the unnatural mother

embracing mother-ing and all its glory – from wet diapers, spit-ups, tantrums to first smiles, hug-a-bugs and sweet cuddles

My first ring toy January 9, 2013

I stumbled upon this cute ring toy and as I saw it was easy to make, I tried it out.

I used Monaco cotton and made it in ch15, sc 15 all throughout. I love playing around with colors!

crochet ring toy


Nursery NON-essentials November 4, 2012

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy,Toys — reeseyenko @ 8:25 am
Tags: ,

There  is an abundance of lists for nursery essentials – most of them sponsored articles or articles written for marketing purposes – so the list gets pretty long and the sum total sky rockets.

So I decided to come up with a list of non-essentials – things that you don’t really need, things you can live without if you’re going for bare minimum or like us, on a budget financially and space-wise. But of course, I can’t leave you hanging – I’ve also listed down alternatives for your convenience.

  1. Changing table. This is a purely western concept and you don’t need it.

    You don’t need this!

    Even if you have a fat bonus, this will be the last item you would ever buy because a) it takes up space b) if you had the money, hire a yaya instead and she’ll be doing the diaper changing. Instead, you can use this which costs about Php 150-Php 200 depending on the size.

    This is a rubber mat you put baby on to protect your bed from ‘accidents’. You can also use it to lay down baby after a bath. I remember this from my childhood days when aunts or uncles had a new baby.

    It is usually sold rolled up. It can be bought at SM department stores or Landmark department stores. You would need 2 in case baby soils it and you would have to wash it.

  2. Crib. The number of mothers I know who used this and did not use this are split in half. There are those who used it successfully because they were too scared of sleeping with the baby and there are those who did not. Yet, a crib is not all that safe. If you would research, there are statistics that identify the number of deaths per year due to crib accidents. So what’s the alternative? Co-sleeping of course! I did it with all my 3 children and we’re still doing it! Besides, this is the ideal sleeping arrangement for breastfed babies because it has proven to increase the mother’s milk supply.
  1. Bassinet. This has become popular in the recent years and I would have wanted one if only there was no problem of storage after the 3 weeks baby uses it. Yes, baby outgrows it in 3-4 weeks. But, it is a good resting place for baby – so as not to get lost in the big sea of bed – when he/she is still tiny and especially with older siblings who may or may not trample on the baby when they are rolling around like hotdogs in a pan.

    Too cute! but storage becomes a problem after 4 weeks of usage.

    Get a native hammock! This will only cost you about Php 200 or make one yourself out of blankets or bedsheets – just make sure it doesn’t unravel!

  2. Pacifiers. Since breastfeeding is now the NORM (I claim it) and pacifiers are a big hindrance to the success of breastfeeding, this is now a big NO-NO. Why do mothers give it? I heard it is used to keep baby quiet or to give baby something to suck on while waiting for the next feeding. Why curb the baby on the breast and give it a feeding scheduling?  Let the baby suckle on the breast for as many times as it likes and for how long. The baby has instincts on how much he or she needs. If the parents have decided to give an alternative milk and decided not to breastfeed, parents can give a clean finger for baby to suck on when very young or an age appropriate toy when a little bit older.
  3. Bottle warmer. Bottle warmers are used to uhm… warm bottles – warm the milk in bottles.

    I’ve been using ours for 2 years now. It was a gift but if I were to buy one, I would settle for something more practical.

    Why would u want to do that in our warm climate? Since I go to work and express milk while I am away, I keep baby’s milk chilled in the refrigerator. Although at this age – 10 months, baby can tolerate cold drinks and food, we still warm her milk to melt the fat that sticks to the bottle. Yes, I use a bottle warmer because it was a gift from my parents for my 2nd son. It is useful and sturdy – using it for my 3rd child now – but it costs around Php 1900 if I’m not mistaken (it was a gift!). An alternative is to use an electric kettle (Php 300- Php 500) to warm water, put the warm water in a big mug and put the bottle of milk in it. And the kettle can used for other purposes as well.

    Use this to heat water for warming up baby’s milk.

  4. Wipes warmer. Really? in the Philippines? You don’t need this.

    This is used to warm wipes.

  5. Bouncer.  A very nice toy indeed – colorful, attractive and baby would spend hours in this – costs about Php 2500 – Php 5500. Sure, if you have the money!

    Expensive chair!

    I was actually pondering to get this but since this is our 3rd child (and hopefully the last) and we lack space, I decided on the alternative – something we already have… a yaya and some toys! A bouncer is just a toy when you come to think about it and it’s not supposed to be a place where you can leave a very young infant or even an infat at that.

