Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dear Alon: Why Nanay is away

Dear Alon,

It's been six days since I left home for Zamboanga.  You see, Zamboanga had a crisis last September which displaced so many people.  Nanay's office are helping out the evacuees to ease their difficulties a bit.  Nanay herself does not directly deal with the displaced peoples but does her best to help those who do.  So while Nanay does not want to be away from you for too long, I also have to be brave and face my discomfort of not being with you to do my best to take part in the greater scheme of things.

This morning, I visited the tent-clinic we support to see how things are going.  It broke my heart to see the patients in line.  Most of them were parents carrying their children.  Children as old as you, some older, some much, much younger (newborns).  I was talking to one of the nurses when I saw one mother breastfeeding her one month old baby.  I was happy to see the mommy was breastfeeding her child because the conditions they were in was not conducive for safe bottle feeding (limited clean water, costly milk, etc.).  But I was sad to hear the baby had a fever for quite some time already.  Nanay does not like seeing children suffer like that, Anak.  It hurt to see them like that.  It hurt worse not to know how long they will remain in that situation.

Today, we saw on the news the terrible devastation brought about by what scientists claim as the worst typhoon/storm in recorded history (of the world, not just the country).  Concrete houses were battered like they were cardboard, Anak.  Trees fell, villages battered and hundreds of thousands of people were affected.  Some of the areas hit were even those just recently hit by the big earthquake.  I am imagining that people will be living in the same conditions as the people in Zamboanga.  Nanay is close to tears just thinking of how hard it will be for children like you. Sigh.

So why am I telling you this, Alon dearest?

Because I want you to learn a few things.

1. Be thankful for things you might take for granted.  No matter how small our studio is, you have a roof over your head, food on your plate, clothes to wear, books to read and toys to play with.  You have parents who love you, grandparents and relatives who dote on you and a yaya who takes good care of you.  Whenever you keep wanting something that you don't really need (and we may possibly not give you), remember what the important things in life are -- food, shelter, education, love and laughter.  You have all those things.

2.  After you thank God for your blessings, give back.  Give back either through money, action or advocacy.  You can even do two or three together.  Some meople will have more than you but there are more people who have less than you.  We just have enough, Anak.  Remember, though, that there is still always something to give.  If you do not have things or money, you will have your time or service.  There are many ways to share, you'll find something that you will be comfortable sharing.

I was talking to one DOH doctor the last time I was here.  He knew of some doctors who were getting tired of the work.  He told them, "be thankful that you are the one serving that the one being served."  Learn from that, Anak.  It's a simple statement but one that is rich in meaning.  Someday, you will understand what that doctor meant.  If only more people think that way, the world might be a better place.

I love you, Alon.  I hope Tatay and I will raise you well.

Always, Nanay

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First haircut!

Alon's hair before the cut
Last Sunday, Alon had his first haircut. We were supposed to go to a kiddie barber shop but when we found out how much it cost, the kuripot in me just turned around and never looked back. Haha!

Lolo actually volunteered for the job when he found out that we were planning to have Alon's hair cut.  He seemd excited to have been finally granted the privelege.  He already had his razor ready when we visited Pasig.

We started but Alon did not like the sound of the razor and ended up crying. We decided to wait until he fell asleep first.

I actually missed the second attempt for the haircut since I fell asleep.  I got a bit annoyed at that but good thing my son woke up again because of the razor. I had the chance to experence his haircut with him.

Lolo ended up using the traditional scissors cutting Alon's hair. I wsd carrying Alon when he was having the haircut so I was all covered with hair.

It was not the best of haircuts. It was not even at all, especially at the back. Some parts had his scalp exposed, the parts that went through the razor. 
The crazy back of his head. :P

Howrver if you are facing him, you would not even notice anything wrong at the back.  Despite that, I'm still happy how it turned out. My little baby is now a boy.  A handsome one at that! 

Not bad from the front.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Moments with Alon: Post 1

Alon was nursing. I was gently touching him but bordering on a tickle (nursing moms would know this is a risk but hey, I live dangerously. :p). He was laughing (while on the breast). Probably found it fun so he kept leading my fingers to his ticklish areas. Even before I touch him, he wad already giggling. We were having much fun.

I watched a short segment on Top Chef. When I looked down, he was already asleep. 

I don't know but I found this really funny. :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Community feeding

It really does take a village to raise a child, or in my case, breastfeed my son.

I only had a week to work at increasing my stock of breastmilk for Alon before I departed for a short eight day mission to Zamboanga (short because most of my colleagues have been here for three weeks).  I was only able to stock four days worth of milk which was my main concern when I left for the field.

I did buy several kinds of milk and milk substitutes like Dutch Mill, Chamyto, fresh milk, soya milk and chocolate milk.  According to Jan, he seems to like Chamyto but only in small doses.  All the other milk, he would refuse to take.

We were lucky to have a kind neighbor who was also breastfeeding her seven month old girl and was stay at home so did not really need her expressed milk.  Our yaya was able to solicit her extra milk for Alon so we were able to extend his stock to six days.  She was gone for the weekend though, so I was in a bit of dilemma.

A colleague was actually willing to transport the milk when he would depart Thursday but the rains cancelled the flights in Zambo so they had to travel all the way to Pagadian to take a flight to Manila.  That plan had to be scrapped.

I was able to convince another colleague flying back to Manila on Saturday to be Alon's milk man.  I was so happy when he said yes.  There were initial concerns that the flight might not push through since it was raining again this morning and Manila was also experiencing its own showers.  But God was good and Jan managed to get the milk from him at the airport.

Alon has enough milk again to last him until I return on Monday. Yey!  Yey to the fact that my son will still be fed and Yey to the fact that Monday is coming soon. :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New words, new words!

Since Thursday, Alon learned a few more words.

"bak" - bike
"kay" - sakay (ride)

of which he used together.  His first sentence was, "bak, kay."  Mommy jaw drop moment there.

"wa-aw" - wow
"buhk" - book
"lohloh" - lolo.  We're trying to teach him "lola" because Lola = Santa Claus. No such luck yet.

I left for Zamboanga, and tonight's phone call revealed that he has two new words again.

"eh-yo" - hello
"leeh-goh" - ligo  (bath)

What a chatty kid we have!

