Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Mother's Love

My mom and I never had a chance to be close. She was almost always abroad for work and my siblings and I were left with relatives. I was bitter growing up because I felt like I never received the support I was entitled to from her. I took pride in the belief that I've always managed to pull myself through difficult situations with very little to no help from her, but it only made the bitterness in my heart greater. At one difficult phase in my life, I even sent her an email questioning why she always helped my siblings more. She responded by telling me that each of us siblings is different and asked if I'd rather be in their shoes to be able to receive the kind of attention and support she was giving them. I didn't take it very well but shrugged it off because that's the kind of person I am.

Lately, I've been running out of funds and knowing that my mom "seems" to be doing well in her clothes business as well as her full-time work, I catch myself borrowing money from her every now and then. Yesterday, our FB conversation goes:

Mom: Magkano mo bibigay sa akin ang bride at mother of the bride hair and make-up. Balak kong i-offer kasama ng package para madagdagan ang pictures mo sa The Face is My Canvas.

Me: Wow. Thanks! Saan ba muna ang wedding? 1k per person ako, so kung bride and mother-of-bride, 2k un sa regular. Ikaw na bahala kung magkano bigay mo sakin.

Then I realized something about the chilli garlic I'm reselling for my brother:

Me: 30 bottles na pala oorderin kay kuya
na chilli. Narealize ko ako pala ang lugi pag madami na ang binili.
Kasi ibig sabihin, ibibigay ko cia ng (distributor price) per bottle (as opposed to my retail price), pero ako ang kukuha kay kuya ng lahat ng 30 bottles na un at ako pa magdedeliver.

Mom: Sige okay lang bawi ka na lang sa iba. 2k na babayaran ko sa iyo. May buffer naman ako sa package price.

Me: Yey! Wag mo nalang ako bayaran. Wala nalang akong utang sayo. (Roughly 1.9K)

Mom: Sige na nga.

Then I finally understood her response to my email years ago. I realized, also because of recent events, how different me and my siblings are: our personalities, our struggles, our thresholds... and that I should NEVER even think about comparing myself to them because our mom is tailor-fitting herself for us but loves each of us just as much.

I realized that the only reason I thought I didn't get the help I needed was because I was too arrogant to ask. That asking her to quit working so she could take care of my kids was a selfish act because not only will it hinder her from pursuing her personal dreams, but it will also prevent her from earning her own money that she'd use for enjoying life and supporting her loved ones.

I guess I'm having this epiphany also because it's the same way I am with my kids and I didn't realize it for the longest time. I leave Isabella to sleep on her own because Serene needs me to nurse. I leave Isabella to play on her own because Isabella and I had our time and it's Serene's turn now. I leave Isabella alone most of the time because Serene needs me more now. I help Serene proactively because she can't usually verbalize what she needs while I'm confident that Isabella can and she should if she really needs something. It's all the same with my mom and siblings, just not the same difficult situations yet but it'll get there someday.

Mi, I'd like to let you know that I understand you completely now and I appreciate you now more than ever. I'm sorry if I've said or done anything that has hurt you or offended your motherhood. I pray that God continue to bless you with good health and provision. Love you.

your every woman,

Monday, June 13, 2016

Tamang Kain Chronicles: The Seminar

I attended a small group seminar for parents with slow weight gaining or picky eater children. It was a very informative morning! Ms. Velvet & Ms. Noelle who facilitated the seminar did it in a very personal way, asking all 7 of us parents how the feeding problems started and how it was at the moment, resulting to a more tailor-fit recommendation. 

A typical feeding session...

Here are the things I've learned.

  • Food that Bulk Up
    • Avocado
    • Camote
    • Plantain (saging na saba)
    • Buco Meat
    • Beans & Lentils
    • Nuts
    • Unheated Vegetable Oils (Olive oil, VCO, etc)
  • Sugar destroys the mouth sensors, causing kids to prefer sweets over nutritious food such as vegetables.
  • Formula contains a lot of sugar so it doesn't help if you'd like your child to eat healthy. Breastmilk is still best for babies and fresh milk for older kids.
  • Pediasure was intended for the clinical treatment of severe acute malnutrition and shouldn't be given to healthy, normal kids. It replaces a whole meal making the child feel full as a result.
  • According to Ms. Velvet, Food is discipline. Power struggle in food is just the start of the many possible power struggles you'll encounter with your child as they grow. If you can discipline your children with food, you can also discipline them in other areas.
  • For older kids, you can encourage them to eat nutritious food by involving them in the process of making the food, from growing the vegetables, to preparing them in the kitchen.
  • For younger kids who throw tantrums at feeding time, calm down and show no emotion. Have them sit in Indian position while crying until they're done with it. Then offer food again.
  • Did you know that there are healthy alternatives to our usual seasoning? From the seminar, I learned that you can replace soy sauce with Bragg's Liquid Aminos and table salt with Himalayan salt.
  • One creative way to kickstart your child's journey to nutrition is to display a food rainbow. Your kid should be able to eat at least 1 healthy food as the colors of the rainbow a week. If they complete the rainbow you can give them a prize. She recommended non-material prizes but more of fun learning experiences.
  • Another great way to keep your little ones interested with nutritious food is to use a dinner puzzle/maze. The Dinner Winner shown below is just a fancy tray used for this purpose but you can create your own. Set a rule with your kids that they can't say no to food unless they've already tried it. With a wonderful tool like this, you can encourage your child to finish the whole maze by offering them prizes similar to the food rainbow.
It's great that I haven't done my grocery shopping prior to the seminar because I got to overhaul our pantry very easily. Tomorrow is day 1. 

your every woman,

Exercise your Faith!

