Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Am Inspired

Yep, I am inspired.

Just because Tonette sent me an email saying that she started blogging after reading my blog a few months ago. It tickles me pink because I have not even celebrated my first year anniversary in the blogging world and yet I have touched someone; inspired her to blog even. Now she is Cool Mom An2nette.
Her blog shares her life as a 'floor director' in Germany, after working in different educational institutions in the Philippines. She is a cool mom and a 'cooler' grandma. And she lives in the Black Forest, yum :D

Tonette, I hope you are enjoying blogging.

And I am inspired just because of another email:

RĂ¼diger Schilling has left a new comment on your post "Preventive Program on Sexual Assault for Small Chi...":

the innovator of "Ich bin doch kein Heini!?" ist speaking.
I found this blogg today and I´m positive surprised to find my programm in english language - great! Thank´s to raqgold! Where did you have seen my programm? Did I shown it or were it my teached policemen?
For you all: If some need further informations, please visit or contact me with an e-mail
And don´t forget, I train the children in possible reactions if they are alone, if they are accosted (? - excuse my bad english) out of a car one the way to school or if they were contact on a playground. Thereby we think about strangers. But more dangerous are the familiar persons, persons who know the childs and their familiy. Most of sexual offendings are in the so called "sozialer Nahraum" (translation can be: room of social nearness) an means all the personens on bowing terms up to the affiliation. In Germany we assume over 80 % of sexual offenders are not strange.

Recapitulating: Don´t be affraid! The sexual offending declining. Work with your kids, train the questions about feeling and be a pattern. So you can nurture a confident child - the premise is: you have to be confident for yourself.

Greetings and have a lot of fun with your children!

RĂ¼diger Schilling and Heini
It was not easy translating his program in English as the subject is very sensitive; but I guess my work was a success if this email from the innovator himself would attest. I did say I would email him, and yes, I would. After posting this :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sex Education in Third Grade

I remember that we started sex education in the fifth grade and boys would be separated from girls during the class. And I dont really know if I learned something, because I would only remember us giggling during the class. I think I learned more about the reproductive system when I was in high school and that was because of the pocket books that I devoured.

Now I just learned that Germany's school system offers sex education in third grade. Isnt it too early to be giving the third graders a sex eduction class?

Here might be the answer. An acquaintance told this story.

During the sex education class of her little boy, he volunteered to the teacher that he knows for sure that his mom and dad have had sex twice only. Yep. Only two times. And he is sure of this because there were only two babies born: his sister and him!

I should be bracing myself :D Although MC have started asking about sex before her fifth birthday, read here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dinner at Seven

I cant believe we did it. We attended a dinner party at 7 pm!

Normally, when we get invites, we request friends to make dinner a little earlier so that the kids would not be so irritable on the table. In fact, everytime we invite people for dinner, we set the time between 5-6 pm.

And then came Petra's invite. She said dinner would be at 7 pm. My husband was the one who accepted the invite, although he's a bit sceptical about it, 'I dont know if we should go. Dinner is at 7 pm. It would be too late for the kids.'

I simply shrugged my shoulders even though I wanted to say, 'It wont be a problem.' Well, it would be a 45 minutes drive to Petra's place, but I would say the kids could take a short nap; if they wanted to; and that would be that.

And I really wanted to go. We dont really socialize much, because there would be nobody to babysit the kids; thus when invites like this comes, I want to grab the chance to be in another place other than at home; and to talk with real persons rather than tinkering on the computer keyboards; and of course, I wont be doing the cooking :D

It was a Saturday. My husband worked in the garden. The kids played outside. IC rode the bike for the first time, and I tried on my inline skates for the first time, too! And MC, she even got a friend over to play. We should have been tired; well, my husband is tired; but the kids and I, we are ready for the party!

So, we drove at 6 pm and got there without any hitches. The kids were up and about although a bit shy. They clung to us, yeah, maybe they are already a bit tired -- but they ate with the group of kids and they got busy after a while. And dinner was great!

On our way home, the kids slept. See, I did tell my husband that it wont be a problem, right?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How would you know your kid is learning?

Help me with this because I dont really know. How would you know your kid is learning?

I have this group of kids between 4-6 years old -- who attend playtime English under my tutelage. I am doing this course because I know I would enjoy learning with kids and I am sure that the kids would be enjoying learning with songs and dance and crafts; and also because at the back of my mind, I dont want to loose my 'English.'

