Just My Thoughts, Motherhood

The Surrender

It took me a month of trying to fight my puking urges before I finally accepted that I should just LET IT GO. Yes, Frozen’s song meant something different to me then, haha. I hated throwing up, but it somehow relieved my painful tummy. So I conceded. I tried some food from time to time, just to check what I could take, because I was sooooo sick of crackers. I finally found some that I could eat and be satisfied with — mung beans and dried fish with rice! To us Filipinos, munggo and tuyo/danggit! How ironic that the smelliest of all fish was what I could eat. That was my meal twice a day for more than a month. My tummy settlers were soda, nuts, and chips. I still experienced the same nausea, bloatedness, aversion to smells (and did I mention aversion to food on tv?) and vomiting, but at least I had some real food to eat.

It was around that time, the second week of February, that I psyched myself to finally visit my OB-GYN. It was not without a lot of crying days before, as I was dreading the smells I could possibly encounter. I was seriously afraid, and I felt trapped. I did not want to be paralyzed by my fear, but I was. I was sure I would vomit, and I definitely didn’t want to do that in public. There’s nothing pretty about vomiting, even if I had the best excuse to do it. It’s gross, loud, uncomfortable, and painful.

I made sure I threw up before I left home (twice), and I equipped myself with some crackers and a small jar of vapor rub to help mask other smells. It was the first time I left the house successfully (we tried going to a nearby commercial area a few days before and I was too nauseated to get out of the car). We found out that I was 3 months and 4 days pregnant. Quite late for a first check up, but I had been drinking folic acid and calcium by end of  December, though irregularly. Yes, you guessed it, they were hard for me to swallow at times. I was prescribed the usual prenatal meds, but the ultrasound showed that I was having contractions. My doctor gave me additional ones to secure the baby in my womb. I realized that it was a blessing that I had just been staying home that whole time. I had not endangered myself or the baby.

WE SAW THE BABY AND MY HEART SMILED for the first time in a long while. I was happy to know that even with my troubles, he (or she) was a-okay.

I felt quite accomplished after that. That didn’t encourage me to get out of the house more though. I was still trapped by my fear, and the farthest I would go was in our front yard to watch the girls bike. Of course smells of cooking from neighbors’ houses bothered me too. My next trips out were only for a doctor’s visit and a short side trip to the mall, a dental appointment, and a trip to the bookstore.

Things were getting a tad better, plus thankfully our former stay-in helper came back, but I was still feeling down a lot. There were days that I cried practically all day, and there were days that I was fine. Then came the 3 or 4 consecutive days that I was just in anguish and I cried to God. I was like a crazy person, pleading for grace and mercy one minute and then blaming God for what I was going through the next. And then the inevitable came sometime in mid March — MY HEART SURRENDERING TO THE LORD. I cried, prayed, repented for my anger, ungratefulness, and joylessness, declared His love and goodness, literally lifted my arms in surrender to His will. I was done. I gave up being angry and finally allowed Him to take over.

It was not a quick change in my disposition, but peace and joy slowly came back into my heart. I was able to see the good, even though I was still vomiting every morning. Though I chose to stay home still, I was able to BE WITH my kids, play with them, and even resume homeschooling. My appetite was returning and my taste buds were normalizing. I said goodbye to mung beans and dried fish! I still had problems with smell and I still couldn’t eat all kinds of food, but I was better. I was even able to watch Captain America to support a friend’s fundraiser. I did get quite dizzy before and after the movie, but that was a breakthrough. You don’t know how happy it made my husband that I was out with him. I also started feeling the baby move that week!

The trip that followed was my doctor’s appointment this month, with some grocery shopping and a visit to our church. It was good to be in a supermarket after 3 months, though King did most of the picking and handling especially of the meats, while I ate chips to get rid of the nausea. And it was great to see friends I had not seen since the last Sunday of 2013. I believe the next day was the last day I threw up, the day I watched Rio 2 with my family. My daughters were so happy, seeing that I was “healed.”

10320422_833105283370835_7264876035980516200_nBy holy week, I was able to go on vacation with the church staff and actually enjoy it! I was able to eat. I got the most exercise I’ve gotten since I got pregnant, walking up and down steps and swimming laps. I enjoyed the beach and swam with my kids. I got tired, but not exhausted. Since then, I’d been able to go out, sit at restaurants and endure the smells without gagging! It may not be a big deal to anyone else, but it’s a huge deal for me. Finally, MY MIRACLE IS HERE! Last Easter Sunday was the first time I attended church service since 2013 ended!

