On winning the lottery

Where’s Papa?

Mondays-Fridays, at around 5:30 AM, Mikey’s first alarm goes off. Sometimes, I catch it while I’m half asleep and nursing Squish. Most of the time, Squish and I are asleep. I think Mikey gets up at around 6 to get ready for work and he leaves by 6:30. He always, always gives me a kiss on the cheek and an ‘I love you, see you later’ before leaving (and one for Squish too if it seems safe).

Squish usually wakes up at around 9:00-9:30 AM (depending on his last feeding-while-sleeping session). We say our good mornings and cuddle. I change his nappy and we have breakfast.

After breakfast, Squishy plays for an hour or two. By 11:30 or 12, he will ask to breastfeed and fall asleep. Squish will sleep until 1 PM (or 2 PM on good days) and then we’ll have lunch.

When I get lonely at home, I’ll send Mikey a silly text or photo of us and he’ll message me back when he’s free. He never makes me feel like we’re bothering him. He always makes it seem like he’s delighted to hear from us.

After lunch, Squish usually plays until 4 PM. Mikey gets home between 4:30-5 PM. Sometimes, he’ll catch Squishy in the middle of breastfeeding or playing. If Squish is awake, he stops whatever he is doing to reach or crawl for his Papa. If Mikey has to leave the room to put is bag down first, Squish will cry out for him. ❤

As soon as Mikey gets home, he takes over Squishy patrol. He changes his nappy and has merienda with him. He’ll hold him or play with him while I attend to other things.

These days, we spend a lot of time sitting in Sqush’s play area. We watching him play while Mikey tells me about his day or I update him about Squish’s tomfoolery.

Mikey will allow my first hands-all-to-myself meal of the day over dinner by feeding Squish in between his own bites. He will give Squish a bath, put him in his PJs, and dance with him until he’s almost ready to sleep (and then I take over for his last feed of the night).

Sometimes, when I’m feeding Squish, I’ll wiggle my toes and Mikey will massage them for me and indulge my need for pillow talk.

Lights are usually out by 10:30 on an easy night and 11:30-12 when Squishy is especially playful. And then just like that, Mikey is up again at around 6 to start his day.

Mikey goes to work all day to provide for us, but he comes home happy and ready to spend time with us. He never makes us feel like a burden or that he’d rather do something else with his free time. I may stay home all day with Squish, but Squish has a full time dad just as much as he has a full time mom.

We won the Papa lottery. We’re so lucky. Happy Father’s Day to all the hard working Papas out there!

Our 9 month old Squishy

His first ID photo! ❤

This last month was all about playing and baby-proofing. We moved Squishy’s play area to our bedroom because the summer was so unforgiving and using our AC unit in the bedroom is cheaper than the one in the living area.

Boxed-in Squishy!

The play area started out in a small corner of the room. I used his playpen and some boxes as a fence around the area, but after a day or two, Squishy was obsessed with trying to get out. So we eventually had to move things around so that he could play in the entire room. I really miss the days when he would happily crawl on the bed all day or hang out with me on the couch or on his play mat in the living room. It’s so hard to stop him now. He just wants to crawl, climb, and cruise! The scariest thing is when he lunges towards things that he wants! He does this when he’s on the bed and he decides he wants to go down and play OR when we’re in the car and he suddenly feels like sitting on his Papa’s lap in the driver’s seat (while the car is parked, of course). Hay!

Outside the box Squishy!

For a while, Squish would seemed so hyper in my arms or in his playpen. He would keep struggling and spinning. I realized that it’s probably because he was bored and really wanted to do something else. I noticed that he’s not really hyper when I give him the space and freedom to play. He becomes really kulit when I stop him from going somewhere (like when I fenced him in) or when he knows that there are things that I consistently keep him away from (like the cabinet of drawers or the electric fan). Otherwise, when he’s free to roam around the space and there aren’t very many forbidden objects, he crawls around for a while until he zones in on a particular toy. And when he finds something he’s interested in, it can keep him preoccupied for a while.

It’s so fascinating to watch him play! I’m trying to get him to play architect with me and his blocks, but so far, he’s more interested in playing Godzilla (especially after Momma builds a beautiful foam block city). He really isn’t into stacking yet, but he is very interested in motion. When inanimate objects keep moving on their own, he’s fixated. He also loves wheels! He’ll tip over his wooden ride-on cow (we call it Bessy the Cow Moobile, hehe) and sit down on the floor and play with the wheels!

