Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mom's Milk

Created June 24, 2011

Breastfeeding is still best for babies…

I was a young girl when I first a mother breastfeed her child.  I was shocked to see our helper exposing her breast while her little baby boy tried to latch on. I tried to figure out what she was doing then I realized she was feeding her baby boy. I did not know that those two frontal bumps had milk in them.  After suckling on her mother's breast, the baby boy fell asleep and our helper put him down and went back to work. 

When I became a senior in high school, we were required to submit a term paper.  As I browsed through magazines at our school library for interesting topics, an article in bold letters struck me, it said, "BREASTFEEDING: BEST FOR BABIES".  I forgot what magazine that was but I knew this topic would be great for my first term paper.  I researched on the topic and finally got to finish my paper in time. After submitting the said project, our English teacher, Mrs. Lee then asked us to defend our project.  When it was time for me to do the defense, she asked me about the benefits of breastfeeding which I quickly answered.  Then her final question was, " If you have a baby of your own in the future, would you breastfeed then?"  Without batting an eyelash I answered, "Of course!".  Then she followed it up with, "What if you have to work, how will be able to feed your baby?".  "I would stop working in order to breastfeed my baby," was my reply.  She gave me a smile and gracious grade after that.

In 2002, I became pregnant with my baby boy.  My husband and I attended a breastfeeding seminar at the Asian Hospital.  There we learned how breastfeeding really works.  We were coached and taught by the wonderful breastfeeding advocates who later became very good friends.  It was my goal then to really breastfeed my baby.

I gave birth a few months after and tried to breastfeed him.  I would go down every 2 or 4 hours to the nursery and try to feed him.  But I found out later that the nurses gave the babies formula in the nursery that is why whenever I try to nurse him, he does not seem interested.  But still I tried as per the nurses’s instruction.  We went home that afternoon and the baby was crying relentessly, I gave him my breast but he was pushing it away.  I tried for a few minutes still the same response.  I felt frustrated and cried because I felt he was rejecting me.  I asked the helper to buy formula because he would not stop crying.  I was so disappointed with myself and could not stop crying.  I tried to breastfeed him for 2 to 3 months only combined with formula feeding.  Until I finally gave up and let the formula do the feeding.

After a while, I became so envious of mothers who breastfed their babies for a long time. My sister in law breastfed all her babies until they were a year old, a friend who breastfed until 3 years old (gosh) and my best friend who did it for 2 years i think. I secretly wished I did the same.  Though I knew it was the best food for babies, I failed to give my son the best. 

Three and a half years later, I became pregnant again.  This time I vowed to give it my best in feeding my baby.  I had to undergo a C-section this time because of fetal distress.  I remember asking for my baby girl to be roomed-in just after a day.  I wanted to do things right this time.  The pediatrician asked me if I really wanted her to be roomed in despite my stitches and I said yes.  So there she was, my baby girl,so tiny.  I tried to latch her on and feed her.  And that continued until she was 2 years and 8 months old. 

Those three years (almost) were filled with joy and frustration.  When she was teething, oh boy, one cannot imagine the pain and I would not share how I felt that time.  Every bite would bring tears to my eyes and vow not to feed her anymore.  Babies grow 20 teeth for the first two years of life, now how many bites would that be? Not to mention the accidental-bite-the-nip-because-the-baby-is-sleepy thing.... But you know what? It's all worth it.  If I could have one more child, which my husband and I planned not to anymore, thank you very much, I would still breastfeed.  I see it as God's wonderful design for mothers and children too.  

Now that she is almost five years old, she would sneak her hand in my shirt once in a while.  Of course, I would stop her especially when she does it in public.  She would also put her head close to my breast when she sleeps.  Lately, I asked her why she keeps putting her hand on my breast.  She tells me, "because your dede (breast) has a magnet!"

Why I Love Homeschooling

created Ma 23, 2011

Why do I love homeschooling, let me count the ways...

