I unexpectedly (and reluctantly) moved back to my hometown. I unexpectedly fell for an old high school classmate, and he unexpectedly proposed to me. We unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, and we got married sooner than expected. Now, we're experiencing the unexpected daily...the good, the bad, the funny, the frustrating. Read all about it...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's 4:30 AM: Do You Know Why Your Baby's Crying?

My son Jamari is a fairly good baby. He doesn't cry or whine for no reason; he only makes noise when he needs something, like a diaper change for the one millionth time.

In the same manner that I can see why someone would want to commit suicide, or becomes addicted to drugs, or resorts to illegal occupations like prostitution...I could see how people can reach the boiling point with their babies and end up violently shaking them out of frustration, especially if these people already have preexisting anger management issues.

It can be very annoying to hear a baby wail at the top of his or her lungs, craving attention and needing care. It's especially frustrating when you have no idea why the baby cries, or if you have a baby who tends to cry for no apparent reason. Throw in the fact that he or she is crying at ungodly hours, like at 4:30 in the morning, or at the worst possible times, like right before you have to leave for work.    

Like I said, I am so thankful Jamari does not cry for nothing. However, there were times when he would cry and I had no idea why. I eventually learned that it was because he either wanted to be held or moved from his crib to his beloved swing (which is, by the way, a savior! It soothes him right to sleep, and he cries a whole lot less when he's chillin' in it). But before I figured that out, I was afraid I had a colicky baby who wasn't going to let up no matter what I tried! There were nights when I had the nerve to say, "Shut up, already! You just ate, I just changed you, so there is nothing more you could possibly need! You're a freakin' baby!"

Thankfully, my frustrations were only verbal and I didn't actually scream at him; I only used a very stern (but severely irritated) voice. It was then that I learned that patience truly is a virtue, and a life saver to boot. Because if parents are easily angered, impatient, and lacking sleep, they may not take the time like I did to learn their baby; thus resulting in the unnecessary (and extremely, extremely sad)  infant deaths caused by Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Approximately 1,000 to 3,000 kids die each year in the United States because of Shaken Baby Syndrome (the link directs you to the New York State Department of Health, so click on it if you're interested in the facts of SBS). This is 100% percent avoidable, and NEEDS to be avoided. I am not an expert on how to soothe a crying baby; besides, every baby is different. Jamari is easy; others are not. All I know is that parents and caregivers need to feel their babies out, learn what they like and dislike, and eventually it'll get easier. But if you have a colicky baby and one who cries for no apparent reason...I don't have advice for that, except, whatever you do, DO NOT VIOLENTLY SHAKE YOUR CHILD!

For some people it is a whole lot easier said than done, but every effort must be made to remain patient so that you don't lose your cool and do something you will definitely regret later, and have to live with for the rest of your life. We must all understand that babies cannot talk, and their way of communicating is through crying. When I start to feel a little annoyed, I remember that there isn't anything else he can do but cry, and I think about what he's going to be like when he starts talking. And if he talks for as long as he cries, he's gonna be an earful! But who violently shakes someone who doesn't shut up? Not too many people, I'm guessing. That's just my little trick when I start to get fed up with the fussiness. Remember: it's their language.   

I know that this blog doesn't have a large following, but I hope that it reaches at least one person who needs to read this post.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's Wrong With Telling Kids White Lies?

My husband and I were in the car one evening and he turned on the light so that I can look for something while he drove. I hurriedly looked for the missing item, and when it was found, immediately shut off the light. Why the hurry?

Well, a long time ago when I was like 4 or 5 years old, I used to turn on the dome light for whatever purpose. One night I turned the light on, but my parents told me that if I kept the light on they'd get pulled over. So, for the longest time (and I mean from that night until, like, three years ago) I thought it was illegal to turn interior lights on while driving, so I always turned them on and off quickly if I ever needed them. 

I try to shut the light off as quickly as possible, even though I know I can legally drive with it on, because some part of my brain still sends the signal that what I am doing is wrong.

It's funny how some white lies will stick until the truth is finally explained.

"Very creative little white lies told to children" lists some parents' white lies, and they are so useful! I know I probably shouldn't use the article as a reference guide...but how can't I?!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Our Parents

 The happy couple before the reception.

 My Bridesmaids (sister-in-law, cousin, Maid of Honor, and two of my sorority sisters)

In the Filipino culture, weddings include sponsors called ninongs (male sponsors) and ninangs (female sponsors). They are considered "godparents" to the couple and serve as witnesses and are supportive throughout the marriage. These are our ninongs and ninangs, with a few missing.

