Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

“Sleep, baby, sleep… close your eyes and sleep…”“Close your eyes and go to sleep… sleep, baby, sleep.”That was our two-year-old son, Yanthy, singing a lullaby with his little hand on my tummy.

My period was delayed by around a week last month so my husband and I thought that I was pregnant. It rarely happens to me because my period usually comes every 28 days. The last time I remember my period was delayed was when I got pregnant with our little boy. Thus, we wasted no time to check our son’s readiness in having a sibling.

One night before going to sleep, we asked him if he already wants to have a baby brother or sister. He said yes to our surprise. Then, we further asked him if he wanted a baby sister or brother. He said he wanted a baby sister. We seized the opportunity and told him that there might already be a baby sister inside Mommy’s tummy. He beamed and touched my tummy. Since then, Yanthy has been touching my tummy very often during the day especially before going to bed. He would usually sing her a lullaby, the lullaby that I used to sing to him that he already memorized and is singing to his “baby sister.” In one conversation also, he said that he will share his toys, books, clothes and milk to her baby sister. What a sweet little boy! It was then that we discovered that he’s ready to be a big brother.

The day after we talked to Yanthy about having a baby sister, I had some spotting. I was alarmed because I really thought that I was pregnant. But when I went to see my doctor for consultation and ultrasound, we found out that my period was just delayed due to hormonal imbalance and the spotting is part of my menstruation.

I had mixed emotions. I was glad and relieved that I was not pregnant because of the spotting I experienced. I thought that to have bleeding at the start of a pregnancy could be risky. I was disappointed and sad however to discover that I was having my monthly period again that time; for, it was obvious that Yanthy wanted so much to have a baby sister already. I felt that he would be disappointed and sad also if we tell him there’s no baby in my tummy yet.

Therefore, we’ve decided not to tell him that there is no baby in my tummy at that time. We just let him talk to my tummy as if he’s conversing to his baby sister. He continued to do that and sang songs to her every day. He even asks her sometimes about her high point! Haha! Yanthy is so cute!

Then, yesterday, I decided to ask my ob-gyne when I can have a pregnancy test to check if I’m pregnant because my period has been delayed once more. I was thrilled when she said that I can already check yesterday because the first day of my last menstruation was 42 days ago. I hurriedly called my husband and shared with him what my doctor told me. I asked him to buy a pregnancy test kit when he goes home from the office in the evening.

My husband arrived home a little bit later than usual. He had dinner first. We had some chat with our little boy about our high points and low points during the day. Then, we had our family prayer. My husband was excited for me to use the pregnancy test kit but I didn’t feel like peeing yet. So I asked our maid to prepare for me a warm calamansi juice first. I drank the juice and a glass of water.

It was time to use the kit. I was baffled at first when I read the instructions on the box. Suddenly, I wasn’t sure how to use it although I used a pregnancy test kit also during my first pregnancy. Anyway, I was able to figure out what to do afterwards and proceeded with the pregnancy test.

I was very careful in following the instruction to make sure that I will get it right. Excitement was building up in me as well.

One drop, two drops, three drops, four drops… and finally the last. I watched carefully as the drops of urine were absorbed by the strip of paper inside and the test kit showed two lines. I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant again!

I could not hide my joy as I came out of the bathroom. My husband said that he and Yanthy were praying while I was inside collecting a sample of my urine for the test. We were all very happy!

Looking back, I was just amazed at how my son has prophesied our future. To my husband and me, it was like Yanthy was playing pretend. We liked it because somehow it conditions and prepares him for the time that I will truly be pregnant again. But in our son’s heart he was already Kuya Yanthy. In fact, he delighted in being called Kuya Yanthy. He was proud to say that he will take care of her baby sister when she comes out and he was becoming more careful whenever we remind him not play rough near my tummy because his baby sister might get hurt. Oh, the faith of a child! I pray that we would always have that kind of faith.

I thank the Lord for giving me another child and for giving her to me at a time when we are all ready to welcome her into our lives. I thank the Lord that we didn’t have difficulty conceiving this child even though my doctor before warned me that I might have difficulty next time conceiving because of my polycystic ovaries. God is victorious once more! He gave us another miracle. He had the final say! In His perfect time, He has blessed us with another child to nurture, raise and love. I thank the Lord for giving me the grace to believe again that with Him, nothing is impossible. As the Bible says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” (John 20:29) Yanthy believed that he will have a baby sister. I believed that I will be pregnant again without any medical workups. It happened! To God be the glory!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Stay-at-Home Mom Chronicles Her Day

His soft cheek was pressed snugly to my cheek as we cuddled for an afternoon nap in our sofa. A peaceful smile rests on my face as I close my eyes and bask in the warmth of our embrace. Only a couple of hours have passed since our wall clock struck 12 and we have filled our hungry stomachs; and yet, I fill that my heart is already bursting at the seams because of the wonders of this seemingly ordinary day. I can’t help myself from taking this time to pause, savour, document and capture the beauty in my ordinary experiences as a stay-at-home mom.

