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Friday, July 29, 2011

Weekend Favorites: Indoor Activities

Weekends are always marked with smileys in our household calendar. At 33 months, Maia is now fully aware when it's a weekend and she knows that she owns Mommy and Daddy during this time.

This past few days bore us witness to non-stop raining which looks to be stretching through the entire weekend with still another tropical depression coming in after we bid good-bye to typhoon Juaning. Well, we do not really feel bad being confined indoors since we rarely spend our weekends out. Weekends not only give us the perfect excuse to be lazy, it also never fails to tickle our creative side. 

Let me share with you some of our favorite weekend indoor activities:

1. Macaronis and Magnets

We have accumulated a lot of letter and number magnets throughout these toddler phase. I initially thought of using these tools to introduce Maia to - well - numbers and alphabets but she never showed interest in learning thru this medium so they ended up being used for a different purpose instead. We mix them up with macaronis and sort thru them. It's a great exercise to improve hand coordination for the little kid. And she enjoyed it a lot when she was around 18-20 months. She liked picking thru the pile and filling them up unto her nesting cups. I always keep a watchful eye though during play to avoid accidents (like macaronis magically appearing inside her nostrils for instance)

2. Building Blocks

Maia likes building bridges, houses and whatnots out of her square blocks and Ecobloks.

Mom  and Dad helped build the robot of course! :)

3. Arts and Crafts

I get ideas from the internet. We especially love creating toys from trash. Maia especially likes to do the cutting and sticking on each of our projects.
she was chasing and scaring us with this snake project
4. Modelling Clay Figures

This is a recent favorite. I'm not really artistic but I like how this activity encourages me to be even more creative with my hands. Whatever we create/build using the modelling clay would end up as characters to the make-believe play that would usually follow this activity. 

A plateful of fruits to feed the little kid's dolls
I am also looking forward to doing some baking and cooking activities with this little girl. We'd probably make Daddy chop some ingredients so he can still get involved. First thing though, we need to really save up for that oven. :))

So anyway, I hope you're enjoying this wet and sleep-inducing weather we're having this weekend. I can hear the little girl shrieking with laughter from our bedroom already. She's probably enjoying another pillow fight with her dad. I'm off to join them now! :))

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hello Doc Dentist!

We first brought Maia to a dental clinic when she was 15 months old. It was in a Pedia-dental Clinic called Little Ones Dental Clinic in Mall of Asia. That first visit was a very quite and calm one. She sat on my lap for a good 5 minutes before she cried. But no, she did not cry because she got scared of the dentist. She cried because her 5-min attention span was done and she needed to wiggle out of my arms.

On that first visit, the dentist did three things: Oral Exam, Oral Prophylaxis and Flouride Treatment. She seemed really well-trained with kids because she finished all 3 just as Maia's patience was waning. After the treatment, she spent another 10 minutes with us discussing the best strategies we could use to ensure that Maia's oral hygiene is in place. She also oriented us with the oral developments that will be happening with Maia in the future. It was an informative and helpful visit. I think that visit also instilled a very positive impression on Maia that preceded our succeeding trips to the dentist.
Here at the Little Ones Dental Clinic,
place is very kid friendly

We were told then that the Flouride Treatment would ideally have to be re-done after a year. But we decided not to come back to that clinic anymore because 1) it wasn't an accredited dentist on my company HMO and I wanted to maximize Maia's benefits on it 2) we thought it was quite overpriced since we paid a total of P2960 for those 3 simple procedures. 

I decided to look for a Medicard (the HMO I had at that time) accredited pedia-dentist but unfortunately could not find one that's near our area in Cavite. I decided to try the Dental Focus branch in SM Molino since the clinic looked child-friendly. So after 6 months, we had Maia's teeth cleaned again. The dentists were very gentle and there were no violent reactions from Maia while we were sitting on the dental chair. She was again very cooperative and she even got really excited when the dentist told her she can have the Dora toothbrush after the visit. What disappointed me though was this branch does not do flouride treatments on kids. I was referred to another branch in Festival Mall in Alabang. I decided I'll just look for a pedia-dentist for that particular treatment but we came back again to the same clinic after 6 months for another round of oral prophylaxis. 
Maia patiently waiting at Dental Focus

This month Maia is turning 33 months. She's again due for tooth cleaning and she badly needs to have that flouride treatment redone. I am also now very concerned with a chip on one of her front tooth and some of the white spots that are starting to show on some of her teeth. According to a dentist friend, these white spots are an indication that the tooth is on the onset of decay. Despite a rather good oral hygiene, the flouride-free toothpaste that we have been using since Maia's teeth started appearing just doesn't seem to be helping preserve her teeth. Good thing we were already weaned from the bottle so that sorts of lessens my worry of her ending up with totally decayed milk teeth before the permanent ones start showing up. 

