Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Child's Favorite Person

     I think when it comes to who a baby's favorite person is, mothers have an advantage over fathers. For one, mothers have a 9-month head start bonding with the baby in the womb. Aside from that, mothers get to have a lot of cuddle time with the baby especially when breastfeeding.

     This has been the case for Rocky, Marion and me. Since Marion's time with Rocky for most of the week is limited to when he gets home from work (minus the time she's eating dinner, minus the time she's bathing, and until before lights out), they don't really get to play around so much. When she was a baby (I think this is the first time I'm saying it here-- she's not a baby anymore!!), I was a little bit wary of how he would handle her so I rarely left him with her (okay, maybe I was just the anxious first time mom). But these days, I make it a point to step out of the room and leave the two of them alone to play. Rocky needs her hugs and smiles and laughter, too. :-)

     I know I won't forever be her most favorite person. She'll grow up and we'll most likely have our mother-daughter issues. Even before we had her, Rocky always liked to teased me that he will be the "cool parent" because I won't be. That's probably true. ;p So, I'm prepared that she won't always run to the door to greet me with her squeals and smiles. The thing is, that's not something in the far future. Some days, I deal with that already.

     Marion loves her Guama (my mom). I'm pleasantly surprised since they don't really see each other all that often. But Marion doesn't mind staying with Guama, sitting on her lap, showing off, being affectionate, etc.. Just a few days ago, Guama was in town. My mom and I were eating lunch at the dining table when Marion starts shouting "Ma!" Ma!" Ma!" trying to show off a toy. When my mom and I turned to her, I realized that she was calling her Guama and not "mama! mama!". I actually really love how attached she is to her Guama. She even ran to the main door and pressed her face against the screen door while waiting for her Guama to come in the house. It's really nice. :-)

     Also, Marion's had a yaya from the day she was born. So she's always had someone else act as a care-giver. When she was a few months old, Marion would wail and cry every single night (probably up til she was like 3 months old... that bad.). There were a couple of nights when it got so bad (or I was just too exhausted to do more) that her yaya would come to the room to help me calm her down. And Marion would quiet down. While I was so grateful that her yaya got her to quiet down, it made me question why I couldn't do it myself.

     We were dealing with a lot of issues when she was just born. My mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer a week after Marion's birth. I would go to the hospital after every 2 hours (Marion's feeding) or after pumping. While she was mostly directly breastfed, I wasn't really with her during the day during those early months.

     I think things might have become a bigger issue with me, but it got nipped in the bud. I got the reassurance I needed to hear from a friend. I was telling her how things were going (how it was like having a new baby and all that) when she told me that in case it was in my mind, she told me not to worry about Marion "loving" her yaya more. She went on to say that she grew up with yayas (her mom was busy) but she always knew her mom was mom.

     What got me thinking about all this again is because just a couple of days ago:
          a) After yaya came back from her overnight day off, Marion cried so hard and stood up to hold her yaya's hand when she saw her. She was fine the entire day yaya was out and didn't give any indication that she was looking for yaya.
          b) That evening, after yaya dressed her in pajamas I went in her room to play with her and put her to bed. Again, she cried and didn't want her yaya to leave the room. 
          c) The next morning, when I knocked on the door to her room, instead of saying "In!" for "Come in", she was telling me "Ba-bye! Ba-bye!".

     I deal with it patiently. I usually ask yaya to stay in the room until Marion's okay. I'm not pushy. I don't try to win her over with tricks or toys. I'll just sit, talk to her and wait for her to approach me. Yaya will usually tell Marion that "Yaya has to eat dinner" or "Yaya has to take a bath". Eventually Marion's protestations will be reduced to a short whine as yaya leaves the room and then she's fine.

     This is probably just the inevitable happening. The inevitable that happens sooner for working moms. I don't want to play tug of war with her yaya or Rocky or anyone else for the "Marion's favorite person" status. This is one of those instances when it's more about her than it is about me. As long as I love her (and I always will) and she knows that she is loved, all shall be well. :-) As my friend had told me, I'll always be mom.     

Monday, March 28, 2011

Special Preview of Your Baby

 Remember Tom buying a sonogram machine for Katie when she was pregnant?

For their next kid, he would probably get her the GE Vscan, a portable ultrasound the size of a Blackberry:

     Cost: USD250,000

Or maybe, Prevue.

