Summer Time Books

My preschooler will start his summer vacation next week. We decided not to enroll him in summer class but instead plan some summer activities for us to do at home.

First thing on my list is to have a set of books that we’ll be reading during summer nights. Since I can’t go and rummage through Booksale (which I immensely miss doing!), I rummaged through our book pile to see what we have. Here are summer themed books that you can read to your kids this season.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

This is perfect for families who will be traveling during summer. It also encourages children to explore even if it is at their own backyard.

How I Became a Pirate

Another story to light up the creative, adventurous minds of your young ones. Besides, the story starts at the beach so…

Guess How Much I Love you in the Summer

Guess how much i love you in the summer

Sam McBratney’s famous children’s story has a summertime setting. In fact, it has a version for every season. :)

The Fire Station

Actually any book about fire stations are recommended. Don’t forget the importance of safety to prevent fire during the summer months!

I Can Read with My Eyes Shut

Another Dr. Seuss favorite to, what else, encourage more reading during the school break!

So far these are the books in our small library that are summer-themed. What about you? What other books do you have in your shelves that is a perfect read during the season? :)

Re-Learning, Learning and Teaching Motherhood

Five weeks after giving birth, the family, especially I, have been adjusting to the new norm. It feels like wearing a new pair of shoes with the same design that you had before. It looks the same, feels a little familiar but totally new. Has it been easy? In some areas, yes. Is it harder? In some areas, yes. It has been a roller coaster of emotions really and I am not even experiencing PPD (postpartum depression) this time around. New laughter and joy is definitely around but tears and heartbreaks have been experienced by everyone in our little family. Celebrations were made at the same time challenges were faced. What have I learned so far? Nothing is always the same.

Relearning Motherhood

Being a new mom to Marcus is smoother than my experience with Lucas. I am more relaxed with him now. I had to download all stored mom-of-a-newborn skills I had stashed away in my body’s memory drive, but all’s well. You know the feeling when you are asked to play a sport or do a skill that you have mastered but you haven’t done in a long while? Yep, that’s how I felt during the first few days. I don’t get all panicky when he cries, nor do I worry every time I see a small red patch on his skin. I carry him with more confidence now and even give him a bath without fear or doubt if I am doing it right. Even the “skill” of waking up in the middle of the night because you know it’s feeding time has become natural to my senses again.

I do have to relearn mothering a new baby because well, he’s different. He may be doing the same, expected activities that an infant his age should do, but moms, each infant is different. I had to stop myself from comparing him with his brother when the latter was a baby because Marcus is different. I reminded myself that if I continue with the comparison, I will lose the moment to cherish his daily milestones that are ever so precious at this stage in his life. I am relearning to be focused on my baby again. I am relearning the conscious curiosity I have for him as he himself is curious about the wide wide world that’s slowly opening up to him.  I am relearning motherhood so I can be a present mommy to Marcus.

Learning Motherhood

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There are new things that I am simultaneously learning now. Top of the mind is learning how to breastfeed and understanding all the joys and pains that go along with it. I was not able to breastfeed Lucas before but I am determined to do so with Marcus for as long as he wants. I joined sites to equip myself with the knowledge on breastfeeding so we can be successful. I am learning the art to be patient with a little baby who wants to suckle 24/7. I am also adjusting to my body’s demands as my baby demands for sustenance. I frequently visit Chronicles of a Nursing Mom for awareness and guidance. I also connected with my mommy friends who have been successful in breastfeeding. Five weeks after giving birth, I am still exclusively breastfeeding him.

I am also learning how to be a mom of two. Honestly, I didn’t think it would be that difficult to be a mom to a preschooler and a new born. I thought to myself, “how hard can it be?”. Very.

