Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Good Wife

I was entitled to a maternity leave of 75 days, and today I'm in the home stretch. I was looking back at those days and I realized that I spent them entirely by taking care of the kids and doing the endless chores at home. Perhaps, the only time I could consider "personal" was whenever I was lucky that both kids happened to nap at the same time and I could watch an episode or two of my downloaded TV series, The Good Wife (TGW), usually while expressing milk.

One of those days spent watching TGW.
I was enjoying my Seattle's Best Javanilla, which was a peace offering from the husband.

TGW is a legal and political drama, which centered on the life of Alicia Florrick; (played by Julianna Margulies) a lawyer, mother of two kids, and wife to Governor Peter Florrick. The latter is former Cook County's State Attorney, who has been jailed after a public sex and corruption scandal. Alicia was an opt-out mom - she left her career and stayed at home with her kids during their formative years. After 13 years, she went back to the grind to practice law. 

There was one episode in TGW that struck me most. Alicia was in the midst of her routine as a lawyer; constantly in the middle of something, and at the beck and call of her clients. She wanted to breath and take a break for a minute, and she told her friend Kalinda, that when she was still a stay-at-home mom, there was a time in her daily routine that she looked forward to. Everyday, at 3PM, she would pour herself a glass of wine and enjoy the silence while waiting for the kids to come home from school. She said she was missing the silence at 3PM.

I know that in a few days, I will find myself saying the same thing - "I miss the silence at 3PM, when my kids are both asleep and I'm sneaking, almost in a juvenile way, to breath and take a break."

Don't worry, for photo purposes only. I separate them when they sleep.

Being with my kids and taking care of them was a very happy time - but one that could get really exhausting. I wouldn't mind much how they wear me out physically; but being emotionally spent, that was a different matter. Since emotions could get a bit high, (and I tend to be a bad mother when I'm emotional), I found that a breather was almost always a necessity. 

Just a small window in 24 hours - a time to recharge, to take a quick bath, turn on the TV, elevate my tired feet, drink a juice from the fridge, open a bag of chips, and pray that the kids stay asleep for the duration of at least one episode of TGW. 

After my break, my emotions would be on a clean slate again. When the kids wake up, I'd have more patience to tolerate tantrums and fake cries. I'd have more energy to carry a baby sucked to my breast.

I will miss that "window", the silence at 3PM. But I will miss the kids more. 

Last night, at bed, I was telling Zohan that I would resume office on Friday. He said, his voice breaking and his face pitiful, "Eh wag ka na pasok office. 'Se wala ako Nanay. Hanap kita, di ba?"

I wish I could tell my son how sorry I was that his Nanay was no Alicia Florrick. Bouncing back to the practice of law from a 13-year hiatus could happen only in TV series. (Well, at least to me.) 

I wish I could tell him how sorry I was that I could not be an opt-out mom. But it was a personal choice. I felt that I would be a better mother if I would continue working than if I stay at home.

So I hugged him instead. A tight hug that I hope could dispel the sadness in his sweet and innocent heart. And I resolved to myself that I would devote all of my time and all of myself to Zohan and Khaleid the second I step out of the office -- even if it meant I will never have a window again to recharge every 3PM. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Storage solutions for breastmilk

When I reviewed my blog's page views, the most visited entries were not the ones where I bled my heart out and shared my soul. Nope, no consolation for all that carnage. It was my posts about tips and reviews and everything practical that garnered the highest visits. So... In the guise of helping out fellow breastfeeding moms in their quest for wise storage solutions for their breastmilk, I am writing this post to increase my blog hits. (Kidding. Or not.) 

Here's a list of my own storage solutions that I thought could help out other breastfeeding mamas:

1. Invest in reusable storage cups and bottles.

When I had Zohan, my mother bought a lot of stuff for the baby, the Avent Via storage cups included. I used them for storage of breastmilk the whole time that Zohan was nursing. They were practical because they were sturdy, transparent, and definitely reusable. To put labels on the expressed milk, I just wrote through a micropore with pentel pen and then stick them to the cups. I could easily peel the label off when washing the cups.