While we were on the phone, I quoted an excerpt from his book. "Click-clack-moo, click-clack-moo, clickety-clack-moo."  Jan said Alon got the book and handed it to him.  Another mommy jaw drop moment. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nights like this :)

I arrived to a little celebration of Alon's condo Bestie, Anton, who turned one last September 14. While I was enjoying pansit, Alon was with Yaya Jeana riding Zohan's bike. He quite enjoyed the ride and was crying when we had to return it to the owner. When We finally went up to our unit. I asked him if he could say "bike" and he said "bak."  Yaya and Nanay were both surprised and pleased. :).

When Tatay arrived a little later, he took Alon for a walk along the corridor. We played hide and seek and habulan. I taught him to turn. He did! He did three turns, got dizzy and fell down. He was dazed but after he recovered, he did it again a couple of times. Turns, dizzy, fall.  He enjoyed it. Crazy kid!

Afterwards, we saw a grasshopper by the exit door of our wing. He kept staring and looking at it. Everytime we tried to leave, he would insist going back.

When Tatay and Nanay finally decided to return to the unit, it was time for dinner.  He had his plain taho and frozen apple-banana-pear smoothie. Then he took his bath.

Boy, bath was a riot.  I was able to give Alon a bath, but it seemed I was as wet as my ward. He was splashing the water with such buoyant, effervescent gusto that I had to join in. I was drenched but we both enjoyed. :)

Every night may not be as crazy and fun as tonight but I hope Tatay, Nanay and Alon continue to create exciting memories together. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Baby babble

Alon started to talk at eleven months. His first word was "lat" (light). I actually though his first word was "cat" since while we were in the playground, he pointed to a cat and said "aat" but then he also pointed to a slide and said "aat." So no, cat was not his first word then.

He was pretty consistent with "lat" until he learned other words.  Right now, I don't hear him saying "lat" but would excitedly look or point in the light's direction when asked "where is the light."

At almost 15 months, he's already got quite a vocabulary. "Boh" for ball, "buh" for balloon, "bahbuh" for bubbles, "buhbay" (bye), "Kah" (car), " kahw" (cow), "down", "tatay," "nanay," "bana" (banana), la na" (no more), "wotah" (water), "dede" and "duhtee" (dirty).

He uses "nyum" for eat because when we feed him, we'd go "nyum-nyum-nyum!"

There are a few random words that I am still trying to figure out like "ikay" and "iko".  Absolutely no idea as he just points at any random thing saying those words.

His favorite word lately is "no."  Often times used in triplicate, sometimes with no context. Often with a head shake. I sometimes wonder if this is an early "terrible twos."  Hahaha! Thank God there are no tantrums that go with it. Yet.

Whatever it is, I'm glad that Alon seems to be developing well. I'm looking forward to his future quips and hope to God I can keep a straight face if he tries to be a smart-ass. Which on current circumstances is highly likely. 

Oh dear.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Alon knows a couple of animal sounds already. He would point to a cow and would go "mmm..." (Mooo!) He would point to a chicken and would go "buhbuhbuh" (bokbokbok!). He would point to a dog and would go "wawawaw!" But then he would point to any furry animal and go "wawawaw!"

Right now, he has a favorite stuffed dog which he would point to and go "wawawaw" often. Then he would hug it with a big smile on his face. He's not extremely attached to it but I do like how he loves it when he has it. I decided to name it Wawawaw or Doggie until Alon can name it himself. (Though I have this feeling that Doggie will stay Doggie forever. Haha!)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

And he stacks!

Well, not in this photo. :P

I have been trying to teach Alon to stack since he was ten months old. He preferred to bang the rings together and throw them about like any typical baby.  Most of the time, I just went along going with his pace since the most important thing is he's having fun. :)

Last September 1, three days shy of his fourteenth month, he finally got it! I was just so proud. :). Every time he'd stack a ring, he'll clap for himself.  I join the applause as well.  Of course, he still finds it more fun to bang and throw but he finally got the concept of stacking rings. Basically for him, stack 'em so he can tumble 'em. Wheeee!

Next goal, shape sorter and stacking cups. :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breastfeeding Month post 3: The yummy way to keep the milk going

The milk I produce is usually just enough for what Alon needs.  Since I am working and there are times I would need to go on field, I prefer to have a couple of days worth of extra milk. There are ways to ensure a steady supply of breastmilk.  Breastfeeding Basics and Kelly Mom give very good tips, some of which I tried.

The basic science, or probably more appropriately, basic economics of breastmilk production is "the higher the demand, the higher the supply."  Your body should produce how much your baby needs according to how he is nursing.  Sometimes I do wonder if this is true because I have some friends whose production can not seem to keep up with how much their babies want to drink.  I'm lucky enough to produce what Alon needs.

There was a time, however, when my milk production dropped dramatically from four ounces to three.  A one ounce difference is quite high for breastmilk.  This was after my trip to Kuala Lumpur when Alon was five months old.  The meeting I had there was quite packed so I was not able to pump milk regularly thus depleting my supply.

I increased my pumping routine from three times to four times to fool my body into thinking more milk is needed, but I also tried malunggay (moringa) capsules.  These helped bit but I was not satisfied with the progress I was making.  I decided to try lactation cookies which contain galactogogues like flaxseed, oatmeal and brewer's yeast which are supposed to help increase breastmilk supply.

During our lamaze classes with Rome Kanapi (again, I reiterate, worth the investment!), her former students Jon and Raquel Chua came to talk about their birthing experience as well as their Ge Lai (Chinese post-partum care) meals and lactation cookies business.  They also brought their wonderful baby boy, Sam, who just made such an impression on me because he was so happy and behaved while his parents were giving their talk.  Raquel gave samples to all the mommies to try.  When I tried mine, it was so gooood! 

I saw Raquel and Sam again when Alon was two months old during a seminar in Medela Moms.  That time we had a chance to chat.  She was so warm and friendly that it felt like she was an old friend instead of a new one. So I thought about her during that moment of "emergency".

I ordered from her facebook page Ginquelrus Pastries/MamaChows.  I got a one month supply of oatmeal lactation cookies.  The minimum recommended amount to be taken were three cookies a day.  It was tough keeping to that since they were so good.  What I was most happy about though was my milk supply went back to four ounces after a few days of taking the cookies.  Not only were they yummy, they were effective!

