The Cheapest Book Lover Ever

I absolutely love a good deal. Unless it’s the groceries, I have a hard time buying things at full price. The same is true for books. I love books, especially children’s books, but they can be quite pricey here in the Philippines.

If you buy them new from regular bookstores, they’re usually Php 400.00-800.00 (USD 8.00-16.00) each. So a trip to the bookstore can easily eat up my modest freelancer’s paycheck.

So whenever I could, I would always ask Mikey to give me an hour (or three) so I could shop at Booksale. Booksale is a chain of bookstores that sells secondhand books. They always dedicate a huge section of their store to kid’s books and I could find books for as low as Php 15.00 (USD 0.30) and they’re usually capped off at Php 300.00 (USD 6.00).

When the pandemic and lockdown hit though, I had to be more creative with my bargain book shopping. Over the last month or so, I found online shops that sell and deliver pre-loved books. Here are the three online shops I successfully bought from.

3 Tried and Tested Online Sellers of Secondhand or Discounted Kids’ Books

1. Books for Less

IMG_0811
Second batch of books ordered from Books for Less (still waiting for my first batch).

I loved shopping in Books for Less even before the pandemic. They didn’t have as many physical branches as Booksale, but they would do a lot of pop up stalls in malls every now and then.

I was so happy when I found out that they launched a website during the pandemic. They add new titles every now and then. They have classic best sellers, like Eric Carle or the Dr. Seuss books. But they also have one-off odd ball ones like Dancing With Jesus by Sam Stall.

Here are some other details about this seller:

  • Payment options: PayPal, GCash, and Cash on delivery (COD)
  • Delivery: Store-organized
  • Shipping fee: Standard fee of Php 150 for Metro Manila addresses.

Favorite thing about this seller: Unlike most secondhand book sellers, they have a dedicated website where you can just keep adding titles to a cart. I like this because I’ll add all the titles I want first and then go through them again before I checkout.

Confuzzlement: Their payment verification process for Gcash payments is kind of confusing. The website says you just need to send verification to another mobile number (different from the GCash number where you send your payment to). And then you’ll receive a reply from the second number to re-send the verification to their FB Messenger account (and only then will your order be processed). So even though I paid already, it took another day for them to pack and ship my orders.

My second order also arrived before my first order, so that was confusing. As of writing, I only have my second order. I’m still waiting for my first order.

2. Bookery for Kids and Mums

IMG_0797
A few of our favorites from Bookery for Kids and Mums.

I’ve been buying from Bookery for Kids and Mums even before the pandemic started. They have a great selection of pre-loved books and new, low-cost editions of more recent titles.

Usually, the owner of the shop will post available titles in batches on Facebook. You go through the photos of the book and comment “MINE” if you want them. It gets pretty intense when new uploads are available—kind of like a bidding war.

I had a specific title in mind for my latest transaction with them, so I just messaged them directly to check for its availability. They had the title and it arrived at our place in two days. It was pretty amazing!

Here are some other details about this seller:

  • Payment options: Bank deposit (BPI, BDO, PNB, and Security Bank) or GCash
  • Delivery: Store-organized
  • Shipping fee: Depends on delivery location (they use Lala Move or ABest Express for Metro Manila deliveries)

Favorite thing about this seller: As Facebook stores go, her store is pretty organized! They also reply pretty quickly. I don’t have trouble navigating through her titles. I also love the variety of titles they carried in the past two years. I think I got most of Max’s “How Do Dinosaurs…” books from them.

3. Book Boutique PH

IMG_0796
I got all of this for Php 745.00 (USD 14.85)—including the shipping fee!

I discovered Book Boutique PH accidentally when it popped up on my Instagram feed (the ad spies are working). After a quick perusal of their Instagram page, I switched over to their FB page because they updated that more regularly.

Just like Bookery for Kids and Mums, they have a first-come-first serve commenting system. But apart from this, you need to take screenshots of the books you want and send them via FB Messenger as well.

They have an interesting selection of books. I found Japanese Children’s book which are always quirky and fun! They also had a bunch of Rosemary Wells books too.

