Monday, December 26, 2011

Disney on Ice: Let's Celebrate (even on a Budget)

Mickey and Minnie - an all time crowd favorite
 Our family is a big fan of Disney.  My daughter is very fond of the princesses and my son absolutely adores Buzz and Woody.  When we found out that Disney on Ice is once again in Manila, my husband and I are already planning to take both of them to see the show -- but on a budget.

Getting there is pretty easy.  We took the MRT at 115pm (from Taft) and arrived at Cubao Station at 145pm.  This is definitely one of the things I love about the MRT -- no traffic!

Fare: 67 Php (including a tricycle ride from our house)

It was a brief walk from the station to Araneta Center and my husband was able to get us tickets with 5 minutes to spare before the show starts. 
Ticket Cost: 600 Php (4 General Admission tickets at 150 Php each)

While waiting for the tickets, there are plenty of souvenirs for the kids and the kids at heart ranging from 200 php to 900 php.  There are coloring books that sell for 200 php, Necklaces for 300 php, Cotton Candy with a Mickey Mouse hat for 350 php and Disney Mugs with Snow Cones for 450 php to name a few.  I have to remind myself that we are on a budget so we only bought the Mickey Mouse binoculars for my daughter. 
Souvenir Item: 350 Php

The Show started with Mickey and Minnie welcoming everyone followed by Lumiere's song "Be Our Guest" which happened to be one of our favorite songs in Beauty and the Beast.  All the cast danced (skated to it).  I can already tell the excitement in my daughter when she started naming all the Disney characters she knows.  My son just woke up at that time so he's still probably wondering where he is.

The show is composed of two (2) parts.  The first part is all about celebrations such as (un)Birthdays, Holloween and a Celebration of Love. 
The second part is celebrating events around the world.  We were given a 15-minute break in between, which gave us time to buy the popcorn that my daughter requested.  
Total Snack Cost: 255 Php (Popcorn, Hotdog and two medium size coke)

We had a great time with the show.  My personal favorite was when it was time for Mickey to clean up the mess in the (un)Birthday Celebration in Alice in Wonderland.  Mickey dressed up as a Sorcerer's apprentice and used magic to get the brooms to clean things up on their own -- just like in Disney's Fantasia.  There was great syncronization with the skaters and their costumes were great!  They were only "brooms" if you think about it.  What made it special is that their costumes are illuminated!

The Grand Finale is the most celebrated holiday -- Christmas! Goofy dressed up as Santa and then Buzz, Jessie and Woody appeared from the presents.  So you can imagine my son's delight when he saw both of his favorite characters.  Then Mickey and his friends appear riding on a sleigh.

I was a little skeptical at first in getting seats in the General Admission but after the show was over, it got me thinking that it's not so bad after all.  You can see the entire stage from where we're located.  And my son can still recognize Mickey and his friends.  Nope, they don't look as small as ants from where we're sitting.  Front row seats costs 1500 per person so it's a little expensive for a family of four (4).

After the show, we stopped at Dairy Queen to get 2 Blizzards and then we took the MRT back home.
Ice cream cost: 108 Php
Fare: 67 Php (including a tricycle ride from our house)

Yesterday, we accomplished a lot.  We get to spend time together as a family.  We watched and enjoyed the show.  My husband and I witnessed the joy in our kids faces and we only get to spend a total of 1447 Php.  Perfect. Just Perfect!

You can visit for schedules and ticket rates.
Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Philips Avent Insulated Sippy Cup Review

My son drinks a lot of water and juice in between meals so we need a lot of spill proof cups that we can take along if not use at home.  My son is not really an avid fan of the spout cup so you can imagine my hesitation in buying a Philips Avent Insulated Sippy Cup.  The design looks really cute and my son being able to identify some of the animals, is going to be a treat. 

Attending the Philips Avent Christmas party gave me the opportunity to win the Insulated cup (thanks Avent!).  It was the perfect time to test if my son is now comfortable drinking from a spout and to see if the Philips Insulated Cup really is magic.

The Philips Avent Insulated Sippy Cup is recommended for toddlers from 18 months onwards but my then 16 month old son was able to easily drink from it.  It comes in different colors and adorable animal designs that any boy or girl could like.  In fact my son loves his yellow elephant cup so much that he has learned to say "ephant" everytime he sees it. 