I'm not exemplary when it comes to faith but as Jesus said in Matthew 17:20 "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain. Nothing will be impossible for you.". So I've been exercising faith like a muscle hoping for it to grow and these little acts of faith are really doing wonders for me.

Every time I head home alone, I go to this spot where jeepneys pass full. If I walk further, around 10-15 minutes from that spot, there's a sort-of terminal where there's a higher likelihood of vacant jeepneys going my route, but for my exercise, no. Each time I wait on my spot, I pray and tell myself "God knows how much I needed to go home as early as I could. If He wants me to get home, He'll give me a ride, no matter where I wait and no matter the time. If He doesn't, it's because He knows I don't need to" and God has indulged me every time!

Recently, I always wake up at around 3am and I'd have shallow sleep from then on. Turns out my mind was worried that my alarm would wake my baby and it'd be difficult for me to leave for work. Shallow sleep would allow me to wake up with the lowest volume of alarm and on first ring. As an added routine to my faith exercise, I depended on God to wake me up without an alarm and I do wake up +/- 10 minutes of 5:30am without fail! Earlier today my sleep was deep but then the AC turned off and woke me up, at 5:35am!

If you have none to little faith like I did, please try this. Find something simple/small in your life and trust God to fulfill your prayers on it. Each time God fulfills your prayers, add another routine. Keep on adding and watch your faith grow. Soon it won't be difficult to trust God with everything big or small.

your every woman,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Day I Thought I'd Lose Serene

While at soccer camp yesterday, it was obvious that Ella didn't have enough energy. Apparently, she only ate cereals and milk the whole day prior to camp which ran from 4:30-6:30pm. When the class was over, I brought them to KFC, found them a table, left them there, and lined up to buy them food. When I brought the food to where they were, I was shocked because Serene was not there!

A lot of things didn't turn out the way I expected them yesterday. I've prepared all the things Ella and Sereney would need for Ella's soccer camp and was very confident about it when I left for work. A few hours before the end of my shift, I was receiving messages from Ella & Drew at home asking where things were. I was a bit irritated because I gave them instructions to bring whatever I prepared and everything else was with me. When I met up with them, I found out that they left Serene's director's chair and brought an unnecessary extra bag with unnecessary contents. If you know me, you'd know I'd get mad about it, but I didn't. I was irritated, but not mad (Thank God for that!).

Sereney announced that she pooped before we left the mall beside my workplace so I had to clean her up, causing us to be a little behind schedule that we had to rush going to The Turf. Serene's sippy cup that I filled with water before leaving work spilled all over my bag for some reason. 

Before going to KFC, Ella drank water from her bottle and wasn't able to properly close it, spilling more water in my bag.

So, you can just imagine how I felt when I found out that Serene was not where I left them and Ella had no idea where she was! 

The first place I went to was the grocery which was right across KFC. She was not there! There was nothing to the right of KFC and the grocery, so I went left where there's an EGG (Exciting Gifts & Goodies) booth and right again towards McDonald's where a lot of Kiddie Crews were but Serene was still nowhere to be found! Those were the longest 5-10 minutes of my life!

While I was frantically calling out Serene's name, I was already on the verge of crying. I found a guard and began describing her out loud. Thankfully, the saleslady from EGG heard how I described her and knew that it was her inside National Bookstore. National Bookstore! Why didn't I think of it sooner?! That was the same place she'd go straight to whenever we go to that mall because she loved tinkering at the children's books there! Maybe I was too exhausted and worried that I wasn't thinking clearly. Good thing the children's books section was just right behind the store's glass wall so it was easy for the lady to see her as their store was in front of it.

I was just so grateful for I knew that the Lord was teaching me a lesson. He allowed just enough to make me realize that I CANNOT always be in control but trust that He'd always watch over my kids, my life, my situation. I stopped being pissed about what happened that night and went on to enjoy dinner with my precious kids. 

your every woman,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Blessed with Isabella

I would like to dedicate this post as a shouts-out to my eldest daughter, Isabella who is the most responsible, understanding ATE in the world.

Our most recent household help unexpectedly left us AGAIN! Well, we're no longer surprised that our household help never came back after her 2-week-long holiday vacation because that's how it is with our helps. It's like most relationships built on nothing - You suddenly realize that it's over and you keep asking yourself if there's anything about you, or anything you did wrong, but at the end of it all, they're just not that into you (errr, your household.). Moooving on...

So we're living away from our parents where it's near Isabella's school and without a help, we cannot depend on anyone else to stay in our house to care for our kids while we're working. It so happened that we just recently moved to a new workplace where we do not have the liberty of choosing schedules. Because of this, there would be at least an hour when the 2 girls would have to be left at home without an adult! Risky, I know, but there was nothing else we could do, so we talked to Isabella about our yaya-less routine plan and she was cool with it. In fact, when I woke up without an alarm and it was time for me to leave, I have heard Isabella rolling on her bed which indicates she was awake. She had expected her time of responsibility and all I had to do was whisper in her hear and she stood up, took her pillows and layed beside her sister! She even had the consciousness to take instructions like where the milk was and all that!

God is really true in His words. Some day, I know that He will give us the perfect setup where we won't have to choose between our means of living and our family, but until then, He blessed us with the Isabella so when times like these comes, we wouldn't have to worry that we won't have household help for the next couple of days... maybe weeks... or months... Thank you, Lord, for daughters like Isabella and thank you Isabella for honoring God and your parents by being the best ATE in the world.

your every woman,