Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nanay and two boys

29 weeks with the little bro. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rest in Peace, Robin Williams

I heard about Robin William's passing on the radio while on the way to Laguna.  At first I could not believe my ears when the anchor was saying that it was an apparent suicide.  I was literally shaking my head in disbelief.

How is it a possible that a man who has brought so much laughter to millions of people would want to kill himself?

Comedians are often the saddest people.  I've heard this many times from comedians themselves.

The world mourns this man who has become a ubiquitous figure in many childhoods, youth.  He was Popeye, John Keating, Peter Pan, Jack, Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentinnial Man, Genie... In one way or the other, he contributed to the romp and fun of our childhood. 

Russell Brand writes a beautiful piece on him.

I did not know this man personally.  But he was very much part of my growing up.

It's a sad way to go for a man who brought so much joy.  I pray for his peace.  That's the least I can do for the fun he's allowed me to have.

Apparently not

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

End of my first breastfeeding journey?

It's breastfeeding week/month and it is somewhat ironic that this might also the end of breastfeeding Alon.  See, I'm away for five nights.  As he is already two years old and we have another one coming soon, I decided not to bring a pump so this might mean no more milk production when I return.

The feeling is bittersweet.  I enjoyed nursing my son all throughout and if we weren't having another soon, I'm really not that much in a hurry to stop if he decides he still wants to nurse (some kids decide to wean themselves).  I could see the benefits of breastfeeding as he is less prone to getting sick compared to his playmates, his skin is baby smooth, he is lean but full of energy.  On the practical side of things, we saved from not needing to buy formula for two years.  Now that he is drinking fresh milk, our expenditures for his milk consumption is only a quarter of what it would cost if he drank formula.

As a working mom who occasionally travels for long periods (nine days was the longest), it did not come cheap either.  I bought lactation cookies to ensure my milk supply, breastmilk bags to store my milk, ice gel packs and fridge-to-go bags to keep the milk cool while in transit.  I lugged around a two kilo pump in addition to other stuff I had to bring with me.  That was a strain on my back.  Airport security always made me nervous due to the carrying of liquid policies.  There was a time I carried SEVEN KILOS of breastmilk from Geneva, Switzerland!

Alon was more than 18 months when he finally decided to drink fresh milk.  It was such a relief! I stopped pumping at work after that.  I only pumped when I was traveling to keep the milk supply going.  He only nursed at night time or during the day time if we are together.  After we got back from Ireland, I gradually weaned him by limiting his nursing before going to sleep and waking up.  No more in the middle of the night nursing.  Before I left, we were down to sleep time nursing.

It was a challenge though (and might still be when I return).  Sometimes I'd ask him to stop in the middle of nursing if I feel something in my belly (possibly contractions).  He'd cry and say, "last na. konti na lang. please." with sleepy pleading eyes. I'd have to explain that it's hurting Nanay and would have to hug and comfort him until he sleeps.  I'm certain that it's more of a ritual than a need but sometimes it is hard for a parent to deny a totally reasonable request from your child.

I'm not sure how things will play out when I get back home.  I'm hoping he will just be cavalier about it or has totally forgotten that he usually nurses to sleep.  If it is truly the end, I would feel a bit of relief but I'd also feel a bit of nostalgia.  It would be an end of an era... but one that is bound to begin again in three months.

Breastfeeding is not easy.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment.  It can be painful (I don't remember it being so for me...) and it can be stressful (catching up with the amount of milk your child consumes during the day while you are away) and time-consuming.  I would therefore say that it is one of my greatest achievements as a woman and as a mother.

It has been a wonderful, personal journey with Alon.  I will to do the same with our Little Wiggler.

Friday, August 1, 2014

36 things to be grateful for

The day is about to end and so here is my quick reflection in the last few hours of my birthday.  Wow, three zodiac cycles. I list down the things I am grateful for during the lifetime that I had.

1.    Alon.  We have been truly blessed to have a son with so much spirit and energy.  He is as any two-year old can be which is always good.  He is healthy, which is what a parent always wants for his/her child.  I sense a good heart and a wise mind and pray that we can nourish that as we raise him.

2.    Jan.  For many things. For enjoying household chores. For being a good father. For being the husband that I did not expect which makes for a challenging and exciting partnership and therefor helps keep our marriage stronger. I love you.
3.    Our coming soon.  For being a surprise and for bringing hope and for adding more excitement to our growing family.  I look forward to finally holding his hands and seeing his smile.  I pray that he is as healthy and happy and smart as his Kuya Alon but I also pray that he be the person that he chooses to be.

4.    My family.  Dad, Mom, Kuya, Ate.  I grew up believing the world is good because I grew up with them. They all raised me well.  I learned discipline and I learned love because of them.

