Parenting in Manila is an adjustment for me. Here I’ve had to divide my time and attention over things other than the kids. Gone are the days when we spend 24/7 together and I see their every move and anticipate their every action or thought process. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, it’s just what I was used to; what the three of us were used to. Now we all have to re-adjust. I’m still dealing with the mom-guilt that comes with this new “way of life”, but I guess as it is with everything else, it’s a slow and sure process.
I feel it a lot when I finally get back to them at the end of a long day away. I find myself wondering where Sam came up with her new “theory” or new pretend game. I look at Jamie and think: when did she get taller? How could I have missed it? In the grand scheme of things, I may really not have missed anything significant (as I’m not got THAT long), but because I’m still not used to it, I do feel like really big chunks of their days slip past. And because of this feeling, I find myself trying to cram in as much as I can in the few moments that we get in the afternoon.
Our quality bonding usually begins around snack time (as we Pinoys fondly call it, merienda). Food is really a tool that Filipinos use to bond, it’s undeniable. It’s innate in our culture to get together and “catch up” over coffee, lunch, and dinner. Whatever meal form it may be, food gets people together.
As for my bonding time with the girls, it usually depends on their moods or the toys they’ve been playing with for the day. It takes some creativity to get the answers I’m looking for. Sometimes they like to play and I have to subtly insert my probing questions into our little games to unearth the day’s mystery. I’m direct with my questions, but I’m also specific. Things like, “Did you play with friend A or friend B?”, “Did you sing or did you dance?”, “Did you paint with the red paint or the yellow paint today?” I’ve learned to do this over time so it leads them to a specific answer, rather than leaving an open-ended question they need to think about. Sometimes, I’ve to use paint, crayons or play-doh, or some form of arts and crafts as a medium. Sometimes, it’s in the pretend play of reliving their day. Regardless though, there is always food involved (we multitask, what can I say?).
If you leave the kind of food choice to my girls, 6 out of our 7 snack times, they’ll ask for noodles. Plain noodles, noodles with cheese, with pesto, with spaghetti sauce, with white sauce — we have it all. They just love noodles. Actually — we love noodles. I grew up eating it and choosing it regularly over a rice meal. I don’t know why, I suppose it was just the easiest to ask for and eat. Now I find the girls got used to it because it was — and still is for me — the easiest thing to prepare at any time of day.
Besides, noodles are fun to eat. They could be messy yes, but undeniably fun. Sam is learning to twirl her noodles and eat it “the Italian way“, so you can imagine the slips and catches she makes with her fork and mouth. Jamie’s noodles have always been cut up so she can scoop it up herself, but when all else fails, she has her hands to pick at the pieces. 🙂
If you’ve caught wind of the Del Monte #Spaghettiface campaign, it captures the fun bonding moments moms and kids have through the joy of eating noodles. They share a meal and stop the time, even just briefly. The #Spaghettiface symbolizes this wonderful moment in time that moms treasure for longer. It’s quite touching actually; can you relate?
Time flies so fast these days (particularly because we’re so busy!). In a blink the kids grow up and are no longer babies. To illustrate this point further, I recently attended a birthday party and reconnected with friends I’d first met about 8 or 9 years ago. Some of them have kids in college already, it was so surreal. I can’t imagine hitting that stage with the girls yet, but it feels like things are just moving at such a fast pace. I don’t think it will ever so down, but what can we do? Such is life. In the end, I hold on to the memories and the photos and videos I have that have captured these moments. And I try to slow things down during these “merienda bonding moments” when I actually get to talk to them and learn more about them.
Trust Del Monte to put together the perfect merienda tool for this. They’ve cleverly developed a merienda pack that will comfortably feed four. It’s very affordable too, and quite easy to assemble. The noodles and sauce are pre-measured, and the sauce already has hotdog and cheese, suitable for the young palette. All you have to do is heat and mix together. It’s another thing you can do with your kids as a bonding activity (just be careful of the hot water and stove!).
Now with all of this in mind — In the hopes of helping you slow down time, even for just a little bit (at least for merienda) — here’s a little raffle for you! With the help and the generosity of Del Monte, two moms will take home some Del Monte spaghetti noodles and some ready made spaghetti sauce for a special merienda treat with their kids. The gift contains some arts and crafts that mom and kids can do together! 🙂
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I remember hearing another mom say that as the kids get older, we take whatever moments we can get. I can totally understand that, which is why as early as now, I’m happy to hedge. 🙂