Monday, January 30, 2012

Ben's favorite TV shows

Now that Ben is two, He is "officially" allowed to watch television.  I admit we are guilty of letting him watch even before his second birthday.  ( We really tried, but failed :P )  For mommies and daddies who are looking for suggestions what to let their toddler watch, here are some of Ben's favorites :)

Ben loves this show because of the catchy songs and he likes watching the kids dancing to them.  I was a bit skeptic when I first watched an episode but both Bry and I ended up having L-S-S!

I admit, It took me a while to give in and let Ben become a fan of this purple dino.  Pros: Barney teaches viewers good manners like sharing and packing away.  I wished there were more current episodes though.  The ones we have are with Selena Gomez as little girl!

Sesame Street
My personal favorite for Ben.  I was a Sesame Street girl so I'm quite glad that Ben likes the show as well.  I love how the show tries to stay current and involves popular personalities.  Ben also enjoys watching The Best of Elmo and Bert & Ernie adventures.  We downloaded some video clips from youtube to keep Ben occupied when we're on along a trip.

Brainy Baby
This is the first type of show Ben watched.  The intentions are good but it lacks something to keep the viewers engaged for a long time.  Basically it introduces colors, shapes and numbers using real life objects. But there's no main character to interact with.  Ben was interested for a while but eventually got bored.  It has some nice ideas as to how to teach your child everyday concepts though.

Disney Junior Shows - We actually switched our cable tv's plan so we can have this channel.  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Jake & the Neverland Pirates are Ben's favorites.  What's good about these shows are each episode is short which keeps the kids entertained but not long enough to be on "autopilot" mode.

Watching TV is nothing compared to playing outdoors or reading a book with your little one.  Still, it's good to know there are some quality shows out there.  It's also helpful to explain to the kids what they're watching so they learn more.

Goodbye, my precious Medela Freestyle Pump (for now, hehe)

To be honest, I am quite nervous about this post because it makes it so real, hehe :)

As of today, I have been "pump-free" for about two weeks.  For the past two years, I've been pumping milk for Ben aside from directly feeding him.  We usually feed him the express milk over breakfast.  I told myself that when he turns two, I'll see if I can stop pumping.  He now drinks a glass of fresh milk each day, then feeds directly for the rest of the day.

This is a big deal for me because this move is a major step in our weaning process.  It may not seem much because he still gets his dose of breast milk but still a lifestyle change.  Any pumping mom would agree that expressing milk takes time and commitment.  During the first few days of being pump free, I was still in "self-denial", but I reminded myself of the times I was so stressed with the time I spent pumping and being anxious over whether or not I have enough milk.  It was about time to move on and I wasn't much of a happy pumper anymore.  Now, I wonder how I'd deal with the concept of eventually fully weaning him.  I admit, as much as I look forward to it (whenever that might be), I'm scared because with all the viruses going around breastfeeding is one of the best things I can do to keep Ben healthy.

Anyway, to keep this post on a happy note and to give my pump the recognition it deserves for a job well done, here are some unique circumstances / places that I expressed milk for Ben during our two year run

(1) inside the cubicle of a mall comfort room, while overhearing someone asking her companion if what I was doing is sanitary. They were talking in Chinese, probably not realizing I can understand them (since I don't have chinked eyes)  What's a mama to do? There were no breastfeeding rooms in the area

(2) while watching a movie ( don't ask me how, lets just say I wanted to save time and I had my wrap with me anyway)

(3) during our prayer group meetings (thanks for being understanding, friends!)

(4) at 3am in the morning, while watching How I Met Your Mother ( sitcoms are the best pumping companion, they make you relax and are exactly 20 minutes long)

(5) at the prayer room during a retreat

 Thanks for the memories, my pumping friend.  You made my breastfeeding journey easier.  Time to rest and save your energy.  We shall hopefully meet again (wink!)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cord Blood Banking options in the Philippines

Here is something to think about for soon to be mommies and daddies. How do you feel about storing your baby's cord blood for possible use? What good will it do anyway?

Cord blood banking involves preserving your child's cord blood so that just in case he/she needs treatment that involves stem cells, you get a 100% match (for siblings, it's 75%) Right now, you might be saying, what are the chances that my child would be diagnosed with lukemia or a similar disease? I'm sure the parents of children with those type of sicknesses were thinking of the same thing. More and more research has been going on about how to broaden the scope of diseases that can be treated with the help of stem cells. But still, is it worth it?
one day old Ben - seemed like ages ago!!!

