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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cat Scratch and Rabies

There came a point when I thought I would become immune to medical emergencies and that nothing would scare me anymore. But each time my daughter is subjected to one, I'd still be overwhelmed with tension and anxiety.
Hoping this will be the last time this card will ever be updated
Monday was an extra day off for us because of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Tibs and I already had a wonderful plan in mind on how we would be spending that day - Breakfast Al-fresco, Couch Potato Time, Afternoon Gardening + Arts and Crafts with Maia. I'm beginning to think planning is not really something that works for our family because just a minute after we're done with breakfast, I heard Maia wail in pain. I ran to see what's wrong and saw the cat scratches on her right foot. My first thought was, MAN THEY ARE BLEEDING. Then Nov 2010 came flashing back to me. On Nov 2010, Maia was bitten on the hand by a stray little kitty that she picked up and went all giddy with. Kitty was of course not happy with the gesture so she went for Maia's hand. It was just a puncture wound but I was told cat bites are even more dangerous than dog bites.

I panicked and felt almost like a headless chicken. I didn't know what to do. Rabies is such a scary thought normally associated with death. I texted our Pedia and I was told to go to the nearest Animal Bite Center. I had no idea where that was so I went and searched in the internet. We have one at the City hall but since it was a holiday (and already past 6pm) that wasn't a good option. RITM was also just 30 mins away but they too only accept patients during office hours. After about an hour of swimming in worry, I sat down, organized my thoughts and forced myself to calm down. I decided to read/research more on first aid tips for animal bites and wait for the following morning. Although I felt it was something urgent, at that point I also thought there was really nothing else I can do. We have limited resources not having our own car to mobilize us in searching for bite centers.

LIGHT-BULB MOMENT FOR ME: Make a list of emergency numbers - hospitals, clinics, doctors, ANIMAL BITE CENTERS, Police Station, Fire Station. What else am I missing?

My first instinct was to secure the cat so we immediately bought a cage to place the cat in. We wanted to keep it healthy for observation in the next few days. Meanwhile, we tended to the puncture wound. Made sure it was clean. The following day we headed to the municipal bite center over at the Dasma City Hall. When we got there, we were told that Maia's bite was a Cat III. She was to be administered the full course of the post-exposure treatment. If I recall it correctly, the first day (day 0) Maia received 7 shots on the puncture site itself and one anti-tetanus shot on the shoulders. It was really heartbreaking. But it needed to be done. The succeeding visits (day 3, day 7 and day 28) were a lot better. On the last day actually, it seemed like the little girl was already immuned to the needles so there was no need to restrain her. I remember asking the municipal health officer then how long is the effectivity of the vaccine and if my memory serves me right, it was good for 5 years. I felt relieved but thought I really didn't need to know because I will never let that happen again.

Well, I thought wrong again. Last week, I was torn -- do I take blindly the information that I was told or do I bring the little girl back to a bite center. I scoured the web again for something that can help me decide and I chanced upon this very informative write up from WHO. Here's a summary of the recommended treatment and the bite categories:

Table: Recommended post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies infection

Category of exposure to suspect rabid animalPost-exposure measures
Category I – touching or feeding animals, licks on intact skin (i.e. no exposure)None
Category II – nibbling of uncovered skin, minor scratches or abrasions without bleedingImmediate vaccination and local treatment of the wound
Category III – single or multiple transdermal bites or scratches, licks on broken skin; contamination of mucous membrane with saliva from licks, exposures to bats.Immediate vaccination and administration of rabies immunoglobulin; local treatment of the wound
After that first brush with animal bite, I immediately made a shortlist of the nearest hospitals that housed bite centers. After reading this, we dressed and brought the little girl to the nearest bite center in St. Dominic Medical Center in Bacoor. When we got there, they examined the wound and confirmed to us that she indeed needs to be administered the booster shots. They were to be administered in Day 0 and Day 3. The nurse commended me for keeping Maia's vaccine records. He said that had I lost it, we would probably have been advised to undergo the entire full course of vaccinations again. I heaved a sigh of relief and whispered a prayer of thanks.

Maia already finished the 2 shots. She tells me each time she was given the vaccine that she's mad at me and at the kitty. But all that was immediately erased by a trip to the nearby McDonald's store for her chicken fix. Yes, she's mababaw like that.

What are the lessons I learned from all this? Well, a lot. I'm glad I've already gotten rid of the guilt but I do wish I have more guts to let go of the cats. We have two kitties who were strays but we've had them for almost 3 years now. How do I get rid of them? I really do not have any idea. If only we have money to give them anti-rabies shots, that would solve my problem but for now we don't, so the only prevention we know is for the little girl to stay away from them. I am darn hoping she has also learned her lesson/s.

