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Thursday, January 31, 2013

On Expressing Love (that lasts forever)

While on the topic of age this morning at the breakfast table, I verbalized a bubble thought to my charming little miss:

side story: Tomorrow is Ate Inday's birthday and we are preparing for a little salu-salo of pancit and pichi-pichi tonight since we anticipate that we'd (the hubs and me) be worthless the entire day tomorrow in preparation for our marathon (we're running a full marathon at the Skyway come midnight of Feb 3rd). The little miss is very excited to celebrate with Ate Inday and she's laid out her wishes already (as if it's her birthday no?). She wants a birthday cake for the birthday celebrant and would want little loot bags to go with it (stuffed with ice 'pumps', 2 pieces of chocolates and I forgot what else but she was pretty specific about what she wanted to see in the loot bags). I then asked her if she knows how old Ate Inday is already and she just proceeded to count till 30. Here's the rest of our conversation (again I'm doing it in Tagalog because I wanted to quote everything verbatim):

M: Mas nauna si Daddy mag birthday kay Ate Inday! Di ba, Daddy?
Me: Ilang taon na ba si Daddy?
M: Ilan nga ba Daddy?
T: 34.
M: 30 si Ate Inday (ate inday is her yaya and she is really not 30, she just believes she is). Si Daddy 34. Mas madami yun.
T: E ikaw, 4 pa lang. Madami ka pa ika-count.

then i threw in the question of the day:
Me: 'Nak, pag 34 na kaya ikaw love mo pa din kami?
no hesitations what so ever:
M: OO!. 
T: Hanggang kelan mo kami love?
T: Hehehe. Di mo pa kasi alam ang forever ano 'nak?

I just love sweet morning talks like this.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Train 'Em Young - Helping With Household Chores

This past week kid has been showing A LOT of interest at helping with simple household chores. And who are we to reject her offer for help?

Apart from the never-ending downpour of  hows and whys and the occasional tug-of-war on who gets her way, I am really loving this stage in her childhood. She's starting to show signs of real independence. And by real I mean, she can now play on her own for instance. We only need to watch from a distance but she doesn't bug (and insists) us anymore to play with her. We're lucky to be surrounded by kids (most of whom are within the same age range as her) who are ever-ready to jump into a play invite anytime of the day. Our home is always a mess. But I've always embraced kid's mess as a happy mess so there's no issue there.

And then these came along - volunteering to help assemble sandwiches for snacks, stepping in to slice the cheese while Ate or Mommy is cooking spaghetti, moping occasional spills on the floor, washing the dishes, sweeping her food crumbs off the dining floor area, watering the plants, folding her clothes, packing away her toys without being told. (As I type this, I find myself amazed with how this list has grown)

And I hope to add here soon - doing her homework independently. But I'm in no hurry. I am more than willing to wait. The thought of it just excites me (just a little bit).

Happy news we received from her class adviser too - she was picked to be one of the two students to represent her class to a sandwich-making contest next week. We are the proudest parents.

fixing herself some easy breakfast.
she does this without help from anyone in the household.
refusing to sleep yet,
i told her to go and help ate inday fold newly laundered clothes and she didn't hesitate
first thing she said after saying her morning prayer, "I'll make you coffee Mommy!"
volunteering to wash the dishes after breakfast this morning
(i came out of the bathroom and saw her propped on a chair, already soaping the plates and mugs)
washing her *Babbie's clothes with her cousin (*current fave doll)
I can see that the two summers she spent in St. Michael has indeed made a big impact on how she views chores. Seeing all this development really makes my heart swell. It makes me feel like I am doing things right. Because my first goal really before she learns all the complicated stuff in school is to see her being able to take good care of herself. To me the way to achieve that is to encourage kids to do their share of chores at home (it's messy, but to avoid stressing myself I view that mess simply as part of their learning process). And we do seem to be heading to that direction, don't we?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Arts-N-Crafts: A Handmade Storybook (with sight words)

Arts and crafts time is always a fun time for me and my little miss. I guess, what makes it fun and more interesting is because I'm a newbie crafter myself so we're both learning on our activities as we go along. When I plan an activity however, I am not targeting to develop any particular skill. I'm mostly into the fun factor of it...and later on would just realize that we in fact touched based with a certain skill (was that fine motor, wow nice. or hand-eye coordination maybe? great job, mom!).

