Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today we pack up the crib...

I am staying true to my resolution that I will update this blog more regularly, so unless somebody stop this mad woman, I am afraid I'll bore you with milestones that aren't really very interesting.

Like today, December 23, 2012, we packed up the little boy's crib. It wasn't really being put to use for a long while. And instead of accumulating dust and becoming a catch basin for all my bags, the husband and I agreed to pack it up.

It is kind of momentous for me because I feel like Zohan has graduated from a little child to an active little kid. He has been like that for a while now, and the packing sort of sealed it. And since the crib has already been folded and kept in obscurity, perhaps it's also a little symbolic that Zohan is no longer a baby - hence, time to have a new one?

Incidentally, (and this is TMI, sorry!) I also welcomed my monthly cycle two days ago - after two  years! I counted from the time that I had gotten pregnant until today. The delay in the return of the regular cycle is due to the fact that I am breastfeeding until now. I bet that's a new information for you, single ladies? It has something to do with the hormones, they said. So since I am back to regular woman programming, I think I am now physiologically and physically ready for a second child.

I have always been vocal about wanting to have many kids. Now that I have experienced having one, it has not changed my views about it. In fact, Zohan may have further strengthened it. Having many kids may mean we may have to work a little harder, earn a little more, have more patience, and in the process have lesser time for ourselves. But I guess I'm okay with that. I believe these sacrifices come with the territory - and one or a dozen kids make no difference at all. Once you become a parent, your capacity for  love and patience expands. You are never the same selfish person you once were. And when you have done it the first time, you can do it again. And again. And again, until your patience or your uterine wall finally grows thin, whichever comes first.

So there. Today, we packed up the crib. And a new season begins.


Monday, December 24, 2012

A lovely weekend and some thoughts on vanity

Two weekends ago, we went home to my province to visit my folks. Incidentally, one of my cousins employed abroad came home for the holidays, so the Cristobals trooped to their house for a hearty lunch. And when I said hearty, I meant this:

And there was really no better way to eat in the province, with the fresh air and shady trees and lots of inihaw, than this:

If you think Zohan is too young to join our fun, well, look who's a party camper!

I was a bit hesitant to post this picture because obviously, this isn't really a flattering image of myself. But Zohan is too cute here, looking like he really knows how to eat ala boodle fight, so, to hell with vanity. I think I may have thrown vanity out the door, trampled on and spit on it the moment I became a mother.

After lunch, Zohan spared some more tummy space for dessert. Here he is having some fresh watermelon.

When I was growing up, and even before I got married, I was always a frequent visitor in this family's house. My uncle had nine children, and my mom only had me, so you could already surmise the reason why I was always headed to their place. It's a long walk from our house, it would even require an uphill climb. But I really didn't mind because once there,  I would be embraced by serenity, luscious greenery, fresh air and of course, comfort food!

Now that we have Zohan, I wish he could also experience a happy childhood in the province like I had. That's why every chance I get, I make it a point to introduce him to his cousins and their happy way of life. They're really a happy bunch!

However, Zohan seemed a tad too little to fit in the games of his cousins. He was just always looking on to their merriment. But more than his cousins, I think he was more fascinated with the farm animals which he encountered that day. His cousin LJ was catching chickens for him, and the moment the chicken tried to escape, Zohan would shriek in delight. He wanted LJ to do it over and over again, but after a long while, LJ said, "Tita Khaye, pagod na po ako...". That left me laughing, and Zohan crying. Haha.

Looking at the photos above made me realize that forgetting vanity because of motherhood is such a lame excuse I made earlier. I know my family would agree that this is really how I look like at home on any given day, even when I was still single. If that was the case, then, what can you expect now that I am already a mother?

