Category: Parenting

Things I learned from my two year old

For my frequent blog readers, it is no secret how much I adore my little makulit… and how much I get tired chasing her lately. And I can’t understand how in the world, this little marionette turned us, her dear parents, into her dummies. Oh yes. In our house she IS the boss. But I am thankful. I have learned so much from her. Things I never imagine a two year old can teach me, her own mother.

LOVE is spelled as T-I-M-E. And that’s the way it’s meant to be. We learned this “earworm” (in other words, a Last Song Syndrome-song) via Hi 5, which, she religiously watches over at Disney Junior. She’s memorized the whole song, albeit her gibberish words.

Time, for Aria is synonymous to love. Living in a working parents’ household, Aria wants ALL our time for her. We pity her every crying time as we leave the doorstep for another long working day. Much as we try to maximize our weekends, more often than not, we also have work or other social engagements that we have to attend. That’s why I make it a point to go home during lunch to steal 30 minutes of so of Aria time. I like it that my work is ten minutes away from home! We nurse, cuddle, play, eat, everything! In the morning and evening, she plays with Daddy for a few minutes before waking up and going to sleep. Precious times indeed which not any of our jobs can pay off!

LESS is MORE. Aria doesn’t go to toddler school yet. And I can conclude we don’t have any plans of sending her to one. So we invested on homeschooling her. We bought iPad apps, books, toys, which have helped us one way or the other and have contributed to her vast vocabulary at 25 months.

We tend to “over-teach” Aria that she gets bored. So she controls us. Yeah. She shoos away our hands to stop lesson time cos she wants to sleep or play or eat. So now we learned to limit teaching time. Actually, there is no fixed time unlike before–three times a day every day. But amazing how she absorbs things, even when she hears or learns it only once!

Strengthen relationships. Admittedly, it is only now that my husband and I have a daughter of our own that we build, nurture, and keep relationships with our families, extended families, close friends, etc. When we can, the family of three attends parties, get-togethers, reunions, or sometimes we create an occasion just to be with our loved ones, no matter how much we’ll be spending on food. Yes, sometimes we spend more in food — GOOD food — when we have gatherings! Good company deserves good food, don’t they?

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We create occasions, like the eve of Aria’s birthday, just to be together.

She’s JUST two, they would say. She will not remember anything. But I will kill myself knowing I didn’t get to build as much memories as I can while she’s young, no matter how young. And that’s what I’ll be working on–spending more time without compromising quality and building the relationship strong as a rock.

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~ Touringkitty

Of toddlers and (very long) naps

Ever since her waking world began, Aria has sleeping issues.

No, make that, ever since in utero, Aria had sleeping issues — when she used to rock my whole body in the middle of the morning with her strong kicks and punches.

In the past two years, you could only count the times she slept on her own without having to nurse. With much excitement, I tweeted, took pics, and posted on Facebook those few precious times that she slept without the aid of the “dede!” We achieved this by rocking her, singing to her, tapping her thighs. But it’s hit or miss, and always, a miss.

As expected, her schedule is erratic during daytime. Generally she sleeps well in the evening, as long as I’m beside her for easy boob access. Sometimes she takes one morning nap of about 1 hour, then another hour of nap in the afternoon. Last month, her pattern is four to five hour naps. Yes, as long as FIVE HOURS! Imagine what time she sleeps in the evening!

Poor Nonna (my mom), who sacrifices carrying sleepyhead Aria just to make her nap as long as she wants.

The past days, she naps for no more than two hours. The shortest is about 30 minutes. If this is the case, she can sleep early, maybe around 9 or 10 PM. We could notice that she exhausts her energies first by trying to be awake and play with us until she feels really really sleepy. The vampire Aria wakes up as early as we do–at 6 AM! Sleep deprived is she, nevertheless she’s still full of energy all the time.

