Sunday, November 30, 2008

Justin is quite a friendly toddler. He loves being with people, and he loves talking with people. When he’s inside the elevator, a simple prodding from mommy would make him say good morning to those inside the elevator with us. He would say, “Good morning, ate” or “Good morning, kuya.” (Note: In Filipino, “ate” means “big sister,” and “kuya” means “big brother.”) Justin even greets the lola (an elderly woman) who lives in one of the units in our floor whenever he sees her.

Most of the guards and the utility personnel in the building where we live know Justin. They call him by his first name and even give him a high-five whenever they cross paths with him in the hallways or at the building lobby. Justin also adores babies. When Justin sees kids a little younger or older than him, he wants to touch, kiss, and hug them. Sometimes they hug him back, and sometimes they ignore him. This doesn’t stop him, however, from being cordial with kids and adults alike.

I’m happy that my son is not shy around people. I hope he grows up to be a confident boy and that he doesn’t change his friendly ways.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Justin feared his pediatrician. Whenever we’d pay his doctor a visit, he would cry. The simple act of placing him on the weighing scale terrified him. His cries would worsen when his doctor would physically check on him. And no amount of bribing would assuage his loud wails. He would only stop once we’re out of the doctor’s clinic.

It’s been months since Justin’s last visit to his pediatrician. Days before today’s visit, I was already prepping him on what he could expect from this appointment. I had been telling him that the doctor is his friend and there’s no need to be afraid. I even pretended to be his doctor and asked him to relax while I examined his eyes, ears, mouth, etc.

How did today’s visit turn out? I think it was a success. Initially, Justin was adamant to go to the doctor’s clinic. I told him before we left home that we’re going to the doctor’s clinic first then to the mall. He said, “Mall lang, wala doctor” (Let’s go to the mall only, not to the doctor.) And to which I replied, “We’ll ask your doctor for lollipops.”

At the clinic
First, Justin wanted to see the fish in the aquarium at the clinic’s reception area. Then, he asked the doctor’s secretary for a chocolate lollipop. Later, the secretary asked him to step on the weighing scale. He didn’t oblige at first, but he finally yielded. Hurray! He actually didn’t want to leave the weighing scale after that. He wanted to play with it. He even thought the face of the weighing scale was a clock because of the numbers on it. Funny!

Next, Justin couldn’t wait to get inside the examination area because I told him we’d borrow toys from his doctor. There are lots of toys inside, but he didn’t appreciate those before. But it’s a different story now. When his doctor finally checked on the red spot inside his nappy, that’s when he started crying. It’s not as loud as it was before, however, and he stopped the moment the doctor was done with her examination. I was actually relieved when the doctor told us it was just a simple diaper rash.

When we thought it was all over and when Justin's doctor checked his vaccination record, she told us Justin needed to have his H. Influenzae B booster shot. That’s when the crying started again, but it only lasted a short while. Overall, there was a considerable improvement in Justin’s reaction to seeing his pediatrician. I think that’s something to be happy about.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving gifts on Christmas is a family tradition that was started by my dear Auntie Mameng back when we were still living under one roof. Auntie Mameng is my father's older sister. There were 20 or more of us in my grandmother’s house back then, my father’s siblings with their own families. Each family had its own respective place in that house.

A week or two before Christmas, Auntie Mameng, with the help of whoever came in handy, would be wrapping Christmas gifts to be placed under the Christmas tree in the main house. The older children, that would be me and my siblings, would often sneak to the main house to try to take a glimpse of what we’d be receiving come Christmas time.

We would carefully open our gifts and peep inside and return the wrappers just as neatly as they had been before we touched them. That actually spoiled the surprise that awaited us on Christmas day. But giddy kids that we were, we couldn’t really wait ‘til Christmas.

I remember those times with fondness. The idea of receiving gifts actually added meaning to our Christmases. I have associated Christmas with gifts since then. For me, Christmas isn’t complete without presents. That is why I kept the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas alive.

