for Maia last week. This list help me a lot since it's difficult to travel with so many luggage and an infant in tow. Now I think we just packed right.


Here's a helpful article by  to help us Mommies pack up for our babies
:
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Travelling With Your Baby

It may take a little extra planning and organisation, but travelling with a baby does not have to be the nightmare some parents imagine!

The Items You'll Need When Travelling With Baby

  • Baby first aid kit
  • Enough food and milk for your trip (always bring more than you think you'll need!)
  • Water and juice(if appropriate)
  • Diapers/nappies and wipes
  • Scented diaper bags
  • Disposable bibs or a wipe clean bib
  • Feeding bowl and utensils
  • Food warming equipment
  • Sun protection
  • Your baby's blanket - its familiar scent will be reassuring
  • Spare clothes for baby AND you
  • Spare pacifiers/dummies (if needed)
  • Breast pump (if needed)
  • Nightlight (great for night feeds in hotel rooms, which can be very dark
  • Baby sling or carrier
  • Sterilising equipment
Useful but optional extras include a portable high chair and a travel crib/cot, which allow a great deal of freedom when travelling.

Feeding

  • If possible, breastfeed your baby - by far the easiest option when travelling! If you need to express, you can safely keep breastmilk in a cooler with ice for up to 24 hours.

  • If baby is formula fed, you can pre-make the feeds and keep them cool, or use "ready to drink" cartons of formula. Alternatively, measure baby's formula into bottles, then mix with boiled water as required.

  • If you ask for bottles to be warmed for you, always check the temperature of the milk VERY carefully before giving it to your baby.

  • Pack portions of solid foods into a cooler, with ice. Alternatively, bring foods that can be easily mashed "en route" and served at room temperature - avocado or banana, for example.

  • If your baby is old enough, bring plenty of finger foods - they will help keep him occupied during the journey!

  • If you need to sterilise feeding equipment, consider bringing a microwave steriliser bag, disposable sterilising bags or pre-sterilised bottle liners.

Top Travel tips

If you're travelling by road ...
  • Think about driving at night, or coincide part of the journey with baby's daytime nap.

  • Always place your baby's car seat in the rear of the car and make sure you operate the doors' child safety locking system.

  • Infants require a rear-facing car seat, not a forward-facing car seat like their older siblings use


  • Many parents prefer buying an "infant travel system." When you use an infant travel system, the baby's car seat unlatches from a base which stays attatched to the back seat of your car...and then it pops into a stroller mounting when you reach your destination. Baby stays napping, without having to be lifted out of a car seat and re-strapped into a stroller. (see photos to right)

  • Use removeable window shades to shield your baby from the sun.

  • If driving during the day, stop every 2-3 hours - the break is good for your baby AND for you!


If you plan to fly with your baby ...
  • If you can afford it, consider buying an extra seat - infants under 2 fly free, but are expected to sit on your lap throughout the flight. Alternatively, call the airline in advance and request an infant sky cot/bassinet

  • Bring a stroller or car seat carrier to use at the airport - you can usually keep it with you until you reach the departure gate.

  • Ask if there are any empty seats on your flight when you check in. If so, ask if you can be seated next to one - you'll be glad of the extra room!

  • Breast or bottle feed your baby on take-off and landing, to avoid ear pain.

  • Offer your baby plenty of drinks throughout the flight - flying can be very dehydrating.

  • Always ask for baby food/milk to be warmed BEFORE your baby is screaming with hunger - there is no microwave in the aeroplane galley, so warming the food may take some time.

Frustrated Incorporated

Hello Maia

It's 730pm and Mommy is still at work. It was supposed to be good day for us. After all, we're leaving for vacation tomorrow and there's a BIG reason for us to get excited because this is going to be another FIRST for you. First trip out of Luzon, First time to board an airplane, First time to visit Antique, First time to go to the beach....Mommy could go on.

But then Daddy had to ruin it. Again. :( Sometimes, Mommy wonders why it always ends up like this. It's becoming a very frustrating attempt for her all time. She gets tired thinking of it.

It's a good thing baby...that at the end of ALL this, she has YOU to look forward to.

She called home awhile ago. You are already asleep. She felt guilty. But then she has to make choices sometimes. And compromises are always what's sitting next to the BEST. We have to make do with that for now. I love you baby. Always bear in mind that all this is for YOU.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Mystery of the Empty Baby Bottle

Hehe funny title. Reminds me of The Nancy Drew books which were staple reads for me and my barkadas way back in Grade School.

Anyway, what I really wanted to write about is Maia’s latest milestone! Yes, another one! Funny thing is – she’s gone through that milestone and we never noticed it. Not until last Sunday when I did some detective work myself..

It all started about two weeks ago actually. My Mom was visiting and it became a habit for her to take Maia out when she wakes up in the morning.


It was then that I started seeing an empty milk bottle lying underneath her pillow. I remember placing a bottle a few hours earlier but could not remember propping it up for her to drink. My initial reaction was to check the bed space where Maia slept earlier. Funny it remained dry when 4 ounces of spilled milk would have soaked it wet. My mom told me Maia probably took the bottle herself and drank it while we were sleeping. But I can’t imagine how she’d be drinking all the milk from her bottle without me propping it up for her. So I told myself I was probably just too sleepy to remember but I did help her with it.

I would have put that mystery to rest already only that the same scene was repeated the following morning and the morning after that. So my mom was resolved that her grandchild has indeed learned to drink her milk on her own. But I wasn't convinced (hehe...ako ang Mommy ako pa ang nagdududa). If it were indeed true, “I would have to see it for myself”…

…so last Sunday…I stayed up to confirm Grandma’s theory and eventually put an end to my dilemma (as if naman it really worries me ano? Hehe). Guess what, Grandma was right! She knew where Mommy puts her bottle! She grabbed it and sucked at it. She did not find a need to cry for Mommy and Daddy's attention anymore! And when I put on the lights, guess what? She had this silly look plastered on her face. Parang sinasabi pa, patayin mo Mommy! Matutulog pa ako! Haha. Saya.

Most days though she is still very lazy to hold her milk bottle. But that does not matter anymore. It just feels great witnessing her grab that milk bottle! My only regret was I only managed to take a picture. Di ko nakakuhanan ng video! Well, maybe next time…:wink:wink…

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