Our 9 month old Squishy

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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. 😅

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Here we are in all of our good morning glory!

I have a Squishy documentation addiction problem.

When I was little, taking photos and recording video were a big deal. The equipment was expensive and you needed film or video tape. The equipment was clunky and so was storage. My mom had photo albums, betamax tapes, VCR tapes, etc. The photo albums are fun to look through, but I don’t remember watching the recordings much.

It’s so different now! All you need is a good smartphone and everything you need is there! You can take as many photos and videos as you want (for as long as you manage your storage well enough).

According to my iPhone, I have taken 4,399 photos of my 8 month old son. This does not include videos. Or the photos and videos Mikey has of him. My social media posts are 95% Squishy related and just like the stereotype, it does seem like I’ve gotten rid of my old hipper* self and have become the one-dimensional mother who’s world revolves around her baby.

(I promise I still have a brain and interests outside my child. But I have to admit, it does take some effort not to make it all about him.).

I have to stop myself from posting multiple photos of him on Instagram every day (I try** to limit it to one photo upload on my personal account and one in my Squishy Days account). I upload over a hundred photos every month on Facebook to commemorate his monthly birthdays. I also have this blog (the last thing I attempted to blog about was office supplies).

But having the privilege of being around Squishy 24/7 makes me hyper aware of how different he is every single day. Heck, on some days, it’s like Squish is a different baby after every nap! Don’t get me wrong—there are days that feel longer than others, but on most days, it still feels like I was barely pregnant yesterday!

I’ve received a lot of (unsolicited) advice when it comes to Squish, but the one that seems to hold the most truth is that all of this goes by so quickly. So I take as many pictures and videos as I can and I write as much as I can because I don’t trust my brain to remember all of it.

So thank you, dear internet, for helping me document our journey with Squish. I think I’ll keep going until he’s old enough to protest. Hehe. As a token of my gratitude, here is a bouquet of toesies:

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*hipper doesn’t really mean hip at all. I used to post a lot about Mikey, my dogs, coffee, and food.

**I try really hard, but there are days when I post more than one photo in each account. Hehehe.

Our 8 month old Squishy

April-May was eventful! Squishy had his first bout of diarrhea. Apart from the frequent wet poops though, he generally seemed like his normal self. Of course, as newbie parents, we were beyond stressed. We’re not really sure how he got it. We think it may have been some soup he had at a restaurant. Or it may have been related to his teething? He started eating his fingers more during that time.

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The worst of it happened the night before we were set to leave for Davao. We had just come home from his doctor who assured us that Squishy was fine and that we were doing everything we could to make sure he stayed fine (hydration drinks, probiotics, zinc drops, and diaper rash cream).

As soon as we got home (it was around 8 PM, our flight was at 4:30 the next morning, and still we had A LOT of packing to do), Squish pooped again and this time we noticed red streaks in his poop. We assumed it was blood and freaked out. After consulting with his pediatrician, we went back to the hospital and had a fecalysis done and waited. It was the longest one hour of my life. (The whole time though, Squish was acting completely normal). The results came back and his poop was completely normal except for the fact that it was softer than usual. The pediatrician said that it might have been some irritation in his butt hole. My mom says that it might have been fibers from the red couch we were sitting on (and he was happily licking) in a restaurant earlier that day. We were relieved. It was almost 11 PM when we got back home, put Squish to sleep, started packing, and had a hurried dinner. Mikey took a quick nap (I couldn’t sleep), and at 2AM we left for the airport.

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Squish was such a trooper! He was his usual cheerful self throughout the whole trip! His first plane ride went well. I breastfed him while waiting for take-off and he was asleep before we were in the air. I held him the whole time and my arms were like jelly after, but I’m so glad that he wasn’t irritable or in pain. The plane ride home was more challenging because the flight was delayed, he didn’t fall sleep right away, and he even pooped at the beginning of the flight. He didn’t seem to be irritated by the air pressure when he was awake. He was just really hyper because he was so sleepy. But as soon as I breastfed him after changing his nappy, he fell asleep and it was smooth sailing from then.

Squish had a great time in Davao! He loved swimming! And Mikey loved swimming with him too. He said that it reminded him of when he used to go swimming with his Dad. ❤ Squish liked splashing in the water and he loved playing with his floaters. I loved Squish swimming too because he would sleep so soundly after! In fact, I spent much of the trip eating dinner in our room because Squish was fast asleep and I had to watch him. Our room had cable and Mikey would send plates of food. I was a happy camper. Hehehe.

We got to spend time with more kids and babies while we were on vacation. Squishy loves watching kids and interacting with babies. Sometimes, he just watches them quietly. He becomes really happy when he gets to sit next to his cousin who’s just 2 weeks younger than him. It’s fun to see them interact and discover each other! We have to watch them though because Squish likes to pull hair and his cousin likes to scratch.

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We noticed Squish becoming more and more clingy with me this month. He’s still a happy baby, but there are times when he won’t want to go to anyone else—even Mikey. But as soon as I have him, he’ll happily interact with people. This becomes a bit problematic at night when I want to rest a bit and Mikey’s supposed to take over. But I noticed that his clinginess is directly correlated with his crankiness, so I just try to make sure he doesn’t get overly cranky.

Squish’s sleep is also evolving. He normally has two long naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and one short nap in the evening. But there are days when he can stay up all day and then he passes out at night. Hahaha. It’s getting harder to put him to sleep when there are other people around. When it’s just us at home, all I need to do is breastfeed him and he falls asleep. When there are other people around, he fights it. But as soon as we’re alone, he’s knocked out.

Squishy can stand without holding on to anything now! He starts off sitting up and then he tries rocking himself forwards and upwards, until he’s able to rock strongly enough to get on his feet. He looks so pleased with himself when he does it. He’s more confident on the bed, though—he stands up really fast, and he’s not afraid to plop back down on his butt. But when he’s on the floor, he stands up very carefully.

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I think Squishy inherited his father’s musicality! Last month, we noticed how obsessed he was with the Gilmore Girls theme song, Carole King’s “Where You Lead”. (The show is perpetually on in our home.) When the intro would kick in, Squish would stop whatever he was doing and start dancing! His dance consists mostly of arms swinging up and down while he grins toothlessly. Eventually we realized that it’s not just “Where You Lead”, but almost any theme song of a TV show (we’re currently marathoning That ’70s Show and he stops when that familiar guitar riff plays), or any song he’s already familiar with. He still loves the Hamilton original broadway cast recording too!

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Squish listening to That 70’s Show theme song

Squishy is finally big enough to sit in shopping carts! He likes dancing to grocery store music, attempting to grab things off the shelf, and occasionally making random shouty noises. It’s nice because it’s almost as if Max is adjusting to our lives now. Going shopping isn’t as much of a production number as it used to be!

 

Squish is a tall baby! The doctor said that he’s in the 90th percentile for his height. This is why he doesn’t look as chubby as he used to. Breastfed babies also tend to be leaner. There’s been some pressure from others to put him on formula, but two of our doctors assured us that he was healthy and encouraged us to continue breastfeeding if we can. But it’s hard not to compare your baby with others. Our doctor said that for as long as Squishy is happy, alert, engaged, and healthy, breastfeeding is the best for him. Besides, he’s already started eating solids (which is going well!) and that’s another source of nutrition. Hopefully we make it to one year! After that, we can re-evaluate. Maybe by then I’ll start pumping more seriously and we can lessen the direct feeds.

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I can’t believe we have an 8 month old baby already! I miss blob-on-the-bed-Squishy!

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2.5 month old Squish! ❤