Now that I have Khaleid, the Avent Via storage cups are making a comeback. I'm using these cups for storing milk that are intended to be consumed at home within 5 days from collection.

For a more organized appearance, you can stack them in twos and place them in small baskets that are available in different storage stores. I got these white baskets from Japan Home Centre for a very cheap price. 

In addition to my Avent cups, I also ordered these Autumnz storage bottles from Mamabella

Image from Mamabella's Facebook Page

I love that the bottles fit my Ameda Purely Yours breast pump, such that I can express milk directly to the storage bottles and put them right away in the refrigerator. 

I am anticipating that these Autumnz storage bottles will be a great help when I express milk in the office. (I only have almost two weeks left of my maternity leave.) Since the milk can be expressed directly to the storage bottle, I can do away with the collection bottle (which I used to tediously wash and pat dry after each session when I expressed milk for Zohan).

2. For the storage of milk expressed outside the house, use disposable plastic storage bags.

The reusable cups and bottles are practical, but they are quite bulky. So, everytime I go out or when we go home to the province, I just bring with me disposable storage bags. These plastic bags are a little pricey though, so if you're matipid like me, make sure to canvass for the cheapest brand. I've tried a lot - Ainon, Precious Moments, Spectra, and Orange and Peaches. They are all relatively cheaper compared  with other brands.

3. Position the plastic bags horizontally in the freezer, instead of vertically. 

I used to store milk in bags standing horizontally, since that was the only way it could accommodate 5-8 ounces of milk. But notice how bulky and disorganized they could get. It also used up a lot of space that the fridge no longer had room for our ulam.

I discovered that storing only 2-3 ounces per bag and filling it out vertically will make a more practical way of storing inside our fridge. 

Just stack them up!

4. Divide the collected milk into volumes of one feeding and store them into separate bags/bottles.

Once a person has gone through the hassle of expressing breastmilk at least once in their life, they are likely to realize that the adage "no crying over spilled milk" really makes no sense. Every single drop of milk is too valuable, you wouldn't want to waste it.

So, to ensure that there will be no spilling or throwing away of expired milk, I store milk in their containers per volume of a single feeding. As a result, it is easier to transfer milk to the feeding bottle (I can just empty the entire bag!). More importantly,  since it's good for one feeding, there are usually no left-overs that get stale.

However, there's a downside to this tip. If one feeding, let's say consisting of 2 ounces, is stored in one bag, it will be impractical and expensive since each bag will not be utilized to its full capacity of storing up to 12 ounces. Even if a reusable cup/bottle is used instead of a disposable plastic bag, it will take up so much space in the refrigerator.

So, mommies, just take this tip based on what you're not willing to discard - breastmilk, money, or space.

5. For expressing milk in the office, invest in a compact and practical storage bag.

I used to carry bags upon bags of pumping paraphernalia when I expressed milk for Zohan. I also carried a small cooler for the ice packs and collected breastmilk. You could imagine how bulky and heavy it was! (You can read about it here.)

Now, I am so glad to have found a small bag that can carry it all. It's so compact it looks like I'm just carrying my baon. Meet my Posh Autumnz Storage Bag (also available at Mamabella):

It's actually a bi-level bag. The top can be used to store breast pump, micropore, and pentel pen. The bottom portion can accommodate all ten Autumnz storage bottles, but if you want to make room for the ice packs, you can store at least six bottles. Both top and bottom are insulated so you don't have to worry that the milk will not be cold enough.

6. Collect milk for short-term and long-term storage.

I am lucky that my milk's supply is more than Khaleid's demand. Since there seems to be an abundance of milk, my first morning collection are intended for long term storage. I place them in plastic storage bags to be frozen and stored up to three months. For the rest of the day, the milk that will be collected are for short-term storage. They are placed in the disposable cups for immediate consumption (meaning within the next five days). 

This system gives me enough assurance that even if my supply dwindles, or when I cannot express milk religiously, Khaleid will still have the frozen milk to consume while I work on increasing my supply.

