Ever had one of “those” days where everything and everyone seem to be conspiring to make your life that extra bit difficult. Not intentionally mind you, it just comes to pass that way. The kind of day that makes you want to dunk your head in a bucket of water and scream until you feel better? I’ve been having quite a number of “those” days recently because I’m overloaded with work and two kids (one of them being my energetic, rambunctious 3 year old son). A mommy meltdown has been brewing.
The one word that I associate with myself at the moment is exhaustion. I’m drained from work, fatigued from not sleeping well or long (my baby still wakes up for a feed at that magical hour of 3am) and shattered from dealing with my “spirited” toddler. “Spirited”…That is the way people describe him. Or “Alpha male”, “hyper” and perhaps “terror” may have been mumbled under some people’s breath.
If I am completely honest though my main source of stress is coming from dealing (or coping) with my darling toddler. I am assured this is all healthy, normal behavior…the hitting, the tantrums, the defiance. The terrible twos have got nothing on the terrorizing threes! I thought once we made it through the twos, we would be able to enjoy a little break. However we slammed straight into this rebellious stage, which seems even more challenging, without being able to catch our breath.
CASE IN POINT
Yesterday I thought it would be a lovely family outing to go to Balik Bukid and enjoy a day out there with my two boys. My husband is in Hong Kong at the moment so I wanted to do some activities my toddler would really enjoy. Boy, the day couldn’t have gone worse. The ingredients were all there for a disaster, I just didn’t think it through properly.
1) We were late in getting there, which resulted in my toddler falling asleep on the way to Santa Elena. This was already a red flag because when roused early from a nap, my son has his horns out.
2) The scorching day couldn’t have been any hotter
3) My toddler refused to eat
As soon as we arrived and had to wake Kieran up we were rewarded with yelling and hitting. Oh joy. I should have cut my losses there and bolted back to the seclusion of my house, but we soldiered on (for another 2 hours). He didn’t stop whimpering, screaming or crying the entire time we were there (save for the parts where we put him on the horse, in the sandpit, on the zip line and in the boat-where I had to row him around for 15 minutes in the sun).
On top of that my 6 month old was uncomfortable in the heat (which had him crying for the most part too). The carrier was too hot for him so one of us had to carry him at all times and when I tried to feed him (we were both drenched in sweat) he couldn’t get comfortable and a fan kept blowing up my breastfeeding cover which resulted in hysterics.
I apologize to anyone who may have seen me as I was in the throes of an internal mommy meltdown while trying to keep it together publicly. Balik Bukid founder Hindy Tantoco jokingly told me I needed to write about this: the BTS (Behind the Scenes-the reality of mommyhood). I told her I already had the article written in my head!
This new stage is quite fascinating because my little man has found his voice, his opinion, and his personality. Now he is pushing, jumping and hurtling through boundaries as fast as we can set them. It is taxing and magical in equal parts. He is able to turn my heart to mush with one sentence and then can make me want to jump off a cliff with his next. He’s definitely a charmer who knows how to work everyone around him (especially his mama).
It has left my husband and I wringing our hands in desperation wondering how on earth to navigate through the stormy toddler waters. How do we adjust our parenting style so that we nurture his sweet, loving, curious and intellectual side while tempering his wild tantrums and id-leading compulsions without stifling his individualism, creativity and personality. Whew, what a conundrum! This parenting gig is a whole lot harder than people let on.
These days I am left physically and mentally tired from our standoffs. I look around at my friends with toddlers and I seem to be alone. No one has the eye bags or the bruises to show for it but me. I know that many of my friends are going through similar challenges (they must be!) but I seem to be in the roughest seas with my darling boy being more disobedient, headstrong, obstinate and physically stronger than any one else’s child.
Over the last few months bringing Kieran out with me riddles me with anxiety. Because I’m always wondering if I will have to deal with the epic tantrum that seems to accompany every situation where he cannot get his way. You can imagine this is more often than not since I don’t want to raise a spoilt brat who is used to getting his way all the time.
It happens everywhere and in front of everybody. I have no vestige of public embarrassment left. The thing that gets me is having to restrain (he’s over 40 lbs. and almost stronger than me at this point) or carry him while he’s thrashing around. Sometimes I physically can’t handle him. And at the end of them I get a migraine because my blood pressure rises and I’m utterly spent.
We have had tantrums in the supermarket, on the plane, in a bridal shower, and beyond. You can’t name a place where I haven’t had to deal with my angelic son turning into a little tantrum-throwing monster. I’m used to the unabashed gawks, upturned eyebrows and the occasional sympathetic smile from strangers. They say the best thing to do is to either ignore the tantrum or deflect your child’s attention. They have obviously never met my child. Super nanny where are you?
