July 22, 2015

To Bully or Not To Bully, That is the Question

I guess all guys come to a point where they ask themselves if they will be nice or not. The saying “nice guys finish last” is not exactly a good come on for them to choose being nice. When I was in high school I witnessed many nice guys turn into jerks when they realized it can get them: a) girlfriends b) popularity c) “respect” from other bros. That is how messed up teenage thinking is, I guess. I remember when I was in second year high school and I teased a classmate of mine about his guitar skill and he took it so seriously that he pretended I didn’t exist. He stopped talking to me and he never looked at me and he never acknowledged my presence for 3 years. In other words: he was a complete jerk. And guess what? Within those three years, he was my biggest crush.

But this blog entry is not about why girls choose bad guys. I am one of them girls and I have zero answers. I never really stopped to think about it. In fact, during a very rough patch with my husband (then-boyfriend) about 8 zillion years ago, Life presented me a very nice man. He’s super smart, funny, and we basically love the same things under the sun: music, food, style, books, movies. But he was too nice. Is there such a thing? Can one be really “too nice”? And is that a bad thing? Of course not. Never. But I chose the one who can throw a punch. I don’t like violence, but I chose the one who can kill for me. Is that weird? For whatever psychological explanation blah-blah-blah, it is what it is. Bad boys do get babes.

So, with that said… how do I answer my teenage boy when he asked me if it’s okay to be a bad guy for a change? Knowing “being bad” has gotten me things yet my ultimate mission in life is to raise nice and compassionate human beings who can contribute significant things in this world? His “Bad Boy” Dad’s advice is: “Punch them if they punch you”, and despite my “all the world need is love” motto, I cannot deny that that’s how my husband won me over. That’s twisted right? Like I find my husband so painfully handsome when he smokes yet I hate that he smokes. I’m just injecting these facts in the story, I am not saying it’s sane, I’m not saying it’s right, I just feel I have to be transparent and lay it out on the table so you’ll see how tricky this whole scenario is for me. The thing is, his Dad and I are naturally spunky and feisty. We were born as so. We didn’t know how to handle our spunkiness and boy it got us into a lot of trouble while growing up. I was a bully and pretty much got what I wanted, but as I got older (and wiser?) I realized all the world need is Love. As cheesy as that may sound, it is also the most pure and true. 

My Prince is unlike his Dad and I. While my Prince was growing up, I have always stressed the importance of being nice. He lies from time to time (pet peeve) like any normal teenager would but generally speaking I have a nice kid. I remember the first time my son was bullied. He was around 6 years old (when I was 6, I was already beating up boys in playgrounds). I don’t remember what the bully did but I remember perfectly well how I felt. I wanted to bully the bully and it was painful to see my son sad and helpless. He’s now 15 and he has been bullied many times. There was a time his “friends” read his diary, there was a time when the whole school (because it’s such a small school) called him gay (just because he drinks soy milk a lot, and people in his school knew most soy milks are genetically modified = can wreck one’s hormones), things like not getting invited to go to the mall and other seemingly harmless teen stuff.
I say "seemingly harmless" because they may seem childish to us but these are a big deal for them. Especially for a sensitive teenager. It gets bad that there are days he refuses to go to school. It’s natural for a mother to be protective, the feeling bubbles and burns, it isn’t pretty. But despite my own sadness and frustration, I always tell him to remain nice

There's no need for violence. Never. I have given him that advice again and again. I have been in many cat fights myself during my teen years to know that. Thankfully, there are no bullies who resort to physical confrontations in his school.  He is such an emo kid. He's sensitive. Being born on the year of the Rabbit and all. It is very easy to upset his disposition. Please do not get me wrong. He knows how to stand up for himself. He is smart. He may appear weak and awkward most of the time, but he has spunk enough to fight for what he believes in. Like he explains himself well if he's accused of being a tattle-tale or something. He snaps back with witty one-liners when he's teased. But it doesn't mean he is not affected. Of course he is.

