Sunday, January 24, 2010

On dutch treats and romance

A friend of ours recently asked my hubby and I about "dutch treats and dating". Our friend has a new-found love and the gentleman she is dating offered to "alternate" paying for their dates with her. They are both adults with decent earning power. But it bothered our friend that her new-found love wanted to go dutch while dating her, at a time when their relationship is so new. They have not defined their relationship yet. So she asked for our opinion.

I told her frankly that as a woman, it had always been difficult for me to feel romantic about a man who wanted to go dutch on a date. I didn't care where he took me to dinner -- it could be just coffee, or a picnic under the stars -- but I needed to have a consistent sense that he could be man enough to take care of me. I always offered to pay for my dates with men and boyfriends, but I always felt resentful when they took my offer... It was the same resentment I felt whenever a guy would come up to me and give me his phone number instead of asking for mine. It felt like the guy was taking the easy way out, and was afraid to step up and treat me as a woman.

Being made to feel special as a woman was and still is one of the key reasons for why I fell in love with my hubby. He had always opened doors for me, paid for meals (whether cheap or expensive), generally been a gentleman to me. He has done this consistently, from the moment I met him until today as my husband. He hasn't changed, being a gentleman is simply part of his character. I find that very classy :) and so very sweet :)

My hubby also gave our friend an earful of advice. He says that if our friend was our daughter, he would not have any patience for any man who could not be a gentleman to her, especially in a dating situation. Dutch treats are for platonic friends, not for romantic relationships where the man should behave like a gentleman and a woman should be treated like a lady. It is not about the money -- if the man wants some assurance that he is not being taken advantaged of by the woman for his money, he can always just take her to places and events that does not require top dollar. And the woman can show she cares by cooking for him, etc.

My hubby and I both felt very strongly about the situation our friend was in. We felt the guy she was dating probably had some baggage from a previous relationship and was unconsciously putting our friend in a situation where she had to prove her intentions for him. We advised her to nip the situation in the bud, by having a conversation with her guy from a loving place, not from resentment. Here's hoping it all works out for this new couple!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A cute Christmas Miracle

Last Christmas Eve, hubby and I lost our 18-year-old dog, Dijon. She's mostly blind and deaf from old age. We let her out the townhouse to pee, then we got distracted with dinner and presents. One hour later, we realized --with horror-- that Dijon was still outside.

She was nowhere to be found. We knocked on doors of 10 or so neighbors who were all getting ready for Christmas dinner. No one has seen a small white dog wandering about. At this point, 2 neighbors volunteered to drive around the neighborhood to try to find Dijon. Nothing turned up. I had to miss my Christmas Eve Mass since I clearly can not leave my distraught hubby to look for Dijon on his own -- he was walking around the neighborhood in a t-shirt in 40-degree LA winter weather. I was making novenas to St. Josemaria Escriva under my breath. I was so distracted it was difficult to finish my Our Fathers.

After posting about 30 flyers with Dijon's picture around the neighborhood, we decided to call it a night. It was 1:00am, Christmas Day.

We woke up very sad and blue on Christmas morning :( Especially hubby who felt he let Dijon down. We were not in the mood to open gifts. I went to Christmas Mass--which was wonderful. Then hubby's sister called to suggest we try searching online. Great idea -- we decided to post a "Lost Dog" ad with pics asap, on Craigslist.

At this point, hubby -- who is Jewish -- suggested I make another novena to St. Josemaria Escriva (hubby knows I have a devotion to him). A few minutes after that conversation, we got an email response to our ad, pointing us to a "Found Dog" ad that may or may not be Dijon. We opened the Found Dog ad -- and it's Dijon!

