The Big 3-0

So last night, at 11:00-ish, I hit the beginning of my 30’s. While most friends spent their birthdays partying, or at least dining out, I was just snuggled in bed with the little boy on my side.

I have changed, I get it. Some friends asked me how I was to celebrate my birthday. After all, I was, in the most recent years, the one who would initiate agenda for a Friday or Saturday night out. This time, I only had one answer: I made no plans. Matter of fact, I came to work because I really had no plan in mind. In case we are acquainted on Twitter, I said there that all I wanted for my birthday is a nice cake – maybe a Strawberry Shortcake from Visco’s (which I already had last year), an Ube Cake from Cara Mia (which we had for my parents’ anniversary), or Avocado Cake from Lia’s (which I had two years ago) – or something from Pastelaria Manila because I haven’t tried any from theirs yet. Yes, you can judge me from my cake choices. I don’t mind.

I have changed, I know. Aside from the cake, I just want a time off – maybe even a day away from my boys so I can sleep, read, and write like I used to before. Not that I don’t want their company, I do, but I just want to be in tune with myself.

As Aunt Edna said in Incredibles II: “Parenting done right is a heroic act” (Can’t believe I just quoted an animated movie, that’s such a mama move!), I do try my best in being a parent. It’s no easy task. Imagine complaining about adulthood’s bill’s and money management, well parenthood’s not a bit easier, you got to get through p*ss and sh*t, literally. I can’t even imagine how I managed to be sane for twenty months and counting.

I remember a friend who asked me “Bakit iiyak ka na, nagthe-thank you ka lang sa parents mo nung birthday ng anak mo?” (“Why were you about to cry when you were just thanking your parents on your son’s party?”). Only a few friends knew that I suffered from anxiety and depression months into motherhood. I haven’t actually gotten into counselling or medical consultations regarding this, because aside from me being hard headed like that, I am still trying to negotiate things with myself. And all throughout that period, it was my mother whom I called and cried to whenever I was feeling under so much pressure. She would take care of the baby and tell me to go out, walk, read, write, and spend time with myself. It made me feel lucky to have a mother who knows how critical I am of myself to understand why I feel such pressure of motherhood. She’d tell me that it’s OK if I cannot make the baby stop crying, that it’s fine not to do every household chore, and most of all, that it’s normal to get exhausted because my body is still recovering while I’m doing all the motherly stuff I’m supposed to do BUT that doesn’t mean that I should just give and give – I have to pause and rest and stay calm (the F down, really) because I have to brace myself because things are not going to stop, at least anytime soon. And yes, I owe my mother my life and sanity the past months. She’s such a pro in handling me and my weirdness. I love you Mama, part of my birthday wish (because I always have many many birthday wishes) is to have a heart like yours. May you live longer so your heart can grow bigger, more than enough to accommodate all your little grandchildren.

And now you ask where my husband has been through the ride? He was at my side, definitely. He was my rock and my support. He comforted me and made me feel loved, but my struggle was beyond him. He tried his best to understand, or at least get in touch with my frustrations, but he failed. And I cannot take that against him – my frustrations, shortcomings, self-inflicted pressure, were all my own monsters. It was definitely hard for him too, raising a little boy while taking care of me. But he tried, I know, because he was consistent in his patience and love. He did not fall short of every little thing he was as from the beginning. I always say that your love is beyond me, may it always be beyond us – me and Thirdy.

And to my little boy, Thirdy, who has transformed me in so many ways, who made me trade a night out for a cake and cuddle session at home – you are special, you are precious, you are exceptional. You have brought us so much tears and so much joy. Remember that your pain is our pain and your triumphs is also ours. Know that you are loved more than your wildest imagination (or more than you love your Pre-School Prep ABC’s, just so you know the extent). And because your favorite, Boss Baby, said that “There’s plenty of love to go around”, Mama and Papa got you a tiny human! Now, you can love your tiny human “With all of your heart”. (I was really consistent in quoting my little boy’s movies)

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My introduction to motherhood might not be as shiny and splendid as others had or at least how I envisioned it to be. But knowing I did well (at least what I think of myself), with the help of people, of course, I am ready to take on another journey with my growing tummy and family. You know, there are things you learn the easy way, some you learn the hard way. Motherhood taught me a lot of things, patience for one, and unconditional love, and a lot more beyond and between. I would never have it any other way.

And for my final wish (at least among those I am over/sharing), a little girl this time.

