20 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Show Moms Deserve to Be Spoiled

When you’re a mom, you do things for your husband / partner and children and expect nothing in return, because motherhood is in itself a reward. But, on Mother’s Day, allow yourself to be spoiled by your loved ones with gifts that express what they could not verbalize — tokens of appreciation that tell you, “We’re so grateful to have you in our lives.”

Husbands, children, find the perfect gift from the gallery below!

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Measuring Deadliness | Toxinology 101

Scientists refer to the study of biological toxins as toxinology. From bacterial toxins like anthrax to the deadliest snake venoms, toxinology examines the chemical warfare between animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. In my Toxinology 101 series, I explain and explore the fundamentals of toxin science to reveal the unusual, often unfamiliar, and unnerving world created by our planet’s most notorious biochemists.

One of the most frequent questions I receive as a venom scientist (so much so …read more    

‘I Said Goodbye to the Job I Love to Breastfeed My Baby’

I was a 26-year-old newlywed when I found out I was pregnant. I was also working full-time as a writer, book editor, and managing editor for a hugely popular magazine under the same publishing company I joined a scant two months after graduation. I met some of my best friends at my job, and I even married one of them. To say my job was my life would be pretty accurate. But, all of a sudden, there was a little life growing inside of me.

I worked until I hit 38 weeks of pregnancy, riding out deadlines, photo shoots, and proofreading throughout the trimesters. And as my belly grew, so did my certainty that I would breastfeed my child. I was not a sancti-mommy — I’ve never judged formula moms. But I felt compelled to pursue breastfeeding for my baby, in whatever form it would work for us.

In April 2016, I gave birth via an emergency C-section, and I asked for the nurse’s help to get my newborn daughter latched straight away. I almost throttled her when she answered, “Ay, ngayon na ba?” My wild-eyed glare must have scared her because she quickly shoved our damp and gooey daughter onto my chest and backed away. And at that moment, our breastfeeding journey began. My milk was already coming in while I was still in the recovery room. I’ve never had issues with latching, supply, or engorgement. Don’t hate me, but I am one of the lucky ones who can eat an oatmeal cookie and feel my boobs fill up an hour later.

All I’m saying is moms know they have hard choices to make, day after day, and this one was mine.

The real struggle started when we introduced the bottle to our daughter at 6 weeks old. To say that there were tears would be a gross understatement. She took the bottle like a personal insult. And thus started the intense Googling and asking for advice on forums and Facebook groups. My husband and I quickly assembled a motley crew of random bottles and nipples, from Mimijumi and Avent to the cheapest silicone nipples at the grocery. They all ended up collecting dust in our cupboard. You’d think we were making our daughter drink sulfuric acid the way she cried and vomited each time we offered a bottle. Her acid reflux didn’t help matters, either.

Yes, I would tiredly answer anyone who tried to help, we tried warm milk and cold milk, thawed milk and freshly-pumped milk. We tried cups, syringes, spoons. I went outside the room, the condo, even walked to the Starbucks across the street just so she couldn’t smell me. The only thing we never did was to starve her into desperation so she would take the bottle. (You gasp at the mere idea, but this was actually a suggestion by many well-meaning titas.) Lots of other moms I knew reported success with this nipple, or that bottle, or yaya wearing mom’s two-week old T-shirt (true story), but absolutely nothing worked for us.

I was tired. Bottle-feeding her consumed me. My husband just sighed every time I came home clutching a new bottle that was “guaranteed” effective. I stared jealously at little babies peacefully sucking on their Dr. Browns/Pigeons/Tommy Tippees while their moms blithely pushed them around in their strollers. I got disheartened pumping and storing milk because I was starting to give up hope that she would ever drink any of it (I ended up donating a freezer full of milk). I wished I could turn back the clock and introduce the bottle earlier, nipple confusion be damned.

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As the end of my maternity leave loomed near, the frustration became panic. Slowly, I had to face the fact that maybe I wasn’t going to be that working mom toting a breast pump and a cooler to the office. And for the first time since I gave birth, I cried. I couldn’t not work. What about our finances? The job I left behind, the people I loved working with? What about me? I went from being a magazine editor to a walking mammary gland — my friends loved the joke, but the post-partum identity crisis was no laughing matter.

There was only one certainty among all the questions: I could not give up breastfeeding my daughter. I couldn’t bear to leave this tiny, red-faced creature squalling for the boob while I sat at a desk, miles away. She was mine — and the responsibility to nourish her was on me.

I don’t judge moms who came back from their maternity leaves with babies bottle-trained or not. In fact, you are probably made of sterner stuff than I am. All I’m saying is moms know they have hard choices to make, day after day, and this one was mine.