  6. Stroller. You may be thinking.. “what, you don’t need a stroller?”. You just have to get one and realize how infrequent it is being used. In our family, we rarely go to the mall – we’re not every-weekend-in-the-mall type of family. When we’re with the kids, we just go to Church, hospital, restaurants and my in-laws. Hospital hallways and waiting areas are quite cramped – especially the elevators – so bringing of strollers is really your choice. We once went to a restaurant where our stroller couldn’t fit and the waiting staff were all holding their breath to see how we could manuever it. So that’s that. Our stroller stays at home as baby’s chair. Alternatives? – Slings of course! or structure baby carriers! Keeps baby close enough to kiss – who wouldn’t want that?
  7. Playmat. I would have loved to have this just for the heck of it. It’s colorful, it’s cute and it claims to stimulate baby senses and encourage the development of motor skills.

    This would have been a nice toy if we only had the extra space to store it properly afterwards.

    But, it’s just way too bulky and pricey. After 6 months or so of baby using it, where am I supposed to pack it away? If you want baby to look at something, you can opt for a mobile – way smaller than it – and a baby quilt or comforter. If a playmat would cost about Php 2500 – Php 3500, a good mobile would cost about Php 500- Php 700 and a comforter Php 800- php 1000. Still cheaper and easier to pack than a playmat, plus a comforter can be used as baby’s mat until the age of 3.

    The design can actually stimulate baby’s eyes and if the design is embossed, baby can touch it.

    This one is from here but there are lots of variety in our local department store.

  8. Diaper genie. A diaper genie is a contraption that wraps a dirty diaper in plastic.
    An expensive way to throw diapers.

    An expensive way to throw diapers.

    I don’t think I’ve seen one in the Philippines and if ever there is, I’m sure its expensive. Just buy a dedicated trash bin with a lid that goes up when you press a pedal. It doesn’t contain the smell but make it a habit of emptying it everyday and cleaning it with soap and water at least once a week and the smell would be tolerable.

  9. Frogsuits and a lot of receiving blankets. Frogsuits are one-piece baby overalls that have the baby’s feet and, sometimes, hands covered. I see some babies in these suits – in the malls, in hospital corridors – and I can imagine how difficult it is when changing diapers. I know because I’ve tried it and it is hassle much!

    Cute but too much of a hassle to use.

    As for receiving blankets, these are hooded blankets used to swaddle babies.

    Essential only in the hospital and if you live in cold climate.

    I was never good at swaddling babies (even after 3) and I didn’t really see the need to be. I just swaddled my babies for the first 2-3 days at home and that’s that. Besides, it is so warm in our country, I don’t believe in swaddling to keep baby from the cold. Instead, hug and hold baby all the time to give her/him your warmth.

And so I must end here. 11 non-essentials to avoid and keep your money’s worth. Enjoy shopping for your little ones with 11 less confusing items to decide on.


Little fishies May 5, 2012

This my first attempt at amigurumi and it turned out pretty well. This fish pattern is easy to follow and modify. Since I use a fine crochet thread (Monaco – has a lot of color choices), my fish came out small – the dark violet, sea green (3rd from R) and light blue (Right most).

made with Monaco thread

Small Fishies

I’ve since modified the pattern to medium, large and huge

Here’s my attempt at writing the modified pattern.


R1 & R2 (of original pattern) : Start with a magic circle, sc 10 (10)

R3: 2 sc in every sc from previous round (20)

R4: 2 sc in every other sc from previous round (30)

R5-7: 1 sc in each (30)

R8: decrease sc 14 decrease sc 14 (28)

R9: sc 7 decrease sc 13 decrease sc 6 (26)

R10: decrease sc 12 decrease sc 12 (24)

R11:  sc 6 decrease sc 11 decrease sc 5 (22)

R12: decrease sc 10 decrease sc 10 (20)

Stuff  fish

R13: decrease all around (12)


R14: 2 sc in every sc  until desired flare is reached

R15: sc in every sc until desired length is reached

Put together the two tail ends and slip stitch the ends together. Fasten off.

Medium Fish.


R1 & R2 (of original pattern) : Start with a magic circle, sc 10 (10)

R3: 2 sc in every sc from previous round (20)

R4: 2 sc in every other sc from previous round (30)

R5: *1 sc, 1 sc, 2sc* repeat all around (40)

R8-11: 1 sc in each (40)

R12: decrease sc 19 decrease sc 19 (38)

R13: sc 9 decrease sc 18 decrease sc 9 (36)

R14: decrease sc 17 decrease sc 17 (34)

R15:  sc 8 decrease sc 16 decrease sc 8 (32)

R16: decrease sc 15 decrease sc 15 (30)

R17: sc 7 decrease sc 14 decrease sc 7 (28)

R18: decrease sc 13 decrease sc 13 (26)

Stuff  fish

R19: decrease all around (14)

R20: decrease some more (5)


R21: 2 sc in every sc  until desired flare is reached

R22: sc in every sc until desired length is reached

Put together the two tail ends and slip stitch the ends together. Fasten off.

