Friday, April 1, 2016

What Not To Say To Pregnant Women

Pregnant women undergo a lot of changes - emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and of course, physically. Their bodies prepare for the new life inside of them, and these changes are sometimes (okay, most of the time) not very flattering. When I was pregnant, I hated posting pictures of myself on social media because I detested the comments from my friends. I did post some pictures on some occasions mainly because my parents (who are in a different continent) wanted to see the progress. I also took some pictures of myself because I wanted a documentation of my pregnancy, but I never took them online. I hated it when people commented on the way I looked. I know my nose has grown the size of a tomato and my body has doubled in volume - I see it in the mirror. Every. Single. Day. I don't need others to tell me that.

Left Pic: Prior to Pregnancy; Right: During my pregnancy at 8 months - Look how different I look!

But of course I would have to endure all those comments for the next 9 months when I met with friends, relatives and other people. I love my friends, my co-workers, my family, and my relatives, but them constantly reminding me of my pregnancy changes kind of hit my nerves. Maybe that's why I constantly decline invitations to meet up and go out. (Sorry, guys!)

So now that I've been there, done that, I'd like to share some comments that really kind of offended me when I was all puffy from my pregnancy. I'd like to remind my friends to please proceed with caution when talking to a pregnant lady. She needs to be commended for going through the process of blossoming into a beautiful mother, not criticized for her giant toes. I always think twice before I comment on a friend's photo during her pregnancy because I know the feeling each and every comment makes! Here are some comments to avoid when talking to a pregnant woman:

You're not due yet?
Oh, I'm already due but I like to keep my baby inside my tummy, so there. Uhm, I know my belly is huge, but when I'm due, I'd be in the hospital or at home. You're probably telling me my tummy is so large, but I can see that as well. Preggy moms are also anxious to hold their little ones and to get over with labor and delivery (and get rid of this puffiness) as soon as possible. Asking us if we're not due yet isn't making us excited, it's irritating.

You're huge!
Oh yes, I am. I gained 30% of my body weight, my belly is bulging, and I walk like a penguin. But of course you just had to say it to my face. Really? Sometimes stating the obvious can be so annoying, especially when you're annoyed about your size already. It's like telling people they're fat. And who would want to be called fat?

You must be having a boy.
In the Philippines, having a girl means you're a blooming, preggy mom and your pregnancy actually made you a lot prettier. On the contrary, when you're having a boy, it means all the hormones in your body have gone bonkers and you've transformed into a beast. Okay, that may be too extreme, but basically when people tell you you're having boy, it's not a compliment. Either your neck has darkened more than the usual, or your fingers have become ginormous, the point is, you're ugly. I hated it when people asked me if I was having a boy when I knew that I was already having a girl! It's so insulting!

You're so manas. (you are so swollen.)
Again, stating the obvious. I can see that everyday, when I look at my reflection. It's not like I have a choice here. I know I'm already puffy because of these changes, why do you have to rub it in?

Mabigat? (Is it heavy?)
Oh no, it's like I haven't pooped for a week. Hello, I'm carrying a new life inside my belly, of course it's heavy! It's like I'm carrying 3 1-Liter bottles of Coke every. single. day. every. single. night. Please do not ask me again because I am already exhausted and breathless from all the weight I carry.

Although some of these statements did offend me, I was reassured by my family that I am still beautiful. So ladies, don't feel too bad about the way you look. Pregnancy is a very natural process and the way nature designed all these changes is just beautiful. With all our hormones going bonkers, we are allowed some level of negativity. But overall, I think we should always look at the bright side and embrace these changes. After all, it only takes a few months before we hold our precious little one.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Farewell, Courageous Catie

Today, heaven welcomed another angel.

Reading about the story of the Lucases and their beautiful daughter, Catie, is so inspiring and at the same time, heartbreaking. Ever since their story broke out on Social Media, I started reading up on their experiences and empathized with them. The rare form of leukemia, which happens in one in a million people, has devastated the family and left poor Catie stuck on her tubes and needles. But that didn't stop the family from seizing the day and looking at the bright side. Their story gave me hope. I admire them for their courage, their optimism, and their love. I admire their closeness as a family, and I admire how friends and even other people joined their battle.

