Monday, July 30, 2012

At Army Navy

We visited our new house yesterday because we had some works done before we finally transfer next week. I was hesitant to bring Rocco because he was sleeping, but what the heck, I want my son with me on a weekend, so I scooped him out of bed even while he was sleeping, and off we went to visit our new house.

We finished around 2PM and we didn't eat lunch yet. We were thinking of going to the mall, then I remembered Army Navy. We were supposed to eat here a few weeks back with the Crisostomo Family, but it didn't push through that time. Since Sieg was as hungry as I am, we decided to eat there and overload on carbs :)
I ordered steak burrito, while Sieg ordered the huge burger. We tasted their freedom fries and libertea, and oh well, lasang french fries at iced tea pa rin :)

It was a really fun family bonding, just the three of us. As much as possible, we don't bring yayas along, unless we're out to treat them. Rocco was with me all the time. He remained behave in his high chair, and ate some biscuits while Mommy & Daddy were loading up.

Haaaay, how I love weekends!

A Wedding at Amara

Last Saturday, we witnessed the wedding of the remaining single guy among Sieg's close circle of friends. All of them are married now, and priorities have changed so it gets harder to see each other outside of work. It was a welcome retreat for us to have a mini-reunion, along with our little ones in tow.

 I was excited to check Amara because I haven't been there. It's an exclusive subdivision developed by Ayala Premier. The place is beautiful because it is naturally cinematic. Because it is overlooking the waters, the air is so fresh and breathtaking. We heard from the grapevines that the minimum cost of a lot is 20K/sqm, and the house cost must not be lower than 3M. Haaay, when will I ever win the Lotto! :)
We brought Rocco along who was his usual active self. Thank God he got tired and slept for a while. The stroller raincover was put into good use because it rained a bit.
 Sieg's friends are also daddies now. Rocco was crying in the right side picture because he wanted me to carry him. Super mama's boy :)
 The newlyweds, Joms & Sweet Dumaquita. They had their reception at the Amara clubhouse. The food was catered by Cafe Laguna. Super yummy, though I wasn't able to enjoy it that much because I was busy attending to Rocco. Dakilang ina lang ang peg ko :)

We headed home around 8PM because the little boy was getting cranky already. I didn't see the lighthouse which is the highlight of the place. Next time :)

My active boy!

I'm enjoying Rocco more and more! Everyday, he never fails to surprise us with his new milestones. Kids these days are growing up too fast, and if we're not paying enough attention, then we would definitely miss out on a lot of good stuff.

I'm happy I was able to capture one fave milestone of Rocco. You see, he is in the active stage already so it's hard to hold the camera and take pictures of him, while making sure he doesn't knock his head in a split second that he isn't attended to.
Last Saturday, Yaya Alen told us that Rocco can already stand well on his crib. He's been doing this pattern for a while now, climbing on everything he can climb on. I guess his motor skills are becoming more and more coordinated. At first, he could stand tall when pulled up, then he could walk when guided by the hand, and naturally, the next thing for him is to practice his newly learned skills. He did try it again last Sunday and I freaked out because he is almost at waist level of the crib edge and can really fall over. I immediately asked Sieg to lower down the crib.

It's just amazing seeing a child grow. Maybe next, he would walk on his own. It's even amazing because when we put him in his walker, he can maneuver it on his own already. Actually, we're not even actively practicing Rocco to learn how to walk. We realized, it's a developmental milestone, and it will happen at his own pace, when he is ready. Sabi nga ni Sieg, huwag daw namin madaliin na makalakad si Rocco. It got me thinking too. Oo nga, maybe when he walks on his own, I wouldn't be able to hug, kiss and smell him as much as I do now.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rocco the reader

Of course Rocco can't read yet, but he really takes interest everytime I read to him. I wasn't patient in reading to him while I was still pregnant. Even when he was born, I would only read occasionally because he wouldn't respond. But now that he's 8 months old and very interactive, reading has become more fun!