Yes, I still get dizzy, I still gag at smells sometimes, I get easily tired, and there are still certain food I can’t stand, but I THANK THE LORD that He has given me this breakthrough. I seriously thought I was going to suffer the tummy aches and vomiting the entire 9 months! And not only am I feeling better, we were able to finish all of Danae’s requirements for her major subjects! Thanks to Teacher Sybil for helping me and the girls, in homeschooling and other matters. All I need to do now is make sure she finishes her computer subject which her dad is in charge of, to fix her portfolio, and to submit her grades. We are quite delayed, but thank God for our understanding school principal.

Indeed I can say that THE LORD IS GOOD. Even though I was so ungrateful and unfaithful to Him, He remained faithful. He was understanding and patient with me. Though many times I felt that He was silent, He gave me people who loved me, stood by me, and helped me sort through my craziness — my patient husband King, my accommodating girls Danae and Noelle, my friend, constant chat mate and shock absorber May, and faithful friends who keep praying for me, are my heroes.

I was aware that God was teaching me something, that it was another stepping out of my comfort zone (boy, was it ever), another push to grow, but my pain and hardship blinded me. I focused more on the bad, whining and crying, rather than focusing on the good. Hormones did play a big role, sure, but I know God wanted me to go through it to bring me to a place of TRUE SURRENDER. My prayers were sincere but my emotions tainted them with pride and unbelief.

It wasn’t until I surrendered that the veil was slowly lifted. God is a personal God. And this is the way He has always been with me — BEFORE HE CHANGES MY SITUATION, HE FIRST CHANGES MY HEART. Everything that He allowed to happen led to a heart change, and my situation began getting better and better. I know it’s an ordinary experience for some and they take it in stride. This was a first for me. My first two pregnancies were not this hard, and I was never this miserable. It was not right to have such little joy and I could not figure it out, hence all my frustration and anguish. I may not understand all of it, but I do understand that God is good and all His plans are purposeful. He loves me enough to want me to grow, and not just coast along. His grace IS sufficient and He is present, whether I feel it or not. He wants me to be free from anger, fear, and pride. He wants me to live fully with peace and joy, not repeating vicious cycle after vicious cycle. And the only way is by coming to Him and surrendering to Him, leaving it all at His feet. FREEDOM, PEACE AND JOY COMES WITH SURRENDER.

1797357_832231116791585_1229765869048486447_nI will be 6 months pregnant in about a week! I am healthy, at peace, and excited. My girls are busy with their summer activities and I can be their mommy/driver/assistant again. King is also busy with work/ministry and we were able to tag along to the youth camp last week. The baby is healthy, and by next month, we hope to know and then share the much anticipated reveal of his/her gender! We are all doing well and I can’t thank the Lord enough. 🙂

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:6-10

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5

 

 Click here and here for the first two posts of this story.

Just My Thoughts, Motherhood

The Roller Coaster

When I started experiencing constant acidity and gas in my tummy daily, I badly wanted to eat to relieve it. But believe it or not, I could not take anything but crackers and bananas. Relief would come but it was always short-lived. My water intake was also terrible. With the little I ate and drank, I would still vomit DAILY. I hated it. I cried buckets of tears because I was hungry and I felt bloated at the same time. And the vomiting literally hurt me and tired me out. Many times I would vomit gas and saliva alone, but the sensation and the effort were the same. I would get contractions too while throwing up. I lost twenty pounds by February.

I was on the most horrible emotional roller coaster ride of my life. I wanted to be grateful everyday for this wonderful gift, but I could not see past my pain and hardship. I felt bad that I wasn’t like other pregnant ladies who were strong, could still exercise, continue to work and take care of their families. I felt bad that my husband, tired from work all day, had to take on my responsibilities at home. We had a stay-out helper who washed our clothes and did some cleaning and cooking during the day, but at night, King had to still clean up after the girls’ messes. He cooked at times too. He had to make sure our children had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was stuck in the room, because I could not stand the smell of any food, or other strong smells for that matter. I could not cook, or even accompany my children at the dining table. My kids learned to eat on their own or with the stay-out helper. They learned to always close my door to prevent the smell of cooking from wafting in, though many times it was impossible to block the smell out. I would hide in the bathroom to try to avoid throwing up, sometimes to no avail.

King felt an enormous amount of pressure, thinking about my physical and emotional condition, thinking about the kids’ welfare, and thinking about his work. And I felt the pressure of him feeling the pressure. We badly needed a stay-in helper to lighten our loads physically (chores) and mentally (planning). And I badly needed my miracle.

Though it’s common in all my pregnancies that I cannot stand King’s smell during the first trimester, I felt terrible that I could not even smell my own children! I couldn’t cuddle with them, or kiss them. I stayed in a separate bedroom. They were understanding but there were moments that Danae would cry to me, sad and upset that I couldn’t do normal things with them. I totally felt for her, because I wanted what she wanted. BUT I JUST COULDN’T. I was so frustrated with myself for being so weak. I felt helpless and useless. Don’t even get me started on homeschooling. Nausea kept me from being able to do any.

To top it all off, I was upset because I felt that God WOULD NOT give me my miracle. I prayed so hard for it even before I got pregnant, and most especially while I was having such a hard time. I felt like He wasn’t answering, wasn’t moving. But then again I knew that I was blessed — the fact that I could even conceive and carry a child is already a huge blessing. All the more that I felt frustrated with myself because what I was feeling was the opposite of the truth that I knew and believed. I honestly was starting to doubt God’s love and His goodness. I was completely miserable, bursting into uncontrollable tears every now and then. My poor kids witnessed some of it and they would be kind enough to comfort me, pray for me, or leave me alone.

Then I would see other people with bigger, deeper problems than me, but are still able to smile and live their lives with joy. I was experiencing a seemingly endless difficult season but obviously temporary, and I was ready to throw my faith out the window! I was suffering for only 9 months, if ever it wasn’t going to get better for me, and then a beautiful addition to our family would arrive! I knew I should choose joy and be more grateful. I knew I had the power to choose a better attitude, but I was unable to. I wish I could blame it all on crazy hormones, but I am just not sure that’s true. My frustrations were immense. I not only beat myself up for something I could not control — my physical weakness — I also beat myself up for something I could control — my attitude. I knew my feelings were valid, but I could not figure out what God wanted me to do. I was angry with Him, but I also knew that there’s nobody else I could rely on to help me through it. I knew it was only by His grace that I could overcome. My despair was real.

 

I know this is a depressing end to this post, but I promise, the third and last installment tomorrow will be better. 🙂

Click here for the first installment.

 

Just My Thoughts, Motherhood

The Third

Yes, I am 5 months pregnant with our third child. 🙂 It’s the reason why I have been MIA for the first quarter of the year. It’s the reason why I was not able to renew my blog site on time, and had to pay a larger fee for doing so late. Thank you to the kind angel who tweeted me to tell me that she couldn’t access my site anymore. Obviously I have not been checking my emails either.

I am 36 years old, a year late in my plan to have our LAST baby. I had been very fickle about having another for a few valid reasons. Raising and homsechooling two active, strong-willed little girls is no easy task. I wondered if I could handle three children. Our daughters are growing up, becoming more and more independent. I wondered if I was willing to go back to square 1 — breastfeeding, diaper-changing, sleepless nights. King and I had gotten our dating groove back since the girls can more easily be left with a helper, friend or relative. I wondered if I was willing to give our child-free dates up, not to mention our desire to finally have a child-free vacation.

BUT since we don’t use artificial protection, not for any reason other than we are not comfortable doing so, and I am not ligated yet nor has King had (or is ever willing to have) a vasectomy, I could be surprised with a pregnancy in my late 30s and even 40s. I mean no disrespect to those who choose to have children at that age. I just really prefer to be younger to have the last baby, and I prefer not to be surprised. So even though I am already past my so-called deadline, it’s really now or never. Then I will have myself ligated when they open me up for a c-section. I noticed that there’s a baby boom too, and I truly felt we were going to be part of it.

My biggest apprehension, however, has always been the pregnancy. My first was okay. I had nausea, aversion to the smell of cooking, aversion to Chinese food, and I had no cravings during my first trimester. I was able to eat, and I actually threw up only a few times. I lost only about 6 pounds. My second was pretty bad because I threw up more, and it got to a point where I felt so weak that I asked King to take me to the ER. I chose to be confined so that I could get more fluids in me. I don’t remember losing more than 5 pounds since I was still able to eat certain food. Things normalized after the first trimester.