So I said good-bye to my job and feverishly worked out our finances, our new routine, our new normal, and until today, it’s a work in progress. I also said good-bye to that conveniently mobile lifestyle many of my age enjoy. There was no getting back into the swing of things. While my friends were figuring out how far they could go to watch Coldplay live, I had to figure out how far I could go until her next feed (Answer: one therapeutic grocery trip, a pedicure, and a pit stop at Potato Corner, all in the mall beside our house).

It’s made me confront how much I like myself, or if I even like myself at all.

It’s gotten easier over the months especially when our baby started solids and learned to drink water from a cup. She latches mostly for comfort now, but will only fall asleep if on the boob (that’s another story). She’s the loudest, most hyper 1-year-old I have ever met, whose first instinct is to wave enthusiastically at anything (inanimate objects included). I live for the moments her big eyes find mine while she nurses, and she touches my nose ever so gently.

I sometimes miss my …read more    

Daphne Oseña-Paez Encourages Moms to Declare ‘No Gadget Day’ for Kids

Media personality Daphne Oseña-Paez was already a step ahead in the blogging game way before it became the fashion. “I grew up with the Internet. I rode that wave before Facebook even happened,” Daphne proudly claims.

Acknowledged as one of the country’s pioneering social media influencers, Daphne has a thorough grasp of the digital technologies, which, in one way or another, has widened the generation gap.

Now that she’s a full-fledged mom herself, Daphne acknowledges the struggles and realities faced by today’s parents in dealing with their teen children. In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during the Rabeanco event, Daphne says, “We are dealing with issues that other parents in another generation didn’t have. You may think it’s easier but it’s actually harder.”

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And no matter how hands-on she is as a mom, she knows that her children’s exposure to gadgets is inevitable. So instead of totally restricting them, she and her husband Patrick Paez decided to regulate their usage. Here are Daphne’s gadget rules:

1. Introduce them gradually.

While her kids have Viber accounts, they know she checks their conversations because they are minors under her care. “They have protected private accounts. They don’t do Instagram. I don’t want them having a digital life outside their real life yet.”

2. You have to be very present in their lives, digitally.
“My kids are not online on their own. I follow them, of course. I don’t allow them to run around freely on the Internet,” says the mom. For Daphne, once you set your kid out on her own, it’s the equivalent of letting them walk the sidewalks at night, alone.

Child safety is a real concern and it’s something she deals with as UNICEF Philippines’ Special Advocate for Children, where child safety is an issue online. “Parents have to be aware where their kids go, what they do.”

During summer, when her kids are mostly home, Daphne has found a way to keep their digital activities to a minimum.

3. Set the limit.
Aside from imposing a “no gadget day,” her other rule is, “If you are low batt, it’s over.” She elaborates, “I tell them, you can only charge your phone once a day. They need to budget their time and spend it wisely.”

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4. The iPad or smartphone is not a nanny.
It’s a no-no to give them gadgets so the mom can do other things. She also advises having mirror apps so you can see what they are doing.

5. Strike a balance between real versus digital activities.
She makes sure the kids try both digital and real-life expressions of the same discipline. “They ask me to post their work na artistic so I make sure they do not do just digital art, but real painting too. My kids read real books, write, play outside.”

She recalls an incident where her middle daughter Lily told her, “I don’t wanna sweat.” Daphne’s response was, “I was like, ‘You are gonna sweat, so you are gonna go to the park and sweat.’”

Daphne also makes sure her kids have a life beyond the cyberworld. “They have playdates with friends, which means no gadget day.” She lets them do real baking and real swimming. “The way the world is going, it is so easy and connected, so the more you need physical contact and activity for real relationships”

6. Let them talk in real life.
If the kids exist solely online, she says, “They will just have fights online. And they don’t know how to resolve it. Talking to each other is different; they have to deal with real life pa rin. That is the job of the parent.”

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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Proper regulation of e-cigs seen to prevent sickness, deaths

Appropriate regulation of electronic cigarettes or “vapes” can help prevent serious sickness and the premature death of millions of cigarette smokers in the Philippines, according to a leading expert on tobacco harm reduction and e-cigarettes.

The post Proper regulation of e-cigs seen to prevent sickness, deaths appeared first on Inquirer News.

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10 ‘Palaro’ athletes, performers faint as they wait for Duterte

At least 10 athletes and performers in the 2017 Palarong Pambansa collapsed amid the scorching heat at the Binirayan Sports Complex here while waiting for President Duterte. Medical teams rushed to assist mostly children athletes and performers who were mostly at the open field during the opening ceremony.