It is insulated, meaning it can keep your drinks fresh for a long time.  Although it doesn't come with a handle, my son can grip the cup just fine.  The spout is soft but not as soft compared to Pigeon's MagMag; and it's not as hard as the Playtex Insulators.  Did I mention this is also BPA free?

What I also like about it is that it has a flip top cover that is detachable.  You can use the cover when traveling and remove them when at home.  I just wish that the cover is a little easy to open but I take it as a plus feature because my son won't be able to play with it.  There are days though that my son gets impatient especially if it's taking me a while before I can open it. 

The cup is very durable.  This cup has been thrown, kicked and has fallen off the tables and chairs for a month now.  And it hasn't been damaged a bit.  The valve and the cup is fairly easy to clean.  I just use the Avent brush to reach down and clean the bottom of the cup.  

Is it spill proof? Well,  I don't have to put the cup inside the zip lock bag so the water won't spill inside the diaper bag or my bag, that's for sure.   One more thing that I love about it is that, it can contain 9 oz of liquid (water or juice) which is enough for my son. 

Photo by:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why I Love Christmas

The Christmas Season is my favorite season.  So I've listed several reasons why it is so.

#1 The Weather.  I love that it is not so hot and that means I can sleep comfortably in the morning.  (I work in a BPO industry and I have been working in the graveyard shift for the past 7 years)

#2 My 13th Month Pay.  Time to reward myself for working really hard for the past 12 months.  More shopping time (and money) for me.

#3 Bazaars.  I have fun shopping for christmas gifts and the bazaar is where we usually hunt for affordable yet adorable gifts for the kids, inaanaks and the family members.  Check out the following events:

Night Market Park and Sell @ BOOM na BOOM
December 2 to 23, 2011 at the Boom na Boom Grounds located along Roxas Boulevard corner Buendia at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines Complex

Grand Christmas Bazaar 2011 @ the BIG TENT
Nov 11-13, 18-20, 25-27 and Dec 2-4, 9-11, 16-23, 28-30 at the Holy Spirit Drive, Don Antonio, Quezon City

World Bazaar Festival 2011
December 2 - 18, 2011 - World Trade Center

Noel Bazaar and Christmas Shop Expo 2011
December 21 - 23, 2011 - World Trade Center

#4 The Gifts.  I enjoy wrapping gifts as much as arranging them at the bottom of the Christmas tree.  The best part really is seeing the kids' faces when they rip the wrapper apart and see what they got inside.  Oh yeah...I love getting gifts too!

#5 Reunions.  Last year was the best Christmas yet when my parents flew from the province to spend Christmas with us.  It is always great to see everyone in one place, with the adults catching up with each other's lives and the kids running around. 

#6 Traditions.  Every year on Christmas eve, we'd hear mass and then wait for midnight for the Noche Buena.  We live right beside my in-laws' apartment so it's more fun for us and for the kids.  Then, the kids would scramble down the stairs the next day to see what they got from "Santa."

#7 Food.  I love to eat.  I don't cook though but I make a mean macaroni salad (according to my husband and my daughter).  This season is when everyone cooks their specialty - my mother in law's pata tim, my sister in law's lasagna, my father in law's dinuguan, my husband's adobo - and I get to taste them ALL.  Good thing that I'm still breastfeeding.  I get to burn those calories.

What about you?  What do you love about Christmas?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Corduroy: A Book about Love and Determination

My daughter used to be enrolled in the Kumon English program.  We wanted to foster her love for reading so we scout book stores just so we could complete what was on her Kumon reading list.  Our regular book store "hunt" lead us to a copy of Don Freeman's book Corduroy.
The book is about a teddy bear, Corduroy, who has lived in the big department store for a long time; waiting for someone to take him home.  The plot is simple but it speaks a lot about Love and Acceptance.  In the story, the little girl's mother pointed out that Corduroy has a missing button but still the little girl went ahead and bought the teddy bear.  For her, the bear will be her "friend."   The story tells us that we will meet people and discover traits that are not necessarily what we think is ideal.  That person may be not as organized or as outgoing as we want them to be.  We will meet people who may be completely different from us.  They may not have the same race or color or nationality. However,  we can learn how to accept them and look at what's good in them.  That's how we make friends and make relationships work.  And despite all these "imperfections" we still say that we don't love them any less.
The book also speaks about determination.  In the story, the girl wasn't able to buy the teddy bear at first because her mother said they already spent too much.  Corduroy also realized that he had a missing button so he bravely explored the mall to look for it.  I dont think he'd stop looking had the guard not found him.  The same way that the little girl didn't give up; she went back with her savings to buy the teddy bear that she wanted. 
My daughter and I usually play a game of what if's after reading the book.  What if Pinkie, her stuffed animal, loses an eye, will she throw it away?  Will I still love her even if she is makulit?  Will she still love me and tatay even if we became too busy and forget to read her a story or kiss her goodnight?  I know she understood what the story is driving at when she answers "No."  I love how she can confidently say that nothing can change the way her tatay and I feel about her.  And if she ever had challenges in school, we always go back to how the little girl and Corduroy behaved in the story.  Did they give up? No.  Neither should she. 
The Corduroy Book and Bear set is available at National Book Store.  Price Php 303.00

An edited book review is also posted in Smart Parenting's online publication.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SM Megatale: Moms Gets Reprimanded for Breastfeeding in Public

I've always shopped at SM.  The store is convenient and I loved that they h'ave a breastfeeding station.   I found out recently that one of my friends got reprimanded for breastfeeding in public and this evoked several emotions from me --- disgust, disbelief, appalled, sad -- for several reasons.

One: SM has prided itself as a breastfeeding friendly mall.  So how come the guard said that its forbidden to breastfeed in public?  My friend was even wearing a breastfeeding top and with a baby latched on to her, I don't think she'll be that exposed.  I know because I've done that several times.   What kind of policy do they have?

Second:  how can feeding your child be something that the management forbids anyone to do?  If that is the case then maybe we should reprimand those moms who are formula feeding their babies inside the malls too.   Don't get me wrong.  I think breastfeeding is a choice.   But if we come to look at it breastfeeding and formula feeding is the same if we think of it this way: a hungry baby equals need to drink milk

Third: How can something so natural be so wrong?  Our breasts are created for certain reasons and one of which is to provide nourishment and be able to feed our babies.  

I don't know if it's coincidence or this is something that the SM malls impose nationwide.  Apparently this not only happened in SM Megamall but in Davao as well.  I say this has to be addressed.

To all breastfeeding moms, know our rights.  It doesn't mean that if a mall has a breastfeeding station that we are not allowed to nurse our baby inside their premises.  Reach out to Eliza Santiago-Ypon if you have encountered the same experience.  Like what she said 

"This is (sooo) far from over!"


Please read an update of the incident here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Is it BPA free?

Back when my daughter was born 8 years ago, BPA was unheard of.  Baby bottles are baby bottles.   As long as it is able to serve its purpose then it's fine.  Now, the first thing that moms ask when buying bottles or food container is "Is it BPA free?"  What really is BPA?

BPA (Bisphenol A) is a checmical used to make polycarbonate plastic, expoxy resins and other products.  Polycarbonates are used in reusable food and drink containers.  What alarmed everyone is that the same chemical is used in baby bottles and toddler's cups.  This chemical can mimic the hormone action of estrogen and it can disrupt brain development among other health risks.

As early as 2008, the six baby companies that have agreed to stop using BPA in baby bottles sold in the U.S. are

• Gerber
• Avent America, Inc
• Evenflo Co.
• Disney First Years
• Dr. Brown
• Playtex Products, Inc.

Aside from the six, The BornFree company has been selling BPA-free baby bottles for years.  I have also found a list of BPA Free Bottle Products/Sippy Cups/Water Bottles/Food Storage and Breast Pumps here.

There were several studies made to prove/disprove the ill effects of BPA to the human body.  Some say that we may be underestimating it and some say that as long as the product contains a minimal amount of BPA or if it is within the European Standard, then we can say it's safe.

I say as parents, we keep ourselves informed.  We make decisions based off the information we gather.  Then, we ask ourselves.  Given that the scientific community is divided, do we even want to take the risk in exposing our babies/kids to these chemicals?  I don't.  And yes, I am one of those moms who ask "Is it BPA free?"

How to avoid BPA?

  • Buy baby bottles made of glass.  The only problem I see here is that, if the bottle falls or is thrown (by your toddler), it will break and might injure your baby.
  • Don't buy hard plastic baby bottles that are marked with recycle codes "PC" or "7".  This is usually seen at the bottom of the sippy cup or bottle.
  • Buy baby products from companies who are BPA free.
  • Breastfeed.  It's the safest! 


Picture by:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pigeon's MagMag: A Product Review

My husband's cousin first influenced me to buy the Pigeon Magmag.  To her point, it is a cup that "grows" with your baby.  It seemed to me like a great idea at that time because you can change the top depending on the age of your child.

We bought the set at the SM Baby Company for Php 699.75.  It comes with a 180ml cup, a handle and 3 different tops: the nipple top, spout top and the straw top.  The cup is easy to grasp, non slippery and it claimed to be spill proof. 

The nipple top is designed for newborns, which is perfect for me.  A tip: if you're breastfeeding your baby, you'd want to stick to a slow flow nipple. 

When my son was around 6 months old, we switched to the Spout top.  He found the spout too soft and refused to take it.  All he did really was bit on it but never really drank from the spout.  He'd rather drink from a regular cup.

So we had him try the Straw top at that age.  Surprisingly, he drank using the straw top like a pro!  There were days though that he'd suck on the water really strong that he'd end up coughing.

What's great about the MagMag is that it is BPA free (all pigeon products now are) and my son can easily grip the handles.  The flip cover of the straw spout is easy to open.  My son can easily do that without any help.

We used the magmag pretty much everywhere we go.  Lately though, we had to bring a zip lock bag so that the water would not spill inside the diaper bag.  We've been using the straw top for several months now which made me think that maybe it is time to replace the straw.  It would be great if a recommendation on how often the straws need to be replaced is written on the box.

So far, I didnt see any MagMag set that came with a different color.  The cup and the tops are colored orange and I'm not really a big fan of that color.  Cleaning the straw top is a bit of a challenge too.   I suggest that you also buy the MagMag Straw brush which is sold separately.  The brush is made of stainless wire with nylon bristle and only costs around Php 150.   The cup can only hold 180ml of water so for a toddler (like mine) who drinks a lot, that may not be enough.

To summarize:
Pros - BPA Free, easy to grip, easy to open, multiple tops, reasonable price
Cons - leaks, spout is a little too soft, straw is difficult to clean, no other colors available, small cup

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Don’t Make The Mistake Of Paying Later…

A good friend of mine at work shared this with me.  This only made me re-assess my life. 
Most mornings, I bike with my two boys around our village. 

Actually they bike and I run after them.

Because I don’t have a bike (mine is broken). 

But I don’t mind.

 Because that means they win our races. And they have fun laughing at their father who always comes last, my tongue hanging out of my mouth, ready to faint.

 This morning, after biking, we also played chess and checkers. Obviously, I beat them in every game. (Sweet Revenge!)
Some days, we play the Wii together. It’s an interactive game console and we have loads of fun doing that. From pingpong to bowling to flying to car racing. (Yes, the old guy looses again.)
And if I can get off from work a bit early, we’ll go running and biking again in the afternoon.
My point? 
I spend an enormous amount of time with my kids.
Is it difficult?
You bet.
I do a lot of stuff. I run 12 businesses. I lead 9 non-profit organizations. I preach 300 times a year. I write 80 articles a month.
But I’ve made a decision that nothing is more important than my family.
Here’s what I learned about life: You either pay now or you pay later. If you pay later, it’ll cost more.
I don’t want to pay later. It’ll cost me 100 times more!
Like some parents I know. Sadly, they never spent time with their kids.  In other words, they didn’t pay before.
Today, these parents are paying. They sit restless at night, crying, worrying about their adult children. And they ask these very painful questions:
• “Why is my son hanging out with the wrong crowd?”
• “Is my son drinking too much? Is he taking drugs too?”
• “Why did my daughter choose that bum as her boyfriend?”
• “Will my son ever grow up and take responsibility?”
• “What have I done wrong as a parent?”
I ask you: Don’t pay later. 
It’s more painful that way.
No matter how difficult, pay now.
Spend time with your kids.
Make it faithful. Make it fun. Make it fantastic.
May your dreams come true,
Bo Sanchez


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Thankful for.............

Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States celebrated every 4th Thursday of November.  When the Europeans first arrived in the US, they brought with them their tradition in celebrating safe voyage and good harvest.

