Our home remedies

This is Part 1 of my series on Home Remedies. Part 2 can be found HERE.

When Jia was a toddler, she was allergic to so many things. My dreams of going to picnics with her (with woven picnic baskets, red and white checkered cloth, and me in my sundress! hahahaha!) was crushed the first time we went to UP and Jia was bitten by an insect. By the time, we got home, she was nursing a fever and was having a hard time breathing! At 18 months, Jia was prescribed with maintenance medicines. It broke my heart but what could I do? Maintenance meds for allergies (she had allergic rhinitis and asthma) were the lesser evil.

When Joya was born, he was more allergic than Jia! I remember pressing a cologne atomizer with my hand. I made sure that none of the cologne actually went to my hands. Hindi nabasa yung kamay ko at all! Then I touched Joya’s forehead and hair. In a few minutes, his skin was blotchy! I was shocked! One time, I told his yaya to bring Joya outside for a walk as he was just cooped up inside the house (we lived in a busy street). They were gone for 15 minutes. When they got back, Joya had hives!

When Joya was less than one year old, we found out he had asthma. In fact, he had atopic triad – asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis! I realized that sooner or later, Joya would also be on maintenance meds. That realization my search for an alternative. I did not want my kids to grow up swallowing medicines left and right. I had a kidney concern for a time and my MIL passed away from kidney problems so if I could do anything to lessen the chances of my kids having kidney problems, I would.

My search led me to homeopathy. In a few months’ time, my kids’ allergic attacks lessened considerably. Whereas we used to go to the doctor every month for medicines, when we switched to homeopathy, we seldom had to do so. I became a believer!

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Read labels! Patis-copycats!

A few years ago, Hunt’s Tomato Sauce released a tv commercial touting their redder and richer tomato sauce. Like most normal human beings, I wanted a better product so I checked it out in the supermarket.

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The “redder” and “richer” claims are in the front

When I read the label though, I learned that it had Allura Red (FD&C Red 40). But of course it will be red – it has food coloring, for goodness’ sake! I felt cheated! I thought that the redness of tomato sauce comes from tomatoes’ natural color! Naive, I was! That incident taught me the importance of reading labels and really checking out food products.

There are still times, however, that I assume that I don’t examine the ingredients of a food product because I assume that they are properly labelled. I was living in this bubble of innocence until last week when I read the label of patis (fish sauce).

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Book sharing: A very bad case of stripes

A-Bad-Case-of-Stripes-by-David-ShannonI discovered A Very Bad Case of Stripes last week during my mall/bookstore date with Jia two weeks ago. I loved it sooo much that even though I was in a self-imposed moratorium on book buying, I still bought it. The story (written and illustrated by David Shannon) was about a girl, Camilla Cream, who loved lima beans but did not eat them because she was very worried about what her classmates would think of her (everybody hated lima beans, you know! *rolleyes*). As the story opened, it was Camilla’s first day of school and she was having a hard time choosing her clothes for the day. She tried on 42 outfits (yes, 42!) because “there were so many people to impress!” While trying on the clothes, she looked at the mirror and screamed – she was covered in stripes! Her skin was striped from head to toe! What’s worse, when she went to school, her skin changed colors/patterns to whatever her classmates wanted it to be. It was as if her skin, just like her, cared so much about what other people thought and just followed the trend.

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My best mommy buy ever* **!

* My best mommy buy post-potty training 🙂
** This post is for mommies or for those who can tolerate poop stories. Proceed at your own risk! LOL!

When Joya got a bit bigger, it was so difficult whenever we were outside and we needed to wash him after he pooped. It was just so awkward carrying him over a sink to wash him (not to mention how awkward it was for the other washroom users). I needed a tabo so I could wash him in the toilet bowl but putting a normal water dipper in his diaper bag was not an option. LOL! I tried to use a small cup but because it was small, I needed to fill it with water at least five times!

I asked my mommy friends from Newlyweds@Work and some directed me to Daiso for foldable bowls. After several Daiso branches, I finally found THE perfect tabo!! It was not meant to be used as a dipper but as a fruit bowl but it was “foldable” so it took up little space inside the diaper bag or my bag (well, compared to a normal tabo). It was also big enough to contain all the water I needed for one washing/rinsing and because it was sold at Daiso, it was just Php88.00. And this, my friends, is the single best buy of my life as a mom… LOL!

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Montessori at home: Kids’ room

When I was in high school, my Mom took a class on Montessori education and her constant kwento of how Montessori schools do things piqued my interest. I enjoyed the reasoning behind the Montessori practices as explained by my Mom. And now that my kids are attending a Montessori school, I try to apply the principles, too, at home (that is why I train my kids early on to be independent as this is a basic tenet of Montessori).

One of the most basic Montessori principles is to have a place for everything and for everything to be in its place (oh yeah, that line – though I have edited it a little – is actually from Benjamin Franklin). For me, this is especially important when it comes to toys and books as these two are the most frequently used by my kids. I have already blogged about how I have organized our home library so this post focuses on how we organize toys.

