Monday, January 30, 2017

I Am An Immigrant Wife And Mother

I am an immigrant wife and mother who hails from the Philippines and President Trump's ban greatly saddened me because all I could think about is that in the place of those who were torn away from their families could have been me. I could have been separated from my husband and 4-month old baby indefinitely - for being Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Yemeni, Libyan or Sudanese.

Why is the government barring people who are legally allowed to come to the US just because they originate from a Muslim majority country? Why are they detaining people who have followed due process and abided by the law? They have earned their right to stay in the US as immigrants, alien workers, permanent residents or refugees. Better yet, let me rephrase that by un-labeling their "legal classifications". They earned their right to stay in this land as international professionals with expertise that they lend to US companies, as husbands and wives of nationals who have left their own homes to follow their heart, as mothers and fathers who have bigger dreams for their families, as innocent survivors of war-torn countries looking for a brand new day.

My Crime Of Fashion

Babies grow up way too fast! I especially love dressing Mikey up in the cutest onesies and fashionable outfits. This weekend, I have come to realize that I probably bought more than I should have for a particular phase. Especially dressy outfits - he does not need as much as he has because we don't really go out so much since it's currently freezing in NY.

Mikey is currently growing like a weed. Stronger, unstoppable and bigger every day. He is currently 4 months and 4 weeks young and size wise, wears outfits for 6-9 month old babies. Obviously, he did not get his size from yours truly (I like to call myself "fun-sized").

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Questionable Baby Products

Last week, I wrote about baby products that we love, which sparked an idea - why not write about strange baby products? As a new mom, it's easy to just drop money on items that promise to make the motherhood journey a little easier and, a lot of companies capitalize on this... However, there are some who took it too far (like, a galaxy far, far away). Here's a roundup of questionable items that I have seen online...

1. Kickbee
As if oversharing on social media is not enough, Kickbee allows moms to automatically send Tweets to family members and loved ones whenever their baby kicks.... Why? I don't have the answer.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Parent's Thoughts On President Trump

Please, prove us wrong!

Life has successfully imitated art today. To be precise, a reality show has become reality and it still feels surreal - like I am part of an episode of The Twilight Zone. Today, Trump, was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. I still find it hard to believe that his brazen, unapologetically misogynistic, racially prejudiced campaign won him the leadership of the free world, to which he will make the most powerful decisions that can either push or pull progress.

I vividly recall watching the polls on election day. It was 3 AM. I was seated on my glider, feeding Mikey, scrolling through my mobile phone for news, confident that Hilary Clinton would be leading. Based on how Trump was performing in the debates, and how every respected media outlet has been painting him to be the joke that he is, it was impossible for him to win. Then I remember my heart breaking into tiny pieces when I found out that the possibility of a Trump presidency was becoming all too real.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I Do Not Breastfeed

I do not breastfeed.

There, I said it. It's my dirty little mom secret. So crucify me.

Until today, I have felt embarrassed and guilty for deciding to formula feed my firstborn. Even before I got pregnant (or married for that matter), I've already been bombarded with the "Breast Is Best" messaging from hospitals and formula brands---it is mandatory for formula brands to reinforce the fact that breastmilk is still best for babies up to 2 years in all their advertising materials. So, with that knowledge in mind, I have always planned to breastfeed my future child because my goal is to be best mom that I can ever possibly be.

So, when I was filling out my hospital forms, without batting an eyelash, I ticked the box that says "exclusively breastfeeding". No questions asked. Only the best for my baby.

His cheeks tell me that fed is best!

That was until reality came knocking at my door. I know that most moms feel the need to explain to everyone why they decided to not breastfeed their babies to defend their decision. I sure do feel the need to do it out of guilt, but, that shouldn't be the case. I should just end this post with "I do not breastfeed my baby, bye!" and allow people to respect my choice (or not). However, I felt that I just had to tell my story to prove the point that you should not judge a woman's decision on how she feeds her baby until you've walked a mile in her shoes.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Top 5 Baby Products That We Love (0-5 Months)

To say that the amount of items available for new moms and babies that are out there is overwhelming would be an understatement - rockers that can soothe your crying baby for the price of an arm and leg, floatie that looks like choking hazard but it really isn't and diaper changing pad that doubles as a cone of shame... And, for new, (exhausted) mothers, it's easy to just drop money if the product will do as promised: make baby happy, give mommy more sleep.

Now that we've passed the newborn stage and have probably tried (and returned) countless of products, here are some of the notable ones that have actually helped us. And no, I did not get any form of compensation for these shout-outs! I am just a firm believer of really great, noteworthy products that need to be shared in a non-compensated way.

1. Fisher Price Rock And Play

This is quite possibly the best item that we received. When my husband's friend found out that Mikey was spitting up a lot, she immediately gave us her baby's old rock and play. This little gear sits baby in such a way that his upper body is elevated.

So, every time Mikey eats, we will put him down on his "rocker" as we call it, so he can fully digest his meal, and, with the way he is positioned in it, his spitting up has dramatically lessened.

Although there's an on-going online debate whether or not this product can be used for overnight sleep or, if it's ok to overuse it given the risk of flat spots that it has supposedly given babies, well, from our experience, Mikey spends a long period in it and his head is perfectly round, no issues whatsoever. Then again, every baby is different so, what works for Mikey may or may not work for another child.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Best Christmas Gift For A New Mom

The first month after maternity leave is tough, especially for a new mom like myself. The mom guilt of not being able to take care of my child 24/7 bites me every time I step out of the house. 

How I wish I can take my little one in my pocket like a mommy kangaroo and just bring him everywhere I go. What keeps me going is the thought of being able to financially contribute for his future. Everything that my husband and I do now are for the foundation of his growth.

