Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Drumming My Fingers While Waiting For A Light Bulb Moment

He kicked the habit when he was 4 1/2. My 6 year year old son I mean. His addiction to thumb sucking. I thought it would NEVER end. But it did.

So I was pretty damn proud of myself for having been able to control my 2nd son's thumb from finding a comfortable place in his mouth when he was a baby. Unfortunately, he discovered something more comforting.
I have my faults, I admit. It was convenient for me in the beginning. He'd cry (but was full), pop the paci into his mouth. It would keep him busy.

And today, he still thinks its comforting. Only, his lovey Tigger has been added to his must have's. Or else a major melt down happens.Tigger can stay. But seriously, the paci's gotta make an exit soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Scar It Left

3 years ago, I was faced with fear.
To best describe it, I thought I was well into accepting the reality. But as I look back on all of it now, I somehow regret it. Why didn't I just remain true to what I truly felt? Maybe I contributed to her being so discouraged? Just looking at her made me want to fully acknowledge the fact that that was it, that the end of the line had come. Because so many people also told me to do so. But deep down inside, even in her worst condition, I was still wishing that she would get up, cancer free and live a normal life.
She left on a Sunday morning.
I said she was in peace. I knew she was no longer suffering.
Today more than ever, I miss her.
Why did cancer choose her? It chooses no one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HAH! Who Would Have Thought.

This is it. The time that I never imagined myself facing has finally come. Doing homework with my child. I never gave serious thought to anything beyond breastfeeding, bottles, diapers, burping, crawling, 1st day of Kindergarten, school programs. I mean I seriously thought that was it. Gawd!

He used to bring home pages to be colored, pictures to be cut out or letters to be traced. I could deal with that.

Two days ago he came home with an assignment. He needs to do an oral report on Somalia and pick one holiday celebrated by that country. And because I was trying to be traditional, I referred to the good ol' World Book encyclopedia. I did get relevant information but I had to admit that nothing would beat the World Wide Web.

Anyway. So OK an oral report. I realized how physically draining and emotionally draining it was and still is (as we are still half way through his report) for both my son and I! I had to remind myself a million times that I wasn't the one doing the report but it was my son. That it wasn't MY report but his. That my son was doing a report for a 6 year old. Many many times I forgot that it wasn't a report for a 26 year old lady enrolled in a masteral class. So I had to edit and re-edit so much information. And then there was the writing problem. Of course as we were reading through articles, I expected him to start jotting down notes but then again he is 6! And then both of us started to get frustrated. And many times I told myself that this is HIS report and not mine. All I must do is guide him and help him and not dictate upon him how he should do it.

Of course as I sit here now, I find myself shaking my head while laughing.

Wait until he brings home Algebra problems sets. Totally out of here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

When Oh When

I can't believe it's already mid - October. Where did the 1st 2 weeks of October go? Better yet, where did the past 9 months go? Time. It flies.

During my last OB visit, my doctor told me I can start thinking of when I want to deliver. I can give birth March 4 onwards. That's only 4 freaking months away. Since I can never deliver normal and will forever have to go through a C-section, I look at it as a blessing that I can in one way or another choose the birthday of my baby.

So when should I give birth? Given that my 6 year old graduates from pre-school on March 21, I would want to at least not look so swollen / bloated on his graduation day. So I was thinking of giving birth on March 5 or 6. I searched the net for famous birthdays and found that Andy Gibb and Niki Taylor were born on the 5th and Tom Arnold and Shaq were born on the 6th. Sometimes though I wish that I would just naturally go into labor (like I did with my eldest) and then just have the surgery when that happens. Fat chance.

I'm still looking fat rather than pregnant so I do get A LOT of comments like "Looks like you've gained some weight! Eating must be so much fun for you" or "Did you quit going to the gym?" To which I answer "Yes I quit gym and I love to eat." And then flash them a huge smile.

My 6 year old is extremely excited about his "new brother." He says the 3 of them are going to be just like the Jonas brothers. And who in the world are the Jonas brothers, I ask. He gives me this lengthy explanation and says I should watch more of the Disney channel. One time I started to talk to him about how we have to start saving more since there's going to be 3 of them already and how the economy has been affecting us, etc. He listened intently and then said "Maybe if you shopped less, we'd save more money Mom." Smart kid. Left me speechless.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lessons Learned

I thought it would be a great idea to ask my older cousin Tanya (who babysat / entertained / cared for my 6 year old for 4 days in Manila) to write about her experience with my son.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Six Year Old Pedestrian

Lessons I've re-learned from my six-year old nephew in a span of 4-days.

1) Mornings are for waking up.

A conversation between my nephew and myself went like this:
Josh: What time will you wake up tomorrow?
Me: When you wake up
Josh: Nooooo.... you're still asleep when I'm awake eh!

2) Eat complete meals. Snacks are not considered meals.

Meals mean rice and cooked food. Bread does not constitute a meal, it is a snack. There are three meals in a day and one should cook or prepare adequately for a meal. Meals are important if you want to keep up with the energy of a six-year old.

3) Footprints and handprints are forgivable.

Black footprints on immaculately white sala cushion covers or lemon yellow dining room seats, or oily fingerprints on car uphostery are not so bad when the cause is a six-year old who feels comfortable enough to crawl into these seats. Solution, assign him a specific dining room seat for the duration of his stay. Less chairs to clean that way. And oh, wash his feet often and name him Joshua Blackfoot (i think he actually likes the sound of it)

4) Keep your promises.

Promises are made to be kept whether it be a glass of halo-halo in Chowking or a visit to a children's fun center or a morning of swimming in the pool. Trust is built on keeping one's word. In return, you also have a cooperative and pleasant kid along during the time you also have to go to a meeting or the office. He keeps his word too.