Here are some other details about this seller:

  • Payment options: Bank deposit (BPI), Palawan/Cebuana/LBC pay, and Paymaya
  • Delivery: Store-organized
  • Shipping fee: Depends on delivery location (they use J&T Express)

Favorite thing about this seller: I love their week long reservation policy. If you want to take advantage of it, you have one week to shop for books. That way, you can make the most out of your delivery fees incase they add new titles during your reservation period.

Confuzzlement: Certain photos have comments that are hidden (I think it’s set to “show relevant” rather than “show all”), so sometimes you don’t know if the books are already reserved/sold. They verify this pretty quickly though when you chat them up on FB Messenger.

While I always try to honor Max’s natural interests, I have to admit that I try to sway his interest towards books whenever I can. Heck, we’ve been reading to Max even before he was born. I’m just glad that we’ve found an affordable way to keep getting him books even though we’re on lockdown. ❤

And Here We Are

I never thought I would ever seriously consider homeschooling Max. I joke a lot about slowly turning our little apartment into a pre-school, but not in a million years did I consider homeschooling.  

I know that our educational system has serious problems and it’s far from perfect. But when schools and teachers care about their students, even when they don’t have a lot going for them, amazing things can happen. I’ve seen it happen many times over. I wanted that for Max.

We were so excited when Max started school last year. We were excited about what he would learn about himself and the world. I never imagined that the world would turn upside down. 

We’re about eight weeks into an enhanced community quarantine. Basically, only one member of each household is allowed to leave to buy essentials.  This means that Max and I haven’t been outside our apartment for two months. 

It hasn’t been that bad for me. I love my boys and the days go by pretty quickly. But my heart aches for my three-year-old who loves connecting with other kids. 

So here we are. It’s been a month since Max’s teacher decided to hold regular online “classes”. Before that, she would just send a list of to-dos for us to accomplish every day. At first, I thought the online classes would be great, but they’ve actually been problematic.

IMG_7959
Circle time at home. Each Duplo represents a classmate that he misses.

Depending on the day, 2-3 teachers will send videos, instructions for activities, or Zoom links for “online classes” between 8:45-11:30 AM. The videos and activities aren’t too bad because we can do them at our own pace, but the online Zoom classes have been a huge struggle for us. Max and I end up fighting because these classes require sitting in front of a screen for 20-30 minutes.

Sometimes, the teachers have intermittent internet connection and there’s a lag or we can’t understand them at all. Even when the internet is stable though, Max doesn’t know who to focus on—his teachers or his classmates (who, naturally, are also active).

IMG_8560
Max’s first zoom class. We were so excited that we dressed up for it. Then we were told that it would happen every day, so we stopped dressing up in fancy clothes. Hahaha. 

It’s been pretty hard. Max and I sometimes end up fighting and we would start off the day on such a foul note. I would end up bribing him with screen time to sit through the whole thing, but he wouldn’t be absorbing anything. I would have to keep repeating the teacher’s instructions so that he could understand what he needed to do. Sometimes, he would have to repeat things multiple times because we wouldn’t be sure if his teacher saw or heard him.    

It works for some of Max’s classmates though. One of them just sits in front of the computer without any supervision. I can’t do that with Max. If I leave him in front of the screen by himself, he’ll lose interest right away and wander off. 

So what ends up happening is that we spend double the time we need to for school. After his morning classes, I spend the afternoon giving him supplementary activities to make up for his Zoom classes. This is especially stressful on the days that I have to focus on work. 

IMG_9217
One day, his teacher reviewed letters A-L during their zoom class and Max didn’t pick up any of it. So I started making him worksheets to help support alphabet awareness. Since then, he’s been working on 1-2 homemade worksheets everyday (we don’t have a printer yet).

It all came to a head one morning when both Max and I were palpably in dread of his online classes. That’s when it hit me—signing on to another year of this is like setting him up for failure.  

That’s not what I want. I want him to LOVE learning. Before all of this happened, Max loved going to school. He would be the happiest boy when I dropped him off and picked him up. Now, he can hardly wait to press the *Leave Meeting* button. Sometimes, I have to physically restrain his hand so he won’t press it. 

