Category: Parenting

Ariadne the Ballerina

I am a frustrated ballerina. Up to this point, I still wonder what if I took formal ballet as a child. I will never forget my ballet presentation in school, where we had a show in Folk Arts Theater, no less.

My daughter, meanwhile, loved ballet, that it took us three years to ensure she likes it.

Aria finally finished her first ballet classes under Ballet Manila.

Since we only live in the next street, we decided to enrol in this school run by Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso.

Three years ago when she first learned about ballet, through a cartoon called Angelina Ballerina, and eventually through a book about ballet which I bought online.

She had watched a lot of ballet performances, from three ballet companies in the area (I love Pasay City because it’s an arts hub, despite the crowded and traffic streets!). The very first full length we watched was in 2014 which is Ballet Philippines’ Cinderella. Then we watched Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang, which was her fifth birthday outreach activity, sponsoring kids from Food for Hungry Minds to watch this ballet. Before Christmas last year, she watched Philippine Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker with her dad, and Ballet Philippines’ Peter Pan.

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Aria treated all these kids (plus some of their teachers and parents) to a night of ballet and Philippne literature. A memorable fifth birthday for her.

And so, this summer, we asked her again if she is really decided to take ballet. Since this will take up most of her time, we really had to ask her not once but a lot of times.

Good thing, Ballet Manila had an Open House activity in March where Aria got to try a full hour of lesson.

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The lonesome student with the teacher. Teacher Maika was also her actual teacher in her class.

What we liked about Ballet Manila was, aside from its proximity, the waiting area for parents and guardians has CCTV so you could see your child while in class. I just hope they would be more strict in terms of security, especially when their gates are wide open and outside the parking area is the busy one way street already.

Finally, she started lessons in April. We didn’t have ballet clothes yet, but we got sponsors.

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Aria got this leotard from one of my voice students.

My mom and sister (thank God for them!) bought almost all of her clothes–from leotards to tights to shoes.

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First day high. And lookmat her purple shoes! Nope, the recommended attire is pink, but she eventually got pink ones soon after. Purple rocks!

Aria had ballet lessons three times a week, but since Mommy and Daddy had to work, too, it was mostly my mom–her Nonna–who takes her to class. Good thing we’re literally a skip and a hop away! One pedicab, actually, since it was scorching hot during her timeslot of 11 in the morning.

She eventually had rehearsals, which filled up her afternoons. She skipped a couple of sessions due to other pre-scheduled events (which were actually because of this blog). She even squeezed in two weeks of swimming lessons in a nearby hotel (that’a story for another day).

Thereafter, they had a photoshoot session for the souvenir program.

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She got so dark because of swimming.
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This was her class, Twinkle Toes level. 5-6 year olds.

She was so excited for the recital, that ever since learning her steps, she kept on practicing at home with her doll as partner (talk about artist discipline!). She also kept on reminding me and her dad about recital day, and made sure she invited the people dear to her to watch.

Recital day came, and we were in full force to support our little ballerina! They danced two musical numbers, and sharing with you one of them here. Click this link.

We are so proud of our little ballerina!

So, do we continue? Yes, we will, but probably delay it for a couple months since we are starting Grade 1 already and we will homeschool (yes, another post!).

It was one fulfilling summer for her. And for us parents, too.

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Daddy wrote this dedication for the souvenir program.
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Prima Ballerina and my little ballerina. #fangoals (for me, that is!).

How did you spend your summer?

~ Touringkitty

Consummatum est: Weaned from the breast

I really cannot think of any good title for this post. I just had to post this anyway: Aria is FULLY WEANED from the breast. From MY breasts, which nourished her with my own milk from Day One.

No more breastfeeding, no more asking for “dede” to be able to sleep. Not even for comfort. Not even for…nothing. Hugs work. Blankets work. Dolls work. That’s enough for her.

I actually thought she’d wean after that two-week Europe trip I had in the middle of last year. Or even that overnight trip to Balesin last month. But she didn’t.

