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The struggle is very real

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You don’t know real struggle until you’ve taken my daughter to the mall (or any open space).

I think it’s been established through my social media updates (if we’re friends) or my past entries that Elle is a difficult kid. Not just the tantrums-every-so-often kind, those are normal for toddlers. She is the I-will-ruin-an-entire-early-morning-flight-for-all-the-passengers-if-you-don’t-let-me-walk-in-the-aisle-while-the-seatbelt-sign-is-switched-on kind of kid. It’s something about her seemingly limitless energy that every time you try to suppress it (read: make her act like a behaved toddler), she just explodes. (Ask me about our trip to Pagadian last August, if you want to know how bad it gets sometimes.)

I think the best way to describe Sundays at the mall with Elle is like taking a zoo animal, say a tiger, out into the wild for a stretch. The tiger runs free, as far as its paws would take it, and every attempt of trying to pace that feline ends in a bloody mess. That’s exactly what we go through with Elle, only that every time we stop her from running into trouble (down the stairs or worse, the escalator) it ends in a MASSIVE tantrum, like drag-her-off-the-floor-while-she’s-kicking-like-crazy kind of tantrum.

Just this Sunday, we had to go to the mall of a couple of hours to have photos taken. We spent two hours there but it honestly felt like forever. Half of our meals are spent with one parent chasing Elle around and the other stuffing as much food in the mouth as quickly as he can so he can take over taking care of Elle. Jan and I didn’t move a muscle for 20 minutes when we got home just to recover the consumed energy. Now you can imagine that any trips outside is a harrowing experience for us the guardians. Sometimes I can feel eyes judging us when we’re at the mall, probably questioning how we can’t get a grip on our own daughter. Well, sir, I’d like to see you try.

I envy those moms who can take their little daughters out to somewhere without back up. The longest I’ve gone alone with Elle outside was a taxi ride and even that didn’t go so well. By the time we’ve reached our destination, I was already calling SOS. I’ve never had alone time with my own baby and it sucks. I’d like to comfort myself by saying that it’s not that I’m not strong enough, it’s just that Elle is TOO STRONG for her age. She is a one-year-old trapped in a 5 year old’s body who runs around like a mad, headless chicken. Add the fact that she weighs 19 kilos makes everything just a little harder—scratch that, WAAAAY HARDER—for my totally unfit body. (Hmm yeah, maybe I’m just really not strong enough. I’m 66 kilos of all fat.)

I don’t want to say that I look forward to the day when Elle and I can walk peacefully outside hand in hand, because that would mean skipping the good parts about her growing up, those adorable and heart-melting moments you can only get from a toddler. Like how we were walking around Uniqlo and she was trying to figure out where I was amid rows of clothes, and when she finally saw me, she yelled: “Peekabo! Hi there, mimi!” I’d never forget how happy she was seeing me as if I was gone the whole day. That’s the trade off. I guess I’m really just left with no choice but to suck it up (I think that’s what the last two years have been all about) and enjoy the good with the bad as much as I can.

Peekaboo! I found you, mimi!

A video posted by Celest Flores-Colina (@_celestial) on Sep 25, 2016 at 9:14pm PDT

 

Make no mistake, this is not another complaint. I just want to put it out there that behind all the adorable photos of our Sundays is a mom wanting to cry for help. Haha! Plus maybe there are others out there who are going through the same and are just to shy to admit that they sometimes can’t handle their kids too.

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See you again soon, Dada

“Dada!”

Elle, sitting on my lap with her head out the window, called out as Jan walked away from the car.

He didn’t turn around.

Just a week before, he did the same—walking straight out of our sight without turning back after we made our goodbyes.

I really couldn’t blame him.

You can just imagine how hard it is to say goodbye again to your little girl, who is growing up to be so many things (showstopper of a brat included), not knowing with certainty when you’re coming home. We still don’t know when Jan’s training is going to end, and if worse comes to worse, we won’t be seeing him for the next four months. That’s another four months of no phone calls, no Sunday dates with Elle and missed milestones. (I’m dying.)

It was hard to squeeze all the missed time in the five hours that we were given on Dec. 24, but we had to make most of what we had. I was afraid that Elle won’t recognize his dad, but quickly vanished as she let her Dad carry her right away when they first met on Christmas eve. Elle did need a bit warming up, but before we know it, she was kissing and playing with her Dada’s face.

