Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My mommy group exercises

This post is brought to you by Adidas.

Where I live, there's a group of mommies who became friends just because their kids hang out together. Those would be the moms of Enzo (Trisha), Alfonso (Claire), Justin (Dada), Sophia (Earl), Ezekiel (Ma-an), Nikolai (Kathy), and Vito (me!). Everyone's involved in some sort of fitness regimen--yoga, Pilates, running, Plana Forma. Well, everyone except me since I was ordered to go on bed rest. But now that I am 16 weeks pregnant, I'm ready to ease myself into... I don't know yet!

But since Claire is so fit because she's running marathons and my own hubby is so healthy now that he's also taken up running, I'm thinking of hopping on the treadmill, too! These running shoes that adidas emailed me are encouraging me towards that direction:


Friday, November 25, 2011

Big bad bullies in the playground

Last weekend, while Vito and I were at the playground, I witnessed a most shocking thing: a group of boys, 7- or 8-years-old, started bullying a little girl. One girl vs a group of boys. They started by calling her, "Black devil!" The girl, also 7 or 8, is Iranian.

I live in a complex where the foreigners seem to outnumber the locals. There are Americans (whites and blacks), Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Iranians, and a lot of other races--I just figure it out when they open their mouths and talk. Quite a few celebrities are my neighbors, too. Anyway, I guess with the mix of many races in one place, racism was bound to happen.

At first, the Iranian girl (I know her name but I won't say it) sat quietly on her bike, trying to ignore the boys. But when one of them pushed her off the bike and another shouted, "Go away, black devil!" to her face, the girl grabbed her shoe and smacked the sole right at her tormentor's ear. The boys went wild with fury. The girl ran away but then realized she had left behind her bike so she hesitated at the edge of the playground.

The boys took their water guns (those huge things that shoot out long jets of water), went to the pool and filled them up. One of the boys was told to guard the bike. All the while, they were talking about "getting her." As the boys were at the pool, three Korean boys were edging around the bike. Then the other boys came back, shouting insults and brandishing their water guns. They chased the girl off. Meanwhile, the Korean boys got the bike and started following the group of howling boys.

I followed, too. I had had enough. I stayed out of it because, well, I honestly didn't know what to do! But the boys had guns now, water guns yes, but they didn't just mean to hurt with words now; they were intent on doing violence. I grabbed Vito and chased after them. Just in time. I caught them circling the girl. She was already wet and cowering. My blood is still boiling now!

I gave those boys a tongue-lashing alright. I told them to stop. I told them to put away those guns. I looked at them one by one, called their names, and said, "You have sisters! What did your parents tell you about treating girls? You're supposed to treat girls right. You're supposed to protect them!" I told them they ought to be ashamed of themselves, that they should play fair, that they should treat everyone--whatever skin color or gender--right. Then I told them to go home. And they ran away.

The Korean boys came up to me and said, "We were going to keep her bike safe and return it to her." And I thanked them but I also added that if they see something wrong, they should step right in and stop it. Then the girl got her bike and she was crying non-stop now. I told her, "Please don't let anyone ever treat you like this. You always have to fight back!" But she just looked at me, forlorn, and said, "Nothing's going to change. It will always be like this."

In the elevator, as Vito and I went home, I cried. I was so upset and angry and sad. Upset because those boys, I know those boys! They used to be sweet little things like my Vito. They used to play with my rabbit, Galady. I guess I was upset because I was scared Vito might become like them one day.

I was also angry at the injustice done to that girl and sad that she just accepted it. I was sad that these horrible things start at such a young age. I know bullying happens, not just now but since time immemorial. I was bullied, too. But how do you teach your child not to be a bully? How do you teach him to stand up to bullies?

Even though he's only a year old, I had to explain what happened to Vito. After all, he was there the entire time, watching the whole horror, watching me scolding those boys in a voice he's never heard me use before. I told my son that night, "Vito, the world isn't always a happy place. There are a lot of wrongs out there. I will always hope that you will always know and do what is right. I want you to never turn away from these wrongs. If you see injustice, you must always do your best to stop it." And my little boy looked at me gravely. I like to think he understood.

