Maggie Wilson Shares Pregnancy ‘Wasn’t the Happiest Time’ In Her Life

It would seem like mom, model and TV host Maggie Wilson has everything that any woman could want in life: a blooming career, a successful business, and a happy family life.

But Maggie is most proud about Connor, her 5-year-old son with husband Victor Consunji. He does not ‘scream, spit, scratch, and throw tantrums.’ In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last March 20, she said, “Super lucky, super proud to have a son like him. He’s such a good boy.”

[instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BDnEZE2Sycj/]

But while motherhood appears to be breezy for the former beauty queen, her pregnancy was not. “I was vomiting everyday while I was pregnant. I was bedridden, it was horrible for me.”

She noted, “Believe me, my entire pregnancy and giving birth, the last six months of having it was not the happiest time in my life. The first six months of post-baby was tough on me and tough on my marriage as well.”

And postpartum depression? The books that she read helped her “recognize the signs.” She said, “So I knew I was suffering from depression because I was getting angry at my child. And that’s sign number one.”

One major cause of her stress was not having enough breast milk. “I was one of those moms who unfortunately didn’t have enough milk to breastfeed. That’s why I’m also difficult on myself because moms can be very judgy here in the Philippines when you don’t breastfeed. That’s the first thing they ask, ‘Are you breastfeeding?’ You’re just like, ‘I’m mixed feeding because I don’t have enough milk.’

“I’ve done everything, you know, to be able to try to, but … i’ts genetically, it’s just impossible for me.”

Nonetheless, she was able to breastfeed Connor for three months. So if you ask her what it is like to become a new mom, Maggie disproves what most moms say after giving birth. “You know they say, ‘Oh, the moment you see your baby, you’re gonna forget all that.’ That’s BS [b*llsh*t], that’s a lie.

“So whenever I have a friend that is pregnant, they ask me what they should expect, I give it to them. Because I don’t want them to say, ‘You lied to me, you told me that after I see my child, it’s gonna be you know, all nice and butterflies, and unicorns, no.’

“That’s the reality of being a mom.”

[instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BO39k9VAMen/]

Maggie was 23 when she gave birth, and she realizes now that she underestimated the responsibilities and stress that having a baby entails.

“I knew what I was getting myself into. I’ve read so many books on how to be a mom, how to take care of a baby, but nothing will ever truly prepare you for motherhood.”

Maggie’s dad became her confidant. “It was actually the very first time I called my dad crying, because my parents don’t live here. My parents live in Saudi Arabia, that’s where I grew up.

“I called my dad, because I’m closer with my dad, crying. And then he called my mom, he was like, ‘You need to go home now because Maggie and Victor will kill each other.'”

Her mom Sonia Nales became a great help for her to overcome the depression. “She basically asks me what do I need, what do I want…. I said, ‘I just need time.’ I just need 15 minutes in shower doing absolutely nothing.

“She gave me like several weeks, she gave me like three weeks. She would take Connor from me for a few hours, just so I would have quiet time, sort of get back to my self.”

After all that she’s been through, are Maggie and Victor planning to have another baby? The host of Philippines’ Next Top Model answered, “I’m just like mentally preparing myself for baby number two. It will happen soon.”

[instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BG3RcecSyfy/]

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

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

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7 Makeup Tips to Help You Ace Your Summer Look

Consider summer as a decluttering phase for your beauty routine. The humid weather will practically force you to be more light-handed with your makeup and allow your skin to breathe. That said, we asked three makeup artists for tips on mastering summer-appropriate looks. Check them out below!

1. Focus on enhancing one part of your face.
To avoid looking overdone, pick a feature of yours that you want to highlight. According to beauty consultant Ara Fernando, she does this to keep her clients’ look simple and fresh.

For example, if your eyes are your best asset, you can make winged liner your summer staple. But if you’re a lipstick girl, a bright coral or red lip can instantly freshen up your look!