From then on, I regularly ordered her cookies.  Sometimes I'd go to Mommy Treats who also makes delicious brownies but most of the time I prefer ordering from Mama Chows. There was a time I stopped taking the cookies since I thought my supply was already secure.  I noticed my milk supply dip again.  Not as dramatic as an ounce but it would surely be less than usual.  I went back to having the cookies again.

What I like best about Raquel is her personal relationship with her clients.  She'd throw in a few extra cookies or a head band for the girls.  She would send samples of her baking experiments to get feedback from her clients.  I, for one, am looking forward for the perfection of those promising red velvet lactation cookies.  She even gave Alon free mini-cheese cupcake cookies on his first birthday. :)

So whenever I have friends who had problems with their milk supply, apart from the usual Kellymom tips, I'd point their way to Raquel so they can try for themselves.  I'm proud to say that I have referred three friends who are now regular clients like me. :)

* * * * *
If you are interested, you can check out the Ginquelrus Pastries FB page for the different kinds of lactation cookies you can order.  She also bakes non-lactation goods.  Her cheese cupcakes are awesome! I haven't tried her other goodies but I want to order her Pistachio Sans Rival someday.

Another tidbit, the husband and wife tandem cooked for Steven Tyler during their concert in the Philippines. San ka pa?! :P

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Breastfeeding Month post 2: Milk sharing

It's almost 14 months that I have been breastfeeding Alon.  Like I previously posted, it was not an easy start nor was it easy to continue.

Breastfeeding is hard work for a mother, especially a working mom like me.  Once I got back to work, my main concern was whether I would be able to express enough milk for Alon to consume while I was away.  I did not and still do not produce a lot of milk during milk expression.  At the beginning, I was only able to produce two ounces of milk per pumping session.  By the time he was seven months, my milk production plateaued at four ounces per pumping session. I've seen other mothers produce six to ten ounces in one go.  And I have to admit, I was jealous.  I, however, had to respect my body's capacity. 

I was fortunate enough to have stored enough milk for Alon before going back to work since I was pumping as soon as Alon was born.  There was a time that the freezer was just all breastmilk that I decided to donate the milk to Makati Medical Center so as not to waste them.  I would have preferred to donate it to the PGH milk bank but we it was logistically more difficult.  When a colleague found out that I was donating breastmilk, she pointed out Human Milk 4 Human Babies on Facebook.  Through the page, I was able to share with three mothers whose babies had medical condition.

There was a time that I also received breastmilk for Alon.  I came from a three day trip to Kuala Lumpur for work bringing home 40 ounces of milk.  It turned out that it spoiled because my storage cooler could only keep the milk cool for three hours.  My entire trip took ten hours!  Whoever said "no use crying over spilled milk" definitely did not breastfeed.  It hurt to throw away 40 ounces since it took so much effort producing it.  It was fortunate that a friend's child weaned from frozen breastmilk, so Alon was able to partake of it.  We did not need to supplement with formula.

Thankfully, supply and demand have normalized about a month after the big milk spill.  I'm once again producing enough for Alon to use and even a few more extra to tide him over if I go on field work. I hope we do not come to the point that I will need breastmilk from others again.  I would rather share mine in this aspect. :P

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Breastfeeding Month Post 1: Informed but rocky start

When I was still pregnant, I thought two things: 1) Breastfeeding would be easy and 2) Formula milk is part of a baby's nutrition.

Reasons for thought #1: You have a baby, you have a breast. Puppies and kitties and other mammals do it all the time.  They seem to not have much trouble doing it.

Reason for thought #2: Working mothers will not be able to be with their baby all the time, so how will the baby get milk? And all those Promil child geniuses!  Who would not want their child to be one? There must be something in fortified powdered milk!

It was such a blessing that Jan and I decided to take Child Preparation Classes with Rome Kanapi.  We took the Discovery Weekend philosophy "If you can spend so much on your wedding, you should invest on your marriage."  So for our parenthood journey, we decided to invest on knowledge on having a safe delivery and caring for our precious child.

In one of our last sessions with Rome (there were six), she discussed breastfeeding to our group.  The gist was "why use cow's milk for human babies?"  That simple logic totally made sense to me.  She also discussed the infant's stomach capacity for milk (see illustration below, photo taken from here).  Therefore, we mommies should not worry if there seems to be hardly any milk coming out during the first few days after birth.  Babies will only need a little milk at a time and will feed more frequently.

That was definitely valuable information for me because I thought my milk would flow just like that the moment I give birth.  Without knowing that from Rome, I would have thought myself incapable of milk production.

Another valuable information we got was about pumping breastmilk.  I heard about manual pumping and that it takes so much time and effort to do so.  We even discussed hand expression.  Thankfully, I became a mom when double electric pumps are easily available.  This was important to me, because as much as I want to be a stay-at-home/work-at-home Mom (SAHM/WAHM), I am an employee and will need to return to work after my maternity leave.  So I was glad to know that it is possible to keep my baby exclusively breastfed (EBF) even if I am working.  I was also very lucky that my good friend, R, lent her pump to me so this saved us from needing to purchase a new one.

I was totally decided to breastfeed bu then.  Breastmilk is free.  Breastmilk is natural.  Breastmilk will allow me to bond more with my child.  Easy-peasy.

It was not as easy as I thought.

Our first challenge was Alon's jaundice.  While this was normal for most babies, his bilirubin levels were alarmingly high according to his neonatologist.  At first, a resident asked me to sign a waiver allowing him to be fed formula.  I refused to sign.  I told her I wanted my son breastfed, that my pedia sister and my pedia told me that it would still be possible to breastfeed a jaundiced baby.  I asked her to explain why I should formula feed my son.  She did not seem to know what to answer so the resident left the room looking defeated.  Alon's specialist came later to explain that breastfeeding Alon would further increase his bilirubin levels.  Tearfully, I signed the waiver.  She advised that I pump regularly to keep the supply going.

So while Alon was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) undergoing photoplasty and drinking formula, I was at the breastfeeding station of the nursery pumping every three hours.  The first pumping session was disheartening.  I barely got anything out.  I asked the nurse attending if that was too little.  She said that it was indeed too little.  How discouraging she was!!!  Still I continued to still pump every three hours.  By the next day, my supply was up to 0.5 oz.  I asked the nurse taking care of Alon if that was okay.  She was more encouraging.  "Just keep pumping, ma'am, and your supply will increase."  True enough, when Alon was allowed to breastfeed again, I was at 0.75 oz.