My kids have lots of toys… well not as many as my friends’ kids but they have enough. Because I want each toy to have a specific place, I rotate the toys. At any one time, I only have less than 20 toys in their room — the rest are kept in the storage area. Why? First, I do not have enough space for all the toys to have its specific place. Second, I have realized that kids appreciate their toys more if they have not seen it for a while. Third, in my opinion, it is not healthy for kids to think that they have so many material things as I feel it promotes a sense of entitlement. So every three months, I rotate toys (keeping what is in the room and taking out some from the storage) and the joy in their faces when it’s rotation time is priceless. It’s like they have new toys every rotation time! Imagine, the joy of new toys without spending a centavo! How’s that for cheap?! Hahaha!

We have a couple of (kid-sized) toy shelves in their room and we do not have a toy chest. Why? Because toy chests make it easy for kids to just dump everything inside it without order. On the other hand, a toy shelf encourages a kid to put back a toy in its proper place. In their classroom, the same principle is applied and their class does not have an “Ate” or a teacher’s aide to help clean the classroom; all kids are expected to pack away the materials on their own.  I know this is getting off the subject but once, while having a chat with Jia’s teacher, one of her classmates spilled her baon (rice and viand) on the rug inside the classroom. The kid promptly got a broom (the small handheld one) and a dustpan and cleaned up the mess. She did not have to be told by the teacher what to do nor she needed help from an adut. Ang galing di ba? It just shows that kids, if they are taught how to do things properly, will be able to do so much without helicopter parenting. Ang galing talaga! 🙂 But anyway… 🙂

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Pregnancy hormones and motherhood

Mother-Quotes-45

When I learned I was pregnant, my life kinda crumbled. I was definitely not ready to have another baby and I was so scared that something might happen to me given my previous pregnancies/deliveries (here and  here). I prayed for a healthy baby and a safe pregnancy but since I almost always end my prayers with “May your will be done”, I grappled with my fear every day. Pregnancy hormones? Maybe. The only time I specifically asked begged God to make sure I come out of the delivery room alive and well, I was crying (think hagulgol… LOL!) . I was so scared, not for me, but for my kids and my husband.

I did not realize how my fear affected me until May (I learned I was pregnant in November so this means being in a really bad emotional rollercoaster ride for seven months). I mostly withdrew into myself. Until now I do not know if it was just me or if it was the hormones raging inside me which made me feel so helpless.

I realized that my emotional state has affected my mothering and my kids; I became a dummy mom and my kids regressed. I was there but really was not. I was emotionally detached. Oh, of course I still took care of my kids. I had activities and whatnots. I still loved them for sure and laughed at their antics and posted their -isms on Facebook but my fear and the changes in our life were becoming too much for them. Joya cried at every little thing and Jia acquired the habit of rubbing the edges of her fingernails together resulting to shortened and uneven nails. I knew their behavior was a result of stress but I did not feel strong enough to deal with them.
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Breastfeeding: Saving babies & Mother Earth

Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (August). For this month, we write about the World Breastfeeding Week 2014 – Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal for Life and share how breastfeeding can help the Philippines achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals developed by the government and the United Nations. Participants will share their thoughts, experiences, hopes and suggestions on the topic. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

BF Carnival1

My family and friends know I love breastfeeding and I feel strongly for it. Ironically, it was a study on formula milk marketing I helped conduct which introuced me to the wonders of breastfeeding. I love it so much that when I was able to successfully breastfeed Joya, I approached Velvet and asked her to train me to be a breastfeeding peer counselor. Becoming one opened my eyes to how breastfeeding is not just about personal choices but is in fact a public health and an environmental issue. Knowing now what breastfeeding contributes to society, I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of all moms to breastfeed their babies. No, I am not going activist on you (I studied in UP Diliman and though I appreciate the role that activism has played in our history, I am not fit for it.) but to put it bluntly, walang sinabi ang formula sa breastmilk! We can talk for days about breastfeeding and formula milk feeding and there is no aspect in which formula milk will come out on top.

In a society as economically-struggling and as inefficient in maximizing resources such as ours, it is vital that mothers realize what breastfeeding does to their babies. Unfortunately, because of the combined effect of formula marketing, inefficient information and knowledge dissemination, poor maternity provisions, lack of community and government support, low education levels, and the rise of the career women phenomenon (this is what I call the movement towards working outside of the home and the wrong thinking that working and breastfeeding cannot go together), giving formula has been raised to somewhat of a status symbol among many and sadly, breastfeeding has started to be the mark of the poor. Considering what formula feeding actually does (it increases risks of certain types of cancer, asthma, allergies, etc.), this is very alarming. As a result, here in our country, exclusive breastfeeding lasts only for an average of 24 days. This is very disheartening especially when one knows what breastfeeding can do for a baby, a family, and a country. For purposes of this article, I will discuss two things breastfeeding does that I believe are very important to any society.
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