Sunday, February 28, 2010

What does a fountain pen mean?

Fetching the girls from school last week, MC had a big grin on her face.

I asked her if she's got something to share but she simply shook her head.

On the way home, her smile just stayed; growing bigger. She was trying very hard to smother her own enthusiasm; but she still wont tell us anything.

At home, she bundled something in her shirt and showed us, one by one; asking, 'do you know what's this?' all the while keeping something hidden.

When it's my turn, I saw that she's got her own fountain pen.

What does a fountain pen mean? Well, they have this writing exercises book in the school. When someone managed to finished all the writing exercises, they are to receive the coveted fountain pen.

And for me it means, 'giving the kids a chance to work for what they wanted to achieve; at their own chosen phase.'

MC is proud that she finally got her fountain pen and prouder still because she only had to finish until the ß (double s in German).

Asked why, 'because I have already worked on my other writing exercises book when I was in my other school; that is why my teacher said I've already worked hard for it,' she explained.

It's good to know that her teacher acknowledges the merits of her other hard work :D

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sister Sharing

MC got a bar of chocolate from the ref.

IC wanted to have a piece.

MC said no.

MC came in with a friend and IC.

MC gave a big chunk of the chocolate to her friend.

That was when I asked MC, 'why did you give that piece to your friend when your sister wanted it?'

MC said because IC didnt give her a piece of her chocolate yesterday.

I told her that is not enough reason not to share; that she should first learn to share to her sister before being really generous with her friends.

'If IC have something you wanted, how would it feel if she gave it to another instead of you?', I told her. I also explained to her that the real meaning of sharing should first start from those closest to you. As she is the eldest, IC must learn from her good example.

She acknowledged my words with a wave to IC to come; and she gave a piece of the chocolate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Village Cleaners

Driving home after a visit to their playmate, MC looked out of the windows and shook her head.

'Papa, the world is not beautiful anymore,' she said. Not only my husband was curious but all of us inside the car; we also glanced outside.

We saw garbage all over and sort of agreed with her.

'Why could people not throw their garbage in the trash cans?,' she continued. 'I also saw people in our village throwing something on the streets.'

IC also pointed out that the vacant lots are being used as a garbage area. 'It is yucky,' she smirked.

We applauded both girls for being aware of proper garbage disposal. We have disciplined them that if they couldnt find a trash can, they simply give it to me or to my husband. I admit, my bag is one garbage bin :D

My husband and I decided to challenge the kids with the following suggestions:

- start talking to people you see throwing junk on the street and tell them it is wrong
- tell your friends to dispose of their garbage properly
- ask our village officers to install garbage bins in busy areas
- declare yourselves as the village cleaners
- start a project to keep our village clean
- ask the help of the adults
- keep the discipline instilled in you that if you dont see a trash can, you keep it in your pocket or give it to mama and papa to dispose of

Well, both girls agreed with enthusiasm. In fact, they added the following ideas, too:

- papa should collect money from the people caught throwing junk on the street
- we should inform them who doesnt follow their rules as village cleaners just in case they missed on someone
- they will draw warnings for people and paste them around the village
- they will ask another friend who properly disposes of her garbage to join in the project

After the list was made, the girls got themselves plastic bags and used gloves to collect the junk in the vacant lot beside our house. They found cigarette butts.

They know the culprit, too. Our driver.

Guess who got a lecture and was fined by the girls that afternoon :D

Watch out, the village cleaners are on the move!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mama's Drawings are the Best Gifts

I have time to spare during a night out with a friend.

Since I promised the kids I would bring something for them, I decided to look around. I saw toys, cookies, candies, clothes; the usual things. But I wanted something special so I skipped those.

I went inside a bookstore and found: a drawing book and a set of crayons.

I still have 30 minutes before my date arrive; so I went inside McDonald's (because it was not full and I found a nice private place for what I have in mind); bought an ice cream on cup and created my 'something special' for the kids.

For MC, I drew a naughty, very green frog and wrote her a short love note. For IC, I went for a big, very red rose and wrote her a short love note.

In my love notes, I thanked them for the things that they have lovingly done for me the past days. I folded those drawings with the secret 'I Love You' fold of my youth. Simply folding the paper into three :D

The girls were asleep when I got home. I tucked my love notes where they could see them immediately upon waking up.

In the morning, they were so excited to see my notes. I explained to them how I folded the paper into 'I Love You'. They were amazed!

MC read the notes in secret but hugged me tightly because the frog is cool. I had to read IC's love note for her; and she said her rose is beautiful. They compared notes afterwards; both feeling proud.

'I didnt get to buy you things, so I decided to just draw and write notes,' I told them.

To which MC said, 'Mama, the drawings and the notes are the best gifts,' while IC nodded vigorously in agreement.

The story doesnt end there. After school, I received a drawing from IC, folded neatly in the 'I Love You' fold that I taught her that morning :D

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Valentine's Day

Every special occasion is always a family thing for us. That means, Valentine's Day, too.

The kids would be very much involved.

Therefore, I already know that something big is going on a week before. The kids would disappear in their rooms shouting, 'Mama, you are not allowed inside!'

I would hear their whispered arguments on things like, 'who would wash the dishes, who would cook, who would prepare the table, what gifts they would buy, etc; and that would start my excitement :D

The night before Valentine's Day, the kids and their Papa declared that I am not allowed to go up in the rooms until they gave me the go signal. I heard running feet and giggles and loud discussions and they greeted me with big, secretive smiles when I was finally allowed to get ready to bed.