It has been close to two weeks of no nursing at all, no asking for “dede” to sleep. After our nightly prayers, she would just wrap herself in a blanket to sleep, then mightily proclaim that she will sleep by herself because she is a big girl.

 

She IS big. We have to pay for her train fare already. No more free buffet for her either. Kid's Rates already apply.
She IS big. We have to pay for her train fare already. No more free buffet for her either. Kid’s Rates already apply.

Let’s count this exactly: Five years, five and a half months. From someone who had doubts in the early days, who was almost persuaded to give formula (to which I never gave in), whose original goal was just six months, it was more than what I prayed for.

Breastfeeding is an investment. Aside from not buying formula and bottles anymore, we had lesser hospital trips, and reduced risk for certain types of cancers. Not only my daughter, but for me as well. Plus the countless other positive benefits for the whole family. Even for Daddy, who always had a good sound sleep in the night.

What happens next? Baby number two so I could breastfeed again? That’ll come, Sa Tamang Panahon.

That’s why I am ever so happy to see MORE breastfeeding families nowadays, and actively promoting it through the organisations that I am part of — LATCH and Our Lady of La Leche Movement.

It is true, a mom could be emotional when weaning time comes. For some, they choose to force wean, for some reasons. But I let this one come naturally, on her own. And all I feel is bittersweet.

I am praying and will continue to support all families who choose breastfeeding. Trust me, it’s the BEST and ONLY choice you’d want for your children.

 

~ Touringkitty

Express Yourself: an afternoon of fun, games, and learning for moms and kids

Last Saturday, August 15th, we were a few of the lucky ones to witness the preview of Disney Pixar’s much anticipated movie, “Inside Out.”

But before watching the film, moms and kids were treated to an afternoon of learning and bonding through the Express Yourself Parenting Workshop, organized by SM Cinema and its official food unit, Snack Time, and the country’s top parenting magazine and website, Smart Parenting.

My little cute girl. Such a charmer!
My little cute girl. Such a charmer! Before the program started, the kids had a chance to colour Inside Out characters.
With Joy, I mean, the host for the event, Mary Viernes.
With Joy, I mean, the host for the event, Mary Viernes.

The program consisted of talks about food and colour.

With Good Housekeeping's Food Editor, Chef Roselle Miranda, who gave tips on how to make quick and easy bento lunches.
With Good Housekeeping’s Food Editor, Chef Roselle Miranda, who gave tips on how to make quick and easy bento lunches.
Since the characters of the movie, Inside Out were just colourful, the event also had Mark Dean Lim of Color Me Doodle talk about colours and their meaning.
Since the characters of the movie, Inside Out were just colourful, the event also had Mark Dean Lim of Color Me Doodle talk about colours and their meaning.

The Activity Center of SM Aura was filled with various booths and activities to choose from. Food and drinks were also served.

Moms and kids listening to the talks.
Moms and kids listening to the talks.
Photobooth to capture the happy faces. Joy indeed.
Photobooth to capture the happy faces. Joy indeed.
Kids being happy and content playing with these Krispy Kreme balloons.
Kids being happy and content playing with these Krispy Kreme balloons.

Moms got to try some pampering, too! I tried out hand paraffin and back massage from Bioessences, one of the sponsors of the event.

After which, at five in the afternoon, we went up a floor to the cinemas for the exclusive preview of Inside Out.

The movie is already showing since August 19, and I’d really recommend it for parents and kids alike. This is a good movie to teach emotions to children. And it will make us proud that a Filipino co-directed the movie. Indeed we are making waves in the arts!

So, come visit your nearest SM Cinema to watch Inside Out!

Once again, a huge thanks to Smart Parenting for the invitation, and SM Cinema and Snack Time for organizing this event! The pre-movie activities prepped us all for the movie, as we have created wonderful memories with our children. Another ball of Joy in their memory bank, or perhaps in their Core Memory! Ok, better watch before I spoil too much!

 

~ Touringkitty

 

About SM Cinema

The pioneer brand of SM Lifestyle Entertainment Inc, SM Cinema begun in 1986 as SM’s household brand for movie watching. Now encompassing 60% of the country’s total market share for cinema and exhibition, SM Cinema boasts of 284 fully digitized theatres in 51 branches nationwide, and three big brands under its name. As the front-runner in theatre innovation, SM Cinema will be expanding to more regions, and building more cinema screens in a branch near you. SM Cinema is the country’s leader in movie entertainment.

About Snack Time

The sole food concession unit of SM Cinema, Snack Time is also available at the Mall of Asia Arena, Exploreum, SM Bowling Center, SM Skating Rink, and in WM Cinemas. Snack Time offers a wide variety of food: from snacks such as popcorn, burgers, sandwiches, corndogs, and drinks to meals fit to be served at formal events, Snack Time is one of the biggest food operators in the entertainment and lifestyle business. Snack Time is also the merchandise arm of SMLEI.

Touringkitty feature: Timelapse video of pregnancy

How did you document your pregnancy?

I swear I cannot remember something really religious to document those nine months. Photos? Maybe once in a while, but not every month.

Then I remembered, I started this blog the month before I gave birth, and have collected notes in a notebook which led to putting them online. So, the Touringkitty blog was officially born July 2010.

Recently, I saw a really cool video of a pregnancy documentation which I thought was cute, sweet, and was produced with lots of hard work and love.

Yes, a timelapse video for a pregnancy documentation! Looks like hard work, eh?

I got permission from the creators of this video, professional musicians Emanuele and Rechelle Frisardi, to post about this on the blog, and here’s a short Q&A with them:

Touringkitty (TK): Thank you for allowing me to share this! May we know what are your respective professions and where are you based?

Rechelle and Emanuele (RE): We are both violinists. Emanuele is a violin teacher in some music schools here in Germany and I’m a freelance violinist and do private teaching as well. We’re based in Saarbrücken, Germany. (Rechelle is a Filipina and we’ve known her because of her cousin who is our choir mat, while Emanuele is Italian but has

TK: Who conceptualised the video? How did you schedule your shoots?

RE: The main idea was Emanuele’s. He’s fond of making timelapse videos so when I told him I wanted a timelapse of my pregnancy, he thought about doing in episodes of what happens during the 9 months. We listed different possible scenes that we could do for the whole video, then during the takes, we improvised some more since we got more ideas. We shot mostly on weekend nights when we’re free and when we’re not tired. It’s actually a lot of work since every time we had to arrange our living room exactly the same as possible from the last video we took, like the position of the pillows, the curtains, the flowers, etc. And then there’s the actual shooting which takes for about 2 hours, depending how difficult the scene is. Since there’s just the 2 of us working on the film, Emanuele (or me) had to run in every shot to move the objects.

TK: It looks like a lot of work for us, but What equipment and software did you use?

RE: The equipments were very simple (amateur level). Emanuele used a Canon DSLR EOS 550D plus a tripod. The softwares were Timelapse Assembler and iMovie for Mac.

Pretty cool, right? They’ve assembled about 2,000 photos for this five minute video.

 

Got more unique ideas? Share how you documented or plan to document your own pregnancy.

 

~ Touringkitty

 

Raising a smart child in a fast-paced era

Admit it, this is an era when everything changes in a split second. Or make that, with a click of the mouse (or a tap on a tablet, if that’s your case).

It is quite a challenge raising our children today. Because of social media, parents are becoming highly competitive. Each milestone is documented online quickly for all the world to see, and not anymore through keepsakes or journals or scrapbooks.

How do we keep up?

1. Heed advise from your parents. They’ve gone through that rough road of child rearing so they know better. They might always compare from the past generation, but it’s inevitable. Some advise might not be applicable in the modern era, but listen to them anyway.

2. Go back to basics. Lampin is fine. Freshly cooked food is perfectly fine. Breastfeeding is best. Classic, chic, and convenient, they all are.