Perhaps I've become a mother that's why I could somehow feel the pain they felt when Catie finally joined our Creator. I can't even imagine myself in such a situation. My daughter has just turned a year old, and I've been praying hard for her health and safety. But I can't help but think about the possibilities. In fact, I don't event want to think about it.

Courageous Catie has taught all of us a great lesson - cherish each moment with our loved ones. I'm looking forward to going home later today and spend time with my daughter.

To quote Mom's Basket, "You made me realize that a mother can love, smile, hope, pray, and grieve for a child she doesn't know and has never met."

Rest well, Catie. You've been brave.
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Reflection Paper: Fr. Arrupe's Men (and Women) for Others

Here is my paper on Fr. Arrupe's Men (and Women) for Others. This is a requirement for TSETHICS class of AGSB - Regis under Prof. Manny Dy. This is purely my thoughts and you have every right to disagree. =)

The inspirational teachings of Fr. Pedro Arrupe have left a mark in history that spurred a following. In particular, his address on educating “men (and women) for others” has invited people to three things: 1) Live simply; 2) Draw no profit from unjust source; and 3) Change unjust structures. These three attitudes are in essence very applicable to our daily lives, especially in our workplace. In fact, considering today’s fast-paced lifestyle, we could definitely use them to help us realize that sometimes, we need to take a deep breath, and just step back in order to not get caught in the tidal wave of technology and evolution.

For me, to live simply signifies to live within my means. That is, to be contented with what I have and be happy with my life. Often, people fall victim to the debate of “what I want” versus “what I need.” Without any self-control, it usually becomes what-I-want-I-get. I’ve had my fair share of spending a lot on items that I don’t need. When I look back, I deeply regret going with the flow when I should have made sound investments.

Living beyond my means actually made me yearn for more material things. Instead of investing in relationships and long-term goals, I found myself getting stuck in my world of narcissism and self-appreciation. At some point, I would much rather please other people rather than do things for my own growth. This materialistic behavior led me to thirst for more money – complaining about my current job and about not getting paid correctly even if I actually am. I thought of my job as a means to an end, and as such, I have developed a negative attitude towards what I’ve been doing. I detested waking up and going to work, even though I’ve always been passionate about the field I entered.

Today, I realize that I should have taken the path of living simply years ago. I was probably looking at myself too much that I failed to look at what’s around me. I should have given other people the appreciation and respect they deserve, because they are not instruments to be used for my own personal greed. In my workplace, for example, my co-workers are not just pawns to achieve goals, but are comrades fighting the same battles as I do. Having colleagues that I respect and appreciate makes me enjoy my work even more.

Living simply is related to the second attitude of drawing no profit from unjust sources. Logically speaking, if you live simply and you are already contented, you will no longer desire for anything and therefore no longer need additional resources. Without the craving for worldly things, there is also no temptation to look for risky and unjust sources. Some people resort to illegal activities and immoral acts just to be able to satisfy their needs. The need creates the demand, and where there is high demand, supply would also be high.

In my current state, I should learn to be content so that I won’t need to crave for more. As I grow in my career, I want to enjoy my work and possibly excel in it, and so I must stop thinking of my job as merely just a source of income. In addition, I should look at other people as human beings with intellect and will and their own personality, and not just another means where I could generate profit. As Fr. Arrupe said, “To be drugged by the comforts of privilege is to become contributors to injustice as silent beneficiaries of the fruits of injustice.”

Finally, the third attitude involves not only the self and the surrounding people, but rather the community. In truth, the modern lifestyle of “get rich or die trying” has become so rampant. I find it difficult for people to actually get out of it, especially when they have been immersed so deep. That is why changing unjust structures is probably the most difficult. For me, change does not happen overnight. It is a continuous process and it requires a lot of effort. When I finally decided to change my lifestyle, it took me a lot of sacrifice and self-discipline, and a lot of help from the people around me. When I was successful in changing myself for the better, I inspired some of my friends and co-workers to do the same thing. This led me to conclude that in order for society to change, it has to start within the self. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” The change has to start within the person, and the decision to do so should not just be for the own person’s growth but rather for the society. Imagine, if everyone changed for the better, where every person hopes for nation building, the corrupt society will be transformed into one that exudes peace and harmony.

