Showing posts with label My Kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Kids. Show all posts

Monday, October 07, 2019

Top tips to raise readers! (Plus, a literacy workshop we must attend!)

Look at Vito's first modeling gig!!! I'm so proud to say his first modeling job was about books. His most recent modeling job was about shopping for school supplies, so it's still connected to learning. Yes, piling-pili ang mga projects na lalabas ang mukha ng mga anak ko because I really wanted that even the work they do reflects what we hold dear. And books are definitely a big deal to me and my husband, Vince.

Ironically, my kids—the kids of writers, editors and book lovers!—didn't take to books right away. That broke our hearts. We did everything right: we had a library, the kids were surrounded by books since they were in my tummy, and we read to them at bedtime. Vince and I couldn't understand why our boys weren't bookworms like us!

After researching and talking with other more experienced parents (a.k.a. parents of adults), I found a few reasons why kids don't read:

1. There are too many distractions.
Toys, TV, gadgets, video games—yes, we vilify those as the top distractions taking our kids away from books. But in my house, these are also the culprits: their brothers to play with, friends who visit, arts and crafts projects, school, homework, piano, dancing, singing, rough and tumble play, cooking with Mama, movie-and-popcorn time with Papa, basically a ton of good things that are monumentally more fun to three wriggly little boys than sitting quietly with a book.

2. They think it's a chore.
If we force our kids to read books they're not interested in, then they're going to resent anything book-related.

3. They think it's boring.
For active little kids, what can be more dull than being asked to sit still, be quiet, and read?

Of course, your child may also have a learning disability and parents constantly breathing down their neck to "READ A BOOK!" may make them dislike books even more. I mention that because it's a legitimate reason but I can't recommend any expert course of action since I'm not a literacy expert. That's why I'm going to a literacy workshop by ReadPro Philippines on Oct. 19, Saturday, at Fully Booked. Come attend with me, mamas!

Can't wait to attend this ReadPro workshop! I really want my boys to grow up loving reading and learning. Why do some people love reading? A recent article in The Atlantic"Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers,"  explored it and gave this list of what predetermines the creation of bookworms:

1. The more educated you are, the more you'll love reading.
2. People who live in the city are more likely to love books than those raised in rural places.
3. The more money you have means you can afford to buy books, and have the time to read.
4. Gender factors in, too. Girls read earlier, more, and way longer into adulthood than boys do.
5. Introverts are more likely to love books.

That list gives me hope because we are blessed enough to give our kids a good education, we can buy books often, and we live in the heart of the city (I think this factor just means people in the city have more access to books, various educational experiences, and the internet). My kids are neither girls nor introverts so how do I tackle those issues?

Well, the article featured Daniel Willingham, author of the book, Raising Kids Who Read, and here are his interesting insights:

1. You read first. 
It's not enough to surround a child with books. It's not even enough to read to them every night. What really matters is your children need to see YOU reading! Kids follow their parents' example so if they see us excited to read a book, they're going to want to read books, too!

2. Kids need to know about life before they will open a book. 
Kids think books are boring. So they need to be interested in the topic first before they'll read anything about it. If your kid loves robots, buy books about robots. If you just came from a vacation in Hong Kong, let him read about Chinese culture. If you just visited a dinosaur museum, grab books on prehistoric animals!

3. Parents need to treat books as a part of everyday life. 
You and your husband can talk about your favorite books or the book you're currently reading with the kids around to listen. Visit bookstores often and browse. Don't lock away books in the study, high up in the shelf. Don't treat books as precious at all! Let the kids look at the pictures, write on the margins! If you get mad at them for desecrating and vandalizing books, they won't want to touch books anymore.

My kids are now finally reading. Maybe not as much as we want but we're taking it one book at a time. They love visiting book stores because we buy them at least one book each as a treat. They have a reading schedule—I know it seems like a chore but I needed to set aside a time that's just for books, and that's usually mornings for Vito and bedtime for Iñigo and Piero. I also decreed that their time on gadgets must be 1:1 ratio with their books. So 30 long agonizing minutes reading a book means just 30 short minutes on the iPad.

