Thursday, January 31, 2008

No TV for Two Weeks

Our TV is shoved to oblivion for two long weeks... Why? Read the following exchanges a few minutes before dinner time.

MC: Mama, may I watch the tv?

Mama: Ok, but watch only one program. And when I call for you to come for dinner, then please come without any other words, ok?

MC: Ok, thanks. (And she disappread in the living room)

Mama: Kids, dinner is ready. Come and get it.

MC: Wait a minute.

Mama: What did I tell you?

MC: (Quiet)

Mama: Come here.

Papa: MC, what did mama tell you?

MC: Yes, I am coming.

Everybody is sitting on the table, waiting for MC.

Papa: MC, when you dont come in a second there would be no tv the whole day tomorrow.

MC: Yeah, I know. (But still wont budge).

Papa: Arent you coming, yet?

MC: (No answer)

Papa: I am going to fetch you now and when I do, there would be no tv for two weeks.

And Papa left the table, warning MC that he would turn off the tv; and repeating that there would be no tv watching for two weeks. Well, he did turn off the tv; with much screaming protests from MC. She calmed down a few minutes after threats that she would have to stay in her room without dinner. She dont want to miss meals because she believes this.

I think we did gave her a fair warning before imposing the no tv for two weeks on her. Although we do have this no tv day imposed already. Of course, IC is affected but she doesnt seem to care as she would prefer having her big sister playing with her than sitting with her big sister in front of the tv.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'll be on Brit Radio this Saturday

One of the benefits of blogging is finding friends from all over the world. And one of the best benefit would be finding fellow countrymen abroad who you could really relate to. I mean, in more ways than one. I love sharing ideas with my fellow moms at Pinoymomsnetwork, I enjoy exchanging wits and knowhows with my WPP group, I keep in touch and joke about (just to keep me from too much missing the Philippines) with the Pinoy community outside and within the Philippines though my Tagalog blog.

And then this came as a lovely surprise: I am invited and I accepted of course, to be interviewed at Usapang Pinoy, a Filipino magazine talk show at Future Radio UK that airs every Saturday at 3 pm UK time (4 pm German time, 11 pm Philippine time).

Yes, I would be Dr. Joy's guest this coming Saturday, 02 February at 3 pm at Future Radio UK. Simply click the link to listen online. If you want to send messenges: questions, statements, or greetings; simply click on the upper hand corner that states 'Studio Messenger.'

We would be talking about... hmm, what would we be talking about? We would be talking about a lot of things :D Better check the link and listen to us on Saturday, 02 February. Just click here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

MC is Ready for School

MC is now ripe for school, I hope. Because sometimes she does think like she's a small adult and sometimes she bursts like a small baby. Well, all I know is that I am surely seeing developments on her.

Since last year, she's been busy with small projects in kindergarten focused on pre-schoolers: yoga, nutrition, learning her ABCs and 123s, etc. But what tickles her really is that she would finally be together in the same school, with her close friends from kindergarten. Telling her that E, her friends, would be in the second grade when she enters this school year is not enough to cool her excitement. Main thing is, she is in the same school as E.

And then we got a notice that MC should register in the school this March; since we are on holiday during that time, we called for an earlier appointment. With the result that, MC is the first one in her batch to be registered. And what was her reaction? The day before the registration, she simply refused to even think about going. She was in tears, saying, she wanted to stay in kindergarten. I had to make it clear that we would only go for a short visit, she would need to introduce herself and that would be that. After learning that she would not be going to school yet, she prepared her clothes for the morning. And she chose her favorite skirt and blouse, 'I want to be chic,' she said.

Well, the short walk to the school was a breeze. We found the rector's office and there she opened up easily; even managed to inform the registrar about our home number, wow! Why does it feel like she grew and walked taller after that visit, huh?

We parents were also being prepared for the school year. Last week, I attended a parent-teacher meeting for pre schoolers and learned about their activities for this year. I also got a glimpse of how MC is doing in the program. As expected, she is a bit shy; but with gentle prodding and patience, the techers said; MC manages to talk and share, too. I also confirmed that she really loves to draw and do creative works.

And then this morning, she passed the doctor's check-up for pre-schoolers with flying colors. Of course, they wondered why she is so light; but when they saw me, they simply nodded their heads; just like mom :D

And how do we prepare her for school and how did we know that she's ready for the big leap?

1. She has been getting homeworks from us since she got interested doing them two years ago; we started with simply asking her to write her name which gradually increased to the whole alphabet or the numbers from 1-10; now she's experimenting with other words and names.

2. She has her notebook for homeworks so we could monitor her progress; and she would know how she's doing. I even started giving her stars which gave her more energy to work.

3. We read books for her and let her summarize them by asking her to tell the story back to us. And these past months, she's been so interested with the Atlas and knows the flags and the could pinpoint the continents and some countries to us. (I guess that's the influence of knowing we could be flying to Asia, soon)

4. We do a lot of art works at home and loads of homemade things as invites, or gifts, etc.; invitations cards, table decors, postcards, beads, etc.

5. She got a wristwatch with big numbers so she would slowly learn how to tell the time. It also helped that we have a grandfather clock that indicates the time, so it was easier for her.