I read to him at night before we sleep. This caps our night time bonding. Everytime I bring out the books, he would always drop his toys and crawl straight toward the books. When I recite the words, he would look at me and really focus on what I'm saying. Then when I point to the pictures in the books, he would also take a look.

I hope Rocco develops real fondness for books. I will buy him more and more for as long as he reads them!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why do babies mouth everything?

According to this website:

At birth sensations in the mouth are more highly developed than in any other part of the body. The mouth is truly the baby's "window to the world." After birth, babies continue to put their own hands in the mouth, and suck or mouth the fingers of a parent, the edge of a blanket, clothing, pacifiers, and other objects that come in contact with the mouth. 

By 6 months, the child is now able to hold onto toys without dropping them, and to move them around in the mouth to explore all surfaces. The jaw makes more skillful adjustments in opening and closing, the tongue moves with greater freedom in the mouth, and the lips come forward like a pair of small hands to feel the surface of anything entering the mouth. With this new discriminative mouthing, the child uses the mouth to extract all types of sensory information from whatever enters. By exploring the toy with the tongue, lips, and jaw the child finds out about size, shape, surface texture, taste, and weight. 

Sensations from the gums draw the child's awareness to the mouth during teething. This increases the desire to put things in the mouth. Children discover sensations that increase comfort, and increase their biting, chewing, and oral exploration of toys. 

Oh diba, ang haba ng explanation. In short, babies put everything in their mouth, and that is not something that mommies should be pissed about (ang germs!!!) because mouthing is a critical part of oral development. Before Rocco moved on to mouthing his toys, he was a thumbsucker. Thankfully, it was cured, and he doesn't like pacifiers, so we use his toys as his teethers. I try so hard to be patient when Rocco picks on everything he can hold, and put it automatically to his mouth. We're just taking precaution in not putting small objects within his reach to avoid choking.

Looks like this mouthing stage won't be finished anytime soon. Buti nalang rubberband ang aking patience, kayang istretch! :)

Does he look like an 8month old?

When we're out, people usually ask us how old Rocco is. When I say he's just turning 8 months old, they would say he looks more like a year old :) Oh yeah! My bugoy is at the 95% of the height for his age, and when I dress him up in denims, he sometimes looks like a toddler.

He's growing up so fast, sometimes I can't catch up :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

At our favorite hangout (again) with a special visitor

Last weekend, we had Grandpa Nitoy (my father) visiting us. He dropped by Cebu after his conference in Bacolod to spend some time with us. After finishing off with our daytime errands, we brought Rocco to our favorite hangout place so we could relax and unwind after a very tiring day.
At first, Rocco cried when his Grandpa carried him, mainly because at his stage, he already recognizes strangers and has very high separation anxiety. My papa still played with him, and later on, the little boy smiled more often, and even allowed his Grandpa to carry him for a few minutes.
I try to make the most out of these rare occasions,  because it isn't everyday that Rocco spends time with his Grandparents. Still, I want him to grow up knowing them, and still stay close with them. Ang hirap lang, but still we're lucky because it's easier to travel from Cebu to Tacloban, and then back. I'm hoping for more visits from them!

The Lucky 8!

I definitely have an active boy! Now that Rocco is 8months old, his motor skills are definitely developing REALLY fast! He is SO ACTIVE, that the word active becomes an understatement. Sometimes, I'm afraid the yaya can't hold him down when it's just them during weekdays. I can just imagine how it'll be when he learns how to walk. Well, I can't complain though, because I'm blessed enough to have a healthy baby who is developing well.

Some of his very notable milestones:
  • He's such a talker now. He can say mama, papa, yaya, mami, dadi, ayabu, agi, agidaw, memem (for milk) clearly.
  • He's 2 front teeth already erupted.
  • He can navigate his walker on his own. Great hand and feet coordination.
  • He has a firm grasp already. He can hold a ball for hours.
  • He's having serious separation anxiety, especially from me!
  • He definitely recognizes people around him.
  • He's super playful! People are so charmed by his smile & playful aura.
  • He can crawl, climb, stand when pulled, leap when crawling.
  • Can turn the pages of his books.
  • Definitely knows how to manipulate Mommy! Hahahaha! I still have to brush up my disciplining skills.
  • He has developed his preferences already, be it to his favorite toy, person or music.
  • He now has a head full of hair :) 
Happy 8th Month Rocco!! 
Mommy and Daddy are looking forward to having more adventures with you!

