how to keep a tropical igloo from melting :)

Fan Club

30 July 2011

Yesterday we did another skype call with Pappy and auntie. Buchi proudly showed his Auntie Hippie his workbook, who in turn told him he had done a great job (talk about boosting confidence). The first time Buchi wrote the letter E, I was so excited and I drew a star beside it. Now, whenever he finishes a task he always asks me if what he did deserves a star. I want to put stars all the time (as a mom, you think anything your child did is the best in the world) but since we are homeschooling him I also wanted to be objective. My cousin Jola, who is a preschool teacher and a great mom, shared that she would encourage her kids more and avoid negative comments as much as possible. I try to keep that in mind when Buchi and I are having lessons. When he asks if he wrote his O’s correctly (and they look like eggs),  I say I’m proud he can write letters and through practice he’ll write beautifully. There’s also variety in how I evaluate his work: aside from stars I draw emoticons, suns, hearts and musical notes.

Even before Buchi was born he has had a fan club comprising of two loyal members: me and his Tatay. When he said hello to the world his fan base grew: my siblings, his Mamita, his Pappy, his Lolo. Friends and relatives occasionally say nice things about him (positive comments are always welcome) I don’t expect everyone to love my kid as much as I do, of course. I’m lucky that I have wonderful siblings who adore him and encourage him to do his best all the time.

The other day Buchi called Pappy to show him that he could play basketball very well. Auntie Hippie, Tito Benj and Pappy clapped every time he scored a point. Last week we were solving puzzles and we were racing against time. After the game, he said in the vernacular: “I will show Mamita next time that I’m very good with puzzles and she will kiss me and tell me I’m great.” Buchi also knows that his Lolo is always the first to say that he’s a smart boy.

Yesterday Buchi asked me why he had so many names. He has three given names plus one nickname. Eug and I fondly call him Buchi. He gets called “baby”, “babe”, “kulit”, “little guy”, “sweetheart” and “darling”. My answer: A person who has many names is well-loved. (I got this from my mom, but I’m not really sure if I said the adage correctly). Anyway, he got the point.

There is too much negativity in the world today. When he grows up people will tell him that he isn’t the most handsome guy, that he’s not smart enough, not strong enough, not good enough. But hopefully that wouldn’t matter when that time comes. He received and re all the love and encouragement from the people who are important to him. That being said, I think that every child should have their own fan club to cheer him on.

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Kid’s polite words

When Buchi first said the words “Thank you” I was so happy. He was a little over a year old and we’ve been repeating the words several times a day so that he would pick this up. Every time he would receive a gift, we would ask him nicely to say thank you. I noticed these past few days that he says thank you without much prodding. He even thanks me for helping him brush his teeth (Will he still be this grateful when he’s a teenager?)

This week he learned a new sentence: “No, Thank you.” When he was throwing a tantrum I asked him if he wanted to spend some time standing in the corner. He says, “No, thank you mama.” I found it really funny. I tried so hard not to laugh.

Now if only he would say “Please” more often, I would be such a proud parent. For now, we still have to remind him to say the “magic word”. There’s a cool game in Nick Jr that helps them spell and remember the word “Please”.

Teaching him to be polite has made me more conscious of what I say and do. I think the best way to impart the importance of respect is by being a good example. This is easier said than done 🙂

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do i homeschool my kid? (Part 1)

When I was pregnant with Buchi, I stumbled upon a website on reasons for homeschooling. I thought the news in featured in the site was a bit hilarious amusing, but it got me thinking. Is it really possible for me to homeschool my kid? Homeschooling was not a popular topic among friends and relatives so even if I wanted to homeschool my kid, so my first concern was:

Pic Source

Who do I go to for advice? I searched the web for more resources and there was indeed a plethora of blogs about unschooling, free materials, forums, etc.

When Buchi turned two, a lot of my relatives were bugging me to start shopping for a school. My husband and I honestly did not want him to start school just yet. My cousin is a preschool teacher and she says that some of her students are as young as 1.5 years old (yikes!) In my mind, am I the only parent who isn’t eager to send her kid to school? Was there something wrong with me? This prompted me to attend a school fair (i got all the pamphlets and did research on all the schools) and we ended up trying out a Gymboree class. We enrolled him in the play & learn, music and art classes for a few months and we really had fun. I like the idea of parents doing activities with your kids. (although there were a lot of kids who were accompanied by their nannies). And they really have a safe and cool playground.

