Monday, September 30, 2013

Mom's dental health affects her baby's teeth, too!

This post is brought to you by LOTTE Xylitol.

I had my teeth checked before I got pregnant. It wasn't me being all healthy, it was more on I know pregnancy and the new baby that follows are incredible time-suckers so I have my vanity check-ups (ya, I call visits to the derma and the dentist that) done beforehand.

I'm now so glad I did that because I read this today!

Click here to read the article.

I was researching on Xylitol (I'm a brand ambassador for Lotte Xylitol) and landed on that article. Imagine that! The state our teeth are in while our babies are in our womb has an effect on our kid's future teeth!

So, mommies-to-be, do this now:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Super duper important reminders from Sangobion!

This post is brought to you by Sangobion.

Before the month ends, let me finish telling you about my other event a few weeks ago. After my Pampers talk, I rushed to Makati Shangri-la for the Sangobion lunch. Busy busy glam na mommy! No, no, only that day. The rest of the week, I was in t-shirts and shorts, no makeup and with unbrushed hair in a bun. You know, I do love my housewife life but it's also nice to have a few days to take out the blowdryer and the makeup bag from storage and actually use them!

That's Dr. Corazon Zaida N. Gamilla. She's the chair of the OB-GYN Department of UST. She's really used to giving talks because she had us in the palm of her hand. Yes, all of the media, bloggers, mommies, we were all paying attention to her and asking soooo many questions that our host, Amanda Griffin Jacob, had to stop us or else we'd be there all day! That was how good Dr. Gamilla's presentation was.

She wanted us to tell you, mommies, these things:

1. Moms are busy. We hardly ever have time to sleep or eat. So we blame our exhaustion and forgetfulness on that. Dr. Gamilla says, "When signs of fatigue, paleness, as well as lack of focus and energy start to show, [those] could be telling signs of iron deficiency."

2. Iron deficiency or anemia must be taken seriously. Aside from the fact that we tire easily and lack focus (very dangerous especially for moms with young kids!), our health is compromised. We get headaches, we're pale, we get dizzy, we're super tired. All of these are not good for mommies because we have little lives depending on us to be alert and healthy! If you're pregnant and running low on iron, you run the risk of having small babies or premature babies, compromising their survival rate.

3. A woman usually suffers from anemia because of menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and lactation. The first three states means loss of or production of lotsa blood. The last one is we need to pump up our iron supply because our babies get their iron from our breast milk.

4. Eat iron-rich food. Dr. Gamilla says that iron is plentiful in red meat, egg yolks, beans, and green, leafy veggies. Breakfast cereal is also iron-enriched. If your diet is not satisfactory health-wise, take an iron supplement like Sangobion.

It was a really fascinating lunch! After our lecture, syempre, what else do we do? Take pictures!
The Sangobion Brand Believers with Merck executives. From left, Amanda Griffin Jacob, Cheska Garcia Kramer,
Jenni Epperson, Joy Cabrera, Dr. Gamilla, Fidji Miranda, me, Art Dapasen; from left top row, Tin Dychiao,
Rowena Lei and Jackie Go

Friday, September 27, 2013

No excuses!

Maria Kang was recently bullied for this photo:

And here's what she said:

I don't diet and I don't exercise and I'm a flabby mess. With the way I eat and with what I eat and how often I eat, thank goodness I'm naturally thin or else I'd be obese. That doesn't mean I'm healthy. My mother was soooo skinny but her cholesterol was off the charts. I'm scared to have mine checked.

I started doing the 7-Minute Exercise a few weeks ago. My body is amazing because I eat a little less or I do a little exercise and I lose fat immediately. So when my shorts started feeling loose, guess what I did? I stopped exercising. I figured I'd rather nap (I need it!) or read or make money or spend time with my hubby and kids.

But looking at Maria Kang's photo above, I have to stop making excuses. I have to get sexy for my Vince. I have to get fit for my kids (it is not easy to keep up with little energetic boys!). Most of all, I have to be healthy so I can be with my Vince, Vito and Iñigo for the longest time possible.

No more excuses!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Five sleep myths busted!

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

As a Pampers Mommy, my duties include answering questions on sleep over at the Pampers Philippines Facebook page.

I did a lot of research to answer that question posed by Mommy Haydie. It's very important to keep our babies on a schedule. It helps them develop their body rhythms. For example, my Iñigo wakes up at 6 a.m. and I know he gets sleepy at around 10:30 to 11. He slows down, isn't so makulit, sits down on the sofa and just spaces out, or he gets really fussy.

I used to keep him awake so he could eat lunch with us but this made him cranky or spaced out. Sometimes, when he's also already eaten lunch, he gets energized and then he won't nap anymore at all! That was not good. So I paid attention to his sleep signals and made him nap when he wants to. This has been a huge help in improving his mood, energy and development!

