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Drae is 6 Months Old Today!

13 Jan
Draelen's 1st solid food — avocado!

Draelen’s 1st solid food — avocado! (13 January 2015 // Los Angeles, CA )

These past 6 months have flown by!  I admit I’ve done a terrible job of keeping this blog up-to-date, but I have been enjoying living in the moment of Draelen’s infancy instead.  I’m addicted to her!  If I could snuggle with her all day I would.  I’ll do anything to make her laugh or smile.  It’s not hard to do!  She is definitely a happy baby who loves eye contact and conversation.

People often ask us how Cedro is doing with a new baby sister.  He is the most loving and attentive big brother we could hope for Drae!  From Day 1, he has been very territorial and protective of her.  Even now, he refers to her as “my baby.”  It warms my heart to spy on the kids laughing and giggling together.  Every morning, Cedro crawls into bed with Drae and pulls her towards him so they can cuddle face to face.  Drae is only a baby, but you can tell that she adores her Kuya Cedro.  She has a signature happy sound which comes from the back of her mouth and sounds very much like radio static.  Part of me feels like she’s actually trying to say, “Kuya.”

Everything they say about having a second child is true.  Our lives are pure and utter chaos right now.  But in the midst of the circus is a profound sense of contentment and completeness.

Fun Facts:

  • Height = 2′ 2.8″ (86th percentile)
  • Weight = 18 lbs., 2 oz. (84th percentile)
  • Head Circumference = 17.99″ (99.66th percentile! Almost off the chart!)
  • Rolled over for the 1st time (06 December 2014)
  • Favorite Word = “Poo Poo”
  • Interested in: disco ball in our living room, TV remote control, bath time and standing


Happy 4th Birthday, Cedro!

5 Aug


Cedro's 4th Birthday


Dear Cedro,

Today you are 4 years old!  Just in the past 4 weeks, our lives have changed dramatically.  You have grown so much.  Feels like yesterday when you were just as small as Draelen.  I feel like I blinked and all of a sudden you’re a little boy.

Right now, you are at your school having a little party.  I wish I could be there with you to watch you celebrate with your friends.  I’m home feeding Baby D since she’s too young to be in large crowds.  Thank you for being my sous pastry chef this morning for my grand experiment to make sugar-free, nut-free, apple-free, banana-free vegan cookies for your classmates.  I love baking with you.  You probably won’t remember this time in your life, but my hope is that you’ll have a sense for how loved you are and that when you look back, you’ll remember your childhood as a happy one.

I still struggle with perfectionism and juggling all my different roles.  It’s definitely overwhelming to have 2 young kids while managing work and other projects.  But once in a while, I am able to take a short breath and see through the chaos.  Somehow, simple things that you do or say make the stress and mayhem melt away for a moment.  It could be your gleeful laugh, goofy antics or your loving gestures towards Drae or Quincy.  And those little moments make it all worthwhile.  At the end of the day, we live a lucky life.

I love you, Cedro. You are my angel.  I am constantly amazed and proud that you are my son.  You’ll always be my first baby.

Love always,

Here are some new things and fun facts about you:


  • HEIGHT: 3 ft. 5 in. (67th percentile)
  • WEIGHT: 41 lbs (85th percentile)