We haven’t decided on anything yet, but we’re definitely considering homeschooling him ourselves next school year. What makes this decision scarier is that it’s actually a viable option. 

It feels like a lifetime ago, but I did teach in a preschool and I was somewhat involved in their curriculum management. Mikey also taught preschool music and movement classes for years. And more importantly, we’re super lucky to have friends who are preschool literacy experts and legit homeschooling parents who I can easily run to for advice and support. 

One of my biggest hesitations about all of this is that I love being Max’s mom and I really worry about what this new role will do to our relationship. He’s already calling me Teacher Mama and it kind of makes me uncomfortable. 

After his Zoom classes he’ll sit in the classroom corner of our apartment and say, “Ok. Now you teach me.” It’s cute and I love that he loves spending time with me. But I can feel the pressure rising in my chest when he says things like that. 

When you take on the teacher role, there’s a clear goal that you’re trying to reach. And, with any goal-oriented task, there’s bound to be bouts of frustration if you don’t learn how to manage your expectations. 

I’m already really prone to being anxious about his development, so I worry about adding *real* /concrete learning outcomes in the mix. It’s so much fun to be his mom and I worry that being his official teacher will take away from that. 

It almost feels like we don’t have a choice though. It’ll take some time before there’s a reliable treatment protocol or vaccine. And our country’s testing and contact tracing capacity is nowhere near where it needs to be for me to be confident enough to let Max physically go back to school. 

Nothing is set in stone yet though. Hopefully things will be clearer once we conference with his teacher next week. But I think I already know what I need to do. </3

IMG_8460

 

Warm Bed Smells

IMG_1894

Hello again dear void. I started this blog because writing helped me navigate through my topsy turvy transition into motherhood. I haven’t updated it lately though. I started a few drafts highlighting our last few travel adventures, but I never got to finish them. 

I’d like to think of it as a good sign. I’m either able to manage my stress better or I’m busy with work (work that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do as a stay-at-home parent).

But with everything that’s going on right now, I find myself starting at this blank screen again. In a crazy turn of events, we’re entering our fifth week of an enhanced community quarantine here in the Philippines. 

What does that mean for us? Basically, we’re only allowed out to buy essentials like food, water, and medicine. Only one member from each family can leave and they need to bring their quarantine pass whenever they go out. For us, that’s Mikey. I don’t know how to drive, so he’s been going to the grocery/drug store for us every other week. 

We’re OK though. Maybe I should have started with that. We love our little apartment (and each other). We’re lucky that a work-from-home is an option for us. We’re close enough to groceries and drug stores, so it’s easy enough to run out and replenish our fridge without going through government checkpoints. We even managed to buy a cheap washing machine because all laundry services have been suspended). 

All things considered, we’re really more than OK. But I still worry. I told Mikey that I think I would be less worried if it were just me and him. But we have Squish. Of the many things I worried about as a first-time parent, a global pandemic was not one of them. 

There was no book or chapter in What to Expect When You’re Expecting to help prepare us for this. Though, I’d like to think that we aren’t failing Max completely. I wish we could add more greens to his meals and be less reliant on screen time for his entertainment. But he seems to be the same happy and silly toddler (and he loves having Mikey at home all day). 

Max is at a great age where you can totally reason with him, so he doesn’t complain much. He gets that there’s a virus out there that we’re trying avoid. When he prays though, he wishes the virus would go away so he could have some Xiao Long Bao again. Hahaha. 

Kids are amazing, aren’t they? They’re more resilient than we give them credit for. Squish is a great reminder of the everyday joy I would miss out on if I let the internet/news consume me. So I don’t. I try to keep informed, but I stop myself from refreshing my feed too often. 

This morning, I woke up earlier than my two boys. I squiggled out of Max’s snuggle, plopped myself on top of Mikey, and inhaled. We were all enveloped in warm bed smells. I didn’t realize how long it was since we regularly had quiet mornings like this. So today, for warm bed smells, I am grateful. 

