Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Could I forget?

I've noticed how parenthood seems to be more and more complicated nowadays.  There's just too many things out there to read, to listen to, to consider.  Different methods have sprung out confusing many parents what to follow and what to avoid.  I wonder how parents of many, many years ago have gotten by this so called parenthood without these modern day methods of parenting. Yet we are all doing fine.  

I, for one, was almost carried by the tide.  I only want the best for my Little Spanish Pinay and hearing one thing here and there that promises good results for parenting, is something hard to dodge.  Especially if they came from well-meaning close people around. But Little Spanish Pinay is wiser than me. She has taught me that what's still best is my own instinct guided by her own instinct. We are connected and I only needed to listen to her as she knows how to communicate with me. She knows what she needs and what will really help her.  All I need is to listen to her and follow her signs.  

I remember during her few weeks of life,  I was caught by surprise of this tremendous realization that I do not know what I am doing and what I suppose to do.  Not realizing that I was just too caught up by a false image of what a good parenting should be.  I was confused and was lost touch of my own instinct.  All because of what people say about the taboos on taking care of your baby; **Do not take the baby in your arms every time they cry, they will learn to manipulate you**, **Do not breastfeed whenever the baby asks for it, you'll become a human pacifier**, and **Do not ever, ever put the baby to sleep on your own bed, it will be hard to send her on her own bed even after 15**.  I was obsessed on making her sleep for hours, making her nap various times in a day as it seems like when she does, it's like a badge of good parenting.  But alas, Tala is not the model baby they always describe in books or magazines.  She is an individual with her own pace and own rhythm.  I felt frustrated and defeated.  Until one time I just did what felt right to do while she fussed.  Not minding whether it was what people say to be right or not.  I noticed she was happier and I was more at peace. Things suddenly made more sense to me. I felt more in tune with my instinct that I kept on suppressing because I lacked trust in me.  And then I remembered my mom and how she has taken care of us.  I remember her taking care of my younger siblings and her ways were never like what modern day parenting is about.  How could I forget?  

My mom carried us in her arms everytime we asked for it.  Crying it out was never in my mom's vocabulary.  My mom breastfed us without looking at the clock. She continued to breastfeed us even after we learned to bite.  She continued to breastfeed us as long as we wanted.  My sister was breastfed until she was 3.  We slept with my parents from newborn till I can't remember when.  We were never left on our own to teach us to learn how to console ourselves and put ourselves to sleep.  But my mom never felt manipulated.  No one of us had separation anxieties as we grow.  No one had problems sleeping on their own later on.  No one turned out to be a headache of the society.  No one had mental problems. How could I forget how my own mom has perfectly raised us?  

It's sad how society's trying to impose how children should be raised and treated.  Sometimes it feels like it is geared towards separating the baby from the mom as soon as possible.  **Send the baby to their own crib as early as possible so they'd learn to sleep on their own**, **Send the baby to her own room for better intimacy with the partner**, **Send the baby to daycares as early as possible so moms can have their time for themselves or for couples to continue living like a couple**, etc. etc.  What is it with society nowadays?  Why are we so scared about turning our babies into a very attached child?  Why are we so afraid to love our children in a way our hearts dictate and not with the set of rules professionals and experts invented?

I am so glad I got reconnected to my own instinct.  I am so glad it didn't took a while till I get to realize again that I have a perfect example of a good parenting.  All I need is to close my eyes and picture my mom taking care of us when we were a lot younger....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It Was Just a Dream Before.... Until Now.

5 months tomorrow.  Seems a lot already.  I can still remember when I was pregnant and couldn't stop wondering how Little Spanish Pinay would look like.  Will she have her papi's long eyelashes?  Will she have my long and slim feet? Would she have her papi's perfect nose?  I dreamt a lot about her.  I once had a very vivid dream about bathing her.  She was very beautiful in my dreams.  And in my dreams, I was bathing her in such great agility of mine, such expertise. Smiling while singing a very lovely song. I was like this perfect mami dressed like I'm going to the church and all made up.  She was also smiling while I was bathing her.  She was very calm and enjoying this unique and serene experience with me.  If bathing a baby is a sport, I was an olympic champion.  Unbeatable.  And so, it is called a dream.  In my reality, everything is on the contrary, except the part where Little Spanish Pinay was very beautiful (even more than in my dream) and smiling. Smiling with eyes wide open wanting to hold everything around her and to put them in her mouth. The water, the bubbles, the sides of the bath tub, my soapy hands, etc. Me? Splashes of water all over, sweat on the forehead, back aching, strands of hair escaping from my pony tail, but yes, singing with our background music of Dion's Brahm's lullaby. Well, at least trying to sing while yelling "Tala" in between as she try to burry her head forward in the water hoping she can have a taste of those yummy looking bubbles. Then I'd try to smile at her and sing again with head bended sideways just to yell her name again as she twists and tries to escape my grip -- all as an effort to make bath time like the one in my dream.  But alas, the dream just remained a dream...