Now that my kid is a preschooler, I told myself to plan activities that would relate to her class's current lesson well mainly for practical reasons (it will save us some review time during the school week) and also to eternally ingrain in her the idea that LEARNING is A LOT of FUN. So I try to sneak in bits of school stuff into crafts time so it becomes sort of a review as well without her realizing it. 

This last quarter, the kid is already expected to read sight words and a few 3-letter words (CVCs - consonant, vowel, consonant is what that means. I've been seeing that acronym on several review materials but only learned what it actually meant just recently. See, I'm learning a bit or two in this preschool adventure as well). I had a light-bulb moment the other day while we were reviewing for her oral exam on CVCs. While I was listing down the words, I thought it might help her remember if I drew a picture next to the word (I am a lousy illustrator but thankfully, my kid never complained about my drawings). And true enough, within an hour she mastered all 10 words. So I thought, it might be a great idea to introduce the other sight words to her in the form of a story book. 

The proud author of BABY BEAR GOES TO A PICNIC
I initially intended to do the story book by myself and maybe just enlist the kid's help in the cutting and pasting process but this project turned out to be 80% all hers, and 20% (even less as I'm thinking about it now) mine. I merely did the cutting of the paper and binding (and maybe half of the storyline because she eventually changed it to her own version), everything else was her doing. 

The materials we used here, we all had on hand. In fact, they were mostly scraps from previous projects that we did. 

- Cardboard (for the cover) cut in half
- Bond paper/typewriting paper, cut in half
- Googly eyes (2 pairs)
- permanent markers
- newpaper/magazine cut outs
- string

tools - scissors, glue, puncher

I'll let each of the story book page speak from this point on. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You Will Always Remain My Little Genius

Even if I bore a little girl 'duduy' or a boy 'duduy', you will forever remain my little genius princess. (I'm pretty sure daddy and I will eventually come up with something witty to call the little duduys if ever we'll be blessed with more) And I would like to apologize for feeling sad about how you were faring in school lately (especially yesterday). I forgot again. THAT YOU ARE JUST 4. And you're supposed to act like any normal 4 year old should. What's a normal 4-year-old supposed to do anyways?


No matter how low the grades that you bring home, you will always remain my little genius princess. Because  despite your struggles between adding bananas and candles and lollipops to subracting trees and cows and what-nots, I couldn't just disregard all those little amazing things you did beyond the four walls of your classroom. You are my extraordinary little artist, my big daydreamer, my eager storyteller. 

Reposting an excerpt from a post from my favorite parenting site, A Magical Childhood (What Should A 4-Year Old Know):

"So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.
    1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
    2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
    3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
    4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
    5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.
But more important, here’s what parents need to know.
    1. That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
    2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
    3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
    4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
    5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them."
I love you little miss genius. I love you very much.

Math Dilemma

Do you ever get tired of reading about my motherhood rants?

Well, I can't blame you really. I get tired of listening to myself too sometimes. 

Like today for example. I just came back from vacation and yet, I'm starting to let the worries creep in already. I'm supposed to let the smell of the salty breeze linger for a long time but here I am feeling miserably low. 

Kid went home with a 1 out 10 score in a Math seatwork today. They were freaking doing subtraction already. At 4, she's already doing subtraction and addition?#$!#$! Yes, she unfortunately is. I think I started doing subtraction when I was already in Grade 2? I'm not so sure. But I know it was never in Kindergarten.

The thing is, I can't blame the kid for not paying attention to the lesson. But I can't help but feel bad either at how she has been faring in class lately. Eversince they started with addition, it's been a downhill trip for her since. 

