Thursday, December 15, 2011

Have you seen my puppy?

One fine day, my Nanay brought home this thing vibrant with all the colors from ROY-G-BIV and handed it to me while I was chillaxin' in my crib.

I figured, What a waste of money! They could have just gotten me some new clothes, since I was having a hard time breathing on those onesies that I had outgrown. But to give respect to my Nanay, I looked at it just the same.

It turned out to be a cloth-book (or at least that's what I call it). It's about the story of a boy asking help to find his puppy. Of all the topics they could have asked to me to read, they chose to bore me about a lost puppy. I would have enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo more, but well, let's see how this goes..

I started reading it.. and got so hooked 'coz the little boy kept on looking for his puppy at all the wrong places!

The plot thickened! Every time the boy asked if that was his puppy, the clothbook would ask me to do something, like lift the cover and see if the puppy was behind the refrigerator, or remove the cover from the bushes. And there would always be something for my developing senses, like a rough cloth for me to touch, or a button that would emit sounds, or a page that  sounded like crumpled plastic when touched.

Without me knowing, I was hooked! You see how I burried my face? I would leave no stones unturned until I find the poor boy's puppy.

I even brought it in my bed to read before bedtime. 

But my Nanay and Tatay and the rest of the Cristobal Pamileh were so chaotic in cheering for me, I lost my concentration.

These people! After they drove me nuts to lay my hand on the book, now that it got me going, they made all the loud noises and laughter that got me distracted. So hard to deal with old folks.

And guess what they did next? They took the clothbook away from me and said it's time to hit the sack. Seriously?! But i haven't found the puppy yet!!

And besides, do I look like a sleepy boy to you??

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just like your Tatay

Just like your Tatay, I hope you turn out to be good in Math so you can ace your entrance exams and get admitted in good schools. Unlike your tatay, I totally sucked in numbers, - that's why I took up Law. I took the UPCAT and I tried solving those math problems, but the results of my computation were not included in any of the choices. It's either I got it wrong- or their questions were too much to handle for my arithmophobic brain. But your Tatay, he used to compete in math  quiz bees when he was in high school. Your Tatay loves numbers, emulate him as much as you can. 

Just like your Tatay, I hope you become a voracious reader. I  am not gaga over books -I  think your Nonna (my Nanay) has read more books than I have. But your Tatay- he breathes reading. I am a living witness to your tatay's excitement everytime  he  sees a bookstore and his persistence to find ebooks on the web to hoard on his kindle.  In fact, his heart sank when his books, especially the hard-to-find sort, were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy. And being a bookworm that he is, his vocabulary is a bottomless pit. I do not even trust him when he  answers "I don't know" when I ask the meaning or synonym of a certain word - I suspect that he's just trying to be humble. Your tatay has gotten so much from reading, emulate him as much as you can.

Just like your Tatay, I hope you fascinate yourself with literature and poetry. He would recite to me Edgar Allan Poe's Anabelle Lee as he drives on our way home. I don't get the kilig factor because he invariably does that just to annoy me. But then, who can recite poems like that these days? His first gift to me was a poem printed on a fancy blue paper and placed on a frame. He said it was the only thing he could afford at that time, but secretly, I know he did it on purpose because he knows I will be blown away. He is definitely not a romantic person (He is definitely not a romantic person, Emphasis Supplied). But he has a gift that you could put to a good use to swoon ladies, emulate him as much as you can.

Just like your Tatay, I hope you become a dedicated family man. Before we came to his life, he already was the "mama's-favorite" material. He never answered back to your grandparents save those times when he was pushed to study harder because his teachers thought that he could achieve more if only he was diligent. He sent your aunt to school even when his fledgling law career can only provide him a paltry sum enough  for his rent and daily subsistence; he is now doing this for your uncle. Also, he still punches your grandpa and your uncles for fun and he berates your aunts for wearing those trendy micro-minis. And every time he holds you and play with you like a doting father, I can see your grandparents beaming with pride in one corner. But please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you  should be biased against clothes that are too little and make-ups that are too much. He tends to overdo that one, so try to deviate a little :p Other than that, his love for family is unfathomable, emulate him as much as you can. (And make your momma proud, too).

