Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Have you ever thought about why people get married? I often wonder if happily married couples tied the knot because they’re head over heels in love with each other. Honestly, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I see or hear couples getting married. In reality, though, there are a number of reasons why people get hitched.

Some people marry for love. I think this is still the best reason why people should get married. You want to spend the rest of your life with the person you love and who loves you back in return.

Others marry for companionship. The fear of growing old alone drives some people to marry even if they’re not necessarily in love with the person they’re marrying. There are those who eventually fall in love with the person they married.

Some marry for convenience. It may be that the girl gets pregnant and she sees marrying the man responsible for her situation as the next best thing to do. After all, she and her baby need moral, emotional, and financial support.

There are also people who marry to meet their physical and sexual needs. A man needs someone to cook for him, to fix his things, to listen to his woes, to just be there for him, and to satisfy his carnal desires. There are women, too, who look for these things in a marriage.

The need to have children is also one of the reasons why people get married. It’s a comforting feeling to know that there’ll be someone to perpetuate your species for all the world to see. Besides, I really believe children are the greatest joys of parents.

Whether you marry for love, for companionship, for convenience, for the fulfillment of your physical and sexual needs, or for having children, I still don’t think marriage is something that you should take lightly. Marriage can make or break you. So marry for the right reasons. As for me, I’m glad I married my husband. He might not be the perfect man, but he’s the perfect one for me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nope, I haven’t been to Singapore yet, but three of my family members have already set foot on the Lion City.

My sister Meann went to Singapore with his husband May of last year for both business and pleasure.

Meann and Orlan at the Dolphin Lagoon

Tin-tin, my niece, left for Singapore last April for a 6-month sponsored on-the-job-training at Shangri-la Hotel. Her practicum ends this October, and she might go back, God willing, for a possible employment this time.

Tin-Tin beside the Chocolate Fountain inside Shangri-la Hotel

Ed, my husband, went there summer of this year courtesy of his company for a disaster recovery testing of their offshore site. He wanted me to go with him, but I couldn't last a day without my son, so I decided to stay.

Ed at Sentosa Underwater World

A few days from now, it’s my youngest brother’s (Dennis) turn to try his luck in Singapore. I hope everything goes well with him. Good luck, bro! My prayers and good wishes are with you.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Justin upon seeing Mommy putting on a sanitary pad:

"Diaper, Mommy?"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Justin is having a particularly hard time knowing when to use the Tagalog pronoun “kita” (you). He knows what “akin” (mine) and “sa iyo” (yours) mean, but not “kita.”

When he wants Mommy to carry him, he’ll say: “Mommy, carry kita” (Mommy, I’ll carry you) when what he really meant to say is “Mommy, carry me.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We’re training our son Justin to become bilingual. We teach him both the English and Filipino versions of words. He knows that “hungry” and “gutom” are one and the same thing, for example, and he uses them interchangeably. This way, he understands quite well what we or others tell him or show him, regardless of the language it’s spoken. Below is a list of some English words and their Filipino translation that Justin knows by this time:

water; tubig
umbrella; payong
ball; bola
chair; upuan
car; kotse
light; ilaw
spoon; kutsara
fork; tinidor
mirror; salamin
pillow; unan
get; kunin
ride; sakay
write; sulat
sing; kanta
dance; sayaw
change; palitan
hide; tago
throw; itapon
spank; palo
wrong; mali
open; bukas
closed; sarado

Justin has yet to learn the Filipino translation of the following English words, though: paper, pencil, slippers, table, read, borrow, skip, hop, jump, run, walk, bow, clap, slide, stop, park, wash, dirty. But he knows what these words mean, and he uses them every so often.

My son is 2 years, 2 months, and 18 days old today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No, they don’t go together. But in my case, they had to. I recently went to my OB-Gyne for my annual Pap smear test. This is the third year in a row that she’s required me to have this test done, and though I don’t like subjecting myself to the meticulous eye, err… hands of my dear doctor, I willingly obliged for my own peace of mind. Cases of cervical cancers are on the rise, so I better be safe than sorry. I still have to call my doctor this week for the results.

According to MedicineNet.com, a Pap smear or a Pap test is “a medical procedure in which a sample of cells from a woman's cervix (the end of the uterus that extends into the vagina) is collected and spread (smeared) on a microscope slide. The cells are examined under a microscope in order to look for pre-malignant (before-cancer) or malignant (cancer) changes.”