I love homeschooling because ...

it gives my child the flexibility to learn and master a particular lesson before moving on to more complicated lessons without being labelled as slow or lazy

it allows my child to explore the world and everything in it without strictly sticking to the lessons

it gives my child the opportunity to know God more through his creation and to learn to love him

it causes my child develop a love for reading and learning

it allows my child to have immediate life application of the lessons he learned at home

it  opens opportunities for my child to be creative by enhancing his or her talent in the arts, dancing, and sports

it encourages my child to talk confidently to other people not only to kids his age

it enables my child to develop long lasting friendships with other homeschooling kids and non-homeschooling kids as well

it deprives my child the stress of mom him waking up early in the morning just to reach school on time

it develops Godly character in my child as it is taught intentionally and unintentionally in all our lessons

As a parent-teacher...

it pushes me to lean on God more and depend on Him alone as He equips me in this task

it allows me to see my faults, ask for forgiveness from my child and God and start over again with a new heart

As a family...

it gives the family the freedom to express one's feelings toward another without being talked down to or criticized

it creates a bond which is founded on God's love that would last a lifetime

Math Drills Before School Starts

Created May 19, 2011

As I headed to the bookstore last week to get art supplies for my son's art classes, I was surprised by the long queue and this reminded me that school is just around the corner.  When I got home that afternoon, I heard my 8-year-old arguing with my 4-year-old on whose turn is it to use the computer, again! This has been a typical scene every since Jianne (the 4-year-old) learned how to play games on the computer.  Although, her use is still limited compared to Coby (the 8-year-old), every time she tries to use the older one tries to lure her into something else just to keep her off the PC. 

Vacation is almost over and I need to study which curriculum I am going to use for the two kids. As I do this daunting task of selecting the correct curriculum, I need to review as well as prepare Coby for his Math.  I used to give him pages of Math drills which to me is really overwhelming and gets boring at the same time.  So I decided to cut small pieces of colored index cards and write either an addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problem.  This method helps him because he can focus on only the problem written on the card and not get distracted by the other problems written in that short bond paper.  I thinking of assigning different colored index cards per operation like pink for addition, blue for subtraction, blue for multiplication and yellow for division.  I think this would also brace him for the problems he needs to solve.  Like if I give him a blue index card, he knows he will do multiplication and recall his multiplication table. 

The index card worked for him and me as well and as an added bonus I gave him an incentive.  For every index card completed with the correct answer, he is given 5 minutes to play on the computer.  I tried this during the third quarter and the result was impressive.  He not only solved the problems correctly but he did it so fast because he wanted to play right away.  Not only that, because of the limited time I gave for each index card, he wanted to do more drills so he could spend more time on the PC but he cannot exceed one hour.

As we prepare for Grade 3 this June, we will do the cards again and hoping that we find our own way of doing Math and this time encouraging each other.

The Summer I Met My Son

“The word of the Lord came to me saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1: 4-5
He was a typical one-year-old boy.  He was full of energy, strong and loved to laugh at lot.  People would comment that he is a happy baby because he smiles a lot.
Then God added years to his life and he began to “mature.”  At three years old, I thought something was wrong with him.  As a wife of special education teacher, I was always on my toes trying to assess him because if indeed there is something wrong with him, I want to address it right away and seek early intervention ASAP.  I searched the net for the “signs” he was exhibiting.  It seems to me he was defying everything I tell him.  He would be opposing me all the time and I found that very frustrating.  So I saw the condition related to autism which is Oppositional Defiance Disorder or ODD.  So I prematurely concluded that Coby has ODD.  I searched the hospital for a developmental psychologist right away to confirm my “findings”.  Finally, we went to see the doctor and we waited while he assessed Coby.   After such time, the doctor spoke to me with a tinge of sarcasm, “Mommy, stop over-analyzing your child.  Nothing is wrong with him.  He is as normal as any three-year-old could be.” I really felt embarrassed and then I jokingly replied, “Doc, do you think I need the assessment?”  The doctor laughed in agreement.
Throughout the years he has developed close friendships with the kids of former cell group members.  Since they are mostly of the same age, he easily bonded with them and looked forward to every meeting with them.  He also made friends in Sunday school.  Coby looks forward to visiting his cousins and playing with them too.
This summer however, I realized something about our eldest son when he attended our church’s Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS).  Coby has been attending DVBS for three years now but this year the DVBS program was changed which incorporated more time for games and bible study.  Whenever we get invited to kiddie parties, Coby would not join any of the games.  Despite our prodding, scolding and encouraging, he would glue himself to the chair and not move at all.  Unfortunately, for him, DVBS has more games now and they encourage all the kids to join.  As I looked at the the other kids excitedly joining the games, I watched Coby sit on the sidelines and do something else.  I would observe him everyday for one week and really felt frustrated that despite the teachers’ encouragement, he would still not get up and join any of the games.  One afternoon after DVBS I talked to him and explained to him how fun it is to join those games.  He insisted that he did not like joining because of the noise.  I just ignored his reasoning and continued to talk him out of it.  The following day, I thought my so-called talk with him worked.  He stood up to join but  did not finish the game.  I was fuming mad and acted like a stage mom at that moment.  I was not so proud of how I acted that time, I let the enemy take hold of me.  After that moment of drama with Coby, I told him to go back to his group.
I was asking God, why is my son like this? Why is he not like other kids.  I admit that I was jealous of the other kids’ moms because their kids are “like the other kids”.  But then I realized after much prayer, that each child is unique.  Like what God said in Jeremiah, He was the one who formed Coby in my womb.  He was the one who gave Coby his unique traits, his character.  He already knew Coby was going to be different from the other kids because he created every one special in His eyes.
He does not lack social skills as some would put it.  He relates well with his friends, his cousins,  older people and new acquaintances.  He talks, talks and talks a lot.  I realized he is just not like me.  I am the outgoing, extrovert type while he is more introspective and has a quite nature.  That is why he enjoys drawing because there is not much fanfare when he does this.  Drawing and music relaxes him.  In fact, up to this time he would hum a tune whenever he draws or creates something out of his Lego.  Sometimes too he would hum while munching on his favorite cheezewhiz sandwich.  Although he enjoys playing with other kids, he would prefer being in a small group only. He does not thrive in big group settings because it overwhelms him.  This is who Coby is.  This is how God created him but I know in God’s time Coby would come out of his shell.  In fact, he has been showing confidence in talking to other people and “reporting”.  Because he loves to talk, I told him he could be a reporter someday.  He said no, because he wants to be an inventor (see, even his career is introspective).  Then I said, well maybe after inventing something, you could explain your invention to other people then he said that it was a good idea.
Coby sharing what he knows about dinosaurs to his Papa
I realized that I need to accept how my child is different from other kids, even how different he is from his sister.  He has God given qualities that make him who he is.
I suggested he take soccer for summer, he does not like he says.  Then what kind of sports do you like?  I want golf Mama! Uh oh! Me and my big mouth!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pinoy Characters You Meet at the Mall

When was the last time you went to the mall? Was it yesterday? Last week? Pinoys flock the malls to shop, dine in restaurants, meet up with friends and family, do grocery shopping, pay the bills, or just to simply hang out.  As a frequent mall-goer myself (because of the 5-minute walk time to reach the mall) I have observed a bunch of characters who go in and out of these huge, air-conditioned establishments.  And here are some of the few I often catch while malling.  See if you spot them the next time you’re there.
The Lovebirds  
The lovebirds are the college sweethearts.  One could easily spot them simply by the young lass’ college uniform and she would then be holding-hands-while-walking (HHWW) with her young escort.  Funny how the young escort proudly carries his girlfriend’s pink-floral-studded-with crystals shoulder bag or purse on his own shoulders.  They are oblivious to the busyness of the mall and walk as though time is slowing down for them.  If you are in hurry, better overtake these two as they could cause mall traffic.
The Royal Family
This group usually comes with an entire entourage of yayas and drivers/bodyguards. The signature-outfit-clad mom with aviator shades resting on her head would be strutting like a model while the yayas are busy tending to the whims of the toddlers strapped in their expensive Maclaren strollers.  From the mom’s outfit alone you would know they belong to the upper or upper middle class of the society.  The dad would also be there but would usually walk far behind his brood as he tinkers with his iPad or talks on his iPhone4.
The Hurried Mom
Whether the mall is owned by the Spanish-mestizo clan or the Chinese tycoon, malls would never be without the hurried mom.  She is a stay-at-home or working-part-time mom who after dropping her kids to school would rush to the mall to buy groceries, pay the bills or run errands.  She would either be wearing jeans or capri pants with either flip flops or sneakers with her hair tied in a ponytail.  You also have to keep away from her because she has a schedule to follow and there is no dilly-dallying for this mall rat.
The Posse 
These, to me, are the official mall rats.  They are a group of more than five teenagers you would see slumped on the floor in front of a photography studio or just hanging out at the basement food court.  They are easily spotted not only because of their number but because of their trademark look –oversized jerseys on top of oversized-low-waist trousers accessorized by bull caps worn backwards.  Mall guards are wary of these groups because of the threat they supposedly pose.
These are just some of the many characters I would meet at the mall.  I am sure there are more interesting characters that are uniquely Pinoy which I am hoping to spot very soon.   Is there any particular mall-goer that I missed? Or perhaps you are an outrageous character inside the mall yourself?