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The one who keeps me calm

TAG-MNL.


I landed in Manila with high hopes as the plane arrived from Bohol at 2:25 p.m., 20 minutes ahead of schedule. That quickly changed when it took me 2 hours to get out of Pasay alone, and another two to get home to Fairview. I paid a whopping P430 to get from the airport to Centris Quezon Avenue, which is normally about the same amount I pay from Fairview to the airport. I could’ve flown to Bohol and then back to Manila then back to Bohol again with all the time I spent on the road. Horrible would be a sore understatement to describe the Friday traffic.

On an ordinary day, I usually wouldn’t mind. It takes me three hours or more to get to work everyday so another hour to that is nothing I haven’t experienced before. But today was different, I hadn’t seen my daughter in three days and there was nothing else I wanted more than to catch her awake. I thought if could get home at around 5pm, I would probably catch her walking around outside. But when I was still on Edsa approaching Magallanes by 4:30 p.m, I started honestly wanting to punch somebody or break the damn windows. I bitched at pretty much everybody who tried to calm me down over the phone and started spewing expletives on social media. Later on, I had no choice but to break into tears because there was no other appropriate emotion I hadn’t used yet. All because of sheer frustration over wasted time could’ve been spending with Elle.

But when I got home and finally saw her, it was like all that pent up rage from an exhausting day had evaporated in a instant. I’m not even exaggerating. I know myself—piss me off in the morning and I’m no good for the rest of the day so I thought it would need a good night’s sleep just to get over this terrible “welcome back” moment. But it turns out, all it needed was Elle’s most charming smile. Ironic how Elle can drive me nuts then be the only person who can calm me down. (Now bookmark this page if you ever need to pacify me. Secrets revealed!)

 

Giving Elle a bear hug (which she hates).

Elle then showed off some new dance moves she learned while I was away and her steadier walk. I’m certain she gained a little more weight, judging by her huuuuuge tummy and chubby cheeks! Crazy how three days could seem like such a long time when you have a growing kid. We spent 30 minutes running around in the sala before she started whining, which meant we needed to go up.

Booty work

When it was time for bed, Elle wouldn’t close her eyes. As if the universe was trying to make amends for the disaster today, Elle even spent an extra hour and half past her bed time just lying down on my left arm while watching TV, giving me the chance to stroke her hair and tell her about my trip before I finally put her to bed.

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Getting through the sniffles, again and again

I wrote most of this entry while my daughter was slumped on my chest, snoozing loudly. I promised I’d blog at least a week on my days off, but I thought I won’t be able to given how needy Elle has been the past three nights. Good thing I got lucky enough to to get my two hands free at one point so I managed to squeeze this one in.

Elle is down with some nasty colds she got from me. I say nasty because I myself have been dealing with these pesky sniffles for more than week and I feel terrible so Elle must feel ever worse. (Sadly, by the looks of my stuffy nose this morning, my colds have no plans of going away soon.)

It had been tough weekend for the both of us. Since Sunday night, Elle hasn’t been able to get a good night’s sleep. Her nose is clogged, so she can’t feed properly at night or suck on her pacifier for long stretches. (She is heavily dependent on her binky when sleeping so you see how that’s a problem.) Though she can now blow her nose on command, she’d only do it when she thinks it’s funny so her nasal passages could get really backed up since she also often refuses to let me use the bulb syringe on her. In turn, she wakes up crying hysterically every two hours and it takes me everything but the kitchen sink to calm her down. She refuses to sleep anywhere but on me, so I try not to move as much . (This is the lone part I love about this, I love moonlighting as a bed for Elle!)

 

My sweet, clingy baby girl. 🙂

 

But it’s not like this is something we haven’t experienced before. Elle has had countless of colds in the past year and we’re kind of resigned to the fact that if one of us, at least between Jan and I, gets the sniffles then it would actually be a bigger surprise if she doesn’t get the virus as well. We’ve done everything short of not touching her while we’re sick — wear masks, bathe in alcohol and the like — but it had been for naught more often than not. (I read somewhere that babies may have eight colds in their first year of life so at least she’s up to par? Haha! Kidding.)

But ultimately, I’m not complaining.

I’m actually grateful that colds are all she has had to endure so far. She rarely gets fever and she’s never picked up anything that couldn’t be cured with at home within a few days. That’s a little victory, sleepless nights be damned.

