Mothering Monica: Year Five

From a baby who blabbers to a little girl who aspires to write and illustrate books because that’s what she has imagined herself to be. This and more in Monica’s Year Five.

I remember when Monica was a newborn, I told myself I will breastfeed her for as long as she wants. Fast forward to today, she still breastfeeds and weaning is nowhere in sight. I remember asking her when she will stop and she would answer “on my birthday” only to extend until the next one.

I remember this year when Monica stayed home and did not have the chance to play with many kids. She lost the time to spend with family and friends. I remember her starting and ending the day in our little home because the threat of the pandemic is there. I remember us trying every activity possible just so she can get thru the day. I remember boredom paving way for your imagination to be limitless.

I remember you enjoying online school despite the challenges left and right. I remember you learning how to be patient and wait for your turn to sing or dance. I remember you cherishing your classmates and T. Lex because they mean so much.

I remember how happy you were with video calls and chat messages with family. It made you so excited knowing you can share your stories with them or play stickers and games on Messenger.

I remember us getting into plants; we would water them together, you will sing and talk to them. I remember setting up a very small inflatable pool in the balcony just so you will enjoy despite not being able to swim in the beach.

I remember when the condo admin finally allowed kids in the amenities area – it made you really happy. I remember going down to get some vitamin D — for you to run around and for mommy and daddy to exercise. I remember how this made us gain new family and new bubble. I remember you screaming, running, playing, and getting all sweaty with Kuya Jax and Riley. I remember the three of you being Super Speed, Speed Bubble, and Speed Weed and how you easily understood each other.

I remember when you bravely tried to “dive” in the pool; how you managed to swim on your own and overcame your fear of deep waters. I remember how it made you feel confident. I remember you composing a song based on the things I always tell you: “Don’t be scared, be brave. Don’t panic, it’s okay.”

I remember you looking for your books the moment you opened your eyes. I remember telling you I was never like that. I remember being honest to you when I don’t know  a lot of things. I remember directing you to your daddy because he knows more than I do. And that’s okay with you.

I remember how your face lit up every time we give you a new book. I remember all the stories you wrote, but I remember more of how happy it made you feel. Your eyes sparkle with every word you formed and every idea you thought of. I remember making a blog site for you so you can make more stories you can easily go back to. I remember tons of stories made in a pad paper, with illustrations and dialogues.

I remember when you were crying and I asked you to stop. You said “mommy let me cry first because my heart is still sad.” I remember the very first time you got mad at me. You didn’t want to hug me right away because you want to calm down first. You said you still love me but you just didn’t feel like hugging me. I remember shouting at you many many times because you wouldn’t go to bed early. Only for me to shower you with hugs and kisses in the middle of your sleep. 

I remember you reasoning out and standing your ground. I remember you being fearless of trying new things out but would scream frantically when you see insects flying around. I remember you being hard headed at times that it annoys us so much. I remember you finally eating on your own, and eating everything at that. But it does not mean it’s always stress-free because you eat soooooo slowly.

I remember you asking for “hug break” whenever your daddy is working. I remember you looking forward to Saturdays because that’s when you and daddy watch a movie. I remember your daddy reading a story every night even though he’s busy. I remember you hugging and kissing me 1000x a day because you want to show me you love me. I remember you asking me to play Scrabble, Pick-up Sticks, Whisper Whisper, Rock Paper Scissors, and Mommy-Monica game with you. I remember reading bible stories and devotions with you on most nights.

I remember when we finally decided to get a house so you can have more space to play. I remember telling you that you’ll have your own room and we’ll build book shelves for you.

I remember getting my time back — I remember taking 1-2 hours so I can workout and you understood why. I remember feeling good about myself but sometimes doubt if I am contributing just right.

I remember this year to be challenging but this pandemic proved that the three of us can live harmoniously (most of the time) in our small unit 24/7. I remember how our family has thrived to adjust and just accept reality as it is without getting bitter. I remember us looking forward to better days ahead.

I can try to remember many things for the past years but on your 5th birthday tomorrow, June 24, I want YOU to remember how life was for us through mommy’s words in this blog. I want you to always remember that you are loved. We love you so much, anak. May you continue to shine and spread your light. Happy birthday to our bright little star.

Mothering Monica: Year Four

The words you say now all make sense; you express what you feel, you say what you want. What a feisty yet sweet little girl you are turning to be.

I remember your first day in school as an official student, not “saling-pusa” anymore. I was nervous but you were confident – happy and excited. Never a trace of separation anxiety.

I remember celebrating your 3rd birthday in school which you vividly remember till this day – the Jollibee chickenjoy, the Red Ribbon cake with traffic signs as toppers, the birthday song from your classmates.

