On Choices

As our child grows, she’s developing her independence day by day. At an early age, she likes to eat by herself and now even dresses by herself. It’s common to hear her say “I’ll do it all by myself” and tries to do things alone. Even our relatives see how independent she’s grown. It is nice to see her develop this skill early on (who knows by age 4 she will wash the dishes and laundry her own clothes? :))

The drawback of this though is that she’s also developed an act of defiance. She’s expressive of her feelings and already knows how to say “NO” or just ignore what we say. By wanting to do things on her own, she even defies our “help”. It’s also common to hear her say “No, I don’t like”.  As a first-time parent, it can be frustrating to argue with a child. Especially since we follow a no-spanking rule in the house. Aside from the occasional time outs, I discovered that giving her choices helps a lot in making her do what I want her to do.

By offering choices, she gets to practice her decision making and also feels that she has a say on her well-being. I believe it teaches her responsibility. It can be two positive choices, such as “Would you want to bring the rubber duckie or the little mermaid in the bathroom?” whenever she doesn’t like to take a bath. Or making her bring any toy that she wants to bathe with her. Sometimes we let her know of the consequences to guide her in deciding like when we were at her cousins’ house and she wanted to go up and play while still eating her lunch.  “If you don’t come down and finish your food, we will go home already.” Since she still wanted to play with her cousins, she had to finish her food. It is better than shouting for her to come down the stairs.

Dealing with conflicts calmly takes a lot of patience and practice. I’m still a work in progress but hopefully I get to teach my child a few pointers on responsibility, independence and decision-making. It’s a conscious effort to use this “tactic” but I’m willing to try anything humanely possible to raise a happy, strong child and a happy, stress-free mom.

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Until We Meet Again, Dear Sister

Growing up with only a little brother, I never experienced the fun of having a sister. I’ve never had someone to share clothes with, gossip with, and share kilig boylet stories with. That’s why I’m really happy to have Aileen as my little sister. Finally, I have someone to share clothes with (I love shopping for her), share gossip and watch Ate Ian’s movies with. Indeed, having a sister is a precious gift. Who knew that these life’s little pleasures are just short lived.

One will really admire how strong Aileen is. Dealing with a disease that is constantly fighting your body will bring almost anyone to anger, depression and to the depths of the universe. But not her. Despite all the hardship and sadness that it caused her, she kept on fighting and bouncing back from every hospitalization or dialysis session. You won’t see her lament about her condition in her FB status updates. You won’t hear her complain about the procedures done to her. And instead of sulking about her fistula or the side-effects of all the medicines prescribed to her, she faced it head on with a positive attitude. She experienced heart break during those turbulent times, yet she moved on and still fought hard for herself and her happiness. She’s that strong.

Today should have been her 25th birthday. We usually call this the quarter-life crisis as most of us find our life’s purpose and goals around this age. I believe Aileen already found hers and despite leaving this world at an early age, she has touched a lot of lives with her presence and cheerful personality. And while most of us think of what we would do to our lives as we turn 25, she was thinking of what to do for her family and friends. Looking back, she lived the days leading to her last preparing all of us. She went to places she’s been holding off for a long time, she prayed, she bought us gifts, she even left her facebook password discreetly. She’s that goal-oriented.

Despite the emptiness that we feel though, I know she’s just here with us. Watching over us. Playing with us. Laughing with us. It will be too selfish for us to ask her to fight some more, seeing how she has fought hard until the very end. It will be too selfish for us to keep mourning, knowing that she’s now free from all the hardship and the pain.

I will forever keep this poem close to my heart, as the words seem to be her final message to all of us.

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that place at the close of the day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.

Happy 25th birthday, my dear sister! Until we meet again.