Monday, July 30, 2012

Vince says a sad good-bye to baby girls

I've been so busy I forgot to tell you about my husband's heartbreaking article in the July issue of Smart Parenting. I did announce it on the social networks.
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With my increasingly busy schedule, I find it easier to Tweet and update Facebook than to blog. Sadness! I should've promoted this at the start of the month! I truly do want you to read Vince's article. My husband has always wanted to have daughters. He's been coming up with the perfect names for his daughters. But life had other plans for us and gave us beautiful boys instead. we're not complaining. Our sons amaze us every single day. We're blessed indeed.

Still, he looks at baby girls longingly and I still roll around the perfect girl name in my mouth. But we've decided that our hearts and arms will be filled by just two children. Unless life again decides otherwise!

Do read Vince's article. He writes about his sadness and joy (yes!) so well, with poignance and love and gratitude. It's the last day of July and I'm sure there are still copies out. Grab a copy please! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Can so relate to Rachel Zoe

Super love this photo of Rachel Zoe and her son, Skyler. I love their happiness, I love their outfits. I love sons, I love motherhood!

I sometimes catch The Rachel Zoe Project on TV and I was lucky enough--if lucky's the word--to watch that episode where Rachel's marriage to Roger was in jeopardy all because she waffled over having children. He wanted kids, she wasn't sure. I get her. Her career was skyrocketing. Why mess with life by having kids, right?

I also never wanted to have kids. It's not about career; it was more about I didn't think I was a good enough person. Children need love, patience, kindness, compassion, structure, and all those wonderful things. I just didn't think there was enough of that goodness in me.

Then motherhood happened quite unexpectedly and I am soooo happy I've been proven wrong about myself. I'm not so bad after all! I still don't think I'm the most amazing mommy in the world and every day is a struggle to be a loving mom (especially when both boys are screaming their heads off like this morning!), but, hey, I think I'm the lucky one.

Rachel Zoe thinks so, too. She told Entertainment Tonight, "It's the greatest thing in the entire world. Every day, I ask my husband, 'Is it possible to over kiss your child?' I literally think I kiss him 200 times in a day. It's not normal!"

I kiss my boys, too. Vito, who's not even 2, pushes me away all the time. That's how much I kiss him!

It's nice to see how well Rachel juggles motherhood, marriage and career. It's always a big issue for us moms--how do we do it all? Well, with a lot of help, a lot of guts, a lot of love (and hopefully, with a lot of style!). After all, that little baby is so worth it!

Rachel says, "It does change your life. It does turn it inside out and upside down, but in the best way possible. The difference is you don't care because you're altering your life for the best reason in the world."

Our children. The best raison d'etre ever.

*image from Hollywood Reporter

Monday, July 16, 2012

My one mommy heartbreak

I miss Vito. I see him every single day, talk to him, sing to him, play with him, but it's not the same. Our time is very limited because I'm busy with little Iñigo. And I miss Vito as a result.
We just wanted to give him a friend and partner-in-crime.

If I were to confess one regret, it would be this: I wish I had waited till Vito was maybe 3 or even 5 years old before I got pregnant again. Let me clarify that Iñigo really was planned to follow Vito immediately. There were many reasons: I was already 34 years old, I wanted to have a new baby while I was still used to the sleepless nights, I wanted to pack on the preggy pounds then lose the combined baby weight from both pregnancies just once (which would be a year from now), I wanted a Dragon baby even though I don't really buy the astrology hokum.

Lucky for me, life followed my plan. Iñigo was conceived when Vito turned 1. And that's when I realized maybe I should've given this more thought. At 1 year old, that's when Vito started to learn walking and running. Because of my delicate pregnancy, I wasn't able to play with him. His milestones were rapidly developing but instead of me actively participating, I watched and cheered him on from the confines of my bed.

Because I was rendered unavailable by my pregnancy, Vince stepped in. He was the one who taught Vito his alphabet and numbers, played with him, ran and jumped with him. We called it Papa Preschool and Vito enjoyed himself immensely. But when he wanted to wrestle and play with Mama, I had to fend him off. "No, darling, Mama has to stay in bed. No, sweetheart, Mama has a baby in her tummy. You can't kick it. We can't super hug. You can't sit on my lap."

Sleepy Vito and sleeping Iñigo   

When Iñigo did finally arrive, Vito was bewildered. If before I didn't play with him, at least I was in the same room with him, cheering him on. Now, because a toddler can be so noisy and active, I usually leave the room so that Iñigo can sleep in peace. And a newborn baby sleeps all the time. Vito is heartbroken. So am I.