I was a math wiz in school (or so I think). In fact, I was with our high school Math Olympiad team. Although I never enjoyed Differential Calculus, I didn't fail either so I think it's safe to say that me and Math were really good friends the entire time I was in school. But I know things like this are never genetic. Some kids were just probably born to love Math and others well, other subjects except Math. (The little miss is really into drawing and she's doing extremely well at it, as most adult friends would commend her artworks).

I tried every trick possible for her to focus on our math lessons at home but the bad days always outweigh the good ones. Days like that always make me feel like a useless piece of mommy crap. 

I don't really demand this little miss to excel academically. I still stand by my resolve to let her find her passion. But I wanted her to just be able to go with the flow of things. To just be able to keep up (if you know what I'm saying). And by that, I mean just be average. (yes I stand by this too: AVERAGE IS THE NEW #1. And I'm not ashamed to say that I made that up for my daughter's sake). But at the rate we're going, we're way below average. We're failing, I fear.

Oh dear little miss, when you read this later please know that Mommy is desperately trying to sort through things. We are both groping in the dark. But I hope we'll eventually find a technique that will work for us both. 

Did your preschoolers ever had problems with Math? If yes, how did you deal with it? Help!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Photoblog: White Beach, Boracay

I will reserve the detailed account of the little miss's three-day adventure here in Boracay for later (when I finally get to sit down and log into a computer). But let me just share with some of the photos I took yesterday. Mr. Sun was very kind to us and he came out just when we got to White Beach (which is really the most popular among all the strips of beaches surrounding the island of Boracay). Lucky little miss!

She's loving this vacation to bits obviously. We had the hardest time prying her off the beach. If you've been to Boracay I'm sure you know exactly why she doesn't want to leave.

I've been flooding my Instagram account with lots and lots of photos. I was sort of the designated photographer/security officer/goffer for this trip because I chose not to invade the waters (mostly due to my lack of confidence on wearing a swimsuit that is designed for women with complete sets of breast lolz, sorry little miss for posting this on your blog). Anyways, here are more photos that I grabbed from Instagram. 

For the 2 nights that we spent in Boracay, we walked half of the length of White Beach looking for the big sand castles but apparently, they are now considered illegal and the local authorities would immediately destroy anything that the locals attempt to build (anyone here know why? the locals think 'trip lang' but I hope there's a more logical explanation to that). We came across this small one when we got to the beach early morning. When we passed by at around 11am, it was already destroyed as well.

First day at the beach. She stayed till noon time. Nognog kung nognog.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rest, Swim, Fun

Day 2 of our trip. We arrived around 130pm at the resort, checked in and immediately headedto the resort resto to grab a bite. We were all famished except for the little miss who just couldn't and wouldn't stop badgering us to tak
e her to the beach the minute she saw it (when we arrived).

Our resort is about 10-15 mins far from the main beach but it had a small beach (Bulabog beach) right in front if it. It somehow made us feel like we are staying in a private resort. And the kid just wanted to attack the sand the minute she caught a glimpse of it. 

Tomorrow we head to the main beach. The weather has veen very erratic here. In fact it was drizzling almost the entire afternoon we were all lulled to a 2hr siesta after lunch.

Ahhhh this is life!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My ABC's - First Poem Recital In Class

our ever reliable wall and the ever reliable manila paper
My little miss preschooler is going to do her first poem recitation in class today. We worked hard to memorize this simple poem for almost a week and I fervently hope her efforts pay off later. If not, she knows it's okay. At least it's good to give it a try.

Eversince she started preschool, we get the same feedback every quarter. To work on her confidence because she tends to be extremely shy and would refuse to answer questions when overcame with shyness. I once mentioned this to her pedia but was told she's probably just borne with that temperament and when she's adjusted to the school set up already she will overcome it on her own. 