6. She is allowed to tip the computer keyboards to spell things; in close supervision from us.

7. She could only watch tv for a few hours on weekdays. And we have been trying to bring them to bed earlier than usual.

8. We keep game boards and card games that help creative thinking and decision-making.

9. She makes her own bed, tidy up her room, and chooses her dress for the next day. I hope she'll stay so organized.

10. She is also very much interested with helping in the kitchen; either by washing and cutting veggies, stirring the soup, preparing the table, baking, etc.

11. And she is acting more like a big sister to IC.

And most of all, we encourage her and we feed her with love.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Playtime, Playmates and the Rules

When I only have MC, her playmate until she joined kindergarten, was mostly only me. Aside from the short visits from the immediate family, she only have me and her papa to play with. I could have joined a playtime group but I wasnt interested. I wanted her world to mean only me. Selfish, right?

Well, I didnt have any choice because my world was focused only on her and her papa. Well, the immediate family, of course. Because you see, I was new in a very strange land with a very strange language and culture and the weather, arrrgh... dont let me start. But I hold on because of my love for my family especially this little baby girl who really amazed me. Anyway, when she joined kindergarten, she found her friends. Good thing I was left with her baby sister, IC.

Like a butterfly, MC flitted from one friend's house to another. She became a social butterfly. Although it is costumary to call and arrange for a playtime date for the kids, MC managed to find herself a mate; even without my help. Well, there was the backdoor neighbor and the next door neighbor and the side street door neighbor. As soon as MC sees someone or as soon as a friend sees her, they simply scream each others' name and ask if they could play together. And that was that. Since we know the parents, there were really no problem.

IC isnt really so friendly and so sociable like her big sister. She tend to shut off and simply cling on me. She didnt have a problem in kindergarten; but she tend to stick to her sister or to those big girls who are also MC's friends. Not with kids her own age.

But last December, she suddenly decided, she wanted to play with someone her age. The little girl is not someone from kindergarten, nor is this a neighbor. But they know each other from the sports club and MC and the big sister are playmates, too. There were also times when IC and the little girl got to play, but I was always present. IC said she wanted to go to the little girl's house, alone, to play. I was not too sure about that, so I asked MC to go and play with the big sister, too. Just in case.

Well, as usual, my little girl surprised me. She took of her shoes, her jacket and proceeded to run inside the room with the little girl; not even saying goodbye to me. But still, I asked MC to take care of her little sister. When I got home, I have one ear on the phone. But heard no calls for help :D When I picked them up, they were all happily playing. That was when I realized, my little girl is slowly finding her way out, too.

But you know, it was not easy to simply show them the door and tell them to play in a friend's house. Or it is also not easy to simply accept another girl to play in our house. There were also somethings, we as a parent, should do and should know.

1. Make sure that a date and time is set, known by the kids and by both set of parents
2. Make it clear about pick up time
3. It is better to know the parents or the family of the friends
4. Exchange telephone numbers
5. Know about the friend's house rules on sweets and snacks; inform them about yours
6. Never assume that it is okay for the friend to eat dinner/lunch with you; always ask
7. If the kids would be in a strange house for the first time, I tend to stay a bit longer; maybe a short chat and a quick look
8. If IC or MC would cling and wont be left alone; I would then decide if I should stay for the whole playtime or bring the kids back home. I dont leave them crying out for me. That wont do at all.
9. If it's a first time playdate, I tend to call for a quick chat. To ask if everything is ok, or to inform the parents that everything is ok.
10. If MC's got a friend at home, I always ask her to ask IC to play with them. I know, this might not be so good, as they would want their own privacy; but hey, they would have enough privacy when they are older.
11. And of course, I always let my girls and their friends know the house rules: no springing and wild jumping in bed, eating and drinking are allowed only in the kitchen unless told otherwise, if they want to watch tv they are allowed only one program and they should always ask, if they want to go out in the garden they should ask, no playing in the streets, the garden pond is taboo, dont trample the plants in the garden, etc.

And this is important, too. When it is nearing pick up time; I always give them a warning that playtime would be up soon. That is for MC to decide if she wants to start tidying up her room with her playmate or if they wanted to continue playing and her playmate needed to go; then she would have to tidy up alone. I always tell them, they are allowed to play with everything as long as they put their toys back to their proper places.

I have hosted their playmates for so many times now and I guess, the girls and their friends are already used to the rules... unless of course they wanted to experiment. And they would know again and again that I really meant those rules. How? I tell them again and again.


Visit PMN: Home and Garden for tips on how to recycle those gift ribbons. And experience Sinulog Festival thru the eyes of Mhalou at PMN: Travel.

Friday, January 25, 2008

And Then We Meet Again

Liza helping me in the kitchen, since my hubby cooked, we had to tidy up

I did post about finding a long lost friend last month; and although December was a turbulent month for us because of the sickness and not to forget the celebrations, my friend and I managed to chat for hours on the phone. Well, actually, we both wanted to just drive and meet and then chat for hours again..but that just wont do. We are both moms and wives now. We could not simply leave our home just because we wanted, too.

We kept on teasing each other on how we cant believe we would be finding each other so near and yet so far. And of course, on how we should meet to compare notes and to make chismis (talk about) about our barkada's (group of friends) back in the Philippines. And then, I tickled her about buying 'pasalubong' (souvenirs) for those left behind simply because; they were also twisting my arm about their gifts from a long lost friend. Dami na raw utang, hahaha.