There you go. I hope I was able to share something practical to the mommies out there. If you have other tips that you swear by, do hit the comments button. After all, they said it takes a village to raise a child, so let's be part of each other's village.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Khaleid's Birth Story (and my failed VBAC attempt) - Part I

I gave birth to our second son, Khaleid Immanuel, in the morning of February 3, 2014 via an emergency caesarian section. I was hoping for a Vaginal Birth After Caesarian (VBAC) so I was a little frustrated that I had to be cut open once more. But in hindsight, I'll dare say I'm still lucky things did not go my way, as there was an unforeseen risk that could have cost me my life had I insisted on vaginal birth.

I had my last check up with Dra. Guinto on January 29 (Wednesday) and after an internal exam, she said I'd give birth within the next seven days. Thereafter, I had been having bloody show and contractions had been coming at irregular intervals. Despite the signs, I knew it wasn't time yet, so I went on with my routine as days went by.  

On Saturday, I was restless and anxious that I couldn't get myself a decent sleep. I was up until 4:00 AM, timing contractions that were still intermittent. On Sunday morning, contractions became a bit painful. That's when I knew I was nearing the D-day.

However, I was resolved to postpone going to the hospital until the pain becomes unbearable. I'd rather hurl invective in the comfort of my home than embarrass myself in the labor room. Besides, if I go to the hospital at the first sign of pain, and my dilation and effacement would progress slowly, I was afraid the doctors would become impatient and cut me up instead.

So with the thought of increasing my chances of VBAC, I went on to do the usual "palengke Sunday" with my husband instead of going to the hospital. I was wincing in pain in between haggling for the price of meat and weighing vegetables. After our errand, I stayed put and monitored the pain, which increased in intensity. And at the end of the long day, I managed to sleep through the pain.

I was awakened at around 1:00 AM because Zohan was coughing very badly. I got up to carry the poor kid and lull him back to sleep; when I realized my contractions were disturbingly painful. Although bearable, I knew it was time to hit the road. 

When we arrived at Manila Doctors, I was examined by the doctor and was told that I was already 6cm dilated. I was sent to the labor room where I would spend hours in labor pain. Dra. Guinto arrived soon enough and she patiently monitored my progress. Hours passed but I did not become fully dilated. At 8:00 AM, Dra. Guinto was already lecturing me on shifting to a caesarian operation. 

She gave me a final attempt and ordered me to try pushing. I gave out all my strength to do an epic push as if my life depended on it. To our surprise, I became 10cm dilated. At 9:00 am, Dra. Guinto said normal labor is a go. I was wheeled into the delivery room. Despite my exhaustion from seven hours of labor pain, I was grinning from ear to ear. This is it, I said to myself.

At the delivery room, the nurses and staff were in full force to help me push every time a contraction would come in. Since I had been waiting for that moment, I mustered all the remaining strength in my weary body to make strong pushes. Dra. Guinto said I was one of her powerful "pushers"; but it seemed that wasn't enough.

For an hour, I experienced strong contractions, to which I responded with even stronger pushes. But for reasons only my body could answer, my dilation would spring back and forth. Dra. Guinto could already feel the baby's head but since there was an arrest in descent, the baby just wouldn't come out. It also didn't help that baby's head was so big and my pelvic bone was too narrow.

At 10:00 AM, Dra. Guinto gave me last two chances to make a push before she would order an arrest CS. I began each push with a prayer. I took a deep breath and gave out the most powerful force I could give, but to no avail. The baby's head was already stuck inside with all the back and forth movements it underwent. The doctors were already concern with uterine rupture of my previous CS wound since I had been in labor for eight hours. The inevitable came and an emergency caesarian operation was ordered. I closed my eyes and accepted what I considered defeat...

(Part II here.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baby Shower for Khaleid

"Surrounded by friends who are more like family, I can see that you are already well-loved.." 