     They call it a "fetal visualization device". (Oh!) "It is an e-textile based device that employs latest stretchable display technology over the abdominal region, letting other family members to connect with the fetus in its context." *

I can absolutely understand this curiosity and excitement and impatience in wanting to see your baby already. Rocky and I got 3D-4D ultrasound keepsakes from In My Womb for Marion. But I don't really see the point for this special preview of the baby even as they've written this about Prevue:

The product represents design excellence and certainly deserves an Australian Design Award as it paves way for fetal-maternal bonding in order to keep the mothers in an optimistic state of mind. Establishing early bonding essentially sustains the maternal post-birth and helps delivering a healthy child. The father also gets an opportunity to watch the current activity of his child and participate in the process of bonding. 

Hmmm. Maybe though this will help a soon-to-be older sibling understand her mother's pregnancy. I've always wondered how much a young child can grasp when you tell him/her that there is a baby inside a woman's tummy. :-)

Marion's 3D photo taken around 30 weeks.

If you're considering getting keepsake photos of your baby before he/she is born, I suggest skipping the 4D video and just get as many of the 3D photos as you can. The video will just look like a photo slideshow and the music and text they put in is kinda cheesy (okay, baduy even). 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beginning Scribbles

Ever since Dr. Pia asked us whether Marion had been scribbling spontaneously, I've made it a point to offer Marion a pen or crayons and paper. Prior to that, she'd only been doodling on the iPad (which really doesn't count ;-p) since I kept the the crayons we used during her first birthday party away in the box away from her (to save until the appropriate time without really knowing when that would be). She would sometimes get a hold of the pen used for daily journal, but we would take it away from her right away.

At first I just grabbed some scratch paper and her box of crayons and started doodling while waiting for her to follow. She did. But that position/posture (sitting on the floor and hunched forward while scribbling on the paper on the floor also) was difficult so I got her a folding table. The one she likes to convert into a boat. 

So we've been scribbling, except when--

a) She's more interested in making this glorious mess with her crayons. Just tipping the box over & scattering her crayons. I sing and ask her to help me "pack away", she will and then just tip the box all over again. 

b) She prefers to bite the crayons. Once when yaya wasn't paying attention Marion managed to really chew on a green crayon. It was stuck all over her teeth we had to get in there with her toothbrush & towel to get it off. She didn't mind the crayon at all. She was very upset at us cleaning her teeth. The crayons are labelled non-toxic so that made me not worry too much about that incident.

c) She making marks on her table (Marion, no. On the paper only.) or on her mat (Marion, no. On the paper only.) or on herself (Marion, no! Why are you writing on your arm???).


She prefers the ballpen over the crayons. So I let her scribble with a pen-- at least she can't really chew it and I give her one only so "packing away" is easier. ;p

I think the other reason why Marion doesn't like scribbling so much is because she gets frustrated. She really wants and tries to hold the pen "correctly" (the way grown ups do it).

I was expecting her to just grasp it with her palm since that's how I saw other kids start out holding crayons/pens. So now, when I'm doodling and scribbling with her, I hold my crayon with my palm just so she'll copy and have better control of her pen. She's been "drawing" lines and dots. 

(I think she will be left-handed like her dad.)

***** ***** *****

When Marion was younger, mom reminded me to let her crawl because it will be good for her handwriting skills. Apparently, crawling helps in the development of hand skills like writing.

I always wonder how soon (if it will come) handwriting will become completely obsolete. Penmanship's been on the decline. My grandmother wrote beautifully. Here's her signature (which I came across the other day after going over some documents):

 I wonder if Ama did more crawling than I did. ;p

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


     What do you sing to lull your babies to sleep?

When my younger brother David was small, I remember Ate Tata would sing religious songs to help him sleep. That became my concept of a lullaby. And the dark, safe & quiet time when Marion is about to fall asleep is also a great time to pray so I sing my prayers.

The song Ate Tata would sing was Jesus, You're the Sweetest Name of All. That's the first song/lullaby I sing for Marion. Here's a cute little boy singing it.

In His Time was another song Ate Tata would sing.

***** ***** ***** *****

I'd be very surprised if David could remember those lullabies. I'm sure though he'd remember this song from when he was young. :-)

Happy talk! :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mondays for Marion: Some of her current favorites

Likes (in order of preference): melon, chico, orange and pongkan.
Does not like: mango (gasp!), papaya, lychee and peaches

     Marion with chico.