Now, if you have any questions for me regarding your baby's sleep, leave your question over at Pampers! I'm serious! This is Pampers inviting their mommies to ask me stuff:

Okay, for today's blog post on sleep, we'll talk about sleep myths.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cutie fake-crying baby

I can totally see Iñigo doing this!

He doesn't, though. Yet!

Silly babies!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

No, you shouldn't give in to your kids

Many parents remark on how remarkably well behaved my children are. "How do you do it?" It's really simple. We spoil them with love but the second they misbehave, Vince and I are quick to discipline. We have that look on our face that freezes Vito, that tone that means we're not messing with you. Vito and Iñigo know when we mean business and they behave because they know better than to cross that line.
Sorry, sweetheart. You can't get what you want. 

They obey or there is hell to pay. No, you can't have ice cream before breakfast. No, you can't hit your brother. No, you do not talk to me that way. You get your toy yourself. You clean up that mess. You throw that in the trash can. You go to sleep now. And we don't sweeten any of that with pretty please. There is no negotiation, no pleading, no bribing, no discussion.

Despite our being mean, our boys are happy and well adjusted. They have empathy and deep emotion. They're independent. They are fun and crazy and cool. They are respectful and sweet. Yes, even the little one-year-old. They don't shout and scream at other people. They don't hit other kids. They don't break our things, their things and other people's things. I think that's because, yes, they know they're loved unconditionally but they know their limits.

Boundless love doesn't mean not setting boundaries. Of course, the kids will test those limits constantly. That's part of growing up. They cry, throw tantrums, be disobedient. But we noticed that the tantrums and disobedience last just a few minutes. Of course when you're in the middle of that tantrum and in a mall or restaurant, that tantrum can feel like forever and you want to give in if only to stop people from thinking you're an awful parent with awful kids. But I know my kids better. I know their tantrum won't last forever so we stick to discipline no matter what. So my kids may misbehave sometimes but it doesn't last long. They are quick to obey and are remorseful. I think that's because our relationship matters more to them than having their way. They won't risk our disappointment for ice cream, for example, because that's just stupid and they know it.

On that note, meet Louis C.K. You actually already met him in my previous blog post. He is my new favorite comedian. He doesn't pull any punches. He's not afraid to question and poke fun at our silly issues. Best of all, he's a parent who calls out other parents' stupidity.

On not giving kids what they want:
"I'm not here to make you happy. I'm not raising children; I'm raising the grown-ups they're going to be. I have to raise them with the tools to get through a terrible life."

On how technology takes away empathy and compassion:
"Kids are mean. That's because they're trying it out. They look at a kid and go, 'You're fat,' and then they see the kid's face scrunch up and they go, "Oh, that doesn't feel good to do that.' But they gotta start by doing the mean thing. But when they write, 'You're fat,' they're, "Mmm, that was fun. I like that!'"

Good points!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Get the best camera but don't use it too much

I'm often asked by preggy mommies what they should buy for the baby. Top of my list? A really good camera. Diapers, clothes, baby grooming kits, etc are important of course but those things will last you a few years. Photos of your kids' fleeting milestones and precious moments? You need those forever!

Get the best camera you can afford and actually use. Yes, you have to think about its usability. Some rich folks plunk down six figures for a DSLR and, because it's so huge, they never use it! I mean, really, with a diaper bag in one hand and a baby in the other, a big camera is pretty useless. Unless of course you have a lot of yayas who can watch over everything while you click away.

I'm also often asked what camera I use. I use a Panasonic Lumix GF3. It's very small and I got it cheap on Amazon. Just $300! But the photos are great! I love it especially because I can tuck it in my purse so I'm sure I'm always ready to capture adorable moments—in HD, too! However, I resize photos for the blog so the pics I post here aren't so stunningly clear. But at least the photos we print and put in our shelves of albums are amazing! My husband uses the Olympus EP3. It's slightly bigger than my Panasonic and a whole lot more expensive but his photos are waaaaay better!

Most photos and videos these days are taken with a phone camera or with an iPad. Woefully out of focus, low-resolution, awful colors, filtered, whatever. It's cute for social media and for sudden moments you must get right now (my Blackberry's camera is useful in that sense) but that's no way to record your memories of your kiddies! Invest in a real camera!

That said, do remember that there's something more important than recording your child's moments—the moment itself! Vince and I always joke that if we took more videos of our kids, we'd be YouTube millionaires by now. But we'd rather get lost in the moment really. It's really sweeter to see it with our own eyes.

That said, I can't wait for Google Glass.

Meanwhile, watch this hilarious video:


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Raising kids in a cruel world

I always supervise the kids' TV time. I have nothing against TV since I'm always around to explain to them what's going on and we use the show to learn colors, numbers, shapes, values and many other things. But when I'm cooking dinner, the kids are usually playing with their toys so I switch the TV to the news so I can find out what's happening in the world.

Last night, Vito was playing with his LEGOs while Vince bathed Iñigo. I was preparing the pork chops so I switched to TV Patrol. Then I noticed that my 3-year-old boy had gotten quiet. I checked on him and saw that he had stopped playing and was watching the civil war in Zamboanga. Civilians were running helter-skelter, clutching at belongings like bags, electric fans and water jugs, holding babies and young kids close, fear in their eyes. Periodically, when gunfire erupted, they would stop running and drop to the ground or hide behind trees. My Vito was transfixed.

"Okay, honey, let's go watch Disney Channel!" I said brightly.

"No, Mama!" Vito cried. And I don't know why, maybe it was his voice or the stricken look in his eyes, but I didn't change the channel. Instead I sat down beside him to explain what's going on.

I told him about how the families were caught in a battle and that they needed to escape to somewhere safe so that they'll not get shot or killed. He pointed to a crying girl and asked, "Where mama? Where papa?" And I said, "I don't know, baby. Maybe the soldiers will find her mama and papa."

He watched a bit more while I explained a bit more but finally, I said, "Okay, enough. It's your turn to take a bath."

And my Vito sighed. I asked, "Are you okay?" He shook his head no. I asked if he was upset. No. Angry. No. Scared. No.

"Mama," Vito said quietly. "I'm sad."

I have friends who say they don't allow news programs and newspapers in their house to protect their kids from the sadness of this world. Since my kids don't read or even care for grown-up TV, I never censored anything. Until now. But until when? Sooner or later, they'll know that the world is a cruel, unjust and violent place. Sooner or later, they must know about it so that they'll do something about it.

But maybe for now, we can pretend that the world is safe. For just a little longer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

At the Pampers Sound Sleep, Sound Development event

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

I'm a Pampers Mommy! 

And how perfect is my DVF wrap dress for Pampers, right? I was told to wear the Pampers colors orange and green to the Sound Sleep, Sound Development event this week at SM Megamall. I told Pampers, "I wear black all the time now!" Buti na lang I remembered I have an old dress from my pre-mommy days that is the exact shade of Pampers green!

Anyway! Pampers Diapers chose Topaz Mommy and Mommy Pehpot Pineda as their Pampers Mommies (hooray!) and we were the special guests at their mega bongga sleep event. We didn't sing and dance naman haha, we were just asked to talk about how we put our babies to sleep, if we ever have problems with their sleep and how we solved them. Pehpot and I agreed that nothing beats breastfeeding in comforting our babies back to sleep! 

Here's what the event space looked like:
play space for kiddies
the talk show area
interactive station 1
interactive station 2
interactive station 3!
Syempre, I just had to have my photo taken at this booth! It's supposed to be for your baby. You put your baby in it so the scene will look like the event logo:
Oh how I wish I'd brought Iñigo! He'd have looked totally adorable sleeping on that fluffy cloud pillow! But since mama had to work, ako na lang ang nag-pose.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Look! Books that are all about Vito and Iñigo!

As a lover of books and personalized goodies, I am over the moon about these books from Look It's About Me!

I ordered the books from their super easy-to-use website. There's a selection of books you can browse through. I liked the space race story and the birthday book best. Just a week later, the books arrived! And in personalized wrapper, too!

Yep, that's just the wrapper!

The books themselves are hardbound and in large format featuring full color, glossy pages. The illustrations are fun and dynamic. The stories are easy to read. Of course, what we liked best is the personalization. It truly reads like my sons are the heroes of their own stories.

Here is Vito opening his book:
Large enough for small hands
Special dedication page
Look at all the personalized details!
Here's Iñigo's book:

These special books are perfect for birthdays, Christmas, christenings, graduation, and even on ordinary days when you just want to make your child feel like a hero. In my book, since my boys saved me from a life of utter selfishness, they are my heroes.

Anyway, I highly recommend Look It's About Me books. The quality of the books are good, the stories and the illustrations are simple but fun, the service is fast and friendly. The books, being personalized, are not inexpensive but that's what you get for personalized service! But I have good news: There's a really cool discount from now till September 30. Order a book and you get 15% discount! Do your Christmas shopping early! For more details, visit this special promo page now!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Golden sleep moments

This post is brought to you by Pampers.

I may have forgotten to mention that Pampers is Topaz Mommy's newest blog partner. My kids have sooooo many diapers now! Hooray!

Pampers is keen to spread awareness on the importance of a good, deep, uninterrupted sleep for our kids. That kind of sleep is vital for their proper growth and development, physically and mentally. Why is sleep important? Well, we all know sleep is what we need to rest, but in reality, it is when we sleep when our body works even harder!

This is what our body does when it is sleeping:
I grabbed that from Sleep for Kids, a really great website made especially for kids that explains to them in simple terms why they need to sleep. Yep. Kids never seem to want to sleep!

When I was a kid (which wasn't too long ago haha), I always believed that as soon as I slept, the adults would be up to something magical. That's why I never liked sleeping. That could possibly be the reason why I'm not as tall as my siblings and why I was sickly.

Then when a recent visit to my kids' pediatrician revealed that my boys aren't as tall as the charts said they should be, Vince and I are now determined to make the kids sleep (without resorting to cough syrup haha). This is not easy. Vito and Iñigo seem to think as I did when I was young, that as soon as they slept, they'll miss out on the fun. But by not sleeping, they're actually missing out on what Pampers calls the Golden Sleep Moments.

These are the moments when we see our babies and toddlers smiling as if they’re having a wonderful time in their dreams. Sometimes they kick or twitch their fingers or their little mouths make suckling motions. This just means they’re processing what they learned during the day!

Now imagine if their precious learning time was interrupted by a loud noise or a wet diaper! That's why it's important that we mommies make our kids' bedroom as sleep-conducive as possible—dark, not too cold and not too hot, away from noisy neighbors and streets or even rooms in the house. It's also important that their diaper will absorb all the pee until morning! Less disturbances, more time to learn and develop during the Golden Sleep Moments! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Applying for Iñigo's passport

I forgot to tell you all about Iñigo's passport! I only remembered because we've confirmed a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland! We'll be there a few weeks from now! Hooray!

If you're a mommy to a baby, getting your kid's passport is super easy. You don't have to set an appointment at DFA. Just show up! I love it!!! Here's what we did:

1. Show up at any DFA office with your baby. Yes, personal appearance is required because they'll need to take his photo for the passport. If your child is an infant (below 1 year old), you will be immediately directed to the courtesy lane. Iñigo and I were even escorted! Feeling celebrity!

So many people! So happy we didn't have to wait like that!

2. Show your child's NSO-authenticated birth certificate and a photocopy of your passport. I brought other documents, too (NSO-authenticated marriage certificate and a photocopy of Vince's passport) just in case. You also need to fill up an application form. If you have a printer at home, you could save even more time by going to the DFA website, downloading the form, printing it out then bringing that form with your documents.

3. Pay for the passport at the cashier. Note: Since you're on the courtesy lane, you pay a flat fee of P1,200. Don't even haggle it down to the regular P900 fee! Special treatment costs more. Anyway, the DFA people are so nice! The guard directed me to the cashier helpfully and the cashier tried her very best to make Iñigo laugh. It didn't work, though. 
All the chairs were occupied. Dozens of people already sat on the floor actually. 

4. Confirm your kid's info at the encoding counter and have your baby's photo taken. There's no need to have your baby's signature and fingerprints (biometrics) taken. The photo-taking part is always the cutest. It's also the trickiest. It's a good thing the DFA staff are used to kids. The guy had a little booster stool that Iñigo sat on and he used a toy to make Iñigo look at the camera. Click! 

5. Pay for delivery. LBC is the official courier and it costs P120. You can actually go back to the DFA office and pick up the passport but I'm lazy so I took the delivery option.

That's it!

Two weeks later (I told DFA we didn't need the passport quickly), Iñigo's passport was delivered straight to our home!

The entire application process took 30 minutes—10 minutes longer than our experience with Vito but with Vito kasi, we went to DFA at 9am. There was no one at the courtesy lane at all. With Iñigo, we went after lunch so there was a bunch of old people and babies lined up.

Look at these two cuties. Their passport photos capture their personalities so well! They're both 11 months old here.

Okaaaaay, I'm getting all weepy just looking at their photos! I'll think about Disneyland instead!!! Vito's already gone to Singapore and Indonesia. Hong Kong's Iñigo's first trip abroad. I'd love to travel more with the kids but two kids is two kids too many for me haha. It's so stressful to travel with babies! But now that Vito's older and Iñigo's walking, we are so excited!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Disney goodies at Watsons!

Okay, just to get it out of the way: This is not a sponsored post.

Ok, so I'm suki at Watsons. We usually go there to stock up on wet tissues and hand gels. But on our recent trip, look at what we found!
Disney Pixar bath goodies!!!

And ya, that's all the tissue we bought. I told ya we buy tons of tissue. It's ridiculous!

The details are amazing! These are about P250 each. Very reasonable. Smells great, too!

We haven't used them yet, though. My boys use Medela. But now we're trying out this fab bath line called Sebamed. Really good products! Will feature soon!

Soooo cute! The kids love them. Iñigo was actually shrieking "Car! Car! Car!" in the store so—what can we do?—we bought the stuff!