One day, I had this crazy idea of recreating music and art classes at home. I stocked up on lots of colored paper, pens, glue and other artsy stuff. We are all music lovers in the family so we sing and dance everyday. No need to go to preschool for now if we can learn art and music and the alphabet and numbers at home…

—- to be continued… —

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How do you celebrate birthdays?

In our family we usually celebrate the 1st, 7th, 13th and 18th birthdays with parties. All years that fall in between have simple celebrations. No birthday is ever complete without a cake, blowing candles and singing “Happy birthday”.

My aunt who passed away years ago made some of the most awesome home-baked cakes. I wish I had pictures.

Ever since we were kids, Mama always tried to bake our birthday cakes but this was of course not always possible since she had her hands full with 5 children and no nanny. But with her first grandchild, she went all out.

Crazy Spongebob

Spongebob Squarepants looks a little bit kooky here. Except the cardboard, everything else is edible. =)

Lotso from Toystory 3

The little one was about to pounce on his cake even before we could get a good picture of it. Underneath all that icing is good yummy chocolate cake.

As a kid, I always looked forward to my birthday. Now that I have a kid of my own, it’s so much more fun celebrating birthdays. The nice part about it is the little one doesn’t care how much his gifts cost or how many guests came to  his party, he’s just happy to know it’s a special moment and that he can get away with (almost!) everything that day. =)

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Outgrowing toys

My husband and I decided to take the little one (two years old) to the movies when Toy Story 3 came out in 3D. He watched the first two films in DVD and loved them. We were so happy he sat through the entire movie without pee breaks or tantrums. The movie is basically about the soon-to-be-college-boy Andy parting with his toys and how the toys cope with this milestone in a child’s life.

So fast-forward to the part where the toys end up in boxes for donation or for storage: this particular scene gave me an idea of what to do next with some of the little one’s toys. The next day, I am cleaning out his toy chest and out goes the Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack donuts, Fisher-Price Stack and Roll cups, stuffed animals, musical sea turtle, lots of rattles and squeaky toys. I ask the little one if he’s ready to say goodbye to these toys. He nods and says the toys are for babies. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

So what to do with toys your child has outgrown?

1. KEEP. All the toys go into one box and kept in the attic. If you still have the original box of each toy, it would be a lot easier to store. Due to limited storage space, I throw out the boxes of toys once they’re opened and keep only the manuals/warranties/instructions that come with it. I used to keep the boxes of my Barbie dolls and it turned out to be a good decision, since these dolls are already considered collector’s items. If you think you’ll have children in the future, it would be practical to keep toys. I keep personal favorites (those given by family or the favorite toys of the little one)

2. GIVE AS PRESENT. In our family it is okay to receive hand-me-downs especially if it is a toy that is hard-to-find or if it’s a memorable one that’s hard to part with. We even give them as gifts (these toys are in perfect condition, complete with box and manuals) to younger siblings, nephews, nieces and children.

3. SELL. We have a scrabble set at home which was bought in a garage sale for a dollar , it is portable and I have not seen it sold in any of the stores in the mall (even if I did, it probably wouldn’t cost a dollar). So if the toys are still in good condition, you can build a new “toy fund” by selling old ones through garage sales or via online (eBay, Multiply, etc.)

4.  DONATE. When my youngest brother turned 8, my mom decided to give a lot of our toys to the children of our household help. Charity begins at home, right? We let them choose first which toys they liked and the rest went to an orphanage. It is a wonderful feeling to see the eyes of kids light up when they see toys and it’s heartwarming to see your teddy bear find a new home. Christmas is a good time to donate toys since there a lot of foundations organize drives at this time of the year.

5. RECYCLE. As a rule, we don’t donate toys that are broken and can no longer be played with. After all, what’s the point in giving something that can be hazardous and useless. My brother used to throw all his toys around and take things apart to put them together again (which never happened). He ended up with a toy chest filled with parts and pieces. Instead of throwing these away and add up to the garbage problem, one can segregate and recycle.

This is my favorite toy, which I can’t seem to part with: Barbie Rapunzel.

What’s yours?


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