I don't wish for anybody to be in this situation but just in case you'd fall in the same situation here's a long list of helpful, informative reads. Please click here. The first aid tips we got from the nurses were:

- make sure the wound is washed and cleaned well. apply disinfectant and dress with a gauge bandage if the wound is big.
- if you can safely keep the animal for observation, please do. 
- go to the nearest bite center as soon as you can. (from Maia's vaccination card: Proper treatment of possible exposure to rabies includes the earliest administration of potent cell culture vaccine and immunoglobulin)

If you live near our area (Molino-Dasmarinas Cavite) and is at a loss on where you can go, here's a list of the bite centers that I know:

Asia Medic Family Hospital and Medical Center
Phone: (046) 416-1110
Old Pala-pala Road, Sampaloc I
Dasmarinas, Cavite 4114

St Dominic Medical Center 
Phone: (046) 417-2525/(046) 417-2539/(046) 417-2520
Aguinaldo Hi-Way, Talaba,
Bacoor, Cavite

City Government of Dasmarinas Animal Bite Center
Phone: (046) 416 0095 loc 194
Dasma City Hall
Dasmarinas City, Cavite 4114

Here's a full list of ANIMAL BITE CENTERS in the Philippines.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Maia's Take on More Fun In The Philippines

Maia has been a commuter since she was a little baby. We do not own a car so we made damn sure the little girl enjoys her time while commuting with us. Always.

She's probably ridden almost all types of transportation available in the country (although she has yet to take the RORO). Having parents coming from the opposite parts of the country (Tibs being a Kapampangan and Me a Visayan), she pretty much used to travelling and commuting on long trips. Of all the available transport in the country, Maia's favorite is the jeepney. She hates any ride that is air-conditioned though. So I should probably me more specific with this...she loves riding open-windowed jeepneys! And does she enjoy it? Extremely would always be the answer. When we go home to Pampanga, she would demand we ride a jeepney instead of the bus. I wish we could, she'd probably go nuts with the scenery (since she's always asleep half of the way so she's always missing most of the greens along NLEX).

So, despite being quite late - has it been more than a week? - already (the hype has definitely gone down) here's our contribution to the latest DOT tourism campaign. See for more details.

Cruising along McArthur Hi-way inside her favorite ride (couldn't find the Harabara font in Photoscape so I grabbed the closest font I could get)

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Down, A Few More To Go

Last Friday, Maia and I went back to get the results of her first assessment exam in Statefields School in Bacoor. And yes! she passed it. She was so proud of herself. She repeatedly told me she's so ready for school. Well, you will have to wait a little bit more little girl. But it will come soon!

One down, __ more to go! Lolz
Here's a few photos I took of Maia on our last visit. I had more time in my hands so I was able to take photos.

Waiting patiently at the lobby while I pay for our reservation fee
If you are planning to enroll your child in Statefields, here are a few tips for you:

- Inquire early. My mommy friend Erlaine and I inquired as early as November because Statesfields preschool has very limited slots (for nursery they only accept up to 45 students per school year. That's 15 students per section and they only have 3)

- Complete and submit your requirements as soon as you can. I completed and submitted our requirements all in one day so I had the freedom to choose the dates for Maia's assessment exam.

- Choose a time and day where your child would be in her most comfortable state. Maia is up early and is uber-energetic in the mornings so I took the first morning schedule they had. We set it a week after the holidays so that she's slowly gotten back to her normal, daily routine.

- Reserve as soon as you get the results. The slots are filled up early so it's best to reserve even if you aren't fully decided yet to enroll. Reservation fee is only for P500 and is deductible on the tuition fee on enrollment day. It's non-refundable though. We aren't fully decided yet. We would want to check at least 2 to 3 more schools before we make the decision but we would feel really awful if we lose our spot so we decided to reserve as soon as we got the positive results.

Feeling estudyante na!
I gotta see what's new first mom. Wait lang.
Pagod na ako eh. Upo muna tayo.
We're off to check a few more schools in the coming months. It's a good thing the other schools that we are eyeing are not as tight as Statefields so we're more relaxed now. Oh by the way, another tip probably is for you to stock up on lots of 1x1 ID pictures and birth and baptismal certificate copies (you will need at least a copy of the original and several photocopies). I need to work on mine since I didn't make a lot of copies the first time. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The School Hunt Begins

We started our hunt for Maia's pre-school already. Last Monday, she took an assessment exam at Statefields School in Bacoor. I was a frantic momma after realizing I never even bothered to check what was needed during the assessment exam. I panicked when I saw that I was supposed to prepare pencils and an eraser but didn't bring any. So much for my being a stage momma. 