Taking care of 4-year old is easy. Taking care of a new born is also easy. Taking care of both at the same time…that’s difficult. I admit tears poured from me and Lucas. My Lucas, my panganay. He has been battling with an emotion that he probably felt for the first time and he doesn’t even know what it is. He tries so hard to get my attention even to the point of being naughty. Just today, he wrote on our white walls and today is just one of the many times that I have raised my voice to him since I gave birth. I know it is not helping and there is no excuse but when your head aches and your baby doesn’t want to be placed on his bed, seeing actions like this really makes me lose my patience. But then I feel guilty because I haven’t been spending a lot of time with him. I tell you, it breaks my heart to a gazillion pieces especially when he cries after I raise my voice to him. I am learning to be more patient with Lucas. I am learning how to talk to him more because I want him to know that I still love him. I want him to know that I am so proud of him for facing this emotion and adjusting along with the rest of us. I want him to know that I love how he loves his baby brother. I never saw any kind of animosity over Marcus from him. In fact he likes it when he helps take care of his little brother. I am so proud of him. I know he misses me because since I had a difficult pregnancy, we don’t do the things we both enjoyed doing (like running around the house) and I miss him too. I remember the first night we came home from the hospital and I was dead-tired, I woke up briefly from my sleep because I felt him slide his hand to mine. Every night I pray to Mama Mary to guide me to be the mother that she was to both of my sons. It’s difficult, it’s heartbreaking, it’s an unpleasant feeling when you feel short of being a mom to one but this is something that I need to face and to learn. I know I will be a better mother and woman when I grow from this experience. I am confident that my love for them will prevail.

I am also learning how to be a wife who has two kids to my husband. This is the time when intimacies are almost non-existent because it has been replaced by early morning feedings and diaper changes. One day I felt I really miss him. I miss our talks and dating. Our talks have been replaced by cries, demands from an active little boy and sleep (because we both need it). Dates have been replaced by trips to the doctor for check ups. The husband should never be taken for granted even if the wife is a new mom. I am learning to focus on his love language and I try everyday to be present to him as well. I try my best to still have short talks with him even if it’s only for ten minutes. I give him a peck on the cheek or a smack on the lips as often as I can. I say “thank you” for his support to me as often as I can. I know that he is facing similar challenges as a new dad and in our new set up and the least that I can do is to make him feel that I am his partner in this journey.

I am also learning to appreciate myself this time around. I am learning to listen to my body and what it needs. I am learning to take care of myself because if I am healthy, I am at the best condition to be a parent and a wife. I am learning to appreciate my body with all the scars, bulges and fats (in all the wrong places) because this is the body who carried a baby for nine months. It is the same body that is nourishing the same baby and provides unlimited hugs and kisses to that baby’s older brother. I am proud of this body.

I am learning to look for silver linings. My goodness, with all the challenges a new mom faces, she can drown from pessimism if she doesn’t look at the brighter side of things! I limit my time browsing social media sites especially if they cater to so many negativity from other people. I slide through the feed fast and I have a set of people and hashtags to check that I know will brighten up my day (thank goodness for hashtags). I chose specific blogs to read too. Social media is a great distraction from exhaustion but choose who and what you want to see.

Teaching Motherhood

This is why I blog. I may not be posting a lot for the past weeks for obvious reasons but I want to share my experiences now. I am reminded of why I started a blog in the first place. It’s not just to document my sons’ milestones. I learn from blog and I want to pay it forward. I write to impart my struggles and successes this time as a mom of two. I would like to help other moms who could be in the same position as I am and hopefully make them feel that hey, they are not alone and whatever heartaches you are feeling at this point in time it’s ok. I am not saying that my experiences are absolute. Motherhood does not have a manual. Motherhood is different from one mom to another. I do believe that it doesn’t hurt though to seek guidance from others to be better. I have been guided well by some great women whom I haven’t met but has reached out to me through their words. I hope that my words will do the same for others.

So yeah, life now is totally different. Motherhood really is a learning journey. It’s fun, fulfilling and scary. All I do for now is pray, hope, and don’t worry. Join me in unraveling this new path? :)

 

Birthing Story Episode II: Marcus Pietro

Marcus will be turning one month this week. I can’t believe it has been a month already since his first appearance to the world. It’s really time for me to share our birthing story before I forget about it (although that’s highly unlikely).

When my new OB-Gyne (I changed doctors in this pregnancy) found out that I gave birth via cesarean section with Lucas, she asked what was the reason. I told her there was fetal distress due to coiled cord. She asked me to get my medical records from my former doctor because she wanted to check if I am a candidate for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section or VBAC. I actually wanted that and upon finding out that I was a candidate, I got excited.

Until my 36th week came.