3. Be a “present” parent. And this should be on top of everything else. Our young children need us, naturally. They are too young to understand how the world works, and it is our responsibility to raise not only smart but good human beings.

If we could be with her all day everyday, we would.
If we could be with her all day everyday, we would.

Of course, we want our children to learn a lot of things. It is said that children learn so many things early on as neurons quickly form everyday. Our child is turning four next month, and so far, here’s a rundown of some of her milestones:

Reading and Language: Reads English like a second grader and pretty much understands them as well, reads and recites Filipino poems and rhymes, speaks fluently both in English and Filipino (though sometimes she mixes them when she’s unfamiliar with translated words).

Writing: colors inside lines, doodles spirals and straight lines, can trace and write happy faces. Still working on it, I must admit, and she’s leaning to become a leftie (not my husband nor I are left-handed!).

Counting: counts and can read up to 100 with pauses, adds up to five, counts from ten to zero.

Music: sings in perfect rhythm and tune, knows how to sing arpeggiated triads, easily memorizes anything through singing and dancing.

Values: says “po” and “opo,” does “mano po,” which is a very good Filipino tradition that we must keep, shows thoughfulness, shares and helps around when she’s in a good mood.

How does our family do it?

1. By feeding our child well. We breastfed her since birth and there’s no sign of weaning at age four. We gave her only freshly prepared foods when she’s starting solids, and make sure she eats a balanced diet especially that she’s on the lean side.

2. By being her first teachers. My husband and I made sure we’ll be the ones who will teach our daughter her ABCs, so we read books to her, sang and danced with her, even if it meant coming home right after work and spending our evenings with her at the center of our attention. All of those worked well.

3. By always connecting with family outside of our home. Since we’re only three in our condo (we don’t have stay in help), we make sure she knows our family and friends, too. Aside from spending time with them, we make sure to call them constantly, do video call, post photos and videos so they will be updated with our child’s growth.

4. By introducing her to new things everyday. We use technology to our advantage, definitely. iPad apps and online resources are a great aid for learning, just make sure you set your limits when you use them. Anything excessive is bad.

Watching a Bible Story.
Watching a Bible Story.

5. By being parents by example. This is the hardest by the simplest thing to raise a smart and good child. What we want them to do, we must first be able to do ourselves. I am constantly reminded by my child to be a model parent just by looking at her. And yes, I struggle to be one everyday.

Bottomline is, we build first our connection with ourselves, then with our partners in raising our children (our spouses and other family members) in order to connect better with our child. Then, we can truly raise our child slowly but surely in the midst of an ever-changing society. As their parents, we must strengthen our faith in ourselves so that we can be the best parents to our children.

Preschool Hunt: In search of my daughter’s preschool

I spent the whole of March searching for my daughter’s preschool. Though I thought it was still too early, I already started because time indeed flies so fast. My daughter’s turning four in August, and I want to keep options as open and as varied as possible.

Currently, we’re taking it slow on homeschooling, as you could follow my Instagram posts (Follow me!). We’re following an online program for math and reading and basically filling her day with coloring, tracing, and more reading. She loves to sing and dance and make music.

I checked on the following schools and systems and here’s what I have gathered:

1. Gymboree Preschool at Sofitel. Aria has been attending Gymboree classes since she turned one, though not regularly. We make sure we get coupons online or wait for discounts in their branch. We attended their open house and that was the first time Aria was left alone with a class and a teacher whom she was not familiar with. Tears well up both our eyes as we parted ways–I was just at the next room where the orientation took place. The teacher brought her to me and showed a well written worksheet of the letter A (note that she does not write yet). I was proud. But I knew it was not for us. It was just waaaaaay expensive. We enrolled her in their classes because I got another discount from them.

2. Catholic Filipino Academy. I attended their orientation and was inspired by the other parents there. I think I was the only one who attended alone, and the only one who had a preschooler. All of the others attended with their spouses, some even brought their children in tow, some are in highschool already. They have a preschool program which I can enrol Aria in and a reading program wherein you just follow a set of worksheets and activities without enrolling the child to a regular homeschool program.