The first time I attended a Deutsch course, the teacher told me to forget about my English or else I would have difficulty learning Deutsch. Well, she was right. It was when I stopped translating everything in English that I began to really master (a little bit) the German language. It was not easy, but I managed.

Now, I realized I am beginning to loose my 'English' when I cant even talk one sentence in straight English; and when I am writing a letter, I cant even formulate one single paragraph in straight English without consulting the Deutsch-English dictionary -- but that was two years ago. And that time, I felt bad. Uneasy. As a graduate of AB Journalism, that didnt help my confidence at all. And as someone who wanted to go back to Journalism in the future, that is really terrible!

Most people here were astonished to know that I am doing playtime English; they expected someone from an English speaking country to face them. The Philippines is an English speaking country. I earned by Journalism degree in the Philippines, where most school works are done in English. The language in the school is English, from kindergarten to university. We do speak our native tongue, the Tagalog, but we have only one subject about this; otherwise, we speak and write all our works in English.

And I know, some of us parents have high expectations -- and when I talk with the teachers of my kids, I try to know what they have been doing in kindergarten; if there are improvements and if I should take note of things that should be done for the better of my kids.

Back to my playtime English. This coming week would be the fifth time that the class would be meeting. I have given the parents the program outline. We have even held a meeting before the course began so that any questions would be answered and suggestion taken into consideration. They know the program; I dont mind listening to suggestions and ways that I could do better, things that would be best for the kids and the class -- but I cant create a miracle. In such a short course, the kids would learn some everyday phrases and would be familiar with numbers, colors, etc. I would be happy to hear them speaking in some English words, but to be really fluently speaking in English, that would take time.

What made me ask the question on how would you know that your kids is learning? Just because one mom asked her kid what she learned from English class, the girl simply said 'I dont know.' And she took it as a bad sign. Dont blame me if I dont feel good hearing this. Am I right to hear a little implication that her kid isnt learning at all? Because of that 'I dont know,' answer?

I dont know, too. When I heard about it, I was surprised and a bit lost. I also ask my kids what they did in kindergarten, almost everyday; and most of their answers were 'I dont know.' And I didnt think to push the teachers to watch out for my kids because they dont know what they did in kindergarten. And yet I know that the kids are learning because they sit down to do crafts, to draw, to write, they learn how to socialize, to interact, etc.

I know that particular kid participates well during the class. She's eager to join the group. And she answers when asked. And most of all, she's always an enthusiastic listener and participant. That would mean she is enjoying the course, right? And enjoying the class is the best way to learn. After all, the class is playtime English! We play, we have fun, and we learn slowly and hopefully, surely.

I guess the only way is to talk again to the parent, to the group of parents, if needed. But I want to know, how do you know your kid is learning?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our Dive Solana Get-Away

Here is Dive Solana Resort, we stayed here for more than a week, after the Eagle Point visit, and yet the kids dont want to leave this paradise at all. As I said in my previous post, it's the first time that I heard them saying they dont want to go back home anymore. And you know what, I agree wholeheartedly. There's magic in this place.
The first sunset that we captured, taken in front of our beach front cottage.Our first glimpse of our beach front cottage, and we fell in love with it.
Traditional indigenous materials made up the whole resort, even the bathroom!

with their Ate Cha

Why MC want to stay in the Philippines, the companionship she found there

reunion with some relatives, Tyang Nita and Lottie who hail from Lipa City

My brother Arjay and Ate Cha

Beach front cottages

Favorite place

The meditation hut became a play house

Lunch time!

MC with Kuya Topher

Inside one of the hillside cottages

Up where the club house is, near the massage corner

the meditation hut

MC signing the guest book

We found a star fish on the shore, MC decided to bring it near the deep end

MC giving Nanay a manicure

Snack time, the first time that my husband discovered the taste of iced tea! He loves it.

Embroidered pillow cases

Buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I gained weight, why not :)

IC on the water bike with papa

MC's turn. They did saw a lot of interesting things underwater during these rides.

Look at the sunset!

IC got busy with the coloring books she found in the club house.

Another sunset shot.

MC loves her princess bed.

IC, too.

Snack time again!

At the club house.

collecting shells and stones

Although they cannot build sandcastles because the shore is not sandy, the kids found a way to build stone castles.

The Sombrero Island is the small island, and the island on the far left is where Sepoc Beach is.