The baby was in an incomplete breech position and this was quite risky because if I ever go into labor, onr of his feet or even the umbilical cord could be the first to come out first. Very risky. I had to take it easy that week because we want to wait until my 37th week for me to go on labor for two reasons: 1. for the baby to turn around, head first, so I can give birth through spontaneous normal delivery, or 2. if he doesn’t change his position, I will be scheduled immediately for CS. I prayed so hard for the baby inside me to change position so I can have a normal delivery. On my 37th week check-up, we were relieved to find out that he has turned so it’s waiting game for me and Mike once again.

Before my 38th week, I had another check up and guess what? The baby was in breech position again. Pfft. My OB asked me for a date so we can already schedule my CS. If the baby ever turns around again, then we’ll cancel the schedule and, well, wait again. At that point I have accepted the fact that I will be giving birth through CS again. Oh well, at least the hassle of rushing to the hospital when labor begins is out of the picture.

January 29, I started feeling contractions already. I thought I could be giving birth that day. On January 30, I was brought to the OB-Gyne Center of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City where the staff started monitoring fetal condition and status. Mike wasn’t allowed to join me inside but they did tell us that when it’s time, they will call him inside the delivery room.

My doctor already told me that I won’t be sedated throughout the whole procedure unlike my first birthing experience. She said that if the mom is sedated, the baby could also be sedated when they pull him out. There has been some cases where in some doctors had to give medicines to the baby to wake him up. Of course I didn’t want that then I asked myself “then why the heck did my other OB agreed on me being fully sedated before??”.  I have never experienced being opened up fully awake and honestly, I was more terrified with the kind of pain I would be feeling when the anesthesiologist gives me an epidural. Seriously, I was sooo nervous.

Around 6 PM, I heard my doctor’s voice and that was the first time I felt relieved since I was brought inside the labor room. When she peeked inside the cubicle, she was already in scrubs and was surprised when she saw the fetal monitor report because I was already in active labor with moderate contractions! She immediately checked if the baby turned around because if he did, we’ll wait it out. He didn’t. In a matter of 15 minutes, I was being wheeled inside the delivery room.

It was bright and cold inside the room. It reminded of scenes from ER. Yes, I am THAT old. I was greeted by a pleasant, soft-spoken doctor in scrubs who was the anesthesiologist. No matter how kind he seemed to be, my nerves started getting on to me again and I nervously told him that I never felt the epidural being administered to me because I was knocked out when I gave birth to Lucas. He assured me I will only feel a little sting and then the numbness. Still, I was scared as hell. I kept on looking for Mike so he could be there when they give me the anesthesia but alas, he wasn’t in the room yet. One nurse asked me to be in fetal position then I felt cold liquid rubbed on my back and then a sting. The general anesthesia was administered. Then I felt a second, less painful sting. It felt like something as thin as hair was injected in my back. I then felt a cold, liquid-like stuff spreading from my spine down to my hips. In a matter of 2 or 3 minutes, I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. Then Mike was ushered inside the delivery room. Five minutes too late, Hun.

The rest of the procedure went well except for the chills that I had. My arms were strapped because I was shaking like crazy. Mike was holding my hand, the anesthesiologist supported  the sides of my head and occasionally asked how I was feeling or if I feel any pain. My doctor and her assistant were chatting away and occasionally checked up on me too. After a good 30 minutes, I heard my doctor say “6:45, baby out” followed by a cry. It was my first time to hear my baby’s first cry! I was so excited and I felt like crying if not for the uncontrollable shaking I had that time. My doctor already invited Mike to take pictures so that was the time he let go of my hand. I’m saving you the gory photos hehe. He said the baby looks like Lucas. After a few minutes, the other pediatrician walked over to me with my baby and gently placed him on my chest so he can latch on to me. He’s a natural, by the way. They unstrapped my arms so I can hold him while shivering from the cold and I whispered, “Hey, Marcus”.

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The lil guy stayed with me the whole time they were sewing me up and well, Mike just clicked away. I can’t believe it took them longer to close me up or maybe time didn’t matter because I was too busy staring at my new born’s face. Mike was even able to make an announcement already to social media.

