Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sharebabe

I once read from Covey’s book The 7 Habits for Families that children 3 years old and below do not have the concept of sharing yet and that it’s unrealistic to expect them to manifest this in their behavior. He mentioned this in relation to the story that he shared about his daughter who was then a toddler and who didn’t want to share her toys with their guests who were kids also. He said that this attitude is due to their me-centered stage which they will eventually outgrow, although there are people who do not outgrow their self-centeredness. Anyway, outgrowing this is one of the signs of maturity.

One Sunday, while we were waiting for the Holy Mass to start, our son was walking around holding a cupcake in his hand. My husband and I were watching him from where we were seated. We were amused and delighted when we saw him stop at one of the pews where a little girl was seated with her parents and our son handed her the cupcake in his hand. We did not expect him to do that but we were pleasantly surprised.

On another occasion, Yanthy showed us again that he’s a very giving baby and that he already understands the concept of sharing. We were feeding him his favorite snack – Party Animals biscuits. I have just handed him another piece. He placed it in his mouth and took a bite. Then he offered the remaining biscuit to me. I said thank you and ate his biscuit. He did this again the other day when I was giving him his morning snack. That’s when I remembered what I read from The 7 Habits for Families book.

I felt grateful that as early as now, my son has exhibited the attitude of sharing. I am very happy that in his young age, he manifests a giving attitude. Yanthy does not only share his food. He also shares his toys. We’ve tried it a number of times in the past together with other adult relatives. We ask him if we could borrow his toys for a while and he would gladly share it with us.

I pray that our son would continue to grow to have a generous heart and that he would carry this wonderful attitude with him when he grows up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Powerful Influence on My Son

I didn’t realize I had such powerful influence on my son until last week when my husband pointed out that my son was carrying some items at home like a girl. I didn’t notice right away that when he hang his sando, his dad’s umbrella, his red pail and his bib on his bended arm while waving goodbye on separate occasions that he was actually imitating me. My husband freaked out one night when he witnessed his son doing that. It was only after he pointed that out that I remembered that that’s how I usually carry my bag and wave my hand to say goodbye whenever I leave the house and Yanthy stays behind.

Then, I started to take stock of what else he has picked up from me. Well, he wrinkles his nose when he smells something bad. He must have seen that when I take off his soiled diapers from him and clean his poop. These past months, he has imitated some of the dance moves I showed him. He has learned to raise his hand after I call out his full name to signify that he is present. He’s affectionate and sometimes surprises us by suddenly kissing us on the cheeks or lips. He has learned to imitate me when I vocalize. He has learned to hum and shake his rattle whenever music is played on the stereo. He babbles as he turns the pages of his books as if he’s reading. And he sometimes “sings” to himself when he’s sleepy and about to fall asleep. He puts his hands together to pray before eating and wipes his mouth with his bib. He has an eye for dirt and wants to pick up those that he sees scattered around even when outside the house. He imitates the sounds of animals that I introduced to him -- the latest of which is the chicken.

Having realized how strongly my actions leave an imprint on my son’s mind, I now commit to be extra careful especially when I do some girl stuff. I remember my friend Tina who mentioned to me in the past that she doesn’t let her sons see or watch her put on make-up. I have decided to do the same and to consciously carry my bag in a different way now when I leave the house and say goodbye to my son.

But these are not the only things I have resolved to do. I also realized how important his dad’s presence is in molding his personality and character. We must really make sure that our son spends ample and quality time with his dad so that he would not only take on my traits but also that of his dad. I want my son to develop manly character. This would not happen if he gets to spend all of his time with me. So, just like tonight, I’ll leave the two of them more time to bond without me in the picture so that my husband would also have a powerful influence on our son.

