Merry Christmas !!!

Posted by Analyse at 12:17 PM

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Credits: Quick Page by Jennifer Schmitt

End of Maternity Leave

Posted by Analyse at 2:55 PM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Time flies! Not only is Kyla growing, work is also waiting. Would you believe it, I'm supposed to get back to work next Monday, December 22! That's exactly Kyla's 3rd month and the official re-start of my career life. Darn!

But nah! I won't start work before Christmas. Ayoko nga. I'll take some paid leave. I sent an email to my boss yesterday to officially inform him and at the same time ask him to sign a leave form for me. Formality side, I need to sign that form for insurance purposes. And since I opened my work email account through web access, I continued browsing through the pages to keep up with what's happening at work well,to be honest, I've been opening my account from time to time. To sum up, my project didn't progress as I hoped it to be and my calendar started to fill up. I know that I need to meet up with a Thai colleague on January 12, a meeting on this and that date and so on. I then continued deleting a love email from our system administrator informing me that my inbox reached its maximum limit. Nonsense. I again continued browsing, opening only those unimportant messages like my boss buying me a backpack for my laptop. That's cool.

An email about winners and awards was also there but I ignored. Our department is organizing a yearly contest on practices and projects which yield great benefits for the company. It's on a global level so it's a good way to know what our Asian and American colleagues do while we drink our coffee here in France, lol. Frenchguy called me up last night to congratulate me he's again on work travel. he found the best method to get away with dirty diapers and nursing kyla at night. Apparently, I won one of the awards. It's a project I did in collaboration with my favorite Thai colleague.

My reaction? Darn! I hate it. I don't work to get awards. I just do what I need to do. Period. Now, I need to go to Paris dressed up I-don't-know-how to dine in a private museum or I-don't-know-where with the big bosses and deliver a speech on how we got such great results. All that to get an award! The problem is, I'm not used wearing formal dresses I love my shirts and jeans! and I hate speeches. And if it's delivered in French, my, get ready with my terrible accent. I have stage fright!

Hayy, ang laki ng problema ko no?


Posted by Analyse at 10:39 AM

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Louna starts to have her own fashion sense. She would oftentimes exige the clothes she wants to wear and this morning wasn't an exception. So to not to lose a lot of time, I asked her to prepare herself for school (she knows how to wear almost all types of clothes, except t-shirts). After wearing the clothes she chose, she asked me ça va, maman? (is it alright, mama?). I looked at her and wasn't able to stop myself from laughing. She then asked me, baduy, maman? That, really made me laugh!

Home Alone II

Posted by Analyse at 9:55 AM

Monday, December 08, 2008

Frenchguy left again this morning. He will be in the US until Tuesday next week. That would mean I need to move double time again. But the thoughtful Frenchguy made sure that I have food to heat in the oven and I have fruits and yoghurts in the fridge at least until Friday. That would already save me a hell lot of time from preparing food.

This morning, I woke up earlier than usual to prepare Louna for school. School starts at 8:45am but Kyla's still sleeping by that time. I hesitated a bit but finally decided to leave Kyla alone at home while I brought Louna to school My! I wish my Mom is already here. That was to prevent disturbing her sleeping pattern and exposing her to the cold winter temperature. 15 minutes later, I was already back at home but Kyla was still sleeping. The little girl changed her behaviour from a fussy Kyla last week to a sleeping beauty this week. In fact, she's still sleeping until now that's why I could blog.

Well, going back to Frenchguy, he'll be spending one whole weekend in the US. That would mean SHOPPING! I made a list for the kids but nothing for me. No idea, as usual. Would you be kind enough to throw some gift ideas ;). If you were me, what would you like for Christmas?

Louna's Drawing

Posted by Analyse at 6:39 PM

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The pre-schooler loves to explore and express her imaginations through her pen. She would proudly present her drawings telling us what object she sketched. Mostly, they're unrecognizable but we encourage her to continue. But now, she starts to draw correctly. See it here.

Weaning Problem?

Posted by Analyse at 10:36 AM

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's been a month now since I introduced the bottle to Kyla. It was a breeze. No fuss. No problem. But since this weekend, I had been facing difficulties on bottlefeeding Kyla. It started when I changed her milk. She would start taking, like 30 ml, then stop abruptly and scream. It would then be impossible to let her drink the whole bottle. The only short-term solution I found was to introduce the milk through a syringe.

It was the same scenario the next day so I went back to the same milk. The same result. So I changed the bottle, changed feeding position, went back to the old position, went back to the same bottle, had Frenchguy nurse her, etc. In short, I tried almost everything but she doesn't want the bottle anymore. She still likes to be breastfed tho.

My question is, is this a weaning problem? A month after I introduced the bottle? Did you have the same experience? How did you get about it?

PS: I will be meeting the pediatrician tomorrow. Let's see.

Santa, Here We Come!

Posted by Analyse at 4:38 PM

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Louna does. And at the moment, it's only Santa Claus that counts.

Last night, she accidentally peed on her bed and while I was changing her pajama, she sadly told me that Père Noël va être déçu (Santa Clause will be disappointed). So I told her Yes, he will be disappointed so next time, you have to wake up and call Maman or Papa to help you go to the toilet. Talking about taking advantage of Santa story, lol.

Since this Santa Clause period doesn't last a lifetime, we want her to experience a one-of-a-kind adventure with Santa - something which she will cherish at least during her childhood years. So why not go Paris Disneyland?

I've received an invitation from Paris Disneyland offering me a free entrance ticket. But the ticket is good only up to December 25. Since my mom will be arriving on December 27, we thought we could only go there on December 28. I started to check their site for opening hours and ticket prices. My, the prices made me scratch my head - ang mahal naman ng ticket (50€ for adults and 42€ for kids). My kuripot attitude started to hit me again. Then I received an email from this site which finally saved me from ruining my pocket. I had 4 tickets for only 80€! What a steal.

Now, Louna will surely meet Santa Claus in person. Hope it will be sunny on that day. I don't want my mom to freeze on her 2nd day in France, lol.

Home Alone with the 2 Girls

Posted by Analyse at 9:52 AM

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Frenchguy left for Ireland today and will be back Friday night. My much awaited break after office hour, when Frenchguy's home will be suspended till this weekend. The 2 girls will surely know how to overload my schedule. To start, I have to wake up earlier to bring Louna to school. The cold weather will surely not play to our advantage. Then in the afternoon, I need to stretch my patience so I could attend to their exigences. Wish me energy, patience and enough sleep.

Would You Let Your Baby Cry?

Posted by Analyse at 10:04 AM

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Parenting style had always been a hot topic between Frenchguy and I. Too hot that we often raise voices each time we talk about it. The biggest culprit are none other than the differences in culture and education we received as individuals. Co-sleeping for example, though tolerated at home is not practiced in Frenchguy's family. And since they just can't just shrug their shoulders to such kind of idea, they would talk about the dangers of co-sleeping and how a child could develop a certain degree of dependence to their parents. Why the heck are they so afraid to be too close to their kids? When discussions are focused on such topic, I have this feeling that I need to defend my culture and tradition to the same people who already heard what I needed to say 3 years ago, when Louna was born.

Breastfeeding was half-heartedly accepted this time. No comments from MIL who had a word warning from Frenchguy during Louna's time. But in one of Kyla's fussy nights (pre-osteopath time), Frenchguy asked me if I was sure my breastfeeding was effective. That's a comment too much to an already worried and tired mom. He had his dose of my motherhood-induced katarayan in no time.

Since they know that I would accept but a little compromise in terms of motherhood, they would often accept shut their mouth and let me react according to what I feel and think is right. I'm the mother after all.

But crying is another problem. Frenchguy would often suggest to let Kyla cry. He's afraid I'm spoiling my daughter. But leaving a baby cry should depend on the moment. I wouldn't leave her cry when all she claims is to rock her to sleep, right? And I'm just doing the same as I did for Louna. And honestly, Louna was and is never a cry baby. She's even surprised to see kids cry or throw tantrums in malls or playgrounds. What I'm afraid in allowing babies cry too long is that they get used to it and use it to get what they want.