5.    The Dela Calzada kids.  My surrogate children.  They tested my maternal instincts before Alon did.  It was fun raising them especially since I did not have to deal much with their poop or pee.

6.    My extended family. Mama, Papa, Caryl, Arvin.  Thanks to them for the receiving me.  They have been so generous since I became part of the family.

7.    LHC. It’s been a while since we saw each other but our time in college paved the way for the wonder I continue to keep.  For the nights we lay on Bel field or the days sat on the Lib steps.  For drunken nights that I realized were not as wild as it could have been (maybe because I never drank).  For youthful idealism and recklessness.  My adulthood started exciting because of them guys.

8.    JVP, especially my Framily and JVP partners and Batch 19-20. For the most reflective, most passionate, most spiritual years of my life.  I continue to hope because of what I have learned in those two years.  I continue to believe because of the love that I received and the love I was able to give during those volunteer years.

9.    For past loves. I have only one official ex but my I fell in love several times. Unrequited love taught me to let myself love without return.  Reciprocated love showed me the world with rose-colored lenses.  Complicated love taught me patience to wait for the right person.  Severed love taught me to love myself and rediscover the love that comes from friendship.  None of the love I have given was ever wasted because I learned much from it.  

10.    Ateneo, the school.  I’ve always wanted to go to UP but that one talk I heard during university shopping sessions in high school and that awfully hard ACET made me change my mind and want to go to Ateneo.  I have never regretted it.  I feel that I lived the most of my college life there, with good friends, good education and good environment.

11.    Ateneo, Batch ’98. I love my batch.  Thanks to FB, I get a chance to see how far we have come from the crazy college kids that we were.  And this is not just about the success defined by work, but the lives we live.

12.    SSC 4A ’94.  Special mention to Francis T. who made the initial effort to bring the class together again.  Those small reunions mean a lot to me. 

13.    Mindoro. My first JVP area.  The best, most wonderful time of my life.  It was just a natural high.  I do not have the words to explain what you mean to me.

14. My seminarian students. None of which became a priest. What have I done? Haha! Those guys really stretched my patience but also taught me how much I loved teaching. 

15.    Pangantucan. My second JVP area.  Life started knocking he hard during this year, and yet I still nourished every moment of it.

16. My Pangantucan students.  I learned that I did love teaching but I was not ready for the responsibility at 21.

17.    That one year in advertising.  It made me realize that it is not my passion.  I think I could have been good at it, but I would not have been happy.  I continue to remain in awe of friends who stayed in the business but remain thankful before it could change my spirit.

18.    Those two years as JVP staff.  It was a pleasure seeing volunteers journey and discover themselves. It also made me realize that I'd rather let people discover their own paths than guide them through it. Hahaha!

19.  Assisi. The job and organization I was the most happy with.  I loved going to the field, climbing up the mountains via walking, horse, carabao, raft, habal-habal or jeep just to see the IP children benefitting our program.  I could have stayed longer if not for a new opportunity that came.  This is also where I found my life partner at the least expected time. 

20. ISS. My experience of the world! I met people from different countries and learned to be more open and expanded my world perspective. And those weekly parties, can’t beat those!

21.  NFP Scholarship.  Which allowed me to go to ISS.  Plus I got to travel like crazy because of my allowance.

22. My dear Pinoy mafia.  Being away from home was never lonely because they became my home in Netherlands.

23. My Dutch foster parents, Peter and Anky.  For welcoming me to their home and giving me the experience of a 36 mile bike ride without breaking a sweat.

24. Netherlands. Such a beautiful country. I wish you would adopt me as I have adopted you. The museums, the biking, H&M, Queen’s Day, legal pot… such a wonderful, exciting place you are.

25. Davao. My birth city. Food and nature and family.

26. Avida. Our little humble home the size of a room.  So little space, so much love.:)  Thank you for a roof on my head.

27. ICRC. A good organization that continues to challenge me.  Thank you for a steady income.

28. Food to eat anytime I want to. Thank you for constant nourishment.

29. Good health. So far, so good.  I used to not mind the idea of dying by 40 but now that I have two children I keep on praying for longer life so I can make sure they are taken cared of until they can manage 

30. Travel.  I am not able to do it as much as I used to or as much as I want to but I get to do it enough to know that I stay blessed. 

31. Social media. It killed my writing itch but It did give me a window to the people I care for.  I get to stay in touch with friends that I have known throughout my lifetime.

32. Internet. All that information!

33. Books. All that imagination!

34. Movies and television. Always my refuge for times I just want to be passive or escape.

35. Manila. I never loved you, but you remain welcoming.

36. God. As He remains constant even when I can’t.