That's lifted from one of the messages of our friends to our second son Khaleid on the occasion of the baby shower they threw for us last Saturday. The message struck a chord - I was deeply touched by their gesture, and also very overwhelmed with the thought that my friends love my family like theirs.

Truth be told, I knew my friends were planning a baby shower for our second baby. It had been a sort of tradition amongst us, despite what I read somewhere that there should only be one baby shower in a mom's life. (Check out my post about the baby shower they threw when I was pregnant with Zohan - here and here - and when Boinks was pregnant with Kloud - here.) But despite the knowledge that they were brewing something for the Cristobals for the second time, I was still in awe because they never seem to run out of amazing party ideas.

The baby shower was held last Saturday at Sophie's Mom. (Our first time at Sophie's Mom here.) We were joined by our friends from lawschool and my good friends from my last lawfirm. 

Our first activity was to eat - haha! We were served with pasta and quiche (I had to google that!). 

My friends said the food was good but I wasn't really hungry at that time. Plus, I was excited for the rest of the activities, so I wasn't really paying attention to my food.

Then the girls played a game of drawing the most pretty buntis. The one drawing was blindfolded while the other team member did the coaching. Vanec and Kat emerged as winners. (Both got engaged recently, so congratulations!)

And my favorite - the gift giving part! You know what touched me the most? They knew it could be difficult to introduce a new baby to Kuya Zohan, so they also bought a little something for our panganay. Zohan was happy, of course! I guess he wasn't expecting it because the night before, I thoroughly explained to him that the gifts we would be receiving at the party would be for his baby brother. (Oo, assuming talaga ako na may gifts!) So the entire time, he happily played with his own gifts!
See? He couldn't be bothered!

Anyway, here are the photos of the gifts for baby Khaleid. 

Photo taken from my iphone. Not part of the official photos.
Thank you guys!!!! I loved them all and I'm sure Khaleid will love them, too. I will make sure all these items will be put to good use.

After the gift-giving, we were served with coffee and cupcakes. I particularly loved the red velvet cupcake; it goes very well with dark coffee. You should try it! 

Photo taken from my iphone. Not part of the official photos.

Then we had the final game - which was to write the most number of items in a given category. (For instance, name the items that could be found in mommy's hospital bag, or name the vaccines for babies.) Since most of my friends are still single, each group had a "mommy" to act as the leader. 

They also wrote a little note for Khaleid about what's in and what's happening around us at the moment he's about to be born. (i.e, Vhong Navarro was beaten up, Kat Rances got engaged, the weather was unusually cold, etc.) It would be an interesting read when he grows old.

They also prepared a little give-away which was themed "old candies". Remember Haw-haw? Ahh, the memories. (Zohan and I had been munching on them for several days after the party.)

Photo taken from my iphone. Not part of the official photos.
We then wrapped things up with a little speech from me and my husband. And of course, a good photo, as souvenir. 

My son - in full character!!

I am really grateful for having these crazy bunch as my friends. We've been friends for almost ten years now and I know my family can count on them for anything. They were there when Kristan and I became an item (much to their surprise!). They were there when we broke up; reconciled; gotten married; and had our first born. They're here now as we welcome a new addition to the family. Thank you for everything, dear friends. Sabi nga ni Kristan, "Sana wag kayong magsawa, kasi wala pa kaming anak na babae." #pataytayojan

*Sophie's Mom is located at Corner Santol and Aranga Streets in San Antonio Village, Makati City. It's a good place to host small and intimate affairs. You may contact the owner through their Facebook Page here.

*Our official photographer is Charades and Parades. They are very competent and affordable! Visit their Facebook Page here for details.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The terrible but wonderful "Two"

A few months ago, I started a draft post about the inevitable - Zohan reaching the "terrible two" stage. I introduced the post by saying it was as if he magically sprouted thorns overnight to replace his otherwise sparkling halo. For some reason, I wasn't able to finish the draft. A few months later, I revisited the draft and I realized so many changes occured that the entire post needed an overhaul.