This has left me teetering on the brink of a mommy breakdown quite often, where I want to lock myself in the car for 10 minutes to do some pranayama breathing or simply yell until I feel better or more human. When I hit this point it is usually at the pinnacle of both children screaming at the top of their lungs and nothing I do seems to be able to remedy the situation. An overwhelming feeling of helplessness and frustration can trigger the Mommy Meltdown.
So, while I don’t have the answers on how to deal with your willful toddlers (suggestions most welcome!) I just want to reiterate how important it is to carve out some time out just for you. No work. No kids. Purely quintessential me-time. It is something I haven’t been doing recently because frankly I haven’t made time for it and I notice that I am really suffering for it. I’m like most women, I reason with myself that I can’t allot precious minutes to me-time when I could be getting other important things done on my never-ending to-do list. The thing to remember is that me-time needs to be one of your top priorities.
Think of me-time as a reset button. You are able to take some time away (be it an hour for a run, a massage or 30 minutes to watch your favorite show or dinner with your girlfriends) so that you can decompress, de-stress, unwind and feel refreshed and ready to tackle things again with a fresh outlook. You will be amazed at how those few minutes will help revive your worn-out mind and soul and give you a clearer perspective on how to deal with the challenges that present themselves to you (whether it is your children or work)
We don’t just deserve it, we absolutely need it. I believe me-time is a mandatory part of the equation to being a good mother, wife and person because you are able to be a happier, more balanced and SANE version of yourself when you pay attention to your needs as well.
April 29, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
Growing up in the 80’s and 90′s was a much different time than today. It is part of evolution or so-called progress that our childhoods are worlds apart from our childrens’ as were ours were compared to our parents’. I remember being outdoors 90% of the time, playing games with my brother, swimming or bicycling or being at the beach. When I reminisce about my youth I was always sweaty from playing outside, my hands and feet were grimy and my clothes were always soiled. But that’s how I discovered and learned through exploration and play.
These days I notice kids are much cleaner. I rarely see children looking unkempt or grubby and it makes me wonder how much time they get to spend outside or how free they are to go and explore and have fun if they can’t get themselves or their clothes dirty.
My son is a spirited toddler who delights in touching everything and getting his hands dirty. He experiments and tries to figure things out, he runs, falls, eats messily and this tells me he is experiencing life and enjoying it and most importantly learning new things everyday because I don’t stop him from getting dirty. When I compare him to some of my friends’ children he definitely looks messier and dirtier than most of them. He is usually barefoot and running amok on the grass. Or scootering around. Or swimming. Or walking/playing with our dogs. I want my children to have a childhood that is similar to mine (with an emphasis on the outdoors and fun and adventure).
Research in child development states that children remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and a staggering 90% of what they do. In fact, 91% of moms polled played outdoors when they were young and 96% of them say getting dirty was part of their childhood.
Watch this video and see if you agree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eupeahSlj8
A study conducted by the Ateneo de Manila University Fr. Jaime C. Bulatao, S.J. Center for Psychological Services reveals two main attitudes of mothers when it comes to child’s experiential learning – the sige moms and the pigil moms.
Sige moms are those who are practically open to all possibilities and means in which their kids can learn as much as they can about the world around them. They are hands-on moms who encourage their kids to engage in less structured activities even if it means getting dirty at the end of the day, which allows kids to explore freely and learn new things in the process.
Pigil moms, on the other hand, are more cautious and restrictive with the kind of activities their kids engage in. They constantly worry about the consequences of the children’s actions to the point of inhibiting their kids’ potentials that could otherwise be gained from playing.
Even though pigil moms are often viewed on a bad light, they also have valid reasons for setting parameters on what their children can do. Safety and health issues are among the factors that trigger this attitude towards play, not to mention the amount of dirt and stains that kids bring with them after letting them live out their little fancies.
Obviously I am a sige mom as you can tell from the way I bring up my children. Although I do understand the worries pigil moms have. I guess I was raised by a sige mom (very progressive for a Filipina mom) and sige dad (being British he was raised like this too) so it’s what I know and how I enjoyed my childhood.
I LOVE the Breeze campaign: Sige sa Mantsa because I think more Filipina moms would love to be a little more open-minded with their children and the way they play. I think the message that getting dirty is a part of learning and life is wonderful. It’s such a valuable lesson to give to your children.
Now moms don’t have to worry about the not-so-fun part of kids getting their clothes dirty. Because believe me I know that dirty clothes also means more work for us moms (more laundry!) and we already have so much on our plates.
Stains are now “a breeze” with new Breeze with ActivBleach. This new formulation has superior 4-enzyme technology that removes more types of stains and a patented whitening technology that delivers perceivable whiteness benefit in the first wash.
Breeze with ActivBleach is safe for colored clothes and has been formulated to work both in hand wash and machine wash. It can also be used for white clothes because Breeze with ActivBleach has a patented whitening technology that delivers perceivable whiteness benefit even in the 1st wash.