So here I go coming through, Thirty and Preggy!

La Union, Then and Now

To say that La Union is one of my favorite places is an understatement. It is a refuge, a home; not only to me, but for my friends, and even for my little family.

People go places to forget, that was the first thing I did in La Union. I remember coming from a trip to Baguio, D offered and took me to La Union as a distraction for my grieving heart. The oldies believe that salt water helps in healing wounds, my first surfing experience did just that.

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From then, I can no longer count how many times we’ve gone back and forth to surf, grab beer (and get drunk, of course), lie under the stars, learn cartwheels, spot Derek Ramsey or Luke Landrigan, pet dogs, etc.

La Union was our happy place.

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Tides have changed – rose and fell. Waves crashed and washed sand off the shore. We remained and brought more people to love the place. Friends welcomed friends, friends welcomed lovers.

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Love grew and brought new life.

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Now, there’s more who love and more to love.

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Guess La Union will always be our special place.

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One day you will fly, my Little Thirdy

My dear little Thirdy,

I know how much you like airplanes. When getting fresh air at Mamita’s you point your fingers and shout whenever you see one across the sky. Today, Mama rides one again.

I do not know if you would notice the plane Mama is in from our home. How I wish you would but that sounds rather too good to be true. Mama will miss you, that’s for sure.

Four days is but a short time, my little boy. For now I will look at the clouds and smile at the thought of your first plane ride. As much as I would like to imagine a peaceful travel, an image of you full of “oohs” and “aahs” is already playing in my head. I remember when you were still inside Mama’s tummy and I’d tell Papa that once we are three, he would no longer have someone on the passenger seat. True enough, we now stay at the back together – you doing monkey bars, your eyes goggling at cars passing by, squealing at the sight of lighted trees and buildings, or dancing to the song on the radio.

Yes, one day you will ride on a plane with me and Papa. Because your feet are destined to roam the earth. Those long drives are but training for all your travels ahead. Your eyes are made to wander and wonder. Right now, all you can say is “Wow” (sometimes, you cannot even say the “w” sound at the end Haha!) but as you grow up, you’d learn to look beyond people and places, and realize how tiny (yet important) you are to the world.

Mama’s babbing. I guess I already miss you, my little boy. Hug Papa more. Be kind to Papa, even if he doesn’t have boobs overflowing with milk.

Mama will be home soon.

Mama loves you.

Remembering Clyde

Clyde was my eldest bunny. I envisioned him to be the ring bearer at my wedding. I have foreseen him as my baby’s first pet and playmate. Unfortunately, he passed away a year ago. Apparently, it has been a long stretch of sorrow and acceptance. Sadness, all this time, cannot help me pin down the right words to actually tell his story. I tried to, a couple of times, but it all went down to me shedding tears like it was his last day with us again.

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Clyde was part of our “We’re Expecting” announcement to our friends. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to meet his tiny human.

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It was January 2012 when the then-boyfriend now-husband and I decided to get a pet. We did not want a dog nor a cat, but something just as cute yet not so usual, so we went on looking for a rabbit instead. We were supposed to get a black bunny with a tiny white dot somewhere in its body. We found one with a spot on its nose! But there was another bunny which kept following to wherever we point our fingers to, we just had to get him as well! This bunny had round blue eyes, which was something different from all other white bunnies out there (with scary red eyes). We named them Bunnie and Clyde.

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Cue, Beyonce and JayZ’s song: ~All I need in this life of sin, is me and my Girlfriend~

Bunnie passed away just a week after we got her. We assumed she was already sick by the time we got her as she was very fragile and was already refraining to eat. Clyde from then on became our only bunny child. He was spoiled. He loved getting a lot of attention. He loved bananas, strawberries, and veggies all to himself. He loved playing and lurking around the house. He loved being cradled like a baby. He loved grooming and getting baths every now and then (we had to give him baths, like twice a year, to smoothen and remove discolored areas of his coat). He loved trips to the park. He loved dressing up in costumes. He loved celebrating birthdays. He loved his photos being taken. He loved welcoming guests and being petted.

Rabbits are often misunderstood, but it was easy to figure out Clyde’s moods. Our family knew Clyde loved us. He’d jump off his home when we arrive at the doorstep. He raises his head for pats, he struggles climbing up the stairs only to struggle again getting up to bed to wake us up on weekend mornings. He follows us in circles, then begs for treats. He loves lying around, listening to our stories, or even school stuff when my sister reviews in the wee hours of the morning. Clyde would lick our hands, our faces, and even docks his face to my chest. Clyde was a furball of affection.

