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.