In spirit of the holiday, I've listed a few of the many things and people that I am thankful for this year

My husband
   who is doing such a great job in making sure that he takes care of things that I couldn't (a.k.a. my daughter's projects, PTA meetings, assignments, research, etc.);
   who has been very supportive with my career 

My daughter
   who has been very loving and caring for her younger brother;
   who has kept her grades up even if I hardly have the time to tutor her;
   who is very understanding and ulitmately the best daughter ever!

My son
   who despite the fact that he has been diagnosed with asthma hasn't had any attacks (knock on wood) for the past 8 months;
   who grew to be a smart and very loving little boy

My Parents
   who continue to spoil and love my kids;
   who constantly challenge me since I was a kid.  I wouldnt be who I am now.

My In-laws
    for giving my kids the love and attention in the absence of my parents who live in the province and for the support too.

Yaya Beth 
   Finally!! A nanny I could trust and who love my kids as much as I do. 

Finally, a few more people to thank for
   The people and the friends that I have created in the online community;
   My breastfriends in making sure that I am successful in my breastfeeding journey.  Yes, I have met my goal which is to make it for one year and now I'm raising the bar at 2 years minimum.
   My job, colleagues and my boss.  I have the best team and the best mentor and my job pays for our expenses at home.  Enough said.

The list could be endless if you think about it.  

What about you?  What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Christmas Party @ AVENTopia

My family was one of the lucky group who scored an invite to the Exclusive Avent Christmas Party last November 19.  Although I know that I'd be coming from my graveyard shift, I went ahead and confirmed my attendance. 

Getting There

The Avent staff was kind enough to provide transportation going to the LJS building from SM centerpoint.  So we went there at exactly 2:30.  You should see the panic on my face when I couldn't see any Avent Van or Avent staff wearing a green shirt.  I thought they left.  So I started calling the contact numbers I had on my phone (Sorry for the hassle Avent.  That was me, sleep deprived and panicking).

Traffic was really bad but when we arrived at the LJS Building, the staff greeting us with smiles on their faces which made us feel less tired.


Contrary to the other parties, the games were played after everyone has had their turn at the buffet table.  The food was great.  For the kids, they have spaghetti and hotdogs.  For the young at heart, they have rice, beef with mushroom, fish fillet and yes, LECHON.  Then there's the dessert table that my son and my daughter enjoyed.  They have a chocolate fountain where you can dip the pretzels, the marshmallows and the sliced apples and grapes.  I couldnt help but allow my son to have a taste of this chocolatey treat.

Baby Brent, the boy with the Best in Costume

What I loved about it is how they make sure everyone participated in the games.  I may be sleep deprived but the kid in me couldnt wait to have my turn.  A total of 5 games were played.  The staff did a great job in incorporating their products in the party games such as the "Interchange me" game highlighting the interchangeability of the Avent products and the Avent Pinoy Henyo.  The highlight of the party was when the Baby with the Best Costume was announced.  Baby Brent won hands down with his soldier costume.

It's a party for the mommies, daddies and the babies too!!

Prizes/Loot bag

Avent has been very generous with their prizes ranging from the Sunnex Flask, Avent Insulated cups, to the Feeding sets, Aranaz bag to the mini blender.  And everyone pretty much went home a winner because everyone took home a loot bag with all the Avent/Sunnex/Aprica goodies.

Everyone had a blast.  It was great to have met those mommies that we have bonded with in the online community. 

"Thank you Avent for being instrumental in the newfound friendships that started with our love for your products.  We're all honored to be part of the Avent community!"

photos by Grace Rey

Friday, November 18, 2011


My daughter explored her creativity by writing a poem for "Santa."

by Alyssa Nicette

There's only one day that I like the best
It is christmas day like a fest
We give gifts and love
to open our hearts up above

It's like a day that never ends
and celebrating with my friends
And if someone asks my favorite holiday
I'll "Christmas cheer" my way out to play

It's the "BER" month.  Don't you think her poem is just timely?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Breastfriends

Breastfeeding my son was perhaps the best decisions that I've made in my life.  Not only I was able to provide the best nutrition for my son, our bond was incomparable.  Breastfeeding moms, they say, need all the support that they can get in order to be successful.  I have met people and learned about things in my breastfeeding journey.  They are what I call my "Breastfriends."