  • BIG BROTHER:  You have come a long way since you resisted the idea of a sibling.  We used to ask you if you wanted a brother or sister and your response was “Quincy!” your cousin.  Now that Baby D is here, you are very enthusiastic about her and protective of her.  I’ll never forget your reaction to seeing me the day before Draelen was born.  I had told you that Baby D would be with me the next time you were going to see me.  I was obviously wrong (as I had been all week long).   The first thing you asked was, “Where’s Baby D?”  When you realized that she hadn’t arrived yet, you completely fell apart!  You were so sad and disappointed!…  The next day, when you finally met your sister was such a tender and special moment.  You completely lit up when you saw her and were very gentle with her.  You have continued to be very affectionate with Drae and are very proud of the fact that you are allowed to kiss her on the cheek or hold her hands.  I have a habit of calling you “Baby” as a term of endearment but you always correct me and say, “I’m not Baby.”  You are also very helpful and quick to lend a hand in any baby-related task from changing diapers to rocking Drae in her rocker.
  • DAYCARE: You are approaching the end of your 2nd year at SMAP Childcare.  We are already looking into kindergarten for you for the fall of 2015!  We can’t believe it!
  • SLEEPING: Fortunately, your night terrors are pretty much gone but every night you end up in our bed.  Whenever I ask you what you need to get to sleep, you typically answer, “Baby D.”  (While I was pregnant, you would snuggle with me and put your hand on my belly as if being close to your sis was like having a security blanket.)  But after you fall asleep, your body rotates and you end up perpendicular to us.  You love sleeping on pillows as if a pillow were a mini bed.
  • LANGUAGES: Your strongest language is still Japanese followed by English and then Tagalog.  I need to use my maternity leave to improve my own Tagalog skills in order to teach you better.  Lately, you have also been communicating in your own version of the Kalahari Bushmen language.  You like to gesture and make clicking sounds.  Somehow, we can have entire conversations speaking your special language!
  • POTTY TRAINING: You are technically potty trained, as in you don’t wear diapers anymore, but you’re not yet accident-free.  During the day, you tend to wait until the absolute last minute to go to the bathroom.  At home, you race around the apartment announcing to everyone to “HURRY! HURRY!” even though you know how to go by yourself. You have a tell-tale “pee pee dance” that signals to us to remind you to go.   One big milestone is that you no longer need a stool to use our toilet at home!
  • PERSONALITY: While you’re very good at testing boundaries and breaking the rules both at school and at home, when push comes to shove. you also want to resolve conflicts.  When you see that I’m upset, you quickly stick your hand out for a handshake and plead, “Friends?” or “I want to be friends, Mama.”  You also make Papa apologize to me when you see that he is the one frustrating me.  “Papa, say sorry to Mama.”  You also have a knack for saving yourself when you know that you’re in trouble. You ask, “You happy, Mama?” even though you know that I’m pretty pissed off.  You’re obviously very clever.
  • OBSESSIONS: You are still a die-hard train addict.  Your favorite song is “Train” by Japanese pop band, Ketsumeishi, for a JR promo video that you found on YouTube yourself!  You and Papa sing this song every day in the car on your way to school.  You still live the Pixar Cars and Planes movies but you have been especially obsessed with the movie Frozen.  You can “sing”/hum the songs both in English and Japanese.  Rumor has it, you also like to dress in drag as Elsa at school while you’re singing.


Happy 3rd Birthday, Cedro!

5 Aug

Dear Cedro,

Today you are 3 years old! You have been waiting for this day for several months now, proudly holding up 3 fingers when asked how old you’ll be. It’s amazing how much you’ve grown since your 2nd birthday.

It has been a very exciting year. I wish I could say that it’s a walk in the park now that the Terrible Two’s are behind us, but you have a very strong and stubborn personality that will hardly go away now that you are 3. Not only are you bigger and taller, but you are more communicative and more willful.

It seems like just yesterday when I thought you were arriving on August 4th, but true to your namesake, you had your own agenda. Cedro — my “strong gift” — arrived after 23 hours of labor; most of which was while you were sunny-side-up putting a lot of pressure on my back. Your Papa reminded me this morning of the moment towards the end of labor when I was finally asking for “Dr. Feelgood” and that epidural! I laugh about it now because I hardly remember the pain. I just think about how lucky we were that you were healthy.

You have experienced several major milestones:

  • FULLTIME DAYCARE: You have been attending daycare from Monday through Friday for over a year now!
  • SLEEPING IN A BED: You haven’t slept in a crib since last year. You have been sleeping in your own bed in your own room since we moved back to our new place here in LA in January of this year.
  • SPEAKING: Your language skills and vocabulary have really boomed since starting SMAP Childcare 8 months ago. You favor Japanese since you are completely immersed in Japanese at daycare, but you have plenty to say in Tagalog and in English, too!
  • NEW COUSIN: You have been a great Kuya (big brother) to your brand new cousin, Quincy, who was born in February. You constantly tell her you love her and are always trying to kiss her.
  • POTTY TRAINING: You haven’t worn a diaper since over a couple weeks ago — both day and night! (You started to potty train yourself last year.)


