Beyond my Little Boy’s “Kulit”

My husband and I love going to the grocery. And in the past months, we have noticed the little boy become interested as well.

While going to the grocery is therapeutic and considered a family bonding, the little boy thinks of it as a trip to the playground. While before he used to run around frantically, now he stays in one of the biggest push carts, occasionally reaching out for canned goods and boxed items. At times we get annoyed because it gets mixed up with the items we really intend to buy. Moreso, he stacks them up only to step or jump on it. At times, he throws a few stuff here and there. When we get to the toiletries area, he usually motions to his Papa to get him out of the cart and bring him to the step ladder instead – yes the ginormous ones men use to stock items on upper shelves. He climbs those up and down.

I used to get infuriated because the supposedly relaxing trip to the grocery becomes a run-after with the toddler. But over the weekend, I saw him take out these toy trains out of the display bin and line them up on the floor.

It made me realize that my child’s kulit is more than his annoying activities. It is, in fact a manifestation of learning. I was in awe at how the edges were connected, (Shocks! Magiging OC ata sya like Mama!) at least before the line up gets curved a little in the end. And since he’s lining up the trains, he could be thinking of actual train cabs on a rail. While I know he stacks up canned goods at my parents’ house, I now have better understanding of how aisles and aisles of canned items makes him happy. Same way with the boxes. And only now have it crossed my mind, maybe he was actually sorting the goods (like odd ones out) when he throws items out of the cart. And of course, his climbs are but his usual excercise and a nod to his kinesthetic intelligence.

As parents, sometimes, we’re too preoccupied with our own businesses and we tend to overlook what our kids do. Sometimes we diminish their activities into exhibitions of hyperactivity and tantrums, when in fact, these are actually moments of vital play and learning. And best is that, it is not something pushed on to them, but is self-initiated – thus appealing more to their imagination and senses.

I don’t really post my kid’s achievements or milestones or learnings on Social Media (because I believe he is beyond those), but I am making an exception on this one just to remind myself and some other parents out there to be patient and look further into their child’s kulit and play.

As for my little boy, I always always say this: Never lose your wonder. Never lose your fun.

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To my Firstborn

My little Thirdy,

Feels like yesterday when I first held you in my arms. You were tiny and fragile, yet you took away all the pains from giving birth. There are a lot of metaphors on my head right now in my attempt to describe the moment, but certainly, there is none that can suffice.

Now you are two (years old). Yet you have given us so much – tears, joy, fear, laughter. You have enabled us to feel the most of every emotion, and my favorite, forever will be, is love. You taught Mama to love unconditionally – to be patient when you blow things up, to be kind when you are beyond control, to be understanding when your actions are frustrating. You changed Mama, a lot. I used to throw my own tantrums and rant furiously at anything that frustrates me, but you, little human, taught me that there is nothing love cannot do. You are my clingy little furball, though you lack hair. Hahaha Your little ways – hugs, profession of love (agoogookoo aka I Love You) before you kiss, taking my hand when you want to be cuddled for sleep, snuggling on my side and on my legs, make my heart melt. Your tiny little feats are also my triumphs – your first step, your first walk, your first run, your first climb, all your words, your dance steps, and your Disney songs (or Greatest Showman and Bohemian Rhapsody). Sometimes it wears me out because you are ultra needy and hyper active, but at the same time I just have to cherish this phase, you’ll never be this tiny and clingy again.

You make me believe that there is no “Terrible Two”, annoying sometimes you may be. I understand that you are just exhausting your energy running around, bouncing up and down, dumping, building then destroying things around. With all the love you have afforded us to have, we will turn all the terrible to adorable.

I love you, my little boy. And I will never grow tired of telling you and showing you how much I love you from the smallest to the grandest of gestures. While sometimes I wish you’d be this tiny and adorable forever, I, at the same time am really looking forward to your first day at school, up to the day you’d receive your college diploma and so on. Seems like a long haul, but I will be there with you and all other instances in between and beyond. I will always remind you (like I always do when you are asleep) that you are meant for greatness, and that there is no one to make you feel otherwise. Mama will be your friend and your foe (you’d get irritated at me at times, LOL), your biggest fan and worst critic (HAHAHA!).

And now you are two (you and your little baby sibling on the way). I know you will be a great Kuya. With all the love and affection you have shown me and your Papa, you sure would never mind extending to your little sibling. Of course, you would even teach your younger sibling all your kulit and kapilyohan too. It’s true what your favorite movie, Boss Baby, says, “There’s plenty of love to go around“. You and your sibling have already made my heart grow bigger. Once it only accommodated you, now the two of you. My love will not be divided between you two. It will not come less. It will be more than enough for the two of you. Matter of fact, it will overflow, brimming at the rims of each of your glasses.

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And as I always say, I love you everyday, I love you always, I love you forever. I love you, my Thirdy Patootie.

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!

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.

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.

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.