At first, the kids did treat reading as a chore. But slowly, they became interested in their books. Thirty minutes became one hour, there was less whining and more quiet times spent with their nose in a book. And more often than not, instead of asking for the iPad or the TV remote after they read, they now draw or write stories. Hooray!

It's a start! I need to know more ways to get my boys to dive into reading! That's why I can't wait for October 19 and attend the "Parents, How to Encourage Your Kids to Love Reading" forum at Fully Booked High Street! Come with me, mamas!

Visit the ReadPro website and like their Facebook page for more information on the workshop and the literacy programs. I'm thinking of enrolling my kids!

See you on Oct. 19, mamas!

*This post is brought to you by ReadPro Philippines.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

The 10 toilet-training tools you need

Congratulate me, mamas. I am finally done with the baby stage! With my youngest boy, Piero, finally out of diapers, we are now truly in the kid stage. That means I'm dealing with tons of sweat, a life that revolves around school, my kids making their own friends, and lots of briefs in the laundry basket. A new life indeed!

People tell me all the time, "Aww don't you miss having a baby?" Nope. I loved having babies, of course. I loved the toddler stage. What I love most? I love that it's done! Having gone through it three times and over 8 years (EIGHT YEARS), I am so happy to move on! Just thinking of full diapers, dealing with poop every single morning, toilet-training and I know I'm done with babies. If I could, I'd throw a massive party saying good-bye to that phase in my life!

After three kids successfully out of diapers, I think I'm qualified to give tips on toilet-training. So I will! For today, let me share the tools you'll need when you're in this oh-so messy stage in your child's life. Here's what you need:

1. Training pants
I can't tell you enough how surprised I was at how training pants really work! I only tried training pants with my third little boy. I honestly didn't think they were necessary because we didn't use them with my first two boys.

But I discovered BabyLove Premium Gold Pants (because Piero liked the baby on the packaging) and so we gave training pants a try and—my goodness!—it worked! It worked because it made Piero get used to the pulling down and pulling up action whenever he needed to use the toilet. He also liked that the BabyLove "diapants" made him feel secure, that he could have accidents a little. It wasn't traumatizing at all. So he didn't feel panicky when he had to go because if he leaked a little, the diapants will catch it, and yet because he knew the diapants were easy to pull down, he was willing to run to the toilet.

If you want to try BabyLove Premium Gold Pants, there's a sale on Shopee right now till Sunday. Click here to shop!

2. Wipes
Ah yes, a mother's best friend! You're going to need this near you at all times in case of accidents and to wipe the toilet seat clean.

3. Target
This is for little boys learning to pee. It's hard for them to control the angle of their pee and they also get surprised at how it comes out. Remember, they've always peed in a diaper so they've never actually seen their pee coming out of their penis. So expect them to watch their pee coming out instead of focusing on keeping their pee in the toilet!

What can help is putting a colorful target in the bowl. You can use one Fruit Loop floating on the water. Other moms put a sticker just above the water line. It's easily peeled off after a few flushes.

4. Paper towels
Rags will do, too. You'll need to wipe pee and poo off the floor or the toilet seat or chubby thighs in case of accidents.

The last few days when Piero was still wearing diapers announced on Facebook!

5. Antibacterial soap and alcohol
Potty training is a messy business. When I potty-trained my second boy, Iñigo, I got bad diarrhea for 6 weeks and had to see a gastroenterologist for relief. I'm afraid I was careless with washing and disinfecting my hands. I'm glad it happened to me instead of one or all of the kids!

6. Spray bottle with diluted bleach
This is for quick clean-ups so you won't get overwhelmed with the messiness that potty training brings. Just dilute some bathroom cleaner or bleach with some water, put in a spray bottle, spray all surfaces on and around the toilet after your child uses the bathroom, then wipe with a tissue.

7. Pads
These are for your child's bed. I put one under the fitted sheet so that in case my little boy pees in his sleep, the mattress is protected.

8. Pail
This is for rags and briefs and other clothing that need to be washed. Just throw them in so you can attend to them later.

9. Rewards
Toys always work! Especially with my first son, Vito. He got a Lego minifig after each pee and poo appointment haha Toys get the kids excited, knowing a little toy is waiting for them when they successfully use the toilet.