We got him a wife a few years later since he has grown, uhm, horny. He got 3 wives, Quasha, Claudia, and Crumble. They were pretty rabbits. Quasha was same breed as Clyde, while Claudia and Crumble were part Lionhead part Angora. He got kids, some as white as him, some became a mix of white and brown, and white and grey. His every bunny baby was adorable.

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Clyde on his last birthday with us. He was not happy, his humans had more carrot cake than he did.

Clyde was growing old, we knew that – his face has grown lines, he no longer runs like crazy when brought outside. We were supposed to have him castrated as rabbits tend to suffer sickness from their poop and pee in old age. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get to that, Clyde broke down one night. He hasn’t been eating nor drinking. My parents have given him medicines, but he was still sick. I carried him in the car while we were on the way to the veterinarian. He was in pain, I knew, he buried his face to my side while I cradled him. My sister and I were crying and trembling on the way to the hospital. But Clyde was a fighter. He still wanted to stand and jump and binky. He struggled getting on his chubby toes, his body slammed unto the hospital table in his every attempt. It took a few times before the nurse attached the dextrose, his veins already collapsed. His eyes were already wide, his breathing was heavier, and his heartbeat was faster than normal. Clyde never felt so threatened like this before. But we had to leave him at the hospital overnight. We knew that was a bad idea, however we were compelled to, for we can not make him feel better at home too. I was so brokenhearted to see him with a dextrose in his paw, sealed in a cage and warmed with a spotlight. I wish I spent the night with him there, but in my head this was for his good. I was very very afraid, but I knew Clyde was a fighter. He’s a stubborn bunny – I just think of him at the hospital table trying to stand again – such a brave little baby.

The next morning, we received the news. I didn’t know if he just provided some luck or something that day, but our family braved through traffic and number coding to finally lead Clyde to his own paradise. My grandfather picked out a very quiet area for him, where he could visit Clyde often when he farms and plant his vegetables. We laid Clyde in an area surrounded by greens – where his playful soul could play and jump and binky endlessly. He can feed on the grass too, when he’s famished and stay under trees when he gets tired.

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Clydee Bunny goes to bed

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The skies opened up to meet Clyde in bunny heaven. And yes, there’s a cloud in a bunny head shape

There are still days when I remember Clyde and cry. But maybe Clyde has already lived the best of his days on earth – a happy binky-ful and flop-sy bunny life. Or maybe Clyde found out there’s an even happier place where he’d have unlimited carrots, bananas, cabbage and strawberries, where every time is playtime and where he can binky, jump, and flop all he want.

I miss Clyde everyday. There will never be a bunny as affectionate as my little bunny boy.

 

Baby Steps to Motherhood

I promised I would hit “Publish” on all my pending drafts posts, however, I would like to take a certain detour just to over/share some already dated news.

I have been oversharing on Facebook and Instagram about my pregnancy the past months, and six months ago, I gave birth to a tiny human. I am still in awe, disbelief even, how I was able to keep a human being inside me. Taking him out to the world is another matter I keep wondering about.

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This Instagram post kind of sums it all up. I was fresh from our launch that week and was already having signs of an early delivery. I made sure to visit my doctor that weekend to check on me and my baby. The doctor assured that nothing from those signs were alarming and that I might give birth later that week. However, on the wee hours of Sunday, I started having contractions. It continued throughout the day on a fifteen to thirty minute interval. Monday morning, my water broke. The entire bed was bathed in blood and water.

I was admitted at around five in the morning same day. I can hardly move as the contractions do not seem to end. Nurses even ask a lot of questions and details which, really, can be asked some other time anyway. I never imagined going through so much pain and getting asked how may times a day I change feminine pads when on period. Unbelievable! Hours went on though I barely recognized what time it really was. It felt like forever and all I wanted was to get over everything and let the baby out. I was transferred to the Delivery Room and was given the Epidural Anesthesia. It took away the pain though I hardly felt anything waist down when it was already time for pushing. I was doing the J Breathing Technique hoping I was doing it the right way. After four pushes, baby came out five minutes before nine o’clock in the morning. My husband was there too, holding my hand, all smiles gazing the baby resting on my chest.

