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?

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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!”

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Mothering Monica: Year One

I remember the feeling but the details are fleeting.

Mothering Monica: Year One

Almost five years into motherhood and I must say, I am now slowly getting my time back again. Few years ago, all I could think of was how to shush my baby, how to get a decent sleep, how to pee while holding a newborn, how to eat my meal while breastfeeding.

It was just Beejay, Monica, and I since Day 1. And while it could have helped to have my mom or mom-in-law, or a yaya around, I am so glad we didn’t have. Everything that I cried about helped me become a mother that I am today.

I remember when Monica had her first hiccups; Beej and I got into a fight because we were both sleep-deprived and exhausted. He searched everything in Google while I tried my best making sure Monica’s okay. I told Beej not to panic and just go with our instinct. A few minutes later, Monica stopped. YES IT WAS JUST A HICCUP but nobody told us that it is normal for newborns. It looks so trivial now but back then, it almost tested our marriage. Haha.

I remember sleeping at 8pm while Beej takes care of Monica till 12mn then I’ll stay awake till morning. Beej’s turn again before going to work while I catch 1 or 2 hours of sleep. Beej worked for 12-14 hrs during those days — sometimes he will drop by at lunch time to bring me lunch, other days I would cook, and the rest, food delivery. That’s how our usual days went by.

I remember screaming in the middle of the day because Monica wouldn’t stop crying or wouldn’t stop latching on me. My whole body was in pain, I was recovering from a CS operation, I was hormonal, I was dead tired.

I remember bathing Monica on my own ever since we brought her home. It was scary and I was always nervous but I gotta do what I gotta do. I would place her on top of the washing machine so I can put soap then I would carry her in one arm so I can wash her in the sink. I never used a heated or warm water because I had no time boiling water for her. I was more afraid of me accidentally pouring hot water on my baby than her “getting a cold” from showering with cold one. She grew up bathing using tap water — warm or cold, it didn’t matter. Fast forward to today, I’d say I am glad she got used to it.

I remember bringing Monica to the mall for the first time ever, she was 5 weeks old. Her routine was disrupted. She cried heavily for about 15 minutes in Yabu. Beej and I were so worried that others might judge us. So I brought Monica outside, pacified her. Breastfed her while walking. Changed her diaper for the first time in a public place. Crazy. But I am glad it happened.

I remember establishing a routine early on. This helped us navigate the newborn to infant stage. I remember us talking to Monica all the time – telling her what we see, what we touch, and more. Her cooes and smiles were always the perfect answer.

I remember fighting cabin fever, post partum blues, self-doubt by talking to my mom and mommy friends and by going to the mall almost every week with Monica. I remember Beej babywearing her while I carry our big diaper bag or vice versa. I remember the baby carrier being our best friend: feeding her while walking, while pooping, while working, etc.

I remember Monica getting fever for the first time when she was 9 months old. I cried and cried and did not know what to do. We brought her to the ER only to find out it was a bit normal for her age – to contract Roseola. Since then, I promised not to panic anymore.

I remember being the go-with-the-flow and the over-sharer mommy. I remember being so excited for Monica to crawl on the outdoor playground floor. I remember not minding her getting dirty. I remember all the sweat she had from playing too much. I remember trying to feed Monica organic and sugar/salt-free food at first only to give up after a few tries. I remember protecting my peace by not comparing how I do things with other moms. I remember just trying to wing each day that passed by. I remember the monthly photoshoot and how it made us happy. I remember posting so many photos and videos of Monica because why not.

I remember working part time while I carry Monica in my lap. I remember doing chores while she takes her nap. I remember Beej never complaining about our house being messy. I remember Beej working for almost 14 hours each day and still helped me with Monica and the chores in the evening. I remember crying to him because I was too tired. I remember forgetting that he was tired, too. I remember days were not always happy.

I remember Monica hitting her monthly milestones. Her first smile, her first laugh and giggle. Her first “close-open” at 3 months old. Her first LOL at 4 months. Her first roll-over. Her first solid food. Her first beach experience. Her first word. Her first walk. I remember all of her milestones. I was there at every single milestone. As the memory of my camera filled up, my heart was bursting with love and happiness seeing my little baby growing up right before my eyes.

Before I knew it, it’s Year Two already.

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The Power Of Movement: Thank You Jump Rope ➰💛

Pre-pandemic, I was already happy with my weight — all thanks to Low Carb and Intermittent Fasting (LCIF) way of life. Because of this lifestyle, I was able to lose 11kgs and maintain a 58kg body with no exercise or any physical activity at all. So I said, it’s all in the food intake (which is really true naman).

Then lockdown happened. Ube-cheese pandesal, dalgona, cinnamon rolls, and everything else happened. I gained 4kgs in just a few months, went up to 62 kgs around July. I felt anxious, moody, tired of this pandemic, heavy. I was not feeling good about myself. That’s when I tried working out — thanks also to my momma friends who kept posting their daily workouts. Sabi ko pa “ano ba itong mga ito, exercise nang exercise. Nakakapagod.” Pero nood naman ako nang nood; before I know it, naimpluwensyahan na akong gumalaw. Hahaha. Shout to April, Shella, Marie! Hahaha.

At first I was doing yoga, following Youtube workout videos; but I found it too boring. I can’t keep up. I swear I can’t finish one full workout no matter how short it is. It’s true, different strokes for different folks.

Good thing, we were organizing our little condo that time. I found my old jump rope (the one I used as warm-up for boxing back in 2014) and tried jumping.

My jump was too high and heavy, form was bad, and all I could do was 50 jumps a day. But I found this movement interesting. Why? All I needed was a jump rope and my will to move.

Then I set a goal of 100 straight, then 1000 skips a day. It made me happy and want to skip everyday. Then I reached 3000 per day. I was so happy jumping to different songs. I would allot one hour a day just to jump. A friend suggested for me to learn tricks. Good thing, our condo allowed residents to go to the amenities area already. Took my chance and that’s when I started learning (albeit slowly) tricks. 

On my 3rd month of jumping, I decided to buy another PVC rope, this time from JUMP MANILA. And wow, this totally changed the game. I know because we also bought cheap ones from Shopee and oh my goodness, tangled agad isang jump pa lang. Haha. my first JM rope was the 2.0 – it was perfect. Swings became better, tricks came in one by one. The quality of rope is just too good, not to mention, affordable too.

Sharing with you my ropes — so far I have 3 PVC ropes, 1 Heavy PVC 1/2lb rope, 1 soft beaded rope (All from Jump Manila. Beke nemen charot!) and 1 beaded rope from The Jump Shop PH (it’s a customized rope from The Jump Rope Coach Chris!

For a beginner like me, getting a very good rope is the key to maintain consistency. Syempre pag feel mo yung rope, gaganahan ka diba? Hence, mas malaki chance na mag-improve. With regard sa tricks, I honestly cringe looking back at my old videos. I thought I was doing good before but NO. Haha. We all start talaga looking like a fool but with jump rope — there’s so much to explore and improve on. I no longer count my skips nor calories burned. I just enjoy every move; unlocking tricks or not.

From then on, I would jump 5-6x a week, drills on drills. Some days I am unlocking new tricks, other days, I am not. Some days, it takes me hours to learn, other days, it takes me weeks. I just keep pushing. Yes I get frustrated when I can’t unlock but I keep reminding myself that my jump rope journey is mine alone — and I am not in a competition with others. Soo here I am, approaching my 9th month into this journey. Still a beginner, but definitely a happy learner. 😉

From this:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CI0oxsgggjT/?utm_medium=copy_link

To this:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPX_H8xDkSD/?utm_medium=copy_link

Little by little, I saw and felt changes in my body. It became easier to move, easier to accept what I see in the mirror. I still eat what I want – chips, bread. No rice for me (since I am used to it already), but I am not depriving myself of carbs anymore. I still do Intermittent Fasting, 16-20hrs depending on my mood. Lost my quarantine pounds but weight plateaued at 59kgs. They said it’s because I gained muscles. Not bothered with the weighing scale anymore because what’s important is how I feel and what the tape measure shows. Hehe. Lost inches in my waist and thighs so who am I to complain right? Eating what I want, sweating almost everyday. Win-win.😄

Tips:

▪️Don’t mind the weighing scale too much, measure your body instead.
▪️Watch what you eat.
▪️Find time to move and sweat. Find a workout that suits you. No excuses.
▪️Focus on YOUR progress, big or small.

Left photo: Takot sa carbs and doing 16-18hr IF; no movement, no exercise; full of “sanal all”, “ang sipag naman nya magwork-out”, “ano ba yan wala akong time”

Right photo: Hindi na takot sa carbs and still doing 16-18hr IF; daily movement, daily jump rope; no more “sana all”; full of jump rope tricks to explore

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My 4-yo-Monica’s Vaccine (Booster Shot) Story 🩺🦠💉

It’s been a year since we visited her pedia; thank God she’s been well the whole time. However, I was told she needed booster shots (4in1 and PCV) for her age. Thankfully, Dra. Gellina Ann Suderio – Maala does home visits and is very nice and friendly to kids.❤️

The night before the schedule, I prepped Monica and told her what she should expect — that the injections may or may not hurt and that vaccines are very important. She understood and got excited.😉

To cut it short, Doc Gel came and gave her boosters. No cry no fuss. Big girl na talaga. And she even shared her insights about vaccines. She even wrote about her experience and has been talking about it nonstop.😅

And as per Monica’s words: “Kids should not be scared of vaccines. Virus vaccines make everyone go out.” ❤️

PS: Video, picture, and captions posted have been approved by this little kulit💕0:05 / 0:28

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A Mom Interview 2021, Monica 4yo

Copy this note, ask your kid/s the questions and write them down exactly how they respond.

What does mom always say to you? I love you

What makes mom happy? No kalat, me eating fast, me sleeping for 13hrs

What makes mom sad? Hmmmmm when I don’t step on your back?

How does mom make you laugh? Hmmm when you look funny. When you tell games that are silly and when you make funny faces!

What was your mom like as a child? Hmm playing with your friends?

How old is mom? Hmmmm 34?

How tall is mom? Long!

What is mom’s favorite thing to do? Chores! Hugging and kissing me! Being happy. Watching Korean! Jumping at 6th floor! Eating kare-kare, you are a fan of eaters!

What does mom do when you’re not around? Checking your phone

If mom became famous what will it be for? For the movie Din Real Bautista 😳😳🤣🤣

What is mom good at? You’re good at hugging and kissing me

What is mom not very good at? Not good at getting mad

What does mom do for her job? Chores! Taking care of me, looking after me!

What is mom’s favorite food? Kare-kare! Fried chicken! Shrimp! Kimchi!

What makes you proud of mom? When you win at games!

If mom was a cartoon character, who would she be? You are Raya! And Daddy is the Ba and I am Sisu

What do you and mom do together? Hug and kiss each other! Playing whisper whisper! Laughing together!

How are you and mom the same? We are both girls, we have the same faces! We have the same hair! We twin!

How are you and mom different? You have phone and I do not have

How do you know mom loves you? When I was a baby, you carried me just like you love me. You hug and kiss me, take care of me

Where is mom’s favorite place to go? I think 6th floor! Palengke! Mall!

Haha! I super enjoyed asking Monica these questions. Super aliw! I will ask her the exact same questions 5 years from now. Haha! Try it, too!

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What A Year Can Do

Around the same time last year, I posted about Monica’s early stages of reading, writing, and spelling on her own. It was really a fun stage, observing her enjoy, discover, and learn things on her own. Yes you read it right — it was all her. All we did was encourage and give the avenue for her to bloom.

A year later, she has already finished reading all her books at home (old and the tons of new books we got her), she has already answered a lot of activities and worksheets and so much more.❤️


I wonder what’s gonna happen next year? This pandemic has definitely altered our ways of living and it’s harder for the kids. But no lockdown can stop a child from learning. Let’s continue playing with them, reading to them, talking to them, and giving them space and chance to discover things on their own.❤️

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What’s up?