It hurts me to see him ask for a big hug and I can't give it to him because there's a baby in my arms. He's never really satisfied with a one-arm hug. Or he'd ask for a cuddle but I'm breastfeeding. Vito used to sleep wrapped up in my arms—since the day he was born! Now, because Iñigo is where he used to be, he curls up by my legs. When Vito sees my arms are free, he always lets out a shout of joy and jumps into my arms. He's crazy happy when he sits on my lap or when I chase him around the house. Then when Iñigo awakes from all the racket we make, Vito deflates, his smile wiped off his beautiful face, his shoulders slumped, and he drags his feet while I walk away.

People always dismiss our pain. "Oh, he'll get over it. Tell him he's a big boy now. Tell him to be a big brother. Explain, show, make him realize, yada yada." I want to scream at them all: "He's NOT a big boy. He's not even 2 years old. He's still a baby!"

My poor baby Vito. It's hard to remember he's still a baby because he's so big and tall. He fits into clothes marked for 2, even 3 years old. But he really is still a baby and he is struggling ever so hard to understand the huge changes in his life, and I wish my hugs and kisses—so few and seldom now—will assure him he's not been replaced and he'll always be loved.
My two baby boys.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I won't be bullied about the breastfeeding issue

When I was pregnant with Vito, I didn't really care about how I would feed him. Breast milk, formula. All the same to me. They served one purpose and so I didn't see what the fuss was all about. But my sister-in-law, Lizelle, was very encouraging about breastfeeding, my friend Jennie gave me her La Leche League book and Daphne kept blogging about it so finally I decided to at least make an informed decision.

I read up on breast milk and its benefits to both infant and mother, and on breastfeeding and how it's done and its problems and how to overcome them. The research was just astounding. Breast milk truly is the very best food we can give our babies! So I decided to breastfeed Vito.

Theoretically, it was an easy decision to make. In actuality, breastfeeding is tough, and every morning I had to keep renewing my commitment to nurse my child. Still do, with Iñigo! For one thing, especially with Vito, I had to deal with my insecurity that my milk wasn't enough. I was bombarded constantly by his yaya that my breast milk really wasn't enough. She'd tell me Vito's hungry even after he just let out a big fat burp. She'd comment that the reason Vito nursed so long was because I had no milk. She'd look at my chest and say, "You have small breasts. You don't have milk." She'd tell Vito, "Kawawa ka naman,  ginugutom ka ng mama mo."

She wasn't the only one. When I was out with Vito, strangers would come up to me and comment on how cute he was. Then they'd ask, "What's his milk?" And when I reply that he's breastfed, they'd all say, "Is that enough?" They just commented on how healthy my baby is and then they ask me that?!

I held out for 4 months but finally I asked Vito's pedia about it. She told me, "But Vito's so healthy and chubby. He's even developmentally advanced. You have more than enough milk."
This was Vito at 4 months old. Does that look like a starving child to you?

But yaya won't let it go so I asked the pedia if it's okay to have formula anyway, you know, just in case. So she said, "If you insist, try this goat's milk formula. It's not as heavy as cow's milk and free from growth hormones." And that's what I did. I instructed yaya to give the formula only when my supply of expressed milk runs out, but I know she felt that formula was better than my milk.

I still nursed Vito until his 13th month, when he decided on his own to wean. I don't feel bad about giving him formula; what I feel bad about is I gave him formula because I let myself be bullied into doing it. So when Iñigo was born, I promised myself these things:
  • I will not allow just anyone to tell me my breast milk is not enough.
  • I will trust my body to produce the milk my child needs.
  • I will trust my son's body. If his body is healthy and strong, then I will believe it.
Sure enough, Iñigo's first yaya did what Vito's yaya also did: She told me I can't possibly have milk given my small breasts. This time, I stood up for my body and I told her to never comment on my milk-producing capabilities and the shape of my body ever again. When strangers ask about Iñigo's milk and then doubt my proud answer, I tell them that yes, breast milk is the only thing I feed my baby! Judging by his cheeks and hefty thighs, my milk is the very best and it is bountiful.
Iñigo at 2 months. Chubby on breast milk. Healthy!

So, dear mommies who are struggling with doubts on breastfeeding, trust your bodies. We were built to  feed our babies. You have to believe that!

Please read this article, Dispelling the myth that many women can't produce enough milk.
Please also visit Chronicles of a Nursing Mom or like her Facebook page. Jenny Ong curates a lot of very good resources, articles and helpful links about breastfeeding.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Could your baby be the first Numa Baby Brand Ambassador?


If you're a stage momma, here's your chance to make your baby a model! Just go to Numa's Facebook page to find out how to make that dream come true!

Mine already did. Vito modeled twice for Smart Parenting magazine. It was such a proud moment. Stressful, too! But Vito seemed to have had a lot of fun so it's all good. It's fantastic actually! So join Numa's contest now and get a chance to give your baby his shining moment!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Have you met Christian Grey?

CONTEST CLOSED

Ah yes, the incredibly hot and rich and powerful man with the puzzling obsession for young virgins. Well, one particular virgin. That wouldn't be me haha!