When I already had a job and started earning my own money, I made it a point to buy gifts for my entire family and for the smaller children (my cousins) living with us at my grandmother’s house at that time, that is, until we all went our separate ways in 1996, the year when the house was finally sold.

Now that I’m earning a little more than I used to, I also increased the number of people I give Christmas gifts to. I don’t only give gifts to my family, but to Auntie Mameng's family as well. I even give to our company’s security guards and janitors if my budget permits.

I just love giving gifts. I don’t buy expensive ones. I go for the practical gifts instead, ones that the recipients can use or have a present need for. Shirts and cologne top my list. I give accessories to my kikay relatives, and it’s either clothes or toys for the kids.

I usually end up not buying anything for myself. But I can’t complain. I’m happy just seeing the smiles on the faces of people I give gifts to. Their happy faces tell me they appreciate that I thought about them on this special day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I would often comment how good-looking my son Justin is whenever I comb his hair. One time after giving him his bath, I started combing his hair and, as a force of habit, told him, “Justin, pogi” (Justin, handsome baby).

"Pogi" is the Filipino masculine term for comely or beautiful.

After I was done fixing his hair, I started combing my hair, too. When Justin saw me doing it, he said, “Mommy, pogi” (Mommy, handsome).
I got tagged by Kaye of Random WAHM Thoughts. She gave me this super cute Power Blog Award. This is my first blog award, and it really makes my day.

The rules are:
1. Each blogger must post these rules.
2. You need to choose ten people to be awarded and list their names.
3. Let them know they’d been tagged.

I just started blogging actively last September, so I don’t really have that much blogger friends yet. I’ll just list here the owners of the sites I frequently visit.
Here's my list: Wenchie, Rachel, Chateau, Cookie, Ibyang, Gigi, Toni, Mitch, Yin and Resty.
The answer is you can’t. You can complain day in and day out. You can rant and rave. Unfortunately, the consumer is always at the losing end of things because, again, you can’t do anything to have your Internet connection back unless the company you’re complaining to is quick enough to respond to your perennial whinings.

One of the disadvantages of an Internet-based job, like mine, is you’re at the mercy of your Internet service provider (ISP). I lost my Internet connection late Monday night, early Tuesday morning, to be exact, so I wasn’t able to work at home last Tuesday and Wednesday. My Internet connection came back Thursday night, so I was able to work the whole day of Friday at home. From Saturday until last night, I had been having intermittent to no connection at all.

I have complained several times already. Our account is very much active as we haven’t been remiss in our monthly payments. The call center agents have been giving us the same answer. First, there was really no problem, so the agent said she’d send off a technician to our place. When I called customer service again, there was now restoration work around our area. I called them up again last night, and there’s no more restoration work going on. So what is the problem?

I really don’t know. Perhaps, it’s about time we change our ISP.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Justin does not particularly like monggo (mung beans). How do I know? Two weeks ago, our lunch consisted of ginisang monggo (mung beans soup) and fried fish. Justin’s nanny mixed some monggo beans with rice for his meal. He only ate two teaspoonfuls of rice and nothing more. This was what he said to his nanny:

Justin: “Kawawa, Justin, kawawa!” (Poor boy, Justin, poor boy!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A recent post I read ("After Seeing the Two Red Lines...; From Dawn Till Dusk) inspired me to write about my own pregnancy. It took ten years for me to get pregnant (See my post “Justin, Our Miracle Baby.”). I hope that childless couples out there won’t lose hope of having a child of their own someday. Miracles do happen, so always believe.

How I knew I was pregnant
A day or two days before All Saint’s Day of 2005, my husband and I went to Makati Medical Center’s Emergency Room because I was experiencing an unusually heavy feeling on the left lower (or was it the right?) abdominal area. My blood tests showed nothing unusual, so we went home after I was seen by a resident. I then realized I was supposed to have my monthly period days before. I then bought a pregnancy test kit, which confirmed my suspicion. After 10 years of being married, I was finally able to conceive.

