Monday, November 19, 2007

Best Baby Things

Gail tagged me ages and ages ago, but I really sat down to think what ten things have significantly helped Rainey and me. Now that Raine's napping and I'm waiting for The Hubby to get home so we can eat a sinful sisig dinner (with fresh salad greens to nullify the cholesterol), I'll make that list. In no particular order (and not exactly 10 items):

  1. Avent Uno IQ Breastpump & Playtex Storage Bags - don't know how I would have survived without these. Raine is still completely breastfed, so when I leave the house, or leave her with someone else, she has to have an ample supply of milk. I also have enough milk to donate to others. I love the Avent pump since it's relatively painless, quick and very efficient, compared to the Amazing Chu-Chu pump I first used.

  2. Juniors Sitter/Rocker - great place to put the baby! Raine got the hang of rocking herself right away. She's had her rocker since she was about two months old. She'd fall asleep in it, chew on it, scratch it (she loves the feel of the seat), and now uses it as a sort of walker and pushes it around. While we haven't gotten round to buying her a high chair yet, I also feed her in it.

  3. RJellybean Sling - in the early days, this didn't work for us, because it was at the peak of summer heat. But when the weather got cooler, and Raine got used to being in the sling, this became very handy. I love how I can do things with two hands while still 'carrying' Raine, and my arms and back don't get too tired! It's also a great conversation starter. These days, though, Raine is getting too restless in the sling, because she loves twisting and turning and looking all around. Still have to figure out how to sling her in the back. Jen CC Tan, one of the owners of the brand, is also so nice. She let me drop by her house so she could personally show me how to use the sling.

  4. ProKids Diapers & ProKids Wipes - this is the brand that works best for Raine. I love the velcro tabs on the diapers, and the wetness indicator. The wipes smells fantastic too (lavender).

  5. Baby Milk Bath, Cliven Diaper Rash Cream, Cliven Baby Shampoo, J&J Top to Toe Wash & Petroleum Jelly - Raine's kikay kit is comprised of these. The Baby Milk Bath comes from our pedia. It's very mild, and keeps Raine's skin soft and smooth. You apply it while she's dry, then rinse off. When I'm in a rush though, I prefer the J&J. The Cliven stuff were a gift from Tishpy and we love, love, love the scent. The Diaper cream is so effective; I even use it for Raine's occasional neck rash. Petroleum jelly, of course, has a million and one uses (this deserves a separate post!) but we use it to help prevent rashes by the mouth due to Raine's non-stop drooling.

  6. Sandra Boynton Board Books, Dr. Seuss, Guess How Much I Love You, I love You Forever and other books - Raine loves being read to; Sandra Boynton's Bellybutton Book and Dinosaur's Binkit are favorites. Raine will usually stop fussing when you start reading to her. Before she could reach out and eat her books, I also read Dr. Suess' Hop on Pop and The Foot Book to her. I Love You Forever always makes me cry when I read it aloud, so I've stopped for now. Guess How Much I Love You is my all-time favorite, but it's a bit too long to read aloud for now. I'm trying to build Raine her own library. I hope she'll love reading and books as much as I do.
  7. Cedric, Sofia, Benny, Betty and her other chewable toys - these 'friends' of Raine can sure keep her busy. She loves chewing and sucking on them, even if she isn't teething yet. One thing we discovered about toys though. She can have really cute, expensive ones but she prefers playing with stuff like a plastic rice serving spoon, an empty ice cream can, the straps on her rocker or stroller, even her burp cloth! So we try to control ourselves and not buy toys. I'll buy books instead!
  8. Car seat and stroller - we have a Graco system that The Hubby's cousin loaned us, and it's so beat up I'm ashamed to give it back. Been telling The Hubby to offer to buy it off them instead. I can't imagine carrying Raine the entire trip to Baguio or Laguna, so I'm glad for the car seat. We need to get a bigger one though--she's outgrowing this one! I find the stroller too bulky for commuting, especially when it's just Raine and I, but beggars can't be choosers. It's still helpful. Imagine carrying all 20lbs of Raine all the time!
  9. What to Expect in the First Year - one of the most helpful and informative books I've read. It keeps me in check--I don't get overly paranoid or too ecstatic about things Raine-related.
  10. Canon Powershot G3 Digital Camera - it's an old model, but still works fine for documenting Raine's amazing life :)

To all you moms out there--what are your favorite baby things?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rainey Days and MomDays

I wasn't built for rain. It stresses me out. I get obsessed looking for leaks (our house has several). When The Boo was still here, my stress levels were right through the roof, since rain, thunder and lightning terrified the poor guy. In fact, I lost The Boo during one such thunderstorm last August. (side story: last Saturday, we went to Tiendesitas, and I saw several Shih Tzus, I missed The Boo so much I got teary eyed). I also abhore getting my feet wet, so I avoid going out. Rainy days on end drive me crazy, sometimes even inspire me to write sort of morbid short stories. Too much rain gets me low.

This is also my first week of official SAHM-hood (Stay-At-Home-Mom). Though I still get a few calls on magazine-related stuff, I can see that tapering off by next week. It makes a real difference, not having deadlines hanging over my head. I don't get as stressed when Raine doesn't follow her nap schedule; we just play until she gets sleepy. Hmm. I don't know if that's good though, not having a firm schedule. I would like to train her to be more disciplined and consistent, to be much, much better than her Mommy.