Living the three attitudes can be a challenge, but I believe it can be done. The unifying factor that binds these three together is actually – Love. Living simply transforms self-interest into a much greater purpose, and eliminates the need for resorting to unjust sources to fuel unnecessary desires. Love creates a chain reaction where people become agents of change in society. We all just have to remember that everything starts within us, and that we need a firm resolve to become the catalysts of change.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ethics Paper: Globalization

And here's my paper on Globalization. :) This is also for TSETHICS class under Prof. Manny Dy for the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB).

Globalization has been a topic of interest way back when I started high school, and it still continues to be an interesting topic to date. Back then, we were just told that this phenomenon is inevitable, and that we should prepare for it because it affects us not only as individuals, but as a country. As I entered the corporate world, the more I realized that I am part of the process and that globalization affects me in a lot of ways. The advances in information technology and communications have paved the way to make the world a smaller place. Connections are as easy as pies even when the other party is on the other side of the globe. Indeed, through the years, globalization has happened and is still happening.

Being a part of a multinational company, I have always had the notion that globalization is one of the good things that has happened. The free market created new opportunities and new ideas for business minds from all over the globe. It also allowed firms from the less industrialized countries to tap into more and larger markets around the world. As a result, it led to more access to capital flows, technology, human capital, cheaper imports and larger export markets. Because the world has become a smaller place, small businesses also become part of bigger production and supply chain networks that are the main conduits of trade.

After reading the articles of G.B. Madison and Oliva Blanchette, my views have somehow changed. I still think that globalization has its positive points because of the opportunities it offers, but I was probably looking at it from a different perspective. It can’t be all that good, it also has its challenges. Ideally, globalization would be beneficial because as the world is inter-connected, the glory of one becomes the glory of all. Yet, what happens when it’s the other way around? Just like the domino effect, the downfall of one also causes the downfall of others. This can be clearly seen during the recession period, where the market hit a slow-down and businesses from America to Europe to Asia have all been hit. Globalization is indeed a double-edged sword—it can pave the way for roads to success, or it can start an avalanche of failure.

According to Madison, globalization affects the economic, political, and social dynamics of the world. There are certain advantages of this phenomenon that are beneficial to society, especially to the first world countries and dominant powers. As we shift towards having a global civilization through worldwide connections, prosperity can be achieved. This is because as we get to know other cultures, we are also given a glimpse of how other people live and interact. This allows us to have a better understanding of others and when people understand each other, there is harmony. In addition, the transformation of the marketplace into one global arena results to a single, integrated free market where developing countries are given more opportunities. This means more jobs, more income, and a better standard of living for people. Moreover, the changes brought about by globalization also signal the people to adapt to the changes so as not to be left behind, thereby creating a global culture. For some, this international market is utopia.

Unfortunately, not everybody becomes happy with globalization. In order to compete and to play in the field, organizations resort to all means necessary even at the expense of their morality. Often, the underdeveloped and poor countries are the ones to suffer the most because the bigger and more powerful countries or businesses resort to oppression and deprivation of human rights just to be able to keep up. For instance, China resorts to below minimum wage workers just to be the perfect manufacturing country with the cheapest labor costs. Other countries also resort to child labor and other unjust practices to gain competitive edge. And in other cases, poor business ethics and moral standards have propelled some organizations to create x-deals so they could flourish in the international market.

Another effect of globalization is that because of the rapid advancement of civilization, our resources are slowly being exploited, resulting to global scarcity. Mother Nature is there for as long as we protect her, but the fast-paced lifestyle has also caused a rapid destruction of Earth’s natural resources. The global market means global consumers, and global consumers multiply the depletion of supplies by a hundred or a million fold. For those stricken with poverty, this means being exploited by the rich. As such, inequality is growing and poverty is worsening. The rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer.

