Monday, September 24, 2012

Enjoying My Son

Gabbie is 11 months now. He’ll be one year in about a month. Wow. It is true what people say—time flies by so fast. It seems like only yesterday that my baby was a tiny, fragile newborn, then a chubby-faced baby whose head still needs to be supported, and now…he’s a super-active, energetic, noisy little guy! I mean, when did he grow up?! I’ve been carrying him practically all his life so when and where did he find the chance to grow so big, and right under my nose too?! Sigh! That’s probably every mother’s cry. Well, 11 months into motherhood…I must say I’ve really enjoyed every bit of it. So much so that I’m really excited to have another baby. Haha! Not now, but definitely in the near future (the hubby can heave a sigh of relief now heehee).

People would always tell me that carrying Gabbie all the time would make him the type of baby that always demanded to be carried.

“Masasanay yan.” (He’ll get used to it.)

“Di na magpapababa yan.” (He won’t be put down.)

When we brought him home from the NICU after 1 ½ months of being separated from me, I could not stop carrying him. I missed him too much. And he was so small and light that I could literally carry him all the time. 

On Mommy's Chest: From Newborn Up

Gabbie got bigger and heavier, and I still continued to carry him. I relied on the Sleepy Wrap, and SaYa baby carriers to bring him around. My arms got stronger too as he weighed heavier and heavier. He grew up attached (literally) to me and that was for me as much as it was for him. We both needed to feel each other, to get used to one another again, to re-establish our bond. And so, my milk flowed, my mother’s instincts sharpened, and our relationship flourished. Because of the constant physical closeness, we got to know each other pretty well. I could tell when he’s over-stimulated or about to cry, I could pacify him, I could make him smile J He responds to my mood and my emotions very well too, which is why I try not to get too stressed out when I’m with him as he gets cranky too. Energizer-bunny that he is, he’s been known to lay beside me and “chill” when I’m feeling too tired. Once I was frantic catching up with work and had a meeting at home so I put him down on the bed for a while expecting to hear him cry within minutes. But surprise, surprise, he just stayed on the bed quietly for about 45 minutes without bothering anyone. I guess he “felt” Mommy needed some time to do her work, too J

I’ve always been grateful to the Lord, and to my husband, for allowing me a lifestyle where I can stay at home and personally care for my baby. Besides having a close bond with Gabbie, one of the greatest joys of being his primary caregiver is that we get to do things together. We eat together, we play together, we go malling together…we’re just together 24/7! When I’m there, expect Gabbie to be there, too and vice versa. I’ve really come to enjoy this little guy’s companionship. 

Playtime with Photobooth

I mean, he’s just happy to stay in my arms—he can stay there for hours, nurse there and he can sleep there too when he’s tired. He doesn’t complain when I try on several pairs of shoes at the mall, or when I’m chatting with a friend, or when I’m singing “Old McDonald” out-of-tune to him for the nth time. He watches what I do, smiles at me and other people, and really enjoys the moment and the environment wherever that may be. He’s a cool dude like his dad.

Lounging around with Mommy

But the one thing that may rob moms especially of the joy of her baby is the “pressure” to follow a certain routine or parenting style. May it be the pressure to have a baby that “should be sleeping through the night, or a baby that "should have" weaned, or simply to have a “good” baby…it can all be pretty stressful to a mom. I used to get pretty worked up at the fact that Gabbie has never slept through the night yet, waking up to nurse every two hours or so still, but I’ve come to accept it and really just allowed myself to enjoy snuggling close to him every now and then at night. (Will write more about "mom-pressures" soon!) As the Bible said, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) So, for me and for my husband, we'd like to enjoy Gabbie first and embrace this season of his life. We're incredibly grateful to have him and to be in a position where we can enjoy him fully. 

This li'l baby loves to smile and giggle

For I know that time will come, without me noticing it at all, that my little baby who rests his sweet-smelling head on my chest, will be a grown man taking on the world on his own (Mommy will just be at the sidelines cheering him on :). May the joy of having and being with Gabbie be never lost on me, and may I always find joy in fulfilling one of God’s best “roles" for me yet J

Goofing around with Daddy and Mommy

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grateful Mom’s Great Picks - Series 1

Efficient Products at Affordable Prices are Every Momma’s Dream

1.  Human Nature – I heart Human Nature! I stand by their values, and by the efficacy of their products. Since I was pregnant, I have been made aware of the dangers of synthetic chemicals that are so readily available in practically all my favorite brands. It was very challenging to find natural and safe products that I could regularly afford. When I discovered Human Nature, I was so excited that I eventually applied for dealership and overhauled our bathroom toiletries and replaced them with products from this proudly Philippine-made line of natural products. Even my baby uses Human Nature. Some of my personal favorites are:
a. Moisturizing Shampoo in Lush Vanilla -

   Keeps my hair soft and smelling great. Best of all, no residual build-ups even after daily usage. P289.75/500mL

b. Hand & Foot Salve in Strawberry – 

  Since having my baby, I wash my hands twice as often now which is probably twenty times in a day (!) on average so needless to say, I need to moisturize or I’m going to end up with scaly hands (that means no HHWW—Holding Hands While Walking with my husband, boohoo!). This product is super efficient that I just need to apply twice or thrice a day and my hands are kept super soft, and smelling sweet. P129.75/50g

c. 100% Natural Bug Shield -
   An anti-mosquito agent in lotion form. I apply this on Gabbie everyday without fear of chemicals on his delicate skin since this is 100% natural, plus this actually leaves his skin mega-moisturized that I have now ceased slathering on lotion on him after bath. P94.75/50mL