Monday, November 21, 2011

About push presents

Over at Topaz Horizon, I talked about how it would be nice to receive diamonds as a push present for our second baby. I got comments wondering what that was all about and if I invented the concept. Nope, I didn't invent it--it's most likely the brainchild of some jewelry company, the way they decreed diamonds are forever. (Wiki says the jewelry industry didn't invent it.)

A push present (or baby bauble) is a gift someone, usually the father of your child, gives you when you give birth. It's a present meant for the mother, to congratulate her. Usually, you see, from the moment a woman becomes pregnant, everything revolves around the child--ask any mom! So a push present says, "Your life will be devoted to your child now but here's me spoiling you."

It's not a required gift, it's not a tradition, it's not important. But some hubbies and some parents and some friends are usually so overwhelmed with happiness and love for you that they can't help themselves.

Vince gave me a topaz ring. It was both a push present and a birthday gift. He said he hadn't been planning on giving me anything but when he saw me give birth and when he met our baby boy, he fell in love and went and bought me a bauble. Now every time we see my ring, we think of Vito.

A push present is usually a piece of jewelry. Most of the time, it's a ring with the birthstone of the child, and so with every birth, the mother can stack the rings on one finger (mine was my birthstone, though). Some get a necklace and you just add a pendant of the child's birthstone and so on and so forth. Sometimes it's a charm bracelet and you add a charm to symbolize each child. Some get watches or earrings.

Here are some nice gift ideas I saw while window shopping online:
Sterling birthstone stacking rings

Framed stacking rings

Hand-stamped mother+children necklace

Personalized milestones necklace

Charm bracelet

These would make any mommy happy--if not as a push present but for birthdays and especially for Mother's Day (another invented and commercialized holiday!).

Now, push presents need not be jewelry. It can be flowers or chocolates. has a good list that includes a rocking chair and a family vacation. Some women who weren't allowed to eat certain foods while pregnant get bottles of champagne or baskets of sweets (gestational diabetes sufferers!). These are usually push presents from friends, who must've missed drinking parties with you or suffered nine months of you whining about how you can't eat this and that. Some parents and in-laws are also so proud of you for giving birth that they give gifts. I know someone with really rich in-laws and she got a Jaguar for giving birth to her daughter and BMWs for each son! Wow!

But I personally don't believe that women should expect a push present. Remember that it's a gift so it should be freely given and graciously accepted, whether it's a box of chocolates or a new car. Do I think push presents are excessive? Nope. Like I said, it's a gift. If someone wants to give you something because you made them happy, well, then what ya complaining about? A lot of women feel push presents are silly and financially stupid but, hey, each family's financial situation is different so if someone can afford to give jewelry and cars, the rest of us who get flowers or nothing at all shouldn't feel so bad. We got a baby after all!

I'm happy my husband gave me my ring. I wear it every day! But to be very very honest, what I appreciated more than any material gift was when Vince, on his own, decided to take an entire month's leave from work to be with me post-partum. Our stupid labor laws only allow seven days of paternity leave but Vince was with me for a whole month! It must be because I suffered post-partum depression and he genuinely couldn't bear to leave his son. So that lovely month-long treat was the best push present ever. Thanks, Vince!

I do tease him about what he'll get me for the second baby (I have a sneaky suspicion that if it's a girl, he'll give me the sun, the moon, the stars!) but I know that he knows it doesn't matter to me. The new baby trumps all gifts!

How about you, mommy? Did you get a push present?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Can't wait to exercise!

This post is brought to you by Adidas.

I forgot to tell you all that my subchorionic hemorrhage (SCH) is gone! I found out right before my birthday 2 weeks ago so that was the best birthday gift ever! Thank you for all your prayers, dear online friends!

So now that I am officially off bed rest, the first thing I wanted to do was get some exercise. Especially when I saw the workout gear adidas emailed me, which I'll be showing you throughout this post!

