Tender hearted

In the past few days, I have been emphasizing to my 3 year old about being kind. It means being gentle and respectful of others and treating them the way you should be treated. It means being good to others. Joshua can be so expressive of his feelings and also explosive with his emotions. Sometimes he can be so intense with his emotions when he is irritated.

  
 Joshua would run a tantrum or fight or shout if things don’t go his way. He can be found saying “I don’t like you… You go away!”  So there were a few times that he said that to me. I knew if I just allowed him to disrespect me, it can go on. 

So, I had to scold, discipline, and explain to him. He was told to watch what he says. I also told him that I am unhappy when I hear him utter those words. Often times he would say those words when I ask him to obey me and he does not want to follow. Thus, he would say he dislikes me and wants me to go away.  At the end of our discussion, he would say sorry. He is more afraid that I would leave him because he told me to go away. 

Recently, another episode happened. He did not want to bathe and he started his tantrum. Asking him nicely was not working. He was headed for discipline. He screamed so hard it woke his baby sister who was sleeping.  After he got disciplined, he calmed down and obeyed to shower. After showering, I asked him to help me be a big brother by being kind and not waking his sister. When his sister is awake I have less quality time with Josh. So disappointingly I told Joshua that I am so tired, upset, and unhappy because his screaming woke his baby sister up.

To my surprise, he kept saying, “Mom, I’m sorry.” I also kept stupidly blurting, “I know you are, but this happens all the time, I’m so tired already.” Again, he placed his hand on my lap and looked with a really remorseful face and said, “Mom, I’m sorry.” I still went out of line and said, “Sometimes I wish I can just get away, I need a time out. You cry all the time and Anna does too.” Then this time he said, “Mom, I’m sorry. I’m going to pray for you… Dear Jesus, bless mommy. Make her strong, make her healthy, give her good dreams, make her strong…” 

I was pierced in my heart…my 3 year old tender hearted boy is praying for a mommy going on a tantrum! I continued his prayer, “please Jesus make mommy a good mommy, and make my babies good babies. In Jesus name…” And we both said “Amen”. 

After that prayer, I held my son who hugged me tight. I kissed him and thanked him for praying for me. He actually practiced kindness at the best form – prayer. My son just taught me to pray when they go through tantrums. To pray when they feel unworthy. That has to be one of the most powerful experiences I have had in my life! 

  
I look at my son, and I see his tender heart. A heart moved by Jesus… A heart that is filled with God’s spirit. It makes me want to cry for joy… I am so blessed. He is a work in progress and I am a too!

Well, here is the last story of that day … Joshua was doing something silly with his sister and I told him to stop doing it. He did not listen so I raised my voice and yelled at him. He then looked at me and said, “Mom, stop shouting at me, be kind to me.”

 Oooppsss! 

I was caught in the act! Mommy has to demonstrate kindness to be an effective  teacher of kindness. So I apologized and said sorry for yelling. I asked Joshua to forgive me. He then said, “Mom, be kind.” And yes, my  3 year old is right, I have to be kind.

  
God gave me children to teach me valuable lessons too!  And truly only the tender hearted are willing to learn them.❤️❤️❤️

Flying without my daughter

I had to attend the ASEAN Tourism Forum and it meant flying to Manila. I decided to just leave the children because I would be gone for just 3 nights. The biggest challenge for me was leaving my 1 year old baby who is still exclusively breastfed. This will be our very first time to separate from each other in a year.

 I bought my little Anna the sippy cup, a cup with straw because she opposed the bottle. We tried introducing her to formula and she just refused the formula milk. I thought, she won’t take it because I am still around. She would however sip duchmill yogurt drink (which she learned from her older brother). I bought 2 kinds of formula so she can choose which one she prefers while I am away. I also left several of my clothing that I have not laundered so she could have a sense of comfort when she smells me.

  
The night before I left, my little girl may have sensed it because she just fed almost every hour. I could not sleep! I did not have any spare breastmilk stored because once babies start to eat, supply usually deplete. 

I called a friend who left their daughter for a trip and she said that her daughter took the formula because she had no choice. They were gone for a week or even longer and their baby adjusted. So I trusted her advise and I also got this confirmation from another close friend who had the same experience. 

I left for Manila and focused on the sales mission for the next couple of days. I called to check on my Anna. I found out on the first day she was on full protest and did not drink from any of the sippy cups, nor from the bottle. She went on the whole day without milk and just munched away on food. I honestly started to worry.

  
Day 2- I learned that at 6 am she was supposed to take milk in between her sleep. However,  she did not. She woke up,  ate food and went back to bed. She was still protesting taking the formula milk. I had to start researching and learned that as long as she is eating a lot, she should be fine. So I relaxed. 

Meanwhile in Manila I had to express milk because my breasts were feeling painful. I was able to store some milk and many I had to throw away. 

Day 3 – I learned my strong-willed Anna just continued to refuse the milk that was given to her. I could not believe that she has reached this far without milk. She is well behaved but would cry before sleeping because usually we are cuddling so she could sleep. At night she won’t sleep early. She would stay up till 11pm and ask to go outside. There she would call “Mama… Mama…”. When I heard that, I felt that maybe she was waiting and hoping I would be home that night. I felt so bad to hear that report. 😢

Day 4- I could not sleep. I kept thinking of my children and how excited I am to see them. I wondered if Anna would still breastfeed when she sees me… I took the 6:35 am flight so I could be home the soonest that I could. I am missing my family.