Although thankfully I had no problems with threatened abortion, bleeding or anything like that, I seriously did not want a repeat performance of my previous pregnancies. I asked God to give me a miracle — that when I get pregnant, I will have none of the problems I had before. We found out that I was pregnant a few days before Christmas day! We were so excited! And though I had been feeling bloated, sometimes nauseated and couldn’t eat my normal amounts, I could still eat. I was already thanking God for my miracle.

Sadly, it barely lasted two weeks.

The last day I was out in a mall, before my long hiatus, was January 2 for my nephew’s birthday. I couldn’t even join them inside the pizza place because I couldn’t handle the smell. I walked around, popping mints, and because I liked the smell of pretzels, I bought one and ate that. I was supposed to see my OB-GYN the next day, but I was not at all up for it. My daily battle with smells, vomiting, hyperacidity or acid reflux or whatever you want to call it, and not being able to eat anything began that week. I wasn’t even able to celebrate Noelle’s birthday with her. 😦

Please bear with me. I shall continue tomorrow.

 

 

Just My Thoughts, Motherhood, Parenting

Rules Rules Rules

Rules. What are they there for anyway? To keep us from doing what we want to do? To limit us? To contain us? To make us into robots? To make it hard for us?

I remember hating that policy required me to hand the guard my driver’s license to allow me passage into a village. Eventually, instead of always getting angry, I learned to accept it and comply with it. When I matured (ahem ahem), I learned to appreciate the policy because it is what I would want the guards in my village to do when outsiders enter. It is a rule that is meant to keep the home owners safe from criminals and the like (well, at least supposedly).

There used to be no law in our country regarding seat belts. Our cars had them but they were rarely used. I never liked them because they felt constricting. But I had to get used to it when the law required the driver and front seat passenger to wear seat belts. I’d rather obey than deal with police and the hassle of “paying” for my offense anyway. Then I learned to appreciate it because of its purpose to save lives. I appreciated it more when I had children.

Growing up, I did not like the rule that my parents gave me about boyfriends — have none till after I finished college. Well, I was happy to comply up until I was 14. It was a different story when I turned 15. It was not until I became a Christian that I appreciated the reason behind that rule, but sadly partly because I already learned the hard way.

You see, rules are there to PROTECT us, not to harm us. We may not like them sometimes and we may think they’re unnecessary, senseless, or too much, but obeying them is for OUR OWN GOOD.

Just as I did many times when I was younger, my girls resist, complain, even negotiate about the rules. Rules like no sitting or standing on the glass table top. Or no opening of the door when a stranger rings the door bell. Or watching only Disney Jr shows and only after school/homeschool. Or brushing teeth and washing up before going to bed. Or cleaning up. Or taking turns and sharing. Or losing a toy or a privilege when they fight about it. Or accepting the consequence of a bad decision.

We remind them that rules are not for us parents, but for them. It’s for their own good, for their welfare, for their protection. They are necessary and they need to learn to appreciate them. We don’t make rules just to make life hard for them. On the contrary. We make rules so that they won’t get hurt physically. So they can be protected from bad influence. So they will learn good hygiene. So they will learn to treat people right. To teach them discipline and responsibility. We make rules so that they will learn to obey their parents and God as early as now, so that obeying the laws of the land and obeying God won’t be so hard when they grow up.

We give and enforce rules because WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN and WE LOVE GOD. We constantly lay the foundations, the bases for our rules — love for God and obedience to Him, in response to His love for us. Our hope is that they will trust our love for them, being assured that we desire what is best for them.

We, God’s children, are the same. Sometimes we whine and complain to God about how hard it is to live a Christian life, which we know is not just a bunch of dos and don’ts. At the heart of these “rules” and boundaries God gives us, is LOVE. His perfect love. He wants us to be inside the circle of His blessing, with Him, because He knows how bad it is outside of it. He does not want that for us. He loves us too much. That’s precisely why He gave Jesus as a sacrifice to take all of our sins and die in place of us on that cross — so we don’t have to spend eternity in sin, separated from Him. And because death could not hold Jesus down and He rose again on the third day, we too can have life — life as God intended for us to have, life to the full!

Because of this NEVER STOPPING, NEVER GIVING UP, UNBREAKING, ALWAYS AND FOREVER kind of LOVE (the Jesus Storybook Bible), we can TRUST GOD completely. We can trust that His ways are higher, therefore infinitely better, than ours. We can trust that His will is what is absolutely BEST for us.