There is no need to add bleach to your wash with Breeze with ActivBleach and it has been formulated to remove 99.9% of germs on clothes.
Breeze with ActivBleach may be a little more expensive than other brands but it contains an unbeatable formulation, which includes ingredients that remove stains and provide a better wash.
Whether you are a Sige Mom or a Pigil Mom, the new Breeze with ActivBleach makes taking stains out of your clothes easy. So it’s okay to let your kids get dirty and have some fun!
April 15, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
I love being pregnant. This is due in part to my love of eating. And let me tell you, it is definitely FUN to eat while you are expecting. When you have a craving something (however weird or normal) that moment you get to eat whatever you were hankering for is magic, a veritable party of flavors in your mouth.
It is also no secret that I gain quite a bit of weight when I am pregnant. This has been well documented and acknowledged by me. 55 lbs with my first and 45 lbs with my second. Even though I put on a lot of weight during pregnancy I manage to lose it within 4-6 months of giving birth. Which leads me to the number one question I am constantly asked…how do I do it?
People always assume that since it doesn’t take me that long to lose the weight, it must be easy for me to do so. Wrong! Getting your pre-baby body back is a struggle for 98% of the female population (especially when you have put on the equivalent of a small teenager). It irks me when I hear women (especially celebrities) saying it was easy or they didn’t have to do anything or their svelte body was all thanks to breastfeeding because most of the time that simply ain’t the truth.
So here is what I do to get back in shape. It worked BOTH times:
Once I give birth the first thing I always do is eliminate processed food from my diet. This is pretty easy to do because for the first 2 months I’m at home most of the time anyway so it is simple enough to prepare whole foods to eat (from meals to snacks).
I also drink a lot of tea (without caffeine) and tons of water. I simply can’t get enough (breastfeeding mamas know what I’m talking about!) And I take supplements (including my prenatal vitamin) to ensure my breastmilk has all the vitamins my newborn baby needs.
I do not deprive myself; I just eat well and healthily, and try to make the best conscious food choices I can.
I had a C-Section for both pregnancies so I was not allowed to exercise for the first 2 months after birth. But I find it so important for your body’s healing process to start moving as soon as you can after you give birth. Start with small walks and build up to longer durations. This is important because it helps build up your stamina for when you are able to workout.
Eating properly, walking and breastfeeding allowed me to shed around 60% of my pregnancy weight during those first 2 months. That was the easy part. The difficulty lies with those last 15-20 lbs, which are the stubborn ones. For me, this is where the exercise part of my regimen comes in.
Being pregnant and having children has actually made me a lot fitter than I was pre-baby. Because I gained so much weight with my first son, I threw myself into an exercise regime that I have stuck with ever since. Now, exercise is a part of my routine and lifestyle and I really enjoy it.
My first hot yoga practice was 6 years ago in Hong Kong. In fact, my first interaction with yoga was a hot class, so my first love will always be practicing in the hot room. I love the way I feel during (and especially after) practice. Cleansed, at peace, and lighter (both physically and mentally).
My love affair with Bikram yoga started in Manila before I got married. Every girl wants to look her best on her wedding day so I turned to bikram yoga to slim down and tone up for my big day.
I guess you can say that Bikram yoga has always helped whip me into shape.
I have to admit, that while I didn’t gain as much weight with my second pregnancy I did find it harder to lose the last few lbs. You’ve heard of muscle memory right? Well, I think there is “fat memory” too. The fat just seemed to know exactly where to go during my second pregnancy and it took up permanent residence there (my thighs and butt area were popular destinations!). That made me more motivated than ever to start my exercise program as soon as my doctor would let me.
When I got the go-signal from my doctor to exercise I headed straight to Bikram Yoga Alabang. Now, I’m not biased or anything (with me being a Southie) but BYA is hands down my most favorite studio that I have practiced in. The studio itself is clean, airy and bright (and never smells- a condition that most hot studios battle against). The teachers are all super knowledgeable and friendly and dedicated to making your experience and practice the best it can be.
When I started practicing again this year (after the Christmas break) it happened to coincide with their annual 4×4 challenge. This meant that you needed to attend 4 sessions in 1 week for 1 month. Total sessions in 1 month = 16. I was thrilled at the timing. One of my tips to help you in reaching your goal in gaining your pre-baby body back is to always have a target date and weight. It also helps if there is a specific event that can help motivate you (a wedding, or a birthday or something). People in general always adhere to a program better when they have an end goal in mind. The key is not to beat yourself up if you don’t achieve your desired weight/or physique by then. Also, set a realistic goal and timeframe not something that is impossible.
Unfortunately for me, it turned out I couldn’t join the 4×4 challenge because being the busy work mama that I am, it was difficult to make it to all 4 in a week (with all my meetings and shoots)and then I took a vacation for 1 week in the middle of the challenge which disqualified me. Undeterred I decided to implement my own personal challenge and that helped me practice 4-5 times per week. It’s all about what works for you.
