Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Piero's 2nd birthday party!!!

Hello everybody! Here comes the traditional post-birthday photo essay!!!

But, first, a refresher: My youngest boy, Piero, celebrated his second birthday last Sunday. It was a tiny affair, just us the parents and the bros. Since the kids wake up really early, we (that's Vince and me) had no choice but to do the birthday party before 8am. So we're super groggy and sleepy while the kids are so energetic and excited!

Look! Super ready na si Piero! Nice shirt, nice hair!

And the cake is here! Happy birthday, Piero! Happy birthday, Piero!

Happy birthday, happy birthday...

Happy birthday, Piero! Now make a wish, sweetheart!

And may all your heart's desires come true!

He's so pogi!

He's so happy!

Now for the requisite attempts at family photos:

That wasn't so bad, although I should've brushed my hair haha

Piero and his Papa.

Piero and his dinosaurs. We were supposed to have a Hulk Smash! party but I didn't have the energy to make Hulk stuff. So, since Piero loves Peppa Pig's brother George who loves dinosaurs, we did dinosaurs!

And here come the gifts!

You can tell he's pretty pleased with his big gift!

But he let his brothers assemble it because he's the boss like that.

Then playtime!!!

They spent the rest of the day playing! And for the next few days, too. Our house is littered with toy cars and baby boys yelling and having a grand time. So it's still Piero's birthday here at home!

Happy birthday again, dear Piero! We love you!

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Raising kids in the time of blogging

Today, while the house is quiet as my little boys are sound asleep, I'm going to stare at my littlest one bathed in the faint light of my computer screen and bless him.

From left: Iñigo, Vito, and birthday boy Piero. 

Piero turns 2 today. My wee wonderful wildling. He's very physical, this boy. When he's happy, he throws himself at you. When he's sad, he hugs you tight. When he's really sad, he tumbles onto the floor in despair. When he's sorry, he rubs your tummy and then squeezes your tummy fats haha. And when he's mad at you, he'll fling his tiny fists at you with all his might. We're working on that last part since we don't want him to be violent. 

And now I feel like I shouldn't have revealed that. I don't talk much about my youngest. I'm only beginning to process the reasons why, now that he's 2.

It's been strange having babies in the time of social media. In the beginning, with Vito, wow, I practically blogged his whole life for everyone to know. He smiled today! He ate today! He rolled off the bed today yikes! He sat up today! He crawled, he stood up, he walked, he did everything! I don't know if it was because I was a first-time mom in the age of blogging, but it felt really good to share my mommy life to everyone, mostly because people were so interested.

Then my second baby, Iñigo, was born. While I didn't feel the same urge to share (because I was just too tired haha), Iñigo was the crowd favorite. Of my three children, he's the one with the fans club. Just as people clamored for Vito, Iñigo also had an audience who asked for photos and updates. In fact, he's the brand favorite, the one brands wanted to throw parties for and gifts at.

Then Piero came. No one was happy to find out I was pregnant for the third time. Just me and Vince. We were over the moon to be pregnant again, but people treated us like we were irresponsible. It's very strange to be in your late 30s, earning really well, with a fully owned house and car, and people still treated the news of your third pregnancy like you were teenagers who had an accident. "Was this planned?" was a question I got a lot. Yes, Piero was planned, anticipated, and welcomed with so much love! And since Piero turned out to be so lovable and absolutely perfect, everyone soon fell in love with him, too.

Piero loves books, Iron Man, The Hulk, and cuddles.

That is, people fell in love with him when I shared him, which I don't do as often as I did with Vito and Iñigo. Because no one initially welcomed Piero, I'm very protective of him. I feel like he is for me and my family alone, not for sharing, as I had done with his brothers before him. Piero, therefore, enjoys just a wee bit more privacy than his older brothers. People forget about my third boy. When they see him, they go, "Is this Vito? Oh! You have a third one! What's his name? Pierre? Perio? Pietro? Pedro? What?" Then they promptly forget and we have the same conversation when we meet again.

This is okay. Surprisingly, it's okay. When I still had just one baby, I used to get so annoyed when people didn't get Vito's name. "It's Vito. V, I, T, O. It's not Veto. It's not B2. It's not Don Vito. It's not Jovito. It's just Vito." But now, I don't even tell people Piero's name. "He's my son, yes," and I leave it at that.

Since I was too busy feeding his older brothers at meal times, Piero learned how to feed himself.