10. Lots of patience!
Every child is different. My kids were toilet-trained "late." Vito at 4 and 2 months, Iñigo at 3 years old exactly, and Piero at 4 years old exactly. Many parents think a child should be toilet-trained before a year old. I think some things should be determined by the child's readiness. Weaning, starting on solid food, walking, potty training. If you wait until the child's ready, potty training is done in 3 days and it's so painless and not so messy because the child is excited to become a big boy. If you force a child, potty training can take a loooooong time, and be full of frustration and accidents and misunderstandings.

So be patient for your child to be ready and be patient when you're going through potty training. Your patience will be rewarded with a happy and accomplished child!

Okay, I hope my list of essential toilet-training tools helped you, mamas! Do try BabyLove Premium Gold Pants. Take advantage of the Shopee sale happening right now till Sunday. Click here to shop!

*This post was brought to you by BabyLove.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Special birthday gifts

My littlest boy isn't so little anymore. Suddenly, this July, when he turned 4, he decided he was ready for school and he was going to use the toilet "like a big boy." All throughout summer, he insisted he wasn't going to do any of that because "I am still a baby, Mama. I'll always be your baby, right?"

So we thought, okay, no pressure, he can stay our baby for one year more. But we don't know what happened. Maybe the birthday triggered it but Piero changed his mind and we're so happily surprised this whole of July! What a gift to us that he made us so proud!

My darling Piero. This is his tiny birthday party at 6 o'clock in the morning. It was a weekday so his older brothers had school and had to go.

I wanted to celebrate properly after school—with all of us dressed for the pictures, the table set, the gifts out, more time. But the boys woke up shouting, "Happy birthday, Piero!" "Is my birthday, Mama!" "Where's the cake?" "Where my gifts?" "What's your wish?" "I'm 4! I'm FOH!!!"

Sooooo... We just had to do the tiniest party we've ever done as the sun was rising on a most wonderful day!

That blurry image to the right is my hand trying to get him away from his candle. That boy. He always gives me a heart attack. But that's his gift to me: the gift of endless surprise and humility.

We had Piero because we thought ourselves so amazing at this parenting gig. But Piero—a surprising combination of Vince and myself in temperament and wilfulness—showed us that every child is different, and what we may think we can't handle just requires a change of thinking, a firmer resolve to try again, and that humility before your own children is always best if you want to have a good relationship with them.

Piero's also given his brothers the gift of patience and understanding. And though he is always annoying them, they are protective of him, always thinking of him, always adoring him. And also always annoying him! They bicker like an old married couple, day in, day out. I don't even know if they actually enjoy fighting each other since they do it a lot.

But they love him, that they do. They always wanted a baby and so we gave them Piero and they always dote on him. They think he's their baby.

For his birthday, they told me and their Papa what Piero wanted. They shopped for his gifts. They counted down the days. They chose and bought the cake. They made him so excited for his birthday! They are the best kuyas. They are a gift to Piero, too.

Happy birthday, dearest darling baby boy! You are what our family needed. You are the happiest baby we've ever known. You are thunder and sunshine and kaiju and jaeger and passion and tenderness  and a gift. We love you so very much! May you grow in wisdom and love, may you always have that fire in you, that stubborn will, that quick laugh, that sharp wit, and that fierce love for me.

Happy birthday, dearest bunchokoykoy! God bless you for always and always!

* * * * * * *

Every birthday of my children, I donate a gift to World Vision in their name. This is one of the children that World Vision sends to school. I hope you can join this little birthday cause of mine. Please donate to World Vision, too, when your child celebrates his birthday and make another child happy, too! 

Friday, December 22, 2017

See how my family loved our New World Hotel staycation

I just got back, mamas, from a quick getaway at New World Makati! We stayed there for just one night. We needed a break but we didn't have the energy or the time to go somewhere far so we took advantage of New World Hotel's Yuletide Getaway promo and stayed in the city for a truly wonderful time. No kidding—we had so much fun!