  • HEIGHT: 3 ft. 2 in. (75th percentile)
  • WEIGHT: 35.2 lbs (75th percentile)
  • on track developmentally

This year, for your birthday weekend, you were surrounded by all the same people who were there when you were born (plus your brand new cousin). Lola, Lolo, Tita Ging, Tito Danny and Quincy indulged you and your train obsession with a family picnic at Travel Town in Griffith Park yesterday.

And today, you had a special birthday party with your buddies at school where Lolo performed a special magic show! We also watched Despicable Me 2 in the movie theater — something that you have been requesting ever since the entire city of LA was covered with Minions billboards for the premiere in early July. You concluded your birthday with an impromptu dance party! Your dance blew me away. I love your style and originality. You make me so proud.

So even though we are entering The Therrible Three’s and your favorite phrase is “HINDI PO!” (“NO, MA’AM/SIR!” in Tagalog), I know this is an important part of you becoming your own person. I have to remind myself that you need to explore and test boundaries. I may get frustrated easily because you know exactly how to press my buttons and we may butt heads as if we were both 3 years old. Beneath your defiance is the Mama’s Boy I vowed I never wanted to produce, but of course, now that I have my own little boy, I am thrilled that you are one! I’ll be the first one to admit it. I am a complete sucker for you. You melt my heart! Most of the time, I realize that you simply want more of my attention and I can usually settle one of our fights with a hug or tickle session or chase to your room. You don’t know it yet, but you are helping me become a better communicator and a better person.

Your baby fat is almost all gone. You are definitely a little boy now. I feel like I’m going to blink and you’ll be a grown man. Until then, I cherish this time when you are learning how to form complete sentences; when you stop me dead in my tracks to say an unprompted, “Thank you, Mama” or “I love you, Mama.”

I love you, too, Cedro. I love you so much.

Love always,

2nd Year Checkup

14 Sep

© Photo by Ardith Ibañez NishiiYAY!  I’m still a healthy little boy!  I really like my Berkeley pediatrician.  Dr. So thinks I’m SO adorable!  She was cracking up when she walked in and I was sitting on the examination table bottomless with just my hat and t-shirt on while chowing down on a big breakfast sandwich.

  • WEIGHT: 30 lbs. 2 oz. (72nd percentile)
  • HEIGHT: 36 inches (88th percentile)
  • SPEECH:  Because I’m not really talking yet, my doc is recommending that I get my hearing checked and that I meet with a speech therapist just in case.  She’s not really worried but wants to get things checked out sooner than later.  She knew that we wouldn’t be staying in the area long.  If we were locals, she would have just recommended that we check back with her in 6 months…  Here is my list of words so far:
    1. Mama
    2. Papa
    3. Wow!
    4. O po (“Yes, Sir/Ma’am” in Tagalog)
    5. No
    6. Cracker
    7. Truck
    8. Car
    9. Hi
    10. Bye
    11. Lola
    12. Lolo
    13. Tita
    14. Uncle
    15. Train (sign)
    16. All done (sign)
    17. Milk (sign)
    18. Please (sign)
    19. Sorry (sign)
    20. More (sign)
    21. Thank You (Japanese bowing gesture)
  • CHINGLISH: Speaking of speech, when Dr. So realized that the reason why we weren’t staying in the area long was because we were only in town for as long as Papa is performing in Chinglish at Berkeley Rep, she told us she had tickets to see it in October!!!

Mysterious Hives!

6 Sep
© Photos by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

(06 September 2012) Clockwise from top left: Right leg, Right calf, Right thigh (with semi-circular dark outlines), Left inner thigh

Today, Cedro woke up with HUGE hives all over his legs and arms!  I had no idea until I changed his diaper and clothes to get him ready for school.  He had woken up happy and playful and almost hyper despite what should probably be an uncomfortable skin condition covering his body!  I was amazed by the size of the welts and they were slightly warm to the touch.  We were worried that it might be ringworm since the welts had dark red outlines.

