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Monday, December 26, 2011

Wea/inning From The Bottle Battle

You've probably read in a couple (if not a lot) of my posts here about my failure with breastfeeding. It's probably one failure that I had the hardest time letting go. I nagged myself for a long time. And I guess it was only when Maia started eating healthy portions of her solids and getting less and less sicker that I finally forgave myself.

Bestfriends with her bottle
I aimed to wean my daughter off the bottle at 15 months. I thought by that time she's finally used to eating solid food and I'm probably comfortable with feeding her table food as well. And I thought 15 is a good number (not that I'm superstitious). Three months after the 1st birthday should give me enough time to train her to stop feeding from the bottle. 

I took my timeline seriously. I got the entire household involved. They supported me back. But the first 2 years wasn't very good to us health-wise. We had a lot of hospital confinements - one battle with sepsis, two pneumonia attacks, one dehydration scare, and one fracture incident. Instead of feeling comfortable with motherhood, those hospital trips just made me angry at myself even more. I felt like I wasn't doing a good job with this mothering thing. And yet, I was sure I did everything by the book. What else should I be doing??? Ahhh, the woes of a first-time mom.

To cut the story short those difficulties set me back for a good one year off my timeline. I felt that taking away the milk would just make her even more weaker (ohhh yes, I fell for all those marketing tactics. They worked for me alright) and deprive her of the essential nutrients her body needed then.

But exactly one year ago, I got so tired of chasing the little girl during meal time and struggling with picky eating. So during a visit to the pedia, I mentioned how I wanted her to wean off the bottle already (tried and failed many times over). Doc agreed it was really time to let go of the bottle. I was actually way overdue she said. When I told her I pity the little girl when she cries, she told me back: "Mas lalo kang maawa sa anak mo pag sira na ang ngipin nya at di na makakain ng mabuti" (translation: Pity your child more when all her teeth decays and couldn't eat well anymore because of the rotten teeth). So I asked for her help and she got down with Maia and told her that drinking from the bottle won't do her teeth any good. And that if her teeth rots, she won't be as pretty as Jillian Ward (she was a kid actress that was so popular with kids then) anymore. I don't know if it was because she sees the doc as an authority figure or what but when I reinforced the doc's words after we left the clinic, she nodded her head to say she understood.

When she napped that afternoon, I immediately got to work and hid the bottles from sight. I hid all of them including the pacifiers and the extra silicone nipples and even the bottle brushes. I made sure there wasn't anything in the house that would remind her she once fed using the bottle. 

At 26 months, Maia wasn't consuming a lot of formula milk anyways. She could barely finish a 6-oz bottle in one sitting. 16-20 ounces tops was the best she can do in a day so that afternoon wasn't really tough for us. She didn't look for the bottle and gladly took a glass of fresh milk and drank all of it when I offered it during her afternoon snack.

How can you not give in to this look, Mom?
Nighttime was a different story. She cried (and  boy she cried REALLY hard) for 2 straight nights. We were all sleep-deprived because she'd be up every hour and yell for the bottle. But I kept replaying what the pedia told me earlier. That it will only take her 3 nights the most to forget about the bottle. So each time she asked for her dede (bottle) I closed my eyes and prayed for a lot of strength so I can withstand the crying. Guess what happened on the third night? Maia woke up middle of the night and asked for a GLASS of milk. Yes, she said: Mommy mik please. Sa glass ha? I wanted to jump with joy! But I couldn't or else I'd   end up dealign with a fully awake toddler in the middle of the night so I had to settle for a big, wide smirk instead. All our efforts paid off!!! 

So that was how we finally bid our feeding bottles good-bye. Guess what? After she said goodbye to the formula and the bottle, she started enjoying her solids. She finished her meal servings without so much struggle and would ask for second (even third) helpings most days. 

To summarize, what made this goal achievable for me were 3 things:

(1) consistency. When you say it's a no, MEAN it. I had to close my eyes and suck in the pleading coupled with relentless crying but in the end, really, it's not just you who will reap the benefits.

(2) persistence. If it didn't work today. Try again tomorrow. But don't give up. There's always light at the end of the tunnel (hehe). AND;

(3) support. In our case, the pep talk from the pedia and support from my husband and yaya helped me tremendously. I couldn't have done it on my own. 

