Motherhood

To the Boy I Have Loved and Lost

Dear Bryce,

image

Dad, Mom, and Bryce

That would have been your name, by the way, Bryce Jericho. You see, Mommy never had the chance to hold you. I only knew about you for a few weeks – 14 weeks, if you want to know – and then you were gone.

I found out about you in October 2012. You have been in my tummy for almost two months then. I had no idea you were in there. All I knew was I was always sleepy, always hungry, and always in a foul mood. You made it quite hard for Mommy, honey. Mommy was not so pretty when she carried you. She was pimply and miserable.

image

That's you in there, baby boy!

Mommy thought she just missed her period. Twice in a row. She didn’t think much about it, and went on drinking and smoking to her heart’s content. Mommy wants you to know that she deeply regrets that, honey. She would never have carried on with her vices if she found out about you sooner.

image

Daddy and I tried to imagine how big you were inside Mommy's tummy. ☺

Mommy tried taking care of you after finding out, you even stayed with her until December. Mommy only knew about you for two months, but Mommy loves you so much, anak. Losing you broke Mommy’s heart, she even thought she would lose her mind. Mommy found herself in tears numerous times a day after you left her, but she had no one to blame but herself. She didn’t take care of herself, so you paid the price for her.

Mommy still thinks about you, baby. She dreams about you, too. Mommy hopes you were taken from her to keep Lola company in heaven. The two of you are inseparable in Mommy’s dreams. You visit Mommy and your little sister all the time.

image

That's you, baby!

image

The tat Daddy got after losing you. He thought he could drown the pain by looking for another source of pain.

Please know that Daddy misses you, too. He’s too macho to admit it, but he does. He still has the egg tattoo he got when I was pregnant with you, and the freehand hand tattoo he got when we lost you. You see, you’re ingrained in our system. You will always be.

Watch over us from heaven, anak. Mommy loves you. Daddy does, too. I talk to your sister about you a lot, sweetie. How it would have been nice if you two had met and grew up together. But life has other plans for us all, so… Smile down on Mommy, anak. I will always love you. You may never have been in my arms, but you will always be in my heart.

I love you!

image

One of our last photos together. I love you!

Missing you,
Mommy

Standard
Milestones, Motherhood

Baby Talk? No, Thanks.

As a mother, there are a few things I get very, very particular about. Just two, actually. One, my daughter will be breastfed – no formula, at all – at least until her first birthday. And, two, that my daughter learn to talk properly. NO BABYTALK.

Here in the Philippines, there are some words the refer to as ‘baby language’. They use ‘mamam’ for drinking, ‘meme’ for sleeping, to name a few examples. I do not understand how those words came about, therefore I will not be teaching my daughter such words.

It’s all fine and dandy when it’s just me, the hubby  and the LO talking. When other people come into play, however, things get complicated. Time and again, I have explained why they shouldn’t must not teach my daughter such words, but my explanations fall on deaf ears.

My reasons against babytalk are quite simple.
1. I want my daughter to lear proper speech.
2. My daughter (and babies, in general) are intelligent. If taught properly, babies can understand words.
Ergo, no need for babytalk.

I agree that babies will eventually unlearn babytalk, but why should they need to unlearn something they didn’t have to learn in the first place?

My wishes may seem absurd to some, I get that. I just hope that they respect my wishes, as I have my reasons behind them. If you cannot, then please consider not being around my kid until she can fully express herself verbally.

Standard
Milestones, Motherhood

Cutting Teeth

A few days before my daughter’s ninth month birthday, she started teething. Unlike most of her milestones, this one did not come easy.

It all started with an elevated temperature on father’s day. My little girl was warm to the touch and a little irritable. Upon checking her temperature, 36.9℃. Afebrile, but elevated (her usual temperature is 36.5℃). From there, her temperature would fluctuate and peak at 38.1℃ four times over the next three days. Therefore, paracetamol doses every six hours was necessary.

On top of the temperature she wqs running, she was experiencing slight diarrhea. She pooped an all-time high of four times in one day, something that hasn’t happened since her first week of life. So, hello hydration. Water and juice intake was increased to combat possible dehydration.

The worst symptom we had to go through, though, was irritability. The little girl was almost inconsolable. She would cry and would not allow me to put her down even for a minute. Even while sleeping, she was on my chest. I had to let go of all my chores – laundry, dishes, housekeeping, everything – because she just won’t let me out of her sight. She would cry really, really loud once I try to take a step away from her.

I am not a huge fan of teething. In fact, I hate it with a vengeance. It has caused my daughter great discomfort for about a whole week, and I am still trying to catch up.on the sleep I lost during those days.

Several things helped me survive this cutting ordeal, though. They are:
1. Frozen teethers. My daughter loves to bite cold stuff. Maybe they ease the pain or they numb her gums. Either way, frozen stuff keep her occupied for a bit. I habe tried placing teething rings in the freezer, letting her munch on ice chips, and offering several creamsicles and ice drops.

2. Teething gel. Although some people advise against the use of teething gels, I swear by them. My daughtwr would stop crying upon application. It may be the taste, it may be the gel’s cooling effect. Either way, I have a happy baby.

3. Paracetamol. Aside from its antipyretic property, paracetamol works as a pain reliever. I always have a bottle of Tempra at home for times when my little girl’s temperature spikes.

4. Patience. Lots and lots of it. At the end of the day, we cannot force the LO’s teeth to push out. All we can do is wait for those little biters to come out. We can only be patient, despite our little one’s discomfort because there is nothing we can do but that.

Standard
Fatherhood

To My Daughter’s Father on Father’s Day

image

Happy father's day, Benjie Boy!

To my lobster,

First, let me explain why ‘lobster’. Lobsters mate for life. When they find ‘the one’, they link their claws together and never let go. Well, that’s you and me. We’ve been through so much, yet we came out together every time.

This letter, however, isn’t about how strong we are as a couple. This is about that facet of you that a new girl has brought out. That part of your personality I am getting to know little by little, day by day, thanks to the new love of your life, my daughter, Benriya Jean.

I always knew you’d make a good father. You have always been good around kids and are not afraid to be the disciplinarian when the need arises. The moment you found out I was pregnant, the light in your eyes was inexplicable. There was joy, excitement  and fear rolled into one. At that moment, I knew I made the right choice when I chose you.

You weren’t around when I gave birth, partly because I didn’t know I was in labor and partly because I didn’t want you to miss work. You have been making up for that absence eversince. I still remember how lovingly you looked at Benriya, our daughter, when you finally got to the hospital on September 21. You were in tears, but more importantly, in awe of that beautiful girl Nanay placed in your arms. At last. At long last, our prayers have been answered. We were blessed with a healthy, beautiful little girl who looked exactly like you. We were, finally, a family.

Your dedication to Benriya is amazing. Fatherhood has turned you into an excellent provider, a more caring partner, and an overall better person. I have no words for how thankful I am that you are the father of my child, and the would-be-father of my future children.

Thank you for loving me and our baby. For still being my partner in crime, my bestfriend, my debate opponent, for being mine. I will always be grateful to you for being our source of strength and happiness. Thank you for being our Diddy. Happy father’s day, Mahal. I love you so much.

♥,
Joy

And for this too:

image

Standard
Motherhood

Diaper Rash Woes

We slept over at the hubby’s relatives in Cainta last weekend. After a three-hour commute from our home, the little girl was already grumpy when we got there.

I decided to give her a sponge bath and a nappy change to lighten up her mood, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw upon removing her diapers. Red, splotchy rashes. No wonder my little girl was in a foul mood.

You see, she’s never had them before. I have always made sure that I change her nappy every four hours, regardless of its contents. Poop-filled ones are a different story, of course.

I did not have any diaper raah cream at hand then. I never had the need for any, therefore I never bought any. We had to make do with first aid solutions for diaper rash. Good thing we were over at my in-laws, several experienced mothers helped me get through my ordeal.

image

Their first choice was petroleum jelly. I was told to apply the jelly generously on the affected area with a q-tip (cotton buds). The next time I was changing my baby’s diapers, the rashes were long gone.

To prevent future occurences, I supplied myself with a tube of diaper rash cream. Drapolene, to be exact.

image

It’s the brand I remember my cousins and niblings used as infants. Ergo, it’s probably effective. I now apply a little to my daughter’s diaper area every nappy change to prevent the recurrence of the nasty diaper rash.

In the absence of diaper rash creams and petroleum jelly, baby powder may be used. Powder absorbs moisture and keeps baby’s skin dry. Powder use should be minimal, though, as it poses potential danger when inhaled by your little one.