How I felt upon learning that I was pregnant
The truth is I was afraid. I had a medical condition known as “pituitary adenoma,” a tumor in the pituitary gland for which I had an operation in January of 2004. Not everything was removed, though, so I had to take medication for it that my neurosurgeon said could be a lifetime thing for me. Getting pregnant means I would have to stop the medication and risk the chance of the tumor getting bigger. I couldn’t stand the thought of having another surgery, not if I could help it.

What I did to allay my fears about my pregnancy
I prayed hard and asked others to pray for me. After my surgery, a former officemate and friend gave me an Our Lady of Guadalupe prayer pamphlet. There was a 9-day novena and apostleship to Our Lady of Guadalupe that I recited repeatedly during the entire nine months that I was pregnant. I also prayed the novena to St. Raymund Nonato, the patron saint for expectant mothers. That one was given by a friend and officemate of my husband.

Prior to getting pregnant, I happened to have been seen by a female doctor at Clinica Manila in Megamall because I needed therapy for my fingers. My medical condition came up in the course of our conversation. She said she’s going to pray for me and that she’d give me prayer cards to help me deal with the situation. She said I could come back for those prayer cards the next day, as she didn’t have copies of them anymore in her bag. She did left a note for me when I came back that I still keep to this day. One of the prayer cards called for the intercession of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. I said that prayer everyday and requested for a safe delivery and for good health for both me and my baby. The doctor’s name was Dr. Calderon. I tried to go back to her clinic, but Clinica Manila moved to a different office, so I wasn’t able to personally thank her.

What my experiences were like being pregnant
I was one of the lucky ones who never experienced nausea and dizziness. Every day was like a normal day, except that I slept a lot and ate a lot. I was also able to work until two weeks before I was due to give birth.
The downsides: There was a time when I actually had to use the stairs all the way to the 9th floor of the building where I worked because the elevators were being fixed, and to think the stairways reeked of paint at that time. I also had bleeding on my 6th month, which scared the wits out of me. The saddest part was I was ugly, my nose was big, I had zits, and my neck and everything else darkened. I actually didn’t keep a picture of me when I was pregnant. Plus, there’s the pain of birth-giving. I delivered via a caesarean section under general anesthesia. Although Justin was quite small, 5.6 lbs only, I could not give birth to him the normal way because I had a previous head surgery. The act of pushing out the baby could put some pressure on my head and could lead to complications. (See my post “To Give Birth or Not to Give Birth.”)

The greatest reward of becoming a mother
Having a baby that gives our (my and my husband’s) lives meaning and purpose. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.
I just finished compiling all pictures of our family for 2008 for printing later. The last time I had pictures from our digital camera printed was last year, and it’s taken me quite a while to arrange those pictures by dates and place them on Justin’s first photo album. What’s taking me so long to have these pictures printed? My son. Work. Home. Plus the fact that we’re not using films anymore. It’s actually convenient to upload these pictures to the computer and have them printed when I feel like it. I’m also having some of Justin’s baby pictures reprinted so I can place them in photo frames that have been lying untouched, forgotten inside a storage bin somewhere. I guess I’m not that competent in this department. Sigh!

Justin’s daddy texted me this afternoon to ask if he could buy Justin a pair of hamsters. I wasn’t really too keen on the idea, so I asked Justin’s pediatrician (Dr. O.) and substitute pediatrician (Dr. D.). Dr. O. said hamsters might bite Justin. Besides, they multiply fast. Gosh! That might pose a problem later on. Dr. D. also advised against it for fear that Justin might catch an allergy from the animals’ fur. She added that Justin’s still too young to be having pets. Ergo, the thought of buying hamsters was foregone in favor of a fish, which was actually suggested by Dr. O.

Justin was all smiles when he saw his daddy holding an aquarium with a small, red fish inside. He even said, “Hi, Fish!” His daddy gave him pellets to feed the fish, and he was too excited to do as he was told. He joyfully watched as the fish ate and spat one of the pellets, and he found that funny. At one point, he hugged the tiny aquarium and said, “I love you.” After Justin’s already had his fill of his new pet, his dad finally placed the aquarium on a high shelf in our living room.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Justin never experienced using a pacifier. That’s because his pediatrician advised against it. Being a first-time mom and wanting to do what’s right for my baby, I followed her advice. But I would often see babies with pacifiers stuck in their mouths, which made me wonder if they’re really a good or a bad thing for the little ones. Here’s what I found out.