I remember feeling a bit frustrated because you never liked doodling, coloring, or even touching your pencil. I remember feeling a bit jealous about other kids your age because they color oh so fine. But I remember stopping myself from feeling the pressure and instead wait for you to be ready. I remember you writing on your own a month after your 3rd birthday. And you did it without any help at all. I remember that day so well; you held your pencil and paper and wrote the word CHEESE — just copying what you saw from a chips wrapper.

I remember feeling so ecstatic because you finally learned how to write. And since that day, you were unstoppable. You hated tracing letters and numbers but were always game to write freestyle.

I remember the first time you read sight words. You were 3 years and 2 months old. I purposely did not mind it because I know kids tend to memorize fast especially words they are familiar with. But deep inside, I remember feeling so proud. I remember you finally reading for real at 3 years and 6 months — from simple sentences to long paragraphs. I remember you reading 5 books a night and you just won’t stop. I remember getting a lot of questions from others on how we taught you how to read and all I could say was “we just let her.”

I remember all the school activities we attended. You became more confident in front of many people. You were not scared to dance and sing. You were not a very assertive child but you know how to express how you feel and what you want. I remember you being friendly to almost anyone you played with. I remember you being sensitive when someone is happy or sad.

I remember taking you out to a lot of Mommy and Monica dates. We would eat out, play around, window shop, try on clothes, ride Grab or jeepney together. You and I were always together. I remember going to the coffee shop with you; I will finish my article and you will color and play on your own. I remember bringing you to palengke or supermarket and you will just smile ‘to people we’ve come across with. I remember taking you to events, you would just behave and let mommy “work” while you play.

I remember having a much longer time for myself whenever I go out because I can already leave you with daddy without you making a fuss. I remember you being okay not to breastfeed for a max of 6 hours and just play with daddy the whole time.

I remember how our family would always go to the mall, but this time, no more stroller or carrier for you. I remember you walking in the mall like a big girl already. I remember bringing you to toy stores and allowing you to play but not buying everything you want. And I remember you being okay with that. I remember bringing you to the cinema. I remember the Frozen fever. I remember family dates, either just us three, or with another family.

I remember this year, we have successfully eliminated the use of gadget after almost a year of being a slave to it. It was not a good influence at all so we decided to cut it out completely and the result was amazing. You’ve never thrown a tantrum, your focus improved, and your imagination was superb.

I remember so many accomplishments and milestones this year and so are the kulit and away moments. You’re still a child and sometimes you test my patience so bad. But I remember you saying you love me as if I never shouted at you. You would still embrace me even after getting into a fight with you.

I remember having so many plans for the summer and your 4th birthday but the pandemic happened. The great outdoors suddenly became a threat to people especially to kids like you. I remember feeling bad about this but we had no choice but follow. We maximized what we have inside our small home. Every corner was utilized just so you not feel left out. Thankfully, you understood what’s going on but my heart still aches because we want you to have fun outside. All of a sudden, we’re forced to stay home and not meet our families and friends. It was hard for adults, more so for kids. I felt like you were robbed of your childhood but you thrived. You never whined, you never complained. You went with the flow. That’s how you maintained your glow.

I remember this year when I thought it was all just about read and write, but with the things that happened, you proved that you’re more than just that. And in just a snap, we will be entering Year Five.

Mothering Monica: Year Three

And the discoveries and milestones went on. My baby who used to just coo, cry, and laugh turned out to be an unstoppable chatterbox. Welcome to Year 3!

I remember enjoying this toddler stage so much. Everything Monica did and said were fascinating and amusing. I remember being so surprised at Monica’s words each day; words that turned to phrases and eventually sentences.

I remember Monica running around our condo amenities area; I remember her playing with her friends while I sit and watch with my fellow moms, too. I remember her going home with dirty feet and hands, sweaty but really happy.

I remember giving her just chicharon and rice, or, sabaw and rice, just so she would have “food” in her stomach. I remember this stage as the peak of her “problematic” eating habits (or so I thought).

I remember the first time our baby attended a “free trial” in school. I remember being so excited for Monica because we wanted her to develop some social skills. I remember leaving Monica on her “first day” of Day Care and got surprised because she did not even cry. I remember having my so-called “ME TIME” for the first time because Monica was left in school for an hour.

I remember us hoarding books for her. I remember Monica being so giddy whenever we visit a bookstore. I remember Monica trying to read and copy everything she sees in her book.