Frequent diaper changes also helps prevent diaper rash. When baby’s skin is not soaked in urine, it is unlikely to develop those nasty red splotches. Also, make sure that you give baby’s diaper area a thorough rinsing and drying everytime you change nappies for the same purpose.

Standard
Motherhood

Will I Ever Be Thin Again?

image

That was me before getting pregnant. I was around 45-47kg at 5’0″. Not bad if you ask me. Especially after peaking at 60kg after my mom died in 2008.

By the time I got pregnant, I weighed 50kg and was perfectly happy. Hey, I had a bun in the oven and every gram of weight I gain was legit. So, I ate. A lot. And I slept, too. A lot. Little by little, my weight went up. Eight months later, I was 57kg and heavily pregnant. I thought, yeah, no worries. I’ll lose it all soon after giving birth, anyway.

It has been more than eight months since I said that, but I have not regained my 45kg self back yet. Not that I am overweight, but I am not as happy with my body as I used to be. My stomach is flabby, my arms are huge, my waistline is almost nonexistent. I feel (and probably) look like a log. 😪

To be fair, though, I already fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes. I have since my LO’s third month. And I haven’t taken the whole diet thing seriously just yet. I need to stay healthy, as I am breastfeeding, therefore no crash diets, no slimming teas, no nothing. I am too lazy to exercise, nor do I have the energy just yet. Or maybe, I’m just too lazy to get my butt off the couch and start exercising again.

My go-to exercises have always been running and dancing. Running, I cannot do for now. My little girl will.need a babysitter for me to be able to run, and I have no idea where to find one. Dancing, on the other hand, I can. Zumba has kept me fit before, it will make me fit again. And crunches, too. I will work my way back to 200 crunches a day by the time my little girl learns to walk.

I will also push for staying off rice meals. Hubby’s weight gain program will work well with that. He finishes the rice, I will watch him do so. Hahaha!

I said I would be back to my pre-pregnancy body by the time my little girl turns one. I have four months. If I work my ass off, I will regain that body. I know I will. I will be thin and my tummy will be flat again.

Standard
Breastfeeding, Motherhood

Different Folks, Different Strokes

I’m a member of numerous Facebook groups for mommies. On one hand, they’re a big help with regard to everyday concerns like firstaid, reliable baby products, etc. Lately, however, I have seen a few posts and comments that sadden me. We, somehow, seem to forget that mommies who post on these pages are asking for opinions, suggestions, that could be of help to them. Attacking them and their way of raising their kid is not helpful in any way.

Say, for example, a mom comes up and asks regarding follow-on formula, someone starts a tirade on why breast is best. Yes, it is settled that breastmilk is best for babies, however, some moms cannot breastfeed their kids. Regardless of the reason, we are not in the position to push our choices on other people. Going into an all-out ‘you should breastfeed instead’ speech is not going to help their query. Think of it this way: we find it disrespectful when people look down on us for breastfeeding, wouldn’t formula-feeding moms feel the same way if we question their choice?

Different strokes for different folks. Not because one thing works out for us, it will work out for others, too. This means not only breastfeeding, but every aspect of child-rearing. There are those who opt for baby jars and rice cereals, others opt for fresh produce. Some traditionally wean their kids, others are on babyled weaning. Cloth diapers work for some babies, others are used to disposables. You see, these options are out there so we can find which work best for our kids, not for us to put other moms down.

Our varying lifestyles lead us to make different choices. Not everyone can afford, or has the patience, to be a fulltime mom. Those who opt not to stay at home have to be respected for their decision, much as those who do want to be respected for theirs. The food we feed our kids are dependent on various factors, and no one has a right to judge the decisions we make. For as long as our kids are happy and healthy, no one has the right to call us out on our parenting styles.

Let us all remember that there is no comparison in parenthood. The mother next door cannot be a bettet mom than you are because she cannot play mommy to your kid, and vice versa. Motherhood is a personal experience, it is not a contest. Each one of us is the world’s best mom in the eyes of our kids, so let us not look down on other moms down for choosing to rear their kids differently.

At the end of the day, we all joined these groups to find support and camaraderie, not to find fault in others. These are support groups, after all. So, please, keep these groups a safe haven for every mom. Remember what our moms always told us as kids: if you have nothing nice to say, better not say anything at all.

Standard