Just like your Tatay, please strive for brain excellence without being smart alec. Your Tatay has a bouquet of laurel on his forehead.  I, on the other hand, can only show  you laurels on my adobo. (Waley?) I would love to go up on the stage on your graduation day and pin your Magna Cum Laude medal, just like how your lola did. I am even thinking of giving you a thousand tongue-lashings "ala-lola" if ever you  become a lackadaisical  highschool student like your tatay in the hope that you'll bring out your true potential and turn out to be an ace college student just like him. Your tatay was a genius, I was just a diligent student, so to spare yourself the effort, emulate him as much as you can.

Just like your Tatay, be resilient. I have had my share of troubles, and he has faced his own storms, too. But between the two of us, he is the "cooler" one. I tend to overanalyze every situation, worry too much about it, and then bask in the gloomy atmosphere of depression I myself created. Your Tatay knows how to laugh about it, no matter how tough the situation seems to be. I hope you don't turn out to be sickly, though. Because he can't stand illness and hospitals. I grew up bringing myself to the ERs and operating rooms by myself and coming out of it smiling, so I guess that's when I take charge. Your Tatay and I have gone through the days of half-order of munggo and one rice  to make do with what we had. I was sad and depressed, he was content and cheerful, emulate him as much as you can.

Just like your Tatay, please be a philosopher. Well, you may opt to become either a doctor, a lawyer, an artist, an architect, an engineer, or a stand-up comedian- choose whatever suits you! But be a thinking person. He will probably importune you with the idea of living your   life consciously and in accordance with your life's "guideposts". And I will gladly relinquish the rein in his favor on those "life matters" because he knows better. Remember, our conversation ala Before Sunrise, Before Sunset has gotten me, totally. He can be very intimidating to talk to, but sometimes, he is just the right dose of medicine one needs to be enlightened, emulate him as much as you can.

Just like your Tatay, please, for your own sake, be a funny man! I mean, your Tatay is a really funny guy. As in the makes-you-wanna-pee-in-your-pants funny. And I'd like to think I'm a funny person as well. So it would be so sad  on your part to be left out on our "laughing trips".  Oh, and we've gotten you a bunch of funny ninongs and ninangs, and your titas and titos are all kalog and makulit, so really, you'll be all alone on the other side  of the fence if you don't turn out to be funny.  So please emulate him as much as you can.

All my wishes may be too much to ask from you, but you must not lose heart.  You have his genes to begin with, so these things may not be that hard for you. Your Tatay is one of the most wonderful persons I have ever met in my life-- and I am saying this not as a wife, but someone who has come to know him before I have fallen in love with him.  he cajoled me into falling in love with him. It would be grand if you take after him.

After all, they say you already look like me, and I think I could live with that. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

The day Zohan rolled over

I wasn't there when it happened. No glimpse, no proud-momma-moment, no leap for joy. None whatsoever. But that's okay. I mean, that's just rolling over. There would still be a series of first - first solid food, first walk, first day of school, recitals, graduation - a whole lot more meaningful than a baby rolling over to be on his chest. So, no big deal. Besides, it would not be the last time he's going to do that. There'll be plenty of it, and with more precision! So I figured I'll just wait for the weekend to come home and cheer him up as he impresses me with his roll-over moves.

I wish I can honestly tell you that's the way I handled it. But no.

It was November 18, 2011, Zohan's third month. It also happened to be our lawfirm's 6oth founding anniversary and the entire office was set for a big lunch over at Peking Garden. So everybody in the office was looking their best and mighty excited for this no-work-let's-just-party-til-we-drop day! I arrived early in the office to have breakfast before heading on to Greenbelt for the office-sponsored mass. While having breakfast, I texted my mother-in-law,
"Ma, happy birthday kay Zohan. I-kiss and hug mo na lang ako sa kanya."
And she texted me back,
"Oo nga 'nak. Ang regalo nya sa atin eh dumapa na sya ngayon lang."
Right then and there, I could feel my eyes swelling up, ready to part with that little tear I was trying so hard to control. The non-legal staff were there and I would not want to create a scene over my son's first roll over. But, as fate would have it, I cried. My secretary was asking me what happened, and I just said, 

"Dumapa na daw 'yung anak ko, hindi ko man lang nakita.. :(
Naku, tama na nga 'yan. Ang mascara, ang mascaraaaaah!"
But deep inside, I was wallowing in guilt and sadness. That day came and went. I celebrated with the rest of the staff, but every so often, I imagined my son trying to get his cute little butt to turn and lay flat on his chest. I imagined my mother-in-law beaming with happiness. And I wasn't there to share her joy.