We frantically emailed the person who posted the Found Dog ad. An hour passed. Nothing. Hubby was worried. Another hour passed... Half-way through my novena, the door bell rang -- and hubby was greeted by a nice gentleman, Dijon tucked under his arm. We were overjoyed! We introduced ourselves and it turns out Dijon's rescuer is named Nick -- Dijon apparently crossed a main thoroughfare and went inside Walgreens. The Walgreens people kept putting her outside, and she kept coming back in. Nick took her home, gave her a bath and tried to console her. He also posted the Craigslist ad. We offered a reward but Nick flatly refused it. So we donated the reward under his name to his favorite charity.

We consider it a miracle that Dijon survived crossing a big street despite being blind and deaf, and being found and safely returned by someone named after St. Nick, as in Santa Claus, on Christmas Day.

Now Dijon can pretty much have accidents around the house (because of her age) and we no longer complain :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Missing Christmas back home

We have decided to cancel our Philippine trip due to my pregnancy -- better safe than sorry. Hubby was looking forward to meeting my mom, the rest of the family and my closest friends -- and visiting my home country for the first time. And I was so eager to immerse myself in the Spirit of the Christmas Season -- Philippine-style -- with all the piety of our Masses, the lights, the crazy exchange of gifts, and the warmth of family and friends. And all those yummy goodies -- arroz caldo, puto bumbong, etc!

Christmas in LA just does not compare.

But it will have to do for now... I'll look for an Advent Wreath to decorate the house this weekend. I somehow prefer that over a Christmas tree. And it would be nice to have a small Belen (the Holy Family and the Manger).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby Girl names, anyone?

We are expecting a girl, and we are open to suggestions re names. We want a first name that is American and a second name that is Filipino. We are playing around with several names so far, but we can still change our minds, after all we still have a few months to go.

So if you have any good names to offer, we are all ears!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's a Girl!

We went to our OB last week and found out we have a girl! Yay for me. Hubby was a little shell-shocked at first but has since warmed up to the idea. He was pretty worried about having an adolescent daughter -- what will happen when our presently 16-week-old fetus turns into a 16-year-old young lady? How will the world be then?

Fortunately, he has gotten some heartening words of wisdom from fathers of daughters. Dads who have daughters tell him that there is nothing like having a child who loves her Dad the way daughters love their fathers. Now hubby can't wait to have his daughter in his arms.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Easing into Parenthood

We went to Babies R' Us last weekend for the first time... so many choices of feeding bottles, different types of strollers and car seats, swinging chairs, walking chairs, high chairs ... the whole thing was daunting. Good thing we brought a friend who's had a baby. She walked us through the store and pointed out useful items and good brands. Hubby was getting crazy tagging all the items he likes with the little laser gun.

We also had a private tour of the labor and maternity section of Cedar Sinai hospital in Beverly Hills. Quite an impressive hospital -- very clean. And have so far interviewed 2 doulas (she's sort of a birthing nurse), with 2 more to go before we make our final decision. We already have an OB-GYN.

Planning for a baby makes me think of the long road ahead. As a hopeful future parent I have some definite do's and don't's for our child(ren):

1. Don't want to spoil the child.
2. Don't want to dress my 7-year-old daughter like a "hottie" -- I want my children to look like children, not like Julia Roberts in black boots in Pretty Woman. I have friends who dress up their daughters in too-sexy a manner. What were they thinking????
3. Do intend to give children age-appropriate house chores and responsibilities, starting at age three. They should see chores as normal, not extras or favors.
4. Do want to empower the child as much as possible, but still enforce good boundaries.
5. Do intend to bring up the child in an atmosphere of a loving home. Child must see that his/her parents love and respect each other, not just love the child. Family life is NOT all about the child.
6. Do intend to bring up the child to have faith, hope and love for God. And Mary. And Joseph. Do want the child to dream of Heaven.
7. My hubby will most likely fall in love with our child (no matter the gender) -- Daddy will give child the world. Child must respect (and not take advantage of) Daddy, Mommy will make sure of that.
8. Do intend to talk to my children about the sacredness of sex as early as appropriate. I won't wait until they are 12 or 13 -- by then that's (usually) too late. Especially by LA standards.