Here I am


IC lounging

I love this photo

And this photo, too :D

The staff are real friendly

Taken before we go back to Manila

The whole family wanted to see the place again and again

I cant blame them, Dive Solana is really a great place for a vacation.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Okay

Both girls' faces were plastered on the window, looking out into our front yard. I heard some kids giggling outside but I waited until the girls' themselves reported what they are looking at.

And then IC saw me 'Mama, look at them. They are plucking our flowers in the front yard,' she exlaimed.

I said, 'and what must you do?' They tapped the window so that the girls outside would know that someone is in the house.

'Mama, they wont stop. They are still doing it,' MC added. I said 'then that it is up to you now'; thinking they would go to the door and shoo the girls away.

Nope, they left their places in front of the window and continued playing. With MC saying 'it's okay. We have enough flowers to share.'

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Didnt Realize Today is a Special Day

Actually, he sort of reminded me about it yesterday. He meaning, my husband.

He joked about it, saying 'do you know what tomorrow is?' And I immediately said, of course. Even though I dont really know what he's talking about in that second. It was after a few minutes of speaking with him about trivial matters that I realized he is taking about our engagement anniversary.

That means, it's been seven years after our engagement! I told myself last night that I would buy something for him. Well, since it is a Wednesday, always a busy day -- I have a playtime English and gymnastics at noontime -- I forgot all about it.

I was walking home with the kids after the gymnastics class when we saw him rounding the corner to our street. And he's holding something in his hands! Arrrgh. He's got flowers for me and I dont have anything for him!

We waited for him on the corner, the kids more excited, thinking the gift is for them. And when he came, he gave me a kiss, smiled; while MC grabbed the flower :D Papa told them the flower is for me; the girls wont accept that. They wanted me to share it to them, thinking it is a bunch of flower, I said yes.

Well at home, we found out it is an orchid pot! And a bunch of fresh asparagus for dinner. The girls were so disappointed, but I am happy. It simply tickles me how thoughtful my husband could be. You see, it is not me who remembers the special dates in our lives, but my husband. We even celebrate the date when we first met, that is, when he reminds me first :D

Tonight, he cooked dinner. And why asparagus? Asparagus was in our menu the night of our engagement at Hotel Krone in Grossachsen seven years ago. And as always, I tell him that I hated the taste of asparagus then; but now I love eating asparagus in any form.

Ok, I did have a gift for him. I cleaned the house, unusual for me esp on a busy a Wednesday. I did the tidying up in the kitchen. And maybe, another gift tonight :)

How to Set House Rules with Kids

IC's past behavior is really making me crazy. And I guess, my husband is also thinking about it, too, as he got hit with IC's whims this past weekend. So you know what he brought me a few days ago? A newspaper clipping on how to set rules with kids :D

How to set house rules with kids:

1. Get their attention and always make eye contact: IC mostly refuses to meet my eye. What would you do when your kid refuses to look at you? Be patient and wait. And when the tantrum or tempers are at play, try to find a separate corner to pause, before getting together again.

2. Speak quietly and with conviction: I always (try to) wait until I have calmed down; and until the kids have calmed down. And then I talk to them, trying to find and use words that would be simple to understand.

3. Avoid long discussions: I think this speaks for itself.

4. If you want the rules to be followed immediately, stay near your kids: Well, I dont stay near them, I let them know that I am within hearshot and they could call me if they needed to clear something up.

5. When the rules are followed, praise the kids: Let them know that they did right, it would make them feel better and feeling better would make them better remember to follow the rules.

6. When the rules are set, they should be followed by everybody including the grandparents, the relatives, everybody around the kids: I know, sometimes it would be very hard to keep the set rules if you have visitors, but talk to the kids and gently explain the rules to the other people concerned. If the kids know and follow the rules, others would simply follow, too. Just like in washing the hands, my kids would automatically head to the wash basin everytime they arrived from outside or before and after eating.

7. Avoid a long list of rules: Of course, the shorter the better. Be brief yet concise. Most of all, be firm. Always remind the kids of the rules.

Well, the last tip talks about finding professional help. I dont think I would need this for my kids. I would let them sail along on this phase because you see, I am also learning from their funny phases! Patience, I need patience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dear Sheila D.