Given the go signal to finally breastfeed Alon again. Nanay is very happy!
The instruction we got from my pedia that is to mix feed if it seems Alon was not getting enough milk from me.  During the first days, I really thought that was the case.  After a feed, he would still cry.  So I'd ask Jan to prepare formula for him.  I was getting worried that he seemed to be unsatisfied after every feed but I was still keen on breastfeeding.  I read Dr. Sears "The Baby Book." His book is very assuring.  He reiterates the amount of milk a newborn needs, he explains the other reasons why a baby may be crying.

After that I decided to stop feeding him formula and try addressing other issues that may be making Alon cry.  I checked his urine and poop output to make sure he is still getting enough.  It was fine.  I figured it was colic, so we would massage his stomach regularly.  After a week or so, we got our breastfeeding rhythm and he did not cry as much after nursing.

Alon sleeping soundly after feeding.  Nanay is sleepy but happy.
Our start was very rocky.  I think I got post-partum blues after his bout of jaundice but despite that I was just glad that I was well-informed on breastfeeding and I had the resources to get more information how to keep going or else I would have probably just resorted to formula.  The hubby was also supportive all the way, supporting my choice to breastfeed and assisting in other ways he can.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Last Sunday, I was finally able to watch Katy at Meralco Theater by my lonesome.  I've been wanting to for years already but never really had the opportunity or time to do so.

It was awesome! The cast received a standing ovation at the end.  And from what I heard along the corridors, they were receiving standing ovations every night during their CCP run.  It was a good ensemble with Isay Alvarez leading the cast.

I would say that I was most moved by Tirso Cruz III's performance.  He played the role of Katy's strict but loving father.  His comic timing was on point, not something you would think would come easily to a known dramatic actor.  But his dramatic skill was also used well during Tatay's final scene with Tale, his pet name for Katy.  After he told Tale something like, "Hay naku, Tale, kahit gaano ka pa ka-gaga (?) tandaan mo na mahal na mahal kita." I laughed and then started getting teary-eyed.  I could feel Tatay's love for Tale.  The sudden softness of his usually-scolding voice, the gentle embrace of a despairing Tale.  The scene got blurry as my tears started to fall.  Beautiful, beautiful performance by Tirso. :)

There were a lot of other enjoyable scenes in the play.  What stuck with me the most though was the theater at the time of Japanese occupation.  There they were trying their best to fight a revolution on stage.  It was something I was always fascinated with, the theater as battle ground for ideology and conviction.   I was wondering if this was the inspiration for PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) during Martial Law. 

Based on this review from the run last January, the set was uninspired.  However, they may have done much improvement since then since the set felt more "organic" than what was being described in the review.  There were still some lull in some scenes but overall, it actually felt quite grand.

I also absolutely LOVED the live orchestra.  It has been a while since I've watched a play with live orchestra.  I don't even remember if Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah used live or canned music.  Rock of Ages definitely had canned music.  It was awesome to see the musicians in the background, somethings part of the scene, sometimes a musical shadow.

Every Filipino musical lover should make it a point to see Katy at least once. :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hey, Dad. It's 13 years after.

Hey Dad.

It has been thirteen years since you left us for something better.  I have long admitted to myself that somehow it was best that way.  You have been in too much physical pain and it was too much for everybody seeing you suffer, especially Mom.  We all knew you had come to terms with your mortality.  You even often thanked God for blessing you with the opportunity to share Jesus' pain of the cross.  That's the kind of bad ass crazy Christian you are.  

It has been thirteen years and yet we still miss you a lot.  I certainly do.  There were quite a few life events that I wish you were part of.  I met this nice guy who I eventually married.  We were surrounded by wonderful friends and family during our wedding day.  Your physical presence was missing but I knew you were there with Kuya and Mommy while they were giving me away.

I would have wanted to hear your wedding speech though.  You've always had a way with words, raw and honest and full emotions.  I would even bet that you would cry during the speech, which would probably have me in tears too.  And we would have a father and daughter dance which would start with the waltz but would end with the cha-cha, your favorite dance.

And  you have an apo with me na.  When he was a new born, he reminded me so much of you.  People often call him a Mini-Roy which just affirms he's a mini-Pen. 

Alon is growing up well.  I hope he takes after you in most things.  I pray that he grows up with your intelligence, your kindness and your humor. But I do hope he won't be a couch potato like you though!  

Daddy dearest, thank you for being the man, the husband, the father that you were.  Your love for Mommy showed me what love was like.  Seeing your love for Mom, it was what I looked for in a man.  I could not settle for anything less.

Like I said before, I now understand your little poster, "The best gift a father can give to his children is to love their mother."  A father like that teaches his son the proper way to treat and love a woman.  A father like that teaches his daughter how she should be treated and loved.  Loving Mommy was definitely a priceless gift you gave to your children.

I know you have been watching over us all these years, Daddy.  We all miss you a lot.  At least I know that other than his guardian angel, another awesome Serafin is watching over Alon.

I love you, Daddy Pen. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Before Midnight

Jan and I took a few hours off from parenting duties and asked Tito Ninong to watch over Alon while we watched "Before Midnight."  

It was definitely worth it. :)

My generation fell-in-love and matured (?) with Jesse and Celine since 1995.  It began with that one night in Vienna after meeting on the train in Before Sunrise.  The movie ends with both agreeing to see each other at the same place six months after. The movie left viewers to guess (or hope) that they meet again.

Nine years after we find out that Jesse did go but Celine couldn't make it because her grandmother had died.  They see each other again, both a bit more broken and angry since their last encounter.  They have had relationships but neither happy.  The movie ends at Celine's apartment, with Jesse possibly missing his flight home.  Viewers can only guess if he did stay or leave.

It took another nine years for an answer.  He stayed. She got pregnant. They live together seemingly happy.

The "Before..." Trilogy (for now) is not a typical romance movie.  I'm not even sure if it is supposed to be a romance movie.  All they do is talk and talk and talk within one long shot.  They jump from one topic to another just flowing with their thoughts and ideas.  And while most talkies would bore audiences to death, these movies have got me riveted, paying full attention to what they are saying and not saying, eager to know what's on their minds.