It was a battle that I finally won. And I was so proud of myself. And of my little girl who was so understanding and cooperative and so wise beyond her years. 
Oh how I love her dearly!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Arts-N-Crafts: Wiggly Snake

Last weekend, Tibs took the reigns in engaging Maia to do an art project. I didn't force him to. But Maia did. Since he didn't have the heart to make a pass on the little girl's request, all he can do is put up a smile and take the scissors from me.

This is another activity shared in Playhouse Disney. We first made pencil holders. And then this caught the little girl's attention while she was browsing an old issue of the magazine. Good thing we have all the materials on hand.

Here's what they used for this project:

  • a paper plate
  • a pair of googly eyes
  • poster paint (yellow)
  • paintbrush
  • red marker
  • scissors
  • string (optional)

What they did:

1. Tibs painted the wrong side yellow. Maia initially helped but she wanted to paint the sky, the ocean and whatever probably came to mind so we got her another paper plate to play with. He set it aside to dry.

2. When the plate dried up he drew a spiral on it and cut it.

3. Maia stuck the googly eyes on the center of the spiral. 

4. We then (I just had to jump in) drew red triangles on what was to be the snake's body. Maia colored the triangles after. Tibs also stuck in a cut out of a tongue to make it more 'realistic' (lol).

Maia had a blast chasing and scaring us with this snake-y. She opted not to tie a string because she wanted to hold the 'snake' itself. Fearless kid you might say. But that's just for the show. She's actually very scared of snakes and would avoid these when we're in the zoo.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I can do this, Mommy!

Tibs and I always try to be hands-on during weekends. We bathe her, feed her, play with her, read, talk, share stories. We feel we owe her that much undivided time so we try our best to free up our weekends for her. On days that we can't and had to leave the house, we bring her with us as much as possible. 

I am happy we still get to be hands on parents even for just 2 days. It is during those times that we get to witness milestones first hand. They may be exhausting most times but the rewards well, they're just really priceless.

Like this weekend for instance, I was helping her into her pajamas when she stopped me and told me to let her do it because she already can. I thought to myself, oh wow, our little girl has indeed graduated to little miss independent.

Moments like this are bittersweet but I'm sure most parents can relate when I say they're also joyfully overwhelming. Milestones like this make you realize how your kids have grown and makes you realize for the nth time how fast time flies. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Art-N-Crafts: Popsicle Flowers

Ain't It Pretty? (Don't mind the elephant, hehe)
I first saw this in Pinterest. I thought this was just perfect since we've already accumulated popsicle sticks and I couldn't think of anything nice to make out of them. 

I first planned on making flowers out of the non-colored ones that we had and have Maia paint them with whatever colors she pleased but then the toddler got overly excited about this project and wanted us to finish fast! (Boy, this little girl really needs to learn how to be patient)

So I grabbed the materials and headed out to the garden so we can start the activity. These are the materials that we used for this project:

  • Colored popsicle sticks (bought our stash from Uncle Bills in Ayala MRT)
  • Buttons (from our holiday project)
  • Foam sheets (bought a set from the SM Office Supplies section for P39.75)
  • Glue
  • Scissors

It was a pretty simple project. I showed the little girl the photo from PInterest and she almost knew what to do already. She only had trouble getting the sticks to set properly because initially she piled them altogether and poured glue on them. I taught her it was better done one at a time so we piled two first. Then added another stick. And then the last one. We waited for the petals to dry up first before attaching the stem and the foam leaf. 

We're hoping to make more of these so we can stick them right on our garden during summer (not really a good idea to do them now since it's been raining on and off). 

I also think this would have been better had we used glue gun instead of the ordinary glue but I didn't want to risk getting the little miss' tiny fingers burned (like I did on mine once).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ballerina Princess

I never imagined you'd be fascinated with princesses and ballet since I never was as a child but you are indeed your own person. Bear in mind that whatever your heart desires we will always be there to support you all the way, baby girl.

Showing me her ballerina moves one morning. She was struggling to keep her balance
but it was really fun watching her make the effort entertain me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making It Up to Santa

As a follow up to my post yesterday, it turns out it was just a spur of the moment comment from the little girl. I realized that it was just probably brought about by her frustration on not getting her way again and of me actually introducing the thought that Santa might not really exist by asking that question. 

She tried to make up with Santa by doing this:
More drawings to add to our growing collection
I came home last night to pages of drawings that were specially made for Santa to see. 