Marcus and I were briefly separated as my requested pediatrician, Dr. Vienne de Lou Saulog checked him and while the staff cleaned me up. We were reunited in the Recovery Room. I wanted to sleep but I was still shivering so the whole four hours that I was there I was awake. I didn’t asked to be sedated anymore because I wanted to breastfeed Marcus. I wanted to learn the first steps in breastfeeding because I want us to be successful in it. What I didn’t realize is that I will feel the anesthesia wear off. The pain started creeping in and man, did it hurt! I asked for two shots of pain killers the whole time I was there.

When I was brought to my room around 1AM, my in-laws were there waiting for the newest member of the family. I wanted to sleep but I can feel the pain from my lower abdomen and I was very thirsty already. I wasn’t allowed even a drop of water until 6AM. I guess I had a short nap of 20 minutes until 6 in the morning came. When my breakfast was delivered, I immediately requested Mike to give me a small cup of water. Holy cow, nothing tasted better.

We stayed in the hospital for three more days. All the time Marcus was with me. On our second day, Marcus was already sleeping beside me. I am thankful for all the friends and family who visited us. It made my recovery better. Plus I am proud to introduce Marcus to them.

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Look at those yummy cheeks!

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Kuya Lucas visited Marcus the day after I gave birth. He was his usual happy self. When he saw his brother he looked a little confused until we told him that that’s baby Marcus. The baby in my belly that he has been kissing for 9 months. He warmed up to him after that. :)

lucas and marcus

Before we left, Marcus had his first bath too. :)

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Taken after his first bath

Overall, I would say it was a pleasant experience. Why? The care that I got from the staff from the OB center to the nurses who visited regularly was a good experience for a mom who just gave birth and recovering. They were all very nice and understanding of my needs especially every time I buzz them to help me breastfeed. Having my husband hold my hand all throughout the delivery was the security I exactly needed that time. I can’t imagine going through that without him beside me. Hearing my new born’s first cry, and not being separated from him throughout the whole experience tops the list. I would gladly take on all the pain again if only for that reason alone.

Now, Marcus and I are doing well. I am recovering from my CS procedure and Marcus is feeding well and growing so fast! My heart is full with so much love for my three boys now and I can feel that the feeling is mutual. :)

marcus 2

In his own bed finally at home. :)

Our New Norm

I finally had the time to blog! I welcome myself to the blogosphere again!

It’s been 23 days since I gave birth to Marcus and it’s on times like these when I am able to type away my thoughts. The truth is, I have a lot of posts in my drafts folder already. The only time I am able to do is when I wake up at 5AM after feeding Marcus or when the kids are asleep. I’d like to take this free time to share how life as a mom of two has been like :)

It’s not all hearts and flowers I tell you.

I mean, the family is crazier than ever!

Of course I expected the sleepless nights in the next six months and Mike and I had an agreement on how our set up will be like when Marcus arrives. I’ll be focused on him, while he is focused on Lucas because we were also expecting some jealousy from the new big bro. While we have introduced the idea of him being a big brother as soon as we found out that we’re  having baby number 2, we still didn’t know how he would react when he sees Marcus for the first time, or when he sees his brother latched on to me 24/7.

Then the yaya left all of a sudden one week before I gave birth! Just when we told her that I can give birth any time! She has been with us for four years then ran off with some guy. I know she’s helped us so much in the past but I can’t help but feel hurt and angry that she left us just like that. I am still upset that even if we still need a yaya to look after Lucas, I told myself she will be my last option. Sorry about the rant but part of the plan was for her to help me with Lucas when Marcus arrives. That plan disintegrated in just one day. Thank God for moms who are willing to help and support their daughters and help look after the grandkids.

I also forgot the part where Mike’s Paternity Leave will only allow him to be home for JUST seven working days. I’ve gotten used to him being home because of the long holidays and weekends since December that I totally forgot how our set-up will be like once he goes back to work. He is my partner in taking care of the kids now especially with an active preschooler around. I failed to plan how it will be like when I am left with the two boys.