Early morning on Valentine's Day, I was told not to move on my bedside.

One by one, they presented me their gifts. My husband gave me a big bouquet of roses and a big kiss, while MC and IC presented to me their single-stemmed roses and drawings. I also personalized my gifts to them: cut-off hearts with short messages and a family gift certificate for a special Valentine's Sunday.

Again, I was told to stay in bed until I am called for breakfast they lovingly prepared, cooked and decorated the breakfast table. Well, in the end, I had to wash the dishes; the kids found it too boring already, hahahaha.

And my Valentine's gift to them? We went to the mall to shop for something special for the kids; and stayed for dinner to watch the first Philippine Pyromusical Festival.

We got home late but we had fun. The kids are already planning the next Valentine's Day celebration :D

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Knowing Our Phone Number

We kept on repeating and reminding the girls, before they leave our house to play, to let us know where they go and with whom.

Their number one excuse why they sometimes cant inform us is because: their friend would immediately close their gates.

My solution for this? For them to memorize our home number so they could call us.

(I admit, I also havent memorized our home number, because we have had three different sets of numbers for five months that our phone service company's been 'playing' with us!!).

Why do they need to know our phone number?

- To let us know their location of play
- To let us know who they are playing with
- To inform us if they need help
- For mama and papa to feel safe
- And for MC and IC, to feel safe

But of course, there are rules:
- Never give our phone number to strangers
- Always ask our permission first before sharing our phone numbers to people
- Do not write them down for anybody except if we gave them permission to
- Ask the permission of the house owner before dialling our number
- It is still best if they could go home and tell us personally their destination

There are responsibilities attached in knowing those numbers, they should know that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where did you go?

The kids were out for almost an hour.

It was only because it was my time for an afternoon jog that I realized how long they were gone.

While jogging, I checked the whole neighborhood block. I even talked to the village security guard who told me he saw the girls on their bikes with their friends. But they were nowhere in sight.

I checked at the house of one of their friends; the girl was not there, too. I was not worried, I know that they wont go out of the village; but I wanted to know where they are and it was also getting dark.

I jogged to another friend's house and saw their bikes on the porch steps. They came out as I called out.

As the girls run out of the house; I reminded them of our number one rule: to always inform me where they are going.

MC sheepishly told me that she wanted to inform me first but her friend closed the gate before she could go out. The solution for that, I said, would be to use the telephone.

IC, who was hiding behind her sister, got the guts to answer, 'but we dont know our telephone number.'

'Well, then it's time for both of you to memorize our home number,' I pointed out.

I told them they should both take the responsibility of taking care of each other. Remind each other about the rules, remind each other to follow the rules, and remind each other to take care of each other.

Since I am asking them to know our home number; I told them there are also rules to follow. But that would be for my next post.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Für Mama (For Mama)

I got a letter from MC last week.

And her letter states:
Mama, ich mag dich. Danke das du mich auch magst.
Mama, I want you. Thank you that you want me, too.

Is this her way of apologizing during her series of tantrums the past weekend in which she would shout bad words to me; and would always push me away, saying she only want her Papa?

I dont know and I hate to analyze.

You see, after she would calm down, I would always told her that although I am not saying anything when she's got a tantrum; her bad words hurt me and those that could hear them. And I told her that deliberately pushing me away, or anybody for that matter; doesnt make one feel good, too.

Receiving this letter from her could mean something, she knows what she is saying and doing during her tantrums; only she could not control them because she is ready to hurt.

But, talking about what she did after her tantrums helps, too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I helped the world today

A bag, a wallet and two bracelets from KILUS Foundation

Five-year-old IC has been telling me about their school outing.

She just kept on saying, 'we would go to the house of garbage and buy their things there.' At first, I was confused. I thought she was just rescuing her things again from the garbage.

Then we received a letter from the school that they are going to KILUS Foundation, it is a non-profit organization who segregates and recycles; cleans, washes and sanitizes things coming from the garbage and turns them into something useful.

Located in 36 C. Santos St. Ugong Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines; KILUS Foundation sells home furnishings, bags, shoes and fashion accessories from recycled garbage.

The day after their outing, IC proudly announced, 'I helped the world today.' And showed me her souvenir items from the foundation.

It turned out that they were shown around, they watched and learned how the things coming from trash were recycled and turned into useful things. They were told that recycling and segregating help the environment and makes the world a better place.

I didnt get anything from her. But she told me not to be disappointed, I could share the purse that she's giving to her Papa.

Actually, IC wanted to buy me a pair of shoes (she knows am a shoe freak, oops!); but the price was too high at 100 a pair (she's got only 150 pesos with her); that would mean she could not buy anthing for her, for her sister, and for Papa.

She added, 'Anyway, you have enough, so I know you wont be disappointed.' ;D

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I want the same things!

After a visit to her friend's house, 5-year-old IC came home with a list of things that she wanted to have; things she saw inside that house.

She told me that S have this thing and that thing and those things then she asked, 'do you think you could also buy me the same things?'

I replied, 'do you think it is good to have similar things. If you and your friends have the same toys; wouldnt it be boring to be playing the same things over and over again?'

She sheepishly covered her eyes and said 'no.'

Therefore, IC learned that variety adds spice in life :D