These situations make me think twice about globalization. Is it indeed something good? Will it bring us positive results? If yes, how much are we willing to sacrifice just to be able to keep up? Despite the numerous advantages offered by globalization, is our humanity the price we have to pay to cope with this global phenomenon? The rich people obviously benefit from globalization, but more often at the detriment of the poor. The interests of the powerful countries and organizations have replaced the focus for the environment, for human rights, and for social justice. Therefore, those who want to play in this global space should also take a step back and carefully analyze at what expense they are doing when joining the international marketplace. In today’s society where wealth and power play very important roles, people should not forget that money is still material and that there are greater ideals that need to be pursued; i.e. happiness, love, world peace. We are only human, mere mortals, and a time will come where we will have to leave this physical realm. While we are still here, we should not forget how to live, not just have a better standard of living, but to actually live – allowing our souls to thrive instead of be trampled on, and building relationships in our societies instead of destroying them. In an ideal world where our humanity is preserved, where societies live in harmony, and where we care for Mother Nature and allow her to flourish, then perhaps globalization can be considered as truly good.
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Ethics Paper: Nature of Human Being, Reason for Being

Here's the paper I wrote for our Ethics Reflection Paper under Prof. Manny Dy. This is a requirement for my MBA Regis class TSETHICS at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB). Hope this helps you!
Ever since the class was asked the question, “What is the nature of the human being?” last Friday, I’ve been thinking about what answer I should give. At first I thought of clich├ęs like the nature of man is the embodiment of body and soul, as the church taught us. Or that man is both rational and emotional, as my Philosophy professor in college would remind us.
However, an event happened to my household that weekend and only then was I able to realize what I believe as the nature of man. You see, my 5-month old daughter got sick over the weekend and we had to rush her to the Emergency Room early Sunday morning due to high fever and vomiting. Being a first-time mom, the panic and anxiety I felt was indescribable. I had no prior experience when it came to dealing with sick babies, and the different opinions from my parents, in-laws, and other more experienced moms were terribly confusing. Fortunately, my daughter is a fighter and she was able to take her medicines. Her condition had improved after a couple days. My anxiety has subsided, but the road to recovery also meant learning from our previous mistakes –ensuring cleanliness by regularly sanitizing our home, watching out for the things she puts in her mouth, not panicking and thinking of first aid measures while at home.
This experience has made me think about what the nature of man is. As I look at my daughter who is striving every day to discover something new about the world and learn a new trick, I have come to realize that human beings, by nature, are hungry for learning. In other words, man is dynamic. From the time we were born, we have been absorbing everything that the world offers us – from the first light we see, to the first scent of our mothers, to the first sound we hear, to the first taste of milk, to the first touch. Even as grown-ups, the learning does not stop. I still discover something new today, especially when it comes to motherhood. I learn something about how to be a mother, and I also learn a thing or two about my baby.
I firmly believe that there is always an innate drive in us to improve and to be in constant motion to achieve a certain goal. In addition, our interaction with our surroundings also affects how we live. Society influences us in many ways – both positive and negative – but our natural inclination to act allows us to learn from our mistakes and from our experiences, thereby creating a better us. In a way, my Spiritual Adviser from 10 years ago was correct in saying that man is by nature a good person. Our growth stems from our desire to learn and develop into better versions of ourselves.
Eventually, man will be able to achieve a state of Nirvana and will be enlightened, according to my Philosophy professors. The reason for being is to achieve this state. While I do agree with this concept, for me, Nirvana is such a technical term that it’s very difficult to define. Instead, I’d like to think of Nirvana as a happy state. The reason why we all strive for excellence and growth is to be happy. Our actions and decisions today will shape us and help us achieve goals that will make us happy persons such that when we leave the physical realm, we will have no regrets. Happiness is relative – it can be as simple as getting your first paycheck, or making billions. But for as long as there is a desire to reach that happy place, man will continue to work hard and act in order to achieve this.