By noon I was already in my suite with my tiny human in a bassinet beside me. It was really the first time I caught a good glimpse of him. His face was beaming, as if he was surrounded by a hundred angels. The pain of giving birth and recovery vanished. I was just brimming with pure joy and love.

Six months thereon, I still feel the same. After all the toils of breastfeeding (which deserves a separate story), of sleepless nights, crazy diaper changes, and a whole LOT more; I still look at him lovingly each day and wonder how a person this small can take up so much space in my heart.

Traveling Milking Mama

I traveled to Bangkok a month ago. This by far, was the trip I was most worried about – mommy duties, breastfeeding, etc. My breast milk supply has already gone dipping. I used to pump at least 4 ounces a few months ago, but since I started going to work again, I can only hit the 2-ounce mark maximum. So, I decided to maximize the time and remaining milk by taking in more supplements to bump up the supply. Unfortunately, I was bound to travel during this time of struggle.

Thinking about traveling at this point made me very uneasy. I did a lot of research and even contacted the Consulate of Bangkok for their rules with checking in breast milk on flights. And even if they assured me that it’s fine, I was still worried because Immigration officers are really meticulous and curious or however else you can call it.

The flight to Bangkok was rather easy. I brought my manual pump instead of the electric one to avoid declarations (it’s considered a medical apparatus) and lengthy explanations. I packed antibacterial ice packs and gels, pump paraphernalia, storage bags, insulated packs in my check in baggage.

At the hotel, I was very lucky that the staff were very warm and accommodating. My personal refrigerator did not have a freezer so the staff goes right up to my suite to pick up the insulated bag, wait for me to assemble the breast milk pouches, then bring it back to the hotel freezer. My principals from TaylorMade-adidas Golf as well made sure this trip would be a breeze. They assured comfort checking up on me every now and then if I got enough time to pump on breaks.

On the flight back home, I was more worried because I hand-carried the breast milk. Fortunately, I was assigned to a woman officer during the inspection. My bag was just held for a few minutes to get checked. She asked if it were for a baby girl or boy. I was so relieved that was the kind of question asked! I thought they were going to fire me a lot of questions about it. The woman officer even told me how lucky my baby is for me to get him food while I’m away. I answered politely and smiled while putting on my shoes.

I was smiling to myself on the flight. Days of research and hours of pumping have finally paid off, I have gone home with something my baby would definitely appreciate (he can’t be utterly happy about new toys and cute apparel yet). Hahaha! I would love to thank the staff of Hotel Indigo – I mean it’s their job, right, but their assistance didn’t seem like a chore (FUN FACT: They even got my Writing Project mailed for me!). I would love to express my utmost gratitude to the airport officers again for being nice and sweet. And of course, to my TaylorMade-adidas Golf SouthEast Asia Team for facilitating a very smooth and mama-friendly trip for me (also for the gift last February when I delivered my little boy)!

Oh, if you are wondering, knowing this TSA policy helps a lot! If you are still in doubt, contact the Consulate of the country you are traveling to.

Cheers!

Mother’s Day Random Ramblings

Last week, a colleague congratulated me for my first Mother’s Day celebration. I totally forgot about it until tonight that I’ve gone too emotional watching “Mom” videos on my newsfeed. Funny how becoming pre-occupied as a first time mother leave you with remembrances, realizations and emotions at random times (like now while having breaks doing the laundry).

Honestly, I haven’t imagined myself a mother until the moment I got confirmation that I had a tiny human inside. I was not ready, but I guess you’ll never be really ready until you get there. I deemed myself a mother as early as then. After all, I was already nursing and nourishing him. I had to change diet, skip vigorious activities, and even obey weird traditions roughly suggested by the oldies.

Pushing him out to the world is another story. I was never as frightened. I was not only scared for myself, I was scared for him more. But again, when you have no choice but to be courageous, well, you got to be. Imagine my relief when I saw him for the first time lying on my chest.

And motherhood doesn’t end there. Somewhere I’ve read said that real motherhood comes after you leave the hospital and take the baby home. Sure was right! My baby has been around for almost three months and I can no longer count my tears and sighs out of frustration, fear, paranoia, etc. Knowing there’s a lifetime ahead of him, God only knows how much more I need to bear. But I am not complaining, he’s our best gift (cliche, I know), our most terrible weakness (how can you say “no” when he puts up a cute crying face?), and my husband’s replica, only waaay more handsome (if I loved my husband’s annoyingly happy face, how can I not love my son’s?).