At the beginning of Zohan's "terrible two" stage, it was indeed what the literature said it would be. He wouldn't share his toys and food; he'd always get his playmates' toy; he'd hit on his playmates; he'd always resort to crying when he couldn't get his way - it was always an episode of a long and annoying meltdown. Zohan did it by the book, it was definitely TERRIBLE! And I was left clueless, doubtful of my ability to be a mother, and in a constant sour mood, to the point of having a meltdown myself.

So I read whatever I could get my hands on regarding any write up on dealing with the "terrible two" and I researched a lot on the internet. There were a lot of tips, sure. But I reckoned it was difficult to apply most of them. At the end of the day, I found myself handling the situation based solely on instinct and necessity.

Until something happened last December which took a turn in our otherwise chaotic household. I scheduled a long leave from work and my husband and I became stay-at-home parents. Our companions left for Christmas break, so it was just the three of us at home.

It was an opportunity for us to really know Zohan - his attitude at play, his preferences, his mood swings. I had to admit, on weekdays, Zohan spends more time with the yaya than with us. And a two-day weekend wasn't enough to really understand his daily quirks. I accepted the raw and painful truth - that no matter how hands-on of a mother I tried to be, it was quite impossible to really know my kid when I have an 8:00 to 5:00 job.

So our two-week vacation had been all about bonding and understanding our son better. I noticed that he was at the "exploratory" stage. He'd always prefer to join me in whatever I was doing, so I let him be. He'd help me handwash our clothes, prepare our meals, wash the dishes; then he'd turn to his Tatay and help him shine the furnitures, mop the floor, and fix whatever broken stuff they could find at home.

Of course, Zohan wasn't really helping. It took more time and effort to get things done when there were tiny little hands messing around. But it kept the little boy entertained. And this was what I learned - keeping him entertained keeps the tantrums at bay! 

When I say entertained, I wasn't referring to toys or tablet or the TV. He easily grew tired of them. What I did was to let him play outdoors and allow him to do everything he wanted to do at the playground. And once we were inside the house, I made sure to keep him "involved" in what we do. That meant more work for me and my husband- but I'd take late-night picking up of legos and mopping the floor (after I tucked the boy to bed) than a house that's spic and span but with a cranky baby in it.

Now, at almost 2 and a half years old, I noticed lot of changes in Zohan. He stopped hitting his playmates (he still retaliates, but that's another tricky issue). He'd ask permission from us before proceeding to do some actions and accept it when we say no. (There were times that he'd cry and take it badly, though.) He started sharing his toys and food again, but only after a very long and tedious explanation.

The bottomline is - there had been a huge improvement in his attitude compared to when he just turned two! And what was more interesting was how he suddenly turned into this very sweet little man who'd always make us smile with his quips. He would give us random hugs and kisses, he became very thoughtful in his words, and he would surprise us with his affection that wasn't taught or forced.

Not only that - we could already talk to him because he could respond intelligently to questions. At bedtime, he'd always ask us to tell him stories of random stuff. Not a very easy task because really, what interesting story could you make out of curtains or lights or walls? But it was amazing how he could remember our stories from several nights ago. So most nights, we'd rack our brains out to come up with truthful but interesting stories about the most mundane things that caught Zohan's attention.

And this is why my old post needed an overhaul - to include that while being at age two is indeed terrible, it is also a wonderful, incredible and heart-melting stage. 

I used to find myself contemplating on whether I should throw my son out the window whenever he would give me a meltdown. But now, that doesn't happen anymore (okay, maybe sometimes!) because I learned how to deviate away from an escalated level of tantrums. Now, I find myself often wanting to squeeze my son tight out of fondness and love and gratitude.

And if I may just share, here are what I learned so far with Zohan's terrible two stage:

1. Keeping him entertained helps keep the tantrums at a bare minimum.

2. In relation to item 1, I practice tolerant parenting. (Okay, I made that up!) "You want to mess with the clothes that I painstakingly folded for hours? Go ahead. You want to peel the garlic, sure!" As long as my son's life or other people's lives will not be put to risk, I tolerate pretty much everything at home.

