Once Lucas turned two months, we wanted to give him meaningful objects that would stimulate his development. One item we always see on parenting blogs is a floor gym, and it makes sense–at two months, the baby’s vision is improving, and he’s starting to become aware of his environment.
I asked the husband to make one for the baby, because we didn’t want to buy plastic ones. Those are unnecessarily expensive and too colorful for our taste. It’s really simple to make, you don’t need fancy toys and materials, and really, you can make one under P500!
Key Benefits of a Play Gym:
Improves visual perception
Stimulates hand-to-eye coordination
Practices reaching and grasping skills
Boosts cognitive development
At two months, Lucas loved looking up at the hanging toys from his play gym. He would even coo and get excited. But it would take a while before he would intentionally reach the hanging objects. According to baby books, most babies are able to reach and grasp by their fourth month. But Lucas would just happily look up and flail his arms sidewards. We just let him be and let his development progress when he’s ready.
On the day he turned five months, I caught him raising his arms as he intently looked at the stuffed toy I hung on the gym. And then, he reached and grabbed the toy with precision. Milestone unlocked!
This floor gym is really quite simple to make, using materials that are inexpensive and readily available. Listing them down below, with estimated prices for your convenience. Also posting dimensions as a guide if you’re interested to make one for your child. You’re welcome! :)
If you’re a cat mom and expecting a tiny human, you might have grand dreams of having your baby and your cats being best friends. You know, like those cute videos on YouTube. Truth is, the reality is always different from the expectation.
I post a lot of photos and videos on IG showing my newborn interacting with our three cats. Some pet lovers have DM’d me asking about how I did it–how did I introduce my cats to my baby?
To be honest, my cats aren’t best friends with the baby. Not yet. They’re getting there, slowly sniffing each other and testing each other’s boundaries. Sometimes, the cats let the baby paw on them, other times they close their eyes and turn away. Sometimes, the baby lets the cats brush their tails against him, other times he acts indifferent and totally ignores their meows. But they’re getting there.
Sharing with you how my husband and I are taking steps to make sure our new baby grows up to love our OG babies–our three cats!
Start while the baby is still in the womb.
When I was still pregnant, I didn’t shoo away the cats in fear of catching a parasite or toxoplasmosis. I let them burrow in my tummy, and even sleep with us when they wanted to. The only thing I stopped doing was clean their litter box–ask your husband to do that!
I think this prepared them for the coming changes. When we were setting up the baby’s things and cribs, we allowed them to inspect every new item and even sleep in the crib!
If you’re really paranoid about toxoplasmosis, ask your OB-Gyne about taking a test to make sure. I told my doctor I had three cats, and she didn’t seem too alarmed about it. Of course, we made sure the cats were clean, they were well-fed, they were kept indoors (most of the time), and they were up-to-date with their shots.
Don’t change their routine.
Once the baby came, we made sure that the cats are still fed at the same time they were always fed, with the same food they loved to eat. We made sure to keep their favorite spots unoccupied, so they can retreat whenever they wanted to.
Cats are creatures of habit and the one thing they hate most is change. A new member of the family (and a constantly crying one!) is a big change, and it’s bound to cause them stress. Don’t add more stress by changing their other routines.
“Observe more, do less.”
This is a parenting principle by Magda Gerber, but really, it also applies to pet-parenting. Just let your cats be cats, let your baby be a baby, and let nature do its job.
The first thing we did upon coming home from the hospital was to lay down the baby’s carrier on the floor so the cats could sniff the baby right away. We let them greet the baby, or not if they didn’t want to. After a few curious sniffs, they lost interest and moved away. We just let them.
During the first month, the cats seemed really bothered by this tiny stranger. They weren’t sure what it was–was it a tiny human, a deformed cat, or a monster? The baby was crying all the time, and they hated it. We just let them.
It took another two months before the cats got used to the baby’s cries. One day, I just saw them make the first friendly moves towards the baby. At first, it was a tiny sniff, and then it was a head bonk on the baby’s bouncer, and later on, I saw one of them propping himself on the baby’s feet, belly up.