The post 10 ‘Palaro’ athletes, performers faint as they wait for Duterte appeared first on Inquirer News.

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Ali Khatibi Recounts Experience Caring for Preterm Baby Amarah with Wife Cristine Reyes

“Being a dad is amazing. It’s a fun journey for me.” This was how Ali Khatibi described his experience as a first-time dad to Baby Amarah, his daughter with ABS-CBN actress Cristine Reyes.

The 31-year-old model/athlete continued, “I’m learning new things about my daughter, and I’m learning new things as a husband. Beautiful, beautiful experience.”

But that won’t be how he would describe fatherhood the day after his baby was born prematurely on February 8, 2015. With their baby weighing 3.12 pounds, the baby was in an incubator for four days.

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Ali recalled, “Amara was a preterm baby. I’d say the struggle that we had is yung nights na she couldn’t breathe. Kasi we feed her through cup, cupping pa siya nun back then, e, kasi she had no strength to feed through a bottle pa.

“So yung struggle namin yung mga times na hindi siya nakakahinga, she’d choke at night, she’d vomit so nagcho-choke siya. We have to suck out the milk from her nose, stuff like that. Ayun yung pinaka-mahirap.”

For the next two months, Ali and Cristine’s world revolved around Baby Amarah, who, according to the actress in her interview with Smartparenting.com.ph in June 2015, was very “fragile” and “would not cry.”

No matter how hard the situation then, Ali had to be strong. “When you have a kid, you know you have to be ano e automatically, parang you have to be strong for that person, e. Hindi ka puwedeng mag-break down or you doubt yourself.

“So I was being strong. Siyempre, I wanted to show Cristine na we’ll be okay and kaya namin. Kasi if I break down, of course, Cristine will also be [affected] so I had to be strong… I wouldn’t say na nag-struggle ako but yeah, of course, the fear was there but na-overcome ko naman siya.”

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PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) caught up with Ali at a Converse event last March 23 in Bonifacio Global City. His daughter Amarah, a very charming tot, is now two years old, and in such a short period, Ali has learned so much and changed a lot.

The Filipino-Iranian mixed martial arts athlete told PEP, “Yung biggest learning ko is that yung love mo for someone… Paglabas, grabe yung love mo sa tao na yun, and grabe yung care mo sa tao na yun. So that’s something I’ve learned, na-discover sa sarili ko. Grabe pala, I’m so overprotective. I could be so maarte with my daughter, inaalagaan ko talaga siya.”

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Between him and wife Cristine Reyes, who is the spoiler? “Sabi ni Cristine ako pero parang feeling ko naman hindi. Pero I guess so kasi sobrang daddy’s girl siya e, so I could be a spoiler, maybe.”

Who plays the bad cop? “I’d say mas nagiging disciplinarian si Cristine. Well, I do my part also but si Cristine ang mas…she sets rules. Kasi parang ang napapansin ko sa kanila, parang same personality sila. Nakakatawa nga e kasi silang dalawa yung nagtatalo, sa akin sila nagsusumbong dalawa. So it’s funny, nakakatawa.”

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Will he let Amarah join showbiz? “You know, our daughter, hindi siya nahihiya sa camera. She’s very talkative, she’s very active, she likes people, she loves people. As in. Ano siya, extrovert siya. She’s like me, she likes people. May chance na baka maging artista siya kasi very interactive siya sa mga tao.”

But he will have one condition. “I’ll always push her to finish her school muna. If ever she wants to do showbiz or anything she wants to do in her life, we’ll be there to support her naman.”

One of Ali’s recent Instagram posts showed Amarah playing with her new drum set. Adorable!

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As early as now, Amarah is being dubbed by netizens as one of the “next generation It Girls,” along with Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes’ daughter Zia, and Drs. Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho’s daughter Scarlet Snow. “That’s something so flattering for us kasi we read write-ups na parang ‘It Girls’ just like what you said. Nakakatuwa, siyempre, nakakatuwa para sa amin ni Cristine na our daughter’s part of that, and I’m sure the other celebrities are also happy na their kids are sinasabing ‘It Girls’ ng generation na ‘to.”

Amarah will no doubt grow up as beautiful as her mom. Has he thought about that time when his daughter would already introduce a boyfriend to them? Ali quipped, “If you guys remember the movie Bad Boys, the scene there na there was a guy trying to date Will Smith’s daughter and he was there. Ayun yung mganyayari, if anyone [tries to]…just kidding!”

Ali was actually referring to Will’s co-star Martin Lawrence who had a 15-year-old daughter in Bad Boys II. The two characters intimidated the suitor without mercy. On a serious note, he added, “Kung may manligaw sa anak ko, I’d rather na I’d get to know the person. I think it’s best na hindi sila magtago sa akin kasi maga-guide mo sila, and I think that’s the best way to do it.”

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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Why It Matters That Our Kids Learn True Grit

“Mom, my tooth fell down the drain!” my son said as he fell limply into my arms, his face wet with tears. He had just spent days wiggling a loose tooth — most of the day twisting it — in hopes of getting a visit from the tooth fairy. He counted his chickens before they hatched, and now the egg was halfway towards the ocean.

It isn’t always easy to witness my children defeated. I am always tempted to give comfort by way of a quick solution. I considered procuring an old tooth and pretending I rescued it from the drain but six-year-olds like my son are meticulous observers. He memorized every groove and stain on that precious tooth.

Then, I recalled a viral TED talk on how children today lack one thing that they need to be successful in life: grit. We parents have done such a good job child-proofing the world. We do everything we can so that our kids can avoid pain, failure, and sorrow. What we have as a result are spunky, smart, seemingly secure, and energetic kids who fold the minute life throws them a curve ball.

I got my hand out of the secret compartment in my secret drawer that leads to the secret passage to Tooth Fairy Land. I didn’t grab that old tooth. Instead I said, “This is a problem. You’ve waited so long for this day, and now the tooth is lost. I would be really sad, too.”

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He wailed more loudly, cried more tears, and collapsed on the floor.

There has to be some kind of solution. We need to think, think, think. Hmmm…”

He looked at me expectantly. I paused for so long that he decided to cry again. And because I was still scratching my chin and looking up at the ceiling while thinking, he finally said, “What if I said I’m sorry for losing the tooth? Do you think the tooth fairy would forgive me?”

“Of course. Sorry is a good place to start,” I replied.

“What if I told her where to find it? Do you think she could try and get in there?”

“You would have to be specific. Be really clear about where to find it. Tooth fairies are busy folk and won’t have enough time to look all over the house.” I could see his face light up with an idea.

“Well, yeah, I could draw a map!” Before I could even acknowledge him, he bounced away to get paper and pens. I helped him spell some words. He bit his lip, furrowed his brows, and concentrated on drawing a map of his bed and the way to the drain.

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As an extra measure, he grabbed a handful of decorative shells and stones and made a trail from his pillow all the way to the bathroom drain. Then, he tucked both the letter and himself in bed and excitedly imagined the possibilities. “You’d better try and sleep soon,” I warned. “The fairy needs to get here before your tooth plops into the ocean!”

He soon went to sleep, dreaming of fairies, swirling drain tunnels, a runaway toothand sharks snapping up lost teeth in drains.

That night, the tooth fairy came, held the note to her heart, and felt really proud of this little boy’s spirit. In true form, she dove in, swam through swirling drains, and scooped up the runaway tooth before a hungry silver shark could snap it up. Then, she left a note of congratulations and a crisp bill.

My son woke up before dawn, and all was right in his world again.

That’s the thing, isn’t it? You try to teach your kids to solve problems, and you help them to succeed as best as you can. Sometimes, it’s possible to do it. Other times, you just have to hold your breath and have faith that things will eventually work out when your solutions don’t — such as when my teenage son’s best friend took his own life not more than two months ago. I watched my son deal with the sorrow of that loss, never understanding why things happen the way they do. I helped him move on without his friend, even if it was the last thing in the world he wanted to do — or could — do. I dragged him to school and encouraged him to show up for class and to plow through schoolwork and examinations even if it felt like it no longer made sense to do so.

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I couldn’t pull an old tooth out of a hat for that one. I couldn’t summon the tooth fairy or create a fictitious possibility that would make everything better somehow. We try, don’t we? We summon God, angels, and saints. We create an image of our departed loved ones in the arms of a higher being who loves so extensively that they no longer feel pain or suffering. We surround our children with love, attention, and support, and hover around them until they yell, “Please stop.” We never know what to do about our children’s pain. We just want it far and away, but we succumb to the fact that there are some problems we can’t solve.

My teenage son, almost a man, doesn’t want to let go of the pain of his loss. It’s the very thing that defines him now. It’s his cause and reason to change the trajectory of his life and to define another purpose. As he chooses a college far and away and prepares himself for a journey where I cannot come along, the best thing I can do as a mother who loves him is to find the courage to let him go, wish him well, and believe in him.

What about grit? You can bet he has it. Life gifts our children with packages containing grit all the time. We just have to learn how to get out of the way so they can receive it.

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Smart Parenting magazine.

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This Girl’s Bedroom Is a 3-Year-Old’s Wonderland!