3. The stages in the life of kids change very rapidly. The tantrums, the fake cries, the bad mood - they won't last for very long.  The next thing I know, the terrible part is over. They all come to pass. So I just bear with it, try to be more patient, and wait until the next interesting stage comes up. 

4. And as with most things about parenting, the ones that really matter is not up to my hands. I may decide whether it's okay to give him chocolates first thing in the morning. But if my kid will grow up to be a good person despite the daily, sometimes inconsequential rules of parenting - that's really up to him. So when everything else fails, I just lift it up to a Higher being.

I'm only halfway the age two, so what do I really know? These things seem to work for me; just take it with a grain of salt. These, and a piece of chocolate on a very bad day doesn't hurt.

Monday, December 2, 2013

My kind of Monday

You know how Mondays were always associated with a heavy heart to go to work? Well, yesterday was Monday but it was a fun Monday for me. That's because I didn't go to work!

My husband left for the States last Sunday to attend an international convention. He'll be staying there for long (but he'll be back in time for my 30th birthday) so it was a really sad Monday for me. It was a good thing I didn't have a scheduled hearing so I didn't have to wake up earlier than usual. I was taking my time, goofing around with Zohan before I hit the shower, when he blurted,

"Nanay, di popis, ha? Nanay baba lang? (playground)
Pis. Poh mi?" (Please, for me.)

How could you say no to that? And that was the first time he requested that I skip work. So I instantly decided - it's going to be a fun Monday for both of us!

We went to the nearby McDonald's for breakfast. Zohan insisted that I carry him (I still do that despite me being all heavy with a 7-month old baby inside) and I obliged. 

Meet my little bugoy:

Those make-faces were all his ideas! 

After breakfast, we hit the playground and played until almost lunch time. Then, I met with some friends for lunch, and decided to report to work in the afternoon. My Monday was perfect - I got to spend time with my son, I was able to catch up with some friends, and was still able to work in the afternoon. It made me think that if only I have a business, perhaps this arrangement would be possible on a daily basis. 

How was your Monday? 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trick or Treat Year Two: #medyofail

The little boss had spoken; he wanted to dress up as a tiger for halloween this year. So, the parents obliged.

The biggest hurdle was to look for a tiger costume that was cute but wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg. Of course, he would only be using it once, so it had to be practical. Unlike last year when we dressed him up as a Buddhist monk and the costume could easily be DIY-ed, a tiger costume was not really easy to make. Plus, the video tutorial required an orange overall, which we did not have at home. So, instead of buying a piece, I decided to buy a full costume altogether. 

Unfortunately, the ones sold at the malls (we went to four!) ranged from P500 to P1,000. I thought that was too much, so my husband tried our luck online. Fortunately, he saw one at (we dig second-hand stuff, sue us.), which he immediately bought.

When the costume was delivered to our home, Zohan was so excited. He was so proud of his tiger costume. So I thought everything was going along smoothly.

Practice practice pag may time.

Well, what do I know, that was all for show, apparently. During the annual Trick or Treat party at our place, Zohan refused to wear the head-dress of his tiger costume. Towards the end of the night, he wanted to just wear his sando. Haha.

Sorry, I am not the techiest person. I couldn't remove the red-eye in our photos.

I had to cut him some slack as those white furs were really itchy.

When we followed the trail of the candy stations, the poor boy got scared of the different halloween creatures that added to his already sour mood.

Well, who wouldn't?

After dinner was served, we decided to call it a night. 

Look at my poor tiger who couldn't wait to undress. 

The following day, I took the day off from work because it was Trick or Treat in Kristan's office. Zohan flatly refused to wear the tiger costume, and I did not insist on it anymore. He had a rough halloween, I must say.

But he did enjoy his "pop" (lollipop) and the toy Blackberry. Thank you OSG!

At two years old, my son already had preferences and he passionately fought for it. I really didn't mind, though. After all, I just wanted him to experience these events, with or without the silly costumes.