Simplicity and Extravagant Giving

God must be teaching me to be extra simple this year. Typhoon Ondoy hit our house in San Mateo destroying most of our clothes, linens, appliances, furniture and decors. The flood water almost reached our ceiling thus all our things was submerged. These included around P12,000 worth of stocks of my book When My Bridegroom Comes, books which I collected since my college days, work and training materials I have developed since I started in training and important documents pertaining to my publishing business. Before it happened, I was planning to buy new d├ęcor for our condo. I thought we have some budget to spare. I was looking forward to making red as our motif this Christmas. But since we were very much affected by the flood, I have decided to forego home improvements in our condo until we have more to spare. I have also reused my old Christmas decors with pink and purple motif to save money. I thank God for the grace to stick to our priorities and not to succumb to my whims.

Since Christmas is a time of gift giving, I’m now thinking of extra creative ways to make it simple yet extravagant. God reminded me that I can choose to give simple and less expensive gifts to my loved ones and yet be extravagant by putting much thought and effort on choosing the best gift I could afford. I can make my own gifts or buy gifts that I can jazz up. I can buy meaningful gifts that could inspire them or uplift their spirits like inspirational books or magazines. I could also give them the gift of my service. There are many options especially when we truly love. Surely, we would come up with a gift they would appreciate.

So, as I join the countdown for Christmas, I get excited as I think of the people I would be giving gifts to and what special gift I can offer to express my love. I pray that they would see beyond the gift and that they would feel the love that comes with it.

God loves the cheerful giver. Happy giving!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Man Behind the Fulfillment of My Dreams

When I was still single and unattached, I dreamed of becoming a full time housewife someday. I dreamed of having lots of time to take care of my own children and to manage the house. I dreamed of having ample time to build a happy and beautiful home for my future family. I dreamed of continuing my service to God through my talents even after I get married. I knew very well that for those dreams to come true, I need to first find a mate who would be willing to help me fulfill those dreams.

Then George came along. We started as co-servants in our Catholic community. Then we became close friends and eventually got married. I didn’t recognize in him right away all the qualities that I was looking for in a mate. But I was glad to discover little by little what an amazing and wonderful man he truly is. Just before our wedding, he shared with me that he was inspired by the role of St. Joseph in Mother Mary’s life and he felt that he was being called by God to follow St. Joseph’s example in our relationship. I was very happy when he shared this with me because God wanted me to choose a mate with the qualities of St. Joseph. I felt that at that moment, God affirmed my decision to marry George.

This afternoon, almost two years since we got married, I felt a surge of happiness and fulfillment in my heart after I finished reading Kerygma magazine’s October 2009 issue. I was particularly struck with the article entitled The Power of Prayer and Service Together by Brother Bo Sanchez. I could not pinpoint what moved me from Brother Bo’s article but somehow, I just felt so grateful to God for the life that I now live and for the husband He has given me who makes it possible for me to live the life of my dreams.

After reading the article, I started thanking God for my special privileges now. I thanked God that I could stay home and take care of our son full time. I thanked God that my husband and I agreed that it would be best for our family if I stopped working full time so I would have ample time to manage our home and teach our child. I did not marry a millionaire or a man who had a lot of money in the bank or in stocks. (He’s still working on that.) But I’m glad I married a man who is very responsible, hard working and who had a strong faith in God. We both recognized and believed that with this decision, we are honoring our God-ordained roles in our marriage. We also claimed in faith that because God led us to this decision, He would provide for all our needs.

I thanked God that I now have a lot of time to read the books or literature that I want. I thanked God for the luxury of choosing the projects or work that I would accept and spend time on. I thanked God for the opportunities He has brought my way for me to use the gifts He has blessed me with. And I thanked Him once more for giving me a husband who supports me in my desire to serve.

Behind the scenes of the life of my dreams is a man who humbly accepted his God-ordained role… a man who patiently and joyfully makes sacrifices daily for the woman and child whom he loves. To this wonderful and loving man I say, “Thank you very much, Sweetheart, for enabling me to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. Thank you for choosing to be a part of it.”

And to the Man behind all my great and marvelous experiences, I say, “Thank you for everything, Lord! I pray that by your grace I would be able to continuously live my life for you.”