With my concerns in mind, I decided to bring Maia to a pedia-dentist. Luckily, I chanced upon an accredited one that holds clinic in Bacoor which is just about 30mins away from our place. I immediately signed up for a Saturday appointment. The dentist is Dr. Thelma Dador-Ong and she practices alongside her daughter Ranee. Both seemed to really love kids and that’s a plus factor for us.

This recent visit is going to be Maia's 4th trip to the doctor but she has yet to experience having the dentist use a dental machine to perform a procedure on her. All 3 tooth cleaning were done manually because the dentist wanted to avoid scaring her (the sound of the machine motor might just do that). When we got to the clinic, the dentist was just finishing up on 2 patients. I came prepared; I brought some paper and crayons with me to distract the kid. The clinic had several books to entertain waiting kids as well and Maia wanted to read of all them! 

I was surprised she knew that this shape is called 
the CROSS!
From the waiting area, Maia could hear the machine motor and I think that really tickled her curiosity because when it was our turn she instantly sat on the dental chair. I didn’t have to force her to sit on it on her own. When the dentist turned the equipment on so she can clean her teeth, she patiently waited for the dentist to finish. When the dentist was done with the cleaning and the flouride treatment, she discussed the state of Maia's teeth. I was relieved to hear that we can still prevent the teeth from decaying, we just need to regularly have  fluoride applied on the teeth. We also need to gradually switch to flouride toothpaste. The chipped tooth had to be masked as well since it was already a ‘dead’ tooth and is more susceptible to decay. That was another 8-10min procedure and Maia again sat patiently through it. I was a very proud mommy!
My brave kid so patient while the dentist 
attends to her chipped front tooth.

I guess it did help a lot that from the onset all of our dental visits were pleasant and tantrum free. We were lucky to have come across dentists who were very patient with our little girl. We will most likely stick with Dr. Ong since she’s the nearest pedia-dentist that we can find and because we really had a nice experience with her. 

By the way, here is our current dentist's details:

Dr. Thelma Dador-Ong
Dental and Natural Health Clinic
Suite 212 Maraudi Bldg, Niog, Bacoor, Cavite
Clinic hours: M-Sat 9am-530pm
Tel Nos: 046 417 0041/09186018714
Best to call and make an appointment with the Nhel (Secretary)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Walking Down the Aisle

Little Girl in Pink Caught in a Pensive Mood
Last June chronicled another milestone for us. It was Maia's first time to walk down the aisle as a flower girl. She just turned 32 months then. Milestones always make me giddy (I said it like a true-blue stage momma, didn't I?). Plus, the thought of this little girl finally wearing a gown with a flower basket in hand is just too cute for words.

As I've always looked forward to this day (stage momma alert once again!), I know I have to come prepared. Months before the actual event I starting orienting Maia with the help of some You Tube videos on what flower girls do in weddings. During rehearsal day, Maia walked about half of the way. We felt confident then that she will walk all the way through since another girl who is older than her will be walking with her. I know very well that this little girl likes to mimic and is quite competitive so as long as the other girl walks ahead of her she should be alright.
flower girls

This event was destination wedding that required us to travel to Iloilo. We've been actively travelling since Maia was 5 months old. Most of the time we are hands on parents when we travel/go on vacation. We do not bring any help with us since we usually end up spending most of our vacation time with our extended families so we could still yell for help if our hands are so full already. This trip was an exception though. My family was not around to help us so we needed to be super parents this time.

What did I learn from this experience?

- That you should always consider the nap time of your kid. The wedding time did not really coincide with Maia's naptime but the preparation time did so she was not able to catch some snooze before the ceremony. We ended up with a sleeping Maia and a Daddy Tibs walking down the aisle carrying his pretty daughter in his arms and the flower basket in his hand instead.

- That only one member of the family should be on the spotlight if a toddler is one of the parties involved in the entourage. In this particular occasion, I was also going as Matron-of-Honor. Even if I wanted to play the stage mommy all the way, I only could do it before the ceremony started and during the wedding reception. And since Maia was more attached to me than her dad, that somehow put us in a more complicated situation.

- If the situation would allow it, make her wear the dress a few minutes before the ceremony starts just to keep her excited. That way, she won't entertain the idea of sleep even if it's already looming. In our case, Maia was already in her dress more than hour before the ceremony started so I guess that also contributed to her succumbing to sleep no matter how excited she was.

- Good thing, we oriented the little girl with her role. The minute she woke up, she was super game to join the picture taking. There were no crying fits for us to deal with so I'd say we still did okay.

At least she made it to the entourage pictorial

- Keep your composure. Even if you're tired, keep that smile going because the little one mimics your mood. We were tired but we remained composed till the reception party was over so the little one was very cooperative the entire time. She was clapping, ringing the kissing bell and clearly enjoyed the party till it was time to pack up. She was tantrum-free!

Well, we might have missed seeing this little lady walk but we sure learned a lot from this experience! And if another opportunity like this comes, we'd surely be more prepared!