Pacifiers help calm babies during fussy or colicky times. Aside from being one of babies’ natural reflexes, sucking (thumb-sucking, finger sucking, or pacifier use) serves various purposes, such as making babies and young children feel secure, happy, and relaxed and helping these children learn about their world.

Pacifiers can also help prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant under the age of one, characterized by a sudden cessation of breathing and thought to be caused by a defect in the central nervous system. Crib death is another term for SIDS. A California-based study found that babies who died of SIDS were less likely to have had a pacifier during their last sleep, even if they slept in less-than-ideal positions (on their tummies or sides) or settings (soft bedding, for example). This supports the notion that pacifiers help prevent SIDS.

Pacifiers can cause dental problems. Like thumb-sucking and finger sucking, use of pacifiers can cause problems that usually start after the permanent front teeth come in. These problems have to do with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. Sucking and pacifier use can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth.

Pacifier use can also cause ear infections. Ear infections are one of the most common diseases in children. Children who use pacifiers may be at a higher risk of ear infections because pacifiers can be a vector for the spread of microorganisms.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I started blogging last year and ended up with only 12 articles. That’s because I didn’t really have time to write, let alone switch on the computer when I got home from work. I still reported for work in our Boni, Mandaluyong office back then. Now that I’m working at home, I manage to squeeze in some time for writing and updating my blog. I regret the fact that I wasn’t able to document my son’s first year as much as I wanted to. But I’m making up for those lost times. From time to time, I will write about some of the significant events of that year as I remember them.
One of my favorite pictures of my son Justin was taken when he was just a month old wearing pajamas given by his Uncle Dennis, my brother. His daddy was the one who took this picture. Many of our family members and friends would often say he looks more like his dad, but I daresay he took after me somewhat. The pictures below will prove that.

One-month-old Justin

Three-month-old me (mommy)

Okay, I admit. He’s got “more” nose than I do, but we both have dimples, although not very visible in these pictures. Both of us have thin, brown hair, too. And we smile the same way. Don’t you agree?

A beaming snowman, a glistening Christmas tree, and a miniature Santa Claus

In an attempt to spruce up our small one-bedroom unit, I passed by National Book Store last Sunday to purchase Christmas ornaments. I had a hard time selecting what to buy. We can’t have a “real” Christmas tree because there’s not enough space in our place to accommodate that. And because my son is ever so curious of things in his surroundings, that tree won’t even last until Christmas because, for sure, he’ll be busy playing with all its trimmings, branches, and all. I opted for smaller stuff instead, ones we can place on a high shelf and ones that Justin can’t touch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I was particularly struck by yesterday’s homily, which focused on the two types of sin: the sin of commission and the sin of omission. According to the priest, the sin of commission is when you commit a wrongdoing. The sin of omission, however, is when you fail to do a good deed that you should have done in the first place.

I think we are all guilty of this sin. How many times have we turned a blind eye to someone else’s need or cry for help on the pretext that we have enough problems of our own? The priest ended his sermon with the lines from Margaret Sangster’s poem “The Sin of Omission,” which captured that point quite succinctly.

Here’s the complete version of that poem. I hope you’d be enlightened as I was to do what is right not just when you feel like it, but all the time.

The Sin of Omission
by Margaret E. Sangster

It isn't the thing you do, dear;
It's the thing you leave undone,
That gives you a bit of heartache
At setting of the sun.

The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flowers you did not send, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts to-night.

The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way,
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;

The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
Which you had no time nor thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.

Those little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind;
Those chances to be angels
Which every one may find

They come in night and silence
Each chill, reproachful wraith
When hope is faint and flagging
And a blight has dropped on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great;
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late;

And it's not the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fresh from crying, my son Justin felt the tears in his eyes. He pointed to his tears with his finger, signaling me to wipe them. He actually doesn’t know the correct term for “tears,” but he knows what “drool” is because that’s something mommy usually wipes off his mouth.

