“mommy, where do babies come from?”

….was not the question my son asked me today. He told me that Katy Perry said a bad word starting with the letter S.  I immediately said “oh, you mean shit?” (and I was secretly hoping it was). He shook his head and said “no mom, that starts with SH” then he spelled it out for me. “S-E-X” …..okay, here we go.

I asked him what he knows about it (to buy time and to gather up the courage to answer his question the best way I could). He said that it’s a beautiful thing girls do. As soon as I knew where he was coming from, I told him that sex is not a bad word and that yes it is something beautiful. I told him that when adults — a man and a woman are in love and married, its what they do to make babies. I told him that it’s a gift from God because its product is life. I also had to mention that sometimes those who aren’t married do it and even young people do it — but that isn’t what God designed it for. This was the answer my husband and I decided on just the other night `coz I could sense that ‘the talk’ was gonna come up soon and I wanted to be prepared.

How I learned about the word that shall not be mentioned. 

When I was a little girl my mom told me that when a guy kisses me on the lips, I’d get pregnant. I was scared to death of  ‘the kiss’ up until I was in 3rd grade. That’s when I found out from friends that it isn’t true. It was during our morning break, by the stairs near the girls’ toilet, that I heard from my classmates how girls really get pregnant. Details included. Years later I asked my mom why she lied to me and she said it was what her mom told her and that she didn’t know what to say to me. Yeah mom, after seven kids, great, thanks.  But I totally understand my mom. She was part of the generation that was not even allowed to say the word ‘sex’…..but our kids are no longer part of that generation. My son’s obviously heard about it and he’s bound to hear it in AND outside our home — so we’ve got to give him the right answers and we’ve got to encourage the correct mindset and attitude towards it.

“But we’re Filipinos. We’re conservative.”

Yes, I know we’re Filipinos and everyone says its part of our culture to be conservative. I totally respect that, but well, truth is, the Philippines has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Asia and I really believe that if parents actually talked to their kids about sex, then maybe, just maybe, it would help kids/teens make the right decisions…well, instead of being intrigued by it and finding out for themselves.

“Do we really need to have ‘the talk’ with them? It’s awkward.”

According to www.plannedparenthood.com, “teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners, and use condoms and other contraceptives when they do have sex.” Now isn’t this reason enough to have “the talk”?

“So when should we have this talk? When they’re in their teens right?”

According to www.valuesparenting.org“the peak of a child’s readiness is at age eight, when he or she is very verbal and conceptual and is flattered by responsibility and by being treated as a “grown up.” This age is like a marvelous window. Kids are old enough to understand but not old enough to be cynical. They are old enough to have real interest and fascination but not old enough to be embarrassed or closed off or to have a lot of preconceptions. A “preemptive strike” can give your child a healthy, positive, respectful view of human intimacy that will stand up to all the garbage that will come from the media and the peer group. And being able to talk together about THE MOST intimate subject will make any and every other subject “on limits” between you and you child.”

“Okay, fine, so how do we explain it to them?”

I wrote to Nicole, a fellow blogger and a mother of 2 boys (7 and 10), to ask her how they did ‘the talk’ and here’s what she said: (One of her sons brought up the topic out of the blue)  “He suddenly asked, “Mama, how are babies made?” As with most things, we (well, mostly I) gave a blunt answer. We always lay it out straight to them. We figured, they’ll learn about these things anyway later in life so why mince any details. Better that your kids learn from you instead of from someone else, diba? We acknowledged their intelligence & ability to comprehend what most adults think are ideas that are off-limits to children. We explained the anatomy of pregnancy, linked it to their male physiology, & then later linked it back to God’s original intention for sex, marriage, pregnancy, & parenthood.”

Click here to check out her blog about having ‘the talk’ 🙂

So what now?

If nicole can do it, so can I, so can you! Read up, check out the websites I mentioned. Pray for wisdom and courage! We’ve got a huge responsibility and we can’t just delegate that to their friends, media and even possibly someone who could take advantage of them.

Here’s a cute video by Planned Parenthood about “the talk”  🙂 I highly recommend you watch it!