Why do I want to exercise? Well, I feel really yucky. Being told to lie in bed all day for about 10 weeks may sound like a dream but when you're actually there, it feels like a prison. With nothing to do all day, I've just been getting bored. So I watch TV, eat and sleep all day. The result: an all-around feeling of sluggishness and exhaustion. Yes, lying around all day is exhausting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Proud mama! Vito is developmentally advanced!

At Vito's 15th month check-up, his pedia, Dr. Cricket Chen, said that my little boy is developmentally advanced. His motor skills are those of an 18-month-old, his social skills and emotional development are those of a 2-year-old, and his language--for a boy--is pretty good.

Apparently, at 15 months old, girls can talk a mile a minute. Boys, on the other hand, can say an average of five or six words. Vito can say Mama, Papa, bye-bye, hi, ball, doggie, car, more, no more, dede, baby, Teeda (that's our rabbit, Matilda), baby, t*t* (yes, as in his penis) and... Hmm, he can say a few more but the words escape me right now. That's 13 or so words. As Dr. Cricket said, "His language is very good!"

He loves to point out cars and shriek, "Car!!!" or go, "Vrooooom!", making traffic jams loads more tolerable, even fun. He loves to entertain us with his silly faces and energetic dances, which must be performed on tabletops, of course! He expects applause and nothing less. He can be told to fetch things, which he does happily, but there are times he's been disobedient. Once, he even lied. Lied! He's got a bad temper, a strong personality, a very determined will and a very focused single-mindedness.
One of my naughty faces.
Well, no surprise there. His parents are the same. Our own parents proclaim Vince and I are not exactly the most behaved, most obedient or the easiest children. And now, look what we have here--a mini-us! Funnily enough, Vito's tantrums (which Dr. Cricket says is typical of a 2-year-old, not a 15-month-old) don't work on me. I've had tons of practice with my own tantrums, with Vince's tantrums, with former bosses' tantrums and with other kids' tantrums (I used to be a preschool teacher). So when Vito throws himself on the floor in a screaming fit, I just get very amused.

Well there! I'm bursting with pride! I am, however, fully aware that a developmentally advanced baby doesn't mean a lot in the long run. For example, I started walking when I was 10 months old. I was a physically strong baby, climbing and running so much so that my grandfather tied me to my crib. But am I an athlete now? I can't even climb a flight of stairs without panting. I can't even walk fast. Run? Ha!

On my favorite perch, the glass table
So I know Vito's leaps and bounds in the milestones department may mean nothing in the future. But for now, I am oh so proud! So incredibly proud. And looking at my wonderful boy, I allow myself to dream such very big dreams.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Behind-the-scenes of a mommy fashion shoot

... is a little boy trying to join in on the fun!

This was a little shoot Vince and I did for my sponsored fashion post for Mango. The task was to create looks using the Fall/Winter 2011 collection. From top to toe. Since I am pregnant (and I am bigger now compared to my first pregnancy), I had a hard time choosing clothes that will flatter my oddly shaped body. But, of course, it was a success!
To see the photos, click here!

Someone commented that she never realized Mango sold maternity clothes. Mango doesn't. It is I who refuse to buy maternity clothes! Longtime readers of this mommy blog know from my first pregnancy how I absolutely abhorred the maternity fashion out there. So what I did was buy regular non-preggy clothes but in a larger size.

In my favorite Kamiseta plaid summer dress.
I was just about to give birth to Vito!

It can be done, folks. I only have 2 maternity dresses from Gingersnaps. I survived on clothes from Karimadon, Tango, Kamiseta and Warehouse and not once did I look frumpy (except when I was at home!). Fellow preggy mommas, a stylish pregnancy is absolutely possible! Let's not give up on style. It's harder, yes, but people have to see how gorgeous we look if only to stop them from saying stuff like, "You must be having a boy because you look ugly/tired/terrible."

Share with me your fashionable finds, too! I'm lazy to shop for this second pregnancy but I don't want to repeat clothes from the first one. Why? Well, so I can tell the difference! So I ought to shop. But feeling very lazy. So please inspire me!