Justin: (pointing his finger to his tears) Mommy, laway (Mommy, drool).

Mommy: Not laway, baby, luha (Not drool, baby. They’re called “tears.")
Here’s a song from Barney that brings a happy thought.

Early in the morning when I get dressed
Because I always look my best
The first thing I do so everyone will see
Is put a big, big smile on me.

I put a smile, a smile on my face
I put a smile, I wear it every place
I put a smile and what I see
The whole world smiling back at me.

A smile is pretty, a smile is free
A smile is a gift to you from me
A smile is a present in a special way
‘Cause you still get to keep it when you give it away.

There, I’ve memorized that song after watching this particular Barney CD a number of times with my son. How many times? I lost count already. The moral of the story (err…song) is: Smile and the world will smile back at you. Good morning!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Because I work Mondays to Fridays, I do my grocery shopping once a week so it doesn’t get in the way of my work schedule (See my article “How to Make the Most of Your Grocery Shopping.”) Besides, I work at home, so it becomes quite a chore to dress after work just to buy groceries. I’m usually tired by then, and the only energy I have left is for taking care of my son Justin.

Suffice it to say that I have to prepare the week’s menu ahead of time. Before I head to the nearest supermarket, I make a mental or physical list of all the ingredients of the meals that we’re going to prepare at home for the entire week. Now, there are things I consider when preparing our family menu for the week.

First, I take into consideration each family member’s food preference. My husband likes sinigang or nilaga, so I make it a point to include any of those in our weekly fare. He’s not really a fish person, but when he’s in the mood to eat fish, it’s usually the small types, like tawilis or salay ginto, so again, I make it a point to buy any of those or both if they’re available. My son Justin, on the other hand, likes tomato-based dishes, so it’s imperative that we have one of those in our weekly menu, too. For myself, I prefer fish (bangus, especially) and vegetables.

Of course, I also have to keep in mind my family’s health, but as you can see, we already have a good (healthy) combination of food from our individual preferences. For one week, we usually end up having one or two pork dishes, one or two chicken dishes, and three or more fish/seafood dishes.

Here’s a sample weekly menu for my family:

Monday – Fried tawilis and sautéed ampalaya with shrimp
Tuesday – Chicken tinola
Wednesday – Adobong pusit
Thursday - Menudo
Friday – Sarsiadong tilapia
Saturday – Fried chicken and chopsuey
Sunday - Pork sinigang

You might be wondering why we only have one dish for the entire day. I also planned it that way because Justin’s nanny doesn’t have time anymore to cook new dishes every meal. Besides, I want her eyes only on Justin the entire day. When Justin was smaller, our next day’s meals were prepared the night before (See my post "How to Have Some Semblance of Order in the House When You Have a Baby.") Since I now work at home, I have enough time in the morning to look after my son before my work shift, so the nanny can now do the cooking in the morning.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When you have a baby in the house, your schedule becomes a wee bit crazy. Gone were those days when you only plan for your husband and yourself. Now, everything revolves around the baby. Suffice it to say that you have a new master in the house, so tiny and yet so powerful that everyone is at his beck and call. After I gave birth to my son Justin, I had to come up with a plan to create some semblance of order in our lives.

First, tomorrow’s meals will be prepared the night before. This is so that my son’s nanny is focused on just taking care of Justin the entire day.

Second, washing of Justin’s clothes and other small stuff will be done at night and not everyday, but three times a week only. Hubby and my clothes go to the laundry shop.

Third, general house cleaning is done once a week, usually on a Saturday or Sunday. When this happens, I have to take my son out of the house. It’s either we go to the rooftop of the building where we previously rented a studio apartment or the whole family (daddy, mommy, and Justin) takes a stroll in the mall.

Fourth, baby’s feeding bottles are sterilized everyday. I have to make sure I "fix" these bottles (pair the bottles with their covers and fill the bottles my son will use for the day with distilled water). The purpose of this, again, is to lessen the work that Justin’s nanny will do so her full attention is only on my son.