Rules. Love them or hate them. They’re intended for your good.

Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

IS IT WORTH IT?

Our in-house helper is out on her regular day off, and our stay-out helper could not come today because her husband is in the hospital. So my first mission was to clean the vinyl table cloth on our dining table. I got a sponge and put some liquid detergent to lightly wipe it. Oh the dirt! I wiped it many times and it was still not clean. I’d been at it for 30 minutes. I kept asking myself “IS IT WORTH IT?”

I decided it wasn’t and threw it out. It was old anyway, and King has always said he didn’t like it. So I chucked it.

I know other people would have stuck with it. For others, it would have been fairly simple and quick to clean. But I am not equipped with speedy cleaning abilities or much patience haha. It was just not worth the time I was putting into it. I had to set the table, make breakfast (sandwiches), tidy up, and cook rice for lunch as well.

It got me thinking about my marriage and my kids. Would I give up when it gets to be too much work and entail too much time? When it’s the same issue that doesn’t seem to get resolved over time, would I deem it unworthy of my time and effort? When exasperated and exhausted, would I actually throw my hands in the air and walk out? When my heart is breaking, would I allow myself to put up a wall and just not care anymore?

I am grateful that though our marriage is not perfect, my husband is a good, faithful man. We have issues, but they’re not big enough for me to question our union. Not big enough for me to want to give up on us. King is a man who trusts in the Lord. When I am shaky, he reminds me that things are NOT HOPELESS.

Lately, I have been feeling exhausted and exasperated by my kids. King keeps reminding me that IT’S A SEASON. Sigh. Another season of always fighting, always refereeing, always repeating the same words regarding the same issues. Sometimes, I am left in tears, not knowing what to do anymore.

That’s the thing about having a great husband. When I already, in my mind, give up, King comes to pull me back in and lock arms with me so we could deal with it together. And this is what I’ve discovered about BEING A MOTHER. My heart really NEVER could, even if I really really want it to and perhaps even if I have every reason to, GIVE UP on my children. I eventually get a hold of my emotions, forgive, and teach them with love and compassion once again.

As we teach our children HOPE, to rely on JESUS to help them do what is right and what is good, we must also be reminded of the hope that we parents have in Jesus. We must do our part in raising our children right, but we cannot rely on our own abilities to do so. We must trust in the sanctifying work of Jesus in their hearts as we continually teach them His word.

It’s going to take everything I have to keep teaching my children, especially because there will be times they will not want to listen and maybe only pretend to be listening, there will be times they will break my trust and my heart at the same time, there will be times they will question my love for them, and especially because there will be times I will make mistakes (which God knows I have) and question myself, but IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT.

To see them grow, break through, and live out their God-given destinies, will make it all COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

Motherhood, Parenting

Mom-venger!

The Avengers was awesome! I loved each of the avengers, but Hulk was my favorite! Yesterday, I realized that I act like one avenger at different parts or moments of the day. I realized that I am a MOM-VENGER haha.

What happened yesterday was the usual — arguments, bickering, whining. As I started letting out a big sigh of frustration (not uncommon in our household either), I couldn’t stop myself as the sigh morphed into a loud roar. I actually thought right then that I sounded like Hulk. I’m pretty sure to my kids, I looked like him too. That’s one avenger I am not proud of becoming. Though I do not want to be “always angry,” I should be more like Dr. Banner, who knew how to control his anger.

Then I realized that I am many times cocky and proud just like Iron Man, thinking I know better or I know all. But I do think under all that ego, Tony Stark was able to think beyond himself and care about what was good for others. That’s what I hope I am to my children — doing what is best for them, not just for me. I do wish I had his brilliance and his money though haha.

Black widow is my girls’ favorite, though they didn’t watch the movie. Aside from her butt-kicking abilities, which I’m pretty sure I could do if called for such as when I need to defend my children (yeah right), she had this uncanny ability to read into a person’s thoughts. I am able to do that with my daughters too. I am able to draw out what is in their heart and mind by our conversations and the questions I ask them.

When it comes to my kids, I think I have a pretty keen eye like Hawkeye too. Sometimes I joke that I have eyes at the back of my head. They wonder how I know stuff that they thought I didn’t see, hear or notice.