The baby himself wasn’t aware of the cats’ existence until he was four months, when his vision was already more developed. He started looking at the cats’ direction, giving them shy smiles, and then loud giggles. Now that he could grab things, he’s beginning to reach out and touch them.
Know your cats.
You can only “observe more, do less” if you know your cats well. Note their personalities and act appropriately. We have three cats–Cato, the alpha male who is bossy, snobby, and clingy; Boogie, the super chill and relaxed one, and Ginger, our fat girl who’s a little loopy.
We know Cato would not show affection for the baby at once. He’s alpha, and he thinks he’s claimed me so he’s the most jealous one. Until now, he rarely goes to the baby and barely gives him glances. We don’t leave the baby alone with Cato, because Cato has the tendency to step humans when we’re sleeping. But he doesn’t snarl and he doesn’t bite, so we allow the baby to pat him under our supervision.
Boogie is a gentle giant, and we always knew he’d be best friends with the baby. He’s claimed the baby’s bouncer and always stays in the room with him.
Ginger is super sweet, but she turns into a psycho b**ch when triggered. Problem is, we don’t know what triggers her; it can be anything and nothing! She hisses and claws in such speed, too! So we never let the baby get near her unsupervised.
Our cats’ shots are up-to-date, and we regularly give them baths and anti-flea drops. We trim their nails weekly, except for Ginger who turns feral. They mostly stay indoors and only go out on our patio for short excursions.
It’s always best to consult your pediatrician and vet when it comes to your pets and baby. But in the end, trust your instincts. You are their mom, after all. <3
Last week, the husband had a meeting which took him to San Fernando, La Union and I decided to tag along with the baby. Lucas was turning four months and it would be the perfect opportunity for his first beach experience! I went online to look for beach resorts in San Fernando and immediately found Aureo.
The last time I was in La Union was years and years ago! I think I was pleasantly surprised that the drive north is now faster and smoother, thanks to SCTEX and TPLEX. Aureo is Waze-able and quite easy to find. We were greeted by friendly staff and this friendlier view:
Since we were only staying for a night, we booked the cheapest room, which was located in the gardens. The other room types were the pool view and the beach view. Our room was modest but really nice, and the best part was the patio where we had late-night drinks. The Instagram-worthy garden has two gazebos with chaises perfect for lounging.
Aureo Resort has an ample beachline–the sand isn’t white but clean, and the La Union waters are clean. The resort also has two swimming pools. Since we were there on a weekday, there weren’t many guests and we had the pools to ourselves almost the entire time!
Lucas couldn’t sit on the sand or dip in the sea yet–but the change of scenery and the fresh air surely did him some good. I, on the other hand, definitely enjoyed my time in the ocean. It was my first beach trip in a year!
We also enjoyed the food at Aureo. They have large servings! I wasn’t able to take photos of all the food we ordered, but each dish came in HUGE batches–enough to fill six grown men!
Traveling With Kids?
Unfortunately, Aureo Resort isn’t too kid-friendly, IMHO. There aren’t a lot of open spaces, and I didn’t notice any special areas for children. That being said, maybe kids don’t need a manicured lawn and swings, slides, and playsets–the sand is calling! Nature is always, always the best playground!
I did notice, though, that one of their swimming pools might be a hazard. The entire pool is shallow, like 4ft deep only (in my guess); and in the middle of the pool, above it, is a bridge without railings. I could already picture an overly excited kid running to it, diving to the pool, and getting injured. I pointed this out to the lifeguard, but he didn’t look too alarmed. Maybe it’s the paranoid me, being a new mom and all.
Still, it was a pleasant overnight trip. Great well-kept place, nice ambiance, and friendly staff! We’ll definitely be back for a longer stay!
Barangay San Francisco, San Fernando City, La Union
Tel. No. (63) 072 888 0833
La Union Souvenirs
On the way back, we passed by road-side stalls to buy pasalubongs. Of course, we had to get native garlic and suka that Ilocos is known for. A pleasant surprise is La Union’s locally grown grapes. Apparently, the province is now growing grapes and offering grape-picking packages as part of its tourism programs. We skipped the picking part and just bought grapes per kilo–at only P230!