(Now on to my lasagna. The toddler says that I’m the most beautiful and goodest cooker, so I’m putty in his hands when it comes to his food requests.)

Three Year Old Squishy

IMG_2381
Our three year old Spider-Squish! ❤

During our last visit to the pediatrician, I was carrying Max and another little boy came up to us, pointed at Max, and said: “what a cute baby!”

I just smiled, but Max didn’t think it was funny. With a stern face, he answers the little boy: “I’m not a baby! I’m a big boy! I’m three years old!”

We officially have a three year old! How did this happen? How did we get here? We’re officially on his last year as a toddler. I almost can’t believe it. I still remember holding my little lolo alien baby in my arms.

His third birthday celebration lasted for about a month. We’re not big on big birthday parties so we had a bunch of intimate gatherings throughout the month. Some planned and some accidental, but all equally wonderful.

Max’s first birthday party was at school! I can’t believe we’re having school parties now! It was really simple. I got some cupcakes, juice boxes, pizza, and Jollibee Chicken Joy and spaghetti.

We brought small goodie bags for Max’s classmates, but they loved the cupcakes! I sprinkled some M&Ms on top of them and they went nuts over it. I guess you can’t go wrong with M&Ms and toddlers.

IMG_2564
M&Ms FTW

On the eve of his birthday, Mikey and I set up a small salubong for him. It’s a little tradition we have, and I hope we can continue it until he’s older. We got him a donut (because we ran out of his birthday cupcakes) and we set up his birthday gifts. He blew out the candles and opened his gifts in a frenzy.

IMG_2592
Squish’s birthday donut

We got him a toy cash register and while he was playing with it, he said: “best gift ever!” I like getting him generic toys because I feel like they age better than toys associated with movies or TV shows. Mikey’s the opposite, so he eventually got Max a big Optimus Prime for his birthday too.

On the day of his birthday, we took him to play in Adventure Zone. The yearlong membership was his birthday gift last year and we don’t plan on renewing it again because he’s so busy with school now. As we watched him play, we were feeling sentimental about how much he could do now. He could barely slide by himself when we started. Just like last year, we ended up having a Xiao Long Bao dinner in Din Tai Fung.

IMG_2634
We love the plates they have for kids in DTF.

Mikey planned an impromptu playdate with some good friends, and they ended up in Adventure Zone again the next day. They had so much fun that Max fell asleep right after he had a few bites of his Shake Shack cheeseburger.

He had so much fun that he came down with a really bad cough. He was coughing through his big birthday lunch with my family the next day. But it didn’t stop him from playing with all his new toys with his Ninong Charleston.

IMG_2683
With Ninong Charleston

His last birthday celebration was with his Lala who helped us end the month with a bang. His Lala took him to Toys R Us to pick out his birthday gifts. We also had a great dinner at Sakura Yakiniku, Mikey’s favorite restaurant—and now, one of Max’s too.

Maybe when Max is older and he expresses his desire for a big birthday party, we’ll finally throw him one. But for now, his month-long celebration was pretty perfect.

When Max was about to turn two, everyone warned us about the terrible twos. As the year progressed, I kept thinking: it’s actually not so terrible. In fact, it’s pretty magical. I didn’t want to say it out loud because I was worried about jinxing it.

But now that the terrible twos are over, I can finally admit that it was amazing! I mean, of course there were hard days and I’ve locked myself in a kitchen out of frustration a couple of times. But I got to witness him grow so much in a year. I watched him become more independent and expand his vocabulary. Last year, he only spoke in two- or three-word sentences. These days, we can hardly get a word in without Squish interrupting.

IMG_2257
Squish showing off his robot family

Our world looks so different these days. Max is in school, and, on top of my writing gig, I’ve taken on a research position in my old university. I miss those days when Max and I would spend most of our time at home. It’s been tough to work in family time, but I hope that things will normalize within the month. But maybe more on this later.

