Parenting

Sweet Dreams

I once dreamt of becoming the president
Ruling the land with grace
Benevolent toward my people

I once dreamt of becoming a saint
Leading thousands in worship
Singing hymns and making miracles

I once dreamt of becoming an astronaut
Voyaging beyond the unknown
Saving the future

All those dreams
remained figments of my naivety
Worlds away from the reality
of growing up

All I dream about now
are tiny shoes and cribs
and my fair baby
falling down

I am jolted awake
and he is safe in my arms
breathing softly, thank God

He stirs and nestles against me
Smiling in his sleep
as I kiss his forehead
It's so quiet
yet overwhelming

Is there anything more profound?

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Parenting

Wolf’s First Solid Food

Today marks Wolf’s 7th month! To celebrate, we decided to let him have his first taste of solid food. Although he is not yet able to sit up well unsupported, he has been eager to participate during meal time by avidly watching me eat and sometimes even grabbing my spoon. He has been showing interest in food, and so I wanted to let him have a taste to see how he takes to it.

Wolf is patiently waiting for his food. ☺️
A healthy humble offering to his Little Lordship!

 

I decided months ago that his first solid food will be fresh avocado. Why avocado?

  1. Avocado is a super food and is even said to be “nature’s perfect food,” as it contains healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that aid in developing baby’s brain, strengthening his immune system, and supplying him with essential nutrients.
  2. Avocado tastes good but is not overwhelming. It is soft and creamy, with a very subtle hint of sweetness. It is advisable to start with a bland food so that baby does not reject bland food later on (ex. If you start with mango, baby might want that level of sweetness all the time). Avocado on its own is not too flavorful, and that’s why many people eat it with sugar or condensed milk. I enjoy eating it alone though. I can think of no other fruit that is more similar to milk than avocado, and so I surmise that it is an ideal first solid food.
  3. Avocado is natural and unprocessed. One popular first baby food is infant cereal, but these are usually heavily processed and may be more difficult for baby to digest. As much as possible, I want to feed Wolf fresh, whole, and natural food.
  4. Avocado is the only natural baby food I know of that contains more fat and calories than breastmilk. Many people think that once babies begin eating solids, they will bulk up faster. Most of the time, this is actually not the case, because breastmilk has more calories and fat than most food given to babies. I constantly monitor Wolf’s weight to ensure he stays within normal range and doesn’t lose weight again. As much as possible, I want to give him solid food that’s high in good fat and calories. Avocado has more than twice the amount of calories and around four times more fat than breastmilk, and so I think avocado will help Wolf continue his healthy weight gain.
  5. Avocado is in season during May to September, which coincides with Wolf’s 5th to 9th months, the time of his first exploration of solids. It’s best to go with what’s in season when feeding babies (and adults too). This way, you get a variety of healthy, fresh food, just as nature intended.

 

Wolf’s first solid food, yummy avocado! ❤️

So how did Wolf like it? Well, I can say that for now, he still prefers breastmilk. Haha. He did eat without making any fuss, but he ate just less than a tablespoon before losing interest. Granted, I nursed him before feeding the avocado, as is advised for babies below one year old. After he warms up to the activity of eating solids, he’ll gradually increase his appetite for them. Baby steps!

We mashed the avocado and mixed in a bit of breastmilk.
Wolf anticipating the feast ahead!
His first bite!
Nom nom nom
I’m sorry for the mess, Mom!
Just kidding. I’m not sorry at all! Mwahahaha!
Parenting

Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer: A Must-Have for OC Moms and Dads

The joy I have felt being a mom is incomparable to any of the previous highs of my life. However, the expense of raising a child is also, unfortunately, unparalleled. Wolf is not yet even one year old, yet I already feel like I’ve spent more on him than I have on myself for my whole 27 years of existence. Haha. God is just so good that He continues to provide for us. So far, we are able to afford the things we need and want even without me working full-time. 

I suppose, being a low maintenance girl, it’s a bit difficult for me to get used to spending on someone extremely high maintenance. Babies really need so many things! Buying stuff for a baby is especially tricky, because many fancy products that are marketed as must-haves may not actually be necessary. Parents have to be discerning about where to allocate their hard-earned cash. Does the baby need a crib with built-in music and vibration, a crib with a changing station, or can he just sleep in a cardboard box like the babies in Finland? Haha. Do we buy the stroller with 360 degree wheel rotation, the one with newborn support, or the one with a detachable bassinet? There are really so many options, but compromises have to be made when we purchase big-ticket items, if we are to set aside money for the future. 

One thing though that I do not compromise on is Wolf’s health. His vaccinations are always up-to-date and administered at a private hospital, Asian Hospital (we could actually save a lot by getting them at government health centers for free, but the brands of the vaccines used in those health centers have been known to cause unwanted side effects). I invested in a double electric breast pump, because I am exclusively breastfeeding Wolf and plan to do so as long as he desires it. When it is a matter of health, I am ready to fork over the cash. And so when my cousin and fellow mommy Roxanne suggested we check out the Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer for cleaning Wolf’s toys, despite its high price, we purchased the sterilizer without a second thought. It’s a must to be fastidious about sanitation for Wolf, especially because diarrhea is very common among babies his age, as they tend to put everything in their mouths. 

Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
The sterilizer comes in blue, pink, or white. I would’ve preferred the white one, but only the blue and pink ones were being sold at a discount. Boo.

The Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer uses plasma (ionized gas) to quickly and safely sterilize items at room temperature. This type of sterilization is the same type used to purify water and decontaminate surgical instruments! Because the sterilization process does not involve heat, water, or chemicals, it is safe to use to sterilize any type of material. The Aller Sterilizer is really handy for sterilizing irregularly shaped materials that are difficult to clean manually (as are many of Wolf’s toys). It is especially nifty for sterilizing battery-operated stuffed toys that cannot be washed, such as Wolf’s favorite musical seahorse. It can be used to sterilize other stuff too, such as make-up brushes, towels, and even cellphones! The sterilization process takes just 15 minutes and consumes just 3 watts per session, and so toys can be sterilized before every use.

Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
Spot Mr. Seahorse! ❤️
Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
The sterilizer doubles as a toy box too. I love how it keeps Wolf’s toys clean and organized!

I am quite satisfied with my purchase. I don’t have to worry about Wolf exploring everything with his mouth, because I can ensure that all his toys are squeaky clean, down to the molecular level! There is only one minor inconvenience, and that is the design of the lid, which can be tricky to close without getting your fingers caught, as the grooves are inconveniently located in front and at the back, and not at the sides. With practice though, one gets the hang of closing the box without self-injury. 
Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
Placing the grooves at the sides instead of the front and back would have made placing the lid much easier!
Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
Just plug it in and switch it on. It shuts off automatically (signaled by the light going out) after sterilization. It’s so convenient!
THE VERDICT

Peso Damage: P7,750 (promo price, discounted by P1,000)
Value for Peso: 4.75 / 5.0

For OC moms like me, the Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer is worth spending on, because it gives me peace of mind. I can let my baby explore freely knowing that all his toys are stripped of disease-carrying germs. I see the device as a necessary investment, as I’d rather spend a few thousands now than tens of thousands later on hospital bills. As they say, prevention is better than cure, and better safe than sorry!

Parenting, pregnancy

Five Benefits of Enrolling in a Birthing Class

Last October to November 2016, Casey and I attended the birthing class of Rome Kanapi held at Ateneo de Manila University. The class consisted of six morning sessions every Sunday. Rome is a birthing class pioneer in the Philippines, specializing in the Lamaze method. She is a certified childbirth educator under the Philippine Association for Childbirth Education (PACE) and a member of the International Childbirth Education Association. Not only was she knowledgeable in her field, she was also very kind and approachable. What I loved about her teaching style is that she never pressured us into following a specific route for labor (such as going for fully unmedicated birth) even if that was her preference for her own births. She presented us with our options, but she always respected our birthing choices. It was a great experience and was definitely worth the investment. Below are the five major benefits we got from our birthing class.

1. It prepared both me and my husband for my pregnancy, labor, and post-labor. The topics covered were extensive, from diet during pregnancy, to massage and breathing techniques during labor, to changing diapers and carrying newborns, and so much more. Although some of the information can be accessed by reading books or articles online, other topics, such as labor massage, breathing techniques, and carrying newborns, are easier to digest when actually demonstrated. Also, there were tips and pieces of advice shared that could not have been found in books because they were gleaned from our facilitator’s experience with her own pregnancies and those of her former students.

2. It empowered both me as a mother and my husband as a father. It’s difficult being a first-time parent, and although we could have prepared by just reading on our own, attending a birthing class together better cemented our relationship as husband and wife and made us anticipate our new roles of father and mother. The class not only provided us with vital information but also was a safe avenue for us to share any of our concerns with other couples who could truly empathize with us.

3. It provided us with a certificate of attendance honored by major hospitals. Some hospitals are strict when it comes to permitting the father to be in the labor room. They require proof that the father attended a birthing class. In our case, we did not need to present our certificate, but it gave me peace of mind to know we had it just in case.