My wonderful day started with lots of hugs from my husband as I woke up and lazily stretched on our bed. Then, I read my devotionals and said my morning prayers. I went outside to join my husband at the breakfast table. I slowly sipped a hot ginger ale flavoured with calamansi and honey as I chatted with my husband. I was not yet hungry so I decided to simply drink a glass of low-fat milk. My husband headed to the bathroom to take a bath after eating his breakfast while I decided to send an important email and check my inbox while waiting for my little boy to wake up.

As I hit the shut down button on our computer, I heard my husband open the bedroom door and announce that our son is awake. I welcomed him with an embrace and sang my morning song to him. Afterwards, we walked with his Dad to our main door and kissed him goodbye.

It’s now breakfast time! Eating breakfast together has been one of my cherished moments with my son lately. He has learned to eat and enjoy oatmeal and cereals, which my husband and I usually have for breakfast together with whatever fruit in season. Today, we had oatmeal and banana for breakfast. We exchanged smiles between spoonfuls and before we ate our bananas, we sang some songs. We sang some more songs after finishing our breakfast, read some books, watched his favorite phonics video and pretended that we were having a picnic in our living room for an hour or so before we had our snack and took a bath.

After that, I cooked for him one of his favorite soups – potato and bacon soup – while he played with our maid. I fed him his lunch and watched with him one of our favorite tv shows on the Disney channel, Word World.

I gazed lovingly at my two-year old boy as he sleeps on his crib and said a prayer of thanks to God for letting me experience this inexplicable joy. Words may not be enough to tell the complete story of my day that unfolded beautifully; still, I choose to etch it some more in our memories with another blog entry.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Word World Book: One Great Book Sale Find!

I just came from the grocery with my little boy when I decided to drop by the nearby Book Sale store to check out if there are nice books on sale. I love going there to hunt for good finds and I usually end up buying a number of nice books either for my personal consumption or for giving away to family and friends. I can spend hours going through the piles of books and inspecting each one to see if it’s new or if it’s still in good condition in case it’s pre-owned.

On this particular afternoon, I chanced upon one great find. I found a brand new book based on one of my son’s favorite TV shows -- Word World! I didn’t know that there are already books based on the show. But I was certainly delighted with my latest discovery. Now, I can read this book to my son whenever he insists that he wants to watch Word World and it’s not yet time to watch it. Plus, it was only P85! Some hardbound books and those that encourage activity like touch and feel or pull the tab books can be as much as P300 or more in a regular bookstore. I have not seen it, however, in the regular bookstores that my family frequents. So, I bought it right away since it was the only copy available. The store’s staff said that they are not sure when they would have more copies delivered.

My two-year old son and I were so excited to read the book. We read it as soon as we got home from the mall. And as I read it with him, I realized what a really great find it was! The book is a pull the tab kind of book entitled Dog is Lost. Books like this that encourage activity and participation are very good for toddlers especially active and curious ones like my son. The story revolves around the BEAR who was searching for her friend DOG. BEAR goes around Word World looking for DOG and asking other Word World friends if they have seen DOG. There is tab that the child can pull at every page to find out if the animal hiding behind something was DOG. At every page also, one or two letters of the animal’s name is shown to give a clue. When the child pulls the tab, he/she would see the complete name of the animal. The book is so entertaining and educational! You get to ask the child at every page if he/she has seen DOG and if the animal hiding at a particular spot in Word World is DOG based on the letter or letters shown.

My son and I had so much fun reading it that afternoon. We must have read it a number of times already before his Dad came home. Then, he asked his Dad to read it again to him when his dad arrived from the office. At that moment, I learned another wonderful way to maximize his learning from reading the book by simply watching my husband read it to our little boy. His Dad asked Yanthy to spell the names of the animals who were hiding and who the BEAR thought was her friend DOG after pulling each tab.

Since then, this Word World book has become one of our son’s favorite books every time we read. He gets animated at every page. Sometimes, I see and hear him read the book on his own. He has learned to read and spell around a dozen of words by watching the show Word World almost everyday. With the book, he has learned to spell and read additional words like DOG, COW, PIG and BARN. I’m so glad I found and bought it that fateful afternoon at the Book Sale! I’m very grateful to God for giving us this blessing. Moreover, I’m excited to head to the Book Sale store again after we go to the grocery next time to check if they have other titles on Word World. I hope to find more.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Practical Mom’s Money-saving Strategies (Part 2)

Hello to all practical moms out there! I’m sure that just like me you’re in the lookout for ways to enjoy quality family life without breaking the bank. I’m here again to share another list of money-saving strategies which I put to good use quite often.

