All About Faith

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fun-ny days

Before I was even a mom, I knew I'd love being one but I didn't think I'd really have this much fun! It's like summer vacation every day that I'm at home. My day is filled playing peek-a-boos, tags, catch-ball (or Faith's version of it), tickles, giggles, read-me's. Even changing diapers become a game for us as I sing "Wheels on the bus" or "Itsy-bitsy spiders" and she would kick, clap or sing-along (at least that's what it sounds like). She loves looking in the mirror or a reflection in the shiny faucet and making faces or blowing raspberries and laughing at me for making outrageous funny faces that I wouldn't even dare doing in front of hubby-love. And I'm having the time of my life that I have this "power" to make one person laugh so hard, over and over as I make that face for the nth time.
Mealtimes too are just moments for memories. Now that she's learning to feed herself with her fingers and the spoon, she loves scooping her food up - be it cheerios, peas or carrots - making a gesture to feed it to me and then quickly putting it into her mouth. And she thinks that's really funny. And when I feed her something that she likes, she does this thing where she wiggles her tiny body and giggles.

Dont' get me wrong. Taking care of a baby is physically exhausting but it's also quite rewarding, and such a blast.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Steps of Faith

Faith took her first steps! She stood up tentatively. With knees shaking, she reached out to me and took three tiny steps, her feet barely off the floor. It was magical! We shouted, we laughed, we hugged her, and coached her to do it again. So she did.

Awesome. She's been so timid and cautious about walking, even if I held her hands. And if I let go of one hand, she would grab either my pants or slide down to sit. To see her take that first step, that first leap of faith so to speak, is just breathtaking.

Now all I hear from moms are how much my life is going to change with this. And hearing them I get feeling that I'm in for something bad. Of course my life will change (it already has been a wild ride!) but it's all good. I see this as a new sense of freedom for Faith, and "extreme" adventure for me. I'll be all over her as soon she'll be running and tripping and falling everywhere. She'll have her share of bruises too, and tears from both of us (and maybe from her dad!). But that's life. She'll be fearful, maybe even more clingy and anxious when she sees me move away from her. Well, this won't be the first time, or the last. I'll probably break my back and complain before this is over, but then again, getting old is irreversible! We'll have to corral her from places we don't want her to go, which is something we'll do more and more through the years till she matures to 25 years old.

I'm excited already and raring to ride this new adventure with her!
Oooh - I wonder where these steps of faith take us.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sometimes, It's Not All About Faith

To be a parent, whew, it's a huge responsibility and a big jump from taking care of two (me and husband). Someone who seems to depend so much on me - the instinct to totally care and give full undivided 24-hour attention, that nagging instinct is always there. It's also a lot of fun to be around my daughter and so all the more I am drawn toward being with her all the time.

However, in the business of living and raising up a child, often i forget that there is more to life than Faith. There is my husband too. It is easy to make him second place to a baby, because after all, he can take care of himself. There's also our marriage that constantly needs nurturing and attention. This too is easily put in the back seat. I also have my own "life" to live - space and time just for me and hobbies to soothe my creative itch. And then, there's the call that God has put in my heart to reach out and disciple other young women...

There really is a lot more to life than raising up a child. However does one handle so many responsibilities all at once?! It's no easy task to be a woman, wife, mom and minister. To keep myself sane among all these is just impossible at times. There really are moments when I just wish it's just about me, about Grace. No one else needing my attention. That for once, I can focus on Grace. How can I do this, I often ask myself as I try to sleep exhausted and spent. (And then God would whisper...) Grace. God's grace is more than sufficient for me for His power is made perfect in my weakness. Well.

So, yeah, oftentimes, it's not about faith. More than anything, it's really about grace. God's grace.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A balancing Act?

Us women are known for our multi-tasking abilities. We’re able to be a wife, mother, career woman, homemaker, friend, mentor, church/civic member, and have a creative hobby on our spare time. We wake up early, feed the family (and pets), drive to work putting on our make-ups, work up the ladder to success, come home and cook dinner, make the chores and beautify the house, help with the kids’ homeworks, play with the baby, cozy up to hubby, and sleep at 10 p.m. In all of these, we’re expected to be wearing make-up, high heels, a gorgeous smile and gracious spirit. All the time.

Well, maybe in the movies.

How does one do it in real life?

Balance is the key. Or so I thought.

Rachel Johnston of Focus on your child has a better, wiser insight. Forget balance. PRIORITIZE.

In this article she says that the priority list starts with relationships, the foremost of which is God’s. Guard our time with Him ruthlessly. In His presence we find refreshing and direction. We need to submit and yield our schedules and ask the Lord what He wants accomplished for the day. When we have done as He asks, then there is no need to stress over other unfinished business. Perhaps at the end of each day we can even say “it is finished” and sleep well.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Growing up

I can't believe Faith is one year old! Has time really flew that quickly? She's grown from some tiny being who can't even open her eyes or hold her head up, to a spunky toddler who's not afraid to climb stairs... Even though she can't walk by herself yet, she's learned to fly up AND down our 15-step stairway. It drives her daddy crazy but she's just determined. She's eating by herself too and knows how to entertain herself with her toys. Sometimes she turns her back to us when we try to play with her, and I feel like "are we intruding?!"

So I wonder if she's growing up too fast. I hear parents of tweens tell me how "grown up" their middle schooler is, and I get scared for my child! Will she know her alphabet and count to a 100 by four? Will she correct my grammar by six? Will she also learn to put on make-up and wear high heels by ten? How soon will she have a boyfriend?! YIKES!

So I hold on to my baby tighter. I keep reminding her (and me) that she's just a baby. She's my baby. She'll always be my baby.

And I hold her tighter still.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Updates on allergies

It was a sad day for me. Before this I thought maybe the tests were wrong. Now, it's confirmed. Faith is allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts, the allergist said, and maybe to wheat as well. We now have to be extremely careful about what we feed her and let her touch. She also has eczema which seems to flare up when she touches these food.

I started reading books to help us (more me, really) manage. I'm told now to read every label, and read the labels everytime I buy anything... Memorize all the "names" that these allergens may hide. Who knew that chicken broth or soysauce has wheat?!

It can get overwhelming. But I know we can cope. Moms of other allergic kids before me have. Their kids turn up fine. If I get paranoid, or feel like my baby will have a "limited" life, she will. The last thing I want her to feel is that she doesn't have a normal life. So i turn on my coping skills, educate myself and others who take care of my child and hope for the best. Someday, she'll outgrow this. And if not, I hear there's an awful lot of good food that don't have milk, eggs or peanuts... I guess this is a good way to practice my cooking skills too.

Monday, February 27, 2006

the baby and her cherios

Our daughter devours Cherios like a hungry lion. She doesn't peck at tiny donuts one at a time, no. She scoops her two hands into the bowl, and opens her mouth real wide and crams everything in at once. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, evening snack. She once ate two full serving sizes I thought that would be the last of it.

I can't complain. For an 11-month old baby, she's on her way to a healthy heart.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Saga of Sleep, Week 1

Unbelievable. It's been 10 days since we started to let Faith sleep on her own, and we've had success everyday!
The first week was the hardest, because she cried for more than an hour each night, and when she woke up at night, she would cry again. It was the most stressful week ever and thought I would give up. But telling myself 'this is for her own good'.. that got me through each crying spell.
Now finally after 10 days, she sleeps at 6:30 p.m. and wakes up twelve hours after!
She actually napped well too and would often get more than four hours of naptime. That by itself was a big beautiful bonus. I could only get her to nap two hours a day prior to this. Of course, having a rigid schedule of wake, sleep, eat and play was the key --
Once awake at 6:30 a.m., I would get her and open her bedroom lights so she'd get that "morning light" effect. She'll have 4 oz. of milk, and then we'd play a little in our bedroom and watch Daddy get ready for work. At 7:30 a.m., I would give her breakfast and then soothe her to sleep with another 4 oz. of milk. She would nap for more than an hour and wake up around 10:30 a.m. That gives me time for myself (yehey! never used to have this too).
By 11:30 a.m,, she'll be eating lunch with us and at 12:30p.m. I'll soothe her to sleep again for an hour or two of nap. She's learned to ask for milk too, so when she wakes up in the afternoon, she'll say "de-de-de-de-" as a hunger cue.
5:30 p.m. is dinnertime, followed by a bath and then off to sleep she goes for the night.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Saga of sleep, Day Three

It is now 7 in the morning of the next day. For the first time, I SLEPT straight through the night. I opened Faith's room and there she was, sitting in her crib, awake. She wasn't crying. Hopefully, she too had slept through the night.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Saga of sleep, Day Two

This is a new day. Today, we are sticking to our goals. Today, we teach Faith to sleep unassisted. But some changes need to be made. I am letting her sleep in our bed so I can get her to nap and put some deposits into her sleep bank.

So, I woke her up at 7 a.m., turned on all the lights and simulated morning sunshine. I had her fed and changed by 8:30 a.m. and watched for signs of drowsiness. Ten minutes later, I started to soothe her; I gave her warm milk (from the bottle) and rocked her until she was sleepy. Like yesterday, I placed her in the crib (I was still hoping!) and as before, she cried. I only left her for 30 minutes this time. She was wide awake when I got her. Wide awake and all wired. I had to get her to nap! SO, once again, she napped in our bed. This time, she fell asleep for two hours! Ching... sleep deposit made...

Afternoon. I decided to just let her nap in bed. She fell asleep on her own, without having to breastfeed. Yehey! Victory... She slept for one hour, woke up briefly, and slept again for another two hours. I ended up sleeping with her, so ka-ching, small sleep deposits for both of us.

It's now 6:30 p.m.. Faith had been fed, massaged and in her pjs. It's now time to put her to sleep. I gave her the bottle, hubby turned on her lullaby, and we prayed for her. She's now sleepy and ready for the crib. We closed the room and waited. Of course she cried! And she was at it for two hours - whimper, cry, scream, wail, sob,scream, whine. I can hear her cry "boo-boo-boo", something she says when she's not feeling well. Good thing she can't say "mommy" or "daddy" yet, otherwise it would have been too much. Finally, she was quiet by 9 p.m., and only the occasional protest until 11 p.m. Hubby reminds me not to breakdown, and I do all I can to have a heart of steel. I purposely didn't put the monitor in our room so that I won't hear her sobs, but we opened our door so we'll wake up in case she screams.

We all sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Saga of Sleep, Day One

Today, we train Faith to sleep unassisted.
She woke up at 7 a.m. and I had her soothe to sleep by 8:30. I placed her in her crib, almost asleep. Her back arched the moment it touched the bed. She jumped up and cried. I closed the door and left her for one hour. She cried the whole time. She's definitely NOT temperamentally easy, at least not in the sleep category.
I tried again that afternoon at 12 noon. The same thing happened. She cried, whimpered, played in the crib crying, but couldn't get to sleep. Her eyes were dark and puffy and I know she's very tired now, so I had to put her back in bed with me and let her nap. Maybe I should get her to sleeping well first before I can transfer her to sleeping alone.
So tonight, we prepared her for bed at around 7 p.m., and got her to sleep. In bed with us. Tomorrow is another day. Needless to say, we were still waking up every hour or two as Faith was... Nobody said this was going to be quick, or easy. But we're not giving up. She will learn to sleep. That was our prayer as hubby and I drifted off and on to sleep...

Sleep Training; the resource

We started on the adventure of Sleeping Through the Night.
I'm using the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby" and I've become convinced that this is the way to have Faith sleep through the night. There may be other, less abrupt methods of sleep training, but the book makes sense. I am going to adjust it accordingly, though, because in spite of it all, I am the mom and I know what's best for my baby... On to the book -
The author is Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a pediatrician who founded the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Impressive resume.
The author teaches more than just getting the child to sleep through the night. It also teaches about age-appropriate naps and how napping contributes to better sleep in infants, toddlers, school-age children and teenagers. The first chapters of the book talk about the importance of sleep in infants and children, and how sleep deprivation and "low-level chronic sleepiness" in infants can lead to emotional or psychological problems, learning difficulties, and even obesity later in life.
Better sleep is a product of sufficient naps, consolidated sleep (sleep through the night; nap for more than one hour), regular and consistent schedule of waking up, wakefulness,and sleep, and sleeping early. The author prescribes the following -(from 4-12 months) to wake the baby up at 6-7 in the morning. Take a 1-2 hour nap between 9-10 a.m. (or one to two hours after waking, depending on how sleep deprived the baby was). Take a 1-2hour nap around 12-2 in the afternoon (or 3 hours after waking from the first nap). Take a late afternoon around 4 p.m. but not let the baby sleep more than one hour and not after 5 p.m. (around 9 months, this last nap starts to disappear). Start the bedtime routine at 5-6 in the evening and put the baby down (or lie with the baby) sleepy but awake, around 7 p.m. Emphasis is definitely given for a consistent, regular schedule of sleep. In each sleep, have 10-30 minutes of soothing down the baby to a point of drowsy calmness, but put the baby down in bed or crib awake.

Crying to Sleep? When a baby's temperament is easy, there may be no crying when sleep starts. For temperamentally difficult or post-colic babies, there may be some crying involved. The author says there are several ways to put the baby down - either lie with your child until sleep happens (Method A), or put the baby in the crib (method B). For those of us who've used method A and want to transition to B, there may be some crying involved. Should we decide to use method B, we can leave and let the baby learn to sleep alone unassisted, until either the nap is over (about one hour) or the next morning. This is the cold-turkey approach or the extinction method. There is a gradual extinction as well, similar to what Ferber says. However, the author points out that with the gradual methods, there is a longer training period and hence a greater potential for the parent to be inconsistent because of changes in daily routines and schedules, or give up because it's taking too long for change to happen. In the end, he says the extinction method is the most effective, fastest way to train a child to sleep... That there may be a lot of crying is the most difficult part of it on the parents. Dr. Marc Weissbluth says we're not making the baby cry. Instead we are training the baby to sleep; crying is a way for the baby to protest. He reminds parents that this is not the first or last time we're letting our baby cry. There are many times in the future where we'll have to be tough on our children for their own good, cry though they will... In this, I realized, sleep training my children is also training me to have tougher stubborn love for them.

So, here's to my own saga of training Faith to sleep.

Sleep Training

This week we start training Faith to sleep unassisted. She's ten months old now and still isn't sleeping through the night. Part to blame is her ezcema and dry skin, which seem to bother her the most at night. Also to 'blame' is her co-sleeping with us. (and I say, blame loosely because I hate to admit that we caused her this problem in the first place...) She's gotten so used to our scent and nursing to sleep that she won't sleep anywhere else, not even in her own crib for naps. In retrospect hubby and I don't regret having her co-sleep with us. We love it, even now. As first time parents, the novelty of having a baby, of looking into her beautiful angelic face, her breathing seemingly in rhythm with ours... that's something we will always cherish.
But now, it is time to move on. We are ready to let go (just a tiny bit!) and let her sleep in her own crib, in her own room.
The training to sleep, though, is the difficult part.

Here's what we plan to do - (aka goals) -
1. teach her to sleep unassisted. She hasn't learned to sleep on her own, and always used to need either me nursing her, or dadddy patting her to sleep. She also hasn't learned to fall back to sleep on her own. UNASSISTED. There's no other way to teach her this but let her be. No assisting from us. No more breastfeeding till she's zonked out, no more patting.

2. teach her to consolidate her sleep, that is, to sleep through the night (which means having the ability to fall back to sleep should she wake up)

3. nap sufficiently. at ten months to one year she should still be napping twice a day (morning and afternoon) for 2-4 hours a day. She's been waking up after only 45 minutes and because she can't go back to sleep, she's overtired.

Let the training begin.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dealing with Allergies

It was a sad day when the doctor called to tell us Faith really does have allergies to milk. And eggs, peanuts, wheat and soy. What else can the poor girl eat?! I guess the key is home-made baby food. Thankfully, this website is a great resource of recipe and menu for baby food. It even has a section for dealing with allergies in infants and children.