Hayy. It's during these moments when I want to send Frenchguy back to his mom. Buti na lang, my mom will be here end of December and will stay for 3 months. May kakampi na ako.

The Power of Osteopathy

Posted by Analyse at 3:08 PM

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kyla's arrival had certainly changed our life. The joy of finally having her around and cuddle her anytime we want is unexplainable. But to say that she brought but joy at home is an exaggeration. She brought more than that.

She'd been fussy. She had been regurgitating a lot, even close to vomitting sometimes. This disturbs her even when asleep, thus, not sleeping a lot especially at daytime. This is also one of the reasons why I started mixing between breast and bottle feeding - I thought my milk wasn't enough and good enough.

But there must be something more aside from regurgitation. She's too sensitive. She could be awakened by the smallest of noise and movement. She cries not even 5 minutes after I lay her down on bed. The only solution I found was to carry her almost all the time so she could get the dose of sleep she needed for her age. At first, I thought, that must be her reaction to what I had undergone after giving birth. Afraid of separation, she wanted to keep me this time.

Her behaviour had made our organization at home off balanced. Louna's jealousy had been intensified by the fact that I was needed by Kyla 24h a day.

When my FIL went here to pay us a visit, I was indirectly criticized because of my method (MIL in particular). They thought I was instauring a bad habit to Kyla. But after days of stay with us, they finally understood why I had to resort to my method. Kyla was crying a lot.

Her fussiness made me a worried mom. I unintentionally repeated several times to Frenchguy my hope that nothing is wrong with Kyla days before her 1st month visit to the pediatrician.

During those rare free time that I got, I search on the net for solutions. When my SIL talked about an osteopath and after reading reactions from the net, I thought I need to give it a try.

It's been 5 days now after our visit to the osteopath. Kyla regurgitates less, sleeps longer and could stay awake for an hour, observing things around her. Whoa! That's a big change. She still cries of course, but I could now decode the meaning of her cries. I could now attend to what she really needs. Calm is slowly gaining place at home. Louna is now enjoying her sister's company. What a joy!

A Month and a Half Later..

Posted by Analyse at 2:38 PM

Thursday, November 06, 2008

During times when Kyla cries unconsolably and I start to cry myself, I wish time flies faster so she could be older and fill our house with laughter - just 6 months older would be perfect. But reality hits me big time when I think that I need to get back to work end of December - that's just too soon. I need to remind myself that the little miss won't stay this small forever and I need to take advantage, especially now that she starts to smile and focus on objects infront of her.

But the little angel is giving me a real hard time. She's regurgitating a lot and that wakes her up most of the time. She's got an agitated sleep too. Even the smallest of noise could wake her up. All that results to a fussy Kyla who lacks sleep which she badly needs for her development.

We brought her to an osteopath yesterday who did a series of massage particularly on her head. He apparently put all nerves which help in digestion in place to spare Kyla from any discomfort. The result could be observed progressively but so far, so good. Proof is, I could blog!

Ambiance at home is starting to get more harmonious than it was when Kyla just arrived at home. Louna got used to having her sister around and jealousy, I should say, is a thing of the past now. She's even becoming a protective sister, not wanting to bring her sister to her pediatrician because the doctor will just do some injections, as how she puts it. Yesterday, when the osteopath was massaging Kyla, Louna wanted me to take Kyla in my arms because the doctor made her sister cry. When I explained that the doctor needed to do the massage so Kyla could stop crying, she just contented herself in asking the doctor not to break her sister. That's just so sweet.

Yesterday, I submitted my request to work part-time to my employer. Since there's no school on Wednesdays, I'll take this day off so I could spend time with my daughters. The boss of my boss was apparently surprised and worried because he'll have less employee of my decision but finally signed the request. He even told Frenchguy that I'd be working on subjects which won't oblige me to travel at least for the coming year. That's cool.

It's Louna's 3rd birthday this Saturday. She already blew her candles last week when the family was here but I would still bake something for her tomorrow as she would be celebrating her birthday at school with her classmates. We would then bring her to an attraction park this weekend. That would be her birthday gift she already have a lot of toys and books, tired of picking them up one by one, the big girl is not arranging her stuffs!

Louna blowing her candles while showing her age with her fingers.

Picture Collections

Posted by Analyse at 10:30 AM

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Well, well, well. What do I do aside from changing diapers and breastfeeding? ... Hmm? ... Any guess?... Oh yeah, of course, I cook lunch, fetch Louna from school, bath Kyla, wash clothes and dishes, etc.. but what else?

Right. I work on our photo book!

I had been wanting to chronicle our pictures into something, you know, tangible. But it's been ages I haven't developped our pictures and I hate having loads of albums of different sizes at home. So when a colleague of mine talked about a photo book, I thought, why not give it a shot?

I started with one book probably 6 months ago. Satisfied with the result, I continued with 3 other books but due to lack of time, I just finished them and received them in my mailbox just recently. I'm now working on another book.. and I know, this is just a start of my cool-lection!

Does It Hurt?

Posted by Analyse at 11:22 AM

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yeah! Just right there! Not my fault, Cookie thinks I'm a mommy blogger who kicks ass and so be it! But in all honesty and humility, I love the way she reads me inspite my constant rants in this blog. Here's what she said:

Analyse who is a new mother once again. She makes living the expat life look so easy. Never mind that she has a toddler and a newborn baby to care for, not to mention the kick ass job she has. The way it seems, her life is one that anyone would love to live.

Hey, she even thinks that anyone would love to live my life! Would you? So, ok. Here is what it would be like:

8:00am - breakfast

8:30am - breastfeeding

... after breastfeeding, everything would depend on Kyla's mood. During best times, chores would include Kyla's bath, quick shower for me, hand wash some delicate clothes of Kyla, plurk, blog when I can (fyi, this entry has been started 2 days ago, with Kyla in my arms all the time) and read some blog. During bad times, it would mean calming Kyla the whole time.

... breastfeed Kyla before going to school

11:30am - fetch Louna from school

... prepare something for lunch (or most of the time, heat prepared food in the oven)

12:00pm - lunch

... play with Louna after lunch. Breastfeed Kyla before going to school (or sometimes I do it while having lunch)

13:30pm - bring Louna to school

... nap, breastfeed, prepare something for lunch for the next day (when I can), do some household chores.

16:30pm - fetch Louna from school

... deal with the 2 kids while waiting for Frenchguy. Manage jealousy. Spend time with Louna when Kyla is calm. Breastfeed. Frenchguy prepares dinner and bathes Louna.

8:00pm - dinner

8:45pm - prepare Louna to bed (includes reading a story)

9:00pm - bedtime for Louna

... watch TV when we can. Most of the time, Kyla is a bit agitated during this time.

10:00pm - bedtime. Breastfeed Kyla till she sleeps.

3:00am or earlier - breasfeed Kyla.

5:30am or around that time - breasfeed Kyla.

... and another long day starts. Ready?

PS: Dirty diapers have to be changed when needed. Pictures must be taken at all opportunities.

Thanks ;)

Posted by Analyse at 3:03 PM

Friday, October 10, 2008

I have been receiving calls from families and friends asking me what I need for my dear Kyla to which I always answer Nothing. I kept all the stuffs of Louna so I don't really need anything. Diapers, maybe? Lol.

But there are still some who wouldn't let this grand occasion pass without sending a word or a gift. For those who wished me well through greeting cards, emails and messages in this and the kids' blog, thank you very much. I read all the messages but sorry for not answering. I guess you know why. I'm most of the time lost in bulks of dirty diapers.

I have been receiving bouquets of flowers since last week and honestly, I've run out of vases to put them. There's another bouquet arranged in a bottle of water covered with an aluminum foil. I again received a bouquet of flowers from the boss of my boss this morning which I arranged in a pitcher. He's really sweet. He makes working environment real cool. But boss, I can't be back to work till January 2009. And hey, haven't I told you that I won't be travelling till Kyla turns 1? Lol. Kidding aside, this is highly appreciated. I wasn't expecting it.