“Our children are our mirrors”

My son was in taekwondo class. I had nothing to do while waiting coz I forgot to bring a book (yet again). I decided to check out the bulletin board, at least that was something to read (at least for a few minutes.) So there was a life skills class happening in the same building and it was open to all homeschooling parents…..it was about respect. Perfect. Just what I needed! Might as well spend 30 minutes or so learning from other parents, coz I’m sure most (if not all) families have had to deal with respect issues….and at home, well, we’ve been addressing exactly that — RESPECT — for the past couple of weeks.

When I got to the class they were almost done, but I think I got there just in time.  The mom who was giving the talk shared a powerful line that left me thinking all day…

“HOW we teach is WHAT we teach them.” 

Wow…..   Oh wow…. Ouch….

As if that wasn’t enough, (God really knows exacty how to talk to me!) I bumped into another homeschooling mom (who’s been at it for at least a decade!).  I shared a few things my son and I were struggling with and none of those issues were about academics — but it did affect it somehow….it was more of character issues, it was about the heart. I thought it was about my son’s heart. I was wrong. *gulp*

All she had to say was:

“Our children are our mirrors”

<inhale>pause<exhale> They just reflect what they see…..

Ouch. Again.

And then she said… “that’s the beauty of homeschool… (and parenting in general) it’s a journey that will help teach not only the child, but even the parents, who they are and what they are. It’s about learning from each other, its about realizing what we did wrong and apologizing  as we all learn and help each other be better people.” 

How amazing is God’s design?!?!?!

Anyway, just thought I’d share those two bitter but extremely healing pills I’ve been chewing on all day. Just as it helped me today, I hope it’ll help at least one parent out there.

*WARNING: It may take a while for us (parents) to admit that those two pills are for real. Just saying. 🙂

“Don’t make up stories to make me feel happy”

As my six year old son and I went over the scores in his Language workbook, he was so sad that he got one mistake out of ten items for one of the activities. He asked if it was okay so I immediately assured him that it was perfectly fine. I added that it was normal to make mistakes and from those mistakes we’ll eventually learn. He then said something that inspired the topic for this blog entry: “Don’t make up stories to make me feel happy” — what a line!

I told him I wasn’t making it up, that I was telling him the truth. This exchange served as a little reminder for both of us of a promise we made to each other when he was four.  One evening we were talking about what’s been going on, what our situation is, etc (when I had this conversation with him I was a single mom), then I looked him in the eye and told him that he can trust that I will always tell him the truth, that I will never sugar coat an ugly situation just so he won’t get hurt.

I’ve tried my very best to keep this promise, specially when it comes to talking about family — his dad, his half sisters, his half sisters’ moms, my husband (his step dad) and our little baby girl on the way. Not everyone will agree and I totally respect that but I made a decision early on that I don’t want to lie to my son just so he won’t get hurt.

“What parent would want to break their little kid’s heart??”  No parent would want that for sure and I get that, because when they hurt, we hurt too and it sucks big time. BUT what will be best for them in the long run? There are two situations I’ve considered: speak the truth now, talk about it, possibly hurt a bit or a lot, process it together, pray about it together and continue living knowing the truth and of course because our kids know that we tell them the truth even if it hurts them — they will trust us and eventually they will tell us the truth even if it hurts us.

The second scenario is sugarcoat the truth and make everything look pretty all the time/hide stuff from them/avoid answering their questions/lie to them. Maybe they won’t hurt now but one day they’re bound to find out what the truth is, maybe from you or maybe from someone else (specially the house help or some distant relative or family friend). Then they’ll hurt and start to think “so what are the other lies?” — obviously trust is broken and well, hopefully, ideally, thru talking and praying all will be forgiven and life will go on – how soon all the healing is gonna happen is the question.

I’ve chosen route one obviously and it has not been easy at all, because he’s hurt and I’m hurt BUT having done this for the past two years, I’ve seen how it has helped him mature and accept the status quo and I’ve seen how he has dealt with it. It has taught him to ask questions and seek the truth in everything. Knowing that, I am a happier mom because isn’t that one of our goals as parents? To prepare them for life outside the home, to equip them with what they need once they leave our nest? And we all know what life outside that nest is like!