5) Decisions are best made with everyone's participation.
Each day begins with the writing of a list. A list of tasks, errands and also fun things to be done. This way, the day is both structured and planned out. Josh got to write the list and tick off each task as it was done. Spelling was of course subjective but the end of the day felt great: One day's list read something like:

1. Bring "amma bidit" to Ateneo
2. Fix bedings
3. See pool
4. Talk to carpenters
5. Pass auntie's office
6. Red Barn
7. OPAPP (my other office)
8. Meet Shalom at IPD
9. Home
10. The End

6) Children are children and Adults are adults.

No matter how pleasant or structured or fixed are any arrangements, children will at one point throw a tantrum. Be it because they are sleepy or because they miss home, they will cry and refuse to do what they otherwise gladly do (change into house clothes, brush their teeth, go to sleep) and in these instances, be the adult and make them do it but tuck them into bed with a kiss and a hug and a stuffed penguin for lack of any other available replacement for his Pooh bear. In the morning, you'll be greeted bright and early by a smiling kid.

7) Words make powerful impressions.

Chose your words and reasoning well. In explaining why we were not going BACK again to the children's fun center for a third time, I reminded Joshua that in the conference we had come from, there were children of community members who would not even get to see the fun center at all. It seems this image stuck with him as he went home so as to mention it to my mom in Baguio. Another instance was when Josh was given 100 pesos by my mom to buy anything he wanted. I brought him to a toy store where he said he would buy something for himself and for his little brother. I said we woud use his money. After an inordinately long time of going around the aisles, i realized he was not conflicted about which toys to buy, he was trying to see what was not expensive. My heart almost melted thinking no toy these days would be under 100 pesos and he had both himself and his brother to think of. Needless to say, we choose moderately priced toys over 100 pesos and i gladly footed the bill.

8) Children (and no doubt adults too) glow when they know they're loved.
Josh couldn't stop smiling and asking for the story to be repeated that his mom told him over the phone that his brother was looking for him in drawers going "Josh... wer ah yoo..?". Josh looked forward to calling home every night (or anytime he could press the speed dial) and candidly would say he missed his mom and dad and dash and Pooh bear then just as candidly and confidently say they missed him too. A kiss, a hug and a lot of affection would elicit a smile from Josh but not as big as when he was on the way home.

... and that is the biggest lesson of all...

and oh yeah... I need twice the energy I thought I had to keep up. I must have lost 5lbs and a whole day's sleep (or at least the equivalent of a day's sleep for me) in 4 days...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do. But What If The Other Monkey Is Missing?

Since my 6 year old is on a 3 week break from school, my cousin thought it would be a good idea to "borrow" him and keep him busy for 4 days. So my Aunt brought my son down to Manila to stay with my cousin.

What happened is for my cousin to tell.

It was the first time in their entire lives that my 6 year old would be separated from his 2 year old brother for that long. I thought it wouldn't make such a big difference but boy it did.

My 6 year old left on the midnight bus trip so the next day, my 2 year old was surprised to see that his older brother was no longer in their room. He went around the house looking for him saying, "Josh? Josh! Josh?! Weh A Yooo?" while looking in the drawers. So I asked him, "Where did Josh go?" Lifting his shoulders he answered "Don Know." Used to playing / imitating / pestering / bickering / competing with his older brother, my 2 year old had to adjust to life at its simplest. Playing alone with no one to fight over toys with. And for the first time, I didn't hear any complaining around the house.

Over the weekend, we took advantage of taking our 2 year old out-- just him. To our surprise, he was the most behaved little angel in the whole wide universe. I didn't have to remind him to keep still in the car nor did I have to keep telling him not to touch this and that. He just sat there until we got to where we were going. We were amazed. And then come lunch time at a restaurant (this is a time I ALWAYS dread -- saving it for another post), he sat on his high chair and patiently waited for the food to be served (!). How great is that?! That NEVER happens when his big brother is around. And when the food came, I prepared a small portion on his plate and he finished it without any dilly-dallying. My husband kept asking if there was anything wrong with him. We couldn't help compare how our 2 year old was being so much like our 6 year old when he was the same age.

I thought to myself, having another child to interact with definitely affects the behavior of another. Since my 2 year old is in the monkey see - monkey do stage, whatever his 6 year old brother does, he thinks he can do --even better. So there are constant bumps and bruises caused by climbing and running and jumping. But this time, my 2 year old was left to interact with adults.

Although we were amazed / amused and happy, we noticed how much my 2 year old was yearning for his brother. My 6 year old came home the following Monday and I could tell how much they missed each other.

The moment he stepped in the door, they started to quarrel over a toy.

Now everything is back to normal.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It Pays To Pay Attention

Now I do remember, years ago -- paying half of my attention to what my Dad was saying -- about my Dad mentioning to me how good an appetite I had. I was probably 12 or 13, when I was at the peak of my growth spurt (if I could call it that, given that I only reached 4'11 1/2). If I do remember correctly, I was eating a snack while he was watching me eat. He went on saying something about how much his mother (my grandmother) would always have to have a food filled ref / cupboard --house in general -- to make sure she kept her 2 (forever) growing boys well fed.
resources running low

Really, I wish I payed close attention to what my Dad said and asked the necessary questions. I wish I paid more attention to what he was saying so that I could also ask my grandmother for advice / tips later on.

Based on my personal experience, it is a MUST when you have boys in the house to make sure that the house NEVER runs empty on food. NEVER. OR ELSE.

My boys are constantly eating / grazing / chewing on something. And if the monthly grocery hasn't been done and they go hungry, they give me the saddest / cheated on a million times / abandoned on the streets / left to fend on their own looks which totally makes me feel like the worst mother in the universe.

Well, I'm off to do the grocery.

I just got the "look" last night.