I had another surprise when I opened my mailbox this midday. Haze sent a gift not only to Kyla, but to Louna as well (right picture). Thanks a bunch Tita Haze. Plein bisous! Louna already started playing with the puzzles but she wants the lapin as well. Hayy.


Posted by Analyse at 11:09 AM

Friday, October 03, 2008

Parenthood has taken another twist with the arrival of our little girl KYLA. Check out her birth story at Ma Crèche Privée.

Since this new family event is on our top priority, blogging will be put on standby.. well, I'll try to keep up when I find the time, which I sincerely doubt at the moment. More mommy news will be posted at Ma Crèche Privée. See you there ;).

A Day at the Pre-School

Posted by Analyse at 9:00 AM

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We attended the first parent-teacher's meeting last Tuesday at Louna's pre-school. The purpose of the meeting was to present the parents the nouveautés, the different schedules and activities this school year, and to explain how a day at the pre-school goes for a young kid like Louna.

Like all the other schools, they will open their door to different languages in Europe with a highlight on the English language. But aside from the normal English course included in the curriculum, they propose an immersion to the language with a twice a week (an hour per session) course with an English speaker within 12 weeks. Fee would be 80€ but parents are only requested to pay 40€. The other 40€ will be shouldered by the school and the parent-teacher association. That's really good news as I want Louna to be more exposed to the language. Dora (and her other DVDs) is good but she needs a wider reference now.

We talked about other activities like museum visits, class picture, sports activities (an hour every Tuesday and Friday with an specialized teacher), catechism, birthday celebrations, etc. Louna's calendar starts to fill up too.

Then we talked about the normal day at the pre-school. You know, sometimes, I feel like installing a webcam so I could observe how my daughter spends her day at the school. Of course, after the meeting, I had a clearer view of her daily activities which go as follows:

8:30am - arrives at school with her Papa. She then stays with other kids in a room dedicated for kids who arrive earlier. An assistant will take care of them during this short period.

8:45am - start of classes. Kids will be organized in small groups. The classroom has small dedicated corners like bedroom, kitchen, garage, tables and boards where they could write and draw and a corner where the teacher reads a story while kids attentively listen. The teacher is helped by an assistant especially in taking kids to the toilet, dining area, playground and bedroom.

Learning skills are focused on:

Language - kids are encouraged to tell what he thinks of a picture or a drawing

Mathematics + Socialization - like counting the number of absentees by using picture cards. They first take their own cards (because it's important for kids to recognize themselves in a picture) then give the names of the absentees (it's quite hard for kids to remember their friend's name, apparently) and count them.

Graphics - drawing, shapes, colors

Motor Skills - like cutting with a scissor, holding a pen, etc.

Their activities will of course progress in function of each child's developmental milestones.

9:30am - kids will go to the toilet in small groups then proceed to the playground.

10:30am - story time.

11:45am - fetch Louna from school. We take our lunch together while she recounts how her morning was.

1:45pm - start of afternoon class.

2:00pm - kids will be accompanied to their bed for a little nap

3:00 - 3:30pm - end of siesta. They will then do different activities till 4:45.

4:45pm - fetch Louna from school.

Louna seems to love this new experience. Ask her where she spends her day and she would voluntarily answer école. She learns to socialize and follow rules which is great for her age. We started bringing her only to the morning class but since she loved the experience last Tuesday where she spent the whole day at school, including lunch, we would then bring her in the afternoon too. But she would take her lunch at home while Maman is on maternity leave.

Since schools in France are close on Wednesdays, and I'm planning to take all my Wednesdays off when I get back to work, I thought of enrolling Louna on different activities around the community. We tried music and gym classes yesterday and we will try skating on Saturday. I'm still having second thoughts on the gym classes as she's got sports activities twice a week and I'm afraid it's just a repetition of what she's already doing at school. I think I'll have my decision finalized once I see the benefits of skating to Louna.

Whew! I didn't realize that I could be this busy.. and my, I'm just a mom to a pre-schooler!

Labor and Birthing Positions

Posted by Analyse at 1:58 PM

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm 17 days away from D Day and frankly, I'm getting T I R E D of being pregnant. My tummy has been stretched out at its maximum level, me thinks, and no anti-stretch mark cream could ever prevent it from cracking. Too late. Damage has been done.

I'll be attending my last birthing class tomorrow but I'm already happy with the result. I feel more relaxed and confident with the coming labor. I took sophrology classes, a relaxation-yoga kind of thing where control of oneself is being learned. We learned quite a lot of labor and birthing positions during the last session and I've already chosen the positions which seem to be the most comfortable for me.

Labor Positions

Side-Lying - with one leg stretched out and the other pulled closer to the tummy, in less than 90° angle. Apparently accelerates dilation of the cervix.

Sitting on a Large Balloon - accompanied by circular, left to right and back to front movements of the perineum to help the baby find its position for labor. I tried this and not only it positions the baby, it's relaxing too.

Birthing Positions

Semi-Sitting - involves semi-sitting position with spine curved and legs drawn up while holding on a bar attached on the bed. I think I will opt for this position during D Day. It gave me the impression of having more force from my arms and legs to push the baby out. Frenchguy jokingly called it the Harley Davidson position.

Side-Lying - seems to be the most relaxing position for the mother and it reduces the need for episiotomy. This will be my plan B.

I hope I'll have a safe and easier delivery this time taking into account that I understand better what labor and birthing means. My first delivery didn't really left me with a great experience to share. I wasn't the actor of that moment (add to the fact that I was induced 2 weeks before D Day because the baby was already too big inside). I didn't even know how to push. I kept the lithotomy (flat-on-back) position the whole time because I didn't know that I could actually change position pushing as much as I could but the OB ended up with a suction cup for vacuum extraction and I was left with an episiotomy to heal.

Each mom has her own labor and birthing story to share - varying from one child to another. What position did you choose? What is your experience giving birth in the Philippines or another country? Please share some pointers to live this great experience more memorable.

While waiting for your stories, this expectant mom will be walking around the park to induce labor naturally. See you around ;).

Credits: Pictures from this page.

Hosting 101 for Preggy Moms

Posted by Analyse at 10:37 AM

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

If you're planning to host a friend and you're bump is too-big-you-think-you'll-explode-in-seconds, there are 2 important things to note that could save your life:

- Have your car and GPS available then prepare an itinerary for your friend. Save addresses in the GPS - home and maternity clinic as first on the list.
- Bear in mind that your friend is a potential babysitter.

Kidding aside, everything's going wonderfully well to think that we didn't prepare anything. We visited Beaune yesterday and took the scenic drive on our way back to Dijon. Aside from the vineyards covering the hills and plains of Côte d'Or, she was also enchanted by the old villages which completed the decor of this lovely paysage.

It was just funny tho that the bump is already touching the steering wheel and since we took some rough roads during the drive, I had series of mild contractions which forced me to drive on first gear during the visit. She proposed to drive but I prefered to do it so I could control the situation, slowing down if necessary.

Then I had my rendez-vous with the midwife last night. Frenchguy's presence was necessary because we learned the different positions on giving birth and the role of the father in each situation. Louna was delighted to stay with her new-found friend. Not only did she babysit, she also prepared dinner! Now, ain't that great?

Today, Frenchguy took a day off to accompany her in the Jura region while Louna and I stayed at home (well, Louna at school). Tomorrow, she will have the car for her all day so she could roam anywhere she wants. Then in the evening, we will take her to the train station. She will take the night train to Venice, Italy. She will then be back Saturday morning. We still have the whole weekend to catch up.

Filipino hospitality still runs in my vein. Not knowing what to offer her and not be able to accompany her, I finally decided to reserve a 2-day stay in Venice for her. There's a direct train from Dijon to Venice so it's really easy to organize (thanks Lovelyn for the helpful infos).

Hope she will enjoy her stay here in Venice Dijon. She's also hoping that our next vacation destination would be Mexico but that could still wait till the second baby learns how to walk :).