She took out some of the handmade ornaments from our tree and traced out the shapes and drew the details on them afterwards. I know that if she could write Santa a letter she already would've. 

Good thing she used washable markers.
Poor ornaments had smudges of ink on them. Hahaha.
I was just so happy to see this. My little girl is really still a kid after all. And I hope she will always hold fond memories of all the Christmases we've spent together.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yes Maia, There Is A Santa Claus

I was afraid I was going to have a Virginia moment this morning. But thank God we haven't gone to that point yet.

This morning I was wrapping up stuff for our office Kris-kringle and the little miss saw some nice looking pens inside the paper bag. She attempted to grab it but I stopped her and reminded her it’s not hers. 

“You want these?”
“Yes, Mommy”
“Well, let’s add this to your wishes for Santa. He might just get you some too”
“Ayaw.” (I Don’t Want To)
“Why? You don’t believe in Santa anymore?”
“Oo. Wala. Walang Santa”. (Yes. Santa doesn’t exist!)

Yes Maia, There is a Santa Claus. You just wait and see in 17 days.
And I will just copy paste here the editorial from The Sun from which the title of this post spun from. We also used this for my college pub's editorial page (the year I first sat as the Editor In Chief) for a Christmas edition way back in '99 (i'm not so sure now). 
I just wanted to bookmark it here for Maia to read when she's older. I just feel all kids should get the chance to read this. It exudes so much positivity and hope. That is how I've always looked at Christmas as a child.

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. 
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York'sSun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Maia, the Photographer

Despite having a doting [stage] mother, my little miss remains really shy around people. She doesn't like being the center of attention.  She doesn't like to dance nor sing like most kids her age. She doesn't like to be photographed and always just smile in photos to give in to my relentless coaxing. 

What my daughter really loves doing though is to tell stories usually thu drawing and painting. I couldn't rave enough of them as several of my posts would attest to just like in here and here. Of late, we noticed another activity she seems to be having so much fun doing. She has bid her addiction to angry birds goodbye and now prefers the camera app once she gets her hand on my phone.

Anyway,she took several photos this morning using my phone camera. I made a collage of my 3 favorites photos. I was really just amazed when I saw the photos. Nobody prompted her to start taking pictures or taught her which object to shoot. She just really picked subjects to focus on and clicked away. And they were mostly single shots, mind you. Not trigger-happy, random shots of 20 or so frames where I had to choose which ones were the best. 

I love these three most.
These two are runners-up.

I hope her enthusiasm to learn never wanes. And if she does develop a passion for the arts  or music we will gladly support it. Actually, whatever your heart desires to pursue in the future Maia - Suportahan ka gid namon! 

Meanwhile, expect me to flood this blog with overwhelming photo posts in the coming days :)

Look Who Came To Visit

Maia's cousin Gogol is spending the next 9 days with us. The last time he came to visit was December 2008. That was when Maia was still a tiny little baby while Gogol could barely run yet and neither of them had a memory of the visit ever happening.

Gogol has recently taken more interest towards riding an airplane again. The last time we went home to Antique, he accompanied us to the airport and it was kind of painful seeing him so eager to get inside the pre-departure area only to be stopped by the guards because it was restricted area for non-passengers.

We were planning for another December get-together so he can finally come visit but an earlier travel plan came up for my mom and she thought it might be a good idea to bring him along since it's a longer visit. It will provide ample time for Gogol and Maia to bond again. :)

Today is Day 2. Gogol arrived around 10am yesterday and they aren't over the giggling, shouting, jumping and just-so-overly-happy-to-see-each-other part yet. They have a love-hate relationship but I guess most toddlers are just like that. Fact of the matter is they really adore each other and couldn't stop talking about one another when they're apart. My sister and I try to raise them like siblings. I think that's just exactly how they see each other. They fight like there's no tomorrow but easily forgets as soon as they make up.

I had to give them a ball each or else one of them
would end up grabbing the ball from the other.
Making eggs for breakfast. Just look at that naughty look on Gogol's face
Maia intends to tour his Manong Gogol around her favorite places in our village. She's got it all planned out. Afternoons at the playground and a dip at the pool in between.