Pats Tantioco Miranda
Reflection Paper #2: Society, Philippine Society
Whenever I hear the word "society," the first thing that comes to my mind is that it is a group of individuals gathered together because of something in common among them - a common purpose, common geographical area, common characteristics, common interests, or common beliefs. For example, the Philippine Cancer Society aims to spread awareness for cancer. The American Society is a nation with an ethnically and racially diverse population bound together by their territory. The Midnight Society from the 90's famous series, Are You Afraid of the Dark, brings together teenagers who like to talk about scary stories. The Knights Templar is a group whose members believed that they are the guardians of the sacred treasures.
            The structure and system within a society results to a harmonious relationship among its members despite the individual differences. The social interaction between the individuals produces a network of relationships where people are aware of their differences among each other, and yet are bound by a commonality among them.
Individuals can be members of several societies. From my point of view, I am a member of the Philippine society because of my geographical location, the Society of Breastfeeding Moms because of my advocacy to promote breastfeeding in the Philippines, and the society of IT professionals because of my occupation. Within each society, I encounter people not exactly having the same interests or beliefs as I do, but we get along well because of the common culture of the society we belong to.
            Societies are an important component of a person's growth as it directly influences a person's life. I believe that society is where a person learns, discovers himself, and eventually grows into the person that he is. For instance, my family is the very first society I belong to. Had my parents believed that gambling is the only way to make money, I would probably be found in casinos each night trying my luck. Society also has the capacity shape individuals based on its culture and norms, but sometimes it's sad when society tells you to be yourself and yet judge you for it.

The Philippine Society
            Being born from the Philippines, I have always had a love-hate relationship with the Philippine society. I must admit, this society is instrumental in shaping me to become who I am today. I may not love everything about it, but I still am grateful for being part of this society.
            There are several things I absolutely love about the Philippine, and I would gladly shout it out to the world. First, there's the Filipino hospitality that the world knows about. Filipinos are genuinely caring when it comes to visitors, and they would gladly go out of their way to ensure their guests have a pleasant stay. Second is the Filipino concept of reciprocation, or "Utang Na Loob." I have come to appreciate this trait because as I grow up, I feel that I owe a lot to my parents and I want to repay them for all the wonderful things they have done for me. This is not an obligation on my part, but rather an act of love for the people who have sacrificed so much to get me where I am. Truly, the values formation in the Philippine society is second to none. I want my children to be raised with the same values as I have been raised, and the Philippine society is the perfect venue.
Third, what I think is good about the Philippine society is the Filipino pride. Every time you meet a Filipino anywhere in the world, you would always feel that sense of pride in being born from the Philippines. A lot of talents who have become world famous have Filipino lineage, and as a part of the society, we can't help but be proud of our fellow countrymen. Fourth, the Philippine society is strong as one. When the country was hit with super-typhoon Haiyan, Filipinos prayed as one for the safety of our countrymen. When the threat of a corrupted government official arose, we marched in protest to ensure the future of our society. When united, I feel as if we can go against the world. Finally, what is good about the Philippine society is that indomitable spirit of its people. Natural disasters may have battered the country, poverty may have caused people to suffer, and terrorism may have threatened our peace and order. And yet, the Filipino stood strong, with a smile - a glimmer of hope in the midst of all the chaos. The perfect example would be Manny Pacquaio. Despite many hardships, despite several knockdowns, he did not give up.
            On the other hand, the Philippine society is also plagued with negative traits that somehow have stuck with us for several generations now. There's the crab mentality which stems from our history with colonial occupants. Until now, Filipinos still have this way of thinking, and it's a bit sad because with the advent of social media, it has become very rampant and very obvious. In addition, the obvious lack of education due to poverty and corruption of government officials have produced ignorant voters that seem to be contented with the mediocre performance of the ones they chose for office. It has actually been a sick cycle of corruption and ignorance – the poor become poorer and the rich become richer. Corrupt government officials abuse the people’s money and keep the money all to themselves, and yet the people still vote for them come election time. Why? The lack of education makes the masses easily swayed by money, fame, and drama. Which brings me to the next trait of Philippine society that I utterly don’t like – too melodramatic. Filipinos love drama, from soap operas to media sensations and even to political controversies. The Filipino masses mostly decide because of their emotions rather than their intellect. That’s why celebrities easily penetrate the political space because Filipinos feel that they can relate so much.
Take for instance the Binays of Makati. Currently they are hammered with controversies left and right, and yet they still have a strong following behind them. Why? According to the cab driver I talked to earlier today, he said that his family felt the presence of the Binays during their 20-year stay in the city. They receive goods every Christmas, their children receive free education, and the Mayor himself visits their area during town fiestas. It doesn’t matter to him how corrupt the Binays are, he is happy because he felt that he was being taken care of. I wanted to tell him that we, the working class, are directly affected because it’s our taxes that the Binays are extorting, but that’s another story and I’m about to get off anyway.
In summary, I believe that society plays a major role in a person’s life, and that society has the ability to influence how the person grows up and lives. However, it is still up to the person if he or she will follow society’s norms or not. Also I believe that the Philippine society is a good society for a person’s growth despite the many negative traits within it. I am happy to belong to this society and I hope I can contribute to changing the negative elements for the better.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Aimee's Star Wars Picture