That weekend, I was very excited to go home. I wanted to see it for myself. And yes, he could really roll-over now!

Look, I can do this now!

Tatay, where you looking at?

Oh, there's the camera. I should face here!

..and then smile just a bit to keep my mystery :)

That night, and the nights thereafter, he just kept rolling over like he's in a frenzy! All I needed was to lay him down and he would automatically roll over. And he would do that even at night when his hunger interrupted his sleep. So I would always have to get up and pick him up and lay him on his back again so he could go back to sleep. And if you leave him alone in his sleep, he'd roll over, eyes-shut and all. So cute! 

I'd like to think it's his way of telling his Nanay that it's okay if I missed one of his milestones.  There would still be a lot to look forward to. But babies could not be as thoughtful at that age. It's just feed-play-sleep for them, so, that's just my imagination. =) I just keep on reminding myself that motherhood is such a beautiful thing to ruin with all my drama. So keep on smiling. And hugging and kissing this little baby boy.

'Til the next milestone!

What Games to Play (Baby Shower Post, Part 2)

This is long overdue. But before we finally bid 2011 goodbye, which is the year when this Baby Shower was had, let me continue with my blabber in the hope that you can get ideas if you are, by any chance, hosting a baby shower for your friends.

Measure Your Waist

I call this game "Measure your waist", for obvious reasons! You will need a ribbon, band, or anything that can be used to measure your waist. The goal is to approximate the waistline of the pregnant momma, baby bump and all! I forgot who won this game, and I forgot what my waistline was. This was almost a month before I give birth and I haven't even been injected with anesthesia!

ME at 8 months! 
Here are the photos of the girls, measuring away!


I think it was Hannah who won this contest, judging by the way this photo was taken!

She looks like she's receiving a price here
List it Down!
The participants will be grouped and given a pen and paper. The host will announce the categories and the participants are supposed to write down all the items they could think of belonging to that category. For instance, BABY BATH TIME! We've got items like baby bath soap, baby oil, water, basin, etc. You know how it goes! Then the future mommy is supposed to check the items listed by the group and sum it up. The group that comes up with the most items wins. By that time, I have already stuffed my brain with all those information so I didn't have a hard time checking. Yeah, by that time, I already know what animal is a Desitin!

Fierce competition we got here!


And last, and the most fun of them all..

Eat the Poop-Ice-Cream
The person with the strongest gut wins.
Enjoy the rest of the photos!



Thursday, December 1, 2011

What's in a name?

We named our first-born Zahir Mohandas. It's quite a handful, right? Everytime I was asked what's my baby's name, I always had to repeat it for them. Always. And it would entail a long explanation why he was named such. So the next time I was asked, I just answered "Zohan". And then they would ask, as in Zohan the movie? And I'd say yes, and they would usually laugh. So, end of conversation. Short-cut, wasn't it?

We named him Zahir Mohandas for our own selfish reasons. Selfish because we are delighted by the name, while the poor boy will have to bear with writing his kilometric name in Kindergarten. And in the first grade, he might need to explain to his teacher and his classmates the story behind his name. And when he gets older and it's time to hit the chikas - I hope in God's name the girls are unaware of that movie by Adam Sandler -they might think he's one grossly funny guy who makes the perfect perm! But, if they dig funny guys, then maybe that's a plus. So, yeah, his name is our own selfish concoction.

Zahir was taken from The Zahir, a book by one of my favorite authors Paulo Coelho. (He's everybody's favorite now, do you notice?). It is a story of pilgrimage of love and obsession, a husband looking for a wife who decided to disappear, and in the process, was able to find himself. It is not even my favorite Coelho novel, but then, who would want to name his son Veronika, or Miss Prym, or Valkyries, or Witch of Portobello? (On second thought, Alchemist sounds cool.)