Sheila D. is a batchmate in high school who's been facing a health challenges lately. I saw her when were in Manila this February, and to be frank with you, I forgot that she's not well -- you would never see that she's hurting or that she's stressed or that she's letting life go on without her.
She's fun. She's animated. She's bubbling with life. And she wanted to have another go with a special man on her side. You see, she's been, for a long time now, a single parent to her lovely daughter.
My husband even took photos of her as we were joking that we would find someone special for her in Germany. She eagerly posed and even wanted to refresh her make-up so she'd look better; although I could have told her that her lively personality would have men running all over her.

ayan, nagpapaganda muna sya :D
And boy, I am glad I got to meet with her. You see, we were never classmates in high school. We crossed paths once in a while because her friends were also my friends, but never really talked. The only direct contact I had with her was during our Friday CAT classes because she's one of the officers. Meaning, I cower in fright, hoping to disappear in the group as she's a formidable figure with her fatigues and as you would see in the photos, she's a lot taller than me :D

And then we started this high school yahoogroup in 2005. Since then, we found old friends, we discovered new friends and then we opened ourselves to the whole batch which would be more than 300 of us!
Shiela experienced health problems regarding her ovary, a few years back. She told us she tried almost everything -- she talked to us about herbal medicines. She refused to undergo an operation. Our yahoogroup tried to keep her optimistic and supported her with prayers and by simply being there for her - sometimes thru text messages and group conferences; and those who could meet with her, met her and some talked to her on the phone. I have never been so close to my high school batch as right there and then; I could feel them during this time of need. Even though we were scattered all over the world now!

Sheila won her battle. And we are thankful and I am sure, so proud of her.

And then I got this note from a friend in our yahoogroup saying that Sheila needs our prayers as she underwent an operation last month wherein an ovarian cyst was removed. She's diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage 3. After reading that short note, I immediately wrote a short email and sent Sheila a short text message of love and hope and something to tickle her funny bones. Oh yeah, I believe that in times like this, we need a little bit of fun, too.

Here is my short text message to her: Hi dear, just to let you know that we are praying for you. Have faith. German BF coming soon :D
In which she texted back: Thanks my dear. God has better plans for me and am confident I will be well soon. Need Papa asap para bilis me galing. heheh. God bless.
To Sheila and to the other Sheila's out there.
There is nothing that could keep us moving on than our belief in ourself and in our faith. You are sorrounded by love. I know you are enveloped by warm and caring people. And of course, you yourself know how to have fun. Live life to the fullest, just like what you are doing now.

Sheila with me and the kids, another high school batchmate Cecil C,
and Sheila's teen-age daughter
Sheila, know that you have a friend in me; in our batch. You know that we would always be there praying for you, for your family. If possible, we would be there to hold your hands, to hug your fears away. If you cant sleep, we could gossip til late. To fight your tears, we could organize a laugh machine or you want me to tickle you, hehe. For someone special to hold you, hmm, let me work in this :D
Sheila, I admire your strength. I admire your faith. I admire your height :) You are in our prayers. Have fun with life!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy 71st Birthday, Tatay

Today is my father's 71st birthday. In the Philippines, we call our father 'tatay' instead of papa or daddy. And my kids call him tatay, too, because we were all used to calling him tatay. In fact, his four grandkids from the sister are calling him 'tatay', too. I wonder now if he miss being called 'lolo' or grandpa.

Well, this would be a long distance celebration for us. He would be celebrating in the Philippines with my brothers and sisters and his grandkids. We wanted to greet him over the phone, but nobody was answering. Anyway, I hope he got to read this because we wanted him to know that we remember him; just that the modern way of communicating wont let us through.
I have already asked pa naman the kids to sing 'Happy Birthday' as heartily as they could. And of course, the goodbyes peppered with 'I love you's' - I guess everybody's busy and a big party is going on that is why they couldnt hear us. But of course, we'll try to call again tomorrow. The time difference doesnt help as it would be too late to be calling; knowing that Tatay loves to hit the sack early :D
In our last vacation in the Philippines, MC remembers him as someone who would not let her go alone in the sea. She said Tatay always warn her not to go too far.

And IC? He recalls him as someone who would always be there, watching over them.

Oh yes, he is a shadow that follows the kids whenever they go. He wouldnt let them out of his sight for fear that something would happen. Even though the whole family are nearby. I dont recall him being such when we were kids. I know that his got adventurous spirit, too - but I guess not when it comes to his grandkids and maybe age does that, tempers down our wild dances.

But he is as always, a deeply religious man and he is always there to help others, even strangers. A big heart, that's what he's got. A sweet tooth, though this is something that he is trying hard to avoid as he's now diabetic. And I really hope he's working strictly on his diet :D

Happy birthday, Tatay! We love you.