PS: Thank you Grandpa Nitoy for the yummy cake :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reflection: Juggling work and motherhood

Today was a very busy day at work. The past few weeks actually. It's hard to focus when my eyes are always watching the clock and too eager to go home.

I was supposed to go home early today because S had basketball, and I promised R that Mommy will be home earlier today. But I also had responsibilities at work, and as a project manager, I didn't want to leave my team hanging while I jetted off. So I hurried on with my pending tasks and delegated some to my trusted team members.

When I got to the taxi, I had a terrible headache from the air perfume, plus the driver was terrible. I was so dizzy when I arrived home, and wanted to lie down and close my eyes. But R woke up from his sleep, and he was crying. So I carried him from his crib and brought him upstairs so we can have our nightime sponge bath. He was irritable all throughout because he was sleepy.

I put him to sleep but had a hard time. R was a bit irritable because his sleep was interrupted. Finally, after almost an hour, he slept.

And that was the only time I started to breathe. I inhaled, exhaled, and closed my eyes for a good five minutes. After that, I felt better. Sometimes I wonder where I get all this energy. The stress is everywhere, but somehow, I manage to block them all off and just retain the positive.
Then I read this quote. Quite timely I must say. Juggling work and motherhood is NOT easy at all, but this is a great reminder that I should not be too hard on myself. I'm doing the best, and I guess that's more than enough already.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The feet are made for walking :)

Rocco is becoming more and more independent. Early this morning, I was patting his leg so he could sleep, and suddenly he kicked my arm. I stopped patting, and he closed his eyes and slept. Haaay, my baby is surely growing up. I keep telling Sieg that we should take pictures and videos more often because days pass by so quickly, and before we know it, he's going to walk, and run.

Speaking of walking, Rocco loves his walker. I know some countries ban its use, but Rocco is such an active baby, and it's really tiring to carry him around the whole day, while his jumping and climbing on me all the time. Sometimes, he squirms out of my hands because he doesn't want to be held. At a very young age, he already insists on his independence and the need for his own space. The walker is my solution! I just put him there and put on his walking shoes, and voila, both Rocco and I are happy and stress free.
He doesn't have much legroom to move around because our apartment living room is small. Hopefully when we move into our slightly bigger home, he would have more space to practice walking.

PS. My baby boy is vain like me. He loves looking at himself in the mirror. With his walker on, he goes to the mirror a lot and smiles at himself. Cuuuute!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What cured Rocco's thumbsucking

Rocco thumbsucking at 5months old.
If I remember it correctly, Rocco started thumbsucking when he was around 5 months old. I guess it was triggered by his early teething. He would constantly rub his gums and poke on his mouth, and voila, he discovered that he could suck his thumb, and it would give him comfort and relief. At first, I would gently remove his thumb, or divert his attention so he would forget about the sucking mannerism. But it grew worse, until he could not sleep unless he had his thumb on his mouth.

I did some research and it says the major drawback of longterm thumbsucking is poor jaw alignment that may result to crooked teeth. That I do not believe, because my sister is a living testament that hard-core thumbsuckers can have perfect teeth. It was her "hard-to-let go" mannerism, and would instead result to a keloid on her thumb. I do not want Rocco to have that keloid, aside from the social and psychological impact of seeing a grown boy thumbsucking because he could not quit the habit later in his life.

I did not want Rocco to develop this into a bad habit, so Sieg & I decided to let him use a pacifier instead of his thumb. We bought Dr.Brown's orthopedic pacifier, and it was money wasted. Rocco would not take it. Simply put, he doesn't like a pacifier. It actually got me thinking how other babies would be easily comforted with a pacifier, yet my baby is doing everything he can think of to refuse the pacifier. 