But this week is a different story. Few days back, my mom called me at work to tell me that Aria napped for 45 minutes. My husband came home earlier and texted Aria slept–with her nightgown already–at 6:30 PM! I came home from grocery at 9PM and she’s still asleep. My arrival was just in time for her to be half awake and look for the “dede.” So I change to my night clothes and laid down beside her to nurse–switching boob every two seconds! I hope she doesn’t wake up way too early!

Should I cut the long naps, then? My only worry is that Aria is so unpredictably cranky when she doesn’t get a good sleep, or if she is disturbed by some tiny sound. Her bionic ears are so bionic that she wakes up when we’re whispering, or when a fork moves. I pity her when she got her deep sleep and when she’s in the REM stage, even a small noise wakes her up. She ends up just crying and crying and waking up already.

One more thing is night nursing. We still aren’t successful with this. But should we really cut the night nursing at this stage? Me and my husband says not yet but some reading materials say otherwise. Surprisingly, there are nights when she asks for fresh milk instead of mommy’s milk, so we give her before sleeping.

How about you, mommies, do you sleep train? How do you do it?

~ Touringkitty

Birthday Gift to Aria

Of all the things I forgot, a gift!!!

But this one I wrote one late night in early August. Will definitely have this framed soon. In the meantime, hope you’ll read and like this, too!

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What joy, what bliss
To see our daughter grow
In our arms, in our eyes
Her body and spirit glow.

What happiness can compare
To this gem so rare
Her wit, her laughter
Our hearts she has captured.

What pride we feel
Now that she turned two
And we anticipate
More things she can do.

Happy Birthday, dearest Ariadne!
To God we pray
That you’ll be a better you
Each passing day.

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Thank you, Mom!

Thanks to TVCs, this has been my daughter’s current favorite.

Thank you, Mom!

She then rushes towards me and kisses and hugs me, saying the very same lines:

Thank you, Mom, for believing in me.

And I wish to say the same to my own mother.

Her beauty is timeless!

I have to thank her so very much for being there for my family every time we needed someone to lean on. She and my sister, actually. They have been very supportive of us and whatever we’ve been doing, and we trust them to take care of our little one when my husband and I can’t. Thank God for mothers!

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

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~ Touringkitty

23 months

Here’s to tumbling, noisy, silly toddlers, who turn our world around!

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Just look at your birthday suit. It used to be below the knee, now it’s a miniskirt!

You’re 23 months, Aria. One more and you’re truly turning two. By then you could say with much pride your introduction monologue:

“My name is Ariadne Alcantara, present! I’m two years old. I live in Asiawealth! Bow.”

But most of all, we’re proud because you can sing, just like Mommy and Daddy!

Click this link!

We’re blessed because of you, the Holy one, given to us. We love you, anak!

Your playmates forever,

Daddy and Mommy

Homeschool, sweet homeschool!

It’s June once again, and I bet most of our parents who have schoolchildren have been working doubly hard in preparation for their kids’ school. I think kids should prepare, too, by setting their body clocks to usual school mode, and the usual school routine, especially the first-timers.

Have you heard about Singapore Math and Science? I heard some schools are already adapting this method. Hmmm makes me wonder what method will be taught when Aria is in school.

As you have read in my previous post, we didn’t push through with toddler school. I know, it’s not that expensive and just a hop away from home, but Aria might not be prepared for it. Besides, toddler school is just my excuse for taking away Aria from home. She has 24/7 access to TV, DVDs, iPad, and internet at home. She does have playmates on the condo playground but she could be really makulit especially when she’s sleepy.

To make up for the supposed two hours three times a week toddler school schedule, we make each day spent with Aria a learning experience. Thus, the Schatzi Homeschool is born!

We bought additional iPad applications like Little Reader and Little Math (www.brillkids.com), bought books, toys, musical instruments, DVDs. We repeatedly sang songs, danced with her, recited the alphabet and counted to twenty. She’s got an amazing memory, anticipating the next story sequence or reciting her flash cards and repeating what she hears.