There's New World towering behind my little boys. We got the Deluxe Room package. That's a room with two twin beds and it includes breakfast buffet at the Café 1228 for two adults and two kids below 7 years old. You also get a bottle of wine and two movie passes to Ayala cinemas. All that for just P6,700! That's so affordable considering New World is a 5-star hotel!

Okay, mamas, sit tight. Lotsa photos coming up!

Here are the kids and you can tell they're really happy about our room! It's a good-sized room. We've stayed at trendy boutique hotels which we found out soon enough is a bad idea for a family of 5. We need space! So we now like staying at big hotels. Traditional, yes, but hotels have centuries of knowing how to take care of people.

Staking their claim on the beds. Soft, fluffy everything! Look at them—they look like angels surrounded by heavenly clouds. Looks like only haha in reality they are little balls of naughty energy!

Exhibit A: Piero. Blurry because he's jumping up and down the extra cot we got even though they know little monkeys shouldn't be jumping on the bed because they might fall down and bump their heads. Since we have three kids, we needed an extra bed. It was just as comfy!

There's a small seating area which made the room feel cozy. We also got a platter of fresh fruits, which the kids snacked on while watching TV.

Oh, and very important info for bloggers, traveling businesspeople, and work-from-everywhere people like me: There's complimentary WiFi and it is fast! Hotel-wide, too, so even when I was booking an Uber at the lobby, posting Instagram photos by the pool, and checking my mail at the restaurant, I could do it using the hotel WiFi. Plus, I like the compact way they put all the universal sockets together by the desk. So convenient, whatever plug you happen to have!

Now let's check out the bathroom!

The bathroom is great! Big, clean. It doesn't have a TV, which is ubiquitous in many hotels these days. I like that there's no TV actually. I never understood that!

I like the separate shower stall. I also like that kid that squeezed himself beside the toilet.

The bathtub is a little low, which made it a bit hard to get out of. The kids, meanwhile, loved it and said it's built for kids so, "Mama and Papa, don't get in the bathtub!"

Here's the view outside our big window:
New World is just across the upscale mall Greenbelt 3, so it's very convenient if you like shopping and eating. That's what we did. We still needed to buy Christmas gifts so we went shop, shop, shopping! 

The pools are big and we love that there's a kiddie pool! Lots of hotels these days are just business hotels so they either have a lap pool, a jacuzzi and/or a deep pool. Some hotels say they have a kiddie pool but it's so small, it's ridiculous. If you're a family with small kids, you'd be happy to know that New World has a real kiddie pool. Big enough so that if other kids are there, your kids have space to wade or swim.

Now, if you're around the area and you want to buy festive pasalubong or gorgeous edible gifts, stop by The Shop at the lobby of New World and choose from yummy delights like fruit mince pies, rich fruit cake, yule logs, stollen bread, lotsa holiday cookies, and gingerbread confections like our Christmas tree! We gobbled that all up!

Oh, what a lovely time we had at New World Hotel! The holidays have been, as always, stressful not because I hate Christmas (it's my favorite time of the year!) but because of the kids' school stuff, the terrible traffic, and the difficulty of getting around whether it's in an Uber or on a bus or jeep. But because it's my favorite time of the year, I always enjoy the hustle and bustle because the streets are gaily decorated, the people are actually in a better mood than usual haha, everyone's giving gifts, and there's so much food!

Speaking of food, let me tell you about the amazing meals we had at New World's Jasmine and Café 1228 in my next post!

Meanwhile, if you want to book New World Hotel's Yuletide Getaway Package, click here. Highly recommended by me and my family!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Review: OMRON Compair Nebulizer System NE-C801

There are some things you never want to need to review. These are usually medication, medical equipment, hospitals (unless you're there to give birth), and funeral homes. But the time has come for me to use our latest medical machine because every December, my family comes down with a bad cold and cough and this year is no different. Everyone, except Iñigo, came down with a nasty cough and cold. Vito, Piero and I had a really horrible time breathing.

Thankfully, our new machine is amazing and really helped ease the breathing of Vito, Piero and myself. Thanks so much to the OMRON Compair Nebulizer System NE-C801!