Unfortunately, for me, I'm still breastfeeding. I too have to cut back on allergens that I could pass on to my baby. OW! For the love of food! How will a chocoholic, ice-cream loving person like me cope?! Now I know first hand what it feels like to "abstain".. maybe that will make me more compassionate (and self-controlled).
... The day will come someday when I can have my java-chip frapuccino...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Stress-free Holiday break

I did get a break.
We went to New York to share thanksgiving with our ever faithful, high school friend and her family. It was exactly what I needed, something different, something new. Faith enjoyed being with other kids her age (or a year older). No, we didn't go to the Macy's parade, we didn't see Manhattan or the fancy places of New York. Nope. We did something more memorable and less stressful - we chatted, ate good home-cooked Chinese food, and visited other friends in the area. Oh, we did the black Friday shopping (which I had previously thought is a stress!) but we went there on the afternoon and boy, the malls weren't bad at all.
It was nice, to be away from routine... nothing beats being with family and friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Give me a Kit-Kat

I need a break!
I've been holed up in my house for a week now, and my usually happy baby has a cold, which makes her (and mommy) very upset..
I need to just get away for a while and de-stress. Take care of me... Go to a warm nice South Pacific beach and listen to tranquil waves lapping at my feet... eat dark chocolate and java frapuccino... have a deep Swedish massage, or a spa for my neglected body... maybe even a pampered pedicure...

ok, sister... wake up!
oh well, it was fun to daydream.
maybe i'll just have a kitkat.

Monday, November 21, 2005

dealing with faith

On other days, it's tough to be a SAHM!
There are just times when I don't know what do, like days when Faith has colds and get cranky. I can hardly get her to finish two teaspoonfuls of cereal. She takes only 30-minute naps and wakes up crying. She always want to get picked up and I can never get enough chores done. At night, her nose gets so stuffy that I hae to hold her in my arms so she can sleep upright, which means I don't get to sleep well either. None of us right now are sleeping well. Days like these, it's a tiring job. She goes to the sitter for two days, and she tells me my baby eats a lot and drinks her formula! Why is that? I get jealous and feel like I'm not being attentive enough (but I know I am!) So why is that? I have no clue, really. So I just hang on for dear life (hers and mine) and hope she gets well and days like these will be over.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

playing with faith

It's so much fun being a SAHM!
I get to play with my daughter everyday. We "wrestle" each other in bed when we wake up (now that she's standing ??- she climbs all over my body). We trade blowing bubbles at each other, do peek-a-boos, make smiles and funny faces at the mirror. I found her funny bone(s - she's so ticklish!) and get her to laugh. She's learning to fake her grin too, which is the funniest in the world!
She's almost 8 months and a handful to be with, super"likot"! One woman at the doctor's said my baby's like a worm, a cute and beautiful worm... I'm at the keyboard right now, and she's playing along with me, messing my sentences, deleting phrases i just wrote...
Right now, I'm her playmate and best friend. And I wish we stay that way for a long long time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Managing allergies

It sneaked up on us, this allergy. I gave Faith a bottle of formula this weekend and she took only 2 ounces when her face redened and her lips swelled! She vomitted out the milk twice and the portion of it that touched her skin caused rashes to appear.
When I went to the pediatrician, we were told to carefully watch her diet (and mine as I still breastfeed her). We were prescribed an "epipen" syringe in case she'll have difficulty breathing because of allergic reactions. She can't have any milk or dairy products until further tests, or when she outgrows this. She can't even touch dairy because she might get rashes or even worse reactions!

My family has a history to allergies, but I never thought my own child would have a reaction this young. It was very disheartening to think that I passed a gene or susceptibility to my child that potentially could make her so sick. How's a mom to feel?
... My sister's encouragement - "we manage".
And we will. We'll have to educate her babysitter and our friends who interact with her. We'll have to be careful. We'll have to be prepared, exactly how I don't know yet. But we'll manage.
And we can pray. And we will pray, that she will outgrow this. Even be healed and purged of this allergy.
She'll have her blood tested next month for specific allergens to milk and other foods. So I have a month to pray hard. In the meantime, we'll manage.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

healthy sleep habits, happy baby

WOW! After seven months of sleeping-less nights, there really seems to be a light at the end of a tunnel. (It does feel like a tunnel at times, literally when I lack sleep. My vision gets blurry and my mind blanks out!)