The other day at the mall, I saw that I am like Thor and Noelle is like Thor’s hammer. Even though I let go of her hand and walk ahead of or behind her, I can be sure that her hand will find mine. Like a magnet. But more than that, Thor had an incredible love for his brother Loki, yet he chose to side with the good than with him. He helped save Earth, battling against his brother, but made sure that his brother didn’t die in the hands of humans or whoever those “things” were from another world. Moms are capable of this as well — unconditional love and tough love. I cannot be an enabler. I have to discipline my children because I love them.

Being a mom requires a lot of courage, which Captain America obviously had. He was somewhat old school, but sometimes old school is best — basics, foundations, values. He was a leader and he thought like a leader. He saw the big picture, devised a plan, and delegated so he could execute the plan. I am called to do the same many times, whether it’s fixing the kids’ schedules, teaching them, planning their party, or whatever. Sometimes I also experience resistance, wherein my kids probably want to ask me “why should we take orders from you?.” But I believe they see that we are capable of parenting them, not just because we’re stronger and more experienced, but because they know that we love them.

Nick Fury believed in these men and woman. He believed in them and what they can do more than they believed in themselves. He never gave up on them. I want to be like Nick Fury to my children — the one who always believes in them, the one who always fights for them, the one who gives them the “right push.”

Mom-venger — all the avengers in one mom. Schizophrenic or cool? Haha, you decide. 🙂

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

How well do you know your child?

Because Danae’s 6 and Noelle’s already almost 3, their personalities are more evident than ever. It definitely showed during our recent trip. For one, well this one’s not new at all, they’re both witty and funny. Years ago, Danae at age 3 exclaimed as we landed in Manila probably from Cagayan de Oro, “Thank you Lord!,” which made people behind us chuckle. Last month, Noelle exclaimed with her normal loud voice as we landed in Singapore, “I made it!”, which made everyone around us LOL. hahaha. It caught me by surprise how everybody turned to us and laughed. Noelle wasn’t too happy about the response but later on she would recount that “she made everyone happy on the airplane.”

We walked quite a lot in Singapore. Although Danae at times complained that she was tired, she was more a trouper than Noelle was. When Noelle didn’t feel like walking anymore, she really wouldn’t walk. She’d stop in her tracks, slump her shoulders, make her adorable complaining face, and whine “I can’t.” I must say though that Noelle is quite easy to lead because she prefers to hold my hand almost all the time. Danae, of course, would much rather be free to move around.

Danae enjoyed all the shows, while Noelle got bored quickly. Danae was willing to try some of the rides. Noelle wasn’t. She would much rather EAT! Which makes it even more surprising that she was willing to go on The Luge with us! But both definitely love love love the water. Noelle came alive when we allowed them to play in the fountains at Universal Studios.

Both girls are relatively manageable when traveling, but Noelle really has her own mind. She’s picky when it comes to bathrooms. She won’t use it if she feels it’s dirty or stinky. She’ll say that her pee is “not coming out.” She would also tell me to flush the toilet first even though it’s clean. But thank God they didn’t mind me using baby wipes on them after they did #2. I’ve finally conceded to using them. I totally refused to do so before because I preferred washing them with soap and water. Yay me!

After I got them dressed when they got wet in the fountain, Danae easily slipped on her wet shoes, while Noelle just refused to! Squeamish much? Thank God we rented a stroller. It didn’t matter much that she was barefoot, except when it was time to leave the stroller. Guess who had to carry her.

Even with clothes, Noelle is so picky! Danae will almost always comply with what I prepare for her. I cannot force Noelle to wear anything she does not like. Sometimes it’s understandable, but many times it’s just not. Even while it was drizzling, she didn’t want to wear her rain coat! The stress is coming back to me! Hahaha.

It definitely teaches me as a mom to be flexible, to know which battles to pick and which ones to let go. Did I mention that Noelle is quite a messy kid? Danae’s not a neat freak, but at least she was willing to clean up when she was little! Noelle even drew on my mom’s wall, which Danae never did! On the other hand, it’s fairly easy to talk to Noelle when it comes to things she wants, except maybe when it comes to food haha. She can cope well with not getting what she wants right away while Danae more often demands instant gratification. My kids are walking contradictions! Probably just like their mom. Haha.