Luckily, Berkeley Pediatrics nearby could squeeze him in right away!  Cedro was very comfortable with Dr. Grace So who was very warm and personable.  One look and she immediately identified Cedro’s condition as a classic textbook case of hives (NOT ringworm).  She assured us that they are very common among children his age and neither serious nor contagious.  Since we couldn’t identify anything new or unusual in his diet or soaps and detergents from the past few days, she explained that it could really be anything.  It might even be the result of a low-grade cold.  She explained that the same virus that causes a cold could cause the hives.  The hives might last a few days in waves.  We should just pay attention to what he’s eating if/when the next outbreak happens.  She recommended that we give him half a teaspoon of Benadryl every 6 hours as needed, if Cedro seemed uncomfortable.  Sure enough, as soon as we left the office, Cedro started scratching the huge welt on his right shin and ankle.  Good thing there was a Walgreens half a block away!  Benadryl to the rescue!

We were able to drop him off at school before lunch.  He wasn’t thrilled about leaving us, but didn’t put too much of a fight.  He was happy that it was playground time and he was greeted warmly by his classmates and teachers.

Days like this remind me that being a first-time mom of a toddler is a constant rollercoaster.  Just when I think I have found my groove and routine, I get thrown a curve ball!  No rest for the weary.  Have to be on my toes!  I am so thankful that both Brian and I have pretty flexible schedules to be able to deal with these unexpected mini-emergencies together.

NOTE TO SELF:  Here’s what Cedro has eaten in the past 24 hours.

  • this morning: kashi cereal, 1% Horizon Organic milk, raisins, banana
  • middle of night: pesto noodles (pine nuts, grapeseed oil, parmesan, garlic, basil)
  • last night: Annie’s mac-n-cheese w/ bacon, mushrooms and peas (same as previous night)
  • afternoon snack: こつぶっこ japanese rice crackers and grapes
  • at school yesterday: fritatta with vegetables and hash browns; oatmeal

Sometimes I wonder whether or not Cedro has a sense for the death of my aunt, Loleng — a distant cousin of my mom’s.  She had a heart attack yesterday and didn’t make it.  She was a very important person in my life.  She and her husband have known me since I was a baby when my parents and I immigrated from the Philippines.  She especially took care of me while I was in college and was always making home-cooked meals for me and often attended my Pilipino-American Student Union events since they lived close to campus.  She was like a younger version of Nanay, my mom’s mom — very goofy and giggly…  I know it’s a stretch, but I do wonder whether or not Cedro senses her passing through the vibes I’m giving.  About 10 years ago, I myself had a mysterious hive outbreak which put me in the emergency room.  Have you seen Will Smith in the movie, Hitch?  That was me.  I never figured out what caused the hives.  I can only blame stress.  Hmmm… did I pass on some mystery allergy to Cedro?

He seems fine now and shows every sign that he will continue to be a strong and healthy boy.  Thank goodness!