3. Preschool homeschool workshop by The Learning Basket. This I have been doing for a couple of years already, and my daughter reaped its benefits. Especially that I stay at home most of the time, I get to supervise what should be taught, what interests her in a specific day, and what materials at home I can use. We do not have a specific program, but as much as I can, I try to put a little structure to her day, so eventually she will get the hang of a regular school, whether homeschool or brick and mortar school. It was fun meeting moms, dads, and kids that day, and ideas really can be endless.

4. Brick and mortar school. I was able to visit one in Taguig, a Catholic International school. And is the first of its kind in the country. I liked how the school is so small that everyone knows each other. It feels safe and secure. But then, they do not have preschool yet. They offer K-9 levels this year. I must check out other preschools then.

So, have we enrolled Aria? Technically, no. But she studies, at home, with me as her teacher. We will carry on with homeschooling her. As long as she is well fed, well loved, and growing up with the proper values, we are fine. She will go to school in the proper time. Try asking Aria if she goes to school. You’d be happy to know what her answer will be.

~ Touringkitty

Tips for grocering with a toddler

I’ve seen parents do this with their child, or two, or even three–grocering alone with their kids. But personally, I would advise you not to do it, given the unsafeness of public places like the mall, not to mention having a rambunctious kid in tow.

But do not despair. Here are some random tips I have gathered from personal experience and from observing how other families do it. When you are left with no yaya and no choice, you just got to bring your toddler to that grocery trip.

1. Make sure your kid just had her nap. You don’t want to bring a cranky baby, do you?

2. Make sure also that she just had her meal. Or her milk. So that you won’t end up opening unpaid items at the store, feed your kid first.

3. Or instead, bring your own baon. Quick snack packs like crackers, raisins, milk, and water will save the day.

4. List down what you only NEED to buy. You wany to make that trip as quick as possible, right? So either list it down, or make a mental note. If anything else fails, just buy the essentials, and do the rest when you have a companion with you who can look after the baby, or better yet, when you can leave the baby at home.

5. Make the grocery trip an educational one. Let your kid put the stuff in the cart. Allow her to choose between brands, even if she cannot really tell the difference. Teach her colors and numbers. It can be so much fun amidst chaos!

6. Ring sling saves the day! For others, it might be other carriers, but for me and my long and lean and heavy toddler, a ring sling does the trick. If in case she would feel sleepy or wanting to breastfeed, it’s easy peasy! And hands-free!

7. Bring a small toy which she can hold from home to the grocery. It gives her something to be busy with for a good few minutes before she starts roaming around again.

8. Keep the trip for no more than one hour. So make sure you are ready with your list, a small bag with your stuff and baby’s, and some change for tips, etc.

9. Reroute if needed. Skip the toy section. You want to finish soon for sure.

Any tips you can add here?
Would love to read those in the Comments section!

~ Touringkitty

What it’s like to be called Mommy

Who would have thought I would become a mom?

I remember the ‘horror’ stories my own mother told me when I was younger. That married life is hard, becoming a parent even harder. All the what ifs, how abouts, if onlys, I have heard from her. Yes, she is the most overprotective mother I have met. And I absolutely admire her.

As fate would have it, I became a mother, too. I felt so accomplished, having followed my plan–an epidural-free normal delivery, full breastfeeding for the first six months, extended breastfeeding beyond two years (we still do!), being on top of child care and not a yaya. But it was tough. I cried buckets. I got stuck at home with the baby on my boob (almost all the frikkin time!), I forgot the person that I was, and I have become someone else for this little stranger–my own daughter. I was Mommy. And I knew it was only the beginning.

It still is surreal that we are already three living in this small condo. It has been almost three years anyway. But I have loved every single minute of it. I took gazillions of photos and videos, all scattered in my gadgets–cellphone, laptop, iPad, camera, you name it. My daughter is in it. That is the only ‘treasure’ I get to keep when she grows up. Plus all the wonderful memories of her childhood imprinted in my mind and heart.