La Leche League - Manila.  La Leche is an international non profit organization that provides education, support, information and encouragement to women who wants to breastfeed.  My endless netsurfing has lead me to the La Leche meeting information and without any hesitations I confirmed my attendance.  Abby Yabot, the La Leche leader was very accommodating.  What I like about it is that everyone is there to help everyone.

Mommy Treats - Galactagogues-full yummy muffins, cookies and brownies.  Malunggay leaves and malunggay capsules work for sometime but nothing beats Mommy Treats.  I noticed that my milk became creamier and my milk supply didn't dip even if my stress level increased.  Oh and they're organic, even my son and daughter loves it too.

Next 9 Ring Sling - Probably the best thing I won on a contest. With the ring sling I am able to wear my baby and breastfeed at the same time.  The sling has a tail that can double as a cover. Perfect when nursing in public.

Boncho - Before I had the ring sling, I purchased a Boncho (breastfeeding poncho) from Indigo Baby.  This is not just a breastfeeding cover but a stylish piece of clothing.  You can wear it in 14 different ways.  So I use it as a shrug when we're at the malls and then transform it to a breastfeeding cover if my little one wants to feed.

It's not just for the nursing mom.

Breastpump - For working moms like me, the breastpump is more of a necessity.  I need to keep my milk supply up and what better way to do it than to sneak in 2-3 sessions within my 9-hour shift.  My Avent Isis on-the-go is the best birthday gift I got last year.  It comes with the manual pump, two ice packs, two milk bottles, a newborn nipple, insulated bag, extra parts, instruction manual and a couple of breast pads.  It's simply on-the-go because everything that a working mom needs is found in that small box. 

Avent Isis Manual Pump, via cup (not part of the set) and the insulated bag shown above.  The set comes with breast pads, gel packs and another feeding bottle.

Breastmilk containers - I need to keep my stash organized so my yaya knows which milk to thaw or use first.  For the containers, I love the Avent via cups.  With the use of the adaptor, you can pump directly to the cup and store it in the refridgerator.  Use the same adaptor and screw the cap with the newborn flow nipple and you can already feed your milk to your baby. OR just unscrew the lid of the via cup and you can immediately offer that to your toddler.  Best thing about the container is that it's stackable and reusable too.

I also like Babymama's spectra bags.  I got this as a freebie from Mommy Treats.  It's self standing, freezer safe, pre-sterilized, ziplock, self standing, BPA free and you can store up to 9oz.  For a box of 30, you only need to pay 200php -- that's around 7 pesos per piece.  

Ice Packs - Even if my Avent Isis on-the-go Set comes with two gel packs, I bought extra packs from Babymama.  It can keep your milk cold for 12 hours and its cheap at 100php for a pack of 4. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LJS Annual Bodega Sale

My husband and I went to the Bodega sale never really expecting what to find.  Going there was a bit of a challenge.  Coming from my office in Makati, it took us almost an hour (including the traffic); and to think that we took a cab.  I'm not really that good with directions so I trust my husband with that.

You'll know you're near the place if you saw Lourdes Hospital and they put up a lot of signs. Yup, even the pedicab has one. 

The way I see it, everything is a STEAL.  Avent feeding items are 20% off.  Some of the bottles are now at 50% off.  There are a lot of Sunnex pots and pans sold at 50% off.  I was too distracted with the Sale to take note of everything.  And the staff are so accommodating too. 

We stayed there for about an hour.  We were able to buy a 30-cm Sunnex non stick frying pan for 575php from 1149php and a Chef's Classic 18-cm pot for 200php from the original price of 400php.  We also bought a few more things like a knife and a couple of cleaning items and got a free eco bag.  

Sale is still up until tomorrow.  They are open from 9am to 2pm.  To see the map, visit Avent, Sunnex or Aprica FB fanpage.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughful Conversations