So far, at 21 months, here’s what Aria can do:

Language: simple two-word phrases of instructions like Mommy, drink/eat/dede/sleep/watch, Open please, Sit down, Let’s go, Come. Says her name as Ananee Acantara (sometimes raising her hand then says Prishent! – just like in the TVC), completed the alphabet and words that start with those letters. Here’s the alphabet song which she memorized in a few days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BELlZKpi1Zs
What’s amazing with Aria is you have to catch a perfect timing for her to learn new things. Like recently, we were able to teach her opposites like up and down, small and big, in and out.

Numbers: counts to ten very clearly, tries to hold up fingers in twos or threes, counts 11-30 but skipping, she can count five to one and says “blastoff,” just like the Little Einsteins

Music: plays the maracas, tambourine, egg shaker and toy trumpet well in constant tempo of about four to eight beats, now she’s trying the soprano recorder, sings Twinkle Little Star completely and other nursery rhymes with a few missed words, has tried strumming the guitar to the tune of Twinkle Little Star in almost perfect rhythm with Daddy fretting the chords, can identify sounds of trumpet, guitar, drums, and piano (just last Sunday during children’s choir rehearsals!) when she hears it, can mimic how an instrument is played

Gross motor: walks, runs, often carelessly so we make sure she’s a hug’s reach from us, can kick a ball strongly, can climb in and out of the crib, can jump a little though not feet together in mid-air, claps, shakes body, dances

Fine motor: blowing, toothbrushing, combing hair, flipping books and magazines, holds crayons, positions her fingers in the recorder, shakes maracas and shakers, playing the piano with one finger each key–sometimes!

Values: we teach her the Filipino “mano po” which she does with the elders at home, she packs away her toys…and takes out more toys after a split second, we teach her limits–which she isn’t that good at yet. She always wants things her way at this toddler stage, which I will from now on call as Terrific Twos because she is terrific in her own way. Since it’s Independence Day on June 12, we bought her a small Philippine flag and had been singing the national anthem every morning. Now she puts her right hand on her tummy while waving the flag mightily on the left hand!

Prayer time: says the sign of the cross (she once said while she was confined in the hospital– Father, Son, Holy Sipit, Amen. Getting there, I thought) but still doesn’t attempt to do it, recites Angel of God one new word a day, morning prayer — joins in certain words like Papa Jesus (not that clear yet), day, me, Amen.

All of these we do upon waking up, lunch time when I’m at home, and before sleeping. More learning done with her Nonna — my mom, who is so patiently taking care of my rambunctious toddler when we’re at work of have church activities. Weekends and holidays are dedicated to Aria — we eat out, go to a different place so she could discover some more, hear Mass (though oftentimes she’d just run around the church, saying hello to other kids), watch shows and concerts when it’s outdoors (she’s really talkative and reacts loudly so she can’t go inside a theater yet).

Forget toddler school! Schatzi Homeschool has started school year 2012!

~ Touringkitty

Horses on stick

Carousels are what I mean, silly minds!

Aria shrieks every time she sees carousels. Simple joys for a simple kulit kid like ours. Let the pictures take you to the carousels she has experienced so far:

At Market! Market!
At Mall of Asia.

This is where she first rode the carousel before she turned a year old, with her Dad. Undocumented, because they were alone at that time.

I had another picture, taken at Rockwell, but have to find it first.

And when she quite misses it, she does this at home:

Heart. Attack.
And loads of laughter!

It’s her Dad, by the way, forced by Aria to face down so she could ride the “tigig-tigig” and go up and down!

It’s more fun with Aria at our Schatzihaus. She has indeed become the light of this 29 sqm condo unit and of our lives as well.

~ Touringkitty

Few thoughts about parenting choices

Advanced Happy Mothers’ Day to all moms in the world! Whatever choices we make as a mother, trust that it’s best for your baby. We surely make our mother of all mothers, Mama Mary, truly happy in this wonderful day!

A few weeks ago, I told my husband how expensive it is to be a modern-day parent.

Sure, we breastfed, we attempted cloth diapering (as in the good ol’ lampin), we made our own baby food and bought only fresh veggies and fruits and meat for our toddler’s meals (no hotdogs, no processed, though sometimes we’ve succumbed to fast foods). And after doing the math, we therefore concluded it’s expensive to be a modern-day parent.