Well, after cancelling (the winter weather is not good for driving) and then re-scheduling their visit, Liza, finally came with her husband and 11 year old son last Saturday. And a bonus for my kids, she brought their tiny dog with them. I didnt know the reaction of my kids but IC wont put her feet down when the dog is near her while MC simply wanted to cuddle and she got the chance to walk the dog, too. Well, she was so proud and she enjoyed it too much she wanted a dog of her own. Of course, she cried when they left!
Chloe, the dog, with MC, Liza and Kuya Pascal

My hubby, as usual, is the man in the kitchen. MC and IC played with Kuya (big brother) Pascal
until he jumped out screaming the girls wanted to put some make up on him, hahahaha. And as expected, Liza and I squeezed more than ten years of stories in that visit. We chatted, laughed, chidded each other, teased and pondered our lives and the others. Need I mention, we compared how our bodies changed, too? Liza cant get over the story told to her by our friends that during our visit in Manila two years ago, IC was all over my breasts; looking for milk - anywhere and everywhere. I had to laughingly nod to that because even in restaurants, IC dont care and would simply reach out to breastfeed. There was really no shame in me :D

After a short walk, we had a quick dinner and then it is time for them to go. Pity! Liza wanted to stay and I was wishing they could really stay; the day wasnt enough. But hey, next time it would be our turn to visit them. And there's still the telephone!

And oh, dear Liza, here's wishing you a wonderful birthday on January 27. You are still as lovely and as sweet as can be. I am really glad to have found you enjoying a beautiful life with your beautiful family. Let's have a real pajama party this summer!

Another one for a friend, blogoloco, has a raffle promo where you could win as much as 250 dollars. It is easy and is free to join. Check out PinoyUnited.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lice, Lice, Baby

And then the head lice came in the kindergarten. Everybody knew, at least those who reads the notice posted right on the door of the kindergarten, that head lice is reported. Nobody know who is affected, especially since that infected child would have to remain at home until it is proven; with a doctor's certificated, that there are no more lice or nits left to hatch to avoid head lice being passed to other kids.
And then, to make sure that everybody would know; everyone got a notice which should be read and done and filled by the parents to be given back to the teacher to make sure everybody's been checked. On it states what should be done:
1. To systematically check the hair of the children in the earliest possible time for lice (adult lice) and nits (the eggs).
2. It is well known that nits are sometimes mistaken for dandruffs (flaky scalp). When you shake and comb the hair, the dandruff would be disturbed; but the nits stick on the strand and is not easy to remove. A nit is just like a sand, around 1 mm, oval shaped and has the same sandy color. It could be found directly on the hair strands.
3. When you look for the lice and nits, make sure you are under a very good light (under the sun or with a bright light) sometimes a magnifying glass would help, too. And make sure you do it strand for strand.
4. When you discover the presence of lice (earlier symptoms would include vigorous scratching, bad smelling hair, etc), look for the best treatment which could be found at the pharmacy. And follow strictly the instructions.
5. After doing this, make sure you check again for nits strand for strand, moving systematically from one side of the head to another; use your fingernails to take the eggs away or when needed, cut the infected hair with a nail cutter. A fine tooth comb or suyod in Tagalog, would help a lot, too.
6. A second treatment should be done after eight days; of course, the parents would have to remain vigilant for the next days to make sure that everything is really clear.
Now, it is only when these things are done successfully that the child could come, with a note from the parents, and join the kindergarten again.
I know that head lice are a problem in poor countries; children could not concentrate in school when they are bugged by these lice. And some extreme cases show wounded scalps, which of course, added to the misery of kids. I agree with reporting these cases; for then we, parents, would be aware of what to look out for.
I told MC and IC to be aware of this case and never to use the friseur toys (those involving combs and hair styling), to avoid dressing up with the available costumes and that they should not play with the bed sheets and pillows scattered around in kindergarten. That is, until everything's been cleared. Although, I am sure they would have less enthusiasm with those things because of the possible consequences. Well, there are other things to do in kindergarten, after all.
And I am glad the kids were spared. No head lice or nits.
Here are more tips on How to threat head lice.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What is Autism?

According to Wikipedia,

Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old. This set of signs distinguishes autism from milder autism spectrum disorders (ASD) such as Asperger syndrome.

Autism is highly
heritable, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is generally unclear which genes are responsible. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial
and the vaccine hypotheses lack convincing
scientific evidence. Most recent reviews estimate a prevalence of one to two cases per 1,000 people for autism, and about six per 1,000 for ASD, with ASD averaging a 4.3:1 male-to-female ratio. The number of people known to have
autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, at least partly due to changes in diagnostic practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.

Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is poorly understood. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child's life. Early intervention may help children gain self-care and social skills, although few of these interventions are supported by scientific studies. There is no cure.With severe autism, independent living is unlikely; with milder autism, there are some success stories for adults, and an
autistic culture has developed, with some seeking a cure and others believing that autism is a condition rather than a disorder.

The band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.40 to Autism Speaks for *each time* the video is viewed the funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass his goal.

Let us hope this project would cover not only those in America but in the whole wide world, too. Thank you very much for passing this on.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

For Women above 50

Since being appointed as a gymnastic trainer for little kids under our local sports club, a lot of opportunities been offered to me. And I am taking most of them. Like joining an aerobics/exercise class for women.

I have been putting off doing regular sports with a group for a long time because I always think that the girls need me when it is time for bed. You see, most of the classes are scheduled after dinner time and that would mean, bed time for the girls.