Grabbed from google images

Mohandas was a loving tribute of his Tatay to Mohandas Ghandi. I cannot talk enough of his Tatay's fascination to Ghandi. Like Ghandi, he is a lawyer who struggles to shed the dermis of worldliness and reveal the "atman" in him.

This used to be his Facebook Profile picture, but now, it has been
replaced by our version of Mohandas

Offhandedly, just by the sound of his name, our first-born seems like a kick-ass philosophy-driven bookworm who doesn't know how to have fun. 

But, of course, we do not want him to turn out that way. We want him to embrace the beauty of life. Personally, I would want him to be just like his Tatay - an incredible permutation of comic and depth who has the uncanny ability to make you pee in your pants with his humor and antics and - just by pressing a switch- to baffle you with his unorthodox but inspiring views about life and its purpose.

To make way for the comic part, we gave Zohan as his nickname. I hate to be anti-climactic, but yes, Zohan as in the hilarious Adam Sandler in You Don't Mess with the Zohan.

Our friends find our choice of nickname as silly, but in a cute way. Sometimes, I wonder if it was a mistake giving him that nickname. This happens mostly when I recall the scenes from the movie and I imagine him doing the same. But when you googled Zohan, after being directed to numerous links to the movie and Sandler's crazy photos, you'll learn that it is actually a Slavic name for a gift from God. Akalain mo 'yun?

But seriously, he is really one of God's most precious gifts to us. We did not wish for him, but he was given to us. Zohan came at a point that we least expected, but to God, he came right on time. And we couldn't be happier. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For the love of coffee

It's that time of the year again when everybody's going gaga over a red-velvet cup and a gazillion calories in exchange for a planner that usually ends up being used only at the beginning of the year. 

Photo grabbed from google images

I am not really a sticker collector. But a coffee-lover is an understatement. Don't we just love coffee? Whether the signature-fattening type, or the sachets of 3-now up to 7-in 1, or even just the ones we make at home (Ikaw, anong timpla mo?), it's always a delight to have coffee!

Cappuccino at Classic Confections in Greenbelt 5

 So imagine how horrible it must have been for a pregnant-me to stay away from coffee and the endless chika with girlfriends that usually go with it. In fact, of the many things that I needed to get off my system during pregnancy, it was coffee that gave me the hardest time. I quit smoking and drinking right on the very day those ominous two lines appeared. .  (Yes, I was such a wild child back in the days!) In fact, I don't think I ever really let coffee out of my routine.  My pregnancy just took out some pleasure from the coffee-drinking experience and replaced it with guilt.   I settled for decaf and stick (or at least try to stick) to at least one cup a day. But on heavy days in the office, coffee had been my ultimate stress-buster and I consumed more than what I should really have.   Also, when it's coffeedate with the girls and I was craving for a drink with no decaf version, I indulge in my guilty pleasure. And, when I was reaaaaally sleepy, the Nescafe 3-in-1 always did the trick.

So when I finally gave birth, one of the things I really looked forward to doing was drinking coffee (without the guilt feeling and the "in moderation" note to self). But my bubbles burst when my excitement was overheard by my officemate, who remarked that if I ever thought of breastfeeding, I should steer clear from coffee because it's bad for the baby. Of course, being the sore loser that I was, I scoured over my reliable materials and read up on caffeine and its effect on breast milk. I wouldn't give up just like that! 

Most materials would say that it's okay to drink coffee in moderation since very little caffeine pass on to your milk. I also read from the internet that it could decrease your milk production if too much caffeine goes into your system. But kellymom had all the information that you might need regarding coffee-drinking while breastfeeding.

"Most breastfeeding mothers can drink caffeine in moderation. Some babies, particularly those under 6 months, may be more sensitive to mom's caffeine intake. Babies whose mothers avoided caffeine completely during pregnancy seem to react more to caffeine in mom's diet. Even if baby is sensitive to the caffeine now, he may not be when he's a little older -- so if you do have to stop or limit your caffeine intake, you can try again when baby is older."