Fortunately, the teachers were really nice and despite us arriving a few minutes later than schedule they still accomodated the uber-excited Maia. I didn't get to catch my breath anymore and say my proper goodbye before she went into the room for her exam because she was immediately whisked inside. She bid me bye-bye and I hastily gave my goodluck.

We were then told to wait for them in the lobby. I panicked again fearing she might cry when she starts looking for me and would not see me seated just outside of the assessment room where she left me earlier. I had no choice though so I waited with my mommy friend Erl and her hubby at the school's lobby. Guess what? My fears were unfounded because the little miss enjoyed her time so much that she really took a full hour with the teacher. I was told she was able to answer all the questions that were thrown to her and managed to even sing and dance with the teacher. **proud momma moment**

We didn't stay long after that because we decided to check out another school nearby (well, not really near but it was only about 15 mins away by car from where we live so it's still okay). The school is Westhill International School in Salitran (Dasma, Cavite) and it is leaning more on the progressive approach as compared to Statefields' traditional method. We went directly to the registrar's office and we were assigned a teacher to tour us around. We were lucky to have visited during a school day so we were able to see how the kids were inside the classroom. 

Questions we raised (well it was mostly Erl who raised the questions because I was busy chasing after my super hyper little girl) during our school tour -

1. How many students are there in one class?
2. How many teachers are there to supervise the class?
3. What are the major school activities that the kids are usually required to participate in?
4. Are the kids required to go on fieldtrips? If yes, where usually?
5. What teaching principle do you follow?
6. What other extra-curricular activities do you offer for the kids?

I knew I should have been more ready with my questions and noted to write them down for our succeeding school tours/open house visits. Next up for us is the open house at Elizabeth Seton School in Imus, Cavite. Erl and I would like to visit as many schools in our area as we can so that we can pick the best choice when it's already time for us to make a decision. There is also this school much nearer to our place - Scuola Sorelle Faoili - that my aunt is recommending me to check out. We might add this to our list as well along with The Palmridge School in Imus.

We still have a few months to go although at SSI, we are required to make a decision early so we're weighing things out. Right now, having come across this very helpful article in, I am trying to research more on the types of teaching approaches and find out what approach would best fit my daughter. 

For now, our major considerations would be:

- Accessibility. How far is the school from our home?
Teaching approach. Which approach best fits my daughter's learning style. My first choice is really Waldorf. But neither of the two schools nor the kindergarten are anywhere near where we live so I will have to shelf that for now.  It doesn't seem right for me to be subjecting my 3 year old toddler to more than an hour of travel just to be in school. But I'm still keeping my options open with this one.
- School Environment and Safety. Will my child be safe when she's in school? How tight is security? Is the environment conducive for learning?
- Finances. How will choosing this school impact our finances? Can we afford the tuition fee and sustain it for the next few years at least?

This list would probably grow longer as I progress on my research. I know that choosing our child's school is one of the major decisions that we will ever be making for her. With the proper research, I am hoping my husband and I would be able to make the most appropriate (if not the best) choice.

First school tour at SSI last Nov 2011

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Daddy's Corner: Truckie from Trash

Yes, Maia is a girl. But we would like to teach our kid gender equality even at this early age, so we let her play with whatever kid-friendly toy she pleases. 

I guess my being a pack rat (and a lover for trash - no pun intended) has somehow rubbed on my husband that nowadays when he sees unused boxes he immediately thinks of making a toy out of it for Maia.

So today, as we were packing away Christmas decors and making some space to store our Christmas tree in our bedroom he found a small box that he thought would be great to make a truck out of. Maia is of course excited. Despite her being a girl, yes she's a big fan of Cars too. And there was a point in her babyhood when she loved watching all types of vehicles pass by. When we were having a hard time putting her to sleep, her dad would take her out to see the truckies and cars and come home with a baby quietly sleeping in his arms.

So anyways, from that 2 small boxes, 3 tissue paper rolls and a couple of metal fasteners he was able to come up with this:

Hey there, Mr. Truckie. You need a paint job!
Fasteners from my craft box. I knew they would come in handy!
The little girl is now busy playing with her truckie. She's so far transported some animals for her mini-zoo. And drove Hetty, Woody, her toy blocks around for (probably) some sight-seeing. She's refused to nap because she's just too busy playing tour guide to her 'friends'. 

can you see ms. elephant in there?
taking Hetty on a spin
Oh well, she does deserve more play time after recovering from her tummy flu so I just let her be. No nap equates to an early bedtime for us anyways so it's a win-win for me. 

