Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Beautiful In His Time - Part 3

Read Part 1.
Read Part 2.

Immediately after the doctor’s evaluation, we started intervention for Sophia. She received Speech and Occupational Therapy twice a week. At home, we made a conscious shift to treating her like a kid instead of a baby (whose cries and tantrums we tend to tolerate). We replaced “pointless” toys in the playroom with toys that would develop her motor, language, and social skills. Julz and I also agreed to be intentional about encouraging and motivating her to speak. Above all, we continued to pray for her. We held on to our faith that one day, the Lord will open her mouth from which wise words will come.

It wasn’t always a breeze. Sophia disliked her OT sessions in the beginning because it forced her to sit down, listen to instructions, and obey even if she didn’t want to. She would cry and cry! It took her a full month to adjust to therapy.

All of this was a humbling but enlightening experience for me. I had thought I was a good mother, but as I always say, Sophia taught me to be a strong and wise one. It took me some time, but I had to set aside some methods I “mastered” as a mother to my firstborn in order to be the mother that my daughter needs. As painful as it is to admit, mothering the second time around didn’t come instinctively for me. Rather, it came with a lot of hard work, devotion, purpose, and prayer. And tears. Lots of tears.

Some were sad, but many were happy tears. After a couple of months, we got a glimpse of the dramatic improvement that Sophia would achieve. It was nothing short of witnessing a miracle unfold right before our very eyes.

Every month for 12 months, we grew more and more excited as we were constantly amazed at how our daughter was getting more comfortable with talking and expressing herself. She also became more patient, more compliant with tasks, more cooperative and playful, more cheerful, and, somehow, more fun!

In August this year, we brought Sophia back to our devped for her check-up and assessment. Whereas the previous year’s appointment felt heavy, this one felt like we were simply waiting for good news.

Throughout the evaluation, Sophia impressed her doctor with her demeanor, words, and even academic knowledge (her ABC’s and numbers). It was obvious, the devped said, that she has bloomed beautifully. The doctor happily reported to us that Sophia is now developmentally at par with her age--for all domains. She can now talk, move, work, socialize, and behave like other kids her age. The Lord answered our prayer: there is nothing to worry about.

A favorite Bible passage of mine is Ecclesiastes 3, “A Time for Everything.” Verse 11 became my rallying cry for my daughter all through this season of extraordinary growth. It reads, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Some things didn’t come early or easy for our daughter, but now we see how perfect indeed God’s timing is for her. 

Sophia is 3 years and 6 months today, about “graduate” from therapy soon and now thriving in toddler school. She is able to say what she wants, what she thinks, and what she feels. She can tell stories and even jokes. She is making friends, doing a lot of meaningful play, learning songs and dances.

She is such a character at her young age, showing a lot of spunk and style as early as 3. She is fierce but girly. She is assertive but funny. She is tough but very, very sweet. She not only understands “I love you” but now says it often to us, too.

She brings us pride and joy every single day. The daughter whom we feared others will treat differently, is embracing life and living it to the fullest. 

We love you, Sophia. Mommy and Daddy are mighty proud of you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Beautiful In His Time - Part 2

Read Part 1. 

Expressive and Receptive Language Delay. This was the clinical impression of Sophia’s devped. In a way, the doctor confirmed what Julz and I knew all along.

Hearing a doctor say that something is “not normal” with your child is surely among the fears of any parent. With Sophia on that July morning, it was not at all easy.

Julz and I are a couple with a love for words. We are bound with our shared interest in reading and writing. In fact, we make a living out of language—how we express a client’s rights and obligations, how we speak before a judge, how we communicate advocacies...

So to learn that our daughter is having much difficulty with language--the irony felt like a stab.

And yet, at the same time, a sense of peace overwhelmed us. It was like our heartbreak was met with a warm, reassuring embrace from our Heavenly Feather: “Be still and know that I am God. She is fearfully and wonderfully made.”

That same night, I went back to our prayer when we dedicated Sophia to God. The first part of that prayer goes,

“Much as you have entrusted Sophia to me and Julius, we acknowledge that she belongs to You. And so as Hannah offered her child Samuel, we humbly dedicate our beloved daughter to you, Lord. We recognize that You love her more than we can ever do, and so it is in your hands where Sophia can live safest and most blessed.

I was always certain of God’s love for my children—He with a purer, more powerful, and more infinite kind of love than my mommy heart could give. I had no reason to now doubt it.