Guess what? Towards this last few weeks of 2012 and especially when new year hit, she started showing signs of 'coming out of her cocoon' so to speak. She became even more verbal. I can remember several instances where she would pull the phone from us when we're talking to her grannies (as opposed to her previous dislike of talking to relatives over the phone). Of course, we still had to reprimand her for being rude but to us that's a good sign that she's now willing to talk more, engage with other people more. And I guess the best change that I've noted would be her opening up to talk about school more often. 

I will have to schedule another talk with her class adviser but I hope she noticed the improvements on our little miss just like we did.

Anyways, I'm excited to hear about how her recitation turned out today. Success or not, I do hope she would still willingly share it with us later. 

To mommy-friends who are parents to preschoolers, care to share your tricks on how to teach your kids to familiarize and memorize several paragraphs for activities like this? I actually had a difficulty taking off with this activity because I was struggling with concept of memorization. I was never good at it (I'm more of a logical thinker, I can retain things if I understand the entire concept) so I knew I am going to be lousy at teaching it. I tried to accompany it with signs (the little miss learned baby signing when she was still a baby so it would have been easy) but I didn't find time to research on how to sign the entire poem so I gave up after 2 lines. I know this is just the start of many other 'memorization' activities so I'm hoping to learn other techniques before we take on the next one.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Young Love

My 4-year old just confessed she admitted to a boy (from her shuttle service) that she's crushing on him. (insert violent bubble thought) HUWAAAAAAAAAAAAT??!>?!$#!@$!@#

"Mommy, sabi ni Ian Karl crush nya ako (insert giggle) tapos sabi ko na din crush ko din sya!"

Altogether now: ANO?@!$#!

For about 10 seconds, she left me dumbfounded. (excuse me, where the hell did you learn about infatuation little girl?) But then Ate Inday and I recovered from our daze and I was able to gather the courage to ask her if she knows what exactly that word crush means. She nodded and went to put her palms together in crushing motion. Crush = Durog. Pambihira. (you almost gave me a heart attack. little miss!)

On my way to work, I reflected on the changes that have been happening to my baby girl lately. She really has grown A LOT since she started big school. And she undeniably is picking up a lot from her new environment these days. A year ago, I would've been exaggeratedly freaked by her confession but I'm a little tempered now. And I have somehow resigned to the fact that I can't preserve her innocence forever. Of course that doesn't mean I'm cool with her dating early (really premature for me to even start thinking about it anyway, don't you think). But I would like to believe that this is just a stage in their preschool years that comes with learning/discovering the differences between the opposite sex. 

It also calms me knowing that if I ask her who that boy is, she'd announce in a heartbeat that -- "he's my best friend in school, Mommy." And he's most probably going to stay that way for a long, long time. I WILL MAKE SURE OF THAT. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Arts-N-Crafts: Birthday Card Surprise For Daddy Pogi!

Well, it wasn't actually a surprise anymore since she ruined it last week. She went to her dad announcing that we are making a card for his birthday surprise. That prompted me to ask if she understood what surprise means and apparently, surprise means gift in her preschooler vocabulary. I wanted to sit her down right away and review some words with her but I fought it hard. I thought better to let her discover the meaning of simple words for now. She will after all eventually find out what the actual meaning of the word 'surprise' is. If not, then that would probably be the right time to teach her already. 

Anyways, despite her ruining this particular surprise I still decided to go ahead with the project since we have the materials ready (thanks to Rachel and Coco's Christmas gift!) and she was pretty excited to embark with this project. It's for her Daddy Pogi after all! 

What we used for this project:
  • a piece of kraft folder
  • linen paper (green, because green is the celebrant's favorite color)
  • sequins
  • foam shapes 
  • an old photo
  • washi tape
  • metallic marker
  • scissors
  • glue gun
  • ordinary glue

How it turned out:

I won't discuss the step by step procedure anymore because really, it's just a matter of lay outing and pasting after you've gathered all the materials. The little miss picked the photo we used here herself, probably remembering fondly when this photo was taken. I would've opted to use a more recent photo though, but of course the choice is not entirely mine to take.