But now, I can feel and live HOPE. I found this book "Healthy sleep habbits, happy baby" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth whose resume include being a pediatrician in-charge of the Sleep Disorders Clinic in the Children's Hospital in Chicago, and a father of four.
Sleep begets sleep. He encourages parents to put the baby down for a nap (or naps depending on the age. For Faith at seven months, it's 2-3 naps per day); getting baby on a regular and consistent sleep schedule (an earlier bedtime being better for baby's wellbeing and producing longer sleep); and consolidating sleep (no waking up at night; no catnaps if possible). He says be on the watch for sings of sleepiness and tiredness ), which is a window, that if taken, makes sleep faster and easier (less crying). Once a baby starts crying or fussing, then she is overtired and past that window, which may make sleeping harder and shorter.
It all makes sense now. I've put Faith down for naps and she takes to it so easily! She's on a regular sleep schedule that i protect so that she doesn't end up tired and cranky the next day.
More on this saga as we get Faith to sleeping well.

like a Mona Lisa

Today, I'm sitting somewhere, trying to last till the end of work day, when I look up from my desk to see a picture of my baby smiling at me. It's like that Mona Lisa smile - you just know she saw someone or something that made her smile like that, and though frozen in a painting, it reaches out to you and draws you in to smile back at her. That's how my baby's picture looked to me just now.

I smile back. And I am with her, playing, making her laugh, giving her kisses, spending the day with her...

It won't be long now, in less than an hour. I will be home.
I smile back.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

ang buhay may baby

Nakakapang-gigil na nga naman si Faith ngayon. Ang dami na niyang kayang
gawin at marunong na ring magpa-cute.

Aadalas nang ngumiti at tumawa at kung hindi siya talaga natatawa,
pinipilit na niyang gumawa ng laughing sounds para lang matuwa kami.
Marunong na ring sumigaw at mainis at magalit, lalo na kung antok na at
hindi pa niya magawang matulog. Naku, paikot ikot sa kama, naiinis,
umiiyak, pumapadyak pa!
Pero love na love niyang matulog at sumiksik sa kilikili namin. one night,
walang pang five seconds pagka-siksik sa kilikili ko, nakatulog na agad.
Naisip ko nga baka nahilo pero hindi naman ako mabantot hahahha,...
Pag nakikita si daddy niya, kumakawag at kumikisi-kisi pa sa tuwa. Sobrang
makangiti. Pag ako naman ang nakitang galing work at hawak ng daddy,
nagpapa-awa ang tingin at sabay ang iyak. Alam na talaga niya ang
"function" namin sa buhay niya ano.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

how to put a baby to sleep

Why is it so hard to teach a baby to sleep?!
In her own crib, that is.
I've been trying my best at this for the past three weeks and we often "fought" at bedtime. She's so used to being in bed with us AND falling asleep while nursing, that it was so hard on her to sleep in her crib, even though it was really just an arms' length from our bed.
I actually had to pray over her many times to fall asleep and learn to stay and go back to sleep... (funny how being a mom has taught me so much about asking for wisdom and praying for even the smallest details... i realize i just can't do this parenting well apart from the Holy Spirit's counsel! even for mundane things like how to put a baby to sleep)

After two weeks of "wrestling" i'm almost ready to give up. I've let her cry it out (and boy, can she hold her own for an hour!). I've put her down when supposedly she's so sleepy and should just doze off (nope, she wakes up again!). I've patted her backside and massaged her back. We have a bedtime routine going. Nothing seems to be working to make her learn to just close her eyes, and sleep!

So, for two nights now, I've let her co-sleep. Amazing how the instant she was put to our bed, she only needed to snuggle against me, and she was in dream land. No fussing, crying, screaming. She just dozes off... And my mommy heart melts at how secure and at peace she is being with me.

So what's a mom to do? Co-sleeping wins hands down.
Well, here's to a continuing saga of putting Faith to sleep on her own.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

i see a dear baby

Come my baby
to the window with me
and look at the stars
that shine on the sea
i see two little stars
that play at bo-peep
with two little fish
far down in the deep
and two little forgs
cry "neap, neap,neap!"
I see a dear baby
that should be asleep.

-Mother Goose