2. Don’t try too many things at once.
When you feel like trying graphic liner with glitter lips, go ahead — we’d all be rooting for you! However, Ara doesn’t recommend this for a minimal, summer-ready look. “I try to keep things simple and try to minimize combining different trends that could make [clients] look [overdone],” she shares.

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3. Apply dewy serums before makeup.
Makeup artist Mark Qua recommends using anti-aging serums to give the skin a youthful glow. If your skin is already glowing without makeup, you won’t feel the need to apply too much product anymore. Summer is all about understated beauty anyway!

The Face Shop Yehwadam Revitalizing Serum, P2495, SM Megamall

4. If you’re used to fuller coverage, use a sponge to apply your foundation.
“Use a beauty blender to marry the product into your skin,” says Mark. Doing this will give you that skin-like look, even if you use a full coverage foundation. The sponge will absorb all the excess product so you won’t look cakey.


BeautyBlender Pro Sponge, P1005, Sephora.ph

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5. Apply product only where you need it most.
Redness around the nose, undereye circles, or blemishes—take your pick. Skip foundation altogether if you’re comfortable, and rely on concealer if you want to cover something up. Australian makeup artist Karima Mckimmie uses this technique by tapping product onto the skin with her fingers for a seamless finish.

6. Blot before powdering.
When you retouch, blot your oils with a tissue or oil film before you apply powder over them. According to makeup artist Laila Al-Harthy, you wouldn’t want to move the makeup you have underneath. This will also prevent looking cakey at the end of the day!

7. Use a facial mist.
“Mists will be your bestfriend in this heat,” says Laila. She recommends spritzing on face mist often during the summer, since it will refresh both your makeup and your skin. Also, doing so after applying makeup will get rid of that powdery look and give your skin a soft glow. Shop for face mists here!

This story originally appeared on Preview.ph.

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

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No Summer Class Needed! 4 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Brain Active

Not to dampen anyone’s summer vacation mode, but researchers have noted that there’s a lot of learning loss happening during these long summer months that our kids are not in the classroom. Our kids forget many of the facts and concepts they learned throughout the school year, which means teachers must spend a considerable amount of time retraining students on essential pre-requisite knowledge and skills when classes resume. But because teachers can’t wait for each and every student to get on the same page, many kids run the risk of falling behind.

To avoid that, here are some ideas to help your child review important facts and concepts over summer break, but done in a way that doesn’t feel like they’re studying:

Recall important fact and figures with board games
In my article, “Help Your Child Ace Her Exams,” I offered some ideas on how you and your child can review for exams in a way that promotes autonomy and self-regulation. You can apply some of those same tips for summer learning.

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One idea in that article involved making simple games that your child can play with friends to help them recall facts and figures. This summer, let your child invite friends for an afternoon of board games, which they have to make on their own and it is related to the topics they learned in class. This works well for subjects that are heavy on terminology, facts and figures, such as Social Studies or Science.

For instance, they can draw a simple board that looks like Monopoly on an illustration board or sheet of cartolina. Supply them with a large stack of blank index cards on which to write true or false/multiple choice questions related to the topics they learned in school. To construct these question cards, obviously, they need to crack open their textbooks and review what they learned (you sneaky, mom, you)

For each question, they can write instructions on the number of steps that each player can move, depending on whether that player got the answer right or wrong (e.g. “Move 5 steps forward if your answer is correct. If your answer is wrong, move 3 steps back”). The objective is to answer as many questions correctly and race to the finish line.
Challenge them to come up with different board games and their own mechanics, and you will be surprised at what these kids can come up with!

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Let them use the camera
Another strategy I’ve used to review for exams with my daughter was to let her make videos of herself explaining some of the topics in her pointers for review, like a YouTube tutorial. You can apply this to summer learning by inviting your child’s friends over to make video tutorials of various subjects.

It will work well for reviewing math, since verbalizing one’s understanding of math concepts enhances learning. In general, this strategy is useful for any subject matter where organizing and articulating one’s thoughts deepens mastery of the content.