Then he got sick...with a hard cough...and it made breathing so hard. I didn't realize it at first until he got well, and then I observed that he just stopped thumbsucking. I thought it was temporary, but days passed by and he didn't look for his thumb at all, especially during sleeping time. I guess it also helped that we gave him a hard teether which he bites on every now and then.

Amazing how one sickness cured another (if you think thumbsucking is a sickness). Either way, I'm glad  it's all OK now, at least I would not have to stress about it in the future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Being a working mom...

I guess my corporate life in a way, prepared me for motherhood. For me, multi-tasking is key. Since Rocco started on solids, I wake up early in the morning to prepare his food. It's a daily ritual of pureeing veggies & fruits, and cooking home-made cereals. I want to be on top of Rocco's needs, so I prepare his food myself. That way, I'm sure it's clean and well-prepared.

After breakfast, I bathe Rocco. His yayas help me hold the apparatus, because my hands are already full just making sure the baby will not knock himself out. Super likot! After bathing, I give him his vitamins, and then give him milk, and then put him to sleep. And then I eat breakfast. If he doesn't sleep, his Daddy holds him while I prepare myself for work. 

It's a daily ritual which we've lived by for more than 7months and counting. While at work, I constantly check on Rocco. At first, I was often guilty of being away from him for most of the day. I would always be in a hurry to go home, because I feared that Rocco would love me less, and love his yaya more. I used to think that because I'm working, Rocco would prefer to be with his yaya, rather than with me. I guess that's the main struggle of working moms.

But it's actually not the case. Despite the fact that I'm working, I'm proud to say that the moment I am home, he only wants to be with me. He doesn't look for his yaya at all. When other moms would feel suffocated when their children are too clingy, I relish on the attention that my son gives me on those short but sweet quality time together. 

My son is just a baby, and I know marami pa akong kakaining bigas. But I guess I had a good start, so it's just a matter of mastering the art of being a working mom. It's not that hard actually, because my heart is into it, and I'm enjoying every single bit of the journey.

The psychology behind baby solid feeding

When Rocco started on solids, he would only eat so little. I understood it that time because it's a transition for babies to start eating solid food. Then he add some allergies, particularly with banana, so I tried to limit the food that I introduced to him. Then he got constipated from apple, and I cried so hard over it because he was in so much pain and I had no choice but to insert a suppository to relieve his constipation.

That started by daily struggle with solid feeding. I've tried different variations of food, but mostly still pureed because Rocco cannot munch semi-solid food yet. Still, he would rarely eat, or would take only so little. One time, out of desperation, his yaya used a dropper to feed the pureed food directly to his mouth because he would resist the spoon. His other baby contemporaries that I know of are such easy eaters and I envy how they could eat so much. I would hear stories of a baby eating a whole bowl 3x a day, or another one that is already eating table food.

And I'm like WOW, yet here I am struggling to feed my baby...

I consulted Rocco's pedia about this, and she shared my sentiments, but still pushed me to be more patient. Consistency is the key. She said the average times a parent must attempt to feed her baby (at a single feeding) before he takes the food is 20x. I actually answered 5x, so that fact that it's 20x means I need to stretch my patience more :)

This morning, I cooked some powdered brown rice and mixed it with steamed squash. I gave some to Rocco. We started around 730am and ended at 830am. He slowly took the food after I tirelessly offered the spoon to him. He actually ate a lot.  Not bad! Hopefully, next time he would concentrate more and finish eating faster :)

PS: Rocco finally learned how to use a sippy cup. Goodbye droppers!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rocco Overload :)

Rocco in his usually cute & charming self. 
He really does know how to make pa-cute in the camera :) 

At our favorite hangout...

Sieg & I try to limit going to the malls with Rocco. Kasi naman sobrang dami ng tao. I get paranoid if may umuubo, or may sinisipon within our area. Nakakastress din looking for a quiet and available space, kailangan makipag-agawan lagi. Hindi rin pwede siksikan because we have our stroller & baby bag with us.

So we could REALLY relax and unwind, we go to Oakridge instead. It's a nice quiet area in Cebu which has restaurants and a nice Starbucks outlet. We love this place because it's super baby friendly.