I’ve never believed in the line “they’re too young to understand” — because truth is, children are way smarter than we think they are. You’d be surprised.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John1:4 (King James Version)

“A good marriage is a bit like a pet boa constrictor”

My husband and I have been married for nine months now and it’s been absolutely wonderful and challenging at the same time. Yes my dear, marriage is not a bed of roses. It’s a relationship, so there are bound to be bumps along the way. There are awesome days, there are super-in-love-i-want-to-marry-you-every-day days, there are wonderful days, there are great days, there are okay days, there are so-so days, there are not-so-okay days, there are bad days, there are yucky days, there are terrible days, there are horrible days and there are those waaaaaaaah!days. Each day is different (which I think makes living with someone really interesting and challenging). Each day isn’t just based on your mood and your partner’s mood either – there are a gazillion factors. There’s work, there’s family, there’s bills to pay, there are loads of responsibilities and the list goes on…but I think its about taking each day at a time and each day you both go thru together requires a lot of work.

I just read an article by Ty Wenger on MSN this morning (hence this blog) on 5 Things Super-Happy Couples Do Every Day and I thought it was such a good read (and I felt assured that we’re on the right track! Yey!). My favorite line from the article is:  A good marriage is a bit like a pet boa constrictor: either you feed it every day or bad things happen. 

So whether you’ve been married for ten or twenty years or you just got married yesterday or if you want to get married one day, click here if you want to read that article. (I really recommend it!) 

If you’ve got any suggestions of your own, leave a comment and hopefully soon I’ll be able to compile all your suggestions in one blog! Happy reading every one!

OFFICIALLY a housewife

Career shift. Big time. And it starts today.

In college, a couple of classmates asked me what my career goal or biggest dream was. Oh, I remember that day. We were eating at Wendy’s along Dapitan (black gold, black white!) and I remember saying I want to be a mother and a housewife. I’m sure to some of them it didn’t make sense, but for me, it was THE ULTIMATE GOAL and today I get to start living that dream in full and more.

You see, I grew up with a mom who was a full blown housewife. She did EVERYTHING and she was wonderful at it! I remember how she’d proudly say “housewife” whenever anyone asked her what she did, like it was the greatest job in the world (and it is, really!). I saw her cook with joy, clean the house, do the groceries (and shop!) dragging us everywhere she went, do the laundry and iron clothes as she sang along to Elvis Presley’s album. She had the liberty to stay at home and take care of us because my dad wanted to provide for our every single need and want and he made it clear when he married mom that he didn’t want her to work at all. Fair enough. My dad knew how tough my mom’s life was before she met him. Mom worked so many tough jobs like selling your favorite kakanin in Tondo, she did the laundry for many households and worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong so she could provide for her five kids. Taking all that into consideration, plus because my dad worked a good job at a big airline company, my dad treated mom like a queen and took care of my 5 siblings as if they were his own. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve said I want to be like her. The goal was and still is to to take care of my husband and kids, the way mom took care of our family.

So did I end up working after graduation? Yup, five days after graduation to be exact and I only stopped working for about a year because my pregnancy was delicate and because I went abroad to give birth. But when my little boy was 5 months old, I started working again. I was not able to see his first steps. I wasn’t there for his first christmas eve too, because if I missed work, I’d get fired – and obviously I chose work (stupid decision really). I didn’t know his favorite color for the longest time and had to call his nanny just to ask. Again, I was too busy. Hayayay. I had to work non-stop because I was a single mom. `Nuff said yeah?

Now that I am married to a wonderful, amazing, incredible man – I too, am blessed with such a privilege to stay at home and take care of my family full time. This was one thing my husband and I talked about when we were still dating. If we were gonna build a family, he had to know my biggest, wildest dream — to be a housewife. Obviously he was more than okay about it because he too wanted a stay at home wife because its what he saw growing up. We both agreed that we didn’t want any househelp too, so it made perfect sense. We knew it was gonna be tough, but we knew if we helped each other with the chores — we’d be ok. (yes, he helps with chores! I told you he’s awesome! Note to men: helping at home = a gazillion pogi points!)

So does that mean I just do house chores all day and watch TV in between? Does that mean I don’t help my husband pay the bills but I shop `til I drop?! I’ll talk about that and more soon. For now, I shall celebrate — because starting today, I will be living my life long dream, relishing each moment a day at a time.