A couple of months ago, I went to the press launch of this nebulizer (I wrote about the event and details of the machine in this post). We already have a Devilbiss nebulizer at home so I wasn't really supposed to buy a new one.

But the more I thought about the new OMRON nebulizer, the more I wanted it. So we got one!

It's really the smallest thing. It fits in my hand. It's also so light so when Kuya Vito needed to nebulize, I can ask toddler Piero to get the OMRON nebulizer because it's so magaan.

It's also really quiet, so if you have kids who are scared of the loud noise nebulizers make, try the OMRON. Of course, may ingay pa rin yung compressor pero it's really more of a hum. You can even use it on one kid while their siblings are sleeping and the sound won't disturb the other kids.

It's also really easy to assemble. I also like how deep the cup is. My kids and I sometimes lean back on pillows kasi when we're nebulizing (see first photo). Dun sa dati naming nebulizer, because maliit yung cup, you tilt back a little and the medication spills out. With the OMRON one, my kids can rest on pillows while nebulizing na. Hooray!

And at just P3,280, the OMRON Compair Nebulizer System NE-C801 is not an expensive nebulizer at all. It's available at leading drugstores. Buy na, mommies! Sulit ito. I highly recommend it!

Mr P agrees!

P.S. Vito and Piero are feeling much better. Me na lang. Alam niyo naman, nanay kasi, laging pagod at walang pahinga. Please pray I find a kasambahay soon! Thanks so very much!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

WANT: Fatburger's Chili Cheese Fries

Just a quick post today because I know you all are so busy shopping, mamas. But if you happen to be shopping at Glorietta, make sure you pass by Fatburger for their Chili Cheese Fries!

My family and I went to Glorietta last weekend to do some shopping and you know, because we have small kids and no one to leave them with, Vince and I haven't really gone out in years. If we want to eat food we didn't cook, we ordered in usually from McDonald's and KFC and Pizza Hut. That's basically our food repertoire for the past 7 years. So when we went to Glorietta last weekend, we went exploring for food. Because we've been eating light and healthy since summer (thanks, Harvest Family Comfort Meals!), Vince and I were hunting for a really big and beefy, greasy burger.

Hello, Fatburger!

Burger joints usually serve milkshakes so the kids had those. I think they're a bit pricey pero masarap naman so okay na rin.

Vito and Iñigo got the waffles. They're a huge fan of waffles. They always order waffles if they spot it on the menu. My bunso, Piero, is a rice guy. He'll always order chicken and rice or meat and rice or fish and rice. Basta rice!

Anyway, the boys said the waffles were great! Their only complaint was the butter. My kids are spoiled. They're used to whipped butter or softened butter—not frozen butter. Fatburger, you have to do something about your hard-as-ice butter, guys.

Anyway, Vince and I had a burger each. Vince got a huge burger, me just the regular one because it already looked big and heavy to me. Just look at it! Vince's burger was even bigger than mine. Quite a meal and we liked that the patties were very juicy and tasty.

But the real discovery for me was the Chili Cheese Fries. I love chili. So I always order it when I see it on the menu. I get disappointed sometimes kasi sometimes the chili people serve here is mostly spaghetti sauce.I think Pinoys don't like chili kasi real chili is medyo maanghit haha And gritty and heavy because of the beans (although I didn't taste any beans in the Chili Cheese Fries).

So anyway, I also love the fries because they're skinny and crunchy. Vey well fried! Hindi soggy and greasy. I also like that the fries are made from potatoes flown all the way from the US of A. Now you know I appreciate that because the United States is the only country required by USDA Grading Standards to ensure food safety by using state-of-the-art technology to instantly freeze potatoes to lock in the flavor and nutrients. You know why I know this? Because if you order the fries, you get to join a little pick-a-prize thing and I won a magnet (see pic) and now I know!

After our heavy lunch, the kids had fun playing at the big Fatburger restaurant. We ate lunch early so wala pang crowds but it was so really nice of the crew to be so good with our boys. Thanks!

Fatburgers is in Glorietta 2, on Palm Drive. Kahilera siya ng Holiday Inn, Glorietta 2 entrance, right beside Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Drop by if you're shopping today!

*This post is brought to you by US Potatoes.