While watching Before Midnight, I was laughing and slapping Jan during so many scenes, scenes that was just so close to home.  At the end, I was teary-eyed.

After a while, I realized that there was really nothing special about Jesse and Celine.  Other than their one night in Vienna, they are just as mundane and as ordinary as any couple.  And that is probably why I love the movies very much.  That their relationship centers so much on conversation.  It is not about a magical moment or grand events like what most rom-coms would like to portray.  It is about how they can just carry on talking and thinking together and talking some more.  It does not mean they necessarily understand each other or communicate well.  But they just communicate somehow.

Jesse and Celine are Jan and I.  Or some other couples I know.  Take a snippet of our lives, those times that we talk, imagine it on film, and voila.  We have our own Before Sunrise or Sunset or Midnight.

I love Before Midnight the most.  It ends open again.  And again,looking at our  own lives, it is open-eded because our stories do not really end.  We just keep on adding chapters.  That "yes" to our partners during a proposal does not mean a yes to him/her forever.  We constantly work for our yeses.  Our yes today would be different from our yes tomorrow.  But life and love will always ask that question every day, other days more urgent than others, "do you still choose him/her?"  And every day we have to answer, one way or the other.  We have to answer despite our insecurities and fears.  Whatever the circumstance.

Today I say yes.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Thursday Birthday! :)

Your first birthday fell on a Thursday, Dear Alon, so Nanay and Tatay took a leave so we can celebrate this wonderful day.  What made Nanay more happy was Lola Mommy El flew all the way from Davao to spend time with us too!  Lola Francie also took a day off to be with you.  See how special you are, my little wave!

In the morning, your Yaya Jheana and I brought you downstairs to the pool to swim. Tatay could not join us because he had to do some stuff for work.

Since it was a weekday, we had the pool all to ourselves.  Wheeeee!  

After our dip, you took a short nap.  You seem to know that something special was going on since you woke up with just in time for us to go to Church and pray for thanksgiving on your day.  During Mass, you would not stay still.  Well, you have not been able to stay still lately, to be honest.  So Tatay, Nanay and Yaya Jheana had to alternate in bringing you outside so we don't bother other people praying.

You were fascinated by the birds hopping on the grass and the fish swimming in the pond.  You were able to see turtles for the first time.  I was not sure if you liked them but you did point to them a lot.  We tried having you sit on the carabao sculptures around the chapel but it was not something you were interested in.

Lunch was a challenge.  It seemed that even if it was already one in the afternoon, people were still enjoying their meal.  We wanted to eat at Cibo since it will have pasta but it was too croweded.  We ended up eating at a Shabu-Shabu place which Tatay suggested because he remembered that I've wanted to eat shabu-shabu for a long time.

Nanay and Alon waiting for the food to come
Tatay entertaining Alon while waiting for the food.  Not sure if he is succeeding. :P

The shabu-shabu lunch was not a good idea after all.  No one really knew how to prepare the food.  Well, Nanay did, but I was too busy paying attention to you.  I was also a bit worried that your last solid meal was 7:30 in the morning and it was already almost two in the afternoon so I gave you a bit of lengua to gato to snack on.  I think that was the reason you refused to eat the noodles and rice and meet lunch I prepared.  This actually stressed me out because I wanted you to have a hearty meal on your birthday!  Tatay could see that Nanay was losing her "it's-Alon's-birthday-glow" from the stress of your non-interest in food and my hunger, so he took a break from his meal and took you for a walk outside the restaurant.

Lola Francie and Mommy Elma doting on the birthday boy.

The suave and charming celebrant

After the somewhat disappointing lunch, your Lola Francie brought us to Market! Market! so I can buy additional game prizes for your birthday celebration.  Your Tita Ina was right about this store that had lots and lots and lots of goodies to choose from.  While not as cheap as Divisoria,it  was definitely sufficient and cheap enough for what we needed to get.  We then went home after our shopping trip.

Since your Tito Ninong Roy was not able to celebrate with you, we decided to have a part two of your birthday day.  I asked that Ninong get you Pancake House spaghetti.  We ordered pizza from Calda Pizza nearby and Tatay bought Purple Oven Apple Crumble Pie.

The Resurreccions

The Caminas

Finally, you had the meal that Nanay wanted you to have.  You ate two-thirds of the spaghetti!  This made Nanay happy, that the celebrant partook of the feast and not just the guests.

After you had your meal and we had our pizza, it was finally time to blow your cake.  There were some hiccups looking for the candles that we bought a few months back as well as looking for a lighter for the candle.  I actually went all the way to the smoking area to find a smoker.  I did find one and asked her to light one of the candles I was holding.  My trouble was for naught because Tatay was finally able to find a guard with a lighter.  But see, Nanay is willing to go through all sorts of challenges to make things special for you.

We sang you a short birthday song.  You were fascinated with the candle and still did not know what to do with it except stare.  Tatay blew your candle for you because the wax was ready to drip on the pie.  That pie was really good! You got to taste the apple inside but I guess you were too full to ask for more bites.

Wheeee! Happy first birthday, Alon!

It was a simple celebration spent with family.  And family is definitely one of the most important things you should learn about and embrace in life, my dear Alon.  They will love you and care for you even if it is not your birthday. :)

Happy, happy birthday, dear Alon!  While you may not remember much of that day, I will.  And at least Nanay knows we celebrated it with love and fun. :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

You're OYO, Alon!

I know this is unforgivably late, my dearest Alon, since it has been 11 days since you turned one year old (OYO)!  But I do have my valid reasons.

1) Tatay and Nanay were planning your party.  Planning a party is a production number!  Thank God, you have wonderful Titos and Titas who helped us out (a blog post for another time) to ease the work a bit.
2) Your Yaya Jheana went home for over a week to celebrate her own little one's birthday so Nanay and Tatay had to alternate in caring for you during that period.  And a OYO Alon is quite a handful. ;P
3) Much as I would like to chronicle your every little milestone, I still prefer to experience them with you.  :)

Mr. Born on the fourth of July!  What a year it has been for you and for us.  How your little presence changed our worlds and our lifestyles.

