Basketball star James Yap and his longtime partner, Michela ‘Mic’ Cazzola, recently celebrated the 1st birthday of their son Michael James, or MJ, with a Lion King-themed birthday party at the Blue Leaf Filipinas events venue in Parañaque City.
During the party, SmartParenting.com.ph spoke to Mic, an Italian expatriate working at a Philippine-based international financial institution, as recalled giving birth to MJ. “When he came out, he was so tiny, barely six pounds,” she told this writer, smiling. “Now, he’s super big! He’s eleven-plus kilos.”
The first-time mom continued, “I had normal [delivery],” she said. “Delivery was not hard. Of course, when you’re there, it’s painful. But you forget about it…The delivery, mabilis. I think, less than one hour. But the labor was long and painful. But it’s okay, you forget [about it later]. After two days, I was home na, and after a month, I started to work out na.”
“To work out” means doing her regular intense gym workouts (which she did even while pregnant), like “stretching and swimming, no weights, no cardio.” She especially enjoyed swimming, a favorite sport since childhood.
Aside from maintaining an active lifestyle, Mic was able to lose the post-pregnancy pounds through breastfeeding. She breastfed Baby MJ until he was 5 months old.
“He is very big,” Mic said of her son. “Now, he has started to walk; he always wants to walk on his own. He’s very athletic; he likes to move a lot. He never cries, or just cries a little when he’s tired. He really has a good attitude. He’s very quiet.”
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She noted that Baby MJ’s personality is a mix of hers and James’s: “He’s madaldal, and I’m madaldal. But he’s also very chill. James is very chill. [MJ] observes a lot. But he’s talkative and malikot like me.”
When it comes to physical characteristics, though, Mic is sure who Baby MJ takes after. “He does look like me,” she pointed out. “Except the eyes. His eyes are very dark and Asian -- that’s from the dad. But the rest is me talaga.”
In bringing up their son, Mic follows both the Italian and Filipino traditions. While she speaks to their baby in Italian, James communicates with MJ in Filipino and in Hiligaynon, the dialect they speak in Escalante City in Negros Occidental, James's home province.
Mic has her own house rules, too. “Absolutely no gadgets,” she says. She admits MJ occasionally watches cartoons on television, but he isn't into it yet. At the moment, “He likes playing with plastic bottles! He has a lot of toys, but he likes simple things like that.”
When Baby MJ grows up, Mic said she’ll support “anything he wants to do” in life -- and that includes following in his dad James’s footsteps. “As long as he is happy,” she pointed out. “But I think he’s gonna be athletic because he really likes to move and his body’s very thin. He’s never been chubby since he was born. He has muscles already! Sports to me is very important in life, so hopefully, it’ll have a major role in his life.”