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Here’s a tip: One thing that works for us is filling the room with pure Eucalyptus scent, and it helps in opening up the clogged nasal passages. You can actually dab a small amount on your kid’s shirt (not under the nose, please. It gets nasty when too concentrated and they may struggle to breath) so they can inhale it even while sleeping. Small bottles of Eucalyptus are available at Mercury Drug for like less than a hundred bucks. Handy!

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Army wife 

First, let me give you the backstory: Jan enlisted in the Army to play basketball. It was ideal not to mention an honor to be working for the Army, and I naturally had no complaints. But then came October 30 when they were told they were getting shipped to Basic Military Training, which would last at least three months, and they had to leave the same night. Three months (and now it could actually be six freakin months) is a long time to spend away from your one-year-old daughter, and it all happened so sudden! You can just imagine what a mess I was that night, and I honestly haven’t been able to adjust to everything even up to now.

So I saw my husband for the first time today in two weeks since the Army trainees were in Manila for the week-long APEC festivities.

Spending the last two weeks in Basic Military Camp, I really didn’t know what to expect. For sure, he would lose weight and get a little darker, but probably not anything drastic. But when I saw him, I actually almost didn’t recognize him. He is three shades darker and about two sizes smaller; it was like he got sick. He had lost six kilos in the first week alone. His naturally high hairline can be seen in its full glory since he has gone bald.

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A dream first birthday party gone wrong

We’re a week away from Elle’s birthday party and I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done. Not that there’s a lot to do; We scrapped plans for a relatively grand party (grand by our lowly standards) and we decided to have a simple get-together with our closest friends and family. Since Jan won’t even be here to celebrate with us, there is really no point on spending a fortune. But we still want everyone who cares about my baby to see her. (See you, guys!)

Of course, if I could, I would throw something grand for Elle. Anything fit for the princess that she is. But when you’re living on a smalltime writer’s paycheck, there’s no way that’s going to happen, at least for now.  So I had to let go of all my party envy, which I blame on Pinterest. (EVERYTHING JUST LOOKS SO PRETTY AND EASY ON PINTEREST).

My subconscious, though, wasn’t going to let me get away with it that easy. Of course, it said, let’s give this overthinking mother a glimpse of her dream party for Elle—only, everything that could go wrong, would go wrong! THE HORROR. It was actually the most vivid dream I’ve had in a long time, and I woke up feeling like I didn’t sleep a wink.

Here was how my nightmare went down:

It was such a perfect set up but nothing was going right!

Elle’s clothes for the party were all filthy but she had to wear them anyway. Less than half of the people I invited showed up on time!

The venue was not decorated and someone got Elle’s name seriously misspelled on all of the banners.

When it was time to eat, we started serving cans of sardines because there was no rice! (I mean, WHAT?)

No one served the dessert because it was buried under some random boxes! (WHAT IS PARTY WITHOUT DESSERT?)

When the all guests finally arrived (weirdly, they were all in ballgowns), there was no more food on the table and I didn’t have money to order some more.

When it came to the parlor games, I apparently had forgotten to buy prizes. I decided to go out to get some from the nearest conveniences store, but when I got back, the party was over!

THANK GOD IT WAS JUST A DREAM.

This just really proves one thing, my brain has too many tabs open. WAY TOO MANY. Well yeah, I still had to do even just a little planning for Elle’s thing. I just feel like I still want her to have a perfect celebration, though it’s nowhere near what I really wanted for her . However small or simple, I’d still want it to go off without a hitch.

I know that’s never going to happen, though. As with all parties (I learned the hard way with my self-organizes wedding and Elle’s Christening), it’s never going to be perfect. For starters, not everyone you’re going to invite is going to respond to your invite let alone attend the actual thing  (and you have to prepare not to get disappointed). Another is not a lot of people are going to remember the little things you did. Most won’t even remember what kind of table centerpiece, which you probably spent tons on, you had.

Despite know all these things, I can’t believe I’m still obsessing. Though I admit it’s totally me to overthink everything, up to the tiniest detail even of such a small get together. I’m not even a good, creative planner! I’m just totally a momzilla. Thanks for reminding me, subconscious!

What I should remind myself is that Celestine is going to turn one (and so on) and it’s going to be the best thing to happen to me every year—no matter how we celebrate it.