Recent favorite-- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
     [I would wiggle my pointer finger while saying "caterpillar" and she used to just stick out her pointer finger while waving her hand around. She recently learned how to wiggle just the finger.
Current favorite-- Alphabooks from Baby Einstein
     [She likes to give me one book (booklet?) at a time and says "'pen! 'pen" (for "open") to ask me to read it. She's so into it that most times we go through most of the letters at a time.]

     Reading it for her.

First words/sounds-- Anything that started with "buh" sound (like bo for ball, bu for butterfly, etc.)
Most used words these days-- "bola", "baba!", peeeas! (for please), hel-low!, ba-bye!, pa! (for park), teeh (for thank you), jejes (for Jesus), pan (for fan/electric fan), "bu" for book, ggen (for again), dehhh (for there), nomoy (for no more), no (for no), no (for no), no (for no)

     Here's a video of Marion saying no to everything (but not really using her words to say so)

a) climbing everything like her shelves, her toys (including her piano), boxes and chairs
b) going to the park/basketball court
c) eating corn kernels for dessert 

     Here's Marion climbing (before I put away the camera to pull her down ;p)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

When We Passed the Bar Exams

2004 Bar Results: April 8, 2005 (Friday)

I was an associate at Feria Feria LaO Tantoco Law Offices and I was pretending to work the whole morning. We all knew that day would be The Day. By early afternoon, Atty. Boy Feria told me to join him to meet a client at Manila Pavilion Hotel so I could distract myself. I hesitated. I did not want to find out the bar results while I was with my boss at a meeting with my client! He told me not to worry. The meeting would be short. I don't remember who we met that time and what we talked about.

Rocky picked me up from Manila Pavilion. And we drove to Santuario de San Antonio Parish to catch the 6pm mass. During the mass I was calm and focused at praying. It was Rocky who couldn't keep still and would check my phone every few minutes. The mass ended and still no word about the results.

We got in the car with nowhere to go and nothing to do but wait. Rocky decided that we would head towards the Supreme Court. I didn't really want to-- that was the last place I wanted to be in case I didn't pass. I asked him to stop driving so he drove into the gas station outside Dasma (EDSA cor. Pasay Road). A few seconds after we parked, my phone rang.

A friend who was working with the Supreme Court at that time told me the good news. It wasn't a joke and he read my name again. Whew. I think I was more relieved than jubilant. Called my parents to relay the good news. Probably cried a little.

And so we drove to the Supreme Court. I don't know if I bothered to look at my name again from the list. I probably did. Bumped into Bodie, Aissa & Jan. Then met up with blockmates. I think maybe in Power Plant, Rockwell. I don't remember. And Rocky had champagne which he had kept hidden in the trunk of his car. (Updated March 18, 2011- Jan reminded me that we all ended up at Temple Bar, Greenbelt.)

The months I was reviewing for the Bar were some of the best months in my life. I really loved it. Life was simple. Everyday all I had to do was read, make notes, study. I took long drives with friends to study in Tagaytay. I studied in coffee shops. I studied at home. I highlighted and took down notes without having to endure the daily stress of recitations and exams. I ate well, napped and slept whenever I needed to. And as with almost everybody who takes the Bar, made deals with God. My deal was to hear mass every Friday. When I skipped a Friday mass, I panicked and made up for it by hearing mass everyday. The daily masses at the UP Chapel with Fr. Jboy Gonzales, SJ were great. Rocky and I also got together at this time which made those months even better. :-) 

Then the Bar came and I think I was numb the entire time. I couldn't eat. A bite of siopao. A banana. I got through one exam after the other by never looking back. After one exam, I never bothered to look into what the answers should have been nor discuss it with others. I just carried on. And I think that's how I survived September 2004.

When I got  a copy of my grades (which really don't matter because unless you're in the top 10 it's all just pass or fail ;p), my best subject was Mercantile Law and the worst (which I technically flunked at 70%) was Criminal Law. This was not how I would have rated myself in each subject/exam, but that's how the Examiners did.  

How to pass the Bar exam: Read and pray.