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First meeting in 2 months. ❤

Jan also finally got to see how big Elle has grown. The last time they saw each other, Elle couldn’t even walk on her own yet and now, Jan needed to chase her around the picnic area and stop her from eating pebbles and grasses from the ground. Haha! He saw too how stubborn Elle has become. (Stubborn doesn’t even begin to explain, really.) Those things, for me, were the best part. Most of my days with Elle are either spent chasing her around and or trying to calm her down before she goes into a full tantrum fit  and it’s nice to know that when I talk to Jan  about our day, he would now totally get me.

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Walking around.

On New Year’s Day, we got to see Jan again. It was a bit a last minute (and I had work that night), but we managed. The trip was more relaxed than the first–the weather was downcast which made for a better picnic, there were less people compared to the Christmas visit, and we got to see them do their formations and their dance presentation. Haha! Elle was also in a much better mood. She spent most of the day in her Dad’s arms as they watched chickens and other wildlife. (Elle loves animals! She ended up mimicking the chicken’s coo for the rest of the day.)

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Candid. ❤

We are grateful  that we got to spend time with Jan for the Christmas and the New Year celebration. These trips also helped in reminding Elle how his Dad looked like. Since after the trip, every time she sees Jan’s pictures, she would yell out “Dada, dada” non-stop.

It was so hard to leave. I wish Jan had just hopped in the car and rode back home with us. I know the last two months actually went by quick, but it was anything but easy, and I still don’t expect it to be easy. Elle is learning something new every day; she’s becoming sweeter, more talkative and even more adorable than she is and all I could think about is how Jan is missing one of the best times about having a baby. I need constant reminding that Jan is doing this for Elle, and it will all make sense later on.

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Kiss!

While there were so many  other things worth remembering about those 2 days that we visited Jan at Camp O’ Donnell–the first time Elle saw Jan, that time when Elle gave her Dad a spontaneous kiss and all when Elle leaned on her Dad’s shoulders while trying to fight back sleep–it was the departure that stuck with me.

And you really couldn’t blame me.

(Jan texted me later that day that he had to go straight to the men’s comfort room because he couldn’t fight back the tears. Meanwhile, I had to wait till I got home before I let the waterworks flow. Didn’t think Jan would ever be such a crier! Haha 😀 )

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Adventurous Celestine

Thanks to Facebook memories, I was reminded that a year a go Elle’s world was limited to just two things: feeding and sleeping. No smiling or laughing and all the more, no pilya moves yet. It comes at a perfect timing, because it puts into perspective what we’re experiencing right now: riot (in a fun way, of course)!

From just the four corners of our room, Elle now enjoys her afternoon on the streets…a wee bit much. In fact, she doesn’t even want to go home anymore from her routine walks outside. I got a text from my mother last week while I was away on vacation: “Sobrang kulit ni Elle. Gusto na sa labas tumira. (Elle is so stubborn. She wants to live outside.)” I can just imagine the flailing that ensued when they told her it’s to go back inside. Haha! But it’s exactly what kind of childhood I want her to experience—especially in this day and age when kids would rather play with their iPads. Big part of mine was spent outside with my friends—taking turns learning how to ride my rainbow-colored bike, playing all the games we could think of, and just getting dungis out there. So I’m hoping this is a good start for the little one.

 

Elle and her Ates. 🙂

 

Since Elle also apparently thinks she has mastered the art of walking (But no, she hasn’t really. She still gets out of balance sometimes), she figures she has no use for us anymore and always swipes away any hand that tries to guide her when we’re out for walks. (Like the big boss that she is! Haha.) What we do is we try to hold her shirt to at least get a grip of her, though it’s pointless once she breaks into a run.  So you know how this ended…with her first booboo! That’s what she gets for thinking she’s a three-year-old stuck in a one-year-old body. (In fact, when you ask her how old she is, she holds up her finger as 1 but she says “three” and I have no idea where she got that.)

 

I will kiss your booboo, Elle. 🙂

 

Well, she didn’t cry that much, and it didn’t seem like the scratch bothered her the rest of the night because she was back to her old naughty baby self in no time.

With the kind of adventurous baby Elle is, though, I expect this is just first of many booboos were going to deal with. Especially that Elle also grown fond of doing things that make me feel like I’m going to have a heart attack; She climbs up the seat of her bike and likes to do her dancing from there, she climbs the couch always in haste and goes down from it with head and hands first. (All done with her mischievous smile.) Her idea of playtime always has to be something that involves us chasing her. (A split second can spell disaster so we have to keep our eye out on her at all times!)