1. Scout for nice places where your family can bond for free or on a budget. I strongly believe that taking time out to simply enjoy one another’s company is vital to nourish and strengthen our family relationships. Dads can be too busy earning a living and moms can be too busy managing the home. Kids can also get busy with school work. But it surely pays to take time out from our busy schedules to simply enjoy each other’s presence. That’s why I make sure that we get to visit a new place as a family if not once a month, at least once a quarter. Not only does this activity recharge everybody, it also enables us to create happy memories as a family. Now, before you moms tell me that this activity can be quite expensive, let me share with you my strategy. I make sure that my list of go-to places for family field trips is a mixture of places that we can visit for free or with a low budget. Then I put the more expensive but nice places to visit at the bottom of my list just to give us an option when the budget permits. We started doing this at the start of last year and so far we’ve been having so much fun. Our son is having a grand time visiting different museums and parks with us. My husband and I are also having so much fun touring these places with our son. And one of the nice things about our trips is that we don’t worry about our expenses because the places we’ve been to were budget-friendly. So far, we’ve visited Casa Santa (entrance fee: P100) in Antipolo last January and the Aerospace Museum and Aircraft Park of the Philippine Airforce (entrance fee: P20) in Taguig last April. We’ve had a picnic at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center (entrance fee: P8) in Quezon City last May and we visited the Manila Ocean Park last June. Last August, until just before my son turned 2 years old next, we visited Museo Pambata in Roxas Boulevard and enjoyed their different theme rooms. I took advantage of the free entrance for my son who is still less than two years old at that time. The entrance fee for adults and children two years old and older is P100. Of the different places we’ve visited, only the Manila Ocean Park was quite pricey. The price was worth it though. We had fun especially at the fish spa and glass boat ride. There are still other places I’d like us to visit like the UP Sunken Garden, La Mesa Eco Park, Rizal Park, Avilon Zoo, The World of Butterflies and the Shoe Museum. I encourage you to go out and have an adventure with your loved ones to these places if you haven’t been there yet. You can also scout for other nice places that interest you and fit your budget. Who say’s we can’t have fun on a budget?

2. Venture into DIY projects. I like arts and crafts a lot and I get excited doing DIY projects. They give me an opportunity to express and cultivate my creativity. They also help me save money because sometimes I make my own cards and gifts or giveaways. Either I make something from scratch or I improve on something store-bought at a low price. When I was still in college, I would make hand-painted cards for friends or family members. But since painting can be time consuming, I have opted to make handmade cards or use the computer instead. Doing arts and crafts or DIY projects as a family can also foster better relationships. You share in the joys and challenges of creating something or making something more beautiful. My husband and I had our first DIY venture when we printed and made our wedding invitations. I wanted our invitation to be unique and personalized so I thought of making a bouquet-inspired wedding invitation. It’s like giving all our guests a rose bouquet as we invite them to be part of our special day. It was a labor of love. It was tiring but very fulfilling; because, our guests really appreciated our unique and personalized invitation. Moreover, we saved thousands of pesos. Our second joint DIY project was our son’s audio-visual presentation for his first birthday party. My husband did most of the technical work while I pitched in by contributing ideas on what pictures to include, what music to use and how to make it more interesting. I also personalized the give-aways for my son’s first birthday party. I had a hard time looking for give-aways with a Madagascar theme that would fit my budget so I decided to make the give-aways myself. I bought generic erasers and personalized them to have Madagascar images. I was also the one who printed the coloring pages/booklets. I made the materials for the kiddie games and decorated a plain scrapbook to become the party’s guest book. Not only was I able to stick to the theme of the party by doing these DIY projects, I was also able to save thousands of pesos by using my imagination, resourcefulness and creativity.

3. Whip up something special from your kitchen on special occasions. Dining out too often can be very detrimental to your budget. That’s why I have made it a norm in our household to celebrate special occasions at home. If I have plenty of time to prepare, I cook all the dishes to be served. If not, I cook some of the dishes and buy one or two from a restaurant or bakeshop. It’s only on very rare occasions that I have everything catered like when we celebrated my son’s first birthday. I’m a Hotel and Restaurant Administration graduate anyway. It’s fun and exciting to put my skills to use every once in a while. But whether you are professional trained or not, a skilled cook or not, I believe that with practice and commitment, you can eventually come up with specialty dishes on your sleeve that your family and friends would love. These would surely come handy on special days when your party budget isn’t much. I recommend that you try pasta recipes to start with. There are a number of simple and easy to do pasta recipes. My advice is that you try or test a recipe first with your immediate family as critics. Then, vary it according to your family members’ tastes. Try it again around a week before your big event to give you a chance to practice the revised measurements (just in case you chose to make some adjustments in the recipe). As you do this step repeatedly over time, you will soon be surprised that you have already accumulated a number of family favourites. So, wait no more. Experiment and have fun with your family in the kitchen!

I hope these ideas inspired you to make your family activities extra exciting without the financial worries.