These simple steps definitely made things a lot easier for the entire household.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last Sunday afternoon, Justin, mommy, and his nanny went to Pizza Hut to attend his playmate’s (Gabbie’s) birthday party. I met Gabbie’s mommy in our building gym one time, and that’s how we came to know each other. Justin bumped into Gabbie at the playground twice already. Gabbie is now three years old.

Justin particularly enjoyed the spaghetti and ice cream. He actually ate more than one plate of spaghetti. Good thing there was an extra plate served in our table. He didn’t participate in the parlor games, however, because he was too young to understand the mechanics of the games. He would be with the other kids at the start of the games, but he would leave immediately after the game had started. He had better things to do, like use the crayons in the loot bag that he received from Gabbie’s mommy.

Justin happily participated in the singing of the Birthday Song for Gabbie, though, and counted 1 to 10 with the rest of the kids to signal the arrival of Pizza Hut’s mascot, Pizza Pooch. He wanted to blow Gabbie’s birthday candle, too, and one of Pizza Hut’s crew was kind enough to let him do it. She lit the birthday candle again and made Justin blow it, all the while thinking it’s his birthday, too. Below are some pictures from the party.

Gabbie with his mommy Rochelle and Justin

Justin happily looking on at the bigger kids playing parlor games

Pizza Hut's mascot, Pizza Pooch

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Today, Justin finally sat on the toilet bowl for the first time. At first, his nanny made him sit on his own potty that his daddy and I bought several months ago, but he wasn’t comfortable with it. He asked to be transferred to the toilet instead, and voila, he finally did it. I hope he does it again tomorrow.
True to my promise, I have never attempted to cut my son’s hair again since the October 12, 2008 incident (Read my “Panic 101”post.) Yesterday afternoon, we went to Kid’s Hair Salon to have Justin’s hair clipped by an expert. This is his second time to have his hair cut in a salon. The first time was when he was one year old. That wasn’t a very pleasant experience for my son. He cried all the time his head was being shaved. You heard it right. We had his head shaved because Justin had very thin hair at that time. Who was it that said that this is one strategy to make one’s hair thicker? It didn’t work wonders for my son. His hair remained exactly the way it is.

Since his first “formal” haircut was done over a year ago, we never knew what to expect of our son this time around. Would he behave the same way, or will he be more mature this time? At first, he was afraid. But the small TV screen in front of him and the kiddie car he’s riding while in front of the mirror caught his attention. Those, coupled with encouraging words from mommy and daddy and the barber, made the entire process uneventful.



I actually wanted Justin’s hair trimmed in preparation for this afternoon’s celebration. Justin is attending a playmate’s birthday party; that’s why. It’s his first time to attend another kid’s birthday fete. So, mommy is really excited! And mommy has to be sure her son is looking his best.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep. Hubby and I met up with friends last night, dined at Barrio Fiesta, and had coffee at Starbucks. Perhaps, it was the mocha Frappuccino or the myriad things I’ve been thinking or both that kept me from getting that much-needed shut-eye. So what must one do to get a great night’s sleep?

1. Avoid reading a disturbing story, stop worrying, and shut off the lights, TV, and computer inside the room. All of these things stimulate the brain.
2. Avoid heavy eating before bedtime. This keeps your body focused on another activity: digestion. Eat something light instead, like a bowl of cereal with skim milk.
3. Avoid drinking too much wine. You might end up not sleeping at all.
4. Avoid caffeinated beverages, such as soft drink or iced tea. Caffeine is a stimulant that might keep you awake.
5. Take a warm bath. This is a great way to relax your body and soothe you to sleep.
6. Get a massage. This works the tension out of your muscles and helps induce sleep.
7. Listen to soft, soothing music. This is a great sleep inducer.
8. Drink warm milk. This will soothe your nervous system and help you relax.
9. Keep cell phones a good distance away from your bed. According to a new study, people exposed to cell phone radiation requires a longer time to reach deep sleep and spends less time in deep sleep overall.
10. Sleep in a comfortable bedroom. Keeping the thermostat at about 68˚F makes it easier for your body temperature to drop, an essential element to getting good sleep.