So, for instance, have your child and her friends make videos with the use of a whiteboard to explain mathematical concepts, formulas and procedures they learned throughout the year. You can also Google science projects and experiments that are related to the topics they learned in science, and have them demonstrate that project or experiment in a video.

Of course, make the effort to watch the videos they produce, to show them your support (and to process any misconceptions in their understanding of certain topics.) If you’re feeling particularly supportive, you might even want to plan a “Video Preview” sleepover.

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Teach with travel
Since summer vacation is the time for road trips, why not visit any of the historical sites or landmarks that your child studied in social studies? Your child can prepare for this trip by reviewing what she read about in the textbook, and writing down questions or thoughts on things she would like to explore further at the actual site.

You can deepen your child’s learning even more by equipping her with a camera, a pen and a notebook to take pictures and jot down notes that she will eventually convert into a scrapbook, memoir or travel brochure.

Take advantage of online learning
Last but not least, check out the videos and learning resources on Khan Academy for Math, Science, and English grammar. They even have materials for older kids, such as economics, finance, arts and humanities. This may seem more like “studying” to some kids, but the fact that it is online may spark the interest of our digital natives.

Mom to a 17-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, Angela Abaya-Garcia earned her master’s degree in Psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Psychology at De La Salle University (Manila), where she also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on child development, research methods, learning and teaching.

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20 Summer Classes for Budding Programmers, Game Designers and More!

Your child is already playing with his gadget for hours on end. Why not encourage him to actually create his own game and apps? There’s a global consensus that children should (and can) be taught how to code at a very early age. Coding enhances children’s creativity, problem-solving skills, critical thinking and develops patience. It is an effective learning tool and a life skill that can be used across all industries. The demand is also high for jobs that involves coding especially when it comes to software development, one of the most highest-paying industries in the world.

Gabe Newell, founder and president of Valve (Dota2 and Counter Strike) says it best, “The programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of the future. You’re going to look like you have magic powers compared to everybody else.”

Our children can very well be the next great wizards. Here’s how to give them that magic wand.

CODING4KIDS
Started in 2014, Coding4Kids offers private tutorials by Arvin Encarnacion, a computer science graduate of UST, web developer, former Computer Science and Information Technology college professor and Lego artist. Programs are offered year-round and are designed based on various British Code Club courses. The Robotics Engineering program uses the same elements as the UK Computer Education system. Lego robotics systems are also available.
VENUE: Private home tutorials within Makati and Mandaluyong; or California Garden Square in Mandaluyong
RATES, PROGRAMS & SCHEDULES:
Programs are projects-based with a minimum of five meetings lasting between 1-2 hours each. Schedules are pre-booked and subject to availability as there are only two schedules per day: 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

The Game Developer Program (from 5 years old), P2,000

Designed to teach kids various computer programing concepts through video game projects.

The Robotics Engineer Program (from 7 years old), P2,000
Designed to introduce kids to robot design and programming concepts through various robot projects.

MOMMY TIP: If you have more than one child, Arvin extends a P500 discount for each additional student, with a maximum of 3 students per session.

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ICODE ACADEMY
Think Computer Science for kids, and this organization can help you. It has been known to push for programming as an important skill in kids, the same way as reading and writing are. It is popular for its game programming and creating Minecreaft mods, a foundation for programming skills.
CALL: 0918-658-3150
EMAIL: info@icodeacademy.com.ph
RATES, PROGRAMS & SCHEDULES:

Makerspace Pilipinas: Minecraft, April 8 and 22, 1-4 p.m.

Design and program your own game!
VENUE: Mind Museum, Bonifacio Global City
Register here

Minecraft Modding Levels I & II (10-15 years old)
P6,800 per level, April and May, 2-week sessions, T-TH, 12-3 p.m.
Kids will learn how to program while “modding”—or add custom features—to the Minecraft game culminating with students create their own mini-game project at end of the Level II class.
VENUE: The Forum, 4/F Fully Booked, Bonifaco Global City.
Register here

Game Programming with Scratch (8-12 years old)
Kids will learn programming using Scratch Visual Studio to create their own personal digital game.
VENUE: Valle Verde 2 Function Room
Register here for rates and schedules.