Now it has gotten to a point where he’s thinking being nice is not exactly working and that in order to survive, he needs to be a bully too
(let's be clear: by "bad/bully" I mean “teenage bad” – like making fun of people and ostracizing people just to look cool. Nothing super bad like hitting people or nothing super illegal like drugs or killing – heck no!). If he can’t beat ‘em, might as well join ‘em, right? Do I discourage him? Will I punish him? Oh my Prince… he has always been nice and sweet. He may have his teenage mood going on but it is nowhere near the angst his Dad and I had. Now he wants to try being bad. He thinks it is the way to get respect from his peers. He thinks it is the best way to deal with his current life. It’s a conscious choice.

As much as I have crushes on bad boys, I don't ever want him to be one. Bad boys make girls cry, haha! That's the truth. I don't want him to tease his classmates, I don't want him to be the kind of guy that kicks out friends out of a certain circle just because, I wish for him to be kind all the way. But I’ll let him be. I’ll let him be “bad” if he thinks that will work. I have reiterated the value of being a nice guy, but I’ll allow him to make his own choices. Let him do his own social experiments. Chew the consequences, weigh in the pros and cons, see the effects, the whole shebang. I can’t bear the thought of my son torturing someone else’s life (I always tell him to look back on those days when he was a victim. I remind him the Golden Rule: Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you), but that’s just how it is with teenagers I guess. No matter how hard we try to sell the idea of “love one another” they’ll really go into that phase where they test what will be acceptable or not. I can't choke him, I can't cage him, I can't command how he'll live his life and we have no “religion” at home, so he doesn’t peg his life to be like Jesus’, but he’s aware how important Love is. Ultimately, again as cheesy as this may sound, Love is always the answer.  He’s naturally a kind and sweet being, I know his natural self will resurface sooner than he actually wants. After all, it is what it is.

Follow the Prince HERE :)


July 14, 2015

Our Un-Ho-Hum Life #1

Today is a Tuesday which means I haven't blogged for more than a week which is not good since I promised myself to make at least one entry per week, ideally on a Monday which I aptly coined "Mommy Monday" because, you know, between work and real life I'm hoping to allot at least an hour or so for my Mommy blog on Mondays. That was a mouthful and I don't even know if that made sense.

I was hoping to talk about some of the products I have been using on my kids but I figured maybe I can have something like "Feature Fridays". Then on days I have no "solid" blog entry, I can (or maybe 'should', it depends) have something like A-Day-In-The-Lives-Of kind of thing (although I do have a photo-blog), where there's no actual gem in the story, where it can be as mundane as telling a story how we went to the grocery store or how we watched our gardener sweep leaves.

So on a day like this, when I have no "solid" blog entry (and by solid, I mean an entry written with soul and complete purpose), allow me to have a silly journal-type entry. Shall I call this series...

Our Un-Ho-Hum Life (or OUL)
(Name study still ongoing, hehe)

Their yaya is on leave for her birthday so suffice to say my work took the slow train as I full throttled Mommy duty. I still got a little help here and there but basically they had me and I had them for 48 hours. Here's the report:

SilverPixie's 48 Hour Mommy Duty:

Accidents: One. The computer chair fell backwards with the Dragon on it. Not hurt, just shocked.
Food Report: Too many marshmallows for the Dragon, too many potato chips for the Knight.
Mommy Boo-Boo: Forgot to give them their daily vitamins!
Mission Impossible: Trimmed the Feisty Dragon's hair; bathed them AT THE SAME TIME!
Poop Report: Yes, washed both bums simultaneously throughout both days.
Extracurricular Activity: Rode a dinosaur (again).
Realization: When the Dragon was as young as the Knight today, he was already walking.
Boiling Point: When the Dragon screamed and shouted for more marshmallows during the time we had customers at The Purple Owl. (Let's blame Grandma for introducing marshmallows in his life).
Update on the Prince: Been getting good grades as of late and officially started basketball training! He also got me my fave milk tea yesterday. Ever so sweet :)

Play time also means learning and exploring the world

I was planning to narrate both days but a summary seemed more fitting since, really, nothing much happened. Nevertheless, I feel like short-changing you, my readers, if you get nothing out of my story. So let us wrap this up with: Mothers are imperfect. They're not really the all-powerful Goddesses most humans like to believe. Although, generally, we make sure our kids are clean and well-fed (hey, they had fresh fruits, veggies, rice, meat, and lots and lots of breastmilk!) We do give in to their tantrums from time to time, we sneak in "bad food" sometimes, we forget important things like vitamins, we lose temper, our kids fall off beds/chairs under our watch, and so many other face-palm-worthy things. Such is (a sweet) life!