Think of storing your cord blood as like having a biological insurance. You hope you won't need it, but just in case you end up doing so, you'll be relieved to have made the investment. It takes a lot of commitment though. Aside from the initial amount you pay forthe service, there's the annual fee that you have to spend for. That's some serious expense considering you have to save up for the baby's daily needs and future (like tuition!)

Nonetheless, this is something really worth thinking about as future parents. Thankfully, there are two companies that offer this service in the country. Cordlife now has a storage facility in Manila, making it more accessible. They also use Sepax, an automated blood processing technology approved by the US FDA. Stemcord, on the other hand, offers multiple containers to be stored in two different locations for security.

I suggest you check them out then decide if such an option is for you. Just be firm with the companies' representatives if you decide not to go ahead with it or still need more time. Like all other agents, they can be very persuasive. Also, try not to wait until your baby is close to full term before deciding since you will probably be busy with the nitty gritty stuff to carefully think about it.

Hope this post helps :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Saint Gianna Beretta Molina

I don't consider myself very religious but having been brought up in a Catholic family and studied in Catholic schools, I believe in the power of prayer.  When I was pregnant with Ben, I was on bed-rest because I was bleeding.  One of the things that kept me sane was praying for our health.  I've also been quite fascinated with the lives of saints, maybe because I'm curious about how they lived their lives and defended their faith.

As I was surfing about patron saints for mothers, the story of Saint Gianna struck me.  First because she is quite recent (lived through 1922-1962 and canonized 2004) and second because her story was quite simple.  She's a mom, wife and pediatrician who was diagnosed with a tumor in her uterus during her pregnancy with her 4th child.  Despite this complication, she chose not to end the pregnancy.  She eventually gave birth to her youngest daughter.  Unfortunately, St. Gianna died a few days afterwards.  Her youngest daughter, who was named after her, grew up to be a doctor herself.   She was then beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1994 and was canonized ten years after.  What's unique is her family was able to witness her canonization in their lifetime.  I used the think that it took ages before a saint finally gets canonized. 

Anyway, since word has spread about St. Gianna, more and more mothers have asked her to pray for their safe pregnancy.  In a website dedicated to her, you can read testimonials from all over the world about how they asked for St. Gianna to intercede for them which resulted to favorable results despite the odds being against them.

 Whether or not you believe in the power of prayer is up to you.  I think all prayers are answered, but sometimes not the way we expected.  But we all need to be inspired with good models once in a while, and maybe St. Gianna can be one of them 

God our Father we praise You and we bless you because in Saint Gianna Beretta Molla you have given us one who witnessed to the Gospel as a young women, as a wife, as amother, and as a doctor. We thank you because through the gift of her life we can learn to welcome and honor every human person. You, Lord Jesus, were for Gianna a splendid example. She learned to recognize you in the beauty of nature.  As she was questioning her choice of vocation she went in search of you and the best way to serve you.  Through her married love she became a sign of your love for the Church and for humanity.  Like you, the Good Samaritan, she cared for everyone who was sick, small or weak. Following your example, out of love she gave herself entirely, generating new life.                                                  

Holy Spirit, Source of every perfection, give us wisdom,  intelligence, and courage so that, following the example of  Saint Gianna and through her intercession, we may know how to place ourselves at the service of each person we  meet in our personal, family and professional lives, and thus grow in love and holiness. Amen

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hitting the two year mark

And now, Ben's two! Who would have thought that I would be nursing a two year old? Thank you  Lord for this amazing journey :)

We all hear that "Breastfeeding is best for babies up to two years AND beyond" but the infomation on why extended breastfeeding is beneficial still needs to be spread.  Recently, I was able to take part of a breastfeeding seminar for medical students.  There were questions like, isn't breastmilk not valuable anymore when a baby turns into a toddler? Good thing that we were able to enumerate some of the many advantages of extended nursing like lowering the risks of breast/ovarian cancer and diabetes.  It's also good to know that the composition of breastmilk changes to meet the needs of your child.  Your child may (and should) get nutrition from other sources but there is immunity from sicknesses that only breast-milk can provide.

I'm sharing this to motivate moms out there who are wondering if there are really advantages to breastfeeding after 6 months.  I'm hoping to give moms who choose to breastfeed even after a year some ammunition when they are asked why they're not yet weaning their child.