*Our Mexican friend was in fact my classmate at the French Language School 6 years ago. She stayed with us in our former appartment for 2 months when after school, she was able to bag a training contract in their satellite office here in Dijon. She was always with us in all our gimiks including bonfire camping with the barkada, a visit in Paris, an itinerary hike in the mountains of Jura when our French language skills were at its minimum (just the 2 of us), etc. We really had great time together. Inspite the distance, we were still able to keep the friendship alive. I'm sure, once we're again on vacation mode, Mexico would be considered seriously.

Busy Week Ahead.. Again!

Posted by Analyse at 1:19 PM

Sunday, September 07, 2008

I thought my maternity leave could mean relaxing vacation but in reality, I had been real busy since last week. Louna's schedule, 8:45 am to 11:45 am everyday except Wednesdays doesn't really give me ample time to window shop or just lazy around as there's lunch to prepare and Louna to bring and fetch from school. Afternoon means siesta for Louna and Maman when I feel tired so I'm kinda blocked.

This week, I have 2 appointments with the midwife for the birthing classes and one of them requires Frenchguy's presence. So where do we leave Louna?

This evening, a Mexican friend of mine is coming over for a week vacation (she was my classmate at the French language school 6 years ago). Honestly, we have no idea how we could make her stay memorable considering my condition unless she witness me giving birth, lol. I wanted to organize something for her but I don't know what she planned during her stay with us, will she stay with us in that one whole week or will she visit other friends? She talked about visiting small villages around Dijon but I have no idea what place I could recommend. Everything seems to be too ordinary for me now.

Frenchguy feels a bit guilty as that Mexican friend arranged everything for him when he was in Mexico City few months ago. He was really amazed by the beauty of the places they visited. But knowing Frenchguy, he's already amazed by our little barrio in the Philippines whilst I don't see anything extraordinary over there.

We're thinking about sending her some place, like Venise or Strasbourg, but I don't know if she would appreciate that we're like getting rid of her, lol. And I haven't reserved anything as I don't know if she'll have time.

Hayy, hirap. What I see now is that, she could play babysitter while we go to my different appointments with the midwife. Talking about being oportunista. Lol.

A Mom to a Pre-Schooler

Posted by Analyse at 6:51 PM

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Today is Louna's first day at the pre-school. The night before, we were able to let her pronounce her teacher's name which is Barbara. The next day, everybody was up quite early, too excited maybe to prepare ourselves for the first day. Even Frenchguy took his morning off to experience this special milestone with Louna.

Arriving there, some kids already started crying while Louna stared at them, holding our hands, quite teary-eyed herself. She was probably thinking if crying was SOP. Does she have to cry too? Then she started to try the new toys around, then moved from one table to another. She was even able to talk to another girl and asked her if she could take the toy camera. Then she started taking pictures till it was time for us to leave.

Teacher B took her hand trying to assure her that everything will be alright. She cried silently when we left. But like a spy, we peeked on the window before we left. There, she was already mingling with other kids. She in fact stopped crying in no time.

She was already smiling when we went back to fetch her. First day was a promise of a fruitful school year. Parents had worried faces when they brought their kids to school. But all those worried faces were replaced by happy faces, excited to know how their kids fared. My, still can't believe I'm one of those parents.

Private vs Public School

We've chosen to enroll her at a private school. So ok, alright. I have been constantly complaining of the amount we're paying for our taxes and how few of those euros we put in the government's pocket we get in return. And now that we get the chance to profit of those contributions by enrolling Louna at a public school, we've deliberately chosen to register her at a private school. Why?

- because with this strike-infested country, we're afraid we find ourselves hostage of this national malady. With the kind of work schedule we have, we can't afford to be absent because the teacher is on strike.
- because the principal at the public school didn't give us a good impression whilst the principal at the private school showed motivation and dynamism - a certain level of competitiveness which was a deciding factor for us.
- because we registered Louna on both schools and whilst we had all the information from the private school, we don't even know if Louna is indeed enrolled at the public school. We had no news.
- because smile is somewhat easier to give in that private school than in the public school (at least that's what I observed).

School Fees

I have written an entry on how school fees (and the cost of living in general) in the Philippines are extremely unproportional to the minimum wage of the Filipinos, wherein I got varied comments ranging from ok lang to grabe, sobra nga. I even expressed my sentiments on how we make education inaccessible to most of the Filipinos, and that alone is a start of discrimination.

This raging sentiment is fired up by the fact that if I were an engineer in the Philippines gaining an average salary as practiced today, most probably, I won't be able to send my kids to Mapua, my alma mater. Depressing, right?

Here in France, Frenchies complain about their prevailing system which for me remains reasonable. Well, they complain all the time, anyway. Let me illustrate:

For a private pre-school here in Dijon, we will pay 414€ (P28,040 at 1€ = P67.73) for a year fee distributed as follows:

Yearly Tuition Fee : 282€
Sport Activities : 58.5€
Inscription Fee : 47€
Catechism Contribution : 26.5€

Now, stop converting to Peso. Be factual. Minimum daily wage in France amounts to 60.79€ (1321.02€/month) for a 35h/week legal duration. A yearly fee at a private pre-school would represent less than 7 days of work.

Minimum daily wage in the Philippines amounts to P345 - P382 (~P10,000/month). Did I hear P100,000 yearly fee at a private pre-school still considered cheap in the Philippines? Well, at that rate, a yearly fee at a private school would represent 10 months of work in the Philippines.

Logical? Think again.

The Long Road to Being French

Posted by Analyse at 8:26 AM

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Quite a lot of people around me ask why I don't request for the French nationality yet to which I reply I dont feel the need to be French.. yet. At work, I could go to most of the destinations without a visa. Or if needed, visas are easier to obtain from here anyway. I already used my 10-year US tourist visa to go to work without any problem.

But vacations start to be restraint because of my green passport. I need to prepare everything in advance (in destinations where I need a visa) whilst I could play my luck with last minute reservations which are cheaper most of the time.

So I fixed my objective. I need to file my application for naturalization during my maternity leave. And so I went yesterday. With me is a 1-cm-thick file comprising:

- Cerfa n°12753*01 : Request for Acquisition of French Nationality by Naturalization / Reintegration in 2 copies
- Photocopy of valid Resident Card
- NBI clearance : legalized and translated by the Philippine Embassy in Paris at 20€/page
- 2 ID pictures 35x40 mm with name and date of birth written at the back
- Birth Certificate (moi + my parents) : Original + photocopy, legalized and translated by the Philippine Embassy in Paris at 20€/page
- Photocopy of my passport + all pages with stamp
- PACS certificate : latest from Tribunal des Grandes Instances de Paris
- Birth Certificate of Louna
- Photocopy of Passport: Louna and Frenchguy
- Health record of Louna (vaccination)
- Certificate of Ownership (Acte de propriéte) + EDF/GDF bills
- Academic Certificate - Louna
- Job certificate
- Job contract
- Payslip for the last 3 months + payslip for the month of December for the last 3 years
- Diploma which I obtained here in France
- CAF certificate : any monthly financial aide obtained from government organizations
- Certificate of Tax on Revenu for the last 3 years
- Fiscal Situation Statement (revenu, propriétary and resident taxes) for the last 3 years obtained from trésor Public

But married individuals have other requirements to file. Please check out this site if you're interested.

As for my application, I was told that my file won't be opened in a few months. No surprises. My colleague has just obtained her French nationality after 2 years. She was interviewed prior to the obtention of her papers but apparently, the questions were the same as what I had during the obtention of my 10-year resident card which I wrote here. And future applicants, don't worry, you won't sing La Marseillaise.

PS: Ma Crèche Privée has just been updated - 8th Month Visit.

Finally, I'm on Maternity Leave

Posted by Analyse at 8:44 AM

Saturday, August 30, 2008

It was my last day yesterday. Though my colleagues couldn't believe their eyes, seeing me near my playstation (the machine which I designed, the reason why I was always in Milan last year and early this year) up to the last day, I was still 100% on work mode yesterday. Frenchguy told me that in the history of the company, I was probably the only one who worked up to a month before D Day. Most future moms take their leave 8 weeks before D Day.