I remember Monica being sooooo interested about excavators, trucks, trains, even road signs. I remember her knowing different types of vehicles and eventually used it for her play. I remember getting Monica all sorts of toys that are related to cars. I remember hearing people say “Bakit nyo pinapayagan maglaro ng cars eh panlalaki yan?”

I remember working part time at night and some writing gig on the side. I remember pouring my heart out in every article I had. I remember patting myself on the back for doing everything at once. I remember being part of a mom community online. I remember being excited to share snippets of motherhood, product reviews.

I remember bringing the twinning moments to another level. It became part of who we are as a mother and child.

I remember breastfeeding Monica still day in day out. I remember wanting to wean her off but later on decided to just wait for her to do so.

I remember handing my phone over to Monica just so I could rest. I was so sick and all I needed was a little bit of sleep. I gave my phone to Monica to entertain her at least. I remember relying on gadgets just so I can breathe. Yes, this happened to us, too. I know how it feels.

I remember Monica being potty-trained in just a week! All it took was her readiness and a little bit of accident here and there.

I remember this year as another stage of trial and error, discoveries and victories. A lot has happened in Year Three, but when I try to recall, it feels like a blur. How come it went by in a flash and now it’s Year Four?

Mothering Monica: Year Two

The newborn and infant stage went by quickly; one day you were rolling over, the next day you are everywhere.

“You can do it, Monica!” “Wow anak!” “What is this?” “Let me video you, anak. Can you say it again?” These are the words I remember saying in the whole toddler stage. Too many milestones, too many moments to cherish and keep in my heart. I may not recall all, but I have ones I’ll keep to my core.

I remember when you first walked, you were confident and fearless. It’s a moment your daddy and I will never forget. We both witnessed it and fortunately, documented it, too. It was a joy to watch you explore, tumble, and got back up on your own.

I remember you going up and down the bed with no help at all. I remember all your movements here and there, under and over. I remember the first time you went down the playground slide alone; my heart skipped a beat because I was too worried you’ll get hurt. But I remember not showing you how scared I was and just cheered you on. I remember the smile you gave me after as if you’re telling me “Mommy, I did it on my own!”

I remember talking to you every hour of the day; describing almost everything we see, hear, and feel. I remember how your words turned into phrases and later on turned into sentences. I remember you playing around with your books and pointing at each object you see. I remember your daddy reading books to you day in day out. I remember when you learned about letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. I remember feeling proud because “wow our daughter is so smart.”

I remember the first time you said “I love you”. It was music to my ears. I remember you enjoying Disney songs your daddy lovingly sang to you.

I remember the first time you used your imagination to play. I remember you choosing cars over dolls. I remember you getting fascinated with anything that moves. I remember you finding joy in watching baby shows.

I remember bringing you to playgrounds – indoor and outdoor. I remember having play dates. I remember you having fun with your “friends” and us parents, having fun, too! I remember meeting up my friends with you in tow. I remember going to the salon with you in a baby carrier. I remember doing everything with you in my arms.

I remember buying so many dresses and shoes for you. I remember spending Php2000 for your pair of shoes and yet spending Php300 for myself seemed a hard decision to make. Lol. I remember getting excited about our matchy clothes. I remember the first moments we went out in twinning outfits and have our photos taken by daddy. I remember our smiles — even if you probably did not understand.

I remember going on trips with you. We never had a helper and it was always just you, daddy, and I whenever we go malling or go to places. I remember bringing almost all our stuff when we went out of town. I remember bringing a bulky bag and a baby carrier each time. I remember bringing you to the grandparents and I remember the joy and smile on their faces. I remember the first jeepney and tricycle ride; the multiple Grab and Uber rides because we didn’t have a car.

I remember working at night after I put you to sleep only for you to wake up and continue sleeping on my lap.

I remember not just the beautiful days but also those that made me scream in exhaustion. I remember being SO SO SO stressed because you never liked eating. I remember being so envious of kids your age eating like a true champion whenever I saw them on social media. I remember trying every method I learned in feeding you; offering every food I came cross with. I remember being hard on myself, blaming myself for raising a picky-eater child. I was so down because all you wanted was to breastfeed from me and not eat anything I wanted you to eat. I remember all those days when I thought I was not doing good enough.

I remember your daddy and I finally getting better at adjusting as a married couple with a kid. I remember appreciating all his efforts instead of competing with him. I remember being resentful on days that I was so tired without acknowledging the long hours he put into his work, too. But I also remember the day when I finally realized that we are both doing our best. I remember praising your daddy for his efforts and I remember him praising me more.

Year Two was all about discovery, milestones, acknowledgements, and lessons. It’s a manifestation of God’s love in letting us witness a life so precious unfold each day. And in just a blink of an eye, Year Three is saying “hi!”