But then, being invited by our nice gymnastic director; and after knowing that it would not cost me (it was a special privilege being a trainer myself), plus the fact that the gym is only a very short walk from our place -- the offer is worth trying. So after gathering enough determination to start kicking my muscles back to life again, I told my husband (who immediately agreed) and the kids (who didnt agree at all).

It is every Wednesday from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. My duty as gymnastic trainer for little kids is also Wednesday, from 3:30-5:00 pm. That means I have already have an advantage, I have already done some stretching with the program with the little kids.

Then I would have to cook, have dinner, bathe the kids and get them ready for bed; it's no problem at all. I still have enough time to read for them or play with them. There would be some problems with saying goodbye but they are tolerable.

And I am having fun with my Wednesday Sports Group though the first time I joined them I was a bit surprised. My gymnastics director is already in her prime; but going inside the dressing room, I was surprised to see more white and gray hairs. And when I entered the gym, I didnt see anyone my age! I mean, they were all older than me. Well, I skipped asking questions until after the class. Because you see, I didnt even sweat! I enjoy the exhilirating feeling of being active again, but I was prepared to really sweat it out -- and was a bit disappointed that I did not. The exercises were light and I was waiting for my muscles to grunt.

And so I asked, 'what is this aerobics/exercise group for?' And most of them answered with a smile, 'for women above 50.' Well, that was that. But that answer didnt turn me off, in fact, that gave me the boost I needed to continue working out with them.

You know why? Seeing those lovely ladies all primed up, ready for a sport class; wearing their make up, with their best sports outfits on, and eagerly and regularly working out simply inspired me. And they have a great camaraderie between them, too. I am not yet in my 40s yet I was too lazy for a-15 minute ride in our stationary bike; and I find it great listening to them exchange small talks about being a mom, being a grandmom, being a wife, being a citizen, etc.

I needed these women in my life. Women above 50 are the best!

Oh yes, I am still with them. I havent joined them during their once a month walk into the pub but I am invited to the Lady's Only Carnival Night this January. And we would all be in costumes! I cant wait.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Here are some interesting reads that I want to share:

Buying Guide for Parents : PMN Techmomma's share tips about those consoles that most kids these days are raring to have on their hands, if they are not already busy with them.

Thoughts About Buying a House : PMN Home and Garden's Jeannie gives us a glimpse of her thoughts on the lessons she learned in buying a house.

Pasta Perfection : A favorite family pasta recipe is posted at PMN Food and Cooking.

How to Organize Your Home Before Travelling Alone: PMN Travel's Mayi lists down those important things to remember for a mom, before travelling alone.

My Philippine-Made Wedding Dress: A story about my wedding dress which I posted in Noemi's

Chicago in Four Hours: This is megamom's tips posted at PMN: Travel in visiting Chicago if you only have a few hours to spare.

Visit these sites, reading those posts would be worth it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

IC's Dentist Visit

I wonder why it made me crazy thinking about IC and her dentist's appoinment when it would be one of the proudest moment with IC. She passed the dentist's visit yesterday with flying colors. And whoa, she's so cool about it.

I had to drag the girls from bed early. Nobody complained, I guess because they were still half awake. It was only when I was backing the car up from the driveway that they said, 'mama it is still too dark outside.' In which I answered, 'but the sun would soon greet us, am sure.'

And then I passed the turn for kindergarten and they finally asked, 'mama, where are we going?' Ooops, and I thought we have already prepared them both so well for the dentist's visit that was why there were so quiet sitting there in the back! I said, 'we are going to the dentist today.' A quiet 'oh' was the only response.

We always make sure that our doctor's appointment would be the first hour of the day so we would not have to wait. I am sure you know what I mean. So we were escorted inside one of the examination rooms where the toys are waiting for them in one corner. They had a few minutes to play before the dentist came with a big smile on her face. She talked casually with the kids before asking who would be the first to be examined.

I havent decided but right there and then I volunteered IC. MC didnt give me a promise to stay quiet when her turn's up, so I risked it with IC. She sat on my lap while the dentist asked her to count her the teeth. When she saw the IC needed treatment; she said we could try doing it now but when IC balked, we would immediately stopped. I nodded.

It took a while, more than 30 minutes, because the dentist showed all the tools and machines that she would use for the procedure. And she explained everything to IC. Even asking IC to touch and feel the movement of each tools. It went well, IC opened her mouth to the dentist and she didnt even flinched or cried out during the whole process. I was real proud of my little girl.

And of course, when it was MC's turn, she headed to the chair proudly alone. Didnt even ask me to hold her hand this time. And I heard nothing from her, too. I did the right thing in asking IC to be the first one on the chair.
Yet I do know, I have big girls now! Well, they ransacked the dentist's treasure chest for gifts afterwards. They deserve them, too!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