It just goes to show that each child is different. Danae and Noelle may have their similarities, but they have different personalities. It teaches us parents to be attentive and engaged, else we would assume that what worked for one will work for the other, which may not necessarily be true. There is really no ONE formula in raising our kids. We must constantly learn and be open to learning — learn about our own children, get to know them, spend time with them, talk to them, play with them….and be open to learning other ways of nurturing our relationships with them, of teaching them, of guiding them.

The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to anticipate situations and prepare myself to deal with them as they come. The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to understand them and to communicate with them. The more I know my children, the more I learn about myself. The more I know myself, the more I know that I cannot do this on my own!!! I need King’s partnership and we need the wisdom, the grace, and the love of God for us to be able to raise these precious girls. 🙂

Family, Motherhood, My Kids

good news and bad news

Danae has had fever since Sunday last week. Thinking it was just a common virus, we treated the fever and we were somewhat confident it would be gone by the 3rd day. To make the long story short, she was diagnosed by a pediatrician with acute bronchitis on the 4th day. But because she had fever again this morning, the 8th day, we decided to go to her ever reliable pulmonary pediatrician. After listening to her breathing, an x-ray was ordered. I knew it was going to be BAD NEWS…..DANAE HAS PNEUMONIA, for the 3rd time (but microplasmic this time) in her entire life of 5 years and 11 months. And incidentally, her bouts with pneumonia have always been right before her birthday.

You have no idea (well maybe most moms do) what a roller coaster ride of emotions I’ve been through. I hate that my Danae gets this sick. I’ve already written a blog related to this. I hate that it’s the same disease, sickness, whatever you call it. And if you remember, we spent ten days in the hospital because of King’s slipped disc, beginning August 15. Two days before leaving the hospital, Danae got sick. When she got well, Noelle got sick. When Noelle got well, I got sick. Then Noelle got sick with me. When we both got well, Danae got sick. Then King got sick. His fever lasted only a day, but he still has cough and colds now. 6 days after the onset of Danae’s fever, Noelle got fever too. Now, she also has to nebulize to treat her wheezing. So both kids are sick. It’s already October 3. When will it ever end?!

The GOOD NEWS is there is NO NEED FOR HOSPITALIZATION. With Danae’s other bouts with Pneumonia (click here for full story), it was so bad that we insisted that she be admitted in the hospital. With this one, her appetite decreased but it did not disappear. She’s not like her hyper active self, but she’s mobile, not sluggish. Despite the severity of her case, wherein both lungs are affected, not just one, I guess her body is strong enough to handle it.  Her fever doesn’t go as high as 39 anymore, and there are hours in the day that she is fever-free.

I am still on that roller coaster ride, but I know Danae and Noelle will get well soon. As a mother, I am a natural WORRIER. I wish it were as easy as changing two letters to make me into a WARRIOR. Since it’s not, I must get off this ride and get on another so I can continually flow with the rhythm of God’s grace. Not resigning to the fact that this sickness will come upon Danae regularly, but trusting in God and absolutely fighting with prayer.

Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

Ten Times Better Already

We named Danae after Daniel of the Bible. He’s one of our favorite people, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They had great faith and courage, and were ten times better than their counterparts. But before I continue, this blog is in NO WAY AIMED TO MAKE YOU COMPARE YOUR KIDS or other kids to ours. We are not claiming that our kids are ten times better than their friends or other kids. We are, however, claiming that they ARE ten times better….than their parents!

For one thing, Danae is so much more mature than I or King ever were when we were her age (5 and a half). Noelle’s vocabulary is more extensive than mine or King’s when we were her age (2 years & 5 months). They are both articulate, smart and very confident.

I know I performed in school quite often (a pre-school play, field demonstrations and the like), but I was never comfortable in front of many people. I wasn’t comfortable with even a few. In grade school, they would get me to join declamation contests, and maybe because I was pushed, I’d agree. But I never won anything because I really am not much of a performer. Sure, I can speak. But that’s it. Now that I’m older, I am way more confident than I was, but Danae was BORN confident and fearless. Unafraid of almost anything. Adventurous too! I thought at first that Noelle was timid, but she’s pretty fearless too. I saw that when she almost jumped from the boat to join King in the water (Coron) and when she danced with us on stage in front of hundreds of people (Victory Alabang Leaders’ Night). I guess it just took a while for her confidence and fearlessness to come out.