How's your weekend going so far?

Happy Birthday to our Daddy Prince!

Yes Maia calls her dad her Prince. And of course, the daddy couldn't be any happier. His wish is actually to remain as her prince till she's 35. Is that strict or is that strict??? 

Well, before the two of them reach that stage where arguments already revolved around curfews and boys I'd like for both of them to enjoy each other's company to its fullest. So I try to make it a point to keep one day of the weekend sacred for family time and celebrate events like birthdays in a big way. Well big doesn't really have to mean spending so much in my vocabulary. I think it's more of the effort that was put into it that makes a celebration BIG. 
we labored on this birthday card Friday morning
we couldn't find time to do it without arousing suspicion from the bday boy
So for our daddy's birthday yesterday, we woke up extra early to sing happy birthday to him. Maia was still groggy but I managed to get her to help me set up the cake and the candles. I'm happy that despite having woken her up from a really good, snore-worthy sleep, she was so cheery. Her excitement over surprising her dad with a cake and her handmade card truly erased her sleepiness away. So we lighted the candles and went to wake the birthday boy up to make a wish and blow his birthday candles. I tried to create two 3's using the leftover candles from Maia's 3rd birthday but I didn't think I succeeded in doing that. I left it anyways afraid I'd just ruin the cake even more.

candles were supposed to be two 3's but i didn't have the skills for that. lolz
Too bad I wasn't able to take anymore pictures but I was able to capture that on video. This is the 2nd year that we've done this since Maia learned to sing happy birthday. I'm hoping we could keep doing this till she gets tired of it. (and yes, till I am able to sneak in and hide the cake from the birthday boy). 

here's a big kiss for my Daddy Prince!
Happy, happy birthday Daddy Prince! Thank you for trying to be patient with me. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for taking time to make me toys from scratch (I'm still waiting for the replacement of that doll house you made before). Thank you for teaching me to be brave. Thank you for always saying I love you to me because that taught me say I love you back. Thank you for everything. Mommy and I love you very, very much!

Birthday boy hates being photographed

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Project For Her Prince

I had a really grand plan (this crafting thing has really bitten me big-time) for this little surprise of ours but tummy flu got in the way so we had to settle for this. At least in was still handmade. I hope Maia's prince will like it because the little miss really did make the effort to prettify it. 

She's really excited to hand this over to our birthday boy tomorrow. (times like this I'm happy my husband never reads this blog. lolz)

She sealed it with a kiss, Daddy Prince! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stricken By Stomach Flu

The little miss is currently having a big bout with stomach flu. I was up at 1am yesterday monitoring her since she's been vomiting (she threw up 3x before breakfast). This morning she held on to my hand when I was bidding her goodbye. She requested that I spend a few more minutes holding her hand. She dozed off while I was lightly rubbing her back. I kissed her and immediately left after that because I knew if I was to stay longer I won't have the heart to leave her anymore. I am desperately trying to keep my focus so I won't give in to this desire to go home and personally tend to my sick little girl. I already took a day off from work yesterday to bring her to the Pedia so I really do not have that luxury to take another day off. 

Luckily our Pedia thought there's no need for any medications yet and instead told us to just keep hydrating BUT was instructed to immediately bring her to the ER if the vomiting persists. My little girl has already developed a fear of hospitals having been confined several times already before she turned two. Last year was a lot better and we were hoping we will be taking a long break from needle pricks, IV insertions and sleeping in hospital beds. Having understood already what her pedia said yesterday, she's been fighting her sickness real hard. She finally got some food in during lunch yesterday and took a few spoonfuls again for dinner last night. I was so happy she didn't throw up. This morning she was hungrier than usual. She took a bite of my peanut butter sandwich and ate almost half a cup of rice + egg for breakfast. But I guess the peanut butter didn't go well with her still sensitive tummy so she pooped immediately after breakfast. Then on my way to work, the nanny called to tell me she threw up a little bit when she woke up from her nap. Sigh.

She's been taking Glucolyte and is active but I'm really really hoping the vomiting and pooping will really stop. She's been through enough. And it breaks my heart hearing her say, "ayaw ko na. ayaw ko na" while desperately trying not to vomit.

Please pray she gets better. She's still thinking of making her dad a birthday card for his birthday this weekend.