I used to scorn at mothers who used to be vain and pretty and dainty when they were still stingle, and then would turn out to be "losyang" (as we Filipinos prefer to call it) the minute they have kids. Now, I know better. Try spending a whole day with little kids, with no help, and you'll realize you're lucky if you could still squeeze in a few seconds to comb your hair. When I go out with Zohan, I always prefer that we go without our house-companions. So when you see me outside, looking every bit of a losyang, please be kind and spare me the judgment. I'm trying to evade karma here.

Obviously, I still have to learn the art of looking so well-kept and put together, even with a kid tagged along. I have seen other mothers who can rock it, sporting the calmness of Lucy Torres and sending me some very annoying signal that they know how to keep everything under control. Well, I hate them specie of mothers! How do you even do that?!

Anyway, enough about my quest for vanity. Going back to our lovely weekend, I remember now that there was this one game which Zohan enjoyed that he even selfishly refuse to return to other kids.

Yeah, his obsession is kind of creeping me out. But that's fine, as long as he's keeping himself entertained as I immerse in the much awaited chismis time with my cousins.

Hope you're all having a lovely Christmas eve, folks! Will try to document and blog about the first time we're spending Christmas at our place. Soon! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Party in our place

The busy Christmas season has definitely taken its toll on me as I’ve been slacking in updating this blog. I was okay with the occasional posting until I read Anna’s post and found myself with the same regret as hers. I also wanted this blog to be a documentation of Zohan’s (and our future kids’) milestones – something that we could conveniently look up to several years from now to remind us how we started as a family. Obviously, that is not happening here, with the lame excuse of not having the time and energy and all. So you could count on my regular updating of this blog as a resolution for 2013.

Meanwhile, here’s what we had been up to lately (far late, actually!):

Our condominium corporation organized a christmas party (which in reality was actually paid for by us from the skyrocketing condominium dues) and Zohan was in attendance. It was his second time to attend a condo-wide event like this – first was the Trick or Treat which this busy momma also failed to document. (Well, at least his costume had a separate post.)
Since he was still too young to join in the games, we were only able to participate in limited activities. We had our family picture taken at the photo booth, we stayed for dinner, and we watched the intermission numbers of the staff. I always enjoyed watching performances from the staff, they were always a welcome relief. I found it very refreshing to see them in a different light, happily enjoying themselves despite their sheepish smiles. 

After the different dance numbers, the little kids preferred to stay in the mock-up stage and wanted to dance to the delight of the proud parents. Zohan, that little silly boy, wanted to imitate the bigger kids. Unfortunately, his dance moves were not yet refined.  And later on, he discovered the joy of pulling the cords of the christmas lights. Que horror! Tatay had to fetch him back to our seat. But see his smile in this photo –

If it weren’t unsafe, I would have allowed him to do as he pleased if only to look at my kid’s happy face.

After a while, Tatay and I decided to call it a night and went upstairs. But not without a few photos. Here is Zohan inviting me to walk around as if it was still playtime. 

This was already past 9:00PM I think? After a few rounds, I had to carry him and head back to our unit.

This was the design of our lobby for Christmas. 

Zohan was happily staring at the gifts underneath the Christmas tree. 

He wanted to remove that shiny little ball and throw it up  in the air. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’d know this was one of his obsessions.

It was a fun Christmas Party for the Cristobals! Well, actually just for me. Zohan, in his very young mind, would not probably remember he attended something like this. Tatay, my very shy and introvert husband, only wanted to keep me happy so he obliged and agreed that we attend. And yes, me, the more social one, was glad we had something like this to add to our books.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Zohan was rushed to the hospital, and it was like a joke!

Dec. 07, 2012

We brought Zohan to Makati Medical Center today - his first time to be brought to a hospital for an illness. He was vomitting since 1AM - he'd vomit, then nurse, fall asleep, and wake up to vomit again! By 6AM, he'd thrown up seven times (I counted!), which prompted the husband and I to take the day off from work and rush the boy to the hospital.  