I really believe that if children are brought up well during childhood, there is less likelihood of problems in adolescence. So help me God.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tips for Parents-to-be

Hubby and I are expecting and we are getting all sorts of tips from different quarters. We got this list from Rabbi Brian and his wife. Rabbi Brian officially gave Jewish representation and a blessing at our Catholic wedding back in May. He had everyone in stitches despite the seriousness of his blessing. It was definitely one of the highlights of the day.

Below is a list of Rabbi Brian's (and his wife's) tips for the unsuspecting parents-to-be. Enjoy :)

Bits of advice for the dad:

1. Watching your partner be in so much agony for so long is emotionally and physically painful. (Take breaks every so often.)

2. Nurses change every 12 hours. Some are good, some aren’t as good. The shift can be jarring.

3. The whole “cone-head” thing is real, but the cone goes backwards like a shark, not up like a Saturday Night Live conehead. (I didn’t know this and thought when he came out that Emmett had special needs.)

4. The vagina that your child comes out of looks more like a blue twinky/muppet character than what you remember it looking like.

5. Everyone should get to sleep within an hour or so of delivery. Call the rest of the people later. Newborns sleep for a while after delivery and you will want to take advantage of this. Really. I'm not kidding. Do it. You'll thank me later.

6. The first night in the hospital is like being in a Twilight Zone episode, except, as one of the characters in the episode, you don’t know that it’s a fun-house ride/alternate reality — it feels really weird and real.

7. Bring an extra bag to the hospital for gifts that people will bring.

8. Bring your own pillows to the hospital in colored pillowcases so that you will be more comfortable and so the hospital staff won’t think they are theirs.

9. Bring a bathing-suit so you can take a bath/shower with your partner at the hospital. (Bring two so the second time your suit isn't cold!)

10. The first 2 weeks are the most intense. Just get through them one day at a time. It’ll even out (some) after that.

11. Sometimes, getting through an hour at a time is all you can do. Really. Think about all the things that you pre-baby used to do to comfort and soothe yourself. For me things included: cooking, surfing the web, crafting, the gym, chatting on the phone. With one stroke, your child will single-handily keep you from doing those things. (It's not intentional, of course, but, still, not having things to self-soothe can drive you batty... especially when you aren't sleeping and you realize that you have to care for a child for a long, long while.)

12. You (and Mom) will be emotional. (I know you knew this.) In weeks 2-3, we couldn’t seem to help but to get on each other’s nerves by 9pm.

13. As mentioned, you child has robbed each of your ability to self-soothe... that might be part of why you are so tense.

14. Your brain will atrophy and you won't remember things that you used to be able to remember — like if you talked to someone or showered in the last two days — or, when you are in the shower if you have washed your hair.

15. By four weeks you will all feel like you know some of what you are doing.

16. By eight you'll like your child a lot. By 12 weeks you will really have a handle on it.

17. At 4 months you will look at parents of newborns with compassion thinking, "oh, the poor dears, they have no idea what they are in for.

Advice from a mom for Moms:

1. Get a sitz bath from the hospital to take home and use.

2. Maxi pads!

3. Take lots of Colace stool softener after.

4. Breastfeeding, while it would seem the most natural thing in the world, isn’t.

5. Don’t look down there for 6 weeks at least.

6. When you get to shower (use friend’s visits for this too!) take a clean washcloth, get it warm/hot and fold it and put in in between your legs…I swear this helped with healing the stitches…

7. You will smell and you will sweat a lot.

8. You will be sore from pushing or from healing from a c-section for awhile. I began to feel better at day 9. Those were long days.

9. Get a hemorrhoid pillow from the drugstore to sit on…really helps take pressure off.

10. Avent breast pads are the best.

11. Don’t judge yourself for the way in which your feelings about your baby grow and change…it is a relationship that takes time to blossom…