You know in art when they put together totally unrelated things to communicate one solid message? That’s how motherhood is like. It’s always a crazy unpredictable mix of emotions – some intense, some so-so. But unlike art which emanates multiple possible meanings, motherhood comes with but one message. It’s always the same every time – Love.

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Happy Mothers’ Day to all the moms out there, most importantly, to my Mama. Now I know the truth in your rants! Hahaha Sending greetings to my husband’s mother as well, for raising such lovely man.

Props to my boys, too, for this wonderful and exciting journey. I love you both.

Like Yesterday

Feels like it was only yesterday we were both sitting in brown armchairs within an airconditioned room. Feels like it was only yesterday I took courage to kiss you in a gush of alcohol. Feels like it was only yesterday I made you a mixtape of music unknown to you. Feels like it was only yesterday since we knew each other more than mere names and faces in our grade school yearbook.

Feels like yesterday, only, it was actually six years ago. Feels like yesterday, only, we got a month old little boy. Feels like yesterday, only, I married you four months ago. Feels like yesterday, only, my heart is filled with more inexplicable bliss.

All my gratefulness for making everyday feel like the first time, even if it was already a thousand yesterdays ago. I love you, Husband.

Two is too much. My heart is full.

Oh Hello, 2017

I realized I haven’t really written anything about 2016 – which is weird because 2016 was a rather interesting year for me.

I noticed all my posts were backlogs – trips from overseas of 2015. That’s how bad I was last year! So this time, I’m going to hit the PUBLISH button in all posts in my draft folder. Forgive me, some are, yes, still from 2015.

But, I must promise, I will keep myself more inspired this year. I might have more stories to tell – just a little not my usual topics I guess.

Kuala Lumpur 2015: Another Overdue

WordPress reminded me that my last post was about a year ago, so publishing one that has been rotting in my Drafts folder.

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So June last year, my colleagues and I traveled to Malaysia for a buying trip for one of our brands. It was a short 3-day stay, but it was a productive trip nonetheless.

We stayed at the St. Giles The Gardens Hotel. Here’s a shot from the top floors. Kuala Lumpur looks like Manila, a few green areas, tall buildings, creeks, etc., only cleaner and a more systematized transport system. They have a lot of freeways and the queue at their tollbooths is the nearest thing they have to traffic. Gawd, Manila sucks.

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As same as all other LDR (Long Distance Relationship) phases my Boyfriend and I go through, he has letters stashed in my office planner for me to read upon arrival at the hotel. Yes, it’s that specific. This time, it came in a form of origami. I just stole a few minutes while my colleague was freshening up to have this one shot and read. It didn’t come in a series though, only one for the weekend.

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And here’s my travel buddy. Yes, we have Nike Golf for years, and we acquired Exclusive Distributorship of Taylormade adidas Golf as well. Hurray! And yes, it’s adidas we did buying for, thus, the pair. I think this is one of the earliest of the boost technology models. It’s light and has a comfortable sole, perfect for all the walking we did the entire trip.

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Breakfast buffets are the best! I take shameless photos of my plate to send on Viber to my boyfriend for ~food~ updates.

Malaysia is basically a basin of culture, but majority of its population is Muslim. It’s mostly obvious through food options. Pork is rarely served. So here I had baked cauli flower, cheesy baked tomatoes, Basmati rice, hash browns, beef bacon, and chicken sausages. I almost cried, why BEEF bacon, why? The chicken sausage was good though, I liked that it had cheese.
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We visited the famed Jalan Alor at Bukit Bintang. It is an entire stretch of Street Food. It’s crazy – different races, all chats and noise, public performers, cars passing by, souvenir vendors, etc.

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Food was mostly spicy, or maybe I was just bound to love spicy food (and get fat, too).
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Of course, everyone’s favorite…

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And so far, the food that has piqued my interest in all of Kuala Lumpur, the chicken fish. I know it’s cute because, the heck, it’s smiling. But more than that, this sea creature has no bones aside from the hard one through the center. It’s white meat, chunky yet soft. It didn’t taste like chicken though. It was served fried – not oily nor spicy. Just the right hint of herbs and spices.
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This was the crowd to my right while dining. Crazy street.

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Of course, we cannot miss the Petronas Towers. Good thing we went there at night as it was majestic with the lights on and with the full moon.

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We left the next day hoarding Old Town Coffee.

Farewell, KL. Hoping to get back and take a not-so-touristy time out with you next time.