One things for sure though, we won’t be serving sardines to any of her parties…ever!

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Not so perfect world 

In a perfect world, every day would look like this; My husband and I would have breakfast together, kiss Elle goodbye, go to work together and  get home by 6pm in time to tuck our daughter to bed. We’d have the weekends off and we’d spend all those time with Elle. Maybe we’d eat out on Sundays after mass or stay in while I get busy in the kitchen. We would’t have any arguments in front of Elle. We’d have a car to go around and we’d be able to buy anything we want.

The reality, though, is this; I have a demanding job that keeps me out until past midnight and my husband Jan has one that needs him to wake up at 4am everyday. We only get one same free day each week—Sunday—and sometimes we’d spend half of that bickering.  He is not home a lot. He is an Army guy in the morning, a highschool coach at night and a basketball player somewhere in the middle—just some of the many hats he wears just so we could get by. Jan doesn’t get morning playtimes that I get with Elle, neither does he get to sing her to sleep at night. He used to be the first person Elle sees in the morning when he still had the luxury to spend most of his day at home. Now, we’re lucky to wake up to him still beside us at least once a week.

It doesn’t paint a perfect picture of a family, but doesn’t mean we are less of one. We’d probably get a scolding from others who’d tell us that none of our work mattered if we didn’t have time. Sure, I’d kill for more time for us together, but given what we have now, we don’t have a lot of room in our life right now to complain. We just make do of our Sundays together and we spend it with Elle, either we turn the entire day into one long playtime in our room or we go get something to eat at the mall. It isn’t much, but it’s something. But here’s the thing, I know for a fact that if we could squeeze in another job in the middle of what we already do, Jan and I both will—if it meant giving our daughter Elle the perfect world, eventually.

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Songs I sing to Celestine 

One of the most favorite chores I do as a mom is singing Celestine to sleep. Naturally, lullabies have become big part of my daughter’s bed time. I do it without fail—I can’t recall not ever humming or singing to her while trying to get her to sleep. (Believe me, it’s not an easy task. But that’s for another day.)  Eventually, she too had become reliant on my songs—sometimes all it needed was a line or two for her to doze off . Even now that she’s sleeping all on her own—meaning all we have to do is give her the bottle and wait until she’s knocked out—it cuts down the entire process (made up mostly of tossing, turning and crying) when I sing to her.

Of course, I have to have some sort of playlist! It’s not that easy to pull random songs out of a hat and sing them. So I’m sharing to you my baby friendly, go-to lullabies set! I’m hoping she gets to read this blog post in the future and actually remember that I sang these songs to her.


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Look, ma! No tears!

Here’s the thing, I’m scared as hell of needles.

I have to look away and try my best not to faint everytime I get my blood drawn, so you can just imagine what a mess I am during Elle’s month visits to the doctor for her scheduled immunizations.

During Elle’s very first injection, I had my mother stay with her inside the clinic while I waited outside because I honestly for the life of me could not stand to see that syringe plunge into my daughter’s thigh. (You know what, I could feel my throat close up just by typing that.) Her cry was so loud that no doubt everyone at  OPD section at that time heard it. See, that’s another thing I hate about injections. IT HURTS LIKE A B.

  

Anyway, Elle’s response to the monthly injections got better as she got bigger while I got a little braver myself–and by braver I meant I can finally stay in the room, but I’m still not able to look.

So we came in for some anti-something shots 2 months ago and to my surprise, Elle didn’t bawl! She didn’t even flinch. But I chalked it up as luck because HOW CAN ONE NOT CRY DURING INJECTION? HOW? (Capslock for emphasis of my feelings.)

But a month after that, Elle also had another tear-free doctor’s visit. She just flashed this look of wonder on her face that was quickly replaced by her charming smile. Even the doctor was impressed. I, though, didn’t expect her to keep this up. I’m sure she’d cry the next time, I thought.

image

Last week, Elle ran a fever for three straight nights and I needed to have her platelet count tested to rule out dengue. So we took her to the lab and had her blood drawn. Guess what, she didn’t cry too. We didn’t even have to do anything to distract her. She even stared at the needle (not that she knew what that was for). I would’ve taken a video but I couldn’t think of anything else and I was sweating profusely! Sorry!

Third time’s a charm. Now it’s safe to say it’s no fluke; Elle is nothing like her mom (aleast not when it comes to the irrational fear of needles).