I went to a wedding for a college friend about two weeks ago, and it was a gorgeous outdoor ceremony. I was in love with the bridesmaid dresses and the live band at the reception. Yesterday I went to my sorority big sister's wedding, which was a traditional Muslim ceremony followed by a kick-ass reception with a father-daughter dance that included an adorable performance to Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" (just imagine an elderly Indian man breaking it down - it was too cute, and if my camera didn't die I would've spoiled your imagination with a picture). I have one more wedding next month, and I am looking forward to it because it's for one of my husband's groomsmen who also happens to be a childhood friend (we stopped hanging out in middle school but reconnected through my man. I don't know why but it's kind of weird - in a cool way - that he's a good friend of my husband and ended up in our wedding). The past two weddings prompted me to reminisce about my own day...what I wish I did and what I would have done if I wasn't crunched for time. My wedding probably could not have been any better. I have no regrets. It was a lot of fun (even though I was sober and 5 months pregnant!), and the day was flawless.

We had a beautiful traditional Filipino ceremony, and the reception confirmed  that time really does fly when you're having fun, and it was over all too soon. But with all the planning - choosing flowers, finding a gown and bridesmaid dresses, picking songs for the ceremony, blah, blah, blah...the most important part of that special day is the emotions behind it and the meaning of it all...not what colors I chose for the bridal party, not the favors for our guests, not the kind of car we drove in to the reception.

With all of the material aspects of a wedding, it is easy to get lost and forget the true meaning...kind of like forgetting the meaning of Christmas when you're trying to find the perfect gift for someone. When I think about my wedding day, of course I think about how the cake matched the color scheme well and how my bouquet was a perfect last-minute masterpiece created by my mom's friend...but more importantly, I remember what it felt like when my husband smiled at me in front of the altar, when the pastor told us how to keep our marriage strong and God-centered, and when we danced to our song...the feeling of being loved, happy, and excited for our future.

I think about my wedding every day, and those feelings flood back to me, and I believe that's how my marriage will last. We can't forget the meaning of our marriage and why we chose to be together forever - love isn't effortless, it takes work, and sometimes we need inspiration to keep that love going. If married couples felt the way they did on their wedding day every day, perhaps the divorce rate wouldn't be so high. Perhaps people would not feel discouraged to get married. Perhaps people wouldn't feel compelled to cheat or look for love elsewhere. 

In Mitch Albom's For One More Day, Posey wrote a note to her son on his wedding day that I find very inspiring. By sharing the quote, maybe I'll be able to help other people remember the reason for being married and wanting to love their spouse every day for the rest of their lives:

"Here is what you are going to find out about marriage: you have to work together. And you have to love three things. You have to love
1) Each other
2) Your children (When you have some. Hint! Hint!)
3)  Your marriage
What I mean by that last one is, there may be times that you fight, and sometimes you and Catherine won't even like each other. But those are the times you have to love your marriage. It's like a third party. Look at your wedding photos. Look at any memories you've made. And if you believe those memories, they will pull you back together."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

When You Find Out Your Child is Pregnant

An unplanned pregnancy at any age is surprising news. However, when you're the parent of the daughter who admits she is pregnant, or if you are the parent of a son who impregnated a girl, it can be unsettling and hard to deal with.

Whether your son or daughter is a teenager or an unmarried young adult, an unplanned pregnancy can bring the same mixed emotions. Anger, guilt, confusion, worry, and embarrassment may be initial feelings of a parent who could've sworn up and down that their child knew better than to have premarital sex without the right measurements of safety and protection (after all, the "talk" was given and you're pretty sure sex ed covered anything you didn't). Parents sometimes see their children through rose-colored glasses, strongly believing (or wishfully thinking) that their kid is a drug-free virgin who has never gotten drunk or lied to them.

The fact of the matter is, many teens and unmarried young adults are having sex, and are most likely denying this to their parents. Every two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a study on sexual behavior trends in 9th through 12th grade students. According to the statistics, almost half of American high school students have had sexual intercourse. See the study for yourself: Trends in the Prevalence of Sexual Behaviors.

Kidshealth.org states that one million American girls give birth every year. You can talk to your kid until your blue in the face, but the reality is, they're either going to take your advice or not. I am no expert but I am experienced. As you can tell from this blog, I had an unplanned pregnancy. Although my situation may be different (I was already engaged and a college graduate with a full-time job), my parents' reactions were typical. It didn't matter to them that I was 24 and already planning on marrying the baby's father. In their eyes, I was their little baby, their only daughter and youngest child, about to have a baby herself.