After 2 months of regular practice (and running sessions twice a week) I was back to my pre pregnancy weight. I still need to tone up my tummy (the toughest area for me and most new mamas) but I’m happy with my weight.
You may be wondering if Bikram yoga affects your milk supply. Making sure my milk supply is always plentiful is something that I am hyper vigilant about because I exclusively breastfeed my babies until they are 6 months old. My yoga practice has never affected my milk supply. I do notice that when I restrict calories my milk supply decreases but nothing ever happens when I practice yoga (even when it is daily).
In the beginning I was unable to do some of the poses because of my breastfeeding but there are modified poses for breastfeeding mothers that you can do during your practice, just ask your teachers.
I love my yoga practice because it gives me that sacred 90 minutes of me-time that I desperately need (as a working mother of 2). It is wonderful that I can hit 2 birds with 1 stone (me time+getting back in shape)!
So that’s how I do it. There’s no great revelation or secret here. Find what works for you and try to stick with it. Schedule it in like you would schedule anything else into your commitments. It just takes discipline, dedication and a bit of hard work. It isn’t easy but it’s worth it. And remember, it took 10 months for you to put on all that weight so don’t worry if it takes that long to get it off. Everybody is different. Go at your own pace. Good luck to all of you mamas out there who are trying to get their body back.
BIKRAM YOGA ALABANG:
Contact: 0927 9169909 or 02 8465496
April 3, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
I have a inexorable sweet tooth. It’s my Achilles heel. In every other aspect of my diet and nutritional needs I’m pretty disciplined but when it comes to chocolate and other sweet confections I have zero will power. Sweets are my weakness. Because of this I am always on the lookout for healthy alternatives to chocolate and ice cream that will still satiate my cravings.
When I heard about Yonanas I was beyond excited. At home I have always experimented with making my own ice cream from frozen fruit in my blender but it never quite turned out right and the clean-up was time consuming.
Yonanas makes your “ice cream” taste like soft serve. Incredibly tasty and healthy. It’s a mother’s nutritious answer- a guilt free, yummy snack you can give to your kids.
The best part is how easy it all is. All you have to do is freeze ripe fruit and then pop it into the yonanas machine and voila: ICE CREAM. It’s a fun activity to do with your kids. My 3 year old gets a kick out of making his ice cream. My husband thought it was the real deal when I gave him my mango/banana concoction.
Mommies ask me all the time how I get my son to eat healthily. I always tell them that it is our responsibility as mothers to ensure our child(ren) eat the most nutritionally packed whole foods and to not feed them processed junk. We are in control of what our children eat, not them. Of course, I know how picky our little kids are believe me, my son can be quite challenging when it comes to his food.
With yonanas it is possible to give your children (and yourself and husband) a HEALTHY, NUTRIENT-PACKED and DELICIOUS snack because it is just frozen fruit. NO add-ons. You can get imaginative about creating different ice cream flavors that will appeal to everyone.
It’s also great for people who are lactose intolerant and gluten-free.
Our favorites include our banana and almond butter blend, avocado and banana and mango/pineapple sorbet. You can also add nuts or if you want to be a bit indulgent/sinful cookies of your choosing.
I’m in love with my yonanas machine! Definitely a smart investment in your family’s healthy snacks.
Yonanas retails for P2,950 and is available at the following stores:
- Landmark – Robinson’s
- Makati Supermart – Shopwise
- Unimart – Anson’s (select stores only)
- Cash & Carry
March 19, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
Since I have a young baby all over again I thought I would post my MOMMY MUST-HAVES.
These are things that make it all a little bit easier for new mamas (well for me they do!).