Interior designer Mickey Alingarog jokes that her family home was like the Frankenstein monster at the start. She and her husband Matthew, who is in the construction business, had access to excess materials from their various projects, which they in turn used for their home.

“Everything we used here are scraps lang from construction sites,” explains Mickey. “Kasi whenever we have a project, siyempre may sobrang materials. We would bring that home and build whatever.”

Shelves and bed frames were made out of odds and ends from construction and design jobs, and many of the materials found their way into their 3-year-old daughter, Yumi’s room. “In Yumi’s room, parang we started off with just a bed on the floor. And then may palpak yung isa naming carpenter. He over-ordered materials for cabinets, so that’s what he used to build a play house,” says Mickey. “Instead of stocking it in the bodega, we had it made into a play room.”

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It may be made of scrap materials, but Yumi’s room can get any kid (or grown-up, for that matter) excited. Here are some of the adorable details:



NEUTRAL TERRITORY
One wall is painted a chevron pattern in gray and white. The rest of the room is in gray, with touches of white and wood. The neutral color palette serves as a soothing background against Yumi’s many colorful toys on display.

EASY ACCESS
Low, open shelves make it easy for Yumi to reach—and pack away—her toys. The drawers are likewise appropriate to her height.

Renovating tip: Installing drawers and cabinets in a kid’s room? Consider self-closing hinges that close slowly, so little fingers don’t get caught.

FUN DETAILS
No budget or space for show-stopping features like an in-room slide? Take a cue from the cute details in Yumi’s room: A dollhouse can serve as an interesting focal point, like the red one on top of the set of drawers. Or try bringing in inexpensive details, like a paper lantern in the shape of a hot air balloon.

Renovating tip: Give your kids’ room a lived-in, put-together look by paying attention to the walls. Store-bought prints, a mural, wall decals, or even your kids’ framed artwork can give a room lots of personality.

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SHAPES AND TEXTURES
A room feels instantly cozier with rugs and window treatments. In the middle of Yumi’s room is a round rug with animals; on the wall are whimsical shelves shaped like clouds.



LOFTY AMBITIONS
You know how all kids seem to love double-decker beds? You can imagine how they feel about lofts! The first level of Yumi’s loft includes a mattress on the floor as well as her own makeshift store. Slanted shelves hold toy food items, like bread on trays, and fruits and vegetables in wire baskets. A shopping basket is at the ready for playtime. The second level features a play kitchen where Yumi can “cook.” There’s also a thick mattress, great for naptime and sleepovers!

Renovating tip: If you have the vertical space for it, a loft is a great way to add floor space to a room. The first level can serve as a play or study area, while the second level can serve as sleeping quarters, for example.

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FINISHING TOUCHES
Little details make a big difference: Bunting spelling out the occupant’s name is strung under a flower box. Striped curtains adorn both the first and second levels of the loft. A pulley system lets Yumi transport items from the first level to the second level with ease. And the best part? A slide!

Renovating tip: Safety first! A play mat lies at the bottom of the slide in Yumi’s room to prevent painful landings.

Mom Mickey says that Yumi’s room is her favorite spot in the house. “Kasi when I was a kid, parang we had a playroom also. All your good memories are there, di ba, so I wanted to create the same [for Yumi]. We had a tree house outside [when I was growing up], eh dito naman wala kaming space for outdoor play area and it’s hot, di ba? So we wanted her to have that indoor playhouse.”

She continues, “Parang here, when I’m tired from work, tapos gabi na, dito kami nagre-relax. We even eat here sometimes. If I want to de-stress, I go to Yumi’s room, and then she comes with me and we play. Very imaginative siya eh, na she likes to cook. Even when we’re just sitting around, ‘Mommy, cooking-cooking!’ So naaaliw ako. That’s why that’s my favorite room talaga.”

Styling by Beam Mariano. Photos were taken when Yumi was 2 years old.

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Look! These Specs and Sunnies are Oh-So Chic

If there’s one summer accessory you absolutely can’t skip, it’s definitely sunnies. Not only does it protect your peepers from the sun, it makes you look cool and stylish, too!

We stumbled upon Fièvre, an online brand that carries trendy clothing, beachwear, and accessories, but it’s their eyewear that really caught our attention. They have chic specs and cool sunnies that will really spice up your summer look!

Check them out:

Hannah (P495)

Cassidy (P350)

Ines (P495)

Audrey (P350)

Alice (P495)

Tara (P550)

Harry (P350)

Naomi (P495)

Tobin (P550)

Cico (P495)

You can shop Fièvre’s eyewear collection online.

For more information, log on to Fièvre’s Facebook page

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Smartparenting.com.ph editors.

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