Maybe next year, when Zohan is three, Trick or Treat parties will be a more exciting experience for him. And we can bring our second baby too. (And dress him up as a tiger, what do you think?)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How has your life changed?

Last weekend, my lawschool friends went over to our house for some "girl bonding".   Amidst our laughters over our usual "kagagahan", a thought suddenly hit me:  motherhood had transformed me and my mommy friend - Boinks. 

Unfortunately for our single friends Joyce and Fila, they had no choice but to be dragged along.

For one, we met at our condo at freakin' 7 o'clock in the morning! Boinks wanted some sunshine for her 5-month old baby Kloud, but knowing how talkative we could all get, we finished breakfast at way past the time for a healthy sunlight.

Over breakfast, I was imagining our lives not too long ago - drinking and singing at videoke bars until wee hours of the morning, long dinners, chitchat at coffeeshops, and occasional sleepovers. Contrastingly, at our place that morning, we were acting like some domestic diva wannabes - meeting for breakfast, gushing over a really good Vietnamese coffee paired with sinangag and tinapang salinas with kamatis, and talking about weekly  household budgets!

Likewise, instead of picking a crowded mall for our next agenda, we voted on scouring the good old Makati Cinema Square for thrifted clothes. I had been a fan of thrifted clothes since I became a mother. Being a big convert, I thought that the good money I'd spend on brand new clothes should rather be spent for other essential  things for my family. (Shopping when extremely emotional not included, of course!) My ultimate favorites were Surplus Shop where I'd get coats for my hearings, ukay shop near Makati Med for non-office clothes, and a "secret store" near Cash and Carry for branded dresses and other office attires. (I hope to muster enough courage to showcase some of them here soon.)

After our cheap thrill, we had lunch at Aida's at the basement of Makati Cinema Square which, to my mind, served the best chicken inasal in the metro. Then we had dessert at this dainty little place called Sophie's Mom, located at the corner of Santol and Aranga streets in San Antonio Village which served really good red velvet cupcakes.

After dessert, my little family had to go home because I had a scheduled check up with my OB late in the afternoon. Boinks had to go too, because she left Kloud at home with the yaya after breakfast, and she needed to express milk.

I couldn't help but think of the old times. Kristan and I were used to spending the whole day (and night!) with this group and yet, we couldn't seem to get enough of each other. But last Saturday, it was just a little past lunchtime and we were already done for the day! Times were really changing, and we were getting more mature by the day.

On a lighter note, it was the first time we brought Zohan along with us at an adult's affair. And I was so proud of that little guy for not giving Nanay and Tatay a hard time - except that his Tatay always had to carry him because he wouldn't walk. Tamad! He was a constant source of laughter for his Ninangs. (Now I know how fun it is to have a child who can respond to questions without being coached. A few more months and I really have to censor what we talk about in his presence.)

Before we retired that night, Boinks told us through iMessage how much she enjoyed our short get together. It was her first time to go out without the baby after returning back to work. And I could totally get her when she said how much she enjoyed the day, but she just had to go home to Kloud immediately.

That's what I felt too everytime I went out with my friends. I was all for the "giving yourself a break every once in a while." Taking care of a family, with a full-time work to boot, could feel so exhausting that I could really use a breath of fresh air. But after a few hours with friends, all I could think of was Zohan - what could he be doing, was he looking for me, did he eat enough for dinner - which would prompt me to head home.

I remembered a line from What to Expect When Expecting when I was re-reading it for my second pregnancy. It said that an expectant mother should spoil herself, because if she was a first time mother, it would probably be the last time for a long while that she could take care of herself without feeling guilty. 

I could relate very well with the book's idea. My life was never the same, postbaby. It was as if I had been taken over by this new creature that all my decisions and actions had to revolve around him. I felt vulnerable and empowered at the same time. Of course, there were bad, tiring days. But at the end of each day, when it was time to kiss my child goodnight, I always knew for certain that my son was worth all the changes.

What about you? How has your life changed?

(By the way, check out the short vid made by Joyce to chronicle our shenanigan last Saturday. You can make a video, too. Just download the app for free!)

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