And how did I end up receiving my tetanus vaccine on the same visit? Well, in my haste to go to my doctor’s clinic, I got so careless getting out of the cab and I had the back of my right leg scraped by a metal thingy, which I assumed was also quite rusty. I showed the gash to my OB-Gyne and she suggested I have a tetanus shot just to be on the safe side. And so I ended up paying a little more than Php3,000.00 for the whole package (Pap smear with OB-Gyne, tetanus vaccine, and laboratory fee), quite expensive for less than an hour’s work. My son Justin should become a doctor.
I couldn’t help but notice how my son Justin had a very good disposition the whole day yesterday. He woke up with a smile on his face and said, “Mommy.” When he left the bedroom and saw Manang, his yaya, he said “Hi, Manang. Good morning.” Of course, that endearing comment made his yaya’s day. He went doing his activities for the day with nary a fuss. He even sang while he played. In fact, he didn’t cry the whole day. Hmmm. This left me wondering. What could have possibly triggered such a pleasant behavior?

Let me think. We didn’t go out last Sunday. We never had anything new or special in the house, just the usual fare. But we had visitors. Justin’s Tito O. (short for Tito Orlan) and Tita Meme paid him a visit, and that could have made his day. You see, he adores his Tito O. The last time we slept over at Tito O. and Tita Meme’s house, Justin played “throw and catch ball” with Tito O. He enjoyed it that much that he couldn’t forget it. Justin would often ask me to call Tito O. to remind him of the ball they used when they played. And since they (Tito O. and Tita Meme) own a car and when we (Justin and Mommy) would go to the back of the building where we live to watch cars passing by, Justin would often exclaim “Car Tito O.!Car Tito O.!” when he’d see something similar to Tito O.’s car.

Justin with Tito O.

I guess that explains it. Justin was happy seeing his current favorite tito. And he carried that gladness in his heart from Sunday afternoon until last night. What a sweet boy! I hope everyday would be like yesterday.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My son Justin is starting to assert his independence. He makes his own choices now from the snacks he wants to eat, to the beverage he likes to drink, to when he needs milk and if he needs more, to his choices of VCDs/DVDs to watch, and even to the shoes/clothes he’s going to wear when we go out. There are also times when he changes his mind over an earlier choice he made. When you don’t do as he pleases, he’d cry or throw tantrums.

An even more interesting development is he sometimes deliberately goes against our (his Dad and I’s) wishes or instructions. He does things that he knows we feel strongly against, such as playing with the DVD player or throwing his toys all over the house. These changes in behavior oftentimes leave me frustrated, and I’m often asking myself if I’m doing anything wrong with the way I’m raising my son. Is it me or what I do that makes Justin act this way? Have I been a bad mom, or is this just a phase he’s going through?

Then I remembered friends telling me before of the Terrible Two phase in a child’s development, sort of telling me to brace myself for a force to reckon with when that time comes. And I guess that time is now. Being a first-time mom, I’m really no expert when it comes to raising a toddler. And this change in my son’s behavior is something I’m totally not prepared for. So I did the next best thing. I researched on the topic to know more, and here’s what I found out.

For most children, the Terrible Two period starts from one-and-a-half and actually continues until three years of age. During this stage, children tend to do the opposite of what their parents want. They also have a hard time making the choices they want to make. This often results in children changing their minds over what they have earlier decided (www.drgreene.com). For example, your child may ask for milk, but after preparing that milk for him, he decides he does not want that milk and asks for juice or water instead. Toddlers are also quite prone to frequent mood changes and temper tantrums at this stage, not because they’re trying to be rebellious, but because they’re trying to express their independence but don’t have the language skills to articulate their needs (www.pediatrics.about.com).

Knowing this information actually makes me glad. It tells me I’m not doing anything wrong as a parent. And what’s equally comforting is the fact that this stage won’t last long. For the meantime, I’d read more on the topic to help me cope with my son’s behavior and to help him through this particularly difficult phase in his life.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I’m not really an avid water drinker. The most that I can drink in a day is four glasses of water, sometimes even less. I even forget to drink water after my meals at times. Hubby would even remind me to drink water on more than one occasion. When we eat out and, say, I ordered juice or iced tea with my meal, that’s about the only liquid I consume for that meal. I usually never ask for an extra glass of water. If the server brings one, it’s either left untouched or I only take a few sips. I think it’s the taste or the lack of it that has caused this behavior.

As a consequence, I had had numerous bouts of constipation in the past. I also found out from my recent facial treatment that I actually have dry skin, which has not always been the case. So, all those years of scrimping on water is actually taking its toll on me. I decided, for health and beauty’s sake, that I will be drinking more water from this day onwards.