You can read about the excitement the day Nanay gave birth to you as well as some snippets of your first six months in a previous blog entry.  The next six months definitely got more exciting and more interesting for all of us.

You started eating solid food and loved your kalabasa and avocado and sweet potato.  I was actually a bit concerned because you gained little weight between six months and nine months.  Your Ninang actually suggested I supplement you with formula but I resisted this advice and instead increased your solid food intake.  Nanay is a firm believer in the powers of breastmilk and since I had a substantial supply, I saw no need to fatten you up with formula.  Our latest pedia visit showed your weight was still in the lower percentile but your Lola Mommy Elma told me that your Ninong Roy (of whom you are a Mini-Me of) was also a small baby so I was not worried (look at him now!).  Your height was in the 50th percentile so that makes me feel better.  It's easier to resolve weight issues than height issues. Most Filipinos would know that. :P 
I see you healthy and frisky and constantly on the move, so I'm certain you are doing fine and it's just genetics that make you seem small.

Alon at six months old.
I'm starting to think that babies are programmed to like spaghetti because that is your favorite food.  We started with just feeding you with noodles when you turned nine months.  And there was no going back for you.  You really eat the most when we feed you spaghetti or noodles.  What fascinated me with the food that you like was mashed potato and sardines mix.  You actually like it.  And this is mild hot bottled sardine ha!  I'm happy with that too.  I got a taste of it, since I usually eat your left overs, and it is Yum. :)  Your ultimate favorite though are your apple-banana-carrot frozen cubes.  You have it every day!  If you don't like the food I feed you, I usually resort to this.  It may not be as filling as other foods, but it assures me you get vitamin c, potassium and beta-carotene. Good job, son. :)

Alon at seven months!
You have funny eating habits too.  You would put your feet up if there is no tray on your high chair.  You would slouch on the seat.  I'll put you upright and after a while, you will be slouched again.  I don't really fuss too much about it as long as you are eating properly.  Right now, when I feed you something, you would spit it out and feed it to your self.  I think this is a sign that you would like independent feeding.  However, when I put a bowl of food in front of you, you tend to play with it instead.  So as compromise, I would give you a piece of bread to hold and feed yourself with and I feed you your meal.  We are both happy. :)

One thing is for sure with every meal, it is one big mess.  Your food tray is like a war zone... or a painting, if we be hippie about it. :P

Alon at eight months!

Even when you were a new born, you were already trying to always hold your head up or try to stand up.  Not even a month into the world!  And true enough, you started being mobile early on.  By six months, you could stand up with support.  Sometimes we'd see if you'd try walking, which you did before you were seven months, except it was backwards on your tippy toes.  That surely gave your Lola Francie a laugh.

By nine months, you'd be always propping yourself up while holding on to the headboard of the bed and peek at the stickers on our wall.  By ten months, you could walk a bit with support.  Then the bit became a lot.  By eleven months, you could walk four to six steps unsupported.  The most exciting thing was you started walking unsupported for longer periods before you turned one!  Then you'd fall on your butt then you'd stand up again and walk some more.  You succeeded the most when there was a ball or toy car to run after.  You've bumped your head a couple of times, for sure. You'd cry a bit but I would tell you that it's fine. Then you'd realize, you ARE fine and move on. I try not to show my worry, but I am.  Nanay has to be brave though, so you will be brave too.  Your first steps are key to your future journeys and adventures and I hope I will never stop you from taking any.  Let's cross our fingers with that, Anak. :)
Now that you are mobile, Nanay and Tatay are getting a lot of exercise running around after you.  My back has been hurting from bending over or squatting to your height.  Sometimes I wonder if life would be a little easier with you not walking yet.  But I shove that aside immediately because mobility is a gift and that gives you lead time to explore.  So yeah, I'm glad for you. :)

Alon at nine months

Every night, I thank God, that He has blessed Nanay and Tatay with a generally happy child.  You are definitely sumpungin.  Most likely a trait you got from someone we know (nuninuninuninu!).  But most of the time, you are happy and easy to please.  Nanay and Tatay can make you laugh with silly faces or sounds or stories.  You are generally curious (though most babies are).  Your big eyes express how much you are absorbing information.  We could see how intent you are when you stare.  It can be disconcerting sometimes though. Haha!

Alon at ten months!

I also love love love that you have a sense of humor.  You do silly things like peek-a-boo (with only half your face covered) to make Nanay laugh or make pa-cute faces or just laugh out of nowhere. Sometimes, you'd show us something and smile triumphantly.  Or you'd laugh yourself silly when I carry you and kick your ball around.  I don't know what's funny but hearing your giggles motivates me up to run around along the corridor kicking after a baby's orange ball.

You have your sumpong, often when you are sleepy or want to go outside or do not want to eat or not feeling a bath or not wanting your teeth brushed or impatient when asking Nanay for milk.  But I try not to fuss too much about it.  You usually get over it fast.  It's funny though, you cry harder when you are in sumpong than when you get your vaccinations.  Your latest trip to the pedia, they injected you in the butt while you were playing with a toy.  You just had a quick "wah" and a half-second after, you were back to playing.

Alon at eleven months!

Dear, dear Alon!  There is so much to say about you.  Nanay can go on and on and on and still have something new to share.  I now understand why parents could not stop talking about their children.  Growing children are just amazing!  The rate of how much they are learning are phenomenal.  And you are our special little Alon.  We have been blessed to witness your growth.  We have been granted stewardship over you.  It is such a challenge but it is also such a gift.  I want to make the most of it since there will come a time when you might not want Nanay and Tatay watching over you too much and then at all.  So I want to take in all of you as much as I can.

You have taught me much about life, little one.  You have also taught me much about myself.  Things I never knew I was or things I never knew I was capable of.

Basta, Alon, know that your are lucky and blessed too.  That you are showered with love and surrounded with good people.  When you are older, I hope you learn gratitude and generosity.

Right now, go and discover the world some more.  My back may be hurting from bending over to see what you are seeing, but I have also been given the gift of seeing the world with a renewed sense of wonder, thanks to you.

Alon is one year old!

