Gardening 101 – Bougainvilleas

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I am not an expert in gardening. The only experience I have about it is growing monggo seeds which is practically not gardening since it grows easily. However, we have quite a spacious front yard that almost screams of its need for flowers. So I decided to go to the nearest gardening store and bought a few bougainvilleas.

Why bougainvillea?

Apparently it’s easy to care for, it lives with less water and full sunlight, plus it has different colors. I opted for different shades of pink. I never expected buying plants to be quite pricey. The first 2 from the left of the photo above were bought on the same shop along Rosario and was bought for Php 250. My husband then told me to go check out other gardening stores, if we can buy another batch of the same for lesser price.

Then I went to Bong Bong’s Garden in Biñan. The garden is huge with a lot more variety. I then saw these lot of bougainvillea, notice that it is more lively and colorful than the first two that I’ve bought from another shop. These two were priced for Php 300. Quite a huge difference for Php 50! These were bigger, has more color, more mature and ready to bloom!

I just can’t wait to buy a few more, put them in pots and line them up to create a beautiful range of flora just at the border of our house.

Now, every morning, I feel so happy just looking at them. I didn’t know that plants will make me quite happy, now I realized, I really am getting old!

This is the first few steps of the Sleepy Mama being a Gardening Mama!

What’s in a name?

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Until now, a lot of people have asked: Where did you get Lowe’s name? or Is it a combination of both of your names?

We’ve contemplated on combining our names but we couldn’t come up with something that we like. We were also on the verge of naming Lowe, Blake Nash, but I’ve decided against it since it was pretty common (and both were basketball players! Haha!).

Almost towards the end of my pregnancy, I’ve just told myself to just look for a great meaning behind a name. I’ll choose the meaning first, then we can decide on a name.

I’ve started looking for names with meaning of: “To be loved” or “Beloved”, since our son is a beloved one for us.

Unexpected, yes, but beloved, nonetheless.

Anwyll came up. Its meaning is “beloved” or “To be loved by all” in Welsh. I wanted my son to be loved by all, so it was a perfect fit. Plus, it’s pretty uncommon. He will not be having any difficulty getting clearance when he’s older! Haha!

Next, is a second name. I wanted a second name since Anwyll was quite short for me. So I searched again, this time, I wanted to search for a quality or a trait we would like our son to have in the future.

We would like my son to grow up strong and independent, the name Lowe was perfect for him. Lowe is pronounced “Low” but we call him “Low-ee”. Lowe was derived from a German name meaning “Lion” or if you take the Old French meaning, “Young wolf”. Both animals possess strong personality and strength which I wish he will have.

So, there you have it, the etymology of our son’s name.

Lowe’s First Dental Visit: Teeth for Keeps

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Last Saturday, I booked an appointment for Lowe’s first dental visit since his tooth eruption as recommended by his pedia. I searched for a Pedia Dentist within our area and found Teeth for Keeps which was just beside my old high school. The location was very convenient plus I saw good reviews on their Facebook page.

I inquired last Friday and booked Lowe the next day. The building was quite old but when you enter their office, it was well equipped and had a nice ambiance. We were greeted by a small play area for toddlers and two young-looking dentists. We learned that they were Dr. Tim and Jim.

They commended bringing Lowe at the first sign of tooth eruption instead of bringing him when there’s an obvious problem. They just put flouride on his 2 teeth and that’s it.

However, I was impressed by their professionalism. The impressive part was how they took their time to orient us, parents, on how to move forward from here. Dr. Tim gave us a background about the real purpose of baby teeth and how it would support the upcoming permanent teeth.

He also answered my silent question of whether or not to use toothpaste with fluoride. He informed us that a lot of recommendation of fluoride-free toothpaste from 1st world countries does not apply to us since we do not have any other source of fluoride unlike for them, they have fluoridated tap water which they can use. However, here in Philippines, we don’t have that, therefore, he informed me to start brushing with any toothpaste with fluoride.

I chose Bud’s Children’s Toothpaste which is preservative free and organic. They have toothpastes for babies but they don’t contain fluoride and this is the next toothpaste after babies which has. I checked the origin and it is made from Australia, so, another 1st world country.

Anyway, back to the check up, Dr. Tim informed me to use a baby toothbrush and not a silicone finger brush to actually start brushing the two teeth, I informed him that I still use gauze to which he agreed and advised to put a smear of the toothpaste and carefully clean Lowe’s teeth and tongue.

All in all, our experience with Teeth for Keeps is really for keeps. I’ll be staying with them till Lowe’s next check up which is on his 1st birthday! Yey!

Breastfeeding while having flu? — YES!

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It has been a while, a lot happened. I got sick and I still am. I got an upset stomach over the weekend and then after barely recovering, I got a cold and flu. I hate this the most since it’s very easy to be transmitted especially when I am always in contact with my son who doesn’t even know how to blow his nose.