July 06, 2015

Of Robots and Kaiju Monsters - Roaring Memories

For many years I was a Zoid, a big black and mean bison Zoid in my head, a lame Mommy Zoid in my Prince’s head. A bison Zoid that had lazer powers, that swam underwater, and had tiny humans for crew that fixed me up in seconds (or minutes – depending if I needed an excuse to catch my breath). My Prince was the “bida” Lion Zoid and he had everything. And I mean every little bida thing. If Lame Mommy Zoid breathed fire, Bida Lion Zoid breathed fire AND missiles. If Lame Mommy Zoid had force field, Bida Lion Zoid had electrifying force field. It had to be like that. The Prince hated losing. But it was fun, easily one of the best bonding moments I have with my son. When he turned 9, I pointed out that he was already getting big and that we might hurt each other for real. So we stopped for good. (We had an epic last fight on top of my parents’ bed, read: bigger and bouncier). In reality I was just really getting old. I was already 29 with asthma.

Fast forward to today. Apparently I’m a mean big-ass dinosaur whose nemesis is Godzilla. At least that’s how my second son (ahem, Godzilla) directs our playtime nowadays. He is only 3 years old. Oh God help me there will be around 6 more years of this kind of play. Let’s not forget my Happy Knight who just turned a year old. I wonder what kind of rough play he will be into? Being a dinosaur is a lot harder than being a Zoid because as a Zoid my hands served as ammunitions, I basically just flung my arms about. But as a dinosaur? I have to growl all the time. I have to snap my teeth again and again. I have to literally bite Godzilla. Not to mention I have to stomp around like a boss. It’s pure physical workout I tell you.

Yes, this is what raising boys means. It means hundreds of rough pillow fights.  “Laban laban” as my second son calls it. They’re just naturally drawn to that kind of play. If it’s just up to me, I’ll throw crayons and papers on the floor and call it an afternoon. But I am more than happy to play the part, to be their favorite villain. It’s actually an honor. No matter how lame an enemy I am (what kind of a big-ass dinosaur needs rest every 3 minutes?!), it’s still my face they will see when they’re old and gray and recalling their childhood.
The Prince now realized how unfair it is to be all-powerful, haha!

June 29, 2015

And Another One of Mine Turns One

My youngest son turned a year old last June 18. He has 8 teeth, he can say a couple of words, he can take small independent steps, he can last 10 hours without me, and each day that passes, he shows more and more of his personality. I gave him the moniker “gentle happy knight” because when I gave my second son the “feisty dragon” moniker I didn’t expect him to be literally feisty (and yes, turns out he has a thing for dragons). I don’t know if it was pure coincidence or just Law of Attraction at work but I didn’t want to risk it hence “gentle and happy knight”! Haha!

The birthday boy. He was a bit unplanned. My husband and I were planning to have him around 2014 and even then it was still a decision we had to carefully make. Alas, he was conceived October of 2013 while I was currently trying to get the hang of handling several jobs but I went through the pregnancy with so much happiness so much so that I didn’t stop happy donuts in my diet.

He was weird when he came out. We couldn’t place who he looked like and he had us guessing even weeks after his birth. The realization came late: he looked like the boys of my mother’s nuclear family, the Spanish blood evident. From the very beginning he’s a smiley happy baby.  I believe the moniker worked. Although we have yet to see if he is indeed a gentle being because so far this is what we gather: he is very demanding and impatient. He will scream and get really frustrated when he doesn’t get what he wants right away. He is also ma-bibbo, likes to show off his new skills. He can open and close his fists at will only a few months old, he can wave “buh-bye” at 10 months, he can dance and “sing” if you ask him to. I know these are basic “baby tricks” but understand I didn’t experience that with my feisty dragon. He was too feisty to perform “baby tricks” for us.

Until now I don’t know what I have gotten myself into. I added another human in this world, so much responsibility to bake this dough-boy into perfection. There are hundreds of moments when I just stare at him and think: You are the third person I have to take care of. It’s no joke to be responsible for a life of ONE human, what more THREE. It’s an overwhelming thought. It’s more scary than exciting. At the same time it is an overwhelming joy. The Love and Peace I feel every time I caress his sleeping face is just priceless. I would just stare at his tiny hands, tiny feet and the awe is powerful. I have done it to 3 babies, it never gets old.