Gamely Posing for More Pics after the Reception Party

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dealing With Thumb-sucking

I cannot count the number of times I've googled for tips on how to help my daughter quit thumb sucking. But none of them has ever provided me with definite answers. Most of my readings suggested that I should not intervene as most kids outgrow it (especially when they start eating solids).

My daughter has been thumb-sucking since she was an infant. I had wanted to intervene right then and there but I was a bookish first time mom and I trusted my readings. I remember distracting her once with a pacifier but she never took my bait. Pacifiers were never as good as the thumb I reckon. So I told myself I will just interfere when she's already two and still sucking. At that time, I trusted that she will eventually get rid of the habit when she starts eating solids. 

In one of my readings, I came across these guide questions:

-Does she suck all day? 
-Was it affecting her oral development? 
-Was the habit interfering with her social and communication skills? 

Should I answer yes to all three, it suggested that I put an effort towards ending the habit. But at that point, I felt I was in the other end of the spectrum. The first question I could answer with a firm NO. Maia and the thumb were best friends only during bedtime because it lulled her to sleep.But it never really progressed to a all-day affair. The other two I couldn't answer yet with a definite NO at that time but I was confident it will be then so I decided to take it easy. I also came across a write up (couldn't remember where I read it now) that correlated smoking addiction to a kid never outgrowing his oral stage. I did not want that to happen to my daughter so I left her alone. I told myself I should let nature take its course and wait for her to rid of the habit on her own.

Unfortunately, she never did. Now she is turning 3 in a few months and  I am anxious because I've set myself a deadline - away with the sucking by the 3rd birthday.

This weekend we brought the little girl to the dentist for her routine check up and the dentist echoed my fears. When the thumb-sucking persists, we will have to deal with more teeth problem than expected. She mentioned another issue -- apparently, there are some believers that thumb-sucking is a sign of childhood insecurity and is usually a manifestation that you are not spending time with your kid. The teeth problem we can fix with braces but it really bothered me being told that my little girl will grow up to be insecure and being judged to be a parent who doesn't spend time with her child. That thought nagged me overnight. Then I realized I take the effort to parent consciously. My husband and I do make sure we spend quality time with our daughter, so why should I be bothered?

So I am letting that part go. But I know I still have to do something about this thumb-sucking. I've tried gently talking her out of it. I've tried the reward system. I've gone to the point of scaring her the fingers might fall off if she kept on it. I've tried wrapping the hand in mittens. All these 'gentle' attempts failed. The best it got us was a few days off then she's back on it again. Now the thumb is already calloused.

Yesterday, I resorted to drastic measures and put ginger extract over the favorite thumb. I forgot about timing though and got the worst tantrum we've ever had to deal with in return. Yes, if you are going to train your kid to get rid of a habit please do remember NOT to do it when you're about to put your child to sleep. Tired + away with the habit is NOT a good combination. I ended up with one wailing - or rather hysterically shouting - little girl. "Tama na, Mommy. Tama na, Mommy! Masakiiiiiiiiiiiit!" I was already half expecting a knock from the neighbor asking what's wrong because she sounded like we were hurting her. I could take the hysterics but her dad couldn't. I was confident that she understood we had a 'project' to finish and I felt I just had to be firm about it but the hubby was already begging me to give in and even if I kept telling him giving in to the tantrum would be inconsistency on our part he wouldn't hear of it. So I folded. I hugged her and I told her I love her very much. She went to sleep sobbing. That really broke my heart so I vowed to go easy next time.

That night when we were about to sleep and I reminded her of our 'project', she stroked my face and told me "Mommy, go to sleep now. Goodnight!" I knew she would have wanted to spend a few more extra minutes clowning around with me but instead opted to bribe me into sleeping way ahead of her just so she can escape my nagging. She even cupped my face and said I love you and kissed me goodnight. It caught me by surprised and I realized "wow, she's now using her charm to get her way. Amazing how kids think these days"

I am still searching for tips that could help me deal with this issue better. I can now answer the guide questions with a firm NO. But I still believe that doing away with the habit will benefit her in many ways than one. Right now, I'm just grateful there are days I can now sit with her and talk things through. I'm glad that even at this early age, she knows that she has to let it go eventually. I now understand that she is just asking for some 'palugit' from Mommy. There are just days that I can't understand how we were able to wean from bottle-feeding on schedule. We did it cold turkey and she never made it difficult for us.

Oh well, we will get there. For now, I guess I will have to remind myself that there are just certain habits that are really hard to break. And it's even more difficult if they are habits that bring you so much comfort. What's a kid to do? It's a big world out there, everything's just so new and the thumb is the closest best friend there is.

If you're dealing with the same issue as me, I'm sharing here two articles from Dr. Sears and BabyCenter that you might find useful. If you've successfully kicked out this habit, I'd appreciate you sharing your personal tips as well. Thanks for taking time to read this post. 
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