But that machine is my baby too. I defined it. The processes which would be installed in it are the processes which I master like no other in our department. No wonder, the management trusted the project to me.

But well, there's more to life than work. I'll be taking care of my kids. I'll be a SAHM, finally, at least for 4 months. Louna will be starting pre-school on Thursday. I had checked some activities for her since there'll be no school every Wednesday. I'll be enrolling her to Music and English for kids. I'm getting excited to see her mingle with other kids. She's been doing baby gym last school year but it was the nanny who's accompanying her. Now, it will be me. Her mom!

The second baby could pop anytime now. I'm preparing all necessary stuffs for the D Day. From maternity bag to baby announcement card.

My maternity leave has just started but my calendar already started to fill up. I need to see my OB Gyne for my monthly check-up then my midwife for my birthing classes. I need to go to the laboratory for a blood analysis. I need to enroll Louna to different activities at the center. I need to file my application for naturalization at the prefecture. I need to go to the pharmacy. I want to have a massage at the newly-opened massage center. I need to plan a visit for my Mexican friend who will be coming over for a week vacation with us. I need to change the design of the baby announcement card because pregnant women change their decisions every second (And hey, haven't you noticed? I changed this blog's layout and Louna's blog's layout too! Call that a milestone because I'm a techno-bobo! And please tell me, the new layout rocks!)

Who says I'm on vacation?

Preggy Pix

Posted by Analyse at 10:07 AM

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Feng once tagged me to post a preggy picture of mine to which I replied no because I post my monthly preggy photo and development at the other blog. I have my pictures all over both blogs. Doing the tag would be one picture too much.

Then after two weeks of vacation, my colleagues were surprised not only to see me back at work but also because the bump had taken ample proportion. I already gained 14 kg from the start of pregnancy. But what amazes them the most is the fact that the enormous 14-kg weight gain is concentrated on only one point - my belly. My back view has remained unchanged (well, at least that's what they said).

Since I only see my front and side views, I asked Frenchguy to take a picture of me this morning. So what do ya think?

Preggy Update

Posted by Analyse at 6:37 PM

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The counter displays that I'm 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant, only 45 days to go. And I tell you, I start to count the days. Just received an authorization from my OB Gyne allowing me to work until end of August (my maternity leave officially starts on August 22). Barely 2 more weeks of work and I'm off for a long vacation. Well, at least that's how my colleagues call it. I strongly doubt it tho. D Day means L A B O R and it's not labor for nothing. It's hard effort. And it marks the beginning of a long but sweet engagement between me and my daughter - through good and bad times, in sickness and in health.

I met the anesthesiologist yesterday and yes, I opted for epidural. I had it on my first pregnancy and I kept an agreable experience so why deprive. I also did all the necessary reservations at the same private clinic where Louna was born. My mutual insurance will cover all room charges and my social security will cover all maternity related expenses. So that's checked out of my list.

I also received a letter from the social security informing me that, like for Louna, our financial situation deprives us from enjoying the more than 800€ cash incentive for each newborn child. I'd like to think that we're earning too much but that would be wishful thinking. Hmp. But well, anyway, I've got another advantage. I would still receive 100% of my salary during my maternity leave (4 months). Though social security's maximum limit is less than my salary, our company will top up the necessary amount to complete my salary. So ok, alright, I'll content myself with that.

I started to prepare my bag for the D Day too. All necessary documents already signed and tucked inside the bag. Maman and baby clothes washed, ironed and carefully arranged. All the other gadgets like camera, camera charger, toilet necessities and a book to read (in case I find the time) already in place. I still have some stuffs on my list to add and I'm ready for D Day.

Since Louna is still on vacation at her grandparent's place, we will take advantage of her absence to prepare her room. We will buy a new bed and a cabinet for her so the new baby could take her crib. Since she will enter school this September, we also prepared her school stuffs so everything's ready. That too was already erased from my list.

So far so good. Still can't believe that D Day is just 45 days away... or earlier!

Fidelity Cards Make Me Travel for FREE

Posted by Analyse at 3:39 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I have always been a fan of fidelity cards and I love the advantages. I have 3 active cards:

1. Lufthansa Miles and More where I'm a Frequent Traveller (silver member). Since Lufthansa is a member of Star Alliance group, I could earn miles even if I always travel with Thai Airways. My cumulated miles could get me 3 round-trip tickets to the Philippines. But well, I still need to wait before I could use them.

2. KLM Air France Flying Blue where I'm an Ivory member (Skyteam member). Since I seldom travel to our US sites, I hardly cumulate points. But Frenchguy's raking quite a lot because of his frequent stops in the US. We already travelled to the US for free. We even offered a vacation to La Reunion (French Department) to my SIL, for 4 person! Not bad, right?

3. SNCF Grand Voyageur where I have the très grand voyageur status. It's a fidelity card offered by the fast train network here in France (and some parts of Europe). And just like the previous fidelity cards, this one is also a member of a big group, my favorite supermarket included. So I cumulate all the s'miles (that's how they call their point system) in one card and enjoy the advantages at an accelerated pace.

I just ordered 2 round-trip train tickets for my coming vacation this Saturday and had them the next day at my mailbox. Efficient! Free! And mind you, I just saved 180€ in just one click.

In fact, my OB Gyne discouraged me to take the car for a 6-hour drive so we decided that Frenchguy and Louna take the car (since we have quite a lot of stuffs to bring) and I take the fast train. At least I could change position, walk from time to time, and travel time would be much lesser. That's cool.

That is to say, I'll be on vacation starting this Saturday. For two weeks. So this not-active blog will be much less active in the coming weeks. Ciao!

PS: Check out my 7th Month Update at Ma Crèche Privée.

He Did It

Posted by Analyse at 9:47 PM

Monday, July 28, 2008

Frenchguy finally hit the start button. He officially debuted his triathlon dream last Saturday at the Lac des Settons (~100 km from Dijon). An hour, 29 minutes and 28 seconds was the time he took to finish a total of 500 m swim, 21 km bike and 5 km run - pause to change accessories in each step included. Not bad for a debutant. Well, at least he wasn’t the last one to arrive and Louna was overly proud of his Papa.

Swim - At the starting block, Frenchguy lost among the participants.

Bike - Frenchguy aiming for the dangerous curve at the last uphill slope before the finish line – bike category.

Run - Arriving at the finish line with Louna (notice the cumulated time on the right side of the finish line). She joined her Papa around 5 meters away from the finish line. She was then interviewed by the announcer to which she willingly replied.

Next destination: Hawaii, USA for the Ironman Triathlon Challenge (just dreaming, lol).

More pictures below (click on the icon to access the album):
Triathlon Lac de Settons

A Tragic Death for a 3 Year Old

Posted by Analyse at 2:10 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I was listening to the morning news on my way to work yesterday and I was again caught by this disturbing incident seemingly propagating like a plague across France. It's the 3rd incident I heard in less than a year.

A father forgot his daughter inside the car leaving her for a day under the scorching heat of the summer sun. The little girl died of dehydration. Worst is that, the father left his son at school that morning, then drove his way to the nanny's place to leave his daughter. He passed infront of the nanny's house but did not stop. He continued driving till he arrived at work. At midday, he took his car for a quick lunch nearby without noticing his daughter. Afternoon came and his wife called him up to check if he already fetched their daughter as she's not at the nanny's place. The father then realized that he forgot his daughter inside the car. He quickly ran to his car only to find his daughter dead.

Such incident would surely change a man's life for forever. I wouldn't like to blame or to judge that father. He surely didn't do that on purpose. Who would, anyway. I would just like to share the story to all moms and dads out there. To warn them that such incident could happen. Be careful with your little ones. At that age, they're not capable to open cars yet. And with car security measures nowadays, they couldn't open it anyway. And to those who see babies and toddlers left alone inside the car, that they call proper authorities for intervention.


