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Give a “Hell YEAH!!” My son rolled over by himself for the first time today!!

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IT’S A BOY!

Our baby finally came into this world and officially made us into a family of Tres. Baby was born on Seven Eleven, 8lbs, 7oz, 21 inches long. Yes, he is a big boy and he came two weeks early (born at 38 weeks). My friend said it was because we were too organized and had his room ready, car seat installed, and everything taken care of beforehand. In short, we were just waiting for him and so he decided to come to the party early. It was probably a good thing anyway since the Doctor said that if he had gone to 40 weeks baby would easily have been a 9 pounder.

Overall, the pregnancy went wonderful but we had a little wrinkle at the end. Mom had a very difficult labor for 14 hours and was not able to dilate more than 1 cm. Finally the decision was made for the C-section. She is my hero for everything that she went through to give birth to our son. I’ve told her that many times.

The very good part is that both Mom and Baby are doing fine and resting at home now. I am doing everything I can to help Mom with her recovery. I was able to take 3 weeks off from work to take care of Mom and Baby. Baby is very healthy and inherited my healthy appetite for food. He eats every two-to-three hours round the clock, and of course what goes in must come out. I am a diaper changing pro now!

As you can imagine, sleep is more precious than gold (or a barrel of oil) right now and there is not much time for blogging or anything else. However, there is tons of material that I could write about. What a beautiful experience this has been. I am a very blessed and lucky man. Words cannot really convey the feeling, but I thought I knew what happiness was. That is until I experienced true happiness the moment and day that my son was born. It was awesome. I was on Cloud 9 with Euphoria for at least 4 days. I am still very happy now, even though its has been a lot of work. I hear the baby crying for Daddy, so bye for now.

This past Sunday, Mom2be and I went to the Thousand Oaks Mall to burn a gift card we received for the Baby Gap. All of a sudden we walked past this store called Build-A-Bear. We see a bunch of kids in there having fun and getting really excited building teddy bears. Of course, I immediately think of our son and how cool it would be for us to build a bear for him and his room.

It was a very cool experience! I actually had more fun in there that I imagined. Mom2be and I jointly picked the bear, a compromise as usual. We also picked out his teddy bear clothes. The teenage girl clerk asked us if we wanted to record a sound for the teddy bear. What??? Yes, we could record a 10-second message that would play every time the bear’s paw was squeezed. Of course! So we went into the recording studio (the women’s bathroom) and recorded a 10-second greeting in Espanol for our son.

The teenage clerk then had us pick out 2 red velvety hearts, one for each of us parents. Then we each kissed and rubbed them on our own hearts before putting them inside the teddy bear while making a wish. I wished and prayed for a beautiful and peaceful delivery with no complications, and for a healthy baby and mother.

All in all, it was happy experience which I thoroughly enjoyed, made even more special because I thought of our son the whole time. Below are a few of photos of Osito in his new home, waiting for Baby along with us.

Osito para Bebe

Ever since I found out that we were pregnant, I have been seriously thinking about religion, spirituality, and life, and how they each have affected and shaped my life. I don’t know if I would categorize myself as a good Catholic. Probably not. However, being raised Catholic by very traditional Mexican Catholics and also going to 12 years of Catholic School did have a very profound effect on my life, for the most part positive.

Catholicism gave me a set of beliefs, an internal compass; it gave me an identity, membership in a group, part of another family; it gave me scholarship and academia; it gave me traditions and rites to mark not only religious holidays, but important milestones in my life. It gave me the Sacrament of Marriage. All things that I still hold very dear in my life, even though for the most part, Catholicism is in the background. It comes and it goes but I always feel that I am welcome back no matter how long I’ve been away. And when I do come back, I feel the comfort of tradition, of the familiar.

Which brings me to fatherhood and our son. It is clear in my mind that I do want to pass down my Catholic religion and beliefs to our son. As he gets older and his mind develops, he can then choose for himself what he wants to believe in and whether to continue with Catholicism, just like I did when I became of age. I have discussed this with Mom2B and we are on the same page on this issue.

The most important thing to us is to make sure that our son will have a solid foundation of beliefs, values, traditions and myths that will help guide the child as he grows into a man and then to adulthood. For him not to be lost, so to speak, when confronted with the events of life (both good and bad), when facing ethical or moral questions, when having to make tough decisions. In short, I would like for my son to have an internal compass, a GPS device if you will, so that he can find his way no matter where he is at in life.

“The fourth function of traditional mythology is to carry the individual through the various stages and crises of life–that is, to help persons grasp the unfolding of life with integrity. This wholeness means that individuals will experience significant events, from birth to midlife to death, as in accord with, first, themselves, and secondly, with their culture, as well as thirdly, the universe, and lastly, with that mysterium tremendum beyond themselves and all things.”

–Joseph Campbell

I also remember all the “teaching tools” that my mom utilized in order to teach us the brand of Catholicism known as Mexican Catholicism.  Her Mexican Catholicism and beliefs were passed down to her by her parents, and probably for generations.  Praying El Rosario in espanol, praying to La Virgen de Guadalupe, reading La Sagrada Bibilia, going to La Iglesia, 12 years of Catholic School, and of course, seeing the many IMAGES of religion, were some of the tools used. 

One of the tools that my mom used were posters hung up on the walls in our house.  Kids learn from images.  Do any of you remember the classic “Dos Caminos” poster?  This is the poster where it shows a little guy at a crossroads—one road had all the vices: loose women, gambling dice, empty wine bottles, etc. and that road led to a fiery Hell.  The other road was paved with good works and of course, led to the great paradise that is Heaven.  The poster was supposed to be a visual aid in learning right from wrong, and choosing the “right” road to travel in life.

I found a version of the “Dos Caminos” poster online and here it is for your viewing pleasure.  However,  I don’t think it’s the same one that my mom had for us. 

Dos Caminos Poster

I look up to and respect one of my Comprades very much. He is a great husband, father and family man with two small children already.  Through this fatherhood journey, I have often sought his counsel and guidance.  Hard to believe, but we have been best of friends for 13 years now even though we don’t see each other often because of distance (he lives up in the NoCal).  Thank God for email, telephone, and our annual reunions.  Anyway, I asked my Compadre to share with me some Old-School Oraciones so that I can teach my child.  Here is what I got:

“I have two short ones.  When my sis and I would walk to school, and we were always afraid that several dogs (they run all over the place in Mexico City) would bite us or chase us.  So my Abuelita told us to say this prayer if we were ever afraid of a dog:  

“Perro en ti, Dios en mi, que la sangre de Cristo me libre de ti.”

And after every meal, before we left the table, we had to stand up, put our hands together, close our eyes, and say this one:

“Bendito sea, el padre eterno, que nos dio un pan de comer sin merecerlo. 

Gracias a la divina providencia.  Amen.”

It was our ticket to be out of the table.  I love this one too, because it says that we didn’t deserve to eat.  I love it.”

“We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer ‘Tomorrow.’ His name is ‘Today.’”

–Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral (April 7, 1889 – January 10, 1957) was the pseudonym of Lucila de María del Perpetuo Socorro Godoy Alcayaga, a Chilean poet, educator, diplomat and feminist who was the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1945. Some central themes in her poems are nature, betrayal, love, a mother’s love, sorrow and recovery, travel, and Latin American identity as formed from a mixture of Indian and European influences.