Hitting the two year mark isn't easy but it can be done and the return on the time and effort a mom has invested in breastfeeding her child will last a lifetime.

So my dear mommy friends, breastfeed for as long as you can AND want :) information and support is the key.  Be knowledgeable.  Surround yourself with supportive family and friends.  Your healthy  nursling will be forever grateful :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

why I adore our two year old Ben

1. can say please and thank you

2. counts 1-10 when he's on a good mood (skips 6 sometimes, though, hehe)

3. wipes his shoes on the floor mat before entering the house ( which I sometimes forget to do myself )

4. makes sure I get a kiss from Bry before he leaves for work every morning

5. calls older kids ahia and achi (big brother and big sister in chinese)

6. helps yaya pack-away his bath stuff

7. calls me from the intercom to come down for dinner

8. knows the difference between an ipad, ipod touch and an iphone

9. sings and dances with feelings, like no one is watching and eyes closed

10. says uh-oh when I lecture him (hope he gets the message, too)

happy birthday, darling! may God bless you more and more each day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Presenting Ben's Birthday Giveaway!

January is our little master's birthday month and we're celebrating it with another blog giveaway!!!

Rules are simple, just leave a comment " happy birthday, Ben! " with your FULL NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS under this blog entry or facebook link. Deadline is on January 31 2012

The prize? A FISHER PRICE Brilliant Basics™ Walker-to-Wagon™!!! Perfect for little ones who are starting to learn how to walk . This is one of Ben's favorites. It has a shape sorter and can be used to help your child learn how to push and pull. Quite durable, too! Ben would sometimes bring his outdoors for his morning walks.

You don't need to be a mommy or daddy to join. It's a nice gift for a niece, nephew, godchild or even for a baby shower :) Feel free to spread the word, who knows, we might add an extra prize.

Good Luck!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

How the Tans survived the Holidays

Happy New Year, everyone!

It's been a busy, tiring but fun couple of weeks because of the holidays.  I thought with Ben taking a break from his classes that our schedule won't be that hectic but I was mistaken, hehe! With all the family gatherings, days off by the helpers and general cleaning of the house, I'm glad that we're now back to our regular routine.  Here are some things I've learned during the holidays.

1. Have realitistic expectations
It's the holidays, everyone seems in the mood to meet up but with a toddler and the heavy traffic, you have to ask yourself if you can really accommodate everyone.  Both the Velasco and Tan side have Christmas gatherings on the 24th.  For the past two years, we attempted to party-hop but no success.  The lesson to be learned here is to accept that you can just can't jump from one venue to another anymore.  Sometimes, you really have to choose.  How about alternating parties like going to one side this year and to the other one next year?  It's better to stay long at a gathering to have quality time with the people in it anyway.

2. Ask help when needed
Over the Christmas break, I had to (1) go Christmas gift and grocery shopping with Ben in tow and (2) spend almost 3 days with limited assistance from yaya or Bry because of the general cleaning.  What kept me sane was charming kind-hearted people for help.  My angels were the supermarket baggers who helped me with the groceries and my mom's helpers who help fed and played with Ben.  I get so excited whenever I get to spend quality time with Ben but thankful  that I had back-up

3. Take small frequent meals
I always bring some snacks for Ben whenever we leave the house. (He shares them with me, too!)  That way we're not cranky even if the dinners end up late.  To be honest, I have to patience to feed Ben on an empty stomach so I have eat, too! Ben and I love bananas.  It has been my comfort food and it seems my little master can't say no to it as well

4. Naps, Naps, Naps
Sometimes, all it takes is 30 minutes of shut-eye to make mommy and baby happy.  If the schedule is hectic, I try to at least get Ben to nap at the car on the way to out destination.  More often than not, he seems to be in a better mood when he wakes up.

5. Bring extra clothes
I admit, I am a messy feeder.  Which is why I always try to remind myself to pack along some extra clothes along with Ben's.  You'll never know when you need to go straight from on place to another without having the time to go home and change.

6. Remember the Reason for the Season
Despite the hectic schedule, the highlight of my Christmas is completing the Simbang Gabi  and going through Fr. Johnny Go's online recollection .  It's a way of looking back and thanking the Lord for all the wonderful blessings.

Wishing you all a blessed (and fun-filled) 2012!