Good Housekeeping; September 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My son Justin, 2 years and 4 months old tomorrow, has a hard time pronouncing the letter “h.” Every time he says a word with “h” in it, that letter doesn’t get sounded. For instance, he says “ya-oo” for “yahoo,” “ouse” for “house,” “anger” for “hanger.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mommy’s photo taken by Justin

One of my son’s favorite pastimes is toying with my cell phone. He usually calls his lolo (Tatay) or Tita Meme and Tito O. using that phone. He also loves to listen to that phone’s various ringing tones. He plays with my phone’s keypads, too, as if he’s texting. And last but not least, he finds great joy using my phone’s camera. He actually knows how to take a picture. Of course, mommy taught him how. Last Saturday night, while he was holding my phone, I posed in front of the camera and asked him to press the “Capture” key. It was Justin’s first lesson in photography.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Christmas is fast approaching, and like a giddy teenager who makes her Christmas wish list ready only to change it a few days before the big day, I, too, have started noting down what I want for Christmas. These three top my list, for now.

Financial blessings – I think we’ve been quite blessed this year, having moved to our new condo unit last May. We still have to pay amortizations for it, though. So, yes, we’re hoping for more financial blessings this year. The same goes for my siblings. I wish Meann’s business will prosper this year. I also wish my brother Dennis finds a high-paying job and one that he likes, so he’ll stay with that company for years. And more financial blessings for Ate Cristy and her family for the future of their growing brood.

Friendship – I appreciate the small group of friends I have, those who tell me straight to my face what I’ve done wrong and still accept me despite my shortcomings, those who comforted me during the most difficult times of my life, those who help me become a better person, and those who consistently inspire me. I’d like to have more of these people in my life. I’d like to reconnect, too, with those I’ve lost contact with for one reason or another. I hope I’d bump into these wonderful people again sometime soon.

Good health – This is the most important gift I’d like to receive this Christmas, not only for me, my husband, and my son, but for the entire Gregorio clan: Tatay, Nanay, my siblings, and their spouses and their children. Medical expenses are quite costly these days, so I hope nobody gets sick in the family. I wish everyone good health and long life.

Despite the global economic crunch, I hope we all have a really blessed Christmas this year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Last Friday, my son Justin sustained a small cut on his right forehead while playing in the living room. His daddy and nanny were both there, and I was inside the bedroom working (Note: My son doesn’t know I’m working inside our room; he knows I work in the office and that I leave for work everyday. See my post“Working from Home.”)

Justin was picking up his toy blocks when his forehead accidentally brushed against the square metal handle of the wooden cabinet that doubles as TV stand and living room accessory. He was hurt, judging by his loud cry. He had every reason to be. The cut bled slightly, and that part of his forehead that was hurt swelled somewhat. Justin’s dad told his nanny to apply cold pressure on the pained spot, but all that action ever did was make Justin cry even harder.

That night, when all three of us were in the bedroom, I told my husband that perhaps the reason why they (my husband and the nanny) weren’t able to prevent Justin from getting hurt was because both of them were so engrossed watching one of his recently bought DVDs, too hooked to even notice what Justin was doing. I actually said that with an accusing tone, which annoyed him. I got dressed down for that remark, which served me well. Yes, it was wrong for me to accuse when I wasn’t even in the scene when it all happened.

But I was only concerned about my boy. Nothing pains a mother more than to see her child getting hurt or bruised or having to suffer any feelings of discomfort. I would have been a more relaxed mom if I could protect him from all of those.
Eleven days ago, my son Justin could only identify the following letters o, s, and x, although he knows how to sing the Alphabet Song by heart. That was before he started watching the Brainy Baby DVD that teaches the alphabet. He watched it several times since October 23, and today, he can identify letters a, d, l, o, s, v, and x. He can also recite numbers 1 to 20, but he keeps forgetting numbers 15 and 16. And he now recognizes colors red, yellow, orange, and black.
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