Squishy grabbing Bessy the Cow Moobile

It’s getting both easier and more challenging to feed Squish. Easier, because I’m a bit braver about giving him bigger chunks of food. So we’re actually giving him more real food and slowly phasing out the puréed baby food. He likes chewing! One time, I was trying to give him some crumbs from my cookie and he lunged for my cookie and took a big bite. I freaked out! I tried getting him to open his mouth, but by the time he let me see, he had eaten the whole bite already! Challenging, because he’s now learned how to play with his food! He knows how to collect the food in his mouth and spit it out like a machine gun! He doesn’t do it so often—I think when he does, he’s bored and really doesn’t like the food. He also gets fussy when he’s in his high chair for too long. He often tries to escape from the chair whenever we’re eating out, but he doesn’t do that at home, strangely. I have to admit that we use TV shows on our iPads or iPhones to keep him in his chair for longer and so that he can finish his food. He loves Sesame Street, Word Party, Hamilton performances (the Tony’s, White House, and Ham4ham), and Julie’s Greenroom.

I will not be contained!

Squish knows how to make tampo (hold a grudge) now! Whenever I put him in his car seat, he won’t smile at me or acknowledge my kisses in the car! And when we’ve finally parked again and I take off the seatbelt, he jumps out of the car seat and waits for his father to come and get him. When I try to give him a kiss outside the car, he turns away. My heart would hurt if he wasn’t so cute! The great thing about the car seat is that he’s been falling asleep in it a lot lately! So even if it’s hard to get him into it, once he’s on it, I can relax a bit. Sometimes, he’s so soundly asleep that we spend a lot of time in the parking lot waiting for him to wake up.

I think Squish’s babbles are become more communicative. I noticed that whenever he wants me and milk, he’ll let out a na-na-na-na-na. He babbles a lot when he’s playing by himself. Sometimes it seems like he’s talking to his toys; other times, it’s like he’s talking to himself.

Squish seems to be more attached to his father now than before. He cries sometimes when Mikey leaves the room. He also gets palpably excited whenever Mikey comes home from work and calls out his name. “Maaaax,” he would say, and then Squish’s eyes light up and he’d look for his Papa before letting out a giggly scream.

His developing mobility and personality is so amazing. He’s becoming his own person right before our eyes! I can’t believe we get to watch it all unfold.

Wandering feetsies. 

Breastfeeding: A real man’s perspective

It’s 2:00 AM one night. Max is tossing and turning. My left eye is half-open. I see that Max sits up in what seems like a drunken stupor. “Drunk Fu”, we call it. He looks like an old Shaolin Master trying to recover from a concussion. Or The Undertaker trying to get up from an F–5.

I pretend to be asleep (even though I practically am).

Char wakes up from her own half-sleep. It seems to be the only kind of sleep she gets these days. Max sees that she’s awake—“awake”—and snuggles up to her chest.

“Okay, okay,” my wife concedes. She picks him up, pulls up her shirt, and Max feeds.

I go back to sleep, relieved.

It’s 11:00 PM on another night. Char has just “tagged” me—it’s my turn to step in and watch the baby. She just finished breastfeeding Max, so she’s supposed to be done for the night. I carry Max and sing to him. Dear Theodosia. It’s Quiet Uptown. There’s a Little Wheel a-Turning in my Heart. Max struggles with his sleepiness. He loses, and falls asleep. I take quiet little steps to the bed, when suddenly, Max wakes up again. He looks at me, looks around, and then looks at his Momma, and lets out a cute little whimper.

Char gives me a blank, defeated stare. I smile, sheepishly. I let Max down on to the bed, and he turns and crawls swiftly into his mother’s arms.

I go to sleep, relieved.

It’s 10:30 last night. Max is asleep. I had dozed off without brushing my teeth. Eventually I couldn’t stand it, so I quietly slide off the bed, sneak to the bathroom, and I brush and I floss. I sneak back to my bedside and plug in my chargers. Then–smack— I accidentally tip over a bottle of Lavender and Peppermint linen spray.

The sound wakes up Char, and then slowly wakes up Max. Char destroys me with an optic blast gives me the evil eye. She picks up Max, and breastfeeds again, and then says, begrudgingly, that I should go to sleep.

So I do, relieved.

If I was asked what I think about when I think about breastfeeding, I would be lying if I didn’t first talk about the absolutely selfish relief I feel whenever Char has to breastfeed. Look, I try very hard to share responsibility with Char in caring, protecting, and raising Max. I am absolutely allergic to the thought of being a deadbeat Dad, or a lousy Father. It’s 2017: old ideas about stereotypical (read: irresponsible) manhood should be dead and buried. I believe real men should do chores, cook, wash dishes, and put babies to sleep. Real men should be able to—and be glad to—do anything and everything women can do for their families1. So, that’s what I try to do for Max—I should be able to do anything Char can do for him.

But I can’t breastfeed. Unfortunately, Max also absolutely prefers direct feeding over bottle or cup feeding: it’s the most foolproof way of putting him to sleep. If Max refuses to sleep in my arms, and he starts showing signs of wanting breastmilk2, really, what’s a man to do? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have to admit that the relief extends to the fact that I literally can’t breastfeed. But I do hear from very excitable breastfeeding social circles that men can actually do it. There isn’t any scientific material, though—or at least, no guides or workshops or YouTube tutorials that can teach me how to do it. Of course, if such materials were in fact available, it would be my moral obligation to actually try to learn it so I can share in the responsibility along with my wife.