Anyway, Fully Booked sent me the hottest book today, the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (thanks, Fully Booked!). I haven't read it, just the first few chapters, so I won't be able to give you a full review. But maybe you've read it and you can fill me in on what you think. (If you haven't, then I have a surprise for you later!)

Here's a snap of the back cover so you have an idea on what this book's about:


So I started reading Fifty Shades. This book is really popular with the over-30 market, that's why it's called "mommy porn." Well, I'll tell you my reason for not devouring this book despite my being over 30, a mommy and it being porn: I'm kinda done with erotica!

I started reading romance novels quite young, at 13. I read Mills & Boon, Harlequin and all the historical romance fiction I could find. I didn't really understand all the sex happening in those books but I found them thrilling nevertheless, giggling over phrases like "he entered her garden and she offered up her flower in submission."

Now if you think 13 is too young for books like that, well... You're right. It did turn out for the best. In college, I took a class called Erotic Fiction, aced it (well, my exposure was early!), submitted two of my erotic short stories to the U.P. National Writers Workshop and got accepted as a fellow. There I met a young writer with long hair who had a penchant for puca shell necklaces, tie-dyed clothing and cigarettes. My erotica caught his attention. Eight years (and much shorter hair for him and no more erotic writing from me) later, we got married. 
Matt Bomer, Ian Somerhalder, Henry Cavill. Who do you think
should play Christian Grey in the movie version?
More candidates here

Anyway, back to the erotic books I read way back in the day. The girl is usually 19 years old (safely over the barely legal age) and the man has to be about 10 years older than her, tall, sexy, unbelievably wealthy, brooding, mysterious, powerful. You can imagine that by the time I approached 19, I was expecting to be swept off my feet by a much older, really hot, really rich guy. No dice.

Fifty Shades follows the same formula except this book removed all the flowers and gardens and just got right down to business. Yep, I skimmed through the pages and went to the sex parts haha. I promise to read this book and give you a proper review but for now, how about you read it and tell me what you think?

Yep, another Topaz Mommy giveaway!

Three of my blog readers will win a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, courtesy of Fully Booked (thanks, Fully Booked!). Just answer this question:

Who is your favorite brooding, mysterious 
hero of romance novels?

Mine is Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. But my ultimate favorite hero who's not necessarily brooding and mysterious is Vince O. Teves of Vince's Life. Vince is funny and smart and sincere and passionate and romantic. Definitely none of the confusing nightmare mysterious men of romance torture their heroines with. When I read Vince's Life, I wanted Andrea out of the picture. I wanted Vince to marry me! And, come to think of it, he did.

Anyway, answer the question above in the comments below. Simple! Contest ends in 1 week. Good luck!

*Actors' photo from Love & Sex with Dr. Laura Berman

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Tuesday from the Sales boys!

Vince always tells me that the best camera is the one that's in your hand. Most of the time, that's my phone and look at these grainy, fuzzy images of my two boys:
Vito at 6 weeks old
Inigo at 7 weeks old
Funny. They both have the same "drunk on milk" smile!

Monday, July 2, 2012

You witness a kidnapping. Would you stop it?

Let me tell you a story on how pakialamera I am. One time, Vince and I were at the grocery. We were at a food stand, waiting for our merienda to cook (kwek kwek!). Waiting for their merienda too was a man and a little boy. Little boy kept crying and crying; he was screaming, "Mama! Mama!"

Without thinking, I just went and confronted the man, "Why is this boy crying? Are you the father? Where is his mother?" Man was shocked. Vince was scandalized. I said, "What if this boy was kidnapped?!" And Vince said, "If that guy is a kidnapper, he won't be standing around here waiting for his kwek kwek!"

True story.

Saw this video today and I was reminded of the kidnapping stories a while back. I am sure I'll put my nosy nose in if I saw this happen. I'm just built that way and I hope, especially when it comes to our children and their safety, we'd all make it our business.

Iñigo update


Iñigo is 5 weeks old in this photo. He's 7 weeks now. He's very strong and can lift his head up when doing tummy time. He's very mellow, quiet and serene. He likes cuddles. He likes them a little too much actually and refuses to be put in bed or his basket alone.

Iñigo is also very greedy. He breastfeeds all the time. All. The. Time! It's really okay since he's so heavy and healthy and long, but I'm about to go back to work in a couple of weeks. I'm supposed to be expressing and storing milk in preparation for the time I'll be away from him. But since he nurses every 2 hours, sometimes every hour, I seriously do not know how I'm going to express milk! Read this article, "Myth: Many Women Can't Produce Enough Milk for Their Baby." The baby described there, the one who has full meals and snacks in between? That's Iñigo!

I am in panic mode. I seriously hope Iñigo starts getting satisfied and give me 3-hour breaks so I can pump enough milk for him. With his ravenous appetite, I think the only solution is to bring him to the office with me!