Well, what to do, right? Does that mean I should stop breastfeeding? No way! According to La Leche Leage International, This is even a better time to breastfeed since we all know that breastmilk is like magic and is constantly changing due to the demands of the baby or the condition of the mother. So now that my body is currently fighting this flu by producing antibodies, those same antibodies are being passed along to Lowe to fight the onset if transferred.

Hygiene also plays a huge part.

Even when we were at the mall the other day and I am babywearing Lowe, I made it a point to put a mask over my nose and mouth. It may look weird from the point of view of other people, but, who cares? I am at an age where I really don’t care as long as the baby is safe from harm.

I suddenly felt like writing this entry as recently I’ve come across someone informing another mommy to stop breastfeeding when upset or sad. Apparently, she was informed by a relative that her feelings for that moment whether sad or upset will be carried through her milk and make the baby sick.

I was exasperated to say the least.

A baby who’s hungry should be fed. No matter when or where. Remember: Fed is definetely best!

For those who believes urban myths in breastfeeding and it directly affects the baby in a negative way, this is for you:

Vaccinations – Health Center or Private?

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At first, I couldn’t believe how expensive vaccinations are. Lowe was born in Qatar where everything was literally free, vaccinations included, so when I moved back here, my eyes went wide as saucers upon learning the prices of every single vaccine Lowe has to get prior to reaching his 1st year.

During his first pedia visit here, we shelled out almost Php 5000+ for two vaccines. Yes. TWO! 😳 Which was exactly my point.

So I searched for the cheapest source of vaccines or any hospitals having their “vaccination day”. Luckily, Alabang Medical Center has their vaccination day every Saturday and their vaccines are a fraction cheaper than the regular days’ price. I was ecstatic!

For the schedule of the vaccines themselves, I still follow the baby book from where I’ve given birth to Lowe. So far, the baby book from Hamad Hospital is the most comprehensive one than the ones here. Plus factor, it’s easily broken down to months, in tables and enumerated. For a first time mom like me, this is the best baby book. It’s practically spoon-fed information.

While I am already happy with the place Lowe gets his discounted vaccinations, my husband was still not satisfied. He wanted them for free. He informed me that government health centers for each barangays are giving out free vaccinations. I couldn’t believe it at first. So we went and inquired.

In every barangay, there’s a health center assigned to them and this is the only place you can register as you need to have a proof of address that you are living there, thankfully, my husband’s center was not crowded so by the time we inquired, they informed us that it’s okay for that day to have my son vaccinated with OPV1.

I was pleasantly surprised. A free vaccine and we just walked in, no waiting, no queue, no hassle!

However, the only con with the center is that not all vaccines are free, there are selected vaccines which are free whilst the others, you have to pay for a discounted price than what an average pedia will charge you.

Oh well, as long as we got some for free!

So, the verdict is: I will continue to take vaccines from the government centers and from private hospitals.

Challenge 1: Making a baby smile for a photo (difficulty lvl 8/10)

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Looking at this photo taken by GJD Multimedia PH , you will never know that Lowe did not smile like this throughout the photoshoot. In fact, his smile was rarer than a lightning during a sunny day on the shoot. One of the reasons a photographer is called a professional is because they can capture moments like this and make it seem the opposite from what it really was during the session.

I never realized how difficult it could be to have a baby at a shoot. Why? The main reason is, you cannot tell the baby when to smile. Babies cannot fake a smile. They are the most uninhibited people on the planet!

They cry when in pain or sad, shout when angry, smile when happy or contented. Very simple! Yet very complicated because they just don’t smile for no reason, especially when placed in a new environment such as this. Lowe is very much like William in this case, very quiet and observant when placed in a new situation/location.

Thankfully, Miko from GJD Multimedia PH captured these fleeting smiles of Lowe and made it seem like he was smiling throughout the shoot! We brought his favorite stuffed toy Minion and a bubble-making toy which wasn’t very effective. Only when placed on the mat to stand or on his tummy did he smile.

I guess Lowe isn’t one for the cameras. It’s okay Lowe, you’ll find your true calling in the future.

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Lowe’s First Meal

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Excited with his oats!

Choosing Lowe’s first meal was quite challenging. I was reading a lot regarding allergens, easy to digest, nutritional value, etc. before the actual day of feeding Lowe. Apparently, there was this 3-Day rule of feeding a baby. I should feed Lowe the same food for 3 days to see if he will have any negative reactions to the food. Such as allergies or even constipation. Easy enough to say, but where to begin?

So I began with oats. I was looking for steel oats but couldn’t find anywhere! So I settled for wholegrain rolled oats. I ground 2 spoonfuls of oats into smaller pieces then cooked it using my frozen breastmilk. The finished product has a texture of a cerelac and was easier to swallow with minimal to no chewing needed.

Thankfully, Lowe did not have adverse reaction to the oats. He actually looked like he was enjoying joining us for breakfast. I told William to look out for Lowe’s cues that he’s had enough, true enough, after a couple of spoonfuls with a random spills here and there, he stopped opening his mouth and stopped being interested with his food.