When they see each other next summer, I'm sure they'll have more interesting things to talk about already. I can only imagine. Hehe.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Maia Draws Toodles

We came home to this last night:

It was strategically placed on our sofa. Ate Belen, our yaya, said Maia placed the drawings there herself to make sure they immediately catch our attention when we arrive from work.

Amazing, right? (Or Am I really just an uber-proud Momma?)
My parents (Maia's grandparents) found Maia's drawings interesting and well, amazing (sorry that's the only word that stuck on my head). My dad would say he couldn't remember any of us making drawings of faces at Maia's age (well, none of us grew up to be good illustrators except of course for my sister Tips who paints really well). Maia does hers with facial expressions already. And her drawings often come with a story. Like the ones you see in the center and the rightmost portion of the photo above.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Horseys From Dapitan Arcade

We found these pretty little horsies at our recent trip to the Dapitan Arcade. We bought the set for just P150 and the little girl literally jumped with joy when we were unloading them from the car. She was shouting deer! deer! (as in reindeer) and hugging them non-stop.

With Mommy Deer and Baby Deer
(I got tired correcting her. It's probably best for her imagination anyways
so if she wants to think these are deers then I'm letting her do just that. Hehe)
She brought the babies into our bedroom thinking we'd let her
sleep with them. Sorry baby...baka mangati ka eh. Dayami kaya yan.
Next year I plan to bring her along when we come back for more decors. The house would probably have more space then and maybe we can finally get the little girl some Santa Clause decors. I know she'd be really thrilled to see Santa hanging on one of our windows. Tibs and I are also planning to drop by after the holidays maybe we could score some wooden toys for her because this time of the year you'd find mostly Christmas goodies there.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Long Weekend in Photos

Unlike many families who would probably pack weekend bags and take their family to a weekend outing to the beach or some place pretty outside of the city, we always choose to spend our long weekends leisurely (read: lazily) at home. Well, we already live outside of the city anyways and are already enjoying the breath of fresh air from our area so we really have everything we need here to relax. When Maia was an infant we had plenty of this but lately it has become rarer so we grabbed the opportunity to just be lazy and enjoy each other's company.

Here is how we spent our long weekend in pictures. I've also recently discovered this really great android camera effects app and have since been clicking non-stop.

early morning bonding time at the playground
Dad and Maia bonded with nature
Spent lotsa hugging time with Lolo and Lola

Puzzle time! I got to see her complete 3 (somehow) complicated puzzles
Maia joined us in an early morning run.
She was able to complete 800m. Good job, little girl!
Enjoying tacos for meryenda!
ending the weekend with another bonding time at the playground
Hope y'all had a wonderful long weekend just like we did!
Sorry for the overwhelming pictures in this post. As you can see, I was really hooked to this camera app. Hope your weekend was as great as ours!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mornings With Maia

She usually wakes up early. Just as her dad would get up to prepare for work, she's up as well. She'd like to fuss over her 'babies' (fave stuffed toys). She's usually sunny in the mornings. Occasionally though, she'd throw a mini-tantrum especially when she can't find one of her babies (which are usually just buried under one of the pillows).

She always cracks us up the minute she starts her blabber. This morning even more hilarious. Let me share with you snippets of the conversations exchanged in our household this morning.

Tibs to Maia: Baby, parang kulang na mga puzzles na yan. San na ang iba?
Maia: Di ko alam! Di ako si Mommy! O si Ate Belen! Di ako nagtatapon! (yesterday we threatened to throw away her toys because she refused to pack them away)

Me to Maia: Good morning Maia! Mukhang tumangkad ka na ulit! Tara measure nga natin height mo. (she goes to stand by the height chart and waits for me to take measurements) Then she goes to grab the pen from me. I move away and looked for some place out of her reach to put the pen on. She throws a tantrum and cries on the floor. I wait for her to stop and scooped her up to talk to her in our bedroom. I explain: Hindi mo pwede sulatan yung chart kasi pano pa natin masusukat yung laki mo pag puno na sya ng sulat. Alam mo naman san ka pwede magsulat di ba? She yells: Ayaw ko! Ayaw ko magsulat sa paper! Ayaw koooooooo! I tell her back: Bakit ka sumisigaw? Sino ba boss? She replies: AKO! Ako boss! (ano mommy, me angal ka pa?) Short pause. Then everyone laughs. She joins the laugh party.