I have asked myself repeatedly, What have I done to deserve this happiness? Since it is Mothers’ Day and I feel so blessed being a mother to my child, I would like to share with the world my happiness through this letter I am writing for my daughter, Ariadne, as I look back at the past three wonderful years of her life.

Dearest Ariadne,

You know that Mommy and Daddy love you very much. We are really blessed to have you in our lives. You made this home shine even more with your laughter and good cheer.

I will always remember the first time I found out I was pregnant. We immediately called your Nonna Luz. She was very happy and she told me to take care of myself because you are growing inside Mommy’s body. Daddy and I also shared the news to all our relatives and friends, and they were also happy to know you are coming out.

Daddy took very good care of us. He fed us well, accompanied us to hospital visits and ultrasounds, gave in to Mommy’s requests for foot massages (as you became quite heavier inside me), read you books, sang to you even when you were still inside Mommy.

I know you had a great nine months in my womb. You were so excited to come out that you did not wait for September and came out the last day of August. At least you waited to be on full term. You did not give Mommy a hard time during delivery. I just waited for nine hours but it’s okay. Daddy gave us company during the wait.

You learned breastfeeding quite fast. You seem to like the taste of Mommy’s milk. It’s also good that we got to share some breast milk to those who needed it. I wish I could have expressed more milk though, but it’s fine. A little is better than none.

You were a kulit and likot baby from the start. We tried our best to embrace it, but some days Mommy gets tired and I cry because I see other babies not as likot and kulit as you were (and still are!). People are amazed by your brightness, though. You are talkative but very expressive and cheerful. You are very bright, too! Not all kids can sing as many songs and say as many words like you. You enjoy learning, but at your own pace.

I get kilig when you call me Mommy. In different pitches and increasing volumes at that. Sometimes though I feel you are clingy. But it’s okay, you will not be like that forever, so I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Anak, you have taught me how to be patient with you, how to communicate with you. You still enjoy breastfeeding and even if people tell me to stop, the more I don’t because it is our unique conversation. The more now that I want to promote breastfeeding and make us testimonies to the many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding.

You may not converse as well as other kids your age yet but I get you. And when no one else will, I will be the only one to support, understand, appreciate, embrace, and love you.

I will be your human shield against every bump and bruise, both physically and emotionally. I will be your best friend, playmate, classmate, eating and sleeping buddy. I will always pray for you and for myself that God may use me to make your life better and happier than mine. I will also pray for other mothers and would-be mothers, that God will bless them with a loving heart to take care of their husbands and children.

I will never get tired hearing you call out loud, “Mommy!” That, for me, is the best title I have ever gotten in life.

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#momdaymondays

If you follow me on Twitter (follow here if you haven’t!), you’d be familiar with my hashtag #momdaymondays.

It is because Monday is my only WHOLE day with Aria (unless there’s work or errand to do though). Work is from Tuesday to Saturday (Saturday mornings at work every other week and sometimes wedding engagements, meetings in the afternoon). Sundays may be church day but while Daddy and Aria are hearing Mass (and chasing each other outside the church), I play for my choir or rehearse them. So I’m still daughter-free.

Big sigh! There are days when I wanted to drop everything and go back to just being a mom. I miss Aria much more now. I feel like I should be with her now that she is learning and growing fast.

Though sometimes I feel the opposite. She nurses more instead of eating more when I’m around. She plays tricks on me and her dad, and we end up not accomplishing anything at home or when we go out. She is makulit lately. We get tired and she doesn’t. But we love her so much! Amazing how parents give love even if kids can be little sources of headaches, and occasional bruises and bumps.

The recent #momdaymonday was a lot different from the others. We decided to do our grocery in the evening instead of doing it before lunchtime. We didn’t have pedia appointments so basically it was a relaxed day at home with my toddler and our helper.