Yanthy’s New Favorite Snack

Banana used to be Yanthy’s favorite snack. Around two weeks ago, after I introduced him to Party Animals biscuits, it has become his new favorite snack. It was supposed to be one of the game prizes in his birthday party last October 18. I thought that it was perfect for his jungle-themed party. I showed it to him and told him about my plan. However, he didn’t let go of the box anymore after he got hold of it. So, I opened it and allowed him to taste the biscuits.

The biscuits are animal-shaped with their names carved on the biscuits. It has different flavors – butter, coconut and seaweed. I bought the butter flavored biscuits. I dipped the biscuits in his milk before giving them to him. He liked them very much. Initially, he could only finish 5 biscuits. After a few days, he averaged 10 biscuits per sitting. He finished 2 boxes of the biscuits in the past 2 weeks.

Last week, his 5 month old cousin JR, tried tasting the biscuits. The other baby liked it also that’s why his parents bought him a couple of boxes from SM Hypermart before going back to Surigao. When his cousin was with us, Yanthy tried eating the biscuits by biting into them without first dipping them in milk. He liked them that way, too. He was able to eat around 5 pieces again.

I’m happy I chanced upon this product when I was looking for game prizes. Although I was not able to use it for its original purpose, I’m glad I found something that Yanthy eventually loved to eat for his snack.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In Giving We Receive – The Wonders of Breastfeeding

A few days before my son turned one year old (which was a couple of weeks ago), I reviewed my breastfeeding guide book. I have been breastfeeding him since birth and I was happy to have fulfilled my goal of breastfeeding him for one year. I decided to read the guide book again to help me decide if I would continue breastfeeding him until he is two years old or if I would stop when he turns one.

My decision to read it again proved to be very enlightening. I was reminded of the many benefits of breastfeeding not only to my son but also to me. Let me share with you some of the benefits listed in the guide book that moved me to press on.

Benefits for babies:
1. Breastfed babies are more intelligent.
2. Babies are less likely to develop diarrhea, pneumonia, ear infections and even childhood obesity.
3. Breast milk is full of antibodies that prevent diseases.
4. Creates a strong bond between mother and baby.

Benefits for mothers:
1. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of being overweight among breastfeeding mothers. Each month of breastfeeding brought an average reduction 0.44 kg in weight. Therefore, longer breastfeeding can contribute to a reduction in weight after delivery.
2. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of breast cancer in mothers. The innate immune system in breast milk is complex and provides protection for maternal breast tissue and the digestive tract of newborns.
3. Not breastfeeding has been associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer. Women who breastfed longer and breastfed more children had lower risk of ovarian cancer.
4. Women with many children and long total period of breastfeeding have similar or higher bone mineral density and similar or lower fracture risk than their peers who have not given birth and breastfed.
5. Breastfeeding for more than 12 months reduces women’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The shorter the length of breastfeeding, the higher the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Delays the return of menstrual periods and helps space pregnancies.
7. Saves the family thousands of pesos.

These are just some of the benefits I have read about breastfeeding. I’ve read so much more from other books, magazines and articles. And I have experienced many of these benefits first hand in the past 12 months. My baby has been healthy with occasional cold and cough. He has not experienced having diarrhea. He is very intelligent and advance even in motor development. We are also able to save a lot of money since formula milk is quite expensive. Although, my baby is also drinking formula milk twice a day as a supplement, he drinks milk mainly from me. I also feel a strong bond between me and my son. He usually prefers to be with me than anybody else even though he’s familiar with other faces.

It’s amazing also that as I read the guide book, I realized that mothers receive so much in giving to their babies. At first, I thought the benefits are mainly for the child and that it’s like a sacrifice on the part of the mother for the good of the child. I was amazed to learn that there are so many gains for the mom as well. Truly, in giving we receive. What wonders God has created in us!

So, after being enlightened and inspired by the breastfeeding guide book, I decided to stretch my breastfeeding goal up to 2 years. By God’s grace, I’m confident that I would be able to meet this goal again.