Sunday Getaway

Posted by Analyse at 9:35 PM

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer is timidly starting here in Dijon and it starts to be tiring. Though I already arranged our winter clothes, a pull-over each morning is still a necessity. So each time a sunny weekend is announced, we make sure that an outdoor activity is planned.

Arnay-le-Duc was the chosen destination this weekend (~45 km from Dijon). The initial plan was for Frenchguy to debute his career as a triathlete. In fact, he just bought a road racing bike which he wanted to test but unfortunately not delivered this weekend. The seller lent him another one which evidently was not customized to his size. So he half-heartedly abandoned the plan and contented himself in watching the participants.

To those who, like me, are not into sports at all and have no idea what triathlon means, it's simply a ...swim, bike and run kind of sport. Easy for me to say but imagine this: you swim 700 meters in a lake at a temperature around 21°C, then bike a total of 24 km with of course an up and down slope, then run 5 km up to the finish line - with a quick halte at a common platform where participants change, take or leave their bike and other accessories related to the activity.

It was an interesting triathlon watch as we were able to observe the experts. In fact, after swimming, they just remove their overalls and caps, then slip on their bike shoes and off they go. Just before arriving at the platform, they already removed their shoes (right picture) so they just wear on their running shoes (most of them without socks!) without changing to their running clothes (right picture shows the champion that weekend. He's in fact France's champion - junior category). A stop at the platform only takes them a few seconds!

Loads of professional racing bikes at the platform, each probably averaging to 2000€! Frenchguy suddenly felt tiny with his undelivered bike, lol. But he's a neophyte afterall and not seeking for national competition.

I was teasing Frenchguy because he planned to swim without the overalls (meaning he would consume all his energy just by swimming alone), then change from swimwear to his biking clothes (which he bought the day before!) and finally, change from biking clothes to his running shirt and short! And why not add the Ipod to the package while we're there, don't you think so?

Well, he learned a lot of tactic and he would surely be more prepared when he finally debute his triathlete career. In the meantime, he still needs to wait for his bike, lol.

During those time, Louna had only one objective in mind - play with the water. She was able to persuade me to dip his feet into the lake (swimming wasn't in the initial plan so I didn't bring anything). Then seeing that she would eventually soak her skirt, we removed it before any accident happens. But the playful kid finally end up wearing but her undies.. so she went home with her skirts.. without her panty!

On Pregnancy, Maternity Leave and Everything that Goes with It

Posted by Analyse at 2:38 PM

Friday, July 18, 2008

Third Trimester Ordeal

The curse of the third trimester started to hit me.. real hard. Sleeping pattern had been a sort of lottery. Sometimes I win (which means I sleep well). Most of the time, I lose. I was like a walking zombie at work yesterday so I asked Frenchguy to sleep on the other room last night so I could sleep better. Lo and behold, I had a relaxing sleep and I was on a better mood this morning (which didn't last till this afternoon).

But even sleeping presents an inconvenience. I'm obliged to sleep on one side (preferably left side.. but I'm used to sleep on my right side :( and with the weight of the baby bump, I end up having backaches. All that cumulates with the baby actively kicking me, the shortness of breath, leg cramps, and all the inconveniences that go with pregnancy that even writing this entry already makes me tired.

Birth Classes

I already started birth classes, to at least sooth the pain, but that one hour session of sophrology only gave me.. but one hour of relaxation. And since I'm not that much of a fan of yoga and zen stuffs (because I'm a cool person by nature), I didn't really appreciate the benefit that class offered me.

Aqua Gym

So I do aqua gym on my own with a small dose of jet massage from time to time. This exercise really relaxes me. It gives me a moment of calm and lightness, a moment where I commune with my baby without feeling the inconveniences. But I couldn't stay floating on water eternally, lest I want to transform myself into a mermaid.


All these feelings of fatigue leave me intellectually and physically drained. I lost my usual energy. I'm a result-oriented person. And a stubborn one. I hate leaving things half done. I've heard that the big boss jokingly recounts how he's incapable to chase me out of the office because I wanted to do a lot of stuffs before my maternity leave. But that would most probably change. I start to be more convinced that I'd leave sooner than I wanted.

I started transferring my projects to some of my colleagues. With a heavy heart. I hate starting something and leave it half done. Yes, I already said that, alright. But that's how I feel. I don't take engagements lightly, and that's causing me problems at times.

Maternity Leave

I'd be on vacation August 4-15. But I've always told my boss that I'd be back and would try to work till end of August. If I would follow the old system wherein expecting moms are obliged to take their maternity leave 6 weeks before D day + 2 weeks of pathology leave, I should normally stop on August 8.

With the state of fatigue I am in right now, I'm afraid my OB Gyne wouldn't allow me to work till end of August and force me to stop earlier. The bump is heavier by the day. I've checked my first pregnancy pictures and my current bump size corresponds to my 8th month, Louna time. And geez, I'm only on my 6 and a half month of pregnancy!

New Experience

I've written that second pregnancy is a sort of déjà vu. But what I'm experiencing right now is totally new to me. I'm a strong woman – never sick, could adapt to any kind of environment, never cries. I hope Frenchguy believes me when I say I'm tired and not take that as an alibi. He's not used to hear me complain about difficulties of pregnancy. But it's been 2 weeks that I'm in a bad mood so please, don't force me to smile when I don't feel like it. Got that?

Innocently Sweet

Posted by Analyse at 9:17 PM

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The doting Maman had just chronicled some of her sweet Louna's innocent remarks at the Crèche Privée. Read it here.

Less Vacation Time for the Frenchies?

Posted by Analyse at 8:14 PM

Thursday, July 10, 2008

June to August is a very busy period in France. .. Errr, I mean, the Frenchies are busy with their vacation. But not for long. A new reform has been adapted recently to pass from 218 working days per year to 235 days !!!

Ano daw?

Well, to be clear, let's take my case. I'm on a daily rate. I'm not subject to the famous 35 h/week rule. I work a lot more than that. And I'm not paid for overtime. But I have a flexible time. I manage my time. I could start at 9am and finish at 7pm on one day. Then work 8am to 3pm the next day. As long as I finish my job as planned, then no problem.

With this system, I enjoy a total of 36 days of paid leave for a 218 working days/year distributed as follows:

- 25 days Congé Payé - paid leave
- 1 days Pont Payé - Normally taken once a legal holiday is situated on a Thursday, for example, to have a longer weekend. Additional day which we could actually take anytime.
- 2 days Congé d'Ancienneté - linked to length of service
- 8 days Réduction de Temps de Travail - declination of 35h for employees on daily rate

With the new system, it seems that we have to give up our RTT and some official holidays if we want to keep the 25 days CP! To think that they allowed encashing RTTs to boost the buying power just this year! What would happen to that? How could we encash RTT this fiscal year, for example, if we won't have any?

Let's say we would increase the productivity of industries and all the other sectors with this measure, would that also mean increasing the salary of employees since we would be working more? Or better yet, daily rate employees pass to hourly rate and we tax the companies for overtime?

Hmmm, strange that I haven't heard any possible strike/rally regarding this matter. Is it because the main victim of this measure is at the executive level and nobody cares because most work more than the legal number of hours anyway?

Hay buhay. But if this measure could really boost the economy, then go, even if it only answers to the question of productivity and counters the measure on improving the buying power. Let's give change a chance.

She's Biking!

Posted by Analyse at 10:35 PM

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I'm a proud mom. Please bare with me. I just can't help it. Every little bit of new skill is chronicled in this and Louna's blog. Well, only parents could probably understand me. Know what? My daughter just learned how to bike on her own! See her live here.

Not My Lucky Day

Posted by Analyse at 9:54 PM

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I was in our Paris office last Tuesday and Wednesday and I think I had the unluckiest day among my travel days. After work, me and my colleague headed to the RER station (metro train serving the outskirts of Paris) to go to our respective destinations. He's headed back to Dijon and me, to my hotel. Taxi wasn't an option at 5pm. Too much traffic. Metros are more efficient.