Here's a photo of the card. I only helped to position the photo frame but the design was entirely of her choosing. I had to also put in the glue myself because it's really not yet safe for her to handle. Ate Inday and I just helped spell out the words that she wanted to write on the card. Notice how she would put an underscore after every word. Every time we'd say 'space' she would put an underscore, we would later on realize it was because the space bar on our mobile phones and the computer key had an underscore on it. Funny kid, isn't she?

writing her promise down
Notice how she wrote the 'spaces'
this was the most interesting part of the card. i didn't expect this one.
can you guess what she drew?
this was apparently a scene from a zoo trip that the 3 of us took.
i was looking for the sun here and she told me "walang sun, kasi gabi na yan"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

No Work, All Play

I have been looking forward to December the minute the 3rd quarter of the year hit because I rarely get to spend a whole day with the little miss at home anymore. The previous days I get a time off from work were usually taken over by hospital check ups and well check ups so this December I vowed to dedicate it entirely to bonding with her. 

And that's exactly what we did. The first week of my leave, we scheduled a visit to her dad's office and watched the Christmas lights show at the Ayala Triangle before it ended it's run. I also managed to squeeze in a visit to a new dentist for the little miss (I think we can now graduate to a general dentist).

What I enjoyed the most though were the mornings that we spent strolling around our village and at the playground. Now that she's very vocal and verbal about everything that tickles her curiosity I get to share meaningful conversations with her. I also get to hear more stories about school which were very rare before. 

practicing on the scooter that 'Santa' gifted to her for Christmas
she wanted for me to get inside this thing and sit beside her
but I just couldn't fit myself into it so I just took pictures instead. haha
swinging bravely on her own.
seeing her doing things like this independently just makes my heart swell
(and skip a beat too haha!)
cruisin' like a pro (ang sarap-sarap dito Mommy! sarap ng hangin!)
True that she tried to challenge my patience in those two weeks that we spent together (almost everyday) but it was nothing that a couple of breathe in, breathe outs couldn't fix. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013!

Happy New Year! How did your 2013 welcome go?

Ours was spent quietly inside our tiny home with windows closed. I did prepare something for Media Noche but the husband and I decided to forego it so we can go to sleep immediately after all the neighbor's firecrackers have been lighted and used up. We did have fun watching the fireworks display (c/o the neighbors too) from inside the comforts of our home though. And despite being scared off initially by the loud firecrackers, our little miss eventually got the hang of all the noise a few minutes into the merriment. She also got hold of her torotots. Blew a few loud horns and proceeded to stand in the door to silently watch the remaining displays of fiery colors up in the night sky from a safe distance. 

Having lived away from my family for almost 6 years prior to getting married, I am used to these quite celebrations. I cherish it deeply, in fact, something I always look forward to at the end of the year. But I'm starting to wonder if this will ever create a lasting impression on the little miss's memory. I was hoping she would hold these quite celebrations dear but being hooked in Instagram (add me up by the way: pyxxie0703) and seeing how most of the families I know are out and about welcoming the new year with a loud bang (in Eastwood, in MOA, in QC), I'm starting to doubt my intentions. Maybe when she's grown she would label her parents as boring. But really, the reason why we prefer to stay at  home is because we wanted to raise a kid who appreciates simple things. And who values family first and foremost. Because to the husband and me who takes pride on those two things - appreciation of simple things and a high regard for family - quite celebrations are what we deem to be the grandest of all. That's our primary intention. But I can only hope for now that she picks those up. 

However, wherever you celebrated your the coming of the new year, I hope you had a blast. If you're out there partying, please know I'm not judging. Someday, when the kid is older I would want to try that too. For now, I will take the smile she had on her face while blowing those torotots as a sign that yes, she had fun spending it quietly it us. I should probably just add more tradition/s (maybe picking one special menu to cook with her) next year so I could ensure she remembers something from this part of her childhood.

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