6th Birthday Parties, At Last

After spending her 6th birthday sick and being pricked for blood tests in the hospital, MC finally got to enjoy her birthday party; almost a month after, last Jan. 7. She got the customary birthday crown from kindergarten and the birthday card. And she got to pick her gift. If the scheduled birthday party was followed, her Papa would have cooked spaghetti for them in kindergarten. This time, she chose pizza; so I decided to bring pizza which would be then baked by her teachers in kindergarten. I told her not to forget to invite IC over. She did not.We celebrated her MC's birthday party with her friends at home last 11 January. I baked mini muffins using praline capsules, and combined them with some cookies, chips, pralines and sweets. Their fingerfood! I noticed they love muffins but cant finish the normal size; but with the mini muffins... oh well, they wanted more!
MC's birthday table is composed of Arielle articles. I used her kindergarten crown as the centerpiece and some confettis; the buttefly-shaped papers I used as name holders. And the Barbie surprise eggs to catch their attention.
A part of our birthday ritual, we always have balloons around the fence and inside the house to announce that someone special is having a party!
The first activity for the day was the beads! The girls got busy creatings their necklaces, their bracelets, etc. while waiting for the other girls.
And this time, MC is waiting to get and open her gifts. We used the game 'turn the bottle' for each kids to take turn in giving their gifts to MC.
Well, I wanted to have the Philippine-version of pinata, using a clay pot; but I couldnt find the right clay pot; so with the help of MC and IC, we fashioned a box and wrapped it in a big wide red ribbon. The birthday girl approved, so it's okay. She's the first one to hit it. And the other girls, who were not really aware of what a pinata was, were too excited, too. In the end, I had to help them. We dont want to stand for a long time in the cold. The day was windy and freezing cold!

And then it rained sweets and confettis!
Pinata was too tiring, they wanted to relax in front of the tv while waiting for the spaghetti.
Guten appetit! As usual, some kids ate so little; some stayed on the table for a long time. But the thing was, they all enjoyed the party and our birthday girl had fun!
Whew! Finally, MC's birthday parties are now over. But wait, we still havent celebrated with the immediate family...

Friday, January 11, 2008

I Heart My New Header

I was not too adventurous with my blog, I noticed that.

I kept the same theme for a long time; even though I was not too satisfied with it. But you see, as a first time blogger, I am still finding my writing style, still censoring my thoughts and was not sure where to go with blogging.

And then I was afraid that the people visiting my blog would get lost when I changed the theme; I admit, I do get confused when I blog hop and find myself in an old familiar blog name with a sudden new look. You see, I always tend to confuse those modifications with a computer virus. Yes, a virus once changed the color in our computer screen!

Well, I did get used to those pimping up of other bloggers but I cant get myself to do it in my blog. Then one day, while browsing in friendster, I saw the drawings of a good friend's daughter. That gave me a boost. I emailed her if she could ask her daughter to draw a header for my blog. I just told her to let her daughter browse thru my blog so she would have an idea what to draw. That was in September? Then I forgot about it.

On Christmas Eve, maybe because of the glass of sekt, I finally decided to change my blog's theme. Imagine, I needed a bit of fizz to take the challenge. Well, this new theme looks better alright.

And then early this January I got the drawing by email. I supressed my excitement, I think I needed another glass of sekt, hehe! Oh yeah, it took a while before I got the courage to work on it but at last, here's the header made by Rienne! A very talented tween who loves Manga!

MC and IC immediately saw the header after I uploaded it and recognized themselves! Of course, a dozen printed copies now scattered like flyers all over the house. And...they have asked the papa to copy more for them. Well, I could understand their excitement. I do love my new header! Thanks again Rienne!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Say Aaaahhhhhhh

It was last December that IC got to visit the dentist for the first time. Actually, she was already there for an appoinment during the first month of 2007 but she gave a big fight and a loud scream that we all decided it is better if we simply let it pass. A good thing the whole family was there, meaning the papa got to hold onto her before she started terrorizing the whole clinic.

Oh she's a professional when it comes to terrorizing doctors. She hit the ear and nose doctor twice, and scandalized with loud screams and high kicks during an appointment with him in 2006. The doctor told us to let it go or else she wouldnt want to come back if she's forced into a check up. We have never came back since :D

Anyway, since MC's a regular visitor of this dentis clinic, IC is already used to the people and the place. In fact, the lady dentist and her dentist husband, used to be our next door neighbor until they bought a new house in the city late 2007. So, she knows her well, too. But with IC, you would really never know.

A few days before the visit, I already explained to IC that she only needs to open her mouth, say ahhh, and let the dentist look into her mouth to count her teeth. She knows I am saying the truth because that was what happened when MC visited for the first time, and IC was there, too. She's amenable to that. And that of course, after the check up, they would each get a surprise gift from the dentist's supply of treasures especially there for the kids.

And then MC started whining, saying she dont want to go to the dentist. Ooops, what's happening now, a role reversal? I had to take her on the side to calm her down and to ask her to be a real trooper because we dont want IC to be fighting with the dentist. She agreed because she also dont like it when IC starts crying. A real big sister, she is.

When we arrived at the clinic, we are asked to go right in. What I like in this clinic is that the kids already feel at home because they have been coming here for a long time and because, all waiting rooms have toys for them. Instead of getting bored waiting, they get to play and read and even drive around!

Now what do I do to keep the kids from being afraid of the check up procedures? I ask them if they wanted to seat on my lap or if I they wanted me simply to hold their hands. MC, as the eldest, decided to show to IC that everything would be ok, so she's the first on the chair. She asked me to hold her hand, which I did. IC got busy playing.

And then when it was IC turn, she wanted to sit on my lap, which is also okay for the dentist. At first she wont open her mouth but the dentist if ready for her; she was given a big mirror to hold while the dentist got her small mirror. The dentist told her she needed help. IC obliged by holding the mirror up so she could also help in counting her teeth. That was that. And the first date with the dentist went without any dramas.

