MOTHERING MONICA: YEAR SIX

Another year in this pandemic, another year of closely watching you grow. The world was slowly healing and we were given a chance to spend more time outside with friends and family.

I remember us finally visiting Batangas and spending time with grandma and family because things were relatively safer and we all have gotten our vaccines against the virus. It was spent with so much giggles, excitement, happiness, and sweat. Playing day in day out as if nothing else mattered. I remember visiting mamala and lolo Pol and letting them hug you and play with you.

I remember you entering Kindergarten and how it made you so happy despite the setup being online. It was your second year of distant learning and yet you managed to keep a happy disposition. I remember you being so excited to learn and “chat” with your classmates. I remember how you developed love for learning without being forced.

I remember the stories you wrote, the illustrations you drew, the imaginary world you built. I remember you coming up with ideas in an instant. I remember being so proud with how well you can put your thoughts into words.

I remember how your reading skills has improved and how you can finish an 84-page chapter book in just two hours. I remember going to thrift bookstores multiple times just to get you plenty of books that won’t hurt our wallets. I remember you being okay with not buying anything from the toy store because we don’t want to spend too much.

I remember us going back and forth to our future home because it took a long time to finish. I remember us dreaming on how our days will be once we move to the south. I remember us finally getting a car and how happy we were on road trips regardless of distance. I remember you having a hard time sleeping because of excitement for the the next day’s stroll.

I remember taking you to different places and how your eyes widen on every stop. I remember you being behaved and comfortable in your car seat as I earn my way back to the passenger seat. I remember playing your favorite songs and we didn’t have a choice but to sing along. I remember our travel to Boracay and Baguio and how it made us feel a little normalcy again.

I remember our first family camping trip. I remember so clearly how much nature made you happy and how Summer’s company has made everything the best. I remember going to another camping one after the other; one with your BFF Riley and another one with BFF Summer. I remember swimming in the river and sea even when the sun is too high and we didn’t care at all. I remember you never minding how uncomfortable sleeping in a tent was because you spent the day with so much fun.

I remember how dogs and cats made you so happy that you wished to have one.

I remember you finishing Kindergarten with flying colors. More than your awards, it’s really how much you enjoyed school and the company of your classmates and teachers. Thank you Golden Values School. I remember how elated we were when you finally had a face to face play date in school. I remember you being sad about leaving GVS but at the same time excited for big school.

I remember meeting friends more often and how it made you feel super delighted to play. I remember us going to the playground almost everyday so you can have at least an hour of socialization. I remember making time for my exercise as I watch you run around.

I remember you finally stopped breastfeeding because I ran out of milk. It was bittersweet but we were both ready for it. I was glad we lasted five years and a half.

I remember going back to work albeit freelance and homebased; I was happy but then there’s no job security so when client paused, I had to pause too. I remember stressing about getting another job so I can make money again. I remember turning down job opportunities because it required me to physically go to the office. I remember feeling so down for not being able to contribute more. I remember thanking God because your daddy can afford to give us what we need and want. I remember crying and thinking what could have possibly happened if I did not put my career on hold. I remember you hugging me and thanking me for not leaving you and for not letting another person take care of you. I remember, what a privilege it is to look after you 24/7.

I maybe confused and overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings but one thing is for sure, whatever happens, we will always choose you. I am sure this blog can make us remember how the year has passed but I do hope you will forever keep in mind how loved and cherished you are. You are God’s best gift to mommy and daddy, Monica. We love you so much.

Happy birthday, our shining star.

“I want to be like you, mommy.”

Lately, Monica’s been expressing her desire to be like me, she would always say “I love you mommy, I want to be like you.”

I asked her why, she said she want to love her baby like how I love her, how I take care of her. Of course this makes me feel like I am doing things right. But I always tell her that mommies do gazillion things a time, gets grumpy and mad, gets tired often. And she will still say, “I still want to be a mommy like you, but I won’t be as sungit.” Haha.