A few days ago, we also had a good laugh hearing her bedtime monologue. I told her to pack away her toys because it's already late and she should be in bed. Refusing to follow orders, she retorted: "Ayaw ko ng gabi! Ayaw ko matulog! Palabasin nyo si Mr. Sun!" (I don't want it to be nighttime yet! I don't want to sleep! Ask Mr Sun to come out!)

Hay, Anak. The best ka talaga. And we love you very much.

How To Encourage Kids To Eat Fruits and Vegetables

My daughter did not inherit my passion for food and eating. Eating was almost like a chore for her. Something that she just had to do right to impress the adults. But it never seemed to have appealed to her.

I trained her early to love eating. Especially eating food that is of the healthy nature. Although I did fail miserably on breastfeeding, I made sure I compensated that when it was time for her to eat solids. I painstakingly prepared her meals from scratch and if my schedule as a working momma doesn't permit me to do it myself, I made sure I supervise the yaya when she does it. Maia never tasted artificial toddler food like Cerelac or Gerber. And I'm really proud to say that my daughter never had an attraction towards anything salty or sweet. Yes, junk food was not something that she craved for. 

Despite this, Maia still didn't each as much as I'd wished her to. Although she didn't demand for a particular taste from food, she was very picky when it came to texture so it was very difficult for us to make her eat the green, leafy ones. And we all know that those were the ones considered to be most nutritious. Maia would gag each time a malunggay leaf would get stuck in her throat. She would refuse to eat each time a thin pechay leaf would touch her tounge. She would complain non-stop when a cabbage leaf would get stuck in teeth. Eventually, she was able to distinguish the food that made her gag that the mere sight of them would lock her jaw up and force us to give up trying to make her eat them.

Fruits were also another thing that she didn't develop a loving, passionate relationship with. I tried introducing her to every local fruit available but her liking for these things were somehow also seasonal. There was a time she really liked melons but now she refused to eat them. Then she moved on to grapes. Then to bananas. Then that was it. She would take a bite of an apple, a spoonful of fresh mango, a segment of an orange, a tiny bit of a watermelon or a small slice of a pineapple but she never got to the point of wanting them which was what I was aiming for. 

All these were always a major concern that I'd bring up to the pedia during our well-baby check ups. One solution that we came up with was to wean her off formula milk. That trick somehow worked. Her solid intake definitely improved after we weaned off formula milk but still, I'd like to see her eat more of the greens and fruits.

I could say that Maia's picky eating has been one of the biggest issues we've encountered raising a toddler. But thankfully there has been drastic improvement in the last 6 months. So what were the tricks that led us to somehow succeed in making her eat more? 

1. Weaning off formula and the bottle. As our Pedia would say, as soon as your kid turns one, formula should not be her main source of nourishment anymore. She should really be eating more solids rather than stay dependent on formula. I will make a wrote separate post of this experience but we were able to successfully wean Maia off formula and the feeding bottle at 26 months.

2. Blender and Popsies. We would puree ripened fruits and freeze them into popsicles. They became an instant hit to our toddler. We also became creative. We came up with frozen Atis, Papaya and Pineapple popsicles. I'll try making guyabano popsicles next.
Homemade Avocado Ice Cream
3. Mix them up. Chopping the fruits and mixing them unto her favorite yoghurt or rolled oats. 

4. Sneak in the veggies. We usually mince the veggies and greens and saute them with a little bit of diced chicken or ground meat. Egg omelets and fritatas are also a fun way to sneak in your veggies.
Eggs + Spinach
5. Serve fruits during pretend plays. Just this morning, I successfully got her to eat 10 pcs of grapes and a big banana by encouraging her to feed these fruits to her stuffed toys with whom she was throwing a birthday party for. Each time she'd attempt to feed the toys, she take a bite herself. In no time, she got to finish the fruits that I served to her. 
She really likes feeding this monkey!
6. Bring color to your menu. In our case, we always try to put a variety of colors into our sauteed veggie dish so we can provide some distraction to our picky customer. For example there would be: red (bell peppers), orange (carrots), green (brocolli, cabbage or sayote) and yellow (sweet corn). She always has great fun identifying all the colors she sees on her plate.

7. Be consistent with the taste. We don't play with the taste when it came to Maia's food. We always try to replicate the taste of every dish that we know she's inclined to eat more of. We don't include vegetables that would alter the taste so we can always get her excited when we tell her what's on the menu for the day.

8. Go for natural. When we were introducing Maia to solids, we never seasoned her food. She used to favor the taste of carrots and brocolli then so to improve the taste I'd just saute white onions before adding in the minced veggies to make it sweeter and give make it more flavorful.

9. Keep a schedule. We discovered that Maia is hungriest at around 8, 11/12, 4 so we serve her breakfast, lunch and dinner around that time. Even on weekends or when we're out, we try to stick to that so we won't mess up her appetite. We usually just give her crackers or one or two pieces of cookies and a bottle of yakult or yoghurt drink for snacks.

So far, these are the tricks that got us through. This is a continuing struggle for us but I'm just really happy that she's gaining weight and I could see that she's been eating more. Some days when our convincing powers won't work, I try to supplement her meals with one malunggay capsule a day. I break the cap and mix the contents into a bottle a yakult. Fortunately for me she's never rejected my concoction and would sometimes even remind me when I forget to add the malunggay to her yakult. :)

And when all else fails, I just always remind her that fruits and veggies will keep the big C away.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hey Little Lady, Where Are You Headed?

We were initially walking together here and I was holding your hand.
You told me to let go. So I did. I stepped back and let you walk ahead of me instead.
You've really grown, I can see.
Walk safe and slow little lady. Remember, I'm just right here.
Some days you refuse to walk beside me just like you did yesterday while we were headed out to enjoy a day at the mall together. Malls are a rare treat for you so I was surprised how insistent you were that I take you. So we went to the nearby Festival Mall to hear mass, eat lunch (where you finished a full meal) and enjoy a train ride. Oh how happy you were while riding this train. You were shouting your heart out. Yelling with glee!

I really wanted to get a good photo of you aboard this train
but you were just so excited you keep jumping up and down.
It wasn't your first time on this train but this was definitely the first time you reacted like this.
Ang saya, saya ba talaga?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sticker Swap Pals

18 month old little stickerhappygirl finding pleasure in sticking em stickers on her face

Since Maia discovered how to peel off stickers and labels, there's no turning back. As soon a sticker pad lands on her hands expect to see them all over the place. She just loves sticking them up so much that last Christmas, she only asked for stickers as Christmas gifts. Yes, she is that obsessed with stickers and yes she's very easy to please.

Christmas Day 2010 - enjoying her gifts from Santa
The addiction I'd say is rather temporary though. As soon as she finishes up a pad, she moves on and gets herself busy with other things. I guess we're partly to blame for this. We are so concern with discouraging her attachment to things that even if she asks us to bring home stickers as pasalubong we would intentionally forget it. Some days she'd throw a tantrum but most days she doesn't really mind. There was a point though when she'd take scotch tapes in place of fancy stickers. Times like that just make for great laughing moments at home.
Stickers here, stickers there...stickers everywhere!
Anyways a few weeks back, Neva and Toni (one of the many mommy bloggers that I really look up to) brought up the idea of doing sticker swaps and with thoughts of Maia being the stickerhappygirl that she is, I immediately jumped in to join!

So far, we've rounded up the swap for September. There's the 4 of us involved in this exchange for now. But I'm really looking forward to exchanging with more mommies. I especially like reading the notes that come with the stickers. I'm actually saving them up so I can compile them in a scrapbook to hand over to Maia when she's older. 
Notes from Elysse and Timmy
Oh this swap conveys pleasant childhood memories. I used to collect stamps, stationery sets and cutesy erasers during my childhood. Unfortunately, I was not able to preserve them well enough to give to Maia as a sort of mom-daughter hand-me-down collection. On the otherhand, I guess this is a good start for us. I hope Maia can keep this correspondence going when she's older. It's one great way to make new friends.

Always delighted to see something in the mail for her!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Update: Dealing With Thumbsucking

A few months ago, I wrote about our thumbsucking dilemma.

The thumb is my sleeping buddy. The thumb and this pillow.
I aimed to resolve that before Maia's 3rd birthday but it just seemed impossible. Well, not till 10 days ago. We had to travel to Antique for a family emergency last Friday. We were rushing to catch the first flight going to Iloilo and I accidentally left her favorite bolster pillow at home. We were already in the airport when I realized I made one of the gravest mistakes my forgetfulness could ever do me. That pillow was the ticket to our uninterrupted sleep for the past two years, why did I have to forget that of all things? Tibs was throwing dagger looks at me but we cannot discuss it for the fear that the little girl might notice her precious pillow was missing and throw a tantrum at 3am in the crowded pre-departure area. What's worse, a sleep-deprived Tibs and me might not be able to handle it in the most pleasant way possible and might make a scene. Ugh.