I went to the playground with my daughter after her bath. It was a first time for me to see her try the swing and slide, all by herself. Before that, it was just a story I heard from my mom, the ever patient, ever supportive, and ever caring “Nonna” of Aria.

While playing, she tripped but she knew how to fall–with her hands. Such a strong girl. She came to me, showed her hands, and after I wiped off the dirt she went back and basked under the midday sun. Tears were welling out my eyes as I shared a hearty laugh with her.

Then she decided on her own that it’s time to end playground time so she ran toward the elevator. It was almost ten in the morning which means it’s time for Hi-5! And as she was singing and dancing while watching, I took the chance to clean her book chest. She noticed I wasn’t around so she looked for me and joined in the cleaning up. Until she decided to tear a small board book, one of the first her dad and I bought when she was still a few months old. I didn’t know how to react. She destroyed the book! But I said to myself, let her make that mess. Happy mess indeed! Then she picked one book and asked me to read to her.

Bittersweet indeed. Here I am eating my own words which I said a couple of weeks after giving birth–that I wished Aria was already all grown up so I could do again the things I was doing before I had her, which is singing, teaching, working, etc. I wished she was big already just so I could bring her with me everywhere. But now I don’t want to miss her tiny achievements every day–her new word, new trick, new skill. She is still our baby and I am selfish to say that she must remain our baby forever. She may be makulit and malikot compared to kids her age, but the joy that she radiates in our home is beyond words. I want her to grow loving God, her parents and family, have utmost respect for elders, and have a generous heart.

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We just love our silly momdaymondays. Hope you are having fun every day of the week with the people you love.

~ Touringkitty

Attachment Parenting: what it means to my family

All the fuzz about Time Magazine’s cover a couple of months ago died a natural death. But not the desire to promote exclusive breastfeeding and, to an extent, attachment parenting.

What in the world is that? Does it mean that parents are supposed to be with baby 24/7?

At first, I thought it worked that way. But after two years of being a parent, I realized the following things:

1. Parenting is instinctive. Yes there might be hits and misses but you learn along the way. Sometimes you gotta learn it the HARD way. I accepted that fact and now I somehow regretted being weak. A parent should be firm in making decisions because it will be for the benefit of your own family and not of other people. Unsolicited advices may make or break you but ultimately, it’s the parents who will look after their children.

2. You work with your spouse, not against your spouse. There are days which we tend to blame each other but we try to meet halfway. It’s hard considering we both are firstborns and firstborns are supposed to be on top pf the game but we keep our ground when we need to. I can say I have the best partner in raising our kid–my husband–who has been very supportive (and very tired, sometimes!) in my career now as a full time government employee and choir conductor and church servant and volunteer and everything else! I have been busy, and my husband takes care of our kid at times when I’m supposed to be with her–on weekends, late at night, especially.

3. Indeed, it takes a village to raise a child. I have the best mother in the world. For the past year especially that I have gone back to full time work, she is always there for our kid. I know she is tired but she stays strong for my toddler. She handles child care while our stay-in helper (thank God for her, too!) takes care of the household especially cooking yummy and nutritious food for the family. My sister is Aria’s playmate! When nobody else is available, she takes care of Aria. Sometimes Aria misses her Tita more than Mommy and Daddy!

4. You give out love, you’ll be showered with more love back. Our daughter is probably the most hyperactive breastfed toddler in the condo (or everywhere she goes) and I don’t mind, really. I know she can annoy the hell out of everyone else with her loud voice, nonstop talking, walking, running, shouting, singing the alphabet, counting to twenty, etc etc but heck, can I really stop her? I would like to ask help from psychologists but my husband said it’s too early. We should wait for another year to gauge if she might have problems (really, is there a problem?) but she’s so cute and loud at the same time. What would you choose–an unresponsive baby or someone as smart (nevermind malikot and makulit) as Aria?