I did talk to the dentist about the kids' teeth and possible treatments, when needed, and she said she wanted both girls to come back this January.

Well, the next date would be Tuesday next week. I would be alone with two kids... I hope everything would turn out okay. But in case, I wanted to talk to MC about being a good example for IC. I dont want this to be a horror trip. Or else it would take a long time before IC would even enter the clinic again.

If you want to know why the kids especially MC, got to feel at home at this dentist clinic, it's a long process and here's what was done:

1. We all went for a first visit with the whole family. During that time, there was no real check up done, we introduced the kids to the dentist, exchaged some stories and we were shown around the clinic. The kids saw the play corner, the play nooks in every examination rooms, and of course, the treasure box of surprises.
2. The kids (actually it was for MC but since I always have to bring IC with us, she's gone through the whole process) were asked to come at least twice a week; for her to get used to the clinic.
3. The next visit was for MC to show the dentist's assistant how she brushes her teeth. After that, she and IC were given toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste. The other visit was for MC to try the dentist's chair, including the counting of her teeth.
4. The first treatment was accomplished by me holding MC's hand; and the rest of our visits would even find MC assisting the dentist with the small mouth vaccuum.
5. And of course, the girls want to visit because of the surprises they get.

What were the dentist's advices?
- The kids should always brush the teeth after every meal.
- Always use the right toothbrush and toothpaste. Avoid those toothpaste with sweet flavors because it leaves sugar in the mouth, too.
- Kids under 7 years old need the assistance of the parents when brushing the teeth to make sure they are doing it right.
- Here's a surprise for me: The kids could enjoy sweets but make sure that they eat those sweets in just one sitting not in staggard way; for example if you give sweets to kids at 2 pm, let them have all the sweets for that day ONLY during that time. And make sure that they brush their teeth after. Controlling the eating of sweets to only a certain time of the day could help a lot in preventing bad teeth.

Do you have something to add here? If yes, please leave a note.

Sex and Cosmopolitan

I used to subscribe to Cosmopolitan Magazine. I savored their magazine. I enjoyed reading the new fashion trends, I even imagined wearing those clothes. I examined my face wearing those make ups. I oggled those celebrity news in glee.

But I set aside those famous new sexual positions, I always skipped them. I wanted to read them with my husband, with the hope that we would be doing those moves together, while reading them. Wow, that would be something! Imagine those magazines being crumpled and shredded into pieces just because we cant get enough of those moves. Hot, hot, hot!

After three years, I cancelled my subscription to Cosmopolitan Magazine. And those sexual positions? I never did read them. I even held on to them in the hope that, maybe, just maybe... one night or two nights' tumble in bed and we could cover all those magazine issues! That would be 36 plus at least 2 special issues per year, huh!

Because you see, not reading those sexual positions part made me realize something. Who’s really reading those things? And doing those things? I mean, if you are on the brink of your satisfaction, who would go back to the pointers in the magazine? Would you think: ooops, I should not be doing that or you should move your legs to the right, or I need to hold it like that... Thinking would definitely spoil the moment.

I mean, enough of reading those teasers. That would only confuse you. Focus on what you want. Concentrate on your body, on his body. Touch, touch, touch. Caress. Be gentle. Nudge. And tell him. And show him. And experiment together. I mean, you can experiment alone first and then discover if he would love your mastery. Some element of surprise tickles making love, too.

After a year of smelling those old magazines, I sold them on Ebay. But I did find out some new sexual positions, with the help of my partner, of course!

This post was first published at The Goddess in You.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Arlene tagged me..

1. Name one thing you do everyday.
Pray - I never forget to pray, either alone while doing household chores or walking back home after bringing the kids to school and of course, at night before sleeping. Praying is a sort of meditation for me. I find peace within me even if my prayer is just a short 'thank you, Lord.'

2. Name two things you wish you could learn.
Play the guitar - I have bought myself a guitar for more than two years because I wanted to get cured from what I thought then was '

3. Name three things that remind you of your childhood.
Manila Bay - When I was a kid, the Manila Bay along Roxas Boulevard was a long beach with huts and restaurants and the water is great for swimming! You can't image it now with all the condominiums and malls after the reclamation. We used to go there almost every week as it is only a short ride from home. What makes me wonder was that why I didnt learn to swim during that time, huh.

Guitar - Within our compound, my cousins and my siblings would always get together at noon to sing and dance together, accompanied by the strumming their guitars. It is always party time.

Pigs - My father used to buy piglets and he houses them in a stall in the backyard and feeds them, takes care of them until they are big enough to be sold to the meat shop. I remember I hate being asked to go around the neighborhood to ask if we could have their rest food as feeds for the pig, yucks. Not knowing that I would be forever grateful for those pigs because it was because of them that we go to study in good schools. One great pig story, one time it rained so hard, we had to rescue the pigs from drowning. We had to put them for a night in our living room; can you imagine the havock it created? We had pig pets for the night, hahaha.

4. Name four things you love to eat but rarely do.

Sushi, tempura, sisig, daing na bangus (marinated milk fish) - The sushi and tempura because there's simply no real Japanese food near us and my husband dont like Japanese food :( As for sisig and daing na bangus, I cant wait to eat binge on them soon. I have a sisig recipe which I havent tried and I once tried to marinate a milk fish but it is simply not the same taste like back home...