Let me just say, I have definitely mixed feelings when I saw that my darling #AimeeJuuJuu m's Star Wars photo has been included in HuffPost Canada's and LifeBuzz's list of Star Wars babies. 

Here's her picture:

Photo by Pic-a-boo studios Megamall

My first reaction was the typical stage mom - excited, happy, and I couldn't be more proud. But then again, exposing my daughter on the internet when she doesn't even know it yet made me feel uncomfortable. I guess the part where I kind of violate her privacy makes me cringe. 

Oh well, do you think our babies should not be exposed to, and instead be protected from social media and the internet? I welcome your thoughts :)
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

10 Things to Remember when Flying Long-Haul with an Infant

Long-haul flights can be very difficult, especially if you are travelling with a baby. I thought it would be easy, but honestly, it wasn't. We went to the US for the holidays last 2015 and we had to go through 21-hours of travel time, 2 stop-overs, 3 aircrafts, and a lot of stress. The trip truly tested my patience. Let me share with you some of the things I learned and hopefully this will make traveling with your little one a bit easier.

1. Don't be too stingy when choosing your airline

Flight tickets cost a lot, but the good thing with infants is that you don't get to pay the full price for them. Flying a more reputable airline gives moms the peace of mind they need during their travel. Also you are assured that you will be provided with blankets, pillows, ear plugs, and other essential toiletries during your flight.

2. Select seats strategically

Airlines usually have online check-ins available, so when you do decide to check in, make sure you select seats that are strategic. I always like seats near the lavatories towards the end. It has a lot of space where my baby and I can walk around and stretch our legs in the middle of the flight. Also being near the lavatories makes it convenient in case the baby needs to change diapers or clothes. And finally, sitting at the back means you don't get to disturb everyone in case your baby throws a tantrum. Of course some people will be affected, but the damage will be minimal. =]

I also chose the window seat for the view in case she gets bored with her toys.

3. Reserve 1 check-in luggage for baby

With their tiny bodies, you would wonder why they would need an entire luggage! But really, babies have a ton of things to bring: from milk bottles, to steamers, to diapers, to medicines, and extra medicines in case of emergency, and a few toys (or their favorite toy, maybe). Babies also have the need to change clothes more often than adults because they just can't stop exploring and dirtying what they wear! Plus, you also need all that space when you go shopping for your baby.

4. Bring a stroller/Car Seat/Soft-Structured Baby Carrier

In some airlines, strollers and car seats are usually free of charge so take advantage of it! I prefer to bring an extra soft-structured baby carrier (my preference is a woven wrap which doubles as a breastfeeding cover and a blanket). Very helpful for those situations where you need to have all your stuff scanned and you need to remove all your gadgets, shoes, jackets from your bag and place them on the tray. Having an extra hand through babywearing makes things very convenient.

We brought her stroller along so she can be comfy while we go through Immigration, security checks, and baggage claim.