Apparently, if the baby is particularly wakeful and fussy, chances are the caffeine content of the coffee did its part. Such baby can be categorized as “caffeine-stimulated-baby”, who is described as "a wide-eyed, active, alert baby who doesn't sleep for long." I had been observing my little boy and there were really nights that he kept on giggling and trying his new-found trick of rolling-over until almost midnight! Yes, 12 midnight! I thought, what an active super boy I have! But when I came across this article at kellymom, I realized, with a sigh of guilt, ohh must be the coffee! 

So, how much caffeine is too much? "The amount of caffeine that might affect baby will vary depending upon the specific baby and the baby's age and health. The estimate we often hear is "less than five-oz cups of coffee or 500mg/day. Various sources suggest an upper limit for caffeine ranging from 300-750 mg/day."

Okay, I know that's too scholarly and we want spoonfeeding as much as possible, don't we? So here, I present to you a table of my supposed caffeine intake based on the 500mg/day limit set above:

Equivalent caffeinated products for various daily caffeine intakes
150 mg
300 mg
500 mg
Starbucks Coffee
250 mg/8 oz (short)
375 mg/12 oz (tall)
500 mg/16 oz (grande)
1/2 cup (short)
1 cup (short)
2 cups (short)
1.5 cups (tall)
1 cup (grande)
Coffee, brewed
100 mg/5 oz
160 mg/8 oz
1.5 cups (5-oz)
1 cup (8-oz)
3 cups (5-oz)
2 cups (8-oz)
5 cups (5-oz)
3 cups (8-oz)
Starbucks Frappuccino
98 mg/9.5 oz bottle
1.5 bottles
3 bottles
5 bottles
Diet Coke
46 mg/12 oz can
77 mg/20 oz bottle
3 cans (12-oz)
2 bottles (20-oz)
6.5 cans (12-oz)
4 bottles (20-oz)
11 cans (12-oz)
6.5 bottles (20-oz)
40 mg/12 oz can
67 mg/20 oz bottle
3.5 cans (12-oz)
2 bottles (20-oz)
7.5 cans (12-oz)
4.5 bottles (20-oz)
12.5 cans (12-oz)
7.5 bottles (20-oz)
Tea, leaf or bag
48 mg/8 oz
3 cups (8-oz)
6 cups (8-oz)
10 cups (8-oz)
Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream
24 mg/4 oz serving
6 servings (4-oz)
12.5 servings (4-oz)
20 servings (4-oz)
Dannon Coffee Yogurt
36 mg/6 oz serving
4 servings (6-oz)
8 servings (6-oz)
13 servings (6-oz) 

Coffee is what I look forward to in the morning. It keeps me awake and working in front of a computer at noon. And it caps off a gastronomical night with friends. But, at the expense of a fussy little boy? :( 

So next time I hit the hot water station in the office, I better think of this table and my wide-eyed alert angel. Meanwhile, I leave you with this frappe the husband dropped off at my office one evening I was pulling an all-niter. Ain't he a sweetheart? 

Within my daily limit!

Have a great coffee day, you all!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby Shower and Beyond

I love baby showers. It's not that I've been to too many to love them. Quite the contrary, I've only attended the shower thrown by my friends for my baby. (I should have just said I loved my baby shower, but as the husband always says, I'm verbose like that! haha!)

During baby showers, one can get quite a lot of cute gifts for  the little one. And the concomitant games can be very amusing (games for bridal showers can be fun, but that's a totally different genre). For a group of friends who are not yet parents, you will be surprised about how the games can turn in to. The cluelessness can lead to hilarious answers. And the soon-to-be mommy becomes the repository of all those "mom-information". 

And that's exactly what happened when my friends from lawschool and from the office threw a surprise baby shower for me! Imagine a bunch of single ladies (and a few guys) who absolutely doesn't know a thing about babies throwing a baby shower party! (*Ano ba yung Desitin? Wala namang ganun, nag iimbento sila ng sagot!) 

See there? I'm beaming with happiness for the baby shower thrown by my friends

It was thoughtfully organized by one of Zohan's ninang, Mareng Joyce.