It is a hard fact to swallow when your kid approaches you about an unplanned pregnancy. If this should happen to you, as difficult as it may be to comprehend, you have to give props to your son or daughter for even telling you. They want you to be involved. They want you to support them. They need your help. This would be the time to truly demonstrate your parenting skills. You might want to discuss different choices such as adoption or abortion. Especially if your child is a teenager, you might feel the need to make the decision for them, or do all you can to persuade your child to make the choice you want him or her to make.

I believe the best thing to do you for your child is to let him or her make the decision. Although you might've raised your son or daughter to condemn abortion, he or she may have his or her own point of view. He or she may feel equally as strong about his or her opinion as you do about yours. I don't believe it is right to enforce your own beliefs when it comes to pregnancy; it could have longlasting emotional effects on a girl if she is forced into having an abortion or keeping a child she does not feel capable of raising. Pregnancy requires a great level of maturity. It's best to believe your child is mature enough to deal with the consequences of sexual intercourse if he or she was able to make the decision to engage in sex in the first place.

This is undoubtedly a sensitive subject. It's extremely important to realize that parents are NEVER at fault. In my opinion, it doesn't matter if a kid was raised with both parents, neither parent, or either one of them. What is important is that the child was taught right from wrong. If parents/guardians/whatever did their job in educating their children, that's about all they can do, and they have done their best. I think that a straight edge parent with strong religious values or a parent with a criminal history have equal chances of having a daughter who gets pregnant before she is "ready" (which in itself is subjective).

If your family is facing an unplanned pregnancy right now, or if you just want to be prepared or further educated, I think a great resource is this: When Your Teen is Having a Baby. Although it mainly talks about teens, it applies to parents of unmarried young adults as well.

There is only one word to summarize what I think parents and other family members or friends should do when a girl finds out she is pregnant: support.

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Month of Motherhood!

Okay, so it's actually more like a month and a half. But within this time, I've learned so much. These are a few thoughts and lessons I've learned about being a parent:
  • Taking time for myself does not make me a bad mother! I felt bad the first time we had to leave him with my mother-in-law for a few hours, but I've realized that if parents don't take a break from their kids now and then, they'll go crazy and be way more stressed than they should be. It's also very important for partners to take a break together to keep their relationship strong. You can't forget about each other even though obligations get in the way.
  • I can stare at Jamari all day long and not get bored, even though I've been with him every day of his life! And it's even worse now that he laughs and smiles. He's a whole lot more entertaining now than when all he did was stare. 
  • Everyone will have an opinion on how you should raise your kid. But as long as you are not hurting your baby physically or emotionally, the best way is your way.
  • Babies cry in their sleep...and I hate it! At first, I jumped out of bed every time Jamari cried, but then I realized he was probably dreaming. I Googled the reason why babies cry in their sleep, and I read somewhere that it might be because they're dreaming about losing their mother. And that's why I hate when Jamari does it. He lets out a little scream, his face gets all sad, and then he relaxes again. But that sad face makes me want to wake him up and tell him I'm right here and I'm not going anywhere.
  • Googling can only make things worse. With all of the opinions floating in cyberspace, it's difficult to distinguish fact from fiction and assumptions from actual statistics. Besides, every baby and parent is different. It also isn't smart to rely on the Internet for answers. I Google just to see what others have to say, but nothing can replace an actual visit to the doctor.
  • Babies will always act hungry! At first, I thought my son wanted to eat every half an hour, but then I learned that they shouldn't have two feedings within an hour of each other because they get too full and bloated. Luckily for us, Jamari is pretty easy to soothe when he cries, but I know other parents could have a very difficult time trying to stop a baby crying without having to resort to feeding him or her.
  • I talk to Jamari the way I talk to anyone else, but it's good and bad. Good because it'll help him develop his communication skills. Bad because I curse too much.
  • Babies seem to instinctively know to trust in family, be kind to friends, and to smile even though they've just been crying.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

This is How I Live...