18 Months Old Today!

5 Feb
© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

New York City, NY // 31 January 2012

  • HEIGHT: 33.25 inches (I grew 1.5 inches in 2 months!)
  • WEIGHT: 25 lbs. 12 oz. (I only gained 1 lb. 4 oz. since my last check-up… probably because of the nasty stomach bug and the fact that I’m a pickier eater these days.)
  • HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE: 19.75 inches (My Megamind head only grew 0.25 inches since my last check-up.)
  • TEETH:  I have 10 teeth with 2 more coming in!
  • PLAY TIME: I love to play with my usual toys but needless to say I have been preoccupied with my first train track set!  I enjoy breaking apart the pieces and throwing them just as much as I love pushing my trains on the tracks.  My parents call this my Godzilla act.  (Also known as the next bullet point.)
  • EARLY TERRIBLE 2’s:  Good thing I have charming good looks because I have been exhibiting very un-charming behavior lately.  Toddler tantrums — high-pitched screaming, throwing things and melting on the ground.  Mama and Papa are trying to be patient while teaching me what’s appropriate behavior.  They assume that this phase will pass or hopefully diminish as soon as I can speak.
  • COMMUNICATING: I shake my head a lot even though I might mean “Yes” instead of “No” and instead of the regular sign for “Thank You,” I tend to bow Japanese-style.
  • BABBLING:  I also love to babble and make a noise that sounds like, “GjuhGjuhGjuh.”  It’s a cross between babbling and gurgling.  Check out my video below.
  • EATING:  I have become very picky lately.  I seem to want to eat only eggs and cheese, oatmeal, prunes, waffles, yogurt and grapes.  My papa is so thrilled when I eat something different like one of his kale dishes.
  • HUGGING:  I like to walk up behind Mama when she’s sitting or crouched on the ground and give her a full-body hug from behind.  If I hug her from the front, I like to give little pats on her back.
  • HOLDING HANDS: When I get up in the morning, I walk up to the bedroom door with Mama and wait for her to open it.  Then, I take her hand and walk out with her.  I also like to lead people by the hand when I want to show them something or play together.
  • WASHING HANDS: I get a kick out of using bar soap when I wash my hands.  I think it’s hysterical when it slips out of my hands!
  • SLEEPING: Mama has been sleeping in the living room and I sleep anywhere from 9-11 hours at night.  I also nap twice for about an hour at a time.  Not bad considering we’re going through another major transition!
  • BREASTFEEDING: Still down to 2 breastfeeding sessions a day — first thing in the morning and right before bedtime — with the occasional pre-nap fix.  Mama and Papa decided not to stress about weaning since (a) too much is going on right now with our move and (b) Mama is planning on going back to work when we move back to California and I’ll probably naturally wean myself. (…. they hope!)

Can’t believe we’re headed back to California tomorrow.  My family and friends won’t believe how much I’ve grown!

16 Months Old!

5 Dec
© Photo by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

At Ate Nuna's 7th birthday party!!! Wearing Kuya Issei's sweater handknit by Grandma when he was around my age! (04 December 2011 // Los Angeles, CA)

  • HEIGHT: 31.75 inches (75th percentile)
  • WEIGHT: 24 lbs. 8 oz. (50th percentile)
  • HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE: 19.5 inches (95th percentile)… They don’t call me Megamind for nothin’!
  • MY FEET: When I landed in Sacramento for our Thanksgiving trip, my Mama couldn’t put my shoes back on my feet!  I think she has given up on lace-up shoes for now and will stick to velcro ones!
  • MAJOR MILESTONES: I am now signing “please” when I want something and I can drink from my straw trainer cup!!!
  • PLAY TIME: I love to connect my toys like a train on chairs or the ledge in the living room.  I also make engine noises when I push my cars and trains around.
  • SOMETHING INTERESTING: I’m really good at squatting.  I do this when I’m walking across a room (to take a quick break) or when I’m checking something out in general.
  • SOMETHING CUTE: I am really good at identifying people.  I can point to people when you ask me where they are.  When Papa, any of my grandparents or my Tita Ging calls, I like to kiss the phone.  I can point out Uncle Danny’s iPad if you ask me where it is AND I’m pretty sure I’ve given his iPad a couple smooches, too!
  • WORDS: “Mama,” “Papa,” “Boo-Boo,” “Cracka” [I have also said “ka” for “car” and “ga” for “gatas” (aka milk in Tagalog)]
  • DISLIKES: Cookie Monster, Angry Birds, Pixar’s Ratatouille, and using blankets.
  • LIKES: all vehicles!  Plus, Thomas the Train, Lightning McQueen, SpongeBob SquarePants and his Bubble Buddy, Yo Gabba Gabba and The First Wives Club (or maybe I just like Diane Keaton).
  • NEW DIGS:  I feel very at home in NYC, but I am mainly excited to be reunited with my Papa!