Mareng Joyce with her bongga pose

She searched for a good caterer, and found CCME Homemade Food Stuff ( We had Fiesta Espesyal, which was a delight of 6 courses, good for 20 pax, for only P3,175. There's chicken relleno, beef caldereta, embotido grande, baked macaroni, and chopped chicken in green peas and quail eggs. For dessert, we had their to-die-for fruit salad. We took home the left-over fruit salad, it's sinfully good!

Of course, Mareng Joyce had the help of the gerls! 

Mareng KQ and Kat, my friends from the office.
My friends from lawschool: Jenny, Fila, Masha, Ting and Boinks
( Some are not in the photo because they arrived late!)
My bestfriend Jona was kind enough to offer her condo unit as venue. (which is now for sale, by the way. For interested buyers, you can leave me a message here.) She recently gave birth, and she had to leave early coz the little boy is running out of expressed milk! -- (also a breastfeeding junkie)

With Bruchie Jona
And, what's a party without the cake?! Thanks to Masha, who was the night's scene-stealer for having found this cake, much to everyone's consternation. With my disgusting appetite at that time, I was so eager to devour on that yummeh-looking cake. But guess what, it's a diaper-cake! It's made of real diapers, which eventually landed to Zohan's cute little butt! Coolness! (You can visit their Facebook Page at The Diaper Bakeshop)

We had fun games, which I can't wait to share with you! And of course, the gifts. The giiiiiffffts! They were all awesome! And I can't wait to share it with you also. But since I've got work to do and I know you can wait, that will have to be on my to-do list.

For now, let me thank my wonderful friends for this baby shower. Ahh! The blessing of being a couple in the same group of friends and winning the race to parenthood! That night before we retired to bed, I couldn't resist opening all the gifts and taking a photo of them.

Thank you!!!

I tweeted, "Thank you Lord for the gift of wonderful friends. We are so overwhelmed." 

Because really, it's not just the gifts, or the games, or the foods. It goes way beyond that. It's knowing that a lot of people are happy for you as you bring someone wonderful into this world. So Lord, thank you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working Mom Guilt (Episode 1)

It's Monday, 14 November 2011. 7am.

The husband dropped me off at McDonald's two hours before my supposed hearing at a  court in Quezon City, so I had time to have breakfast. But instead of me enjoying my happy food...

I'm sulking in one corner, looking like I'd gambled and lost at a casino, all weary and sad because all I could think of was this cutiepatootie I left at home..

Who wouldn't, right?

They call it working-mom-guilt. And this is just one of the many episodes. For me, it is even more difficult because aside from maintaining a day job, I couldn't even hug and kiss this cute little boy at night =( I have to leave him with my in-laws in Bulacan coz we are still preparing his humble home in Manila. So I get to be with him only four nights in a week.

Aneeeewaaay, I have been reading a lot of momblogs lately in the hope of assuaging myself that really, I am a good mother even if I arrive home with the baby asleep and leave home with him still in deep slumber. But there are days, like today, when depression gets the best of you, and all you can think of is just to leave the corporate world and cuddle with your little one.

Times are difficult but who am I to complain? 

1. I have been blessed with a good job. I imagine other mothers who couldn't even give their kids a decent milk or diaper for lack of financial resources. 

2. Besides, I get to practice what I love doing (lying for a living haha!).

3. I can prepare better for my son's future (this is so cliche it's giving me the cringe writing it, but really, I need to concoct all possible reasons why I am a good mother, so forgive me.)

4. Most mothers are now working, so if it's of any consolation, I'm not in here alone.

5. I stopped at number five, because I couldn't think of any. 

So, of the thousand reasons why a mother should be there beside his child at every milestone, doing what she should really be doing in the first place, I am here in a fast food early in the morning, browsing up my case files and preparing to argue for a frivolous motion. And I can only come up with five measly reasons why I'm here instead of home.

Going back, it's a little past eight when I gathered my case files. I had to head to the court lest I be cited for contempt.

Walk. Cab. Walk. Check the court calendar. 

Where was my case title? Apparently, somebody's not doing her homework. My case was scheduled for hearing at 1:30PM, not 8:00 AM. Well, hello Monday. I should  have just stayed at home a little longer. :(

How do you manage your working-mom-guilt? I'd be delighted to know, so I wouldn't stop at number five =) Drop me a line. I'd be glad to hear from you.

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