Then again, it's about her enjoying her bath time.  She does seem to enjoy it more and more so that's what matters.  As of me, I'd keep singing every bath time.  Maybe I won't become an olympic medalist for bathing a baby but perhaps I'll become at par with Celine Dion. Hah!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Major, Major Ouch

While it's fun to see Tala, our Little Spanish Pinay, start to learn so many things, it's no fun when she learns to play different tricks with the boobies. It hurts big time, I say! Lately it seems like she's doing her own experiment about the boobies' elasticity. She'd turn her head sideways as suddenly there a lot more interesting things around her than the case at hand. Ya think she's releasing my nipples when she's turning away? Nah-ah. Still tightly latched on her cute mouth! Other times, she'd arch her back forward then pulling her head backwards while still latched on a booby. I don't know what's that all about but it's no joke, it's a major, major ouch! And she even seem to be enjoying that. After reaching the booby's elasticity limit, she'd lose the latch and get a little surprise. She'd open her eyes so wide and put on an excited smile and then would try to latch back on while moving her head from side to side. She's crazy. She's got that really crazy-eyes-wide-open-mischievous-smile on her face.  I haven't even mentioned that she's also now into biting. She hasn't started teething yet but when she bites, I see stars circling around my head. I don't want to imagine how it'll be when she started teething. Oh Lord, protect me. Good thing she has learned to like taking my milk from a feeding bottle so then I get to rest a little bit from this pulling ang biting. But sometimes it's not just the milk she's after but also the warmth and comfort of mami's arms and well, what else but the real thingies. So I take her in my arms and offer her one of the twins.

I am seriously thinking I now belong to the world of martyrdom.

crazy, crazy Tala

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Confessions of a Mom

I breastfeed on demand. That means whenever and wherever Tala wants to. So that means, in our world, there's no such thing as feeding every 2 or 3 hours. *GASP!*. I never let her cry "so she can learn to console herself". If she cries for like 2 minutes its because it is almost impossible for me to take her in my arms at once. If she wants to be carried by mami, I willingly oblige. *Another GASP*. Lastly, we co-sleep. *DOUBLE GASP!*. There, I've said it. In this modern day of formula-and-scheduled-feeding, Ferber-method-of-"teaching"-your-baby-how-to-sleep-alone and co-sleeping-is-a-bad-bad-habit, these are worth confessing about. I'd get all sorts of comments like "you're going to spoil that baby!" Or "She's going to manipulate you!" Or "She'll never learn to be independent!" Or "She will never sleep through the night" Or "You'll never be able to send her to her own bed even after 15!". Guess what, I. Don't. Care. At. All.

If she wants to be latched on me all night to feel warmth and security from her mami, she got it. I'd cuddle her all night until she tells me: mami, I like your embraces but you may now let me move around the bed. If she's on her stroller and we're walking outside and she cries for my arms, no second thoughts. I'd carry her as long as my arms have the strength to do so. Is that spoiling? Then let her be spoiled. When she's upset and cries as she feels something is not right around her and she needs mami to make it right, I'll definitely be there to try to make it right. My husband and I attend to her every cry not just because it's hard to ignore her 10,000 decibels cry but because that's what feels right for us. Are we being manipulated? No I don't believe that. And I won't believe that in that still developing brain of this tiny, very fragile little person, there's conspiracy going on to make her parent's life miserable on purpose. That is just pure bull.

What Little Spanish Pinay needs now is love, attention and care. No disciplining. No training to be independent. At this age, she IS dependent to her parents especially to her mom. Because that is just how it is. Designed by nature. Independence will come later in her life and for sure by that time, I am going to wish she'd still be a baby. So why would I want to hurry and push her to be independent now? No can do.  Discipline will be administered on the right age, the right moment, the right avenue.  Not now.  

So if someone asks me if Tala is already sleeping through the night, my reply will be: "Oh, even better than that, we cuddle through the night."

Thirty First and Some Other Firsts

I'm celebrating my 31st birthday today and It's my first birthday to celebrate as a full-fledged mom! It's been both tough and phenomenal. Mostly phenomenal. It hasn't been very easy for me but every tear I shed is being compensated by a thousand joy brought by this so called bundle of joy. Two days ago, Little Spanish Pinay said mama for the first time. I was sooo elated. I was trying to put her to sleep and was feeding her. But after feeding from one breast, she dislatched and wanted to play. I pretended I wasn't interested and didn't pay attention to her. She started blabbering, almost like singing. Then suddenly she said it. Mam-a. I looked at her and she continued blabbering. Then again... Mam-a. She smiled seemingly pleased with the new sound she just learned. I immediately grabbed my phome and started a voice recording. She repeated the word mama for like three times in between ahhha-aahs and mmmbbbffs. I rushed to call my husband who was downstairs watching US Open match. I told him Tala said mama. He couldn't believe it. So I played my proof. He was all so proud with her little one. But felt defeated at the same time. We were kind of having a bet for Tala's first word and obviously, I won! Har. Har. Happy birthday to me :-D
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