Check Human Nature website for their product lineup:

2.  Ygo’s Organics – This online store sells our favorite Happy Bellies Organic Baby Cereals at a much cheaper price than health stores in malls. They also have other baby munchies and food pouches, all at lower prices. 
Gabbie's Goodies: Happy Bellies Organic Multi-Grain Cereal (P245) and Baby Mum-Mum Organic Rice Husks (P225)
Contact no: 0917-8268994. On Facebook

3.  Next9 Nursing Covers – I bought my first one months ago when we first started bringing Gabbie out and I loved that it’s large-sized and printed pretty. Best of all, it’s only P300! So I bought another one for when the first is in the wash. I also use this as a blanket and a cover for Gabbie when we’re out and he gets exposed to the sun. 
Next9 Nursing Covers are useful, pretty and affordable!
Contact no. 0917-5325643. On Facebook:

4.  Lock & Lock LunchBox Set for Gabbie – This is a very cute lunchbox set comprising one plastic food container and a water bottle. The size of the food container can only fit food enough for a baby so in my mind, it’s perfect for his baon when we go out. It comes in a cute neon green and brown bag and can fit his utensil set too. Lock & Lock is a good, quality brand, is BPA-free, and spill-proof. 
Now Gabbie's food is kept clean, hygienic, and readily available when we go out.
P225/set. Available in Lock & Lock Store, Shangri-La Plaza.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grateful To Be Yaya-less

Lately, I have found myself thanking God particularly for NOT ever giving us a yaya. You’re probably scratching your head, wondering if this was sort of typo. But no it isn’t. Lately, I have just come to a fresh layer of appreciation for being my son’s primary caregiver and I believe that God had some hand in this because I don’t think I might have chosen this for myself in the beginning. Sure, I’ve always wanted to be the one to personally care for my baby but I’ve always wondered how different things might have been if I had a ready yaya at my time of delivery (or at least when Gabbie came home from the NICU). I may have had the best of intentions but if I had a trustworthy, capable yaya around me then, I may have allowed her to take over a lot of the caretaking duties that I do for Gabbie on a daily basis.

I mean, giving birth, nursing, parenting Gabbie to sleep day in and day out are hard enough work so I think I would have been happy to delegate other daily tasks that didn’t necessarily required me like bathing him, cooking his meals, changing his diaper, etc. In other words, I might not have minded not learning those if we had a yaya conveniently doing those everyday. I can imagine getting used to it, haha!

But God knew me, and He wanted me to experience the joys of motherhood—from the minute details to the monumental milestones. So, He made it such a way that He gave us no yaya, and He impressed in our hearts to not go searching for one. My husband and I both decided that I be the one to take care of our little baby. From that day forward, I was a stay-at-home, full-time mom, and I really count myself incredibly blessed. Here are the benefits I could easily pinpoint versus having a yaya:

  • ·      The strong bond my baby and I share. We know each other inside out; I know when he’s about to cry or how to make him smile and calm down, and he knows when I’m happy or angry. Also, my mere presence instantly quiets his cry and puts him at peace, or in a quiet, alert mood.
  • ·      I know how to take care of my baby. Sounds simple enough and any new parent would need this skill. The best way to learn is to simply just handle your baby yourself—from feeding, putting to sleep, bathing, playing, etc.
  • ·      I’m stronger—and I mean that, physically. I haven’t slept for more than four hours straight since I gave birth and I go through about four to six nightwakings a night since Gabbie is a cranky sleeper (he nightwakes every hour or two). But I feel great and energetic the next day; I can even run a full, busy day with chores, carrying Gabbie for the most part of the day. I can carry Gabbie, who weighs about 18 lbs, with one arm, and I do carry him around A LOT. If that isn’t by the grace of God, I don’t know what is.
  • ·      The quiet, easy confidence in knowing that so long as I am with him, I know Gabbie will be fine. He’ll be fed well (breastfeeding), he can sleep soundly in my arms (as I said, my presence puts him at peace and at ease), he will be protected (the sling can cover him when he needs to be “tucked in” closer to my chest), and he’ll be entertained and happy (my heartbeat and my singing, no matter how out of tune, calms him hehe). That being said, I’m confident that I can take our baby anywhere we want to go, even if it’s just my husband and I, sans yaya.

Taking care of Gabbie also includes playtime :)
The first and the last that I mentioned are particularly significant to me because these are powerful glimpses of how God is, as a Father. He seeks us again and again because He knows that we will thrive when we are connected closely to Him. That is His design. As parents, we share this desire and this design with God. Just as Gabbie cries out for me, so does my heart cry out for my Father. Just as I confidently know Gabbie will be a-ok with me around, so will I with my God. And just as I love Gabbie so much, multiply that by a thousand and I know that’s how much God loves me. A mind-blowing thought especially since a parent’s love is now familiar to me.

Being yaya-less may have been more difficult but it sure was worth the bond that Gabbie and I now have. And I am particularly grateful for not only being his primary caregiver, but for being capable to be so for him. Even for just the experience, it’s worth a try, mommas!

“God doesn’t called the equipped; he equips the called.” -Anonymous