Not that day. Apparently, a metro employee was agressed the day before and they decided to go on a surprise strike. It was a hot day and there were no taxi available. I was stranded for over an hour. (Well, I was able to work with my laptop nevertheless).

Arriving at my metro destination, I thought the hotel was just a kilometer away (I checked their website before), so I thought, a bit of walking would surely do me good. But after an hour of being stranded in a not-so-cozy place, all I had in mind was a cold shower, a quick dinner and a wifi connection to send the emails I prepared during the wait.

The one-kilometer walk became more or less 3 kilometers and the tired and impatient yours truly started to get irritated. Arriving at the hotel, I quickly reserved the taxi for the next day and a table for dinner that night.

7:30pm. Pronto. I was already sitting at the restaurant, alone, sipping my heavenly fresh-squeeze orange juice. I thought This should be a quick dinner, I still have emails to send before I doze off. I checked the menus, 37€ minimum for a complete dinner. Not bad. But I need to do it quick and anyway, I have less appetite when I dine alone. So I just ordered for the main meal and dessert. I should have known it's a chic restaurant. And when they say chic, it means loads of protocols (and less quantity, of course). And the protocols led me to finish my meal at 9:30pm!

Next day, Wednesday, I was already waiting for my taxi at 8:30am (I was hoping to be able to work before the seminar starts because the goddamned wifi at the hotel didn't work!). And the taxi arrived 15 minutes later because of too much traffic jam. The unlucky day continues.

Arriving at home, I tried to connect again to wifi, and hélas. Still, it didn't work. And since I already prepared my emails on my laptop on my way to Dijon (on the train), I hated the idea to re-type them all over again on our home pc. Kainis.

It turned out that it was my laptop which had a problem that's why I didn't have wifi connection. Hay naku, gusto kong sabunutan yung computer technician because of that. Hirap ng buhay buntis!

The Little Mermaid

Posted by Analyse at 10:33 PM

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I have been boasting about our little girl's love for water - how she jumps without fear. She's been learning more and more tricks each passing week - without us teaching her.

Find out her new tricks at Ma Crèche Privée.

6th Month Visit

Posted by Analyse at 10:04 PM

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I have this impression that this pregnancy goes faster than my first pregnancy. Or am I just a little too inattentive? My gynecologist asked us to get an appointment with the anaesthetist at the maternity clinic. Then with a midwife for my childbirth preparation courses. My reaction was - Déjà? That sounds too soon.

Continue reading here.

Costly Education - How Much Does It Really Worth?

Posted by Analyse at 11:16 AM

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I was chatting with my cousin this weekend and I've learned that her nephew just entered MIT. Not Massachusetts tho - Mapua. Former Mapuan as I am, I've always been interested to any news related to my alma mater. I've always been proud being a part of this huge family.

But did you know that students from this institute are subjected to a kind of stereotyping? Most of the time, when folks learn that we're from this school, the common remark would be Ang talino / galing mo siguro no? To which I reply, Grabe naman, understatement yan, sigurado naman. Lol.

I don't know if current students / graduates still suffer from this same stereotyping. Graduates from this school normally enjoy a relatively high market value. I never wrote a motivation letter, companies were calling at home to get an appointment for an interview. I had choices. But I probably graduated at the right moment too.

Mapua had been known to be pang-masa. You get quality education without ruining your parent's pockets. I'm not the first Mapuan in the family. My Dad's cousin who is 4 years my senior paid P3,500/semester from year 1 to year 5 (older Mapuans in the family paid much less than that of course). I entered year 1993, paid P7,500 for the first semester then finished my studies 4 and a half years later with P12,500 tuition fee. Batch 1993 started the yearly increase system implemented by Mapua.

But did this increase go at a reasonable pace? I'm sure a lot of entities, from pre-schools to universities joined the bandwagon. Everything had gone at a gigantesque proportion. I've learned that they pay around P40,000/semester now (not really sure, but around that amount anyway), and they're practicing quarter-mester. That's a huge P160,000 a year!

Now. If you consider education as an investment, how much is the entering salary of a fresh grad nowadays? How long is the ROI? Are there still jobs in the Philippines? Are the Mapuans nowadays, with the amount of tuition they pay, still get the same prestige as what we, the former Mapuans enjoyed? Ain't that a kind of discrimination? Because by practicing such prices, the target market had been marginalized to a certain social class. Does the government do something to control prices? Or they just let private sectors exige their prices so everything would be inaccessible to lower class citizens?

No. This isn't a black propaganda against Mapua. As I said, I'm proud to be a part of its graduates. It's better to invest in higher education than spend too much money at playschools. Because I also learned that pre-schools could cost even more than P50,000 a year. That's too much money and when you know that during job interviews, employers don't really care if you did kindergarten or not, that's part of the investment going to waste.

Well, if you have the money, why not. Every parent wants the best for their kids. But should best be evaluated through pesos all the time? If you already struggle to make ends meet, I think it's better to explain to your child that you could get good education in public schools too - that you better save for the more important step which is college.

I graduated from Tubotubo Elementary School (no kindergarten, oh yes!), a public school situated at probably the most rural barrio in my hometown. A lot of people smile or laugh when they hear Tubotubo. Cute or baduy, it's up to you to judge. Laugh all you want but it's there where I learned how to write, count, socialize, build the kind of person I am right now. And yabang aside, look at where I am now (o sige, yabang na nga, lol).

Anniversary Treat

Posted by Analyse at 3:16 PM

Sunday, June 15, 2008

We had a double celebration this weekend. We had a lot of fun at daytime to celebrate Father's Day - please check out Louna's blog, she took charge in updating the blog since it's father's day - then had a romantic dinner without Louna.

We went to this rather chic restaurant in Marsannay-la-Côte where a complete dinner was delicately served in 3 hours. In France, it's almost a rule - the more you pay, the longer you wait and the less you get on your plate. But each serving is worth the euro you pay and the minutes you waited. So after 2 and a half years of no dinner en tête-à-tête with Frenchguy, we decided to call last night, our night.

The menus were mouth watering. And to not to spoil the evening, the prices were not indicated in the menu. The list of wines was overwhelming so Frenchguy let the sommelier (wine-waiter) decide for him, depending on the meal ordered. He had a glass of Marsannay 2001 and Nuit-St-Georges 2000, both Grand Cru. They were just so tempting that I took a sip on both. Geez, that was heaven! Alcohol-deprived pregnant women would of course understand me, lol.

3 hours of dinner gave us a lot of time to look at each other and talk. That's probably one thing we don't do that often lately. Of course we do talk. But everyday conversations don't take us that much reflection on what our future holds, etc. We almost always talk about work. Last night, discussions were focused on US. A sudden realization that our daughters are Bourguignonnes (natives of Burgundy) almost shocked us. For me, they're simply French. For him, they're Belloprataines (natives of his hometown). Not a big deal? Not quite. But that would mean they would have Burgundy accent, the adjective that would best describe them would be snob or bourgeois, and a lot more. But well..

Then, while checking out the list of wines, we suddenly thought about the wines we need to buy for Louna (as a symbolic birthday gift). 2005 wines should start to commercialize this year. Then I thought we need to do the same for the 2nd baby. Frenchguy thought we could probably find another good idea. But I vetoed explaining it would be extra special that during special occasions, our daughters could open a bottle of their birth year from the province where they were born. And honestly, Burgundy wines are not nothing.

Then we talked about Louna. It's her first time to stay with somebody else at home. It was our first time to eat in a restaurant without her. It's a new experience and we didn't know how she would react. (Apparently, everything went well. She asked once where Maman and Papa went and that's all. No fuss.)

A lot of topics had been tackled within that 3 hours. We didn't even notice that it was too long. When it was time to enter our pincode, we nearly choked. We looked at each other and without uttering a word, both understood that it's not everyday and we need a break, and it was our night. But like in a comic strip, another bubble message came out. It reads: McDonald next year.

Tough Schedule!