Twelve months on Earth and I am still getting to know him. Still adjusting with this life of being a mother of three children. Still overwhelmed. 

The Birthday Celebration

The Concept and Venue
We wanted to celebrate at the Fun Farm again, just like the dragon’s 1st birthday but since we knew there’s a huge chance of rain, we opted for The Purple Owl (which is basically our home anyway). We knew we wanted it to be down-to-earth and simple but fun (not really a fan of loud and noisy, commercial character-ridden birthday parties, especially for first birthdays) so we came up with “gardening” party. At first the concept was to push living a healthy lifestyle and the party food was supposed to be all-organic and all-natural but I procrastinated too much with the preparation and just went and ditched the whole organic thing. I was also supposed to put several “bars” (popcorn bar, juice bar, and apple pops bar) but I knew we would run out of space since we decided two days before the party to hold it indoors. The kids activity was supposed to be out in the garden, I asked our gardener to prepare plots so kids can plant. It was ready a week before the party but we had to opt for indoor activity instead and came up with “paint your plant’s pot”. That’s really the whole idea of holding it in our place so we can choose indoors even if it’s a last minute decision.

When he was only a few months old, just by chance, we kept getting stuff that were dominantly orange and teal so it was a no-brainer that his color-scheme would be those colors. I wanted to veer away from Hoot Design’s usual bare wood look so I painted the wood white and added denim for a twist. The carrot just happened.  I guess it's the ultimate orange representation of a garden? Hahaha!

The Twist

I didn’t want it to be just a gardening party so I added a bit of twist to it. I came up with the copy “Plant Positivity” and “Sowing the Seeds of Happiness” so it has a relation to who my son is (a happy baby).  If there’s one thing I regret not doing it is not doing the word balloon props for the studio I made for the photo booth area. It could have been cooler had I provided word balloons with those lines. The photo booth area was where people sat and relaxed and had their photos taken ala-photo studio. The photos were one of our give-aways. We also had mini clay pots the children took home after they painted it. For the older guests, we had fruit-bearing plants like calamansi, passion fruit, papaya, and guyabano.

The Blessing
Just like with my second son, we blessed the happy knight with our very own loving energy. No priest, no pastor. Just us. We asked them to channel all their good intentions and well wishes to him and we asked them to envelope him with their Love.  We also carefully selected special few to be his beacons. It was simple, meaningful, heartfelt, and not tied to any religion but open and accepting.

 Click HERE for more photos! :)

June 22, 2015

Onto Upper School for the Prince

My son started Upper School last June 15, still in Acacia Waldorf School. He planned to leave the school because he was determined to expand his social circle, try new curriculum, basically explore a new world in a traditional school.

He crammed studying for the entrance exam and after a week we were notified that he didn't make the cut. His grade school teachers were shocked when they learned he didn't pass because they were all confident he would. Now they're saying it's probably because of the limited slots (he was the very last one to apply). I am thinking he failed the exam. I really don't know. Because the school didn't even bother to elaborate why he wasn't accepted. It was just those two cold words, high-technologically albeit impersonally stated on the computer screen: 'Not accepted'. I am not kidding you, it was only those two words. Nothing else.

I am sad for him but quite re-assured that I don't like traditional schools. I e-mailed them asking if they care to expound and all I got was a computer-generated unrelated response. When my son first tried to enter grade school, he took an exam in this progressive school in Quezon City. He wasn't accepted but I was given a thorough and comprehensive analysis as to why he didn't make it and even got a good recommendation to enter Builders School, a then-up and coming non-traditional school that specializes in teaching children to read love reading. That is how you help people learn. In fact, when we left Builders (because we have to move to Tagaytay), his kind and capable teachers expressed their hopes and fears for my son. We felt the love and concern. That is how a school should be: teachers are more than just people who robotically shove information in our heads. They're our mentors, our guide, our friends.