Knowing how I'm having a hard time being away from our dear Mikey, my husband gave me a very thoughtful gift for Christmas...

He said this way, I can bring the thought of Mikey everywhere I go. And, it reduced me to tears. I am not the accessories or die kind of woman, but now there are 3 jewelry that I can't leave the house without: my engagement ring, wedding band and now, my Michael necklace.

So, for husbands and partners who are looking for a really thoughtful gift for their wife, this is an absolutely brilliant idea.

Monday, January 9, 2017

No Sick Days For Moms!

My son has been soldiering out a stuffy nose and coughs the last few days (thank goodness he does not have a temperature!) While it pains me to see such a tiny, little guy battle adult sickness, he does not seem bothered by it. In fact, he is still just as playful and happy as before and his appetite is still very healthy.

Over the course of his sniffles, since I have been caring for him, me acquiring his virus was in the cards and yesterday, I woke up with congestion and tiredness. It was an achievement to be able to finish the work day.

Today is a different story. My trusty Nyquil was unable to save me overnight and I had to take the day off from work. Prior to having a child, a sick day consists of sleeping, recovering, eating, sleeping, sleeping.

How things have changed.

I have come to realize how tough mothers are and how undervalued their service truly is - I never, ever realized how difficult it is until I became one. Honestly, hats off to moms everywhere!

Once you become a mom, there is no such thing as a sick day, most especially when your child is sick too. I am very grateful that my parents are still here to care for Mikey so I can distance my sick body from him so he (and I!) can fully recover, but I can imagine what it would have been like to be sick AND still be taking care of a 4-month old infant.

I really could not accommodate sickness in my schedule because work needed to be done, both professional and personal - I had a couple of digital campaigns that was going to be launched and, Mikey's baptism is scheduled on Sunday.

Sickness is no excuse.

Having said that, my current state reminded me of one of my favorite videos that went viral a couple of years back.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mommy Resolution 2: Making Peace With My Post-Pregnancy Body

This is a tough one. Ever since I saw tiny, purple lines streaking out of my belly like spiderwebs, I knew I was destined to have stretch marks after giving birth.

In fact, I knew all along that it was going to happen. It's not because I was not religiously massaging myself with cream like every other article tells you to. It's because of my genetic makeup. When I was younger, I went on a sudden growth spurt and was left with silvery, faint lines as mementos - I am predisposed to acquiring stretch marks should my skin expand at a rapid speed. It is just the way it is. And honestly, do not believe skincare product claims that they can magically make your stretch marks disappear. It is false advertising. Believe me, I once worked as a Digital Director for a Plastic Surgeon who developed a scar treatment product and what I love most about him is his honesty with his claims. He was strict with advertising his product and he made sure that all ads should reflect the fact that it can make the appearance of marks look better but can't get rid of it because there is no product out there in the market (yet) that can make those nasty marks disappear. They may fade it, but with the caveat that "individual results may vary" and that variation is largely dependent on how your body heals.

I love this little man

In my case, it does not respond well. 4 months after giving birth, my stretch marks are slowly looking better. What were once purple and red in color are now fading to white-ish lines, and no, I do not put stretch marks cream on it, only the same old, moisturizing lotion.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Raising A Multiracial Baby

My husband and I just brought to the world a multiracial baby who is part Italian, part American and a portion Filipino. 

Our mixed race child, Mikey. Whoever thought of turning babies to cuddly bears deserves a medal.

Before he came to the world, we were already wondering how he will look like as my husband and I are complete opposites, he has really fair skin and I am a tanned, tropical girl. Our best bet was that his color will be the middle hue of our colors - and he did acquire that! When you look at him, you can immediately tell that he is mixed race and I find that beautiful - a symbolism of how love knows no color, border or culture.

His looks are not the only thing that I want to be Filipino about him. Even if we will be raising our family here in NY, I still want to incorporate the Filipino culture in his upbringing. I personally believe that a child who is exposed to many cultures, whether through travel or education grows up to have a wider perspective on things.

The question is, how should I do it? I am not quite sure yet but here are some of my ideas. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mommy Resolution 1: Stop Comparing

I have always been competitive. With myself, mostly. Throughout my advertising career, I've set goals and continually pushed myself to (over)achieve. I guess that's what happens when you're exposed to competitive sports throughout your childhood. It's fun to set goals and reach them, then again, self-pressure isn't always a good thing because some times, goals are not met and disappointment sets in.

Now that I am a mother, my need for self-assurance when it comes to goal setting has translated to hitting milestones for Mikey. I know, I know. I shouldn't do this but to be brutally honest with you, my life circumstance has turned me to a competitive person by nature.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Baby's First Cold

My husband came home with it, my nephew had it and my mother caught it. And unfortunately, the chain of virus reached Mikey's still developing immune system. It was inevitable.

It's winter here in NY and the season comes with a bag full of viruses. No wonder it's called "colds," since it's more prevalent in the cold season!

My poor, sick child.

As a new mom that lacks experience, every single sneeze and cough sends my heart into panic. The first time Mikey sneezed blood out of his nose, I immediately called our pediatrician and was told not to be alarmed since a tiny bit of blood is common because nerves in the nose are very sensitive. Since Mikey is still eating well, not fussy and is still producing a good amount of wet and soiled diapers, he is fine.

I really am surprised at how he can still remain as the happy baby that he is despite his sickness. In fact, he was able to murmur his first word while sick - yes, this counts. He is a very, very talkative baby and we love encouraging this at home!

Mikey's First Hello from Miles Bonanno on Vimeo.

While there really isn't anything that I can give him to improve how he is feeling, we did a few things to help him breathe better. 

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