Today, I get a rare morning off at Starbucks while I wait for Max. I can finally finish writing this post and watch an episode or two of Downton Abbey. In about half an hour, I’ll start packing up so I can walk back and pick up Squish. A three year old. Who goes to school. WHEN DID ALL OF THIS HAPPEN?!

img_2663-e1570153564417.jpg
How was this three years ago???

 

 

Squishy’s First Day Of School

Dear Max,

Today is your first day of school. How did we get here so quickly? I can still remember the days when the hours would go by so slowly, and yet here we are. It’s your first day of Pre-kindergarten 1.

Pre-kindergarten 1. Is that even a thing? Honestly, if you were a bit more like me, I would’ve kept you at home for another year or so. But you’re 100% you (and a little too much of your Papa).

You’re the little boy who would run up to kids you’ve never met and try to play with them. You’re the little boy who would cry when I would pull you away from them. You’re the little boy who would tell me that you want to go home with strangers. You’re the little boy who’s more excited to play with the kids at Adventure Zone than go on their fancy slides and playhouses.

You *are* a little boy. As much as I’d like you to be, you aren’t a baby anymore either. You have your own thoughts and preferences. And Papa and I see how you light up when you’re around other kids. You’ve also told us many times how much you want to go to school.

While this day came sooner than we expected, we can’t deny how excited we are for you. Your dorky parents are teachers and lifelong learners. So for us, school is magical and ordinary at the same time. We hope that you embrace the regularity and routine that comes with schooling. At the same time, we also hope that school becomes a catalyst of many mind-blowing and life-changing experiences.

You’re only 2 years and 11 months old. While it would be great if you end up mastering your phonics and learning all your numbers, we’d rather you learn how to:

  • securely get along with different people
  • joyfully share what you have
  • patiently wait for your turn
  • confidently explore the world

It’s not always going to be fun. There are times when you’ll be asked to do things you don’t really feel like doing. There may also be times when you won’t get along with a friend. But that’s OK because you’ll learn so much from these instances.

We believe in you bud. You’ve totally got this. We love you.

Love,

Your dorky and sentimental parents

P.S. Don’t grow up too fast

I’ll Do Better Next Time

IMG-6519

Over the weekend, we went to the Greenhills Shopping Center in an attempt to fix my broken iPad. While Mikey took care of the tech stuff, Max and I explored the shopping stalls in the bazaar area.

Max has been such a great trooper lately. We’re so amazed at how far he’s come from the last few months since we’ve weaned. Nap time isn’t a struggle anymore, he’s sitting in his car seat without any trouble (I can finally sit in front with Mikey again!), and he’s slowly learning to regulate his emotions with the help of words.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a willful (and many times a disobedient) toddler, but he’s trying so hard. We’ve also been “working” long hours lately and I can see it take a toll on him. So, to pep up the trip to Greenhills, I told him that he could choose one toy from the bazaar. He was so excited!

We walked around for a bit before we found stalls selling toys. When we finally found one, Max zeroed in on a Frozen themed toy gun. He pulled the trigger and the gun began signing the first two lines of the Let It Go chorus. Over and over again.

I started panicking internally. I didn’t want Max to have access to Elsa singing two lines of Let It Go on demand. I was also pretty sure that Mikey would hate it. So I tried diverting his attention to the other toys. He would look, but he’d keep coming back to the Frozen gun. It didn’t seem like he wanted anything else.

Desperate, I said: “But Max, that’s only for girls.”

I regretted it the moment I said it.

We make every effort to ensure that we don’t develop any gender stereotypes in our home, and certainly not in any toy stores. We know that social biases are already a strong enough influence, and this is why we try to offset this with our own influence on Max. So when I said it, shame washed all over me as my toddler looked at me in confusion.

I try to backtrack and I tell him that he can totally have it if he wants it. While I was trying to get the foot out of my mouth, the sales lady offers Max a similar gun, but this one was Captain America themed.

Max loves the MCU, so he was pretty happy with it. Instead of Let It Go, it made random laser noises when you pulled the trigger. We bought that toy instead.

Max seems really happy with his Capten ‘Merica shooter, but he still talks about the Frozen one. Max likes re-telling stories. So, more than once he’s said: “Maxie play with Frozen shooter, sing Let It Go. Maxie boy, buy Capten ‘Merica.”