Growing up in the province with our home far from the hospital, I was trained to always pack-up with the possibility of confinement in mind. So even if MMC was just a sneeze away from our place, I had a full bag with me, which freaked out my poor husband. In my head though, I was thinking of all the many possibilities that could happen to Zohan. I had to force myself to stop because I was so near to freaking out as well.

We arrived in MMC in no time, and since Zohan lacked sleep, he was especially cranky and fussy. He gave the nurses a hard time taking his temperature, weight, pulse rate, the works. 

The doctor checked on Zohan and asked us if he was having fever or diarrhea - which he hadn't. She also asked if Zohan poo'ed that day, and I told her he hadn't since yesterday. The doctor then ordered an abdominal x-ray to check if the intestines were full of fecal matters which may probably induce his vomitting. She also ordered urinalysis to rule out UTI. 

When the results came out, husband and I couldn't decide if we should laugh or what. Well, we were both relieved, because as you can probably tell, it was just Zohan's intestines failing to keep up with his appetite. Apparently, since his bowel movement had not been regular, his intestines were already full, that any additional solid intake will have to be thrown up. In short, he was constipated. I know, my folks back home were probably shaking their heads. But of course, more than anything, I was so happy and relieved that Zohan's condition was nothing serious. 

So Zohan was given laxative, and soon enough, he relieved himself. Despite him feeling and looking better, we were still advised to wait for the result of the urinalysis, which took so long! Zohan, getting bored out of his wits, tugged me to roam around the hospital, to which I obliged.

I brought him to Mary Grace's little stall and he gladly pointed to the cakes. Look at his Oopps, it wasn't me face! He didn't look constipated to me at all! Hahaha!

I got him cheese roll and ensaymada. We went back to his Tatay who was waiting at the emergency room. The three of us devoured our breakfast in our little corner. Talk about camping in.

After an hour of waiting, we were given by the hospital staff the option to just call for the result of the urinalysis, so that we can already go home. (The result turned out negative, so it's just really the "biting off more than you can chew" that brought us to the hospital for the first time.)

After billing out, Tatay had to buy medicines, so Zohan and I waited stayed at Seattle's Best in the meantime. Again, he was fascinated by the sight of food. He wanted the colored drinks but I had to turn him down. I got him an oatmeal cookie instead, which made him happy in the car on our way home.

At home, it had been a rollercoaster ride - there were times he's okay, other times he's cranky again. But by bedtime, I was so glad he's already back to the happy camper that he was. He toyed with Tatay's player and danced to his rhythmic songs of choice. When I said dance, I only meant him doing the head bang. He still remembered Gotye's Somebody that I used to know - still his favorite. 

Last picture before he dozed off. 

 Goodnight little boy! That was a good one, what you pulled off today. Your Tatay and I were laughing off how utterly expensive it was na "maki-jebs sa Makati Med!" But as I said, I'd gladly take any of this silly little illness of yours any day, but don't let it get any serious than that. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My New Happiness This Christmas Season

Sunday, 6:00 A.M. 

I am sandwiched between  my two sleeping boys – to my left is little Zohan, who, thank God, slept through the night; and to my right is my husband, who is snoring in deep slumber. 
By force of habit, I reach for my Blackberry and check my Twitter timeline. I realize that it’s already December and people are posting a lot about Christmas—parties left and right, holiday shopping stress, the latest bazaars, gift-giving guides, the places they will go to for the Holidays and the menu on Christmas eve. Reading stuff like these on my timeline, I try to think of a Christmas gift for myself this season. I’m pretty sure the husband will ask the same thing, and until now, I have not identified any “craving” for anything that would make a good Christmas gift.

