Sunday, May 11, 2014

Being a Mom: I Thought I Knew It All

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! This is one day I always look forward to every year, not only because of the annual pampering my husband never fails to give me but the chance to give thanks and honor to all the wonderful moms in our lives. Now I know they truly deserve all these attention and love!

When I got pregnant, I thought I was so ready. I'm the type of person who lists all things, organizes everything, learns what needs to be learned and reads all the self-help books. I was 30 years old at that time, took care of so many babies, my nephews and nieces, and they love me to death (I know coz they never fail to tell me..) I was ready for the pain, breastfeeding, late nights (or no-sleep-at all-nights!), multitasking and all. I had a pregnancy journal, monitored my pre-natal meds, milk, vaccines and checkups! When Patricia was born, (after a very long 41 weeks) I was prepared to take on the challenges! My pedia was so surprised when I showed her my own chart, her feeding times (I breastfed exclusively for 1 year), her poopoo time (with description of color and consistency), her sleep time, and when she started eating solids, I have a list of what she ate everyday (her dad has lots of allergies, just watching out for possible triggers) I was like that, then add a mom who has wisdom and patience like no other, and a mother-in-law who's an expert with babies and breastfeeding, how can I go wrong?!

Then, she was diagnosed with AUTISM!

I didn't know what hit me! I wasn't prepared for this! I didn't have any idea what this was! I didn't know where to start! The doctor said she might not be able to speak for the rest of her life, might be very dependent on us, might not tolerate many things and situations, and more. We weren't prepared for the tantrums, stims, self-hitting and strange stares from people that we needed to face. Not to mention the expenses too! We needed to use all the money we were saving up for her schooling and spend it on her therapies and all at the age of 2! How can a parent be ever ready for this! She is perfect! She is a happy baby. She looks like an angel. She IS an angel! And this what made motherhood extra special for me.

I knew I'll be a hands-on mom and luckily, I also have a loving husband who's very hands-on too. I knew I will be a mom who tutors her, prepares her food and clothes, etc. What I didn't know was that God has even a bigger and better plan for me. I will not only be her mother, but her teacher, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, nurse, yaya, hairstylist, labandera, and more! I will be her biggest fan and advocate! I will be everything she'll want me to be, her mascot, her clown, her playmate, her friend! I will be what a mother would be... a person with so much unconditional love to give.

I'll never complain and I'll never get tired! Motherhood is definitely the toughest and most rewarding job ever! I wouldn't trade this to any CEO positions out there! Thanks Patricia for the wonderful experiences you've gifted me. Thanks Robert for the love and support with whatever motherly decisions I make. Thanks Mommy Zeng and Mama Grace for all the parenting wisdom and skills you've given me. I'm a blessed mom! Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Today is World Autism Awareness Day

It's been a year since my last post! I've been very busy with so many changes in Patricia's schedules, I can't find time to write, not to mention the changes in her sleeping pattern that changes from sleeping at 4am to sleeping early and waking up at 3am..=) But since it's Autism Awareness Month once again, I'm doing my share, in my own little way.

Patricia is now 7 years old, can you believe that? It's been 5 years since she was diagnosed. It's been a roller-coaster ride with so many ups and downs and trials and errors. We learn to accept and embrace that these are parts of our lives. We are now more at ease, comfortable and relaxed in handling the challenges. One thing we learned is not to expect too much from Patricia, her therapists and teachers. They can't perform miracles (but for me, the small miracles they've made are so many I can't thank them enough) and make Patricia a normal child. We all just want her to be happy. That's our primary goal. Others just follow. And the way Patricia is now, we're so grateful. She may still have tantrums as she still has fears (she's still scared of riding the elevator, hearing Mickey Mouse Hotdog song, and lately of the dark.) at least we already know how to handle her. Other than that, we've really come a long way!

She's completely potty trained, oh, except when we go to the mall! She doesn't like going to the mall's comfort rooms because she fears that she'll be seeing an elevator. She can now go grocery shopping with me without riding the cart. Now, the problem I have is when she hoards everything she wants. 6 pcs of Cheetos, 6 pcs of Lay's, 3 bags of Hershey's Kisses, 6 pcs of Chocolait, etc!! Gosh! We need to be rich daddy! She now knows how to remove her clothes, which means she can remove it by herself and go take a bath in the bathroom by herself too, which happens at around 3-4 times a day!! Waaaahhh! She can also say what food she wants to eat. Her favorite words (which she says very clearly), "Jollibee" "spaghetti" "McDo" "cheese" (for cheeseburger, she only eats the cheese) "french fries" "KFC" "pizza"... no wonder she's now 80 lbs!! The clothes we buy for her are for 16 years olds. She can now borrow clothes from me. Hahaha!

At this point in our lives, we want nothing more than to give her a happy, enjoyable, comfortable and healthy life. A positive environment without too much pressure on her to act normal. Where she can be herself, enjoy life and feel loved. In my first posts when she was first diagnosed, I said I'll squeeze the autism out of her in any way I can, now what I want is just to give her overflowing love embracing her and her autism. And we won't stop until our last breath.

Happy Autism Awareness Month!