I feel I am doing a better job taking care of an infant this time around because I am more relaxed, I have less anxiety and hey, I breastfeed this time around. I am also guilty of not being able to give Lucas the time he needs from me. Even if I spend time playing with him, I somehow feel guilty that I have to leave him playing alone because it’s feeding time for his little brother. I think he is already feeling a little jealous of Marcus because he’s trying to get my attention by being loud or naughty. I am not using my lack of rest as an excuse but sometimes I lose my temper to Lucas and putting him to time out seems to be the easiest way to handle his situation. What I love about him though is he does not vent his jealousy to his little brother. He loves him. He calls me immediately when Marcus cries and he likes looking at him. Yeah, that puts more guilt on me.

This is the new norm in our family. It’s crazier, more tiring, noisier…but I am so in love with it. I love that I get to wake up with 2 little boys and a husband who is just as spent as I am. It reminds me that our little family is growing.

I love feeding an infant (not from a bottle) every two hours and cringing with pain every time he latches on and changing a soiled nappy right after I just changed it. Well, ok, the latter drives me nuts. It tells me , though, how I can nurture a small, helpless baby and how much love I have for him.

I don’t mind the mess in our room or the whole house or the fact that I can’t take a nap during the day because Kuya keeps on asking me to print worksheets, or build his race track with him.  I fall in love with him and his big smile and loud laughter when we play together.

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I love seeing my husband giving Lucas a bath or changing Marcus; nappy or driving us to the clinic for check up even if he is dead-tired from work. I can see his love for his children and for me.

I don’t mind not being able to clean the house because it means I am spending my time more on the important tasks and people in my life now. Anyway, I’d like to call this “mess” organized chaos :p

So how’s life now with the new baby? It’s not all hearts and flowers but it has never been better. :)

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Intro: Marcus Pietro

He’s here! Everyone, meet the Little Peanut (who is definitely NOT a peanut at 7lbs!): Marcus Pietro.

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Marcus, as we fondly call him, decided he wanted to make an intro to our great big world on January 30 via cesarean section. I haven’t shared with you but my OB and I were hoping for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) especially after knowing that I am an excellent candidate for it. The little dude had a different plan though and on my 38th week, he decided he’ll stick on a breech position and come out of the world with pizzazz.

The Name

I received the same questions from our visitors in the hospital about his name. Only a few people knew about the name that we wanted to give our baby. Everyone else knew him by the name Little Peanut. Marcus was already decided even before we knew I was pregnant. We wanted to name our children after the evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Lucas took after St. Luke’s name and Marcus, after St. Mark. Deciding on the second name was tricky. We wanted it Spanish sounding like Lucas Gabriel to compliment our last name. We also originally wanted to use one of the names of the Archangel (like Gabriel) however, Mike didn’t like Miguel (too patronizing of his name), nor Raphael (we had several Raphael’s and Ralph’s in our family tree) and the other names, well, they didn’t really appealed to us. We still want a biblical name though but most were either too common or would commonly be mispronounced (like Job). One day I was talking to a Spanish colleague and he was asking me about the baby’s name. When I told him I wanted a Spanish name and that we have decided on Marcus as the first name he gave me a confused look and said, “Marcus is not Spanish. Marcus is Italian.”. Demmit, he’s right! It’s Roman to be specific. Duh, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Antonius (Mark Anthony). I gave myself a facepalm after that. I told Mike about it and that the Spanish name for Marcus is Marco but we have fallen in love with Marcus and we decided to stick with it. It also made deciding on the name harder. One day Mike messaged me the name Pietro. It’s the Italian name for Peter. It didn’t appeal to me the first time I heard it but eventually, it grew on me until it sounded perfect for our little one. Marcus Pietro has been finalized.

About the Boy

Marcus was born 7lbs at 38 weeks. He was a big baby considering Kuya Lucas was only 5.6 lbs when I gave birth to him. Now at 16 days he has the sweetest coos and cutest expressions. I see traces of me on his features (although it is still too early to tell) and surprisingly, Mike doesn’t deny it. He feeds a lot (he doesn’t seem to get satisfied) and feels like he already grew twice his birth size because my mom and I both can’t carry him long without feeling a little strain in our arms. He’s like any 2 week old now, sleeping, feeding, pooping nonstop. He likes to be swaddled too. His cord stump fell off on his first week so now he takes a bath which he absolutely hates. He’s starting to see things because he now follows the movement of my hand with a toy although his vision may still be blurred. He also hates it when I try to help him burp. He gives me that irritated sound as if saying “Mami put me down!”. Sometimes I wonder if he is already showing signs of his personality. Haha. He is my calm when we are together. Babies have that kind of effect on moms :)

So there he is, the newest member of the family. Another little boy who just proved my heart can overflow so much more with love for him, his Kuya, and his Dad. Join us as we unravel a new adventure in our lives now.