Posted by Analyse at 10:28 PM

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It will be our 6th year anniversary tomorrow (that’s 9 years of knowing each other and over a year of long distance relationship!) and though we’re both here in France, we will be celebrating the day apart. I’m on the fast train going back to Dijon at the moment (from a 3-day seminar in Paris) while he’s surely driving to join his colleagues for a 2-day team building seminar. Yes, we won’t see each other this week.

What about Louna? She will be spending the night at the nanny’s place (because I’ll arrive too late) and I promise not to work too late tomorrow so I could be with her earlier. Tough schedule!

Well, we have the weekend for the 3 of us to enjoy. I need to find an idea for Father’s day!

Too busy. The 3-day seminar in Paris was great though. It’s a seminar for newly-hired executives in the company (hehe, moi newly-hired after 4 years?). The objective of which is to know the company better – know the strategy, its goals, its market, and the role of different departments to attain common target. 80 participants from different corners of the globe were there. The speakers, including the PDG of the group assured impeccable presentations which kept all participants all-ears from Day 1 to Day 3. Interpreters were there too to ensure that everybody’s getting the same message, but then, switching from French to English was inevitable. A workshop was also initiated - mixing employees from different departments then presenting the other department’s job through a stage play. I normally hate seeing myself in front of audiences but I find that experience pretty fun.

All 80 participants (even Parisians) were required to stay in the hotel to create real synergy among us. Dinners were animated and we really had fun. They organized a kind of casino on the last night with each participant holding 1000€ play money to begin with. Geez! It only took me an hour to lose that amount of money to poker. Now it’s sure, my future is not inside a casino!

It was my first time in my 4-year career life in this company where I travelled and I didn’t work (well, except for reading emails before and after dinner). Ang sarap pala, lol. Our department organizes an annual meeting outside of the company premises but then, it is held in a day so there’s no real synergy being formed.

Frenchguy’s team building seminar is a first in their department and playing golf is apparently included in the agenda. Not to mention that it will be held in a castle somewhere in the Alpes – in a mountain village located far from Dijon!

My big boss just sent a meeting invitation to the whole department and a lunch date was included in the package.

I just have this impression that something is changing in our company. Team building is in the air. Great! Especially when everybody's demotivated with decreasing buying buyer, increasing oil prices, the unpredictable weather, low satisfaction survey on HR department (probably why they boost team building, lol), etc., etc.

And oh, before I forgot, I need an idea for Father's Day. Any suggestion, hmmm?

Le Congé Maternité

Posted by Analyse at 2:48 PM

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Paid maternity leave in France stretches from 16 to 46 weeks depending whether it's your first or third child or you're carrying a twin or a triplet. A pathological leave could even be added - 2 weeks prenatal and 4 weeks postnatal, if the attending gynecologist judges that a mom needs additional rest. A mom could choose nonetheless to take only 8 weeks of maternity leave with the approval of her gynecologist.

In my case, I'm supposed to stop 6 weeks before and 10 weeks after the D Day. This rule has apparently changed since February 2007. Now, moms could choose to take a minimum of 3 weeks prenatal leave and the rest of the weeks not taken before the D Day would be added on the postnatal leave. That's cool! That would give me more time with my 2 girls.

The end of the year announces a lot of roller-coaster ride at home. We need a breather and this news is really a great one. Louna will start pre-school this September. We will need to change our nanny (we will look for somebody not far from our place). Then the coming of the little girl.

All that looks simple but if you know how it works here in France, you would surely wish me goodluck. Great nannies are rare gems here in France. Much as we wanted to keep Louna's nanny, her place is just too far from our place. Louna's pre-school is just 4 blocks away from our place and it's just logical that we search for a nanny (for the 2nd baby) nearby. The nanny should be able to fetch Louna from school too, in case we're blocked. Thus the necessity that she be just around the area. Louna's pre-school have a nursery which could keep kids from 7am - 7pm so that's pretty comfortable.

Well, all that talks about logistics. But the real big change is that Louna will be a big sister and will start pre-school. How will she react to that change? Nobody knows.

We would certainly need to take a closer look on our time management. Work travels should be organized carefully. I would certainly ask not to travel till the little girl turns one (I did that for Louna) and we should find a nanny who could offer a lot of flexibility.

Well, I know that everything will fall at the right place at the right time. There's always a solution to every problem, right?

Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted by Analyse at 9:48 AM

Help spread the awareness on the Breast Cancer Awareness month of June. Please help convey the importance of regular examination and early detection of breast cancer in order to catch this disease when it first erupts, maximizing the chance of survival and recovery.

These are the some information/symptoms that I’ve got upon searching the net regarding Breast Cancer.

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
  • Nipple tenderness
  • A change in how the breast or nipple looks
  • A change in the size or shape of the breast
  • A nipple turned inward into the breast
  • The skin of the breast, areola, or nipple may be scaly, red, or swollen. It may have ridges or pitting so that it looks like the skin of an orange.
  • Nipple discharge (fluid)
  • Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain. Still, a woman should see her health care provider about breast pain or any other symptom that does not go away. Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. Other health problems may also cause them. Any woman with these symptoms should tell her doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.


Help spread awareness. You can help the lives of many women by spreading the word about The Breast Cancer Site. If The Breast Cancer Site receives 8 million clicks on the pink button in June, their premier sponsor -Bare Necessities- will donate $10,000 for more free mammograms. CLICK the pink button today!


Please click. Or better yet, do the tag for the whole world to know ;). My nanny's mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer just recently and though we're not related, it was just too painful to learn such bad news.

Bientôt SAHM

Posted by Analyse at 1:52 PM

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ruth's entry on being a SAHM hit me hard I think. I still have it playing and replaying in my head. Here's an excerpt:

when i hear someone say she'd love to just be stay at home mom if she could, i often find myself thinking that if she really did feel that way, she would. so why doesn't she? if one delves deep enough, i suspect many (not all, of course) women choose to not to stay at home not because they can't, but because they don't want to.

and that's fine.

don't want to be tied at home, tending to the household and kids 24/7. don't want to give up the second income. don't want to lose out on career opportunities. don't want to lose the sense of self they've built over several years. don't want to be intellectually stagnant. don't want to be considered less productive. don't want to lose self-worth. don't want to be financially dependent on spouse. don't want exchange the glamour for the hausfrau lifestyle.

You probably noticed my profile. It says I'm a SAHM wannabe. But all the time I talk about this topic, I can hear myself loud - I sound DEFENSIVE. And I don't know why. So when I read Ruth's entry, I suddenly came to a realization. It hit me bull's eye. She was describing me!

There are certainly a lot of factors why SAHMs choose to be SAHMs and WMs as WMs. There's the influence of the environment where that mom was raised and the society she's in right now. There's the economic impact. There's her personal values that plays an important role. And a lot more..

I was raised in an environment where both my parents worked full time and I don't feel I missed out on something because my mom was at work. Honestly, I don't feel the need to stay at home. I hardly cook and I hate housechores. Needless to say that Frenchguy does almost all the housechores till we hired a cleaning lady. Call me lazy but I could be productive too - not at home but at work.

And what would Louna and I do the whole day? Learn ABC? I'm afraid I would just transmit the wrong values if she sees me doing nothing the whole day. I assure you, I'm capable of doing nothing the whole day! At least, with our current set-up, she could see me active and responsible, juggling between work and family life with ease.

I told you. I sound defensive when I talk about being a SAHM. I'm probably not cut to be such. Well, in fact, I'm quite sure about that. And that kind of frightens me out. I'm approaching my maternity leave which will officially start on August 22. At that same time, we will terminate our nanny's contract. That would mean I'll be a SAHM for the first time (at least for the whole duration of my maternity leave which is 4 months). Now that I think about it, I don't know if I have to be excited or what. I hope Louna will enjoy her time with her boring maman. And who knows, I might enjoy it and reconsider being one. Ayan na naman ako. Wishful thinking.

All moms are working moms, I know. But my CV is just not fitted for the job. Well, at least for now.