So because of that, she’s been wanting to help me with the chores these days. I guess this is the phase where they want to do what adults do. Every morning she will make the bed and set-up my work station, even pulling up the browser and other tools I need for work. I never taught her that, she said she just observed how I do things that’s why she knows how to. She helps me fold the clothes, assists me in vacuuming and mopping the floor; she gives me hand in washing our clothes, door mats and rugs even. She would wash the dishes with me (if his daddy is busy because that’s daddy’s expertise lol). And she will be proud of herself every time she will help.

Earlier I asked her why she wants to help me: “I want to learn how to be you so when I become a mommy, I know what to do. I know the other chores already because I see you” she said.

I don’t remember being this sweet and helpful to my mom when I was a kid but one thing is for sure, I was unconsciously watching my mother growing up. So yes it’s true. Kids are watching. It’s up to us to give them a good show.❤️

PS: I always tell Monica that she can be whatever or whoever she wants to be and that she will be even better than me. <3

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.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9fyfUGnhAj/?utm_medium=copy_link

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!”

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.

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

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!

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.❤️

MORE FUN WITH GROLIER’S MORPHUN

Play. Play. Play. Let our kids play all day!

Monica loves to read and write; draw and color — all of those she considers as play. You know why? Because she really enjoys it! She also creates a mess, talks to her Legos and Shopkins and makes a story out of Paw Patrol and My Little Pony toys.

And lately, she has started to enjoy building and creating, too! Since outdoor play is not really doable at the moment, she now focuses her energy on building. Perfect timing because Grolier PH sent her a “toy” called Morphun – a set of building blocks that fosters creativity and independent play and learning! Not only that, it also does the following (got this from http://grolier-asia.com/our-products/morphun/):

  • Develop children’s fine manipulative skills and hand eye co-ordination.
  • Allow children to explore flexibility of form and movement.
  • Develop children’s social, communication, teamwork and ways of working skills by providing opportunities for children to work together in teams and share their ideas.
  • Develop both generic and special problem solving skills.

Sounds amazing, right? It really is! But more than the benefits mentioned above, what I liked about it the most is that, it develops patience and perseverance. Both lifelong skills that I want Monica to have.

At first, she got really intimidated with the blocks as it’s not how the usual blocks look like plus she didn’t really want to follow the building directions. Each Morphun set comes with a guide-book with easy to follow instructions on how to build age-appropriate models. So I let her just freely build whatever she felt like building.

In this photo, Monica built the 4 towers of Jazz Residences with a sun above. This was her first time trying Morphun!

A few weeks after, she tried again and this time, she wanted to build the Fire Engine she saw in the guide-book. I was hesitant to let her because I thought it was too complicated. But good thing she insisted. I saw how determined she was — kept asking me questions on how, asking me to show her, but ultimately doing it all on her own. I saw her get frustrated whenever she gets the wrong block and won’t work with another; and I saw how her face lit up every time she would discover how it should be done, all on her own.

I am getting better, mommy!”

The words I really want to hear. I am so glad I let her and trusted that she can do it on her own. The reward is not really the newly-built Fire Engine, but the confidence she gained after. The next day, things are easier for her and she enjoyed it even more. I love how Morphun can really develop many skills and even values we can carry on. Yes we – because I myself am learning too. I learned to be patient in waiting for her and not to intervene.

Drama ba? Hahahaha. That’s really how I feel about Morphun. Clearly, it’s more fun with Morphun, plus it also grows with them; the older they get, the more complex it becomes.! Haha. I love that Grolier has really evolved over time. It has become really interactive and allows kids to discover on their own. Hey, we still have those Grolier Encyclopedias at home! And it’s good to know that my daughter has her own Grolier products, too, but definitely a better one.

You can check Monica’s videos playing with Morphun here: https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE4MDQ1MjM5MDU5MjU5NTc2?igshid=vsdri6wvzvud&story_media_id=2368013119229216773

To know more about their products, you can send them a message here: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGrolierPH/