Caring for a newborn is no walk in the park, so you can just imagine how difficult it must be to do all that while raising two young kids at the same time. But for mom Nikka Garcia, dedicating her time to her girls—Michelle, 5, Patrice, 2, and the newest addition to their growing brood, 4-month old Pia, is the best feeling in the world.
“It’s a whole barangay now,” Nikka said when SmartParenting.com.phcaught up with her during the launch of Aprica’s new Nano Smart strollers. Asked how she is dealing with three girls vying for her attention, she replied, “It’s chaotic but so much fun.”
Because Patrice and Pia’s ages are closer to each other, Nikka admits that there are times when their middle child gets jealous of the youngest. “With Michelle, we were able to focus on her and tell her she’s an ate. But Patrice is still a baby so she feels selos, too,” the mom explains.
Nikka is very attuned to her children’s needs, however. Whenever Patrice approaches her, she makes sure to give attention to her first. “Then, I tell her, ‘Ok, mommy’s going to hold your sister na.” It manages Patrice’s expectations and pacifies her knowing that she was able to get some alone time with mom.
Despite the little hiccups, the two older kids are very excited to help take care of their little sister. “They want to be involved. Sometimes too much!” Nikka exclaims, laughing. “I think it’s because Michelle has embraced her pagiging ate and Patrice copies everything that her ate does.”
It’s a good thing that Pia is a happy baby and doesn’t give Nikka a hard time. At night, the little one dozes off on her own. Once she’s sound asleep, Nikka is able to focus on her other two kids.
“Every night, we spend time together. We talk. I ask them, ‘What did you do today? What did you learn?’ We allow them to make kwento,” Nikka says. “Then we pray. We take turns—Patrice says a short prayer, then Michelle, then me, and Patrick. Eventually, they fall asleep.”
Right now, Nikka and husband Patrick Garcia are co-sleeping with Pia, because Nikka is still breastfeeding the baby. Hopefully, by the time she is six months old, they will have their routine down pat and Michelle and Patrice can move back to their parents’ room. “We also want to sleep with them,” Nikka explains.
Having raised two children prior, Nikka thinks she’s had enough practice and is a better mom because of it. “I am learning how to handle things without being so worrisome,” she says.
Parenthood is not without its challenges, and with two young girls, it’s unavoidable that they misbehave or throw tantrums—they are kids, after all. To discipline them, Nikka shares that she and Patrick have agreed to spank them when they go out of line. But she is quick to clarify that “the love is so much more than the pain.”
Patrick adds, “We don’t spank out of anger. It’s not to hurt. Just enough that they feel it—to make them remember that what they did was not good.”
Should parents want to discipline their children in the same manner, Nikki reminds that there should always be an explanation as to why you are spanking the kids. “Tell them you love them and that you are doing it because you don’t want them to grow up [unruly],” she says.