MEDELA PUMP: MESSENGER BAG: I’ve had my trusty Medela pump for 3 years now. And currently it’s my new best friend. I’m working full time again so I need to be able to pump on the go. I love the messenger bag version as I can bring it anywhere and plug it in or use it in the car with the battery option. I have my manual pump in case something goes wrong with the electric version, but so far I’ve never had to use it. Best investment for a working mom. (contact email@example.com for more information)
ERGO BABY CARRIER: Another product that I used with my first son and am still in love with. The Ergo is a great way to carry your baby and not hurt your back and shoulders. Other carriers put a strain on your lower back the heavier your child gets. I use my Ergo everywhere (including the beach)! I bought the infant insert so I could use the Ergo for my small baby. (for more information go to Ergo Baby Philippines)
SOPHIE THE GIRAFFE: I remember wondering why this giraffe was so darn popular when I received it as a gift for my eldest son. It reminded me of a dog toy. But it is magic! My son used it for over a year. Now I have a new one for Kalon. A definite mummy must have. I’ve never met a baby who didn’t love Sophie! (order from Baby Shop or call 0917 5805145)
BAMBOO DAPPY CLOTH DIAPERS: I’m a cloth diaper mummy. We only use disposable diapers when we are out of the house for long periods of time. My eldest son was a cloth diaper kid and now my youngest is in his brother’s old cloth diapers. Whenever I have used disposable diapers both my kids invariably ended up with diaper rash. Cloth Diapers are good for baby, good for your wallet, good for the planet. (order from Baby Shop or call 0917 5805145)
RUBBABU SOFT TOYS: I love these soft toys. They are made from natural foam in simple shapes and super bright colors. Even my baby can handle them. (order from Baby Shop or call 0917 5805145)
3 SPROUTS MOBILE: As mentioned I love this brand’s range of ECO FRIENDLY products. This mobile is irresistibly cute and colorful and holds my baby’s attention for quite a while. I also like that it is just felt and very light so if it were to fall on my baby he wouldn’t get injured. (Available from BestBeginnings)
CALIFORNIA BABY: I swear by this brand for sun block, mosquito repellent (we all use it) and the baby wash. Organic and gentle. I trust this brand. (order from Baby Shop or call 0917 5805145)
MUSTELA STELATOPIA LOTION & MUSTELA FOAM SHAMPOO FOR NEWBORNS: All babies are different and I never had any skin issues with Kieran. But my new baby has more sensitive skin. My pediatrician recommended that I use Mustela Stelatopia on his atopic dry patches of skin. My second son also had more bouts of cradle cap than my first one and I found that using the Mustela shampoo helped a little bit. (Available in most malls. Go to Mustela Philippines or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
SWADDLEME: Babies (especially newborns) are very twitchy and have a lot of jerk reflexes. Swaddling a baby helps keep them nice and snug so they can’t jerk and therefore wake themselves from a peaceful slumber. Swaddleme takes the difficulty out of swaddling! (Available at SM Babies)
SLEEP SHEEP: I used the Sleep Sheep with my first son and now for my baby. It produces 4 soothing sounds from a mother’s calming heartbeat to the gentle sounds of nature. It has gotten me through many nights. Our favorite is the rain setting. My baby co-sleeps with me so now, the Sleep Sheep even helps ME go to sleep! (Available at Hobbes & Landes or zebebe.com)
BREAST PADS: I like Closer to Nature disposable nursing pads (Available ZALORA PHILIPPINES)
MORINGA MALUNGAY CAPSULES: I take malungay everyday for my health and milk supply. (Available at Echostore Serendra)
ARM’S REACH CO-SLEEPER: The benefits of co-cleeping are well documented and proven. The co-sleeper is the perfect little bed for your baby because it attaches to your own bed. I use the mini co-sleeper which my first son slept in until he was 13 months old. (Available at Rustan’s or contact Perfect Pieces for more information)
March 10, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
As a mother to two little boys, their all-around safety is always my first priority. I want everything to be safe for my two children from their living space to their nourishment. It is an overwhelming, biological, natural maternal instinct to protect your children. Above all else the home and sustenance you provide for your family must be completely secure.
My eldest son is your classic energetic, rowdy toddler who can’t sit still for a minute. He is innately curious about everything around him, incredibly adventurous and fearless. This combination of characteristics makes everyday an exciting and sometimes anxiety-riddled voyage because he is constantly opening closets and drawers, squeezing in-between and under things and running anywhere and everywhere as fast as his little legs will take him. This makes it doubly important to try to ensure my house is as safe as I can possibly make it.
When Kieran started walking I went through my entire house (top to bottom) and child proofed it. I used angle locks on all the drawers and put covers on all the exposed electrical outlets as well as cushion corners on all the sharp edges of my furniture. I also put child foam tiles everywhere so that if he fell down it would be on a cushioned surface rather than the hard marbled floor. You can imagine what our house looked like (almost like a padded cell from a mental institution).
Even with all of these precautions, Kieran still managed to topple over everyday and have various black and blues from his tumbles. I quickly recognized that I would have to teach Kieran to be aware of unsafe areas rather than me trying to fix everything so that he wouldn’t get hurt.
This was a good life lesson and quite a revelation for a new mom like me. I realized that it would be prudent to equip my children with the mental and emotional know-how needed so that they would be able to navigate away from dangerous and difficult situations rather than me always trying to handle a situation so that they don’t have to deal with it. This is the way the world works. No matter how much you want to, you can’t always safeguard your child so you need to provide them with the necessary tools to be equipped for the world.
This is not to say that I don’t still childproof my home. I do. After all boys will be boys and they are still young. I just don’t go overboard. I make sure all poisonous liquids are tucked away out of his reach (like cleaning products, etc). All sharp objects (such as kitchen knives, scissors) are not accessible. And I keep a security gate at the top of our stairs for safety.