Large fish

Medium fish on the left and Large fish on the Right


Nursing love

I’ve been seeing cute breastfeeding necklaces out there but they all seem so expensive! On etsy, there are crocheted ones and to tell you honestly, that’s what sparked my interest to learn crochet all over again. Now, I am just hooked on it!

Here’s my first crochet breastfeeding necklace. It’s simple enough to make in 30 mins. Soft and safe for baby. Easy for little fingers to grab.

Made of 2 flowers – one violet, one green.

Ch5 join

DC12 join with sl st

2 DC in every DC around, join

3 DC in every DC around, join

2 DC in every DC around, join


Toys for my boys September 27, 2011

Being a mother of 2 boys, I’m so used to looking and shopping for boys toys & clothes. In any store, I’m immediately drawn to the boys section – probably because of the need to shield myself from griping (at the beautiful girl-y dresses and close-to-the-real-thing cooking sets). From match-box size cars to parking lot playsets and make-believe carpenter tools, I’ve gotten the knack for eyeing anything red and blue or has wheels on it but moreover, I can appreciate well-made, safe and educational toys that boys naturally prefer. And In today’s hard times, I’m learning to spot good craftmanship and durability.

Thus, I’ve come up with a list of (my) finds that are worth my money – be it a splurge or deal – and why!

Bright Starts License to drool (around P 179)

My second son played with this almost every waking hour when he was about 4 months old and every so often after that. We have the blue and green one and with such bright colors, it is an easy attraction to babies. It encourages grasping as he can hold it in his hands and eventually, put it in his mouth as a teething toy. This is a great alternative for those liquid filled teething toys that get punctured by uber excited babes.

License to Drool

Baby can practice grasping and is encourage to bite.

Duplo vs Megablocks.

This is MY Duplo set from (i’m guessing) 30 years ago! See how the bricks are still in good condition and fits nicely and snuggly with each other.


Duplo (circa 1980)

Duplo #45. This is how it's supposed to look when all set up.

Duplo is really expensive locally but in the U.S., you can get an assorted brick box of 33 pcs (item # 5416) for $20

Duplo #5416

Duplo 5416 (33 pcs) recommended for 1.5 yrs - 5 yrs. Duplo assorted bricks comes in a special storage box.

This is my son’s 4-year old Megablocks – they are loose and won’t stay together 😦 so they are deemed totally useless. We even have 2 bags of 70 pcs each. I should have just saved up for Duplo instead.

Megablocks. The actual blocks are loose and won't stay together. It is a relatively cheap buy but poor quality.

LeapFrog Scribble & Write (P 1599.99 @ Toy Kingdom)

My first son received this as a gift for Christmas when he was 3 yrs old. At that time, he already knew the alphabet and liked pressing the letter buttons and hearing it “talk”.  Now he is almost 5, in kindergarten and has learned to write his name. He’s enjoying this to the full potential. There are 4 different playing modes – drawing shapes, tracing the uppercase letters, tracing lowercase letter, guessing the letter. It also guides the child in drawing or writing by visual and audio aids.

LeapFrog Scribble&write

LeapFrog Scribble&write. Recommended for children 3 yrs old & up

Wooden toys by Wonderworld

I’ve been seeing this kiosk in front of Mothercare Shangri-la selling wooden toys. As I have an impression that wooden toys tend to be expensive (compared to their plastic counterparts), it’s an effort not to stop and look. From afar, their toys do look expensive but they also look fun and playable. Finally, I chanced upon them in a mommy sale and was immediately converted to a wooden-toy-lover. Not only are they environmentally safe (i.e. they degrade naturally in the environment and has a CSR to plant more trees), they rarely have small pieces that pose as choking hazards to little ones. Most of their toys are designed to be educational and simply made – no outrageous designs and complicated mechanisms that overwhelm the child and the parent. These are the 2 toys I bought for my boys:

3D Transport Domino

3D Transport Domino

This is for NY who’s turning 5 this November. The toy is actually recommended for at least 3 years up and domino is just really matching but I’m hoping this can enhance NY’s creativity in designing layouts instead of just matching them.

Transportation Matching

Transportation Matching

This one is intended for SKY who would be 1.5 yrs old on Christmas. He can move the pieces around without losing them! And as the title says, the skill to learn is matching. It comes with a removable stand; though I doubt it’ll be staying on it for more than 5 seconds.

There are so many toys out there – so many to choose from – and the “best” toy for your child really depends on his/her preference, interest and age. Know your child and you’ll surely get the best bang for you buck! Good luck!