Please be well already little girl. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Great Find/Arts-N-Crafts: Art Voyage

My holiday break from work was extended till today. After breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse early this morning, I didn't know how else I can keep the little girl's hands busy. She was getting bored fast and I wanted to steer her attention away from the TV so I took her with me to run some errands. A stopover to the nearby Hypermart branch was necessary and learning that got her even more excited. I decided to drop by National Bookstore since I was thinking I might find some lacing beads there. We initially used macaroni on a lacing activity but the one we had at home was the elbow kind and she was having a hard time getting the thread out of the macaroni shell. Too bad for me, the NBS branch here didn't have any beads that we can use so I just let her roam around the store instead. She spent a lot of time browsing through the Adarna/Tahanan books section. But while walking around the store, this box caught my attention. ART VOYAGE it said. I took one out of the shelf to check it out. It look intriguing enough so I got the box with the #1 on it and paid for it.

a box full of surprises
Top - list of activities (A lot!)
most of the materials needed on every activity came with the box.
we only needed to provide the crayons and the glue. 
When Maia saw it, she couldn't wait to get home and open it. But good thing she fell asleep on our way home. When she woke up from her nap this afternoon, guess what she immediately remembered? The Art Voyage box! 

So we opened it and she couldn't wait to get started. She chose the page first and it took her almost an hour to finish! I couldn't be happier because this activity had her full attention she forgot to turn the TV on. This set had enough activities to last for the entire week. I'm planning to complete all 6 of them (the box says there is an A-B and then a 1-3). Every page contains a different activity so I'm optimistic this will keep her curiosity up and buy us plenty of TV time off. I still have a couple of crafting activities in mind but I'm saving them for our lazy weekends so Tibs can also participate. 

Fresh from her nap, she immediately got down to work on her first Art Voyage activity

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How Many Friends Do I Have, Mommy?

During playground time yesterday afternoon, the little miss threw me that question. So before she took the slides, we counted how many friends she has here in our village. She enumerated all the friends she's known since she was a baby and when we got to #8, she smiled and happily announced - 'I HAVE MANY FRIENDS, MOM'

Oh poor baby.

I know, I know my reaction was a bit off. Hearing my daughter affirming the friendships she built should have been something nice to hear if not for the drama we had that morning.

You see, our household has been busy the entire month of December till New Year's Day. So Maia's never had a dull moment at home since the beginning of the holiday month. She's always had company at home. And we were thankful because since last June (2011) when school started, Maia's village friends have mostly graduated to being preschoolers and she'd rarely have friends over during the day anymore. There was a time when our house was almost like a daycare center with 3 or 4 kids coming over to play with Maia but afternoon company has really gone scarce this year so we really look forward to relatives coming over and play dates. 

I am digressing (bad habit really). So back to the drama yesterday morning, Maia's cousins from the Paras side are preparing to leave since the holiday vacation is already over and they will be back to school come Monday. Maia has been telling us she wanted to come with them (yes she was telling us she's okay if she leaves without us) but we didn't take it seriously. So we were a bit surprised to see her wailing her heart out when her lola and her cousin actually left the house. She was so mad at us because we didn't let her go with them. I tried to distract her but she wouldn't stop crying so I finally gave up and let us cry till she got tired. We decided we'll just talk with her when the drama is over.

When she settled and finally took my invitation to paint, I heaved a sigh of relief. Tantrums are always draining and not knowing how to pacify your kid could really turn you into a smoking momma (and you know I don't mean sexy). What's even worse is the heartbreaking fact that my kid actually told me (and her dad) she's okay leaving us behind and going away on her own with her cousins. Am I really hearing this? This soon?

Then at playtime that afternoon, that's when it hit me. My little girl is finally seeking to get her social needs satisfied. And having her cousins around to play with till nighttime was definitely the big break she needed. I reckon that the thought of being stuck with the company of adults day in and day out probably saddened her and thus leading to the question of how many kid friends she's actually got and feeling good after getting the affirmation she needed.

Oh this parenting thing is really tough. And if I don't open my mind and put myself in my kid's shoes at times, I know it's gonna be a lot tougher. So I'm happy she gave me time to suck it all in and understand her as well. I'm also happy that in the end, she realized I can also be a friend and a playmate. I hope it stays that way. Because as a parent, my goal is not only to gain my daughter's respect for my authority but also to gain my daughter's trust. Just enough for her to be able to come and talk to me freely when she's having problems - trivial or big they may be (they shouldn't matter). 

I'm glad we ended the day well yesterday and with a great, big smile from this wonderful, adorable kid I treasure so much!

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