On the average, a person should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. But an overweight person needs to drink more. Water metabolizes stored fat. An overweight person has more stored fat. Therefore, an overweight person needs more water (www.highvibrations.org).

And do you know that it’s better to drink cold water than warm water? Yes, that’s true. That’s because cold water is more quickly absorbed into our system than warm water, and it helps burn calories, too (www.highvibrations.org).

Here’s a rundown of the health benefits of water:
• aids in digestion and absorption of food
• regulates body temperature and blood circulation
• carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
• flushes toxins and wastes out of the body
• facilitates weight loss
• prevents dehydration
• helps maintain proper muscle tone
• relieves constipation (www.highvibrations.org).

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I started my son Justin on a new milk formula (Milk #1) yesterday not because I wanted to, but because I needed to. His current formula has been out of stock for several weeks now. Good thing, I managed to buy several cartons before this “sudden disappearance” happened. I suspect a new packaging is in the offing for his milk brand, which is fine with me. The thing is they (the manufacturer) could have notified the buying public ahead of time so that mothers, like me, would have ample time to prepare for such a scenario.

It turned out the new milk (Milk #1) was not to my son’s liking, and he ended up not having bottle feedings last night and this morning, which worried me. So I asked his pedia if we could just buy his old milk brand but the one catering to three years old and above because that’s the one available in the market -- my son is only 2 years and 2 months old-- and his pedia said yes. Luckily, Tatay paid us a visit today, and he brought with him Justin’s “new” milk (Milk #2), which my son seemed to like. So, all’s well that ends well. But not after I spent more than Php600.00 for the new milk (Milk #1) and have slept little last night worrying that my son went to bed hungry.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yesterday, I had my first facial treatment since I conceived and gave birth. Yikes! Has it been that long since my face had some dose of TLC? That’s been more than three years already. No wonder my skin is crying out for help. It was only by chance that I managed to get my face done. Ed and I were supposed to watch a movie but decided against it since the film we wanted to watch was not being shown at Robinsons. Ed decided to go home, and I took that opportunity to head to the nearest facial clinic for some skin pampering.

So off I went to the facial salon. I filled out a form, inquired about the appropriate treatment for my skin, and was led inside the “treatment area.” Have you ever wondered what goes inside the salon? Here’s a quick review of the whole process of facial cleaning/treatment based on my own experience.

First, your skin needs to be prepped for the whole procedure. First stop is the wash area. You need to wash your face three times using either the clear soap or the whitening soap. Then, cleansing lotion is applied on your face, and the beauty attendant gently massages your skin in preparation for the actual cleaning. The residue is then wiped off your face, and the beauty attendant vacuums your face then steams it, your face, I mean, not the vacuum.

The painful part is next. The beauty attendant presses an instrument hard on your face to let blackheads and whiteheads out. She may use tweezers, too, to pluck some hair-like blackheads from around the mouth area. Pressing around the nose area may send you to tears, but you have to bear it. Beauty has its price, you know! Be prepared also for some minor pricking of zits if you have some. When the while process of cleaning is done, the beauty attendant then shows you how much dirt she extracted from your face, but you might still be reeling from the pain by this time to actually care. Hurray! The worst part is over!

Now, for the finishing touch. The beauty attendant wipes your face clean, and a cold towel is placed over your face to bring you back to reality. A gauze is placed on your face, and laser treatment is given. Wait! I forgot the facial mask, but I’m not too sure if it comes before or after the cold towel. Whatever! Finally, antibiotic is applied on your skin followed by sun block. You are now ready to face the world.

Before going out of the salon, make sure you check yourself first in the mirror. Lying down for the treatment for almost an hour does something funny to your hair. To understand what I mean, try having a facial treatment. There’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself. You might not like it initially, but you’ll get used to it. Good luck!
Justin’s latest preoccupation is watching Dora the Explorer every morning on a local TV channel. This prompted his Daddy to buy him his first Dora the Explorer DVD last week. Last Friday night, I bought him his second Dora the Explorer DVD that we both watched until he fell asleep. Watching Dora the Explorer, it’s easy to see why kids adore this show. Dora the Explorer has got what it takes to make kids glued to the TV sets: interesting characters, exciting adventures, great music, and valuable lessons.

First, Dora the Explorer features an interesting set of characters complete with a protagonist, a sidekick, and a villain. The lead character is, of course, Dora, and her sidekick is Boots, the monkey. Then, there’s Swiper, the mean fox who swipes things from Dora every time he gets the chance. Other major characters include The Map who shows Dora and Boots how to get to their destination and Backpack who keeps Dora’s things, which often come in handy with each adventure.