I don't want to speak for mothers everywhere who treat their youngest differently. I'm just speaking from what I'm going through. It's been said that the youngest is the closest to the mother's heart. That's not really true. All my boys are dear to me, but Vito and Iñigo are adored enough. In my experience, I dote on Piero extra because no one else dotes on him. Well, Vince and I do. The grand expectations are always on the firstborn. The firstborn is who you share with everyone—it's him everyone asks about: "Is he walking, talking? Is he going to school? Which school?" No one asks those things with the youngest child. It's the firstborn who gets the gifts, the attention. And since people seem to have decided that in their opinion Iñigo is the cutest, they adore him, too. But no one else adores Piero. He's the one who slips through the cracks.

And you know, that's okay with me. I'm not demanding for people to treat him like a star. In fact, I'm grateful that I finally get to revel in motherhood without anyone watching and poking their nosy nose into it. I feel like Piero's the one I don't have to share with anybody. He's the one people left for me to enjoy. And I've talked with other moms who confess to me that they also finally enjoyed motherhood with the third child because people leave them alone now. I guess people think you already know what you're doing by the third kid! Or they don't care anymore. And while this initially bothered me, now I super love it. I do! So much freedom!

His favorite place in the world is in my arms.

I guess I also understand now how my Mama adored my younger siblings. While my older brother and I were pushed to succeed, Mama coddled my younger brother and sister. They were her babies, the light of her life, especially my younger brother. She was a more relaxed mother with them. I never resented this because, well, they really were adorable. But now that I'm a mother, too, I get it. The older children bear the weight of everyone's expectations so of course they're the ones you push and mold and discipline and let go. The younger children, well, no one thinks about them so I guess I can spoil them extra. Like, when Vito goes to school, of course he has to go to school! When Vito graduates, of course he has to graduate! When he leaves home, of course he has to leave home! But when Piero goes, my heart will crumble to dust because there'll be no one left. No, not one.

I'll need to change this attitude, of course. We can't have me raising a spoiled brat. We can't have me treating one son differently. But he's only 2. And I'm going to baby him while I still can. Because they do grow so fast, and my heart is already crumbling at the edges because he's in such a hurry to grow up and be just like his brothers.

Happy birthday, my darling Mr. P! Mama loves you so very much! Tomorrow, I'll write a proper birthday post. Maybe I'll talk about how wonderful you are, and how smart and sweet, how tough and melodramatic you are. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll keep it all in my heart. All I know is you are what this family needed, and we love and appreciate all the chaos and joy you bring every day. God bless you as you have blessed us! We love you, our perfect P!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

5 simple ways to keep our kids safe from germs at school

This post is brought to you by Biogenic Alcohol.

Hi everyone! Remember when I said I appeared in a print ad? Well, it's out!

Yey de yey yey!

Okay, my little kilig story of the month done, let me show you a few snaps from the Biogenic photo shoot that didn't make it to the ads. Like these of me gardening:
It is safe to wear white in a fake garden.
Me. Gardening! Imagine that! Well, if you must know, I grew up in the hills of Antipolo and my parents planted all over the empty lots on our street. Kamote, papaya, mais, coconuts, mango, calamansi, sili, and flowering shrubs and trees, too. My parents were amazing at making plants grow. We ate salads picked from dahon ng kamote Papa planted on the lot across our house. We played hide and seek amongst the corn stalks. We made sawsawan with the calamansi and sili from our garden. Good times, good times. So yeah, I know my way around a garden!

I live in a condo now, though. So no more gardening for me. Although if we ever do move to a house with a big yard, I'd love to putter about a lush vegetable garden again. My husband and our kids would love that, too! Playing in the dirt has lots of benefits: it stimulates sense of touch, it provides an opportunity to talk about the ecosystem, and microbes in the soil improves mood. It's fun!

Most people think playing in the dirt is dirty. Well, sure, but it's relatively safer than being with other people! Now that the rainy season is upon us, that means people get stuck in rooms together more, which then allows illness-causing bacteria, viruses, and germs to be spread more. My kids are currently recovering from a really bad cold. I really hate it when they're sick! My poor babies!

That's why I need to be more vigilant! But that's really hard to do especially since the boys are now in school. They have to be vigilant of their own health, too. Here are a few things I do to keep my kids safe from germs at school and anywhere outside our home:

1. Teach kids about germs.
I dunno if you watched the cartoon show G.I. Joe, but they always used to say, "Knowing is half the battle." My kids know about germs—microscopic monsters that are everywhere and cause sickness. So they know better than to eat food dropped on the floor, for example. They also know that they need to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. They also know that they need to wash their hands or use sanitizer before eating and after using the toilet. We can't be with our kids 24/7 so we need to teach them not just how to protect themselves but also why. When they know why, they'll be more willing to do it.

2. Wash hands thoroughly.
Nothing kills germs better than a thorough washing of hands with antibacterial soap. You wash palms, fingers, under nails, the backs of hands. Wash every surface!