I’m amazed at how expressive Danae is. I thank God that she trusts me and can freely share things with me, without any fears of being judged or being reprimanded (though there are times that I do reprimand of course). I guess that attributes to her confidence and fearlessness too. It doesn’t take much to draw things out of her and she can articulate her feelings well. That’s God’s grace right there. I’m so grateful that she and Noelle need not be caged because of insecurities and fear of rejection, like I was when I was young.

I’m amazed at how my girls take on food. Well, Noelle eats almost anything so it’s no surprise that she eats almost any vegetable. But I was surprised at how receptive she was to the idea when I introduced malunggay capsules in their diet. She doesn’t care if her food turns green. She’s the one who reminds me and is excited to put the green powder on her food! Eeew right? haha. Danae is a bit like me, somewhat picky when it comes to food, though she eats most vegetables and is eating those that I only started eating a few years ago. I still don’t eat onions to this day and Danae, if she sees them, doesn’t eat them either. She does eat them unknowingly when I feed her (hehe). I wasn’t planning to give her malunggay capsules since she drinks milk (Noelle doesn’t but needs calcium), but she was also interested. I knew putting it on her food wouldn’t work but I was surprised that she wanted to try swallowing the capsule. I thought she’d have a hard time, it being her first time. She didn’t! No struggle at all. While 33 year old me, still struggles with tablets sometimes!

I’m tempted to say that I know these things are so shallow, but they’re really not. They mean a great deal to me. I am grateful that as early as now, their communication skills and eating habits are already good. As early as now, they are already confident and fearless. As early as now, they are getting to know and learning to love the Lord. My girls are a handful and are very strong-willed. I see so much of me in them, which makes me fearful of who they will become. But seeing that as early as now, they are already ten times better than me, gives me the hope that they need not make as many mistakes as I did and that THEY WILL DISCOVER THEIR GOD-GIVEN PURPOSE & DESTINY EARLY, and FLING THEIR LIVES TO IT.

Just My Thoughts, Motherhood

SUPER MOM!

For the past week, we have had no household help except for our handy man, who thankfully washes our cookware and runs errands for me sometimes. Our helper is on leave till the first week of June, which means 2 more weeks of this — no one to clean for us, cook for us, wash & iron our clothes for us. I am in the Philippines and I grew up having a nanny who was at my beck and call, and helpers who did everything for us. And if you know me, I’m really not that domesticated haha. I like to cook only when I feel like it or when we host small dinners for our friends. I don’t like washing dishes and most people don’t want me to wash their dishes either because I take sooooooo long. My hands cannot handle hand washing loads of clothes due to my proneness to allergies. I cannot, for the life of me, iron clothes properly. I make them more wrinkled! It takes me forever to clean and organize stuff too.

My mom was the working kind (but now retired) and she did not train me to help around the house. Um, let’s just put it this way. I am more domesticated than she is haha. And yeah, maybe we were spoiled a little bit in that sense. I know I know, I’m a brat! Or at least I used to be. But when you become a wife, a mom, and you start managing your household, you can’t BE a brat! Taking care of my kids is one thing. It comes naturally for me. But it’s a whole other thing to do chores around the house.

The good thing about all this is that I can see the flaws in our existing system. It pushes me again (because I’ve done this before but the system was not maintained) to think and reorganize so that things will be more efficient around the house, with or without a helper. It pushes me to give away or throw out what we do not need anymore. It pushes me to clean things and areas that have been overlooked or neglected. It pushes me to teach the kids to help out, to clean up their own messes, to put things back where they belong, to wash their undies, to clean themselves up. It pushes our family to work as a team.

Sounds like I got it all figured out? Haha. HECK NO! The house is still in quite a mess, we still use disposables for our meals, I have still yet to execute some of the plans in my notebook, I still get frantic and stressed out, and I am still going to hire a cleaning lady to help me clean every so often. I love, however, the things that I’ve been learning. Little tips here and there from friends, shows, books and the internet. I’m encouraging myself that SLOW IS FAST. It takes me a while to think and go through stuff because I tend to think about everything, as opposed to one thing/area at a time. But I’m hoping that when I do finish, it will be worth all the trouble. I want to learn more as I go along (so please give me tips if you have any), and I’m excited to finish! I have a long way to go, but I’m hopeful.

So no, I am no SUPER MOM. Nor do I want to be. I can handle being one some of the time, but not all the time. I salute the REAL SUPER MOMS out there, who literally do everything for their families. God bless you indeed! 🙂