Aside from its colorful characters, Dora the Explorer is filled with fun and stirring adventures. Dora, together with Boots, is seen either sailing in an ocean on a pirate adventure or going to the cloud castle or heading to some remote island to retrieve something or to help someone in need.

There are also specific parts of the show that are set in music, and this makes Dora the Explorer doubly interesting to watch. Of course, there’s the Dora the Explorer soundtrack. There are also songs for when Dora and Boots begin their adventure and when they complete their mission for the day. Likewise, when Dora calls on The Map and Backpack, they both respond with their standard songs: “I’m the Map…”and “Backpack, Backpack…” The melodies used in the show are all danceable tunes, too.

Finally, and most importantly, Dora the Explorer teaches kids some valuable lessons. Counting, identifying colors, singing nursery rhymes, and illustrating action words (e.g., jump, reach, crouch down) are some of the things a kid learns from the show. Dora likewise imparts the values of leadership, friendship, and teamwork to name a few. One also gets to learn basic Spanish words.

So, the next time you sit in front of the TV with your kids, try watching Dora the Explorer. The show would be a treat for sure with its colorful characters, rousing adventures, wonderful music, and great lessons. Who knows? You might even like it, for your kids, I mean.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Justin showing his moves

Our favorite family hangout as of the moment is Tom’s World at Robinsons Galleria. Ed and I make it a point to bring Justin there at least twice a month. Our son enjoys playing basketball, although he rarely makes a shot, bowling, dancing, riding the big moving animals, and getting on the bus. He has yet to ride the carousel, though. He enjoys inserting tokens before he starts each game/ride.

Not to be outdone are Justin’s parents who take turns taking care of Justin when he plays and engaging in this one-peso game for lack of a better term. It’s that game where, instead of tokens, you used one-peso coins that drop on a platform, make their way through the throngs of other one-peso coins, and hopefully nudge a few coins along the way that eventually drop into the machine’s coin reservoir. You earn a lot of tickets in this game. In fact, we already had our accumulated points exchanged for some cool stuff: Nemo, Simba, and Dora stuffed toys and a kiddie bowling set for Justin.

We’re so looking forward to our scheduled trips to Tom’s World. It’s our bonding time together as a family. And it’s heartwarming to see my son enjoying his play time here and socializing with other kids.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I officially started working from home last July and all because we were having problems with Globe in our Mandaluyong office. (We did not have phone and Internet at the office for well over a month despite numerous complaints.) The adjustment wasn’t all that bad as I’m the type of person who easily adapts to situations. After more than two months holding office at home, how do I find the experience? I’d say it’s both good and bad.

I’ve had some benefits working from home. First, I get to know how my son spends his whole day. I can text or call Manang any time I need to give instructions: if they can go to the playground or not, if Justin should have Cream-O or champorado for his snack, to tell Manang to stop Justin from playing with the DVD player or his VCDs, or simply to ask what happened if I hear Justin crying. Second, I don’t really need to wake up that early. I can wake up at 7 or 7:30 am and still start my work hours the usual time. I don’t need to commute anymore, so the time spent on commuting is added to my sleeping time. Finally, I save a few hundreds on transportation costs. I spend Php50.00 everyday to go to and from the office. (I still go to the office occasionally, though.) The savings from this get used up in other household expenses. It’s not really that bad working from home, I guess.

But it has its downsides, too. The thing is Justin doesn’t really know I’m working in the bedroom, although he can very well hear the sound of my typing at times and he will actually know I’m inside if he looks hard enough through our bedroom’s translucent door. He tried doing that one time; he actually saw me, and I hid in the farthest corner of the room to make him believe I wasn’t really there, that it was his imagination playing tricks on him. Since he doesn’t know I’m just inside the bedroom, I had to make as little noise as possible. I’m actually learning the art of sneezing silently, but I haven’t really mastered that yet. I have to bring my lunch, merienda, drinking water, and “arinola” inside the room because going out of the room meant the end of my working day. When my official work hours are over, I text or call Manang again to take Justin to the bathroom while I prepare for my grand entrance, again making my son believe that I came all the way from the office. That’s a lot of pretending to do. Whew!

So, given the pros and cons of my working at home, do I still want to continue with this arrangement? The answer is yes, for the time being, until a better opportunity comes along, and I hope that opportunity is just around the corner.
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