But I’m really not complaining (at least for now or since I’m not the one who takes care of her the entire day). I’m enjoying seeing Elle growing up to be such an outdoorsy, adventurous soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Baby biking.

Baby biking.

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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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Celestine is loved

I’m thankful to have been given countless reminders this week of how much my daughter Celestine is loved.

From closest friends and family to Facebook friends (some I haven’t even met in person, some I haven’t talked to in years), they all found a way to send their regards to Elle on her first birthday.

Most of the people I wanted to see at Elle’s party today showed up, too! That was amazing. I admit I had been dreading the party because when I imagined how Elle’s first birthday would go, Jan was in everything. It never crossed my mind that I’d be doing this without him, so this was tough on my part. But seeing a room filled with people who went out of their way to celebrate with us, dragging their asses out of their beds on a Sunday morning, I found a lot of reasons to smile.

It’s such a blessing that Elle is growing up surrounded by such thoughtful people. I know I am not the most generous person, but my friends have never failed to shower Elle with love. I could say the same for my family, especially Elle’s lola, who have always been there with us in every way she could, every step of the way—no matter how bitchy I got (which is more than half of the time).

I am overwhelmed. 🙂 My apologies, I’m never this sappy. Haha! But it had been an emotionally draining week dealing with Jan leaving even as trying to stay positive for Elle, today was a welcome happy moment.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making this week special!

Happy birthday, my love!

Happy birthday, my love!

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Celebrating Celestine’s special ‘daaay!’

Today was Celestine’s first birthday celebration here at home! Nothing fancy (not that we ever get fancy) since we have another party for her on Sunday. We just made sure there few dishes on table and of course, cake!

Naturally, “Happy Birthday” was sung a million times today, to which Elle always  chimed in with a loud “Daaaaay!” because that’s all she knows how to pronounce. (You have to hear her, it’s the most adorable thing.) “Happy Birthday” is actually one of those songs that would get her to stop crying no matter. It’s up there with “Twinkle Twinkle.”

Unfortunately, she was already too sleepy by the time we got to blow her candle, so there was no singing along. Although she was able to muster a smile. That smile!

Blowing her candle. Although mom really did the blowing. 🙂

She got her good mood back after a nap, so she was able to enjoy our birthday gift; a cute pink bike! Being a very transparent baby, it’s easy to figure out when Elle is enjoying or not, and I know for sure she loved that bike.  She even tries to mount it by herself.

We still need donbsp;to push her around because the pedal’s still too far for her to reach. But soon enough she’s going be zooming around on her own. (Yikes!)

Check out my new ride.

We just wanted to make sure that Elle felt as happy and loved as she could be on her special day. Special thanks to my mother, my siblings and other relatives for always giving their love to Elle. A phonecall from Jan would’ve been perfect, but we’re not complaining. I know he would’ve called if he could.

When everyone was busy tearing it up on the videoke downstairs, Elle and I retreated to our room and I put her to bed. Mommy sang and she dozed off. It was a perfect end to such memorable day in both of our lives.

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Fastest one year of my life

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One day old.

She came out of me weighing 3.5 kilos, now I’m lucky to be able to hold her for long even using both hands.

Dada and Elle.

Dada and Elle.

She used to look exactly like her dad—from the small eyes to her thin hair, now all most people see in her are her my features—from her long eyelashes to her killer smile.

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Chillin’ on mommy’s legs.

She used to just fit snuggly on my legs where she spent most of the time sitting and playing, now she’s already half as long as me.

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Favorite sleeping position.

She used to love me rocking her to sleep and she would always end up snoozing on my chest for hours on end, now all she needs is the bed and her favorite pillow and she’s all set.

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She used  to spend all night, even at 3 in the morning, just rolling around because that was all she could do, now she’s either on all fours or on her two feet all day.

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Grumpy one.

She used to be one grumpy baby and it was impossible to make her smile, now not a day goes by when we don’t hear her infectious laugh.

She had gone through a lot of changes in past year, and there’s stopping her from going through some more. But there’s one thing that’s never going change—she will always be mommy’s baby.

My baby girl <3

My baby girl ❤

Happy first birthday, my baby long legs, my Celestine! ❤️

(Don’t grow up too fast!)