Thankfully, she didn't notice that it was missing. However, when the plane was about to take off she demanded for the pillow. What are we to do? Well, normally we would have stalled and maybe come up with a white lie till we get a replacement but she was demanding for a specific pillow. The cry went exactly like this: Gusto ko ng hotdog ko! Yung color white! May pagong, alligator, yung may zebra! Gusto ko yun, Mommy! Gusto ko yung hotdog ko! (roughly translated as: I want my hotdog [bolster pillow]! The white one! With the turtle! Alligator! The one with the zebra! I want that, Mommy! I want that pillow!) We couldn't come up with a lie at that point because we are thinking of the next 5 days that we will be dealing with. If we lie and say the pillow was just inside one of our bags, the next 5 days will be a nightmare for us. She will not stop till she gets it. If that happens, we might never be able to get at least a night of restful sleep. So we gradually broke it to her (we just got creative while doing it hehe). Our dialogue went: We left the pillow in Cavite. We left it because she was still sleepy when we left and she forgot to wake up the pillow. But the pillow will be waiting excitedly for her to come back. We will make sure to call Ate Belen (our nanny) when the plane lands so she can take good care of her pillow while she's away. She cried of course for maybe about 10mins of the flight. But she eventually got tired and finally succumbed to sleep when her dad started scratching her back. Poor baby.

The first night without the pillow was really bad. We were able to put her to sleep around 10pm already (she normally sleeps at 7-730ish). Thankfully, at my lola's wake, everyone was busy so nobody really notice we were already listening to bad opera in our bedroom (read: Maia screaming, crying for her pillow). She'd wake up every hour or so and demand for the pillow. It was a terrible night for us three.

The second night was (thankfully!) better. My sisters found her a spare pillow (from our past vacations) but she still insisted at first for that specific white pillow with the turtle, alligator and zebra print. She threw the spare bolster pillow many times unto us till her strength ran out and finally slept. It wast still a night filled with so much interruptions. But it was on the 2nd day that we realized the pillow served as her anchor when she takes her thumb to suck. Without the pillow, it's very uncomfortable for her to suck with her arms hanging in the air. That was a light bulb moment for Tibs and me. Instead of feeling helpless, we were suddenly empowered with the thought that we can finally kick the habit out. We just have to be more patient with handling her pre-bedtime (and middle of the night) tantrums. What we did was not make her nap during the day and keep reminding her  we do not have the pillow with us so she should stop demanding it from us.

Our patience paid off! The next 3 days turned out way, way better. She'd cry for just a minute or two. Then would tearfully ask for one of us to scratch her back and she'd silently go to sleep.

Getting back to Cavite was a different story though. She immediately looked for the pillow when we got home. But I already gave instructions to Manang to hide it.

What excuse did we come up with? Well, the stray cats that found solace in the empty lot beside our house became a convenient excuse. Manang told Maia that she couldn't find her pillows anymore and that Mingming (the name we gave the cat) might have taken them away when she was airing them to dry. Maia cried of course. She really cried her heart out. But she somehow knew there was nothing she could do.

So, for the past 10 days she's almost kicked the bad thumbsucking habit away. We only caught her twice I think trying to stick the thumb back into her mouth but again for the lack of support for her arms, the thumb would easily fall out of her mouth when she's fallen to sleep. Some days Manang would tell us she would chase the cat and demand for her pillow. But most days, she gets by just fine.
I asked from her to stop sucking her thumb before her third birthday but she refused to give in to my request. But 10 days before her birthday, she did give me what I asked from her. I was the one who got the best gift on my daughter's birthday. And it was her who gave it to me.

I'm the luckiest mom in this whole wide world. :)

Will hug Sophie instead. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Currently Playing: Rainbow Connection

We've been playing this version for days now. On repeat. During bedtime. I look forward to the day you can sing this to me, Maia.


Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it's probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it.
It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

p.s. I can't find a nice video to share but really wanted to bookmark this song because next month she might have a new favorite.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Almost Three, Barely Three

You are almost three today. And the past year was definitely far different from the past two years that we've experienced together. You now speak your mind. You know what you want and say it. You can now tell what's right or wrong. You devour more food than I do. You are now officially a kid indeed.

You're barely three but you speak in complete sentences already. You never fail to keep us entertained by your witty remarks. I know most people would say, it's not that amazing because I am such a talker so you probably took after me but at almost 3 you just deliver the most unexpected monologues, you always leave us dumbfounded. I could only pray that God blesses you with the wisdom to someday put that gift to good use. Who knows you might grow up to be a great storyteller!

You're barely three but your imagination just blows me away. There is no need for fancy, expensive toys for you. Because in your world, every thing is just perfect as it is. There are no boundaries, you just simply let your imagination fly. You can transform scratch papers to flying carpets and wings; bottle caps to fancy cups; sticks to electric guitars! I don't even have to do anything with them. You give them life on your own!
Stick House (with some help from Daddy)
You're barely three but you already come up with such beautiful drawings sometimes they're so intricate we have to step back to see what they really are. You can create a full story out of your drawings as well. Amazing, little girl.

Left: Car (was probably remembering her Manong Gogol's drawing)
Right: Self-portrait (wearing sunglasses)
You're barely three but you can already write a few letters of the alphabet. You first wrote H and your dad thought it was just something you did by accident. But no, you had to disprove your dad and you did another one. I feel so proud. Now you can easily do your E's, F's, O's, T's, I's, L's (and a few more I cannot remember them now). Letters like P, B, M or A you can also do but you always want Mommy to guide you (but honestly baby, you're the one doing them. I never controlled your hands). 

You're barely three but you now understand why rules at home exist. And you try your best to follow them because you know you're breaking Mommy's and Daddy's heart if you're not obeying us. You do not hesitate to say sorry when you know you did something wrong (and you say it is such a sweet way, you make us feel it's a big sin not to forgive you). 

You're barely three but you can fix your meals already. If we even let you, you can make your own warm milk. When we're too pre-occupied you'd grab your little mug and put milk on it and attempt to put warm water on it just to test if we are paying attention to you (but remember we said the red button on the water dispenser is not for kids your age yet so thank you for listening to us).

You're barely three but you have such a big heart. You are never short of hugs and kisses. You say I love you more often that we do. You say I love you not just to us but to every one you care about. Keep spreading the love, little girl. You always make people smile when you do that :)

You're barely three but you've taught me so much already. And I'm still learning so much from you day in and day out. You brought out something in me that I never expected I of them is PATIENCE. I never thought I can be this patient but you showed me how to be. Thank you for that. 

I thank God everyday that you came into our life, Maia. We love you to bits.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dancing in the Rain

...crawling in mud and jumping on puddles.

Mud Play! 
Yes, that's what the little girl did with her cousin Gogol yesterday. Back home in Cavite, she's been bugging me to let her bathe in the rain. But of course, with our house situated just beside the road I just couldn't let her do that by herself. So it was always a NO (because I was never always in the mood to bathe in the rain with her).

Since we had Maia, we've never been home to Antique during the rainy season. We've always scheduled vacations during summer and holy week when both Tibs and I are allowed to take long days off from work. But last Friday, we had to be back home to Antique to personally say our final goodbyes to my 101-year old grandmother. And what great timing, it has been raining (and raining hard at that) since we got here.

When the rain started pouring hard yesterday, my nephew (just fresh from a bath actually) seized the moment and ran out to enjoy the rain. He was running, jumping and dancing with glee. The mere sight makes you want to join him already. So I can very well understand how the little girl was feeling. She was tugging on me but since we still hadn't rested enough I thought her immune system is still compromised and it's going to be a bad idea to let her join her cousin for an afternoon rain play.

To keep her occupied and nurse my guilt as well, I went to make her a paper boat to play with while waiting for her cousin to finish his rain play. She happily took the boat from me and immediately set it sail. She loved watching the boat drift thru the rain puddles but it eventually got stuck and she wanted to run out and fix it. I relented, decided to set aside my fears and let the kid enjoy this rare moment.

Enjoying a muddy crawl with cousin Gogol
Sometimes, it does feel extremely good to just let go, have fun and enjoy the play!

They were shouting in glee and literally dancing in the rain! 

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