My daughter and I recently had this conversation:
Daughter: "Mama, I feel sad."
Me: "Sad? Why?"
Daughter: "Because your attention is always with Andre and I miss you."
It broke my heart especially when I saw tears welling in her eyes.  I may have
been too busy to notice.
I shared this with my husband and think of ways how we can equally divide
our time with our siblings.  So we came up with Alyssa day and Andre day. 
On Alyssa day, she can spend the entire day with us doing whatever she
wants.  It can be as simple as just going out and having ice cream and talk
talk talk. 
I was heartbroken when she said that but a part of me is glad. 
I'm glad that I was able to develop a relationship with her where she feels
that she can open up to me; that what she feels and what she thinks matter.
I'm glad to see how much she has grown.  That instead of throwing tantrums
to show her sadness and lack of attention, she actually talks about how she
I'm glad that she gave me the chance to see that there are things that needs
to change in our family.
I told her that I don't love her any less and that I miss her too.  I said I'm
sorry if I didn't notice how much attention I've given Andre.  I explained that
I'm still nursing her baby brother that's why he's always with me.  Then I
thanked her for letting me know how she feels and how much I've
appreciated that.
Seeing how my daughter reacted made me think, I must have done something

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting the Kids involved in the Pregnancy

All attention are most often focused on the arrival of the new baby.  If there
is one thing that my husband and I dont want to happen is for our older
child to envy, if not resent her baby brother.  We want to see them grow up
loving and supporting each other.  So we got her involved in the pregnancy
right from the start.  Here are some of the things that you too can do to get
your kids involved:

Take her with you during pre-natal visits.  You can do this in all trimesters of your pregnancy.  Treat every visit like a field trip.  Explain what the doctor
is checking and have her listen to the baby's heartbeat.  We usually schedule
our pre-natal check ups every saturday so my daughter can join us and then
we go out for a chocolate milkshake.

Guessing Game.  You pretty much have 5-6 months to guess the baby's
gender.  You can make it fun by saying that whoever gets it right, will get an
ice cream.  Bring everyone along on the day that you're due to get an
ultrasound.  Don't worry.  This game will work too even if you only have one
child.  You and you husband can join in the guessing game.

Name Game.   Now that you know what the baby's gender is, it's time to
think of baby names.  This is probably my daughter's favorite.  My husband
and I decided that we're going to let her name her baby brother.  Until my
daughter said that she'd like her brother to be called as "Beast" if she is
"Belle" (she likes Beauty and the Beast by the way) because they're partners. 
My daughter thought of crazy names including Zohan...yup...taken from the
movie of the same title.  We knew there is a need for us to supervise but we
definitely had a lot of fun doing that.

Shopping.  When shopping for your new baby, give your older child a
budget and a list of things that you need.  You can maybe assign her to
choose the cutest little bootie or a few bibs.  That will give her a sense of
accomplishment and pride that she "bought" the bootie that the baby is
wearing.  Never mind if the one she chose are not the ones that you really

Snuggle time.  Before going to bed (or anytime during the day), snuggle with
her and let her feel your tummy.  While doing that, you can tell her stories
about how you felt when she was inside your womb -- how you felt the first
time you found out you were pregnant or how you felt the first time you
heard her heartbeat.  Make her feel that she is as special as the baby inside
your womb now.  This is the best time to reassure her that no matter what
everyone will say, a mother and a father's heart is always big enough to
make room for one more.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mom's Day Out: The Paintball Experience

I've seen videos.  I've seen pictures.  I've heard stories about paintball but I've never played an actual game.  So when our Senior Manager suggested this as a Team
Building activity, I couldn't help but feel excited.  It was a pretty darn good idea to me.  Plus we had a great deal at 200 per person for a 1 day pass to any Global Gutz
Paintball Park with Full Gear and Equipment.

Most of us will be coming from the workplace in Makati.  Getting there only took about 10-15 minutes with moderate traffic.  Global Gutz is located at the Philippine Army Gymnasium compound in Fort Bonifacio, btw.   We got pretty confused when we got there because we didnt see any sign whatsoever on where the field actually
is.  We eventually figured it out after asking a few people.

Getting Ready
Since majority of us never played paintball once in our lives, one of the employees was kind enough to introduce us to the basics.  He showed us how to use the gun or the paintball marker and the different safety precautions.

The ammunition was not what I thought it would be.  I pictured large squishy balls that breaks and will actually drench you when you get hit.  Contrary to that, it was as small and almost as hard as a marble.  This explains why you should NEVER remove your mask when the game is ongoing and you are on the field. 

waiting for our turn in the field

Game On
So we put on our protective vests and masks.  The vest only covered our neck, chest and shoulders which makes our arms and our legs vulnerable.  We put our game face on and head on to the field.  We didn't even notice how long we were playing.  What's important is we defeat our opponent and we do not get hit.