But those materials are not available3. I guess I can just go back to sleep, relieved.

  1. For the record, I believe women should be the same. ↩︎
  2. These days it’s a short whimper, and a yearning glance in his mom’s direction. ↩︎
  3. Please do not reply to this post with links to these materials ↩︎

Date Night

We still haven’t figured out how to go out without the baby. Honestly, I don’t know who to leave him with. We don’t really have household help and even though Squishy’s grandmothers love him to pieces, he’s kind of a handful now and they can’t handle him by themselves. Plus his newfound clinginess AND need for breastfeeding, Squish pretty much goes where I go.

That means date nights = Mikey, me, and the baby. Also, date nights usually go hand-in-hand with errand nights too. So, really, there’s very little romancing going on.

But we must keep on trying because it is of utmost importance that our marriage thrives. Here’s us trying tonight:

Squish fell asleep as soon as I strapped him in (hooray for easy car rides!). When we got to the mall at 7 PM, he was still asleep. Because he didn’t nap so well today, we felt bad about waking him up. So we let him sleep. We hung out in the parking lot until 8:15 PM. 😅

As soon as he woke up, we had dinner. Squish wasn’t into his dinner so he got food all over himself. We took turns feeding him and eating from our own plates. Then we went to the drug store, hardware store, and supermarket. I bought some face masks in the drug store and Mikey got some edge cushions for our baby proofing project.

Php 99.00 (USD 2.00) each from Watsons!

When we got home, Mikey gave Squish a bath and I put away the groceries. He installed some of the edge cushions while I nursed Squish to sleep. As soon as Squish fell asleep, I whipped out the face masks and we were pleasantly surprised!


The face masks had animal faces printed on them! So cute! I thought the animals on the packaging were just cute doodles! We were glad that Squish was asleep because it might have freaked him out. Hehe. Any date night that ends in cute silliness is a success! ❤️


Good mental health keeping

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost 9 months now. Staying home with Squish is a gift and my heart aches for moms who want to stay home, but for one reason or another, can’t. 9 months of loving and learning and stretching and I’m still adjusting to this new way of life.

I used to work multiple jobs and I thrived in the multitasking chaos of it all. At any given time throughout the year I would be: teaching 4-6 classes, doing administrative work for a university research office, engaging in multiple research projects, or organizing/speaking in workshops/seminars. That was my life.

At least once a year I would tell myself (and my patient boyfriend-turned-husband) that maybe it was time to say no to some things and slow down. But I never did. And now, it kind of makes sense. I’m glad that I never said no and that I made the most out of my single and childless-married years. I don’t think I can work like that again.

The decision for me to stay at home with the baby was never something that was set in stone. It wasn’t something that Mikey and I talked about or even planned for. But the moment I got pregnant, I knew that my full-time over-time working days were numbered. Early on in the pregnancy, Mikey and I discussed our options and I tearfully told him that I couldn’t imagine leaving our baby with anyone else. I felt like I was confessing a sin when I told him that I wanted to stay home to look after the baby (maybe it was the hormones). And almost automatically Mikey said that we would make it work (and honestly, he’s made it work more than I have, but that’s for another post).

I am grateful that it’s worked out so far. And I’m sure that this is what I’m supposed to be doing right now. But this new pace is something that I’m still getting used to.

I used to be an avid list maker. My favorite thing to do was to cross things off of my lists. I loved closing projects, finishing lectures, checking stacks of papers, and sending out summary emails. Even with the most over-extended projects, there would be an end in sight. Parenting, though, is a whole different ball game. There is no pause. There’s no clocking out or turning off notifications for the weekend. Even when we go to sleep at night, I know that I’ll be up in a few hours to feed Squish. Heck, even when he sleeps through the night, I find myself waking up to check on him. It can be maddening sometimes when you’re sleep deprived and it seems like you’re stuck in a never-ending routine.

This is why I do the dishes. After dinner, I leave the baby with Mikey, I take my iPad with me to the kitchen, play something silly, and I start washing the dishes. It’s therapeutic: the dishes WILL get done. I need that sense of achievement, no matter how shallow or inconsequential the task. It’s become my reset button, my deep-breaths space, and my hey-I-have-both-hands-free! time.

It helps that our kitchen is a separate from the living area and far from the bedroom because even when Mikey offers to take over, if I’m in the same room as them or if I can hear them, half of my brain is still monitoring the baby. And it’s more complicated now that Squishy is going through a clingy phase.

I think the best thing about my strange love affair with the dishes is that Mikey hates (HATES HATES HATES) doing the dishes. So he will gladly take over Squishy duty to get out of doing it. 😅

Here we are in all of our good morning glory!