I'm wondering what other SAHMs do, and how do they do it. Last Monday, Aling Lourdes was here, so I didn't have to do any chores, including breakfast and dinner. I just prepared The Hubby's packed lunch, told Aling Lourdes what to cook, and Raine and I kept each other company. Tuesday was just me and Raine. She was in a clingy mood in the evening, so I overcooked the dinner veggies, but I got the rest of the meals out fine, washed up, fixed up and cleaned a bit. Wednesday, Aling Lourdes was here again and she kicked us out so she could clean properly, so Raine and I went to visit my brother and sister in law. Then I prepared dinner in the evening. Today, I prepared breakfast, The Hubby's lunch, played with Raine, now that she's napping I'm blogging and thinking about what to cook for dinner. Is there something missing here? I feel that I should be doing so much more. Like baking cookies or making soap or writing a novel. Or organizing the finances. Hmm. Well. I could be doing those things if I weren't blogging...But let's say I didn't have Aling Lourdes, how do other SAHMs manage the entire household and a demanding baby? Makes me appreciate my mom even more.

I'm also wondering if I'm stimulating Raine enough. Isn't she getting bored with my company? We either play in bed, where she can stand holding onto her crib (and fall without really getting hurt); hang out in the living/dining room, where she commando crawls all over, or zips around in her psychedelic pink walker (she inherited it from her aunt!); or we go for a walk around the village (which we can't do when it rains). I would've wanted to make swimming a regular thing, but The Hubby is adamant that we don't go just the two of us. I read to her (Sandra Boynton's Bellybutton Book is her favorite), but mostly I just rough-stuff and harass her. Ehehe.

Raine's also in that phase that she wants me around all the time. And the later in the day it is, the nearer I have to be. In the morning I can leave her to play in the room while I do chores or take a quick shower. In the afternoons, I can be preparing dinner and she'll be hovering around, either crawling or in her walker. By early evening, she wants to be carried, or I have to be right beside her as she plays. So I'm learning that I have to prepare dinner early in the afternoon. And I guess that's the best time to do other things as well. Like my imaginary cookies, and the phantom gourmet spreads.

But back to SAHM-hood. I feel that I should be more productive somehow. The Hubby is out all day working so I can have this option to stay home. So I feel that he should be getting value for his money. Hmm. That doesn't sound quite right.

I remember what Louise, a SAHM with no nanny and no maid, said. She told me early on that at this point, I should focus on the baby. Anything else I get done beyond baby things is a bonus. Belle, another SAHM says that just because I don't go to an office, doesn't mean I'm not working. In fact, the home is my office, and I'm on call 24/7. She and her husband have agreed that she gets "off" times, when he takes charge of their two daughters while Belle reads or does whatever she wants for herself. I guess it's a balance that I still have to work out: Rainey, The Hubby and me. Right now, Raine takes most of my time and energy. Essentials like food and making sure that there's clean underwear in The Hubby's drawer come second. Me-and-Hubby time and me time--well, whatever we can sneak in.

I suppose I'll get better at this SAHM-hood. I'm sure that among the three of us, we can work out something that will make everyone happy and loved. Rainey Days and MomDays will not get me down.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Swimming on a High


That's how I felt after Raine's first swim last Thursday. My first, too, after eight months or so of being landlocked (I swam till I was about 8.5 months pregnant). As soon as I stepped into the pool, holding Raine, I felt at home.

Swimming has always been something I could do well. Oh sure, not well enough to compete, but well enough to feel confident in the water; well enough for me to enjoy it. In fact, I'd even dare say that though I may not be the better swimmer compared to my excel-at-any-sport sister Rix, I am the stronger one. And that's saying a lot, given my total klutziness and lack of coordination on land.

In the water, while doing my laps, the world is reduced to a blurry hum. There's nothing else but me, my body, my rhythm, my heartbeat, my thoughts. Embraced by the water, surrounded by it, I feel free.

Sheer pleasure.

After our swim (my mom took Raine after her swim while I did a few laps), I couldn't stop grinning. I haven't felt so high in ages. It was an ear-to-ear-smile-laugh-out-loud-even-when-alone kind of high. I knew my body was going to kill me the next day--all those unused muscles complaining--but I didn't care. And it felt so good.

I haven't felt that kind of good in a long time. Sure, The Hubby makes me feel loved, Raine makes me laugh, my work has given me a sense of accomplishment. But this kind of good comes from being able to enjoy something that isn't essential, but pleasurable nonetheless (aren't the most pleasurable things non-essentials?). And being able to share it with Raine, having her enjoy being in the water, made it even better.

I hope that, someday, Raine will find something that will give her this kind of high. I pray that she learn to relish life's little pleasurable moments. And I thank God for mine.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Shining Through

Rainey went to her first art exhibit yesterday. She was the youngest guest at the opening of Shining Through, by Dan Reventar.

Tito Dan is the dad of my good friend, Kelly. He recently retired from flying (he was a corporate pilot). He took up painting as a hobby because his wife, Tita Emy, was so into cross stitching that she wouldn't talk to him, so he decided to go do his own thing. After several paintings, he asked his friend, artist Lino Severino, to check out his work, to see if he should go on, or he was just wasting his time. So Lino took two of Tito Dan's paintings, and a few days later, came back and informed Tito Dan that he was booked for an exhibit at Ayala Museum.

Tito Dan's work is all landscapes. Serene, peaceful pictures of God's gorgeous creations. I think that's what drives his work: the desire to capture the beauty of God's own work. Tito Dan is also fantastic working light and shade into his paintings. In the title piece "Shining Through", it's as if you can actually feel the radiance of the light diffusing through the trees.

Shining Through will be at the 2F ArtistSpace of Ayala Museum until the 19th of November. If you want a taste of serenity, do drop by and enjoy his paintings.