My Musings on the 38th Week of My Pregnancy

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We’ll be seeing you soon, Little One

In just a few days, I will be a new mom again. I anticipate the sleepless nights once more as well as the joys and anxieties for a new baby. I think I will be more relaxed parenting the new baby but it has been quite a while since I took care of one but I think I will do it better this time around. The big, big difference this time is I am now a mom of two children. I tell you, I think about it a lot. How will things be with a new baby and a preschooler in the house? What kind of my mom will I be to Lucas and to his baby brother? Will it be easier or will it be harder? Let’s face it, when I had Lucas, my attention was 100% on him. These past nine months I hope I have mustered another 100% for the new baby and Kuya.

Since I left the corporate world, I try my best to spend as much time with my eldest as I can. I enjoy every minute of it even if there are moments where we “argue” or I feel tired or I cannot play rough house with him like his Dadi does. When his yaya left (oh boy, this deserves a different post!), we got to do more things together and I got to guide him more. Today, I felt a little sad when we were playing together. I know it will only be a couple of days from now and there could be times when Lucas would ask me to play with him and I dread telling him, “Sweetie, I need to feed your baby brother.” or “Mami’s a little sleepy, Love.”. Oh man. I pray I would be given the strength to still do most of what we can do together now.

I, of course, cannot deprive the littlest one my attention and love because he needs it the most, but I also know that his Kuya will also need my time and attention. Mike and I have plotted a game plan and he agreed to fill whatever space I may not be able to give Lucas in the meantime. I asked him to make some sacrifices (like not spending time playing Playstation <insert raised eyebrow here>) and give his full attention to the kuya. On the other hand, I am also glad that Lucas is now a big boy who is already independent and can keep himself busy. I plan to involve him in taking care of his baby brother so he will also start having a sense of responsibility.  I have to admit, I don’t think it has sank into him yet that in a few days or weeks, he’ll be promoted to big brotherhood. Mike and Lucas talk better so I asked Mike to help me explain to him the changes coming on our way.  My prayer is that the adjustment for him will be easy.

Lucas

Ready, Kuya?

So as I wait for the Little Peanut to join our fun and crazy family, I will spend as much time as I can with my panganay (eldest son) and guide him to be the best kuya to his little brother. :)

 

Baby Shower for the Little Peanut

Lucas was quite an impatient baby. He decided to make a grand entrance to the world even before his godmother, my best friend, was able to give me baby shower.

Yes. I didn’t have a baby shower when I had Lucas. I never experienced having friends and family together enjoying some fun, silly baby shower games, having good food and celebrating the miracle of having a baby soon. I admit, I felt a pang of envy for all the baby showers I have attended and wished I experienced it too.

This time around, my wonderful wonderful best friend, Rachelle, wanted to be sure and threw a semi-surprise baby shower for me and my Peanut way ahead before my due date. Here’s a side story: It was supposed to be surprise shower for me. She was already coordinating with my sister for the list of my friends and family that they will invite. One night over dinner, we were seated together, me, Rache, Mike and Rache’s hubby, when my husband asked what will be the plans for my baby shower. Oh the look on my best friend’s face was priceless. Haha. To cut the long story short, the surprise baby shower turned out to be a semi surprise. I didn’t know anything about it except the part that I know that I have a baby shower scheduled. LOL.

Rache did an amazing job in organizing the party. I love her! I love that I had guests from work, family, my blogging friends, even from gradeschool. It was unfortunate that not everybody who was invited came but it’s ok. I think it’s safe to say that we enjoyed the party. :) Here are the photos captured during the baby shower.

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The super party organizer

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These ladies were taking the game seriously! :) Competitive much!

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friends

 

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balloons

gifts

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Kuya wanted to help :)

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Thanks for coming everyone!

It sure was good fun, yummy food, great laughs. Celebrating a new baby with family and friends feels wonderful :)