Luckily, I am now able to work full-time, thanks to my mom who volunteered to take care of our daughter (Happy Mothers’ Day, Mommy Luz! We love you!). Even my mom and I have a hard time bridging the 25-year gap of parenting a newborn, but we were able to get through it. At least that’s what I think.

Feeding the baby for the first year: breastmilk vs. formula

A manual pump would cost around P2,000. If you’ve been back after the two-month maternity leave (oh why is it so short?!), you could get a double electric pump which would cost at least P8,000. Add to that the bottles or milk bags, cooling bags and ice bags for keeping your milk fresh as you go home. Can be pretty expensive, right? That’s probably the reason why some families opt to formula-feed, which would cost around P4,000 for the powdered milk alone, not yet counting the bottles, clean water, sterilization of bottles.

Our choice: breastfeeding all the way. I would never have it any other way. I delayed full-time work for more than a year to focus on the baby mainly, but still do things that I love occasionally, like teaching, singing, and pampering of course!

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Collecting booboos down under: cloth diapers vs. disposables

My mom wanted us to try it their way: lampin. So off we bought 2 dozens of lampins and almost always, at least almost all of it gets used up within one day. After a month, we totally dissed lampins and went on to use disposables, which cost us an average of P1,000 a month. I know we’re not being environment-friendly on this one, but it was the better solution than washing off all those dirty laundry!

Nowadays, cloth diaper makers have taken a step higher, or even ten steps higher, with all those cute designs and special absorbent powers that come close to a disposable. It could be quite an investment, but many have attested to its convenience. Something to consider with the next baby.

Our choice: given that we live in a small condo unit and there are constraints in washing clothes, disposables it is. Good thing our baby likes the cheaper brand more than the expensive one!

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Feeding frenzy: freshly-made or instant?

Nowadays, almost everything comes in an instant, and we have the industrial revolution to thank for that. But we chose to give our daughter freshly made foods as her first solid foods. Every morning, we boil or steam veggies, mash it and mix with breastmilk and voila, better-than-bottled foods!

I’ve seen these gadgets that have been marketed for making baby food fast. They cost expensive and clean up could sometimes take time. What do we use then? A fork, what else!

And now there are also organic bottled foods which cost a little higher than your popular brands. I once tried but my daughter easily recognized the different taste and she didn’t like it. What I buy her is the organic cookies and puffs which she loves (and hey, their prices may be high, but it’s far better than the sugar-filled Marie!).

Now that I’m raising a toddler, her food should be always freshly cooked and nutritious. Our grocery budget sure skyrocketed (and we’re not even buying organic or free-range at that!), but my husband doesn’t mind at all. He’d prefer to spend on food, educational materials, be it iPad apps or books or toys, and vaccines which we get from her pediatrician.

Our choice: cook-it-your-own! I have learned to cook food, bake oven toaster cookies for snacks, and concoct simple desserts all from scratch!

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After all these musings, I wonder how life was when it was my lola’s time. It definitely is not that expensive as it is today. I haven’t even mentioned the choice of toys nowadays — iPad or Waldorf toys or dirt on the ground? Take your pick!

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~ Touringkitty

On sharing God’s gifts

Share your blessings, so that they will come back a hundredfold.

 

Yesterday, I shared the following status message in my Facebook account:

Today, I was fortunate to visit the baby who benefits from my excess frozen breastmilk–Baby S. One brave little girl. She’s a preemie, feeds through tube and bottle but only breastmilk is given to her. She’s made progress already, reaching 1.1kg from 0.95kg in two months!

I’m fortunate to have helped her with the two batches of milk stash I’ve given. I told the nurse who was feeding her that I’m really humbled to have helped her, and that I hope I could still save some milk for her. This while my supply is also dipping as my toddler doesn’t nurse as often as before. The nurse asked me if my baby was normal and if I was exclusively breastfeeding my own and I said yes to both. Now I realized all the sacrifices I had to do since pregnancy (despite the endless fretting) paid really really well!