5. Name five things that make you feel good.
Praying - As I have already said above, with prayers I could immediately clear my mind in a second. This is not only a conversation with God but a way for me to understand myself.

Blogging - I am glad I discovered blogging, it made me realize I am not really alone especially when I found the PinoyMomsNetwork link and started to exchange stories with them.

My Girls' Stories - My girls' stories always make my day. I love seeing them being excited about something, I love listening to them outline their daily activities, I love being a mom.

Exercise - I dont know why I was too lazy before, but when I got the rhytmn, I am staying in the beat. I love my morning walks, my minutes at the stationary bike, my weight lifting times while watching the news, the afternoon dance gigs with the girls, the sporadic yoga session with MC, etc.

Chocolates - Yummy, especially those with nuts!

Who wants to do this tag aside from Marysmom? If you want to share, simply leave a message so I could visit your site.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Kids' Day at Home

We planned to go to the outdoor ice skating rink this morning for this month's kids' day (this is actually our first year anniversary of celebrating kids' day) but it rained the whole night and it looked like the weather wont cooperate this day, too. The kids, who immediately disappeared after breakfast and got busy playing with their newly collected toys over the Christmas season, dictated the rhytmn of the day. Lazy day!

Though my husband and I wanted to go out, they wont move anymore. So, we instead chose to spend this day getting busy together removing the Christmas decors from inside and outside our house; followed by the methodical unmasking of our Christmas tree. The kids balked a bit, saying they wanted to keep the decors longer; but they got curious by the boxes and the amount of baubles disappearing into the storeroom. Thus, they helped to entangle the Christmas lights, to pluck the trimmings, to place them in the proper boxes etc.; all the while admiring the decorations or even kissing them goodbye.

So, kids' day could need not be spent in restaurants or indoor playgrounds nor parks; it would also a fun bonding day at home, too. This day just proved it.
Oh and before we ended the day, IC pushed us to drive to Villa Kunterbunt but we said no because it is already too late. And then MC came to me with this question: 'Mama, today is the Feast of the Three Kings so why did we not go to the church to attend mass?'

How should I answer? By telling her it is good that she remember this as a special day. And that we could make up for not going to the church by praying extra hard tonight and saying a special prayer for the three kings. I hope I did well with this question, whew!


PMN:Home and Garden features two new articles: KK shared her post on being a Green and Practical Momma and I wrote about how to properly dispose of your Christmas tree.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Traditional Philippine Games

Whenever I reminisce about home, I try to do it not in an emotional way but by telling the girls fun stories about home. And their favorite tales would be those that would involve learning a new game. Thus, the traditional Philippine games are known to them now. Such as the following:

Jackstones, (also called jacks, fivestones or onesies) is a common game in the Philippines but not here in Germany, I am surprised to know; when the kids first tried to learn jackstones with me here.

It is a hundred year old playground game that started with little girls and boys collecting small stones and animal bones, materials all found near their homes; and they learned to use them in a game by tossing them into the air in a way similar to today's version of the game.
A set of jacks consists of ten (or perhaps fifteen) small metal six-pointed stars, called 'jacks', and a rubber ball. The playing surface is any flat area, we usually use a table or the floor. Anyplace where there would be enough space for all players which could be from one to ten, would already be ideal. Read more here.
When I was a kid, this is a favorite when after school game while waiting for our 'sundo' (someone to fetch us). But of course, I didnt stop playing this until nobody wanted to play with me anymore :D I so love preparing for the game: looking for a playmate to play with, finding the 'pato' (marker), choosing the right chalk color, finding the right place to draw the hopscotch, choosing the pattern (there are several actually, remembering only the house and the letter S); and of course the excitement of the game itself.
Hopscotch is a simple children's game which can be played with several players or alone. The first player tosses (marker) (typically a stone, coin or bean bag) into the first square. The marker must land completely within the designated square and without touching a line or bouncing out. The player then hops through the course, skipping the square with the marker in it. Single squares must be hopped on one foot. For the first single square, either foot may be used. Side by side squares are straddled, with the left foot landing in the left square, and the right foot landing in the right square. Optional squares marked "Safe" "Home" or "Rest" are neutral squares, and may be hopped through in any manner without penalty.

Upon successfully completing the sequence, the player continues the turn by tossing the marker into square number two, and repeating the pattern. If while hopping through the court in either direction the player steps on a line, misses a square, or loses balance, the turn ends. Players begin their turns where they last left off. The first player to complete one course for every numbered square on the court wins the game. Read here.

Bato Bato Pick (Rock, Paper, Scissors)This game is a popular one for my girls because they dont need anything to play this, only their readiness. They play this when they are bored inside the car, they play this while waiting for their food in the restaurants, they play this when the train's schedule would mean an uneasy wait, etc. This is their game against boredom.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, also known as janken or roshambo is a common name for a popular two-person hand game. The game is often used as a selection method. It can be played with skill if the game extends over many sessions, as a player can often recognize and exploit the non-random behavior of an opponent.