4. It gave us access to many discounts and freebies from baby companies. Rome invited various company representatives to pitch baby products at the end of every session. The representatives usually gave freebies and discounts exclusive to attendees of the birthing class. We were able to save a lot of money on big ticket items for Wolf, such as his stroller and baby carrier!

5. We gained a solid parenting support group. It’s really valuable for us to have gained many mommy and daddy friends through our birthing class. We still keep in touch through our Viber group, and so we’re able to support each other as our babies reach their milestones. It really helps that our babies are all practically the same age (Wolf is around a month younger than most of the babies), and so we encounter the same issues simultaneously.

To learn more about Rome’s birthing class, you may contact Rome Kanapi at 63-917-541-5114.

Last week, we had our first birthing class reunion, wherein our babies were able to meet one another for the first time. It was expertly organized by our classmate Angel, who used to work in the events industry. We had lunch and a few activities (Name the Baby, Baby Fashion Show, and Music and Movement). It was really fun meeting our classmates again and seeing all our babies together. I’m already looking forward to the next reunion!

birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Spot us in red! Wolf was busy eating his hands most of the time!
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Among the three boy babies, Wolf is the youngest and the smallest. ☺️
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Wolf stopped eating his hands to comfort his crying classmate. 😘
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Mommies, daddies, and babies wearing one color per family. We’re team red! ❤️
Dad with six month old baby
My boys! 😍
six month old baby in birthing class reunion game
Wolf in his purple royal garb! Our team won! 👏
Six month old baby with mom and dad
Wolf is defending his territory. 😅
happy family at birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Our happy family ❤️❤️❤️
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
All mommies with our adorable babies and birthing class teacher, Rome! 😍

Parenting

Wolf’s Adorable Newborn Photos 

Recently, I wrote about our fun maternity shoot experience. We were so happy with the shoot that we decided to book Ida again for Wolf’s newborn shoot. A newborn shoot is a relatively new concept, wherein a baby is photographed very early on in their life. In Wolf’s case, we had his shoot when he was just shy of two weeks old. His fingers were still peeling!

Newborn baby sleeping Newborn baby sleeping poutingNewborn baby sleeping yawningNewborn baby sleeping smiling Newborn baby sleeping in basketNewborn baby in swaddle
Newborn shoots are difficult to execute, because the delicate state of the infant always has to be the highest priority. You can’t force infants not to cry, not to sleep, or not to feed. Also, infants need to feed really frequently, and they also poop really frequently. Haha. Once again though, Ida rose up to the challenge and delivered more than we expected. She and her two assistants were experts at positioning Wolf in his sleep and lulling him back to sleep whenever he would stir fretfully. When it was time for Wolf to nurse, Ida would take photos of me breastfeeding. Everything was done efficiently and with the baby’s comfort in mind.

mom and dad kissing newborn babynewborn baby in swaddle sleeping in mom's chestdad biting feet of newborn baby mom breastfeeding newborn baby

dad with newborn baby's poop on shirt
Wolf marked his territory! 😂
dad with newborn babynewborn baby in basket with parentsnewborn baby sleeping on mom's chestdad kissing newborn babymom kissing newborn baby

The pictures were, once again, just gorgeous. Ida also includes in her packages illustrated photos, a really adorable idea especially for baby shoots.

newborn baby is sorted into slytherin at harry potter shoot
Oh look, he takes after Mom. 😎
newborn baby in basket with wolf illustration newborn baby sleeping with wolf illustrations newborn baby sleeping with wolf illustration
Looking back, I’m so happy we have beautiful pictures of the newborn Wolf, because babies grow and change features so rapidly! They really grow up too fast. I remember how displaced and sad I felt when I realized that I needed to resign from work to care for Wolf, but I know now that I’m really lucky that I get to spend so much time with my baby. It’s so rewarding to cuddle him, play with him, and be the one present as he reaches his milestones. When he was a newborn, all he could do was cry, eat, pee, poo, and sleep. Now he can also babble, shout, drool, roll over, grab things, wriggle-crawl, smile, and laugh! I remember when he discovered each of those new skills. I was the one there to smile and cheer him on. Those moments were priceless, bringing me joy that more than made up for all the times I felt tired and overwhelmed taking care of such a helpless being. Honestly, pictures can only scratch the surface in preserving the wondrous experience of raising a child. I’m just so fortunate that, being with Wolf 99% of the time, my heart is overflowing with memories with my baby boy. He won’t be a baby forever!

newborn baby in swaddle
Wolf at two weeks! 😍
five month old baby in red cardigan
Wolf at five months! ❤️ How time flies!