As soon as arrived home, my son rushed shouting “Mommy!” … On the sideline with smiles and giggles was my baby girl who stood her ground to not drink any milk. She was so happy to see me that she positioned herself ready for breastfeeding. And that’s pretty much what she wanted to do all day was stick by me and latch!  

  This trip made me learn a few things about my daughter… When she sets her mind on something, she will stick to it no matter what. So for now we are going to continue breastfeeding until she is more ready to wean.

Cute and Sweet

These photos happen to be the cutest snapshots I captured one afternoon. I was having a meeting at home and I caught this situation:

Anna is in a middle of some car trouble  and only her Manong (Brother) Joshua can help. 
In this distress Anna is fortunate to have a big brother who is a bit of an auto expert!  

 
And in this bad  situation, sometimes a big brother is all you need to drive you out of it!  

 
Sisters are blessed to have caring brothers! Sometimes  just having your brother with you, makes you feel that everything  will be okay. 

 
Ahh… I’m so loving this stage. I pray that they will remain closely knit forever.

Here is another fun photograph from Kim Tiblani. Thanks for capturing these Kim! 

 

Make Faces! 

It’s great to have a glass table top with a white board pen, and lots of imagination! That was all we needed one afternoon. Josh wanted to do something different from his usual playing with toys. That afternoon we made faces. 

I drew large circles and I let my son draw different faces. He had faces that smiled, others that did not, others even had curly hair. 

  
This fun activity let him explore emotions and explain what the people he drew were like. He drew eyes, nose, ears and mouths. He even had some with pimples because he remembered some household members having them! It was honest and funny! 

  
When we were doing this, we were having great conversation and laughing at some of his comments. We would draw and erase, draw and erase… A glass table top with white board pen is a pretty convenient learning space. It’s a great way to practice Josh’s hand grasping and motor skills. 

Sleeping milestone! 

My eldest son, Josh turned 3 years old and he is considered a Big Boy now. However, he has never slept through the night. Yes, he had the worse sleeping habits and he sleep talks and cries every night without fail!  

I partly blame myself for his bad sleeping pattern.  You see, I got pregnant when he was only a year and 5 months. He was not ready to wean from breastfeeding, but we had him move to the bottle. To wean him from breastfeeding meant that he had to also stop co-sleeping with me. It was a terrible time for Josh. He had to cope with all the adjustments…including sharing his world with a new baby.

 
From that time he took comfort on the bottle and he started rubbing his ears as one of his new habits to sleep. At night, Josh would wake 3 times each night and on each time he was given a bottle to make him go back to sleep. His style was to cry so he can get a bottle. Now, taking care of Josh was no joke and was really tiring. He would also dream and sleep talk or sleep scream. The nanny however, does not know much of the difference if he is awake or just sleep talking. So she would get the bottle just to keep him quiet. 

As he turned 2 and half, I was already trying to coach the nanny on lowering his milk intake at night. She did her part and just lowered the milk intake, but the waking in the middle of the night still continued. The nanny could not administer what I instructed because Josh would cry. It was not the crying that they were worried about, but daddy who slept in the same room because he would complain of Joshua’s noise. So they continued to give him night feedings.  

So, when Josh turned 3, I told the nanny that if Josh cries at night she should just give him water in a bottle. I also explained to Josh that ” you are older now and a big boy… You need to drink only 1 bottle to sleep and then wake in the morning already”. We got daddy on board with this transition. 

So Josh would take a bottle at night before bed and then when he asks in the middle of the night, he only gets water. In the beginning he cried and throw the bottle with water. Then, when we were on Christmas vacation and we all slept in one bed, it was where he mastered it. I would patiently talk to him when he would cry for milk and tell him, there is no more milk. He then learned to go back to sleep and there were nights he was upset about it.

  
But now, he has been sleeping straight from 10:30pm till 8 am. No more waking in the night to ask for milk or water. He is finally sleeping through! 

No more going to the Internet for me and seeking answers. No more going to a developmental Pediatrician because I was worried that this would go on forever. Lord, thank you! A prayer answered! 

I also love this stage where Josh actually prays before he sleeps and his prayer goes like this: 

Dear Jesus, please bless me, bless daddy, bless mommy, bless Anna, bless Yaya. Give us good sleep, keep us healthy, give us good dreams. We love you Jesus. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

 

And she turns One!

Our little Anna turns one, and with gratitude we praise God for the joy she has been in our lives. She is indeed a gift, a surprise one. She definitely is our teacher of many things.

For one, my pregnancy with her was  difficult and emotionally draining. She also was colic for almost 3 months and we were sleepless for almost all that time. She taught me perseverance, resilience, patience and a desire to always commune with God. 

    
This child has also opened the heart of our eldest son. Joshua’s heart is more loving and generous. He has learned to share his toys and his life with Anna. He also laughs and enjoys family because she is around. It’s pretty amazing to watch because Joshua would tell me almost everyday, “you know, I love Anna. I love her. I’m the best Manong in the whole world”.

  
Who would have thought that God’s favor would pour over and allow us to raise a daughter. Though she is reserved in her nature, she is a bit of a rock and roll star with her powerful voice. She does not mind getting all dirty and is pretty chill for the most part. She loves to eat and sleep… Yes she dances and sings too! On her own she carries baby conversations and is a little explorer of her brother’s toys. She can stack toys for 2-3 year olds with her excellent motor skills. She is an amazing little girl. 

   
 
I pray that she grows into the fullness of God’s purpose and that she will be a favored one who will bring many to the Lord Jesus. 

Thank you Lord for allowing me to know how wonderful and beautiful it is to love a daughter. Thanks you for the 365 days of be holding this beautiful gift — our sweet darling, Anna.