Alas, I guess my son is just a number to them. A faceless, character-less entity who has to reach certain points arranged by them. I am not mad, bitter, or even disappointed. That's just how it is in their world and, apparently, it works for a lot of people. Some might point out that it is just how the "real world" works but in my opinion, our world should be about helping one another, reaching out to one another in our own best ways. It is totally okay to be denied acceptance but at least explain why and, if possible, point out the necessary steps one has to take to improve. It's not "baby-ing", it's called improving the society.

Well, like I said before, it all boils down to how you personally define what education means. My top priority is to teach my children compassion and during the admission process of the traditional school he tried entering I didn't feel or see a tinge of it. I am now sure, more than ever, that it isn't for me*.

*"Isn't for me" doesn't mean it isn't right for him. He will try again come next school year and we'll be here to support him no matter what.

June 15, 2015

Hello Life

It's funny how this blog started with my Kind Prince as the main character. Now we have the Feisty Dragon and yes, now the Happy Knight. I can't believe within four years my little family is now bigger.

Our third child was a little bit unplanned because we aimed to conceive on the year 2014 but I got pregnant October of 2013. The Universe has different plans. In fact, when I was pregnant with our Knight, we didn't know his gender until the very moment he came out of the womb while it's no secret we want a Princess in our story. So perhaps maybe 2017? Who knows.

I haven't been updating this blog as often as I want to but I will try my best to tell stories that transpired and will also be keeping it up to date. Life just seriously happened. I started two businesses in the past two years (here and here) while still holding my current job as an art director in our family multi-media studio, and like mentioned above, gave birth again. I'm even cooking up 2 more businesses. In between managing work, tandem breastfeeding, attending school meetings, consuming hundreds of milk teas, looking for the perfect yaya (we all know this is almost an impossible mission), I got too busy simply enjoying what life has to offer and resorted to instant (photo) blogging on Instagram (follow me!).

Let's kick-off by simply telling you how my day started today. My day started at 2am with my Dragon and my Knight beside me, both awake, both wanting to nurse. So I tandem-fed them. After which, I checked the bed if it was wet with wee-wee then checked their butts. Because that's just how we roll. My toddler didn't have an accident but I changed my baby's cloth diaper. We slept again. Around 4am, same scenario. Because life is so awesome, it's mainly about boobs and butts.

Around 6am, my Prince came inside the room to prepare for school and so the other two decided to also officially start their day. The Prince got busy with his outfit (which is cool, if I say so myself, hello camo pants and beanie), the Dragon got busy punching everyone and stomping his feet, the Knight got busy being half-cranky half-excited to play.

Hello Life.

Then it got a little bit more interesting because I placed my toddler in a corner after he punched everyone but the "corner" happened to be his closet so he grabbed his Godzilla outfit and insisted he wears it. He stripped off his jammies and got inside Godzilla and became Godzilla for around 8 minutes, decided it was too itchy and hot, removed it and decided to stay naked. So he was naked when they went out of the house for the usual morning mini-walk in front of the house.

Oh yes. This blog will be interesting.

June 11, 2015

Welcome Back

I have been on hiatus for more than a year. My last entry was last February 2014. I was 4 months pregnant at that time with my third child and between that and today, things have been quite fast and confusing and a bit sad. First off, my financial status has been (and still is) incredibly shaky. Having no fixed income can be quite exhausting. Secondly, I lost my last grandmother and my one and only uncle on my mother’s side. My one and only Godmother has been in and out of the hospital, wowing everyone around her, time and time again, as she fights all the cancer in her body. Sigh.

On the very bright side, I gave birth last June 18, 2014, without anesthesia again. Funny that this is a mommy blog yet I never really wrote anything about my pregnancy (I think I only have one super-crammed entry regarding my journey with No. 2 in my tummy). It’s as if I avoid talking about it which is totally the opposite because I’m passionate about the wonders of child bearing. I’m passionate about breastfeeding. About using cloth diapers. About feeding my children the right stuff (yet watch me feed them Mcdonald’s French fries from time to time because I am frustratingly inconsistent like that).

My eldest graduated last April and will start Upper School this Monday, June 15. Three days after that my youngest son will turn a year old. My middle child is now 75% Godzilla.

I will try my best to fill in the blanks as I move along. For now, allow me to welcome you all back to Silverpixiemom.  

What do you know? I have THREE sons now!