My apathy is perhaps because the past four days had been emotionally, mentally, and physically arduous for me and the husband and the Christmas spirit has yet to pick up my mood. 
Zohan had been experiencing teething pains since Wednesday – and when that happens- I tell you, that’s bad news. Alongside with teething, he had difficulty sleeping, if not downright refusal to sleep. He also had bouts of slight fever every now and then. Last Thursday, he did not eat anything AT ALL. When I arrived from work, he declined to breastfeed as well, which was alarming, because that was not the case in the past. Back then, when a new tooth would erupt he would refuse solid food but he would compensate by thriving on my breast milk. At least, I was relieved that he wouldn’t go on an empty stomach. But since Wednesday, he can hardly swallow anything including breast milk.

For working parents like us who co-sleep with the baby – it was undeniably physically exhausting. We were up almost the entire nights of Wednesday thru Friday. The following mornings, career life must go on – business as usual. Come Friday and Saturday, Zohan developed tiny blisters on his feet, and red spots started to appear all over his body. The discomfort he felt worsened because aside from teething pains, he was also irritable, perhaps due to itchiness. Adding insult to the injury was the pesky thought that he might be exhibiting symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. (Len, who blogs at The Mommist, wrote about her experience when his son was stricken by HFMD. You can read about it here.)

What was more difficult for me was to see the little boy being very cranky and sensitive, as opposed to him being his usual self.

You see, Zohan is a generally happy kid. At this early, he does crazy, silly stuff that catch the husband and I off-guard. He dances to the tunes of his favorite commercials on TV (by now, I have learned to sing the full spiel of Rub-ba-da-bango and Let’s.all.go-to.Shakeys!); he opens our office bags and puts on bits of trash inside its every cranny; and he mimics the things we do without us instructing him. The moment the husband and I arrive home from a very stressful day at work, we are usually greeted with his festive laughter. Zohan’s presence makes me feel as if I swallowed a pill of instant happiness. 
But for the past few days, his silliness was gone and replaced with a wailing and suffering baby. I miss the crack of his laughter, the lines beneath his eyes like a whisker of a cat that automatically surface when he smiles. I miss pretending to catch him as he tries to run away from me. I miss his Tatay throwing him up and suspending him high in the air, which Zohan immensely enjoys. I miss Zohan’s endless obsession with his basketball. I miss his mechanical raising of arms in the act of shooting an imaginary ball, when prodded with, “Shoot, anak. Shoot!”

I miss the cute little ball of happiness that is Zohan. And my heart breaks with him as I imagine the pain he’s going through. Aside from that, the lack of sleep is also slowly consuming me.

On Saturday afternoon, my parents-in-law and sisters-in-law went to the mall with Zohan. The husband and I were left alone and for the first time in what seemed like forever, we breathed like normal persons and laughed mad like we used to. When Zohan arrived after a few hours, he seemed happy and back to his usual self. For dinner, he ate his Jollibee spaghetti with gusto, and for a moment, that was the most palatable dining sight ever to grace my eyes.

Last night, Zohan slept through the night (except for his occasional whimpers that only require immediate breast-attention). We tucked in early and now, at 6:00 AM, Zohan is still soundly asleep. For the first time in four days, I wake up with great relief and no longer with a heavy heart. Now that we are finally out of the woods, it hit me that my happiness has taken a whole new meaning. Seeing Zohan happy and healthy immensely covers my heart with joy and pure bliss. That is now my happiness.
I know that what we had been through is nothing compared to families with kids distressed with serious afflictions. But when one becomes a mother and faced with challenges involving her son or daughter, there is only a very thin line between easy and difficult. Everything about their children automatically becomes consequential – perhaps in varying degree, but always consequential.

So this Christmas, I only wish for strength for all the mothers out there. For the different mamas of the world: those who are blessed with autistic children; those who are working like a horse to finance chemotherapy and other medication; those who are enduring the distance to send their kids to school; those who have to painfully give up their children for adoption to have a chance of a better life; those suffering for the loss of an unborn child; those who will be spending Christmas distantly looking at their babies in NICU, and those who, for one reason or another, cannot kiss and embrace their children this holidays… My prayers and wishes go out to all of you – that even though life is full of suffering – may you find courage to have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

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