Ever since I got pregnant with my first son in 2009 I have been dedicated to living life as healthily as I can by making sure the food and liquids that comprise my family’s diet and mine are the healthiest and safest that I can find.
My decision to become vegetarian and raise my children as vegetarians is predominantly for health reasons. We eat mostly whole foods and plant foods in our household. We also consume a lot of water. In fact, water is basically all that my children and I drink besides fruit/veggie juices. Obviously it is of the utmost importance to me that our water source is the cleanest, safest and most trusted that I can find. I trust Wilkins Distilled Water for my home because I know just how committed they are to providing the safest drinking water for our family.
Share your own stories as uncompromising mother and it may become the inspiration for a short film! Just join Wilkins Mom Knows Best.
Writers of the 5 selected stories for publication in magazine will each receive Php 5,000 cash and Php 5,000 gift certificates for Wilkins products.
The Grand winner (story will be turned into a short film) will receive Php 10,000 cash and P5,000 gift certificates for Wilkins products
What do you have to do?
In 400 words or less, write about how you give your family the best love and care. You may include the challenges you faced, the lengths you’ve gone to, or the sacrifices and difficult choices you needed to make.
You may write in English, Tagalog, or Tag-lish. Submit your story at http://bit.ly/Wilkins-MNB1.
5 stories will be chosen for publication in Smart Parenting magazine and 1 story will be turned into a 10-minute short film aired on TV
Only mothers 18 years old and above can submit their stories
**Some talking points in this article were suggested by sponsors but the story and opinions written are mine.**
March 4, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
Ever since New Beginnings brought 3 Sprouts to the Philippines I have been a fan. What’s not to love? They are eco friendly, have the cutest designs and most importantly are so darn practical. 3 Sprouts products make every space functional and delightful simultaneously. I have been eagerly awaiting their newest collection and it’s finally here!
The 3 Sprouts new range doesn’t disappoint. Being a new mama again I have been on the lookout for a mobile and found one that adds whimsy to my baby’s room. My favorite and the one I got for Kalon are the fluffy felt bears with little bees. Beyond adorable, just like your baby.
Bath time is a big event at our house, especially for my toddler who would live in the water if he could. So bath time toys are a large part of our bath time routine. I was excited to see they have added bath organizers to their line. Kieran chose the walrus (I’m thinking because of his long goofy teeth). This organizer keeps his toys and shampoos all in one neat place and adds a wonderful pop of kitsch to his bathroom.
If you read my blog or my picks then you know that the 3 Sprouts organic towel has always been one of my top favorite products. The have added a warthog towel to their animal lineup which you have a chance to win (or any other animal hoodie towel for that matter) if you join our Best Beginnings contest. See below.
Of course, since my youngest baby boy was born in the year of the dragon I HAD to get the Dragon storage box. Whenever I see anything with a dragon I want to get it for my baby boy.
Rounding out my NEW 3 Sprouts picks is the blue polar bear laundry hamper. I love the hamper because it actually has handles that collapse inwards so you don’t see them but when you need to tote the washing downstairs you just lift them up.
To see the whole new range of 3 Sprouts visit: BestBeginnings
To WIN an animal hoodie towel of YOUR CHOICE. Join our contest NOW!
February 28, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
Ever since I can remember I’ve always loved animals. When I was about 7 years old I asked my father if we could get a bird to add to our menagerie of animals which included the requisite dogs, cats and a few turtles. He told me that birds aren’t supposed to be caged, that they needed to fly and soar as nature intended. That sentiment has stuck with me ever since. I can’t bare to see animals in cages or in captivity.
When Mali’s plight was first brought to my attention I was saddened by her story. As I learned more details, I became outraged. When PETA ASIA asked me to be a part of their Naked Truth campaign for Mali I didn’t hesitate for a minute. Any attention drawn to Mali’s plight is positive, the public should know why Mali needs to go to a Sanctuary for Elephants in Thailand.
Vishwamali (or Mali for short) is the elephant living at Manila Zoo. She is 38 years old and the only elephant at the zoo or in captivity in the Philippines. So if you have visited Manila Zoo in the last 36 years then you’ve probably seen/met Mali.
The PETA ASIA campaign to FREE MALI is simple. PETA ASIA will shoulder all the costs of Mali’s transfer to the elephant Sanctuary in Thailand as well as facilitate the whole move. All that is needed is the approval from the local Manila government.
Why does Mali need to be transferred to an elephant sanctuary? For her physical and mental health.
Physically, Mali is suffering from debilitating foot infections, (cracked feet, skin sores and ulcers) which is the leading cause of death among captive elephants. An elephant in its natural habitat can roam up to 50 kilometers in a day. They need exercise and space. Just think about how large an elephant actually is.