Last Saturday, after doing countless errands, we brought Rocco to Oakridge. The little boy had fun. Rocco is super active already, and I'm not exaggerating when I say SUPER ACTIVE. He climbs and jumps within seconds, so I'm always alert. Actually I wasn't able to relax because the little boy is super clingy to me. OK lang, I love being with Rocco because every moment makes me sooooo happy!
I really love family weekends. I really love my family. PERIOD :)

Rocco & Woody

We've been looking for an Elmo stuff toy that isn't so expensive because Rocco seems to be fascinated with Elmo. I checked at Rustan's and the talking Elmo is expensive. I don't wanna pay 1K above for a stuff toy.

Last Saturday, we checked some kiddie stores at Parkmall which our friend Fiona recommended. We found a huge Elmo toy, but still freaking expensive.

We browsed some more and found Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Sieg wanted to buy Buzz, but I liked Woody. I actually wanted both, but we try to limit Rocco's toys so he would not get spoiled. We bought Woody instead.
Rocco was so happy and played for quite a while with Woody. It got me thinking, do toys really talk? If yes, then Woody would have a lot of stories to tell because Rocco is one charming boy :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Picky Eater

Since Rocco started eating solids, I would always stress about what food he will eat next. He is such a picky eater. Feeding time is always a tug-of-war between me and my baby, who will adamantly refuse by swaying his head, pursing his lips, putting his tongue out, or spit out his food...simply because he doesn't want to eat. We tried adjusting his schedule so we would feed him on hours that he is hungry, but still, he would take only little.

I'm still struggling and hoping that this pattern would change. Mama said not to force it because the baby will give signs if he is already ready for it. Lately, I haven't been forcing it too because when I feed Rocco too much, he constipates.
Here is Rocco in one of our feeding sessions where he was constantly distracted by the things around him, then got bored, then refused to eat. Haaaaay! I better stretch my patience or else..

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Hidden Costs of Purchasing a Home

We're on the final stretch into moving in to our new home, and by now, we are so busy finalizing our documents. Of course, part of that is settling the BIR taxes involved. Let me just say how happy I am that our developer is shouldering majority of the BIR cost. I don't feel duped that I'm paying out a fraction of the cost to them because they will absorb the rest, and it will save us the hassle of transacting with government people.

Nonetheless, I felt I needed to be educated about these things. These are entirely new to me, and I want to be have knowledge with all the documents and fees that everyone is talking about. Also, I wanted to compute on how much our cost would be if we would be the one to pay for the fees using our purchase price. Mind you, I was dumbfounded with the figure that I arrived with.

All I can say is..BIR is really raking in a lot of money from real estate taxes, and all the related taxes from purchasing real property. Sa lagay na yan, booming ang real estate industries with all the condos and subdivisions popping everywhere, so malaki ang kaban ng BIR. I just hope that they really put Tax money to good use kasi pera yon ng mga kawawang Pinoy, like me.

Going back, here are the taxes to be paid to BIR. The purchase price is always used as reference in getting the associated value of each tax.

1. 5% Income Tax. As a general rule, the buyer is required to withhold 5% of the purchase price, zonal value or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, to be credited to the income tax of the developer. In our case, the tax was inclusive of our purchase price so we did not pay extra income tax.

2. 12% VAT. Effective January this year, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, with the endorsement of HUDCC, has effected a higher threshold for value added tax or VAT on real estate products such as lots, house and lots, and other residential dwellings such as condominium units. Previously, properties priced at P2.5 million below enjoyed VAT-free transactions. Now, the VAT-free ceiling has been increased to properties priced up to PhP3,199,200.

3. Capital Gains Tax. If you are a corporation or individual (whether a Philippine resident or not), not engaged in the real estate business and the property is not used in the ordinary course of your business, the property will be treated as a capital asset. As such, the sale shall be subject to capital gains tax at the rate of 6% of the purchase price, zonal value or the market value under the Tax Declaration of the property, whichever is higher.