I’ve apologized and I told him that I was wrong. I tried explaining that both boys and girls can play with both Capitan America or Frozen.

Unfortunately, the memory of picking out the toy is stronger than my postmortem dialoguing. So, he remembers it more.

My words matter, now more than ever. I’ll try to do better next time.

We Went Up The Mountain Again!

This year, instead of our annual trip to Davao, Mikey’s family spent Lola’s birthday in Baguio City. I have to admit that I was one of the few only people who was happy about the change. I love Baguio. And I love any reason to escape Manila’s dreadful heat.

Traveling to Baguio is trickier now that we have a toddler. I have to say though, going up to Baguio was the epitome of a great how to article. On the other hand, our ride back to Manila was the perfect what NOT to do article. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Hahaha. Here’s what we learned from our trip!

IMG_7807
Napping at the hotel after a 5 hour road trip.

How to Survive a Road Trip with a Toddler

1. Prepare Your Toddler

A week or so leading up to Baguio, we started telling Max about the trip to get him excited. We explained that we would be going up the mountains and he could ride the horses when we got there. We also told him that the roads were zig-zaggy and he would need to stay in his car seat to keep safe.

This worked out like a charm because we had no problems keeping Max in his car seat for most of his waking hours during our ride up to Baguio. Max sat quietly, asking us questions about the trees, the Hulk, clouds, Spider-Man, and birds.

I think it really helped that Max knew what was expected of him. When he would fidget, I would remind him that he needed to stay buckled in because of the zig-zaggy roads.

2. Leave Very Early!

I convinced Mikey to leave by 7:00 AM. I wanted to leave much earlier, but Mikey refused. He was driving, so there was no arguing with him. I thought I would wake Max up when we were about to leave, but he woke up as soon as I got out of the shower.

It was perfect because he got to have a quick oatmeal breakfast before we left. Initially, I thought Max would end up asleep in my arms for the first few hours of the trip and we would feed him breakfast on the road. This was much easier. We didn’t have to worry about getting Max breakfast anymore, so he could just snack on the things we packed if he got hungry.

The best thing about it is, he fell asleep as soon as we hit NLEX and didn’t wake up until we were about to hit Marcos Highway. He slept for the longest driving stretches, and woke up in time to see our ascent to the mountaintop!

3. Take Pee Breaks While the Toddler Sleeps

I forbade Mikey from stopping before Max napped. I knew that it was wonky/sleepy-ville and if we stopped, Max would want to go down with Mikey. It would’ve been difficult to get him back into the car.

So Mikey was more mindful of his liquid intake so he wouldn’t have to pee a lot. We didn’t stop until Max was completely asleep. It worked pretty well. By the time Max woke up, Mikey only needed go on one pee break and it was right before we hit Marcos Highway. Max happily sat in his car seat again because we told him that we were finally going up the mountains.

4. Exchange Screen Time with Window Time

We loaded our iPad and phones with all sorts of shows and movies to keep Max entertained on the trip. We were so surprised that he didn’t need any of it during the ride up.

He’s interested in so many things these days, so it’s getting easier to keep him entertained without screen time. We kept him engaged by pointing at stuff outside. We also sang a bunch of songs that he knew to help keep him engaged.

Neither of us wanted to mention it incase we would jinx it, but Mikey finally mentioned it when we reached the city proper. It felt like a huge achievement on our end!

5. Pack A LOT of Food and Water

I went overboard with Max’s snacks and drinks for our ride up. But it turned out to be really helpful! Max wanted a snack as soon as he woke up and he got to have some milk and cheese.

It turns out, Max doesn’t mind hanging out in his car seat as long as he has something to munch on. When we got to Baguio city and traffic was slow, Max kept himself busy by peeling out the whites of his oreos.

IMG_9121
We made it! Someone’s ready to run around.