Mahal na mahal ka namin ni Tatay, Alon. :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nanay's Day is about Tatay too

This coming Sunday is my first official Mother's Day.  I'm excited. :)

Motherhood is a daily challenge but it is also a daily pleasure.  It has been a wonderful blessing to be Alon's mother.  There are times I would look at him and just feel that "kilig" of having a son like him.  I would not be able to quantify or qualify what "like him" means.  Alon just is, whatever is means. Maybe it means a not-so-little ball of sumpong and smiles and personality that just makes every day exciting even if we are just lying down together or playing.  But definitely much much more than that.

I would have to say though that I have much to thank Tatay Jan for, that I am able to be the best possible mother I can be to Alon.  (Of course, 10 months into the experience, I don't have much to show for yet.  But I think I can safely say that I do as much I can to take care of our son).

My wonderful husband has taken over some of the household chores so I can devote more time with Alon.  He has been doing the groceries since I gave birth (which would mean items not on the list are inside grocery bags. :P).  He does the laundry (delivering to the laundry shop for big items as well as washing socks and personal items).  He would buy dinner when there is nothing to cook.  He would make me breakfast (the best sandwiches ever!) to bring to the office or prepare my lunch containers.  And so many other things.

By freeing me up of some household chores, I get to spend more quality time with Alon.  Not only that, but he spends quality time with Alon himself.

He has been designated official nappy changer.  During the first few months, this took a lot of effort considering babies poop a lot.  Lately, he has gotten a little reprieve since Alon poops much less now.

He would sometimes bathe Alon when I ask him to.

He would also clean Alon's mess, whether a dirty high chair or food thrown on the floor.

He would read to Alon. 

 He would play with Alon.

While I was away for a long work trip, he managed Alon's meals and milk.  

He has not squished Alon when they sleep beside each other.  :P

I have seen the love and devotion he has for his son.  And again, that "kilig" feeling.  More than that, I get a sense of contentment and joy seeing them together bonding.

* * * * *

I remember a little poster my Father had when I was still young.  "The greatest gift a Father can give to his children is to love their mother."  It used to baffle me back then.  It was only now that I truly understood what that meant.

Alon has much to be thankful for for a Tatay like his own.  I have much to be thankful for to have a partner like Jan in raising a family.  Indeed, I am able to do more for our son because he does more for us. I am the mother that I am because he is the father that he is. :)

Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The year that was 2012

I haven't answered this meme for several years already. Maybe because things got a little boring and most of things we worried about for the past two years were preparing the condo and getting furniture (some people would be excited by this but I have always been mobile and home stuff do not thrill me) and paying bills. Well, 2012 is still about that but with a big "little" extra that I can't get enough of

So thanks to Ina (and Lia who reminded Ina) for posting her year (and yey, Alon and I make a guest appearance!) because I'm copying her questions but not her answers of course.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Got pregnant and gave birth! Snorkelling while pregnant. Saw a sea turtle in its natural habitat. Have a grand vacation with my family in Hongkong (thanks to my Mom’s sponsorship!)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t usually make any so I didn’t break any resolution. But with my bout with gestational diabetes, I resolved to lessen my softdrink and powedered juice intake. So far, I have been faring well with that one.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me! And then there was Maricar and Fabiola and Sandra and Miwako and Alem from ISS (and a few of the boys had their wives/partners give birth too!). There was Sarji, Graziella, Evecar and Allison in the office. And Nic-Nic with their third girl. It was a pregnant year for my social circle!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I don’t remember so that means no. It hurt to hear about still births though. :(

5. What countries did you visit?
Hongkong and Malaysia

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Motivation to write my thoughts down on paper. I think they are worth noting down. Hehe, feeling.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 4. Jan and I welcomed Alon to the world. :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Going to work in the morning (walked, rode a jeep and went up and down the stairs at that) and gave birth without anaesthesia in the afternoon. I am now a warrior. Bow before me, weaklings. Hehe!

And sustaining breastfeeding even if I had a few issues (and now different ones.) Until now, I'm working hard at it and hoping I can at least reach up to a year and even two (or three?).

9. What was your biggest failure?
Keeping regular contact with my mom. Sometimes she doesn’t pick up kasi but I should still try more though.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, I had gestational diabetes which I could say was a blessing in disguise. I was at my most healthy and most fit. It was easy giving birth and trimming down and I think it helped me provide my son with a healthy start in life too. :)

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The adaptor for the Medela pump Rowie lent to me (thanks so much for that Row!). I was able to sustain having Alon on pure breastmilk for almost seven months now. And hopefully I can still keep it up. And those lactation cookies from Raquel and Mommy Treats. They really do seem to work. When I stopped, my production dip but now that I am back on them, my milk increased a bit. I still want to have more production though so I can have the opportunity to donate again.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Nonay, because she has not been infected by the Manila urbanity (yet? Ever?) and I think she listens to her mom more now. Listening to your mom is always good! (Paging Alon!)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Tito Sotto. Because really, how hard is it to admit your mistake?
CBCP. Because this fire and brimstone argument for anti RH bill did not win sympathies. I could argue against the bill without resorting to morality issues. Sheesh.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Furnishing the condo and pre-natal stuff and giving birth.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Soft kitty, warm kitty. I sing it every night. Out of tune, but the baby doesn’t care. So there.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner and healthier!
iii. richer or poorer? Just the same I guess. Even if we spent a fortune on the condo and on the baby, we were still able to have some luxuries, so I would say we are blessed. :)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Write or blog.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
crying spells during post partum blues

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my mom and bro and Alon on the verandah of my aunt’s house in Davao. Jan was sick during Christmas eve with a stomach bug so was asleep. We spent most of the day in SM Lanang which had a nice breastfeeding station but poorly located. Then after 6.30, I just slept and slept and slept until the next day. With Alon waking me up for breastfeeding or nappy change.

22. Did you fall in love in 2012?
With Alon Camina. And when I remember to look at him properly, Jan Camina.

23. Who got together and who broke up?
There was an office romance. Ninin and Jerry got married. Kaira got married. I don’t know if anyone broke up.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Big Bang Theory. Modern Family. How I met your mother. Ina, Kapatid, Anak. Be Careful with my Heart.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Annoyances here and there but not really hating anyone. No room for negativity.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Baby Book by Dr. Sears. Because it was one of the few books that actually made me confident with my parenting skills. I think attachment parenting is for me.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
U2 and Bob Marley for Babies. Thanks Tita Maita!