5. Bring water - at least for your baby

Airports do allow water to be carried as long as the amount does not exceed 100mL per container. Yes, you can bring multiple containers with water but each container should only have a maximum of 100mL. Although when we traveled, I did bring water and I'm pretty sure it was more than 100ML, and put it in my baby's sippy mug. Airport security in Japan simply opened the container and smelled the contents and did not pour the contents out.

6. Bring enough clothes, diapers, wipes, socks

When travelling long-haul, it's best to pack for an extra day in case there are delays or emergencies. More delays usually happen during the peak season. Prior to traveling, check if you're traveling during the peak season so you can prepare a little extra. Also it's best to check the weather in case you encounter a storm along the way and your flight might get postponed due to weather conditions.

7. Pack light when it comes to toys

I know how babies are so clingy when it comes to their toys, but believe me, these will not keep them busy during the trip. There are a lot of things to explore in the airports, inside the plane, and even just the seats! My daughter totally ignored her favorite rattle because she was so busy with the in-flight magazine, the monitor, and the window shades!

My little baby was so busy tinkering with the small monitor and the buttons that came along with it!

8. Board First or Board Last

Passengers with infants or children are usually given priority to board first. This is the perfect time for you to actually board so you can settle in before other passengers board. It also gives you a slight advantage on which carry-on bins to put your luggage on. However, in case you missed the announcement, it's better to board last rather than going with everyone else. You will most likely have to wait along the aisles anyway, so why not play with your baby for a bit more.

9. Be prepared for Landing and Take-off

In my experience, take-off and landing are the toughest for my little one. It must have something to do with the pressure changes that affect her ears. Our pediatrician advised us that the baby should be feeding (or any sucking motion) during ascent and descent to ease the discomfort.

10. Don't be embarrassed when your baby cries, but be courteous to other passengers

As a passenger, it's a bit annoying when you want to sleep during the flight and there's a baby crying like there's no tomorrow. However, when you're the mom with the baby, it can really get embarrassing. But I realized there's really nothing to be embarrassed about. As adults, we get anxious during the flight (during turbulence, or when we get stomach problems because of how cold the aircraft gets). Naturally, babies also feel the same way. It's just that they don't know how to express it yet except by crying. So don't feel that you're a bad parent when your baby throws a tantrum. Instead, find out the reason why and work from there. For me, breastfeeding usually calmed my little one.

In some cases, your baby might get so active because he or she is hungry to explore this new surrounding. She might kick the passenger in front of you, or throw things at the persons beside you. Simply apologize and smile. Be courteous to the people around you because you're going to be stuck with them for the rest of the flight.

Do you have some tips that you would like to share?
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Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Love Poems to Get you Giddy this Valentines

It's almost Valentine's Day again, and I bet the hearts you see everywhere - from store designs to TV and radio shows - are giving you that giddy feeling you felt when you were 13 years old, waiting for your Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet.

But if you're not feeling the love bug yet, it's not too late to catch cupid's arrow. After all, old-fashioned love poetry never goes out of style. Here are some of my favorite poems to bring out that hopeless romantic in you.

1. Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

As they say, Shakespeare is the expert when it comes to making girls swoon. Here's a classic that talks about what true love really is - unchanging and timeless.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved. 
2. How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If describing how you love a person through a poem (or a sonnet for that matter) isn't romantic enough, I don't know what is! This will definitely sweep any girl's feet.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
3. Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? by William Shakespeare

Again, another Shakespeare (I'm kind of a fan, really) that compares you to a Summer's day: Light-hearted and Sweet. Perfect for guys who aren't all too cheesy and emotional.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
4. Love by Roy Croft

I first heard of this poem from the movie, Patch Adams, starring the late Robin Williams. From then on, I instantly fell in love with it (okay, who falls in love with a poem anyway?). But really, I did. It kind of sucks that it talks about friendship towards the end, but reading the first few lines actually made me teary-eyed.
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.
5. Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

This poem was also used in the movie Patch Adams, but I've read about it way before in one of the books my father had. There is such a pain in my heart every time I read this. It's either the tragedy the poem speaks of is very heartbreaking, or the experience I had when loving from afar. Most girls (and guys!) can definitely relate to this.
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. 
Do you have poems that make your heart giddy as well? Share them here :)
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