I decided to be excited for what the Lord has in store for my child. I began to think what a beautiful testimony this would be for her and our family. A little girl whose language fell short of what was “normal”, would one day set out to be a brilliant communicator, one who would speak not only with words but with power and love and compassion.

Part 3 is here.

Beautiful in His Time

Unknown to many, our family had a wonderful breakthrough this year. But like many miracles, this one started as a painful struggle of a dad and a mom. This is my daughter Sophia's story.

Part 1 of 3.

oOo oOo oOo

Sophia at 11 months old in The Ruins, Bacolod. (Photo by Sheila Catilo)
Many of you know our daughter, Sophia. The apple of our eyes and our precious princess. She had a storied birth, and even though we had said we knew it was "only the beginning" of a colorful life, we didn't imagine it to be this riveting.

When Sophia turned one, we eagerly anticipated her first words. We envisioned a vibrant and chatty little toddler girl whom everybody will adore.

As each day passed, I noticed that our princess wasn’t as “chatty” as we had expected. By 20 months, she had only a handful of words in her vocabulary. Even then, she had difficulty stringing these limited number of words together.

My husband and I prayed constantly for Sophia. Sometimes, we would try to shrug it off and tell ourselves that nothing is amiss. After all, her motor skills and social skills seemed fine.

However, there were days and nights that our prayers would turn to cries and pleas for Him to make everything right with our baby girl, to release her language and let words flow freely and intelligently.

While developmental delays were part of our concern, what deeply pained us was our seeming inability to relate and communicate with our daughter. There were times she would just cry out of frustration because we couldn’t understand each other. Worse still were the days when we were unsure if she understood us when we’d say, “We love you, Sophia”. That was heartbreaking.

In July of 2015, Julz and I heeded a mutual stirring in our hearts to have Sophia evaluated by a developmental pediatrician. I could only thank God for prompting both my husband and me, at the same time, with the same message—to get help for our daughter.

Part 2 is here.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Ten Kilometers!

I did it! Woot woot!

A couple of weeks ago, I ran my second 10KM race. (My first one was in 2013, and sadly, hindi na sya naulit til now!) I am so happy about this run because I was with my husband, plus I eventually finished with a personal best time of 1 hour 5 minutes! 

But I must say, it felt like a loooong and hard run! Our route started on 9th Street, BGC and it stretched all the way to Lawton Avenue, going past the McKinley area, and then back to BGC. I think it was on the 4th km when I started feeling tired. It was just about the same time that I entered that Lawton stretch which I have now come to abhor. Hahaha. It seemed so long, with elevation that almost killed my legs. Worse, we were running alongside vehicles (read: diesel-run jeepneys). I could feel my throat constrict with dryness brought about by the pollution! 

The 10K Route. That long stretch is Lawton Avenue--with all its jeepneys!

In my previous 10K, my "second wind" came at the 7KM mark. I was banking on the same for this run. So when it didn't come at 7KM, I felt even more tired and I seriously wondered if I could get that second wind at all and finish strong. 

At 8.25KM, I had to recalibrate my mind. If I don't feel my second wind coming, I just have to think that it's here. That did the trick!

I ran faster and felt lighter in the last 1.5KM. Naturally, it helped a lot that I knew I was nearing the finish line. The problem was, I couldn't see it! Haha. I forgot our route, and so I couldn't visualize where the finish line was. LOL. (To be fair, there were enough signs and marshalls--hindi ko lang talaga ma-produce yung image sa brain ko.)

Running the last 500 meters, I began feeling excited. I knew I was going to break my personal record and I was looking forward to making it official.

My goal was to finish between 1:00 and 1:05. I sprinted the last 30-50 meters--because I saw the official time and I was about to enter the 1:05 mark! Omg, ayoko lumagpas!

By my watch, I finished 10K at 1:04. The official time was 1:05. Race results say I finished 70th out of 330+ runners. Not bad!

Now I have a medal to show for my little achievement! 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Tea and Chicken

My sister Kai has just launched her nth blog! Hurray!

Nonprofit Chicken is home to her musings as new mother to my adorable niece-goddaughter Audrey, as well as her adventures in the NGO Kingdom.

I hope she will write about her wonderful Ate too. Maybe someday :)

Anyway, I hope our blogs will bring amusement to our readers. Like tea and chicken soup, may our blogs uplift you and cheer you up!

Visit Nonprofit Chicken at kaipastores.blogspot.com

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