The best reassuring, confidence boosting statement I was told during bar review: If you can write good English then you're already better than most taking the Bar. (from Alman Quiboquibo). The second best one was: It (the correct answers) will all come back to you. (from blockmate Joemer Perez who graduated top of our class & ranked 8th in the 2004 Bar Exams)

2005 Bar Results: March 30, 2006

I don't remember anything. Rocky will tell this story. But here's a picture of Rocky, me and his parents outside the Supreme Court.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

When Things Break Down

     Is it just me or do things really break down at the same time? Within two weeks, the freezer stopped freezing, the refrigerator froze, the water heater wasn't heating, Marion's Steamer Blender wouldn't blend and the computer died. I was starting to worry something else would break down or fall apart (please not the roof... or my laptop ;-p)

     Two things on my mind about all this (on top of the worry about the roof & laptop):

1) How do working moms (or other households) deal with things like this?
     I've wondered about this also when I've had to take more than one trip to, say, PLDT, just to get a line (the most recent one for a Landline Plus). There are just some things that can't be done online or over the phone. I've learned to (be brave enough to) delegate some things to the household helpers. In the case of our freezer not freezing, I asked the queen of our kitchen, the cook Flor, to call the service center and get answers to my questions (why it broke down after a couple of months from last service, how much, when can we get it back, etc.). Sometimes I make the calls myself and if I can't be home when whoever needs to come to the house, I assign one of the helpers to be in charge. Attending to household concerns can take up quite a bit of time and effort. And I think my real question isn't how other working moms do it, but how they keep their wits while doing it. Heh.

2) Do I really need to be demanding and pushy to get things done?
     Most of the time I really believe that I will get good service or the attention I need or proper respect from others without having to attach "Attorney" to my name or pull strings, drop names or raise my voice. It embarrasses me to do those anyway (my gut cringes). But today I was a big, bad bully to the lady in charge of my freezer at the service center. And that was the only way I got her to deliver... which makes me happy, but I'm sad it had to be that way.

***** ***** **** *****
Be warned. This is a rant. 

The upright freezer wasn't even a year old when it stopped freezing. So the service guys came, change the motor or something, we paid Php8,200 and that was that. For one & a half months. Then it stopped freezing again. So we called back the service guys.

Date on Job Order: Feb 19
Note on Job Order: For pull out **illegible** back 2/23/11
(Our helper insists it was pulled out Feb 19. Service center has it in their records that pull out was 2/26/11. I think maybe they pulled out 2/23/11. Anyway, whatever.)

My questions:
a) What's wrong with it? (Helper: Yong motor daw uli po mam.)
b) How much? (Helper: walang bayad, papalitan lang nila.)
c) When will they bring it back? (Helper: tatawag lang uli sila; Me: hwag kang maghintay tumawag, ikaw tumawag mag follow up.)

Updates from helper:
Wala pa daw yong parts, baka Wed, baka Friday, wala pa daw yong parts. Di na ako sinasagot ni Gina (the point person from service center), iba na kumakausap sa akin.

So today I decided to deal with it myself and had to conduct a direct examination over the phone. ;-p

I believe this is what happened. The parts department of the service center did not make a request on time. Since they have a weekly schedule as to when to pick up the parts from the supplier, the parts for my freezer weren't included in the last schedule. They tried to make up excuses by putting blame on the supplier by saying the supplier told them the parts for my freezer weren't available (only to backtrack when I offered to be the one to call supplier to ask for a timetable when the parts would be available). Then they tried to pass the blame to their parts department (which is like someone telling me it's not her fault but the fault of her right hand, unacceptable.)

Gina (the one in charge of my unit) was trying to get off the phone and asking for more time to trace back what happened. I agree. But I tell her that if she can't deliver the unit before Saturday to send/lend me a unit by tomorrow. I give her 3 hours and she agrees to call me at 2pm.

3pm, I call her. She starts talking about my freezer, but I stop her and we talk about why she didn't call me at 2pm. (I was unnecessarily mean. evil, evil. ;p) She's still telling me that the parts will be picked up from the supplier on Thursday and the soonest time they can deliver my unit is Saturday. I insist that they send us a freezer by tomorrow. She says her boss will call me back in 15- 20 minutes. I get sarcastic. I might have to be the one to call again. So I'd rather stay on hold and she better get her boss within 5 minutes.

After 7 minutes, it's her again. Her boss is having the parts picked up today. They'll fix my freezer and deliver tomorrow.

We shall see.