Our team played a total of 4 games.  I ended up playing on 1 out of the 4.  Lack of sleep (yes, we came straight from our Graveyard shifts), exercise, food and the heat was too much for me.  And my legs were pretty shaky after that one game.  It was like as if I did lunges, squats and leg press for what seem like forever.  That's what I get for not getting my butt back to the gym.  Everyone enjoyed so much that we're actually thinking of doing this again.  Maybe this time we'll make sure that I have sandwiches in my bag and I rest the day before the activity.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby: A Book Review

One of the things that parents prepare and sometimes dread is the talk about the birds and the bees.  How much information should we give and are these information age appropriate?

My daughter was 5 when she said that she wanted a baby brother; 7 when me and my husband started trying for baby number 2 and 8 when I finally got pregnant.  My husband and I are already anticipating her questions when we stumble upon the book written by Heidi Murkoff.  What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby is every parent's best friend.  Heidi Murkoff is the co-author of the book What to Expect When You’re expecting.  The book answers questions from how babies are made to how babies get out of the womb.  To make it more fun, the author created a character named Angus who gives out bits of information along the way. The book is recommended for children ages 3-5 but we still find the book useful even if our daughter was 8 when we found this.

The first part of the of the book is the author's note to the parents -- congratulating them on the new baby and acknowledging the fact that explaining the pregnancy to a toddler could be quite a challenge.  The book not only answers some of the questions and at the same time the topics in the book could serve as a springboard for further discussions.  For some who might be reading this book to anyone younger, the author recommended that the parents should read the book first and decide which information is appropriate for their child/children. 

Each pages addresses a question that children may have.  The answers were straightforward and any child could understand.  There are also activities for the kids in relation to the question.  My daughter's favorite activity was to roll herself in a blanket because according to the book, that's how the baby feels like inside the uterus.  She's probably done that almost everytime we finish reading it.

The topics that were covered are:

  • Where is the baby?
  • How did the baby get in there?
  • How can a baby fit inside mommy?
  • What makes the baby grow? How can I help?
  • How does the baby eat?
  • Can the baby hear and see me?
  • What does the baby do all day?
  • Why doesn’t mommy feel well sometimes?
  • Why does mommy go to the doctor so much?
  • When will the baby come out? How does it get out?

We found the book at a perfect time.  We sat down as a family to read it and took time to answer additional questions.   The most difficult question that my daughter asked so far was, “Mama, where is the birth canal?  Can I see it?”  So you can imagine what our faces looked like she asked that.

What I love about the book is that it helped my daughter somewhat understand what any mommy is going through when she’s pregnant.  If I don’t feel well, she’ll just say “I know. You’re not sick. You’re just pregnant.”  Then she'll give me a kiss and run off to bug her father.  The book was instrumental in bringing us closer and getting her emotionally ready for her baby brother.  The time we spent together just talking and telling stories about the time when I was pregnant with her never fails to put a smile on her face.  And when her brother was born, she has nothing but love to offer to the new member of the family.

(This blog entry was posted in Smartparenting's online publication.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breastfeeding in Public

I rode the jeepney a couple of months ago together with this woman.  She was with her toddler.  Her toddler was a bit unsettled and was asking for something to eat.  They probably were anxious to get to where they're going to stop and buy something to eat.  The woman, instead nursed her toddler until he's satisfied.

In my mind, I was cheering for her.  I was thinking "Go mommy!" I admired her attitude and I couldnt help but look at how the other people would react to this kind of picture.  There were a few who looked away and a few who stared and felt embarassed.  I just smiled and wondered if i'd be able to do the same thing that she did without feeling exposed.

Fastforward to today, I guess you can say that I am pretty successful in being able to breastfeed my son in public.  I bought a nursing cover (which I hardly use. thank God for the Next9 ring sling), a few nursingwears and build my confidence.  I also experimented with my existing blouses on how I can breastfeed without exposing too much (yes! I practiced in front of a mirror).  I've done it pretty mucheverywhere -- the doctor's clinic, MRT, the cab, at the malls, at company sponsored events, the church, while attending seminars -- and I've grown more confident each time.  What better way to promote breastfeeding than letting everyone see that you're actually doing it?

me and my trusty nursing cover waiting for hubby