I think it's only right to introduce a few of the "characters" in my life story. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my husband, son, two cats, a dog, and a guinea pig that I often forget we have until he starts squeaking. We live about 40-45 minutes away from our hometown, where our families still live. Although we're a good distance away, we see each other as often as possible. More often than not I compare my life to the sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" (it's all i watch now that I am on maternity leave). I'm not trying to insult anyone, but by sharing my opinion on my family, you might see where I am coming from if you've ever watched the show:
  • Sirron (aka Isiah): My husband goes by his first or middle name, depending, and I never questioned why or cared ("What's in a name?" - Shakespeare taught me to look past it). Never in a million years would we, or anyone from high school, have ever thought we'd date, let alone get married. But here we are, and honestly, I think we're the only ones who could put up with each other...therefore, we're meant to be. He's a big animal lover (he majored in Zoology). He dresses way better than I do, cooks better than me, and is better at cleaning, and I get insecure about it all. My son looked nothing like Sirron when he was born, but Sirron (as far as I know) never questioned it and accepted Jamari as his own (and don't worry, he's his for sure).
  • Jamari: My son is my world! He makes stank faces when he's kissed or when anyone gets near his face. He has a weird fascination with his hands, and even though he stares at them the majority of the day, sometimes he makes a scared face as if he's never seen them before. We're instilling independence in him already (he's only one month), and we swear he can hold his own bottle. He has no toys accept for one rattle, which he could care less about. His eyes are too big for his face for now, and we think he's the cutest baby in the world...and even though everyone says that about their kid, it's the absolute truth.
  • Stax: He's a Shar-pei/American Bulldog mix, and is way too big for our apartment. He's probably around 20 weeks right now, and he has to be well over 50 pounds, and we don't know how much more he'll grow. He's jealous of anything Sirron puts in his arms, especially me. He thinks he's a lap dog still and tries to sit on us. He's a big cuddler and even bigger baby. He looks like a grown dog, so it's weird to call him a puppy. Stax is very disciplined. He likes to chew on grass, but we think it's just a nod to his roots - he's a country boy straight from Alabama.
  • Nikko and Tobey: Our two cats are the strangest animals alive. They run through our apartment at lightning speed. They're territorial and hate when other people visit us. They steal our food (Nikko likes to swipe his paw at our forks when we try to eat). They love to climb inside boxes, and they hide under our bed and swipe at us when we least expect it.
  • My mom: She has the best intentions, but can sometimes push her ways on me. This reminds me of a "Raymond" episode when Ray's mother Marie says to Ray's wife something along the lines of: "I'm not saying you're wrong, but it's not right." My mom tries to tell me that her way is better than how I do things, and I do my best not to argue, but I can't help myself. I know she's only trying to teach me a few things. She's a great mom and person, no doubt, and I appreciate her opinion and advice, even if I don't take it. 
  • My dad: Everyone says he's one of the funniest people they've met. I inherited his sarcasm. He'll joke about anything in front of everyone, and I think it's his Filipino accent that lets him get away with it without insulting anyone. He tries his best to help everyone he can, especially our relatives. He pretends he's listening, and by the time you're done talking, he wants you to repeat everything you've said, and he doesn't care if it's rude; he'll say outright, "I wasn't listening."
  • Kenneth: My brother is five years older than me, and just like in "Raymond," my parents treat him differently than they treat me. In the show, Ray's older brother Robert often gets the spotlight stolen from him because of something Ray does that gets everyone's attention. I don't mean to do things, like get married and have a baby, to overshadow him. It just happens.
Then, there's my in-laws. I am so lucky we get along and I have no horror stories about my mother-in-law hating me, or vice versa. Sirron's a huge momma's boy and calls his mom all the time. She's like an encyclopedia, or Google. You can ask her anything and she'll have the answer.

My life can be a sitcom, and it'd be cool if it became one, but I swear, it'd be like "Everybody Loves Raymond" all over again accept it'd be about an interracial family in an apartment with a whole lot of pets. And we thankfully don't live right across from either of our parents.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Beginning

My first blog, mindXposed, was intended to be an avenue for my thoughts. Looking at it now, I cringe at some posts and think, "Why'd I ever post that??" and for the most part I am not happy with it. 

A lot has happened since I stopped writing that blog. Around the time of my last post, which was in November 2009, I had just turned 24 and got engaged. My wedding date was set for 2011. I was childless and had intentions of going back to school for a second degree. But as this blog title suggests, life is full of the unexpected. You can plan everything out down to what underwear you're going to wear every day for the next year, but things happen in life that can't be controlled or predicted.

About two weeks after my last post, I found out I was pregnant. My life, needless to say, has never been the same since. Rather than a 2011 wedding, I got married this past April.

The wedding was perfect, thanks to help from our parents and the support of our wedding party. Four short months later, our son was born in August, a week earlier than expected.

We named him Jamari Isiah. He is now a month old, and crying for attention more than ever! He is my new purpose for living and the reason for creating a new blog. My old blog seemed to have no direction, but now I have reasons to write. Who knows if this one will have more substance than the last, if it'll be more interesting, or if I'll stick with this one longer.

There's going to be no expectations for this blog...just as there shouldn't be any in life. All I know is I have a new outlook on everything. There are many new beginnings in my life...being a newlywed and a new mom. I'm at the start of my adulthood. I am a parent still being parented. I am still trying to figure out myself and my future in the midst of diaper changes and loads of laundry.

As my life unfolds, I hope you'll sit back and enjoy reading all about it!