Hey mama! How’s 2021 doing so far? I hope you guys are good, and if not, hope things will be a bit lighter in the coming days. Just dropping by to ask what you’ve all been up to.

As for me, been really enjoying jump rope. That’s my sanity saver these days! I’ll write about it soon!

Love and light,

Din

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Monica the Storyteller

Monica, at 4yo, has written a lot of stories already. She enjoys putting her thoughts in writing — whether in paper or saved in our laptop. I love that her ideas evolve and improve each time. Or probably, I am just being a biased mommy. Haha.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CHSjjg8rp5O/


Anyway, thinking of putting up her own website as early as now — just so we can preserve her “writings” as early as now. 🙂

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How are you feeling today?

Happy? Sad? Annoyed? Tired? Angry? Excited?

Asking this question is always a part of Monica’s class and each student is given an opportunity to express what they feel. At first I thought it was just a routine in the school just so kids will be trained to converse. But it’s only recently when I realized and appreciated what it really means. Acknowledging our feelings is very vital especially nowadays. Kids feel different emotions and we should label each one of them. They are free to feel anything and they should be able to express it. This is why I love Monica’s school; it’s not just Monica who learns, but me as well.

And as we acknowledge our kids’ emotions, let us not forget ours, too. Let us not forget to label what we feel and let us not take it as lilipas din naman ito. We feel it as we go through it.

Last Saturday, I got to attend a webinar conducted by Monica’s school in collaboration with Mindwell PH. It was so timely as it discussed Parenting Challenges in the New Normal. I know a lot of us are having a challenging time and as the speaker, Doc Maria Lourdes Medina, mentioned, PARENTAL BURNOUT is real. It is really happening.

Here’s a part of her discussion, credits to GVS photo:

If you feel exhaustion, fatigue, anxiety, depression, frustration among others — then it can be really a sign that you are experiencing Parental Burnout. And when we feel that, it’s just right that we shift our focus and look after ourselves. Doc Lou knows that it’s not easy but she suggested a different way on how we can look at things. She reminded that we should prioritize Self-Care to avoid Parental Burnout.

I cannot agree more on all the points discussed. I kept nodding on each word Doc Lou mentioned. Then I asked myself, how am I really doing these days?

Honest to goodness, I feel okay. Fortunately, I don’t feel the parental burnout yet (hoping I won’t feel it lol). I did a self-check as to why I am doing okay and here’s what I came up with:

  1. I allow bad days. I don’t try to have it good everyday. Whenever I feel bad or annoyed when things don’t go as I wish, I show it. I let it out. Beejay and Monica know this side of me. They, too, are allowed to have bad days as well.
  2. I give time to myself. Whether it is a 5-minute lock out in the bathroom, a few minutes of watering the plants, an hour of workout, late night Kdrama marathon, random social media tinkering, naps, and a lot more. I recognize MYSELF as the first person to think of before anything else.
  3. I never aim to be the perfect parent or to be the coolest and nicest mom. Monica needs a happy mom, not a perfect one. If we keep pushing to be perfect, we will get tired. And the more we get tired, the sooner we’ll give up. We cannot afford to give up.
  4. I don’t intend to raise a perfect kid. Monica is allowed to see us getting mad or sad — she knows emotions like these exist. Therefore, she is allowed to feel mad or sad and even have mistakes, too. She is given time to play and explore on her own. We don’t control. What we have is a routine and that includes her freedom to nourish her interests and likes. I guess this is why Monica has been doing okay as well. Yes, more kulit but so far, no meltdowns, no tantrums.

These are the things that work for me. As cliché as it sounds, I want to say, “it’s okay not to be okay.” We have different circumstances and setup. I may have it easier than others that’s why I can chill, but I hope that telling you to allow bad days will help in making your days a little better. 😚

Sending you love and light even on bad days.

Din♥️

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