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JUNIOR ACADEMY FOR CODING KNOWLEDGE, INC. (JACK)
Opened in March 2016, Junior Academy for Coding Knowledge, Inc. (JACK) is a learning center for kids with a mission to provide the highest quality learning experience in a fun and engaging environment. JACK trainers are graduates of the University of the Philippines and are current IT industry practitioners.

VENUE: Penthouse, East Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Centre, Ortigas Center, Pasig
EMAIL: learncoding@jack.com.ph
CALL: +63977-841-0482
RATES, PROGRAMS & SCHEDULES:
Programs are designed for students ages 7 to 16. They can select programs depending on their interests and continue their progression after each course. Rates include snacks and equipment (except Game Salad).

SCRATCH: WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF CODING
P8,500 April 3-7 and May 1-5, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Learn the fundamentals of coding, this is recommended for beginners. Students learn to make their own stories, animation and games.

SWIFT PLAYGROUNDS P8,500 May 1-5, 8 a.m-12 p.m.
Using fun and interactive activities, students are introduced to Swift, a dynamic programming language used by Apple. This is also recommended for beginners.

A TASTE OF GAME SALAD
P8,500 April 17-21 and April 24-28, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Students will design and execute their own games and publish it on the App Store and Playstore. For this class, kids are required to bring their own MAC laptops.

BB-8 DROID: CODE AND PLAY
P9,500 April 3-7 and May 8-12, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, then you’ll love that this uses a real-life droid that can recognize your voice! Program a BB-8 to make 2D head movements, follow paths, avoid obstructions and race with other droids.

THE ENGINEER: CODING AND ROBOTICS
P9,000 April 24-28, 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Experience the world of robotics through coding and implementation of your program design using Lego bricks with microcontrollers, servomotors, and smart sensors.

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MAKER CAMP
Mind Museum is launching its first “Maker Camp,” a three-day summer class that teaches kids to tinker and learn new skills. Prticipants will receive a Maker Kit, which includes all parts and items they’ll need to do their projects during the camp — such as a rover robot! All projects made during the Maker Camp will be showcased at the first ever Manila Mini Maker Faire happening on June 10-11, 2017.
DATE: April 21-23, 1-5 p.m.
VENUE: Mind Museum, Bonifacio Global City
Register here for rates

TECH BOOTCAMP FOR KIDS AND TEENS (TBC4K)
TBC4K started in 2014 and is organized by the UP System Information Technology Foundation, in collaboration with the UP Information Technology Development Center (UP ITDC). All teachers are graduates of the University of the Philippines and are IT practitioners.
VENUE: RM303, 3/F Vidal A.Tan Hall, Quirino Ave. cor Velasquez St., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
CALL: 788-5898
RATES, PROGRAMS OFFERED & SCHEDULES:
April 3-7 and May 8-12, Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. All courses are five days each. Rates are P9,000 for each course, inclusive of snacks and equipment.

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These Handy Blush Sticks are Perfect for Makeup Newbies

Makeup junkies, here’s a new beauty product that you have to add to your travel kikay kit, stat: the Revlon Insta-Blush. These new beauty sticks let you add color to your cheeks on the go and they’re perfect for beginners, too!

The Insta-Blush comes in a twist-up stick that has a blendable cream-to-powder formula. It features unique mica-coated pigments that diffuse light, which give your cheeks a natural flush. It comes in four shades. Check them out:

The Revlon Insta-Blush sticks will be available in April at your favorite beauty stores for P575 each.

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

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

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Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez Shares Her Anti-Aging Tips

Believe it or not, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez is now 50 years old.

At the Organique Acai media luncheon held last March 17 at the Paparazzi restaurant in EDSA Shangri-La, Tweetie cemented her status as one of the industry’s ageless beauties.

[instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BRuiT3ph8T2/]

What’s one of her anti-aging secrets? For Tweetie, it’s simply all about taking care of yourself.

The mother of four told the press, “That’s [the] only way to balance stress, to balance life, to look good, and to prevent illnesses.

“That’s really the secret to being happy and beautiful.”

[instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BRXNqVVg_0P/]

With age, health becomes synonymous to wealth in many different ways, especially as a committed family woman. She adds, “At this age, my priority is to be well because as the kids get older, parang they need you more. More than [when] they were babies.”

One of the ways that Tweetie invests in healthy living is opening herself up to new experiences. Aside from playing squash, the former fashion model has also tried her hand at tennis.

She confesses, “I’ve been a tennis fanatic. I know all the tennis players in the world. I look forward to training all the time. Nakaka-excite.

Siguro this is the secret to staying fit and energetic. You challenge yourself. You get excited about something new because I wanna learn this, you do everything you can to be good at it.”

[instagram:https://www.instagram.com/p/BKjt4KOBts8/]

When it comes to food, Tweetie admitted that she has no diet restrictions. She reveals, “I eat ice cream, I love ice cream. I eat pizza. I eat white rice! I eat, but I eat enough lang. I don’t overindulge.”

In order to keep her diet healthy, she makes her meals “colorful.”

“I always tell my kids, the more colorful your plate is, the healthier it is because if you have greens, and orange, and yellow, and red in there, all that means is that you have a variety of vegetables which are really good for you,” she concludes.

This story originally appeared on Pep.ph.

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

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Two Often-Overlooked Beauty Hacks You Need For Your Underarms

When it comes to makeup removal, we’re meticulous to a fault. We won’t just wash our faces once — nope, we have to double cleanse (first with an oil cleanser or balm, then with a foaming facial wash) every single night if we want all traces of makeup gone.

But has it ever occurred to you that this method could work on other parts of the body, too? And by “others,” we’re talking about your armpits. Yes, you wash them on a daily basis, but are you actually doing everything to keep them clean? Sometimes, even after scrubbing your armpits with soap and water, a clear film of deodorant remains.

You can try to get rid of it the natural way. Just mix warm water with one-half cup of baking soda until you get a consistent paste consistency. Slather the baking soda paste onto your armpits with your hands, use a washcloth to gently rub it off your armpits, and then rinse it off when you shower.

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If that doesn’t do the trick, try this little experiment by Reddit user anonnewmommy. We’re now convinced that we *need* to oil cleanse our underarms, too.

Here’s what she shared on the Asian Beauty Reddit:

I made a post in the Facebook group about wanting to lighten my armpits (not medical related at all, I promise). A few ladies brought up deodorant being the culprit. I noticed that no matter how much I scrubbed my armpits, they still felt like I had something on them. Last night, after washing my armpits and having that same feeling, I decided to oil cleanse them. I let the oil sit for maybe 5-6 minutes as I did the rest of my shower routine. HOLY COW. My washcloth was covered in little white balls of deodorant. It just kept coming. After rinsing/rewashing with body soap, my armpits felt insanely smooth. This morning, they look lighter and they’re so much smoother. I may be on to something here.

We can bet it’s oddly satisfying — just imagine gross residue melting away once they come in contact with the oil. And with underarm-baring season well on its way, it’s definitely worth a try!

Additional text by Rachel Perez. This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

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

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Yes, You Can Be A Fit Mama!

Pregnancy could be one of the most wonderful moments in a woman’s life. It could also be one of the most challenging due to the physical and emotional changes.

Louise Calderon-Tan, a 25 year-old CrossFit Level 1 trainer at Lifthard Philippines, knows that being fit is especially important during infanticipation and pregnancy. When she found out she was pregnant with her first born, she slowed down but did not totally give up her fitness regimen. “Before I got pregnant, my workout was all about intensity. I would train for hours getting myself ready for CrossFit competitions,” she reveals. She still did the same training all throughout her first and second trimesters “but with less intensity,” she emphasizes. By the third trimester, Louise slowed down and did more of yoga and labor preparation exercises.

Because Louise maintained her program, her weight gain was a mere 10 lbs., making her total weight only 145 lbs. at the peak of her pregnancy. She explains, “Being a fitness coach helped me to get to know my body. While I was pregnant, I was more aware of how to listen to my body, learning what it can and can’t handle. Being a fitness coach also helped me make healthier food choices.”

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This first-time mom didn’t plunge into exercise right after giving birth though. It took her a month before she hit the gym again, opting to relish those precious firsts with her baby boy Lucas. Slowly, Louise eased herself into shape. “One of the things you lose when getting pregnant is core strength. I started working out again at four weeks postpartum, focusing on core strengthening exercises,” she says.

In spite of her background and training, it still took Louise a while to get back into shape. The adjustment, late nights, and additional responsibilities all played a factor. “I did not know that it was going to be difficult trying to get back into shape, especially since I worked out all throughout my pregnancy. I also did not realize that my body was going to feel really weak,” she sighs. Louise persisted in exercising, aiming for her fitness goals slowly. “It is difficult to balance having a baby and keeping fit,” she admits. “But it is doable!”

Louise has chosen to help fellow moms be healthier and fitter. She is now taking prenatal and postnatal courses to arm herself with the right knowledge. “I’m really passionate about helping people get healthy and fit,” she says with a smile.

Women, moms especially, shouldn’t neglect the fitness aspect of their lives. Even if it’s just 10 or 15 or 30 minutes daily, Louise encourages moms to move it, so to speak. “I know how difficult it can be to find the time to work out,” she says sympathetically, “but I also know that when we do take action to strengthen our bodies, there will be a positive impact on our daily lives as persons and mothers.”

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Like Louise said, taking care of one’s family while staying fit is doable. Here are some of her suggestions to making exercise fit into your busy schedule:

1. First things first.
“Try to workout first thing in the morning. If you waited until the afternoon, it’ll be more likely for you to skip the workout.”

2. Schedule your workouts.
“Schedule it as a part of your day and make it a non-negotiable.”

3. Be kind to yourself.
“Don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level or your supposed lack of willpower. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn and improve.”

4. Check your expectations.
“Expecting too much too soon can lead to frustrations. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t do.”

5. Include your kids in your workout.
“While it’s important to have your alone time, there are plenty of ways to combine fitness and family.”

6. Get a workout buddy.
“Someone who can motivate you and keep you accountable — and vice versa!”

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Despite The Imperfection, Jessy Is Like Any Other Kid

A few years ago, when my daughter Jessy Isidra was only two years old, we were browsing the shelves of a department store in an upscale mall in BGC when the sales ladies took notice of my little girl and began playing with her. A kid born with Apert Syndrome, Jessy stood out among the crowd because of her large eyes, slightly bigger head, and her visibly different ‘gloved’ hands.

The sales ladies, who by then formed a small crowd around Jessy, were polite, although evidently curious about her condition and asked me outright, “Saan niyo po sya pinaglihi?” It was a common question I usually get in public areas, one that I don’t really believe in so I just gave my usual spiel, “She was simply born special.”

When we were about to leave, I noticed one of the patrons (a very well-dressed lady), who has been eyeing my daughter for a few minutes already, approached us and without any provocation, started kissing my daughter’s head and hands, and then wiped her Pierre Cardin hanky on my daughter’s chest — the way you would a wooden saint during processions.

She did not say anything to me, and I was too stunned to react. She simply left right after her ‘ritual’, and when she turned her back, the friendly sales ladies started laughing. “Baka po naisip niya pampasuwerte po yung anak nyo.” (Maybe she thought your daughter would give her luck.)

This is the life of a parent with a special kid. The reactions of meeting someone like her border on the extremes: Curiosity, awe, the ‘crazies’, and sadly, extreme pity and at times, dislike as well, especially among other kids. It still pains me when I remember the time a little girl her age cried out of fear when Jessy tried to hold her hand, or when a little boy we saw in a cafe was staring intently at her, muttering quietly “why is her eyes like that?’

Parenting has always been hard, but parenting for a special child definitely needs a different set of operating instructions.

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Jessy was born as a pleasant addition to my little family. Her brother was already six years old when I found out I was pregnant with my second child, and I didn’t really expected to get pregnant again. I had an uneventful pregnancy and nothing seemed out of the ordinary as far as my checkups were concerned.

When I went into labor though, I knew something was wrong. I was in pain for almost 12 hours before my OB decided that I was going under the knife. When I woke up a few hours later, I felt quite confused when the nurses refused to show me my baby. They told me something about my baby having a cleft palate and fused hands. Still groggy, I demanded that they show me Jessy. They reluctantly brought her to me but I was too weak to carry her at that time. I thought she was perfect.


The next few days was a roller coaster of emotions. I found out that Jessy was born with a genetic condition called Apert Syndrome, an abnormal fusion of the skull which results to her head growing abnormally. Aside from the size of her skull, other symptoms also appear such as syndactyly or the fusion of her fingers, and a cleft palate which meant she couldn’t feed properly the way normal babies do. Aside from that, she was born with a slight blood infection which meant we couldn’t bring her home immediately.

It was a roller coaster ride, and I wasn’t sure I could handle everything that was happening to me and my daughter. I couldn’t fathom the idea of how she could be born like that. Doctors started asking me questions like whether I took meds while I was pregnant with her, did I suffer high blood pressure, or if I actually tried to terminate the pregnancy during my first trimester. Needless to say, I was made to feel that all these might have been something I caused, and for that, it was my daughter who’s now paying the price.

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So what got me through the ordeal? As simple as it may sound, but it was love that got me through. It’s the love in different forms: From my husband who has been so supportive and understanding from the start, the love from my son who thought his sister couldn’t be anymore perfect; the love from my family and friends who showed me unconditional support as Jessy grew up; and the love I have for my little girl, because the more difficult our journey became, the more love I felt for her.

And everyday, I see how, despite the imperfection, she grows perfectly just like any other kid. Her hands often amaze her. She would raise them slowly, and they float like graceful fishes, or little birds taking flight. And she would stare at them like the little miracles that they are. She couldn’t suck her thumb when she was small, but she relished on the softness of her little hand, the way I do when I kiss them every chance that I get.

She can’t hold my hand the way babies should, but she has learned to use them and guide my fingers towards her little lips and suck at them like an extension of her little digits, an extension of my heart. She has learned how to feed herself growing up, handling her utensils with as much care as anyone with her condition could muster. Her hands are so loved that they inspire kindness and tenderness, and I see them in the looks people around her give her … the same kindness that I now show for kids like her.


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Of course, there are still times when I catch myself asking why, among the millions of babies born every day, was she the one to have been ‘blessed’ with this kind of condition. …read more    

5 Nail Salons Perfect for Your Moms’ Day Out

Catching up with the mom squad soon? Make it a pampering session with mani-pedis and have a nail sparty! You can even get matching nail art if you want to level up your #SquadGoals. Below, we round up 10 salons around the Metro perfect for your next girls’ day out.

1. Kallista Nail Pamper Lounge


2/F S Maison, Conrad Hotel Manila, Marina Way, Mall of Asia, Pasay City
Contact: 0977-259-1147
www.facebook.com/kallistaph
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you and your girlfriends dream about living the goddess life (you know, dressed in swanky silk robes while getting pampered), Kallista will turn that fantasy into a reality. Posh interiors, plush seating, and gold accent pieces will whisk you away from the hustle and bustle of the city to a place that oozes old-world charm. This Grecian-inspired space really treats you like a true goddess! Get spoiled with a complimentary beverage, a fluffy blanket, and an eye mask so you can fully relax as they transform your digits into gorgeous tips painted with polishes from Zoya, Butter London, Orly, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, YSL, or Christian Loubotin, among others.