Going back to attachment parenting, I really am not sure if we are practicing such, but I think we are. Here’s a look at what AP is. Note that this is not a strict set of rules of parenting but some ideas you may adapt to your family.

http://www.attachmentparenting.org/principles/principles.php/

Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting. A year and three months after marriage, the stork visited and poof, I was pregnant. I did not take any birthing classes, save for one breastfeeding meeting which changed our perspective on feeding choices. I really can’t say we prepared for it because obviously, we’re all clueless about this tiny creature who will suddenly turn the household upside down. It was tough in the first days, even tougher as months passed. I was just fortunate to have a loving husband, supportive OBGYN, and a caring family to back me up when I wanted to fall.

Feed with Love and Respect. That one breastfeeding meet clearly made us decide that we shall try to breastfeed. And try our best we did, that we were able to hurdle so much criticisms, doubts, and pressure for 26 months and counting. Likewise, our choices when Aria was weaning were all natural foods. No preservatives, nothing instant. So we make sure her food is freshly prepared. It may have costed us a lot but it really paid off. She’s healthy, smart, and just in the right growing pace.

Respond with Sensitivity. Elders would tell me to let the baby cry. I never did. We’re not spoiling our kid, we’re telling her that we’re here when she needs a helping hand. Now tell me, would you ever let a kid cry? Be with them when they’re at their weakest and also at their happiest.

Use Nurturing Touch. Aria has a tendency to sleep well when carried, especially in her first few weeks. I literally was her slave. I’ve mastered eating with spoon on my left hand and her on my right, have worked in the laptop while she was on my lap after a feeding/sleeping session, and just when I am about to poop or pee, she still is with me. But I never regretted every moment of it. What I regret though is that I learned babywearing a wee bit late. I and my mom would have spared our hands from De Quervain’s Syndrome had we practiced babywearing earlier. Proud to say that my husband, too, is a babywearer!

Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally. We love co-sleeping with Aria. And now that she’s a full-sized toddler, I am proud and emotional. Proud because our daughter likes sleeping with Mommy and Daddy, emotional because we know she will want her own bed and her own room soon after a few more years. Co-sleeping also made breastfeeding easy for us. It used to be that hubby brings baby from her crib to our bed, but after a few months, we completely dissed the crib and hubby sleeps uninterrupted! Now Aria can just raise my shirt to nurse, though sometimes when she finds herself beside Daddy, she raises his shirt instead!

Provide Consistent and Loving Care. As I have mentioned earlier, I am lucky to have a supportive and loving family who is ready to take care of our kid. Of course, as Aria’s main caregivers, my husband and I must make as much time as we can with her. Sometimes she demands more but it’s fine, we can never replace the time that she requested us to do so. I still go home to see her during lunch (thank God for near workplaces!) and Daddy plays with her in the morning and before sleep.

Practice Positive Discipline. In our home, we apply the no-spanking rule. There are times though that Aria can be really unruly and pushy. Once, my mom spanked her and naturally, I got mad. That is not the discipline we want her to learn. I told her not to do it again to our daughter because she just might imitate it, which she did also. I also sometimes get mad at Aria and I am very vocal about it, especially to my daughter. In time, I said to myself, in her own sweet time, she will understand and live the positive values she should learn. No rushing, she’s a kid anyway.

Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life. It was quite a while before I got back to working, and I didn’t mind. I know I was very impatient postpartum, probably part of baby blues. I super missed performing, teaching the choir, and being busy. Then slowly I eased back into teaching, then performing, then I got a full time job. The mani-pedis were also in line, albeit scheduled waaaay ahead. I was actually seeing more friends and family now, watching more concerts now (aside from the fact that it is part of my job!), and doing more things now. If a career is one whole plate then what about parenthood AND work! That’s two whole plateful, of jobs and I am amazed by all mothers who can do just that and more!

Attachment parenting combines just all the passions and advocacies our family is practicing and supporting. I am thankful to the internet, that I am able to research about these stuff and communicate with like-minded parents and promote this to more and more people.

~ Touringkitty