As I was leaving the room, I can’t help but cry. Here I am stressing myself on the small problems about myself and the family while that little girl is fighting for her life. She’s fighting well, and with our prayers and help, she will continue experiencing the wonder of life.

Friends, please pray with me and if anyone has excess breastmilk let me know please! Every drop counts for baby S!

To the parents of Baby S, you’re doing a great job! Continue fighting with Baby S. Claim victory in God’s Name!

I may have provided for my own baby but I didn’t force myself to provide for others. I’m just lucky to have stored some intended for future use but might as well share some for someone in dire need. I didn’t ask for money, even milk bags, because I know they needed the money as well.

This post is not to brag about anything. I just want other moms to understand that’s it’s not our obligation to provide milk for others. Mind your OWN baby first. If there’s excess, thank the Lord for it. If you wholeheartedly want to donate, why not? But don’t obligate yourselves to donate.

 

I posted the super long message to just take off the heaviness that I felt yesterday. It was a bittersweet day spent with my darling toddler who ran around, ate a lot, took a long nap while waiting for me while I was having a derma treatment (fortunate are those who have silky smooth faces), ran again at Gymboree, and got her new shoes.

But before all of it, I spent a few good minutes with a stranger, a little girl who is trying her best to survive. It was hearbreaking. I fret on a lot of things but I know I shouldn’t because there are far more people struggling in the battle called life. Newborns like this little girl deserve far better than their situation now.

Life is good. Life is beautiful. Why not let others experience it?

 

~ Touringkitty

 

N.B.: I would like to give major props to the nurse who was feeding Baby S. When I went to visit, only the yaya and the nurse on duty was with baby and the nurse was feeding her through the bottle. Her dedication is truly laudable. And when she asked me if my baby came out normal, I said to myself, thank you, Lord! You kept your promise to me. I pray that this little baby will live long enough to experience what my daughter has been experiencing. Life is indeed good.

Ten Things I’ll Do for Baby Number Two

No, we’re not pregnant! But it just dawned me that I could have done a lot better with my first pregnancy and the first few months postnatal. I realized I could have traveled more, accomplished more. I could have even avoided postpartum depression which lasted many months!

Anyway, I just wished I was able to do the following with number one early on:

1. I can travel with baby in tow. And it’s much easier if she’s still a baby! Mobility will be your worst enemy I tell ya. I have not gone for a long trip lately only because my baby is malikot.

2. I will still breastfeed and never make it a hindrance to working, meeting friends, serving the church, and doing so much more. Not that I’m that lakwatsera, but I will act normal because breastfeeding is normal! The modern generation makes this impression that breastfeeding is a big challenge and that formula is the norm. Not true!

3. And in line with number two, I’ll master babywearing! Started this too late, and this could have saved my hands from De Quervain’s syndrome. And with babywearing, I can do anything!

4. Cupfeed! So I could have transitioned easily from breast to cup and skip bottle. Occasionally my daughter drinks from the bottle and I do hope we could skip it altogether soon.

5. I will still not use pacifier like I did with my daughter. This is to avoid nipple confusion.

6. I will go for baby-led weaning. Weaning means transition to solid foods. We were so afraid to give my daughter foods so we delayed weaning to seven months or even later. It’s usually common for second children to go for BLW mainly because the first-time parent is testing waters for her firstborn.

7. Will still co-sleep because it’s much easier for the family. Fathers usually benefit from this a lot because they sleep longer. Ask my husband!

8. Will never panic about spit-ups! It has unnecessarily sent us twice to the emergency room. Spit-ups are usual.

9. Will act normal. I realize the family was filled with so much panic, confusion, doubts that we all went frantic instead of happy that we have a baby at home. And will not believe pamahiins or voodoos still.

10. Shower our baby lots of love. That’s what they need. We don’t spoil newborns for carrying them the whole time. They bond with you more when you do it.

How about you moms, did you change anything with your parenting styles when number two came?

~ Touringkitty