RAISING BOYS

Last week, Ryan came home from his classmate’s house limping. He showed me the sole of his left foot, and I found that a big part of his skin was scraped off. He said he ran over gravel barefoot. I immediately cleaned it, put antibiotic and bandaged it.

A few days after that, when we were in Tagaytay, Joaquin was happily playing on the bed, lunged forward and hit his head on the wall. After a 10-minute cold compress, his forehead looked like this.
These are just 2 of the many incidents when I’ve had to deal with a bump or a wound. There were a few times in the past when we’ve had to bring a son to the emergency room for stitching. Everytime I hear a loud thud in the house, I’m immediately on my feet waiting for a loud cry. I have 3 boys in the house and they are very adventurous. They would climb and jump on anything they can. They have a high energy level for physical activity. They are boys.

I’ve had to understand over the years that adventure is part of their nature as boys. I remember one afternoon when I found Ryan hanging on a tree branch. I shouted “Ryan, please come down” while my husband shouted “Way to go son!” And I saw the pride on Ryan’s face as he conquered that tree branch by himself.

The biggest mistake I can make is to pamper our sons and baby them and keep them from climbing and running and jumping. I usually find myself saying “don’t go up there, don’t touch that, don’t run, be careful, you might get hurt.” Though boundaries are good for our boys, too much of it can hinder them from becoming men. It doesn’t mean we let them do everything they want to when we know it will surely hurt them. But we need wisdom too to know when we just have to leave them be and let them be boys.

5F’s of Marriage

Paolo and I came from the wedding of Gabe Gabriel and Diane Sipin, where we stood as principal sponsors. Yes, we were one of the ninongs and ninongs, and this wasn’t our first. The wedding was very touching and very sincere. Pastor Carlos, the officiating minister, shared to us the 5 F’s of a strong marriage. They were:

FOUNDATIONS
FAITHFULNESS
FORGIVENESS
FRUITFULNESS
FUN

It’s always good to be reminded of these things again and again. A great marriage doesn’t just happen. You make it happen, with God’s help.

Here are some of our “pre-nup” pictures. Feeling newly-weds. Hehe… (thanks to our friend Jaja Suarez)

LOVIN’ IT!

Joaquin woke me up at 5am this morning with a kiss on the lips. When I checked on him, he was fast asleep again. I love being a mom!

Our Playgroup

Whenever I get a text from a mom-friend like “Let’s hang out!” or “I miss you!”, I know it’s time for a playgroup. As fun as it is for our kids to play with each other, or more like play alongside each other, since they are too young to interact with each other, it is more fun for us moms. A playgroup is an excuse for us to get out of the daily grind of feeding, changing diapers, watching Hi-5 or reading Goodnight Moon. A playgroup is an excuse to speak in real sentences again and converse with adults beyond abc’s and 123’s.

We love our babies so much and enjoy every minute with them but being cooped up in the house for a long time sometimes makes us feel isolated. We have a need to know that we are not alone in whatever we are going through as moms. A playgroup is a nice break to connect with other moms and talk about trivial issues like brushing our babies’ teeth or real “mommy issues” and get support, advice and affirmation.

Anna and Andi, Me and Joaquin, Thammie and Alyanna and Mika, Belle and Hannah, Kitty and Alba

Joaquin in the ballswim

Mika, Andi, Joaquin and Alba

Advice for First-time Parents

We threw a baby shower for Iris and Dan who are expecting their first child, Helena. After dinner, a game, and the gift-opening, everyone gave them pieces of advice to help them through this exciting season of their lives. These are some of the best advice I’ve heard:

From the fathers to Dan:

“Don’t be just a servant, be a slave.” ;p

“Be a hands-on dad.”

“Appreciate your wife. Give Iris allowance to pamper herself (spa, parlor, the works!)

Hats off to you dads who are sensitive to your wife’s needs!

From the mothers to Iris:

“Trust yourself to know what to do. You don’t need to follow everything other people say.”

“Don’t expect your baby to be like the other babies.”

“Enjoy every stage of your baby’s life because she’ll grow up so fast.”

“Sleep whenever your baby is asleep.”

“Stay connected with other moms.”


From the singles to Dan and Iris:

“Pray for your child.”

“Set boundaries for them”

“Be with them through the tough moments”

Being a first-time parent is a roller coaster ride. One day you are very excited, another day you are very anxious. Will I do a good job? Will I raise up this child in the right way? Will I be able to provide for him? So many questions…

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Laughters is a good midesen

This night is getting a bit too stressful. Nathan just had surgery to remove 2 of his 4 impacted molars and is in need of a lot of tender loving care. Janina has guests over from school. Joaquin is constantly demanding for my attention. (Ryan, thankfully, fell asleep early.) And I need to prepare for my talk tomorrow at Mommy Academy. While I was looking for funny illustrations for my topic, I came across this article that really, really made me LAUGH OUT LOUD!

PINOY SIGNS:

Posted outside a house in Jaro, Iloilo :
HOURSE FOR RENT, FULLY FURNACED
(Boy, it must really be hot in there.)

On a glass window of a photography shop in Cabanatuan :
WE SHOOT YOU WHILE YOU WAIT

Posted at a construction site in Mandaluyong:
BAWAL OMEHI DITO, ANG MAHULI, BOG-BOG!

On the fence of a makeshift parking lot in Pasay :
PARKING PEE: P10

Printed on a streamer in front of a gym in Lucena City :
We Almost Have Complete Set of Gym Equipments
(Now, how’s that for truth in advertising? )

In a supermarket in Baguio :
FRESH FROZEN CHICKEN SOLD HERE

Outside a flower shop along Avenida Rizal:
WE SELL ARTIFICIAL FRESH FLOWERS

In a restaurant in Cebu :
WE HAB SOP-DRINK IN CAN AN IN BATOL

On the glass wall of an eatery in Panay Avenue near National Bookstore (but
this was a long time ago):
WANTED: WAITER, CASHIER, WASHIER

In San Andres, Manila :
NO URINATION ON THE OVER WALLS

In a classified ads section:
WANTED SALESLADY, 20-25 YEARS OLD, PROBABLY SINGLE

Outside a sari-sari store in front of Green Valley in Baguio :
NO CRIDET

In a building in Cubao:
NONE ID, NOTHING ENTRY

Outside a videoke bar in Pampanga:
WE MAKE MODERN ANTIQUE FURNITURE

The name of a laundry shop in Bo. Kapitolyo in Pasig :
CINNAVON

On the gate of a house in Tarlac:
COLD ICED BUKO 4 SALE

Posted outside a beauty shop in Laguna:
WE ALSO DO FULL BODY MESSAGE

In Tiaong, Quezon:
ROAN’S CONTRACTION SUPPLIES

Outside a shoe store in Pangasinan:
WE SELL IMPORTED ROBBER SHOES

In a restaurant in Baguio :
WANTED: BOY WAITRESS

What does your bedroom say about you?

I scheduled today as “Nathan’s bedroom clean-up” day. I had to pull him out of bed and away from his book and demanded he helps me clean his room, since in fact, IT IS HIS BEDROOM. So from one corner to another, we dump all his stuff on the floor and start sorting them out. There’s a bookshelves-pile, a move-to-the-library pile, a give-away pile, a throw-away pile and so on. Gradually the piles on the floor get bigger and bigger then we had to put them away in their respective places. We actually had a lot of fun together rummaging through his stuff and being reminded of the things he’s been holding on to, things he valued. So these are some of the things I found in his room that says a lot about who Nathan is:

He loves to read books: from science books, to inspirational/religious books, to fiction…

He still loves toys and is not ashamed of it!

He’s environmentally-conscious. He’s keeping all our dead batteries, until he finds a right way to dispose of them. He says these batteries can leak stuff that are hazardous to mother earth.

He’s an excellent student. These medals are from his gradeschool years… academic honors, leadership excellence, best in speech, most hardworking, etc, etc. He has honor certificates from his first year in Ateneo highschool too.

He’s sentimental (for lack of a better word) This is his rock collection. Rocks gathered from different places he’s been to. The newest addition is a rock from Boracay taken 2 days ago, where he spent 3 days bonding with his dad.

Next stop.. Ryan’s room.

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to Dad.”

This was Ryan’s first statement to me yesterday as I woke up. Paolo and Nathan left for Boracay very early so goodbyes to the other kids were said the night before. Unfortunately, Ryan was so tired he crashed in bed a little too early and missed it. So when he came to my bedroom the next morning, that’s the first thing he told me, in between tears “I didn’t get to say goodbye to Dad.” I became teary as well because I felt his sadness.

Saying goodbye is an important ritual in our family, much like saying goodnight every night before bedtime. I treasure the times whenever Paolo and I go out on a date, and our kids would run to the garage barefooted in their pajamas, and would give us a hug through the car window, shower us with kisses, and follow the car out the garage until our tail light disappears from their view. Saying goodbye I think gives our children a sense of control over the day’s events. It gives them the security that nothing unexpected is going to happen. It gives them the confidence that dad and mom didn’t abandon them and they are returning home for sure. Of course, we’ve never heard our kids articulate these things. But they have the need to be assured that at the end of the day, dad and mom are always coming back home.

Paolo called from Boracay and talked to Ryan. Every unsaid fear of Ryan was eased.

RYAN GRADUATES FROM PRESCHOOL

March 5, 2010

Ryan graduates from preschool. This was his first year to be in school. We opted to homeschool him for nursery and K-1. I have this sort of “pride thing” wanting to be the one to teach all my children to read and count. So far, I have been successful with the first 3. (I hope to do the same with Joaquin.) We enrolled him for K2 to help him get adjusted to the classroom setting for grade 1.

His teachers are very proud of him! He has excelled in all subjects, even in Filipino. I am always amused to hear him talk in Filipino with our helpers at home. I remember the time he went biking with his dad in Marikina Riverbanks. When he went home, he told me “nasagasaan ng bisikleta ang mga palaka.” Lol! His favorite subjects in school were Art and Spelling.  His spelling teacher one time told us that he was brave enough to volunteer to spell a new word in class. The word was “frangible.” I haven’t even heard that word before. But Ryan was able to spell it correctly.

Their graduation theme was the 80’s. Ryan chose the costume of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Our family has been into MJ lately, watching “This is It” almost every night.

I feel so blessed that we have Victory Christian School, who partners with us to train our children.

Inexpensive Fun

I like it that my kids can have fun without us having to spend a lot. My kids love to hang out by the Marikina River which is just 5 minutes away from our house. They would just explore by the bank and try to catch some fish with their plastic cups. Or they would bike around or fly kites or sit on the steps while eating balut and chicharon.

We don’t want to raise children who are dependent on technology for fun. We want them to experience outdoor fun… soaking in the rain, or playing with the hose, shooting garbage cans with slingshots, digging for worms, going up trees. I’m thankful my husband is an outdoor person. And I’ve read somewhere that kids who play outdoors have stronger immune systems than kids who are cooped up inside the house.

This is partly the reason why we don’t have cable TV. Lest our kids be stuck watching the whole day. I remember during the typhoon Milenyo when power was out for several hours, I heard a lot of kids complained of boredom. Ours were having fun playing cards and board games.