28. What did you want and got?
A boy.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn’t get to watch much. And I fell asleep during The Hobbit. Never watch a last full show if you are a new mom who hasn’t had a decent sleep for half a year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
34. I took care of the baby. I ate some pansit and had some cake and ice cream with Jan and my bro.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
a two-bedroom condo

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Pormatics enough for a pregnant woman/new mom.

34. What kept you sane?
Maybe the internet and television. I was more depressed when we did not have any. :P

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tom Rodriguez. Ronaldo Valdez.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Cybercrime Law. RH Bill.

37. Who did you miss?
My sister. My mom. Yano.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
That the heart is really, truly capable of loving deeply.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur.

Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr.

Friday, January 4, 2013

six months!

Oh how I wish I could blog as often as I can about life as a wife and mother.  How I wish I could document every little milestone about Alon.  But given that most of my day is at work, I prefer to experience my son more than write about him.  However, today I fight through the sleepiness and discard "me" time because it is a special day.  Today, Jan and I celebrate Alon's sixth month! Our little baby is half a year old!

Six months. Half a year.  When I think about it, the emotions are all a jumble.  I look at him and see how very much different he was from when he was born.  He is no more a helpless newborn but now a curious infant.  He is no longer entirely dependent on me but rather on a quest to discover every little thing in the world.  I am nostalgic of those days that I am enough for him.  Yet I am excited for him to know more and more about the world.  I look forward to the games we can play together and a bit of the mischief he might do or the wisdom he can share or the funny things he will say.  I am imagining the time when we jump for pictures together already.  I look forward to all the memories we will make as a family.

My dearest Alon, I did not expect you to arrive on July 4! I even came to work in the morning though I was already having contractions but I didn't know I was having them.  Silly me!  I thought it was just Braxton-Hicks so I walked and rode a jeep and went up and down the stairs.  The pain, however, was getting more intense which made me realize that it may be time to go to the hospital already.  It's funny though.  People around me were panicking more than I was.  Thank God for those lamaze classes your Tatay and I took that I was calm through out.

I got admitted to the hospital at 1:30PM.  By 6:07PM you were out.  I gave birth au naturelle! No anaesthesia.  Something I am really proud to have achieved.  So you, little boy, do not have the right to complain much when you skin a knee or bump your head because I know what pain is like. And you, being a boy, will never ever experience that.  So yeah, skinned a knee?  Clean with running water and soap and you'll be fine.  No need to wail or whine. :)

You scared me your first few days.  You got an extreme case of jaundice and had to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  I had to stop breastfeeding you because breastmilk made it worse.  There was even a time when your doctor told us that if your bilirubin levels did not go down, we would have to do blood transfusion.  How I stormed the heavens when I found that out.  And God is good!  You got better and better each day until finally they let me breastfeed you again and you were back in regular care.  After a week in the hospital, we could already go home.

But what happened got me a little paranoid.  I was afraid that every little thing I do would hurt you even if your pedia told us that babies are actually hard to hurt (not that I would ever ever want to do that!).  It took a while for me to get my groove, but eventually I felt better as a mother and had less fear of taking care of you.

By the second month, you could already lift your head and smile and suck your entire fist.  Like most babies, you wanted to be fed every couple of hours.  But you slept much longer and more comfortable if I was your bed.  This was perfectly fine by me.  I get to sleep longer and I get to cuddle you too!

I have to say, you had this absolutely funny looking poopy face.  You'd stick out your tongue, groan and shiver a bit.  I actually miss that face. :PI have to say, you had this absolutely funny looking poopy face.  You'd stick out your tongue, groan and shiver a bit.  I actually miss that face. :P

By your third month, most of your hair fell off.  I was happy to see you had a bit of hair when I gave birth to you.  Imagine my horror that every time I check your sheets, I'd see little fuzz on them and less on your head!  But I guess it must be my family's genes working on you.  Many of our boys have high foreheads... if you catch my drift. :P

You were also laughing a lot already and doing funny faces and sounds.  You liked to stand up, not by yourself of course.  You enjoyed listening to the stories I read and actually liked holding the books yourself.  Your eyes focused more on the letters than on the pictures but that could be because you still preferred black to colors.

By the fourth month, you were already an expert with finger sucking.  Thank God your pedia encouraged it because it helped you sleep longer and better (which also means I get to sleep more too).  .You enjoyed being on your tummy and worked a lot on your mini-push ups.  You were starting to communicate too so our time together was becoming more and more fun.

This was also when you had your Christening.  A lot of people came to welcome you to the Christian world. You got lots of gifts and we used what we could already.  But you are indeed my son because you most appreciated the books you received .

You just get more awesome by the day!  By the fifth month, you were already reaching for your toes and even sucking them.  You start to creep (early stages of crawling) and can not be left alone any more.  You try to get to your toys and books.  You turn over quite skillfully already that changing your diaper has become more and more of a challenge.

You are also a very emotional child. Another trait you got for me! You smile and laugh a lot, but you also cry a lot too.  You seem to have a "look, but no touch" policy.  You would have this very sweet smile for people but would cry in a minute if they carry you.  You'd rather I or Yaya hold you while people play with you.

You've done quite a lot of things on your fifth month too.  You took your first airplane ride, your first boat ride and celebrated your first Christmas and New Year.

What Nanay was most excited about is that I was finally able to take you swimming.  The moment I got us tickets to go home to Davao, I was already imagining our day at the beach.

Well, you did not squeal with delight when I got you into the water.  Could be because it was too cold.  But at least you did not cry and you looked genuinely curious about the experience.  What I liked best was that you knew how to paddle your foot.  You did refuse to let go of me though.  I didn't mind though.  I did not have the courage to just throw you in the water and see if you would swim by your self. :P

And now you are six months! You will be starting your solids soon (tomorrow in fact).  Your bag of tricks are getting bigger and bigger.  And you entertain me in new ways on a daily basis.

Ah, dear Alon... what I wrote does no justice to show the world how amazing you are.  But it does not really matter.  What's important is that your Tatay and Nanay know this.  And someday, I hope you find this out for yourself without letting it go to your head.  And by finding out you are amazing, you go and make others realize they are too.

My dearest Alon, we are so blessed to have you as our son.  I hope we do justice in being your parents.  I hope we raise you well.  Nanay and Tatay love you very much. I love you very much!