The exact name of the game can vary, with the three components appearing in a different order, or with "stone" in place of "rock". Non-English speakers often refer to the game by their words for "rock, paper, scissors" such as Jack En Poy or Bato Bato Pick (rock, rock, choose!) in the Philippines. In France and the United States, in particular, the game is ofter referred to as Rochambeau (ro-sham-bo) in honor of Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, compte de Rochambeau, French hero of American Revolution. Rochambeau was present in York when General Cornwallis surrended to George Washington. It is believed that Washington, Cornwallis and Rochambeau played RPS to decide who would be the last to leave Cornwallis' tent after the exchange of formalities. At the time, it was considered most honorable to be last. Rochambeau "won" the RPS game and the game has been known as Ro-sham-bo ever since. Here for more.

And the most common kiddie past time all over the world, painting the sidewalks :D
The kids wanted to stop the rain from really draining their backyard playground so they decided to paint the sidewalk full of smiling sunshine. I told them I used to do that when I was a little girl in the belief that it helps, indeed, to stop the rain from pouring :D
For more photos, check out PMN Fam Pics.

Friday, January 4, 2008

What's for Lunch?

Opa invited us to have lunch with them yesterday. The menu: Sauerkraut with boiled pork and spareribs with a side dish of mashed potatoes. He knows we love to eat this German specialty; and of course I immediately said yes.

Food, as always, is good. Even the kids had at least three servings each, I did, too! And yes, this year, I resolved to visit oma and opa at least once a week, with the kids or not. It is a part of my health regiment, to walk the long way home; plus I also wanted to spend time with them.

You see, my parents are 8,000 miles away from me. And I could hear the longing whenever I talk to them over the phone; that longing is both ways, mind you. More times than not, I could also hear myself longing for them. Since I have my in laws here with me, I am curving that longing for home by finding someone to share some comfort time with. I think I am right in target, right?

Anyway, what made that visit extraordinary was a glimpse of MC's sensitive thoughts. After washing the dishes with opa while the oma played with the girls; opa declared that he's going to check his vegetable and fruit garden in the mountain. Now that day was windy and cold and there were frozen ice on the road.

MC insisted on watching the opa while he dressed up. And then she came to me seemingly disturbed. I immediately asked her what's wrong; she simply shook her head with tears on her eyes. And then opa came showing off his newly bought snow boots and said his goodbyes.

That was when I realized what's wrong: She was worried that opa would be driving his motorbike up in the mountain (he does that in summer) when it is too slippery outside. She was almost crying when I reassured her that opa would not be driving. I pushed her to look outside, where opa had his walking stick and a basket, waving goodbye, on his way up the mountain.

Oh, my MC. She explained to me that she knows it is dangerous when opa drives with his motorbike up in the mountain in winter. I told her that opa knows that, too. I am sure the opa would appreciate her concern. And I am am so proud of her for having that kind of sensitivity at such a young age.

So I guess, I had better bring the kids with me everytime I visit oma and opa. They needed that kind of loving.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Before and After 2008

MC hugging the giant pretzel.
I just blogged about our New Year's healthy resolutions and I guess this is really a wake up call for both my husband and I.

Imagine, midnight, 30th of December, I had to knock on our tenants to ask them for help, to drive my husband to the hospital. I had to push him because he's complaining of shortness of breath. Thank goodness, he was back after more than 30 minutes.

The doctor was saying it could only be stress and more reasons lie on the psychological side. He is making himself crazy over a lot of things. Well, at around 2 am, 31st of December; we were back in bed. Comforted but not totally.

And at 10 am, we drove to the cardiologist for a thorough test. It is better this way, though the kids cannot understand why we had to spent a long time at the clinic when it is supposed to be a big day that day. I tried to explain by telling them that Papa doesnt really feel well; that we must visit the doctor so we could really celebrate later that night.

Well, everything went well. Though the doctor warned my husband that he could be a candidate for high blood soon, if he doesnt take care. Thus, it is really good that we have started earlier with our healthy resolutions. And we must stick to them. Really stick to them.

After that, we did get to celebrate New Year's Eve with a bang. We got to visit oma and opa and received our good luck charms from them: a giant pretzel, clover plants, marzipan pigs, chimney sweeper figurines, and a donut. I already have the spread of circular fruits at home.

Our lucky charms.
My sister in law came with her two daughters and brought us lady bug chocos for good luck late that day. And I engaged their help in opening my husband to the idea of attending meditation or yoga classes. I know this would help him, the cardiologist recommended it to him, too. But, of course, he finds the idea laughable. Hay, I wanted to shake him :D But I wont stop from prodding him to trying them, at least, especially if it would help him.

And then we prepared our raclette, our canapes as midnight snacks, our bleigiessen kits; and ourselves for a long night. We played card games, watched tv, danced and sing with the celebrities on tv and played with the confetti and worked on our bleigissen set; as MC said, 'it's party time!'
Our raclette spread. MC's concentrating on her bleigiessen job.A few minutes before midnight, we were outside with the whole neighborhood, almost all with a glass of sekt in the hand; greeting the New Year with some fireworks. MC enjoyed the sparkles but IC wont stay for a lone time outside. She hated the noise; so I stayed with her inside and watched from the window. We called the family and wished them a Happy New Year. (I already called my family in the Philippines and sent SMS messages to some friends a few hours earlier).

First photo: MC with the sparklers while IC stays just inside the door.
Second photo: MC fully clad with confettis
At 1 am, I cleared the kitchen but left the confetti clad living room alone; made the kids ready for bed; but the kids simply wont move. It was at 2 am that they came to us to say they wanted to sleep.
That was our New Year's Eve. How about you?