The Aftermath

Looking for Lowe’s cues has been very helpful for me as his mother to know what and how he’s feeling. Whether sleepy, hungry or just plain bored. Looking for cues whether he was ready to eat was equally important to me to make sure he is actually ready to eat and not just because he turned 6 months.

Cues that a baby is ready to eat:

✔️ Can sit upright without assistance.

✔️ Their reflex to push out food with his tongue has lessened.

✔️A baby has developed a “pincer grasp” or picking up things with his forefinger and thumb.

✔️Can be seen chewing at times, especially during mealtimes, if he’s seated with you. This is showing their eagerness to participate.

I’ve already seen these cues one by one developing slowly until ultimately I’ve noticed him with the final cue which was his pincer grasp.

I knew the day has come.

Welcome Lowe, to the World of Flavors.

Someone’s turning 6 months!

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I am lying here beside you, in the middle of the day, feeding you to sleep. I get teary-eyed about what tomorrow means: Lowe, you’re turning 6 months tomorrow! Also, you will be starting your solids. I will not be the sole provider of your sustenance and it makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy, that you are growing healthily, and sad because you are growing up and needing me less. I do not know how long after this you will need to feed from me but I hope you will continue for a bit longer before you wean yourself off my breast.

Seeing you start to lift your bottom in preparation to start crawling makes my heart full because you are hitting milestones after milestones, but it also makes me realize that the time will come soon that you will want to start walking by yourself and would not want to be carried any longer. I can’t believe that time flies so fast!

Watching you peacefully sleep now, I am feeling so thankful that I get to experience and see for myself your little triumphs day after day that I tend to forget that you also grow and start to be less dependent on me. Looking at your face makes me feel that I made all the right choices in my life because, ultimately, those choices led me here. With you, watching you sleep soundly.

So Lowe, please stay a baby a little while longer. Let me experience and cherish this moment a little more.

Trick or Treat!

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Happy Halloween!

This year is my first time to experience any kind of Trick or Treating. We did not have this kind of event when we were younger, I am glad that it’s getting popular now. For sure Lowe will enjoy it in the future as I did now.

At first, I wasn’t aware that our village has an event planned, apparently, we did not receive the memo about it. I’ve only heard about it when I was talking to our neighbor the other day. For children, they have a contest for the costumes they will be wearing and then afterwards around 6:00 PM onwards, they will start trick or treating from the houses that has the tarpaulin in front, signifying that, that home is participating in the Trick or Treat. (mostly Treats).

Lowe’s in awe of the candies!

Immediately the next day after learning about it, I went to the village administration to find out that there will be 150+ children participating. With that number in mind, we set out to buy our ammunition for the Trick or Treat, candies… LOTS of candies. I also added packed juices since I’m sure the children will be tired from walking.

I think I am the most excited person about this in the household. I am really excited to spend these kind of moments with my family, it’s one of those memories for the books.

Dusk started to set in, then slowly, children in their halloween get ups started pouring. The one with her Valak costume takes the crown for me, I told my husband that if it wasn’t halloween and I come across that girl, I will be scared! Also the zombie kid with her! The person who dressed/made them up both, brought on his or her A-game.

Around 7:00pm, I started to worry as my supplies are dwindling. Our neighbor has put their tarpaulin down signalling that they’ve finished with their treats. So, I started giving less candies than the ones who came earlier. Around that time, we met this very cute child, after taking her treats, she came back just to look at Lowe once again, we told her that next year, it would be Lowe’s turn to visit her for treats.

Lowe’s First Crush! Haha!

By 7:30 PM-ish, the Trick or Treaters have stopped coming, I still have around 1/8th of the candies that I’ve prepared and 6 small juices left. I am so thankful I did not run out of supplies and did not disappoint!

All in all, the experience was tiring but great. I felt really happy seeing lots of happy children that I could foresee Lowe’s face when it would be his turn.

This Sleepy Mama was so happy!

BabySparks App – You’re a lifesaver!

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I admit, I am not one creative mama. I would rather buy and save myself the hassle of thinking and then creating. However, it doesn’t stop me from looking at Pinterest and thinking:

“How come I haven’t thought of that?”

So, obviously, when it comes to baby activities, it’s the same. I’m sure Lowe gets bored with me, he just can’t tell me yet as he doesn’t speak. So, I was in search of daily activities suited for babies aged 5 months and then I came across this application.

For mommies like me who doesn’t want to think anymore about what else to do to keep my baby entertained also developing and growing at the same time, this application is a lifesaver! It is quite pricey though for an application, Php 1000+ (USD 20+) depending on the option you will choose since it’s billed annually.

Using this app, you can monitor the progress of your li’l bub, his milestones and what are the things his age group is capable of and what can you do to develop and promote that. Every day for the next two years, you will have a checklist of things/activities to do to promote your bub’s motor skills, cognitive, sensory, etc. It’s not a must that you complete the checklist. Remember:

Every baby is different, much like an adult, they grow at different rates.

As for me? I am just so thankful for technology, Lowe’s not stuck on his bicycle exercises and plain old tummy times, there will be variations! I am sure he’s happy too!

This Sleepy Mama is sold!