Must-try services: Kallista Signature (P435/hands, P715/feet), Goddess Glow (P875 to P1,000), Aphrodite’s Ritual (P2,300)

2. Manos Nail Lounge



Unit 2-I Crescent Park Residences, 30th Street corner 2nd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
Contact: 478-4057 and 0917-315-6627
www.manosnaillounge.com
Open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday) and from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday)

A mani-pedi sesh at Manos isn’t only about you and your pals getting pampered it’s about supporting local and preserving the environment, too! Step inside and you will be greeted by a display shelf that showcases some of the local products from homegrown brands that the nail salon uses for its services. The nature-inspired interiors also reflect their advocacy to support local and eco-friendly products. They use formaldehyde-, toluene-, and DBP-free nail polish brands and vegan brand Zoya so you won’t have to worry about harsh chemicals damaging your nails.

Must-try services: Manos Classic (P520), Manos Express (P380), Manos Signature (P900)

3. Kiyosa Japanese Total Beauty



Unit Ground A F1 Hotel, 32nd Street corner Lane Q, Bonifacio Global City; 2/F S Maison, Marina Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Contact: 805-8888 and 0939-915-8888 (F1 Hotel branch); 771-1009 and 0917-620-4241 (S Maison branch)
kiyosa-beauty.com
Open daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. (F1 Hotel branch); and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (S Maison branch)

Get matchy-matchy nail art with the squad at the country’s first Japanese gel nail salon. Kiyosa flaunts a chic minimalist aesthetic, but don’t be fooled their nail art designs are the bomb! This is because Kiyosa takes nail art seriously. Their nail technicians all have to go through a three-month “Nail School” before they become licensed nail artists! To give you an idea of just how serious they are about nails, they shell out roughly half a million pesos to complete nail school. We kid you not. Kiyosa makes use of Ace Gel and special brushes to perfect their artwork on each digit. They also offer complimentary coffee and Japanese tea!

Must-try services: Gel Nail (P580/junior, P980/senior), Gel Art (P1,480/junior, P2,280/senior), Hand Spa (P1,000)

4. Nail Spa

See a list of Nail Spa branches
Contact: 687-4991 and 687-7011 (Shangri-La Plaza)
www.nailspa.com.ph
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday), 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday), 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Saturday), and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sunday)

Sit back and have a relaxing sparty with your girl friends at this pretty nail salon. Nail Spa has romantic toile de jouy interiors by Ito Kish, making every corner eye candy and Instagram-worthy. Settle into their cozy couches and get ready to be pampered by their skillful nail technicians that can turn your tips into a masterpiece in just one session. Pick from their wide selection of polishes from Zoya and Essie, to Chanel and Dior, among many others!

Must-try services: Express Hands (P250), Bliss Hands (P720), Pamper Feet (P780)

5. St. Nails



G/F NFB Building, EDSA corner Arnaiz, Makati City
Contact: 586-0985 and 0917-866-2457
www.facebook.com/st.nails.spa
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Located between Dasmariñas Village and bustling Makati is St. Nails the busy girl’s sweet escape from the real world. Its concrete walls, plush purple lounge chairs, and black-and-white Victorian flooring give the nail salon a cosmopolitan vibe. They carry Lush Polishes to Premium Polishes from OPI, Sally Hansen, Cuccio, and Mattifier to Butter London, Glitter, Magnetic, and Crack Nails. They even do nail art with gems and stickers!

Must-try services: Classic Manicure (P200), Hand Bliss with Manicure (P350), Pamper Me Now (P800/Hand and Foot Bliss with Manicure and Pedicure)

More nail salons can be found at Spot.ph where this story originally appeared.

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

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…read more