How to Barely Survive a Road Trip with a Toddler

1. Don’t Have Your Car Checked

This was our biggest mistake of the trip. On the day we left, we noticed that the aircon wasn’t really working. Actually, it started acting up the day before, but we didn’t really notice because it was so cold that we didn’t really need to turn on the air conditioning.

At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I thought, at worst, it meant that it would be a warm ride home. But it turned out to be such a huge safety hazard.

It was raining really hard, so we couldn’t open any of the windows without getting soaked. When we kept the windows closed, it would get all fogged up because it was warmer inside the car compared to the outside.

So we ended up having to hit an air conditioning repair shop before we could drive back to Manila. When the repairmen filled our air conditioner with freon, they warned us to be careful. If there’s a leak, it meant that we would be able to smell the freon through the air conditioner. And if we did smell it, it could be harmful to us, but most especially to Max. So they advised us not to drive or to turn the air conditioner off.

Needless to say, it was a stressful drive down the zig-zaggy road. I’m just grateful that Max was asleep for all of that. We’ll definitely have our car checked before our next trip.

2. Make Lots of Long Stops

We “wasted” Max’s nap by making lots of stops on our way down. Mikey needed more cash because of the air conditioning system repair, so we needed to look for an ATM. And then we were at the air conditioner repair shop for a while before we could get going again.

By the time Max woke up, we had just gotten off the zig-zaggy roads. That was his only nap during the trip. So I had to entertain him the rest of the way.

3. Take the Wrong Route

Because we had to look for an air conditioning repair shop, we ended up at the other end of Baguio. So when Mikey used Waze to course our route back at home, we didn’t realize that it would take us through the small town route instead of the major thoroughfares. By the time Mikey realized it, it was too late.

This added 1-2 more hours to our travel time. Next time, we’ll make sure to double check Waze’s suggested route before heading off.

4. Feed The Toddler A Lot of Junk Food

Admittedly, Max was pretty well behaved during our long trip home. The great thing about this age is that you can talk to him and he’s really more likely to obey if he understands why. And if he can’t seem to understand, it’s also pretty easy to bribe him.

To keep him in a good mood, I presented Max with my bag full of snacks. Max was so excited. He ate for an hour straight. He had chips, milk, water, cookies, and crackers. Welp, any mom reading this can probably tell what’s going to happen next.

Max threw up. He threw up big time. And I caught it with my hands.

Miraculously, Mikey and I were as calm as a pickle. I think we were in such a pleasant mood because we managed the stressful zig-zaggy road drive. We just kept saying, “That’s OK buddy. You’ll be OK.” Mikey stopped on the side of the road while I cleaned Max up.

It was pretty drama-free, and apart from the hint of puke smell that lingered in the air, it was almost like it didn’t happen. Next time though, I’m packing more cleaning supplies in the car! And maybe a small can of air freshener too.

5. Screen Time

I had to find ways to keep Max entertained, so I succumbed to his request for screen time. He had A LOT of screen time during this trip. This is the first trip where Max finally discovered the wonders of cable television. He spent a lot of time hanging out in our hotel room, watching Cartoon Network, The Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon.

He missed it almost as soon as he woke up and asked to watch videos on my phone. I think this may have contributed to him throwing up. I wish I had tried to engage him in other ways instead. He gets really wound up when he has too much screen time.

6. Pack the Extra Diapers in Your Suitcase

I’m not sure if Max picked up something viral while we were in Baguio. Some of his cousins had a cold, so it’s likely that he got a bug of some kind. On our way down, Max pooped three times.

By the time we got to EDSA, I had changed Max’s diaper 5 times. I had finally run out of my reserve stash and the rest of his nappies were packed in our big suitcase. Fortunately, I had some of his potty training underwear in an accessible bag. And even more fortunately, he didn’t poop again for the rest of the evening.

Next time, I’m keeping all of his diapers in an accessible bag!

IMG_7846
Let’s go back?

Baguio will always have a special place in my heart because that’s where Mikey proposed almost five years ago. I love taking Max there and sharing our story with him. I’m also very partial to cooler weather. This isn’t the first time we drove up with Max, and I’m happy to report that it is getting easier! Hopefully, we’ll be able to head up there again soon.