We were wedding sponsors to Alps and Jon Dumlao and I wondered how they are coping in this situation with a newborn and two active boys (5 and 3 years old) in a relatively small space while they work-at-home. They belong to the millennial generation who blog about their lives and work in Dumvlogs. I find that the parents’ perspective and emotional/spiritual health are important to help young children cope being cooped up at home. Here is what Alps shared.
We were anticipating the birth of our third son in March. But then, the lockdown came the second week of March! My heart became anxious because our OB-GYN’s clinic was closed, although we kept in touch. She told me that if there is a concern, I just need to proceed to the hospital’s delivery room right away. That made me even more anxious. I feared not only for my own life. I also feared for the baby who will come out any time soon amid this pandemic.
When I was praying and journaling about my fears, God reminded me about His character through the name that we prepared for our son: “Noah Elijah”. Noah – means peace, rest; and Elijah – means Yahweh is God. What a comfort to know that I can rest and have peace in my heart knowing that He is the sovereign God! That realization made a big difference and helped me gain confidence that during these trying times, God is in control. Noah came out healthy and we were able to go home the following day after I gave birth.
Taking care of three young boys during a lockdown is quite a challenge for us. In normal days, Jon and I tagged the boys along when we went out—to the office or grocery and meetings. It was also easy for them to have some 30-minute playtime outside with their Dad while I made time for myself. But since we were forced to stay home, we needed to be creative in helping the kids cope and adjust with this new kind of set-up that we have.
We talk to our kids. We find it helpful to know that our Kuyas, at a young age, can express what they feel during this season. One is sad because he wants to see the toys in the mall while the other one misses eating taho. We also ask them what they are looking forward to when they can finally go out—they said they would love to play with their friends; go to grandparents’ house; and eat taho.
We intentionally spend time with them. Aside from the addition of our newborn, it seemed that Jon and I became busier since we are now working from home. We make sure that we spend time with the Kuyas within the day—we play, study, draw, or sometimes create some goodies in the kitchen with them. Weekends also mean family movie time.
We divide work. In terms of chores, Jon would usually take care of the grocery, errands, and cooking, while I do the cleaning and the laundry. We would also switch at times. It is also a given that whenever one of us is working or in a meeting (online), the better half is responsible for the kids.
We celebrate milestones. With or without lockdown, we make it a point that we get to celebrate milestones and special occasions in our household. I remember celebrating Noah’s first month with pizza and drinks… we felt heaven! It has been more than a month since we had pizza and it felt so good. Mother’s Day and Jon’s birthday were also celebrated in our home.
We stay connected. Even before giving birth, we already made plans for the Kuyas to spend overnight at Jon’s parents, or have my Mom come over to help and assist me. But since these plans are also on lockdown, video calls are of big help. We regularly call our friends and families, especially the grandparents, and send them photos and videos of the growing boys.
Also, it is our goal as husband and wife to stay connected so we make it a point that we get to talk, spend time, and have a ‘date night’ when the kids are all asleep. One time, we just played nostalgic video games for 2 hours.
These are just some of the things we do as a family that help us cope and make us look forward to each day with hope. Seeing our boys grow in our very eyes is a gift and we pray that by God’s grace, we could be the kind of parents He calls us to be.
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