4. Documentary Stamp Tax.  At the rate of 1.5% of the purchase price, zonal value, or TD value of the property, whichever is higher, is payable on the execution of the DOS to the BIR.

5. Local Transfer Tax. Local transfer tax is imposed by the local government unit where the property is located generally at the rate of 50% of 1% of the purchase price, zonal value, or TD value of the property, whichever is higher.

6. Registration Fee. Registration fees are payable to the Register of Deeds where the property is located at the rate of P8,796.00 for the first P1.7million plus P90.00 for every P20, 000.00 or fraction thereof in excess of P1.7 million.  

When I computed our potential cost, naloka ako! That's why I'm really thankful that we are only paying 14% of the BIR cost, and the rest will be through our developer. Malaki siguro patong nila sa purchase cost kaya all-inclusive na.

This is really an eye-opener for me. It's just sad that in our country, you will shed blood and tears before you can own a real property, be it a house, a piece of land, a car, etc. In the US where my sister lives, owning a house is way easier! She also just purchased their own house built from scratch. The lot area is way bigger, and the floor area is large too. For the big space they have, they're really paying cheap compared to our purchase here. Madami pang add-ons sa kanila.

I hope our government will find ways to cut taxes. WISH!!!!!! Oh sya, libre naman mangarap. Baka magkatotoo sa lifetime ko.

It Starts With A Dream

Dreams do come true, but it does take a lot of hard work and perseverance to make them come true. When I was younger, I had my own dream/bucket list. A lot of it involved material stuff (who doesn't want nice things, diba?). Of course, we're only middle class citizens working our ass off to have a good life so things don't come very easy, but we've been privileged to have very good paying jobs which cover our needs, and wants.

Soon, we will be fulfilling another dream, and that is to have our very own conjugal home. It took us a while before taking the big step because simply put, it will eat out a big chunk of our finances. But still, we persevered, and here we are, very close to moving in.

The feeling is actually surreal. I've never thought that I would own my car, my house, my nice stuff, as a product of my own work, before I reach 30. I'm so thankful I have Sieg as an equal partner who is a big dreamer like me, and mostly, who is hardworking for his family. I'm equally thankful to my parents and in-laws who have been so supportive of our plans, and have always been there to back us up and give us words of wisdom, and some money too :)

Sieg said he can't imagine me being like this...all grown up because I'm still bratty and acts like a kid. (Yes, I do!) But I guess, I'm really all grown up now..but I've never stopped dreaming :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rocco is Lean & Long

Yesterday, we went again to the Pedia Clinic for Rocco's 7th month immunization. He was supposed to get his vaccine last June 22, on his exact month date, but we postponed it because he was still sick from cough/colds & fever.

I was a bit sad because Rocco lost 0.2kg of his weight. Hirap na hirap na nga ako patabain ang anak ko, nagbawas pa ng timbang. His pedia said this is OK and normal because he just got sick. His feeding pattern will return to normal, and looks like it's normalizing already.

Anyway, another reason why Rocco is not fattening up is maybe due to genes. He is actually long and lean, like his Daddy, unlike Mommy who is long but plump. Hehehehe Kidding aside, Sieg said mahirap patabain si Rocco sa sobrang likot nya. SOBRA! He's like a kiti-kiti. One time, he wanted to get hold of the Pampers Plastic which is colored orange (he is super attracted to the color orange). He was impatient to crawl, so he literally jumped on the bed like a frog so he could reach the plastic in no time!  Mukhang may napagmanahan. I remember my FIL said that when Sieg was younger, he was like that too, super likot, and the only way he would stop is if he was sick.

This was last night before bedtime. Of course, we had to play first. Super funny because Rocco's favorite gigil attack lately is biting my face, as in literally biting anything that he could bite from me. From my jaws, my cheekbones, my nose, and even pulling my dear hair. He does that only to me. Sieg said I should wash my face often na daw because I'm becoming Rocco's teether na :)

P.S. Rocco gets a lot of complement because he has a charming smile. I super agree. My baby boy super loves to smile, and is always prepared when I take his photos :)


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