In Manila Zoo, Mali is kept in a confined space which is mostly (if not all) concrete. Elephants are designed to walk on soft earth or sand which helps cushion their massive weight that each leg has to carry. Imagine poor Mali has been on concrete for 36 out of her 38 years? Of course, she suffers from foot ailments. This is compounded by the fact that Mali is not cared for by a veterinarian who is educated specifically in elephant husbandry and there is no foot-care program for her. It is hard to ignore the facts. Small concrete enclosures are no place for elephants.
Elephants by nature are complex social animals who need interaction and company. They teach their young life skills and even mourn their dead. Elephants have a sense of community and will stay in the same groups for their entire lives. Mali came to the Manila Zoo when she was just 2 years old, separated from her mother which was no doubt traumatizing. She is the only elephant in captivity in the Philippines which means she has not socialized with any other elephants for her entire life. This makes Mali a very lonely elephant. In this elephant sanctuary in Thailand, Mali would have hectares to roam, rivers to bathe in, and other elephants to socialize with.
“Elephants are highly social beings, among the most intelligent mammals together with primates and dolphins. To a social animal there is nothing worse than social isolation. The latest neurological research shows that the elephant and human brain have great similarities, especially in the limbic system, the seat of emotions. Therefore it is the same as placing a human in a prison cell in total isolation, with no one to communicate with for 36 years. There is nothing more important to a female elephant than her family and being among other elephants.”
- Dr Marion E. Garai, Chairperson for the ELEPHANTS FOUNDATION, South Africa. Chairperson for the ELEPHANT SPECIALIST ADVISORY GROUP, South Africa. Consultant for the EUROPEAN ELEPHANT GROUP.
Our Naked Truth: Mali the Elephant is Suffering campaign was intended to bring Mali’s story and struggle to the forefront of the public’s consciousness. Which it did. What are the next steps? Sign PETA ASIA’s petition to transfer Mali to a home that she deserves. Countless elephant experts around the world have called for Mali’s transfer to a sanctuary citing her inhumane living conditions and concern for her psychological well-being. We need to make the local government understand the physical and emotional distress Mali is subjected to day to day by keeping her in the Manila Zoo so that they will approve her passage to the elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
**ALL PHOTOS FROM PETA ASIA-PACIFIC**
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Posted by Jason Baker
Please take a look at the following list of suggestions on how to help Mali and do everything that you can to share Mali’s plight with friends and ensure that Mali gets a second chance at enjoying life:
- Please write to or call the mayor of Manila and urge him to do what’s right for Mali and immediately transfer her to a sanctuary:
Mayor Alfredo Lim Mayor of Manila (02) 527-4991 (02) 527-4983 (fax) email@example.com
- Take a minute of your life to watch a minute of Mali’s. Watch and share PETA Asia’s powerful public service announcement on YouTube and Facebook.
- Check out PETA’s “Free Mali” photo album on our Facebook page. Repost the album to your Facebook page so that your friends and family can see the conditions that Mali endures every single day. If you want to help further, post the photo in this blog as your profile photo, or create your own photo or video telling your friends why Mali deserves freedom.
- “Like” the Free Mali page on Facebook to stay updated on the campaign.
- Sign the petition to urge the government to expedite Mali’s transfer.
- Send a letter to the editor of a local newspaper educating others about Mali’s plight. If published, you could reach thousands of readers. Check out PETA US’ letter-writing guide for tips on how to write an effective letter. Write to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star, or the Manila Standard Today. Don’t forget to include your address and phone number for verification purposes.
- If you’re currently living outside the Philippines, write to the ambassador of the Philippines to your current country and ask that he or she do everything possible to intervene in behalf of Mali. You can find contact details here.
- If you’re a teacher and want to involve your students in this campaign, please e-mail us.
Thank you in advance for taking action for Mali.
February 26, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
Last month we celebrated Kalon’s Baptism. As usual I was excited to plan an event especially this special day. I recruited the help of an organizer to help oversee my vision since I was arriving back in Manila just four days before the baptism. This time I knew I wanted a much smaller, more intimate celebration as opposed to my eldest son’s baptism where I invited over 70 guests.
Since I gave birth in Hong Kong, my baby’s baptism was the first time many friends and family would meet my beautiful boy and I wanted it to be memorable.
The inspiration for the theme of the Baptism was taken from a beautiful photograph Sofia Genato (of Stork Studio) captured of Kalon when he was only 6 days old on a beach in Hong Kong.
I decided that the theme of the celebratory luncheon should highlight the boat and colors of the photograph.
Kalon’s Baptism and luncheon was a truly special occasion commemorated by unique touches and lovely details.
**All photos by Stork Studio**
1) INK AND SCISSORS: https://www.facebook.com/inkandscissorsmail OR firstname.lastname@example.org
2) ZENAS PINEDA FLOWERS: email@example.com
3) STORK STUDIO: https://www.facebook.com/TheStorkStudio
4) DESSERT DU JOUR by Mara De la Rama: 0917.811.6272 / 0917.803.6272 / 02.806.9511
5) Baby Yulo Cakes: 810-8078
6) House of Laurel: https://www.facebook.com/pages/HOUSE-OF-LAUREL/254629137944
7) Sweet Patticakes: http://www.sweetpatticakes.com/
February 23, 2013 by Amanda Griffin-Jacob
Diabetes and access to medicines – what would you do?
by Merith Basey
Guest Writer Merith Basey talks about the 100 Campaign and its goal to have insulin accessible and affordable to all diabetics. How can you help? Read on.
When most of us are prescribed a drug from a doctor, we expect that the pharmacy will have it in stock and we’ll be educated about how to take it properly. More often than not, we may even become impatient if the prescription isn’t ready when we schedule to drop in to pick it up. It’s probably not often that we ever give much thought to the question of whether or not we’ll actually have access to the drug we were prescribed.
But what if the doctor or pharmacist told you that the drug was readily available but they just couldn’t get it in your country? Or that it might cost more than 25% of your monthly wage for just one month’s supply? Or that the nearest place they stocked it was in the capital city, one day’s travel away?
And what if you had just learned that the medication was for your child and it was a life-saving medication they needed every day for the rest of his or her life?
In many parts of the world, this is the case for insulin. Insulin is a life-saving drug required as part of the treatment for Type 1 Diabetes. On average the monthly cost of treatment with insulin in the Philippines is close to US$20 per month, almost 3 times higher than in Vietnam[i]. Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition more commonly diagnosed in children and young adults (but can be diagnosed at any age). Sometimes known as “insulin dependent diabetes” this auto-immune condition attacks the pancreas cells that produce insulin in the body, causing the person to stop producing insulin. Researchers are still unclear about the exact reasons for the cause of Type 1 Diabetes but what we do know is that it is diagnosed in every country in the world and that the numbers diagnosed are increasing at about 3% annually.
While the barriers to insulin access exist most prominently in the world’s most resource-poor countries, barriers also exist in other parts of the world, for example, the uninsured in the USA and people in Greece following the financial crisis. A major barrier continues to be affordability – in developing countries this cost can consume more than 25% of a family’s income. In the USA some uninsured individuals ration their insulin to save money, and therefore often end up in emergency rooms or with avoidable diabetes-related complications.
Insulin was first used in a person with diabetes in 1922. Leonard Thompson a young boy in Canada received insulin as part of his treatment and it saved his life. Over the past 90 years, insulin, combined with proper management has increased life expectancies for those with the condition and current research suggests that those with properly managed type 1 diabetes (via insulin, daily blood sugar monitoring, diet and exercise) can have improved life expectancies when compared to the general population. However, despite this life-saving drug being available for almost a century, this essential medicine is still not available to all people who require it. Without it, many lives have been cut short – for example, in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, the life expectancy of a child diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes can vary between 7 months and 7 years[ii].
So now, knowing all of this, try to imagine for a moment that your child had diabetes but didn’t have continuous access to insulin. What would you do to ensure they had the medicine they needed to thrive?
The 100 Campaign is trying to take action on this very question. We are a newly launched campaign of the International Insulin Foundation (IIF) that aims to see all people living with diabetes achieve access to insulin by 2022- the 100th anniversary of Leonard Thompson’s first use of the medication.
Through the work of the IIF, we learned about the situation of Phuong[iii] in Vietnam. She shared some of her story, “I have had diabetes for 2 years now. My mother worries about me a lot. As I live in the countryside my parents need to bring me to my consultation in Ho Chi Minh City. This means that they need to miss work and I miss school. This is a problem as they lose their day’s wages and I get behind in school. In total my family spends about US$ 55 per month on diabetes care. This is about 20% of my family’s income. The largest cost is our transportation. I also worry that by missing school I will fall behind and not be able to graduate. My parents worry about me as we have never met anyone over the age of 15 with Type 1 diabetes”.
Access to a 91-year-old medicine
By the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, the 100 Campaign aims to bring to light the current lack of a global action on the issue of access to insulin and encourage action so that by 2022, all those, like Phuong, in need of insulin will have access. The campaign believes is a global human rights issue that a drug that has been available for over 90 years is still not accessible to all who require it.
How can you get involved?
You can begin by reading more about the campaign online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. As soon as we are ready we will be asking you to support us by taking action in many ways including via global petitions.
The new website 100campaign.org will be launching soon so please stay connected!
For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos by cplusncreative.com
[i] Asia Pac J Public Health. 2013 Jan;25(1):92-101. Delivering diabetes care in the Philippines and Vietnam: policy and practice issues. Beran D, Higuchi M
[ii] Beran D, Yudkin